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April 16, 2012 • Volume 18 • Issue 9

First Issue Free

WSU Vancouver will shift classes to five-day schedule in 2013

Implementation committee to consider student needs and environmental impact BY NICOLE TOLMIE, The VanCougar

Washington State University Vancouver administrators are planning for the future by implementing a new scheduling grid for fall 2013 classes. The new system is intended to maximize building capacity and reduce overlapping class offerings by changing 75-minute Monday-Wednesday classes to a 50-minute MondayWednesday-Friday schedule. The decision followed examination of data and options by a thirteen-member task force composed of WSU Vancouver faculty and staff, advisors from student affairs and admissions, a representative from the student resource center and one representative of student government. ASWSUV President Audrey Miller said, “There wasn’t a forum for students prior to the proposal going forward because of the nature of the decision that had to be made. The administration on this campus needed to determine how they were going to most effectively utilize the existing facilities while planning for increasing enrollment and a halt in construction of new buildings.” State guidelines for semesterbased colleges and universities require three-credit classes to meet 150 minutes per week. Currently WSU Vancouver meets this requirement by offering 75-minute sessions on Mondays and Wednesdays or Tuesdays and Thursdays. Beginning fall 2013, approximately 60 percent of daytime classes will meet for 50-minute sessions

In This Issue

between the hours of 8:10 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The remaining 40 percent will contine to meet for 75 minutes between the hours of 7:45 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Evening classes will be offered from 4:15 to 8:30 p.m. in 75-minute periods on Mondays and Wednesdays or Tuesdays and Thursdays, excluding Fridays. Some evening classes and laboratory sessions will still be offered in alternative formats with longer class times. The new grid permits classes with large enrollment or special needs in terms of equipment or classroom space to meet for extended periods. Each course will be scheduled to limit potential overlap with other courses on campus. “The new system will align WSU Vancouver with other WSU campuses, including the Pullman campus, which have traditionally offered 50-minute sessions,” said Leonard Orr, WSU Vancouver assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs and task force chair. Until recently there was no mechanism in place to align the independently managed academic departments on the WSU campus, Orr said. “That wasn’t purposeful and it wasn’t working so well. It just wasn’t coordinated,” Orr said. In 2010, WSU Vancouver offered 45 percent of classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon, creating schedule conflicts for See FIVE DAY on page 3

Black Tie Affair — page 3

Photo by Inahlee Bauer | VanCougar Staff

ABOVE: The OMSI installation design team and Dick Hannah representatives work closely with the WSU Vancouver student team to create a first-of-its-kind installation.

OMSI installation, featuring student-created application, to open soon BY INAHLEE BAUER, The VanCougar

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) will soon unveil a new, first-of-itskind interactive installation designed by students from the Washington State University Vancouver Creative Media and Digital Culture (CMDC) program. The digital technologybased project is the first partnership of its kind between WSU Vancouver and OMSI and it serves as a model for creative ventures with museums and businesses in the future. “It’s really interesting to give students opportunities like this,” said Dene Grigar, director and associate professor with the WSU Vancouver CMDC Program. “I’ve wanted to play with augmented reality since I saw it for the first time in 2008. It’s good for the program and gives it identity. It’s great for students and gives them the variety they deserve.”

Utah — page 5

The OMSI installation, which opens in June, will explore how technology influences automobile design, function and efficiency. At the entrance to the Turbine Room, a full-size car, stripped to its skeleton, will appear to launch skyward, its nose lifted eight feet off the ground. Around the installation’s perimeter, visitors will use iPhones and iPads to view and interact with three separate car sections. By pointing the device’s camera toward the area where a car’s engine would usually be, visitors will be able to view a 3D model of a working engine. Additional points of interest on the car will be added to the installation over time. People who do not own or did not bring their iPhone or iPad can use one of iPads that are part of the exhibit. Approximately 50 people will be able to interact with the installation simultaneously and without having to

wait in line — an important goal of the project. The project began last summer when Dick Hannah Dealerships donated $67,000 to WSU Vancouver, funding the Mobile Tech Research Initiative. This grant provided scholarships for ten gifted WSU Vancouver seniors to design an iPhone App for the car dealer. By the end of the summer, the group designed three apps: one for the Columbia River Gorge Film Festival, another for a local Vancouver organization and the third for the Dick Hannah Dealership. The Dick Hannah app is currently available for the iPhone and android market. It impressed the car dealer enough that they funded another $40,000 so students could participate in a project Dick Hannah was pursuing with OMSI called “Autovation”. According to Grigar, if the installation works out well, See OMSI on page3

SCJ Launch — page 6

Spring Gala — page 8 Washington State University Vancouver


Campus News The VanCougar

The VanCougar is a student-run newspaper serving the students, faculty and staff of WSU Vancouver. The VanCougar is available at distribution sites in the lobbies of most WSU Vancouver buildings. The first copy is free. Additional copies are available for $.50 per copy. LOCATION

Classroom building (VCLS) Room 212 14024 NW Salmon Creek Ave. Vancouver, Wash. 98686 Phone: 360-546-9524 CORRECTIONS POLICY

It is the policy of The VanCougar to correct errors. Please contact the editors by email at REPRESENTATION

The existence of advertising in The VanCougar is not meant asendorsement of any product, service or individual by anyone except the advertiser. EMPLOYMENT POLICY

Washington State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action educator and employer.



VanCougar Newspaper @VanCougarNewspaper

The VanCougar Staff Editor-in-chief Cyndie Meyer

Managing Editor Haley Sharp

Advertising Manager Amber Dean

Copy Editor Christine Watson

Issue 9 Layout Team Cyndie Meyer, Louise Tollison Team Editors Sarah Cusanelli Emily Uhde Margarita Topal Joshua Wagner Writers Kevin Alvarez, Adam Baldwin, Inahlee Bauer, Katelyn Cooper, Teresa Lane, Kaitlyn McClain, Andrea Nelms, Emily Ostrowski, Zachary Rice, Cambri Shanahan, Alexander Smith, Emily Smith, Kelsey Smith, Nicole Tolmie, Jiheng Zhao

Contact Information VanCougar Office Phone 360-546-9524 Editor-in-chief Managing Editor Advertising Manager Advisors Brenda Alling, Director of Marketing and Communications Casey Payseno, Student Involvement Advisor

Washington State University Vancouver

Monday, April 16 Science Seminar (Free) Speaker: Peter Styger, OHSU 3 – 4 p.m. VELS 12 Loud & Clear Through April 28 CMDC exhibit of sound and visual installations and performances North Bank Gallery 1005 Main St.,Vancouver Tuesday, April 17 Myers-Briggs Indicator Workshop (Free) 1 – 2 p.m. Firstenburg Student Center Room 104 Student Leadership Recognition Program (Free) 4:30 – 6 p.m. Firstenburg Student Commons Job and Internship Search Strategies (Free) 4 – 5 p.m. Firstenburg Student Commons Room 104 A-Z of Financial Aid and Scholarships Workshop (Free) 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Student Services Center Room 101 Above and Below the Fold: News Fit to Print April 17 – May 31 Clark County Historical Museum $4 adults, $2 children Wednesday, April 18 Ice Cream Finanza! (Free) 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Firstenburg Student Commons Patio Thursday, April 19 Scholarship, Research & the Arts Showcase 2012 (Free) Firstenburg Student Commons 10 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Research Exhibit: posters on display 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. History Research Presentations 4:00 – 4:30 p.m. Reception 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. Keynote: “Paradigm-Changing Partnerships” by Carolyn Landel, chief program officer of Washington STEM Friday, April 20 Strengthening Sustainability Curriculum across the Disciplines and across the

Pacific Northwest 8:45 a.m. – 4 p.m. Dengerink Administration building room 110 $12 students, $40 Nonstudents Register by April 11 Chancellor’s Seminar Series: Economic Revenue Update Speaker: Bret Bertolin, senior economist for the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council 11:45 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Firstenburg Student Commons $25 per ticket - reserve ahead Loud & Clear Animation and Video Screenings 7 – 10 p.m. North Bank Gallery 1005 Main St.,Vancouver

Friday, April 27 Loud & Clear Sound and visual capstone performance, featuring faculty and students from WSU Vancouver’s electronic music class 7 – 10 p.m. North Bank Gallery 1005 Main St.,Vancouver Monday, April 30 WSU Vancouver spring semester finals begin Wednesday, May 2 A-Z of Financial Aid and Scholarships Workshop (Free) 6 – 7 p.m. Student Services Center Room 101 Friday, May 4

Saturday, April 21 “Jump, Jive and Jazz” WSU Vancouver Spring Gala 8 p.m. – midnight Hilton Hotel, Vancouver $10 tickets available in OSI

Spring 2012 semester ends Diversity Council Open Mic (Free) 2 – 2:15 p.m. ADM 236 Monday, May 7

Monday, April 23 First Amendment Monday (Free) Contests, prizes, free food Meet members of the student media organizations 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Free Speech Debate and Media Object Exposition by students in Com 101 4 – 5:30 p.m. Campus Free Speech Area (Between ADM and Classroom buidling) Science Seminar (Free) Speaker: Melanie Mitchell, PSU 3 – 4 p.m. VELS 12 Tuesday, April 24 Strong Interest Inventory Workshop (Free) 1 – 2 p.m. Student Services Center 101 Wednesday, April 25 WSU Vancouver Community Choir Spring Concert (Free) 12 – 1 p.m. Dengerink Administration building Room 110 Thursday, April 26 Health Professionals Graduate School Fair (Free)Free pizza and parking 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Firstenburg Student Commons

Summer session begins Saturday, May 12 WSU Vancouver Commencement 2012 (Free) Gates open 11 a.m. Ceremony: 1 – 3 p.m. Sleep Country Amphitheater Saturday, May 19 White Water Rafting All Day Sign Up in Recreation Office, by May 16 Fee: To be determined Washington State MESA Day (Free) Wind Energy Competition 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Microsoft headquarters, Redmond, WA Wednesday, May 25 Smith Rock Rock Climbing May 25 – 27, weekend event Sign up in Recreation Office Pre-Trip Meeting May 23 at 4:30 p.m. Fee: To be determined Monday, May 28 Memorial Day No classes

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continued from page 1 faculty who were unable to obtain classroom space. It also prolonged enrollment for students who were unable to take required classes because of overlapping class schedules. Miller said, “I think a five-day schedule is ideal and responsible for this campus and for the students who attend it. The number of classes offered during the 1:25 – 2:50 p.m. timeslot Monday – Thursday is disproportionate to the rest of the course offering times. The facilities on campus are over loaded for a short span of time and then ineffectively utilized for the rest of the week.” State measurements on building usage for educational institutions between the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. report WSU Vancouver utilizes 46 percent of available space compared with recommended utilization of 75 percent. On Fridays, classroom usage rate on the Vancouver campus currently falls to 9 percent. By comparison, the WSU Pullman campus, which uses a 50-minute class schedule, utilizes over 90 percent of their building capacity, Orr said. “Because of potential budget cuts, the goal of the change is to encourage enrollment growth without the prospect of any new buildings,” Orr said. “With this adjustment, we can spread out the system,” said Mark Stephan, political science professor and chair of the WSU Vancouver Faculty Organization Executive Committee which represents WSU Vancouver faculty. Enrollment capacity for the WSU Vancouver campus is 6,000 students. Current enrollment is 3,200 students. According to the task force, the current scheduling system is partially to blame for under-enrollment which can negatively impact funding — including requests for new buildings. Derrick Locke, a freshman in the Creative Media and Design Culture program, is not concerned about the schedule change. “As a student I enjoy having Fridays off, but my schedule is pretty flexible,” Locke said.

Miller points out other advantages to the new schedule. “If classes are offered on Fridays the schedule can open up and allow more courses to be distributed throughout the week so students may take more of the courses they need in the same semester. Additionally, parking lots will have more spaces available as the number of students on campus will be more evenly distributed.” Norman Enz, a junior majoring in computer science, favors the schedule change. “When I was on a five-day schedule at Clark, I zoomed through my networking degree.” Anthony Melendez, a freshman majoring in computer science, agrees, “The more you use it, the more you retain it.” Melendez said he thinks some faculty may have their research schedules interrupted by the schedule change, but students will gain an advantage by having more access to faculty on campus. Aaron Bruckner, a junior majoring in computer science, student ambassador and ASWSUV vice president-elect for 2012/13, feels the change could be beneficial for students. “I think being at school more would make us more academically competitive,” Bruckner said. Bruckner said non-traditional and working students are likely to be most affected by the scheduling change because they often work on Fridays. The proposed schedule change may also impact commuting expenses and childcare arrangements. According to the 2009 NSSE survey, 64 percent of WSU Vancouver students worked off-campus while attending school. Ten percent of students worked between one to five hours per week, 17 percent worked 21 – 25 hours and more than 13 percent of students worked 30 hours per week or more. The same survey also reported that 52 percent of WSU Vancouver students provided care to dependent parents, children or other family members who lived with them for one to more than 30 hours per week.

Desiree Hellegers, associate professor with the WSU Vancouver Department of English, is concerned that the decision was not adequately informed by student opinion. She advocates for a cost-benefit analysis to hear the input of more students and to consider the environmental impact. According to the 2009 NSSE survey, 72 percent of WSU Vancouver students spend 1 – 5 hours commuting to campus each week. Twenty-five percent of students commute 6 – 10 hours per week. Until recently, Aaron Reynolds, a WSU Vancouver senior majoring in anthropology, lived in Longview and commuted to Salmon Creek to attend classes. “If I still lived in Longview, my gas costs would rise from 40 to 60 bucks a week because of one additional trip to campus,” Reynolds said. “I am not hearing a clear articulation of why we are doing this,” Hellegers said. “As professors we need to be data-driven.” “There is a little bit of unknown here on many levels,” admits Stephan. Orr said the task force did not investigate the environmental impact of increased commuting and extra heating, cooling and lighting for the classrooms that are currently vacant on Fridays. The question was raised, said Orr, but was deferred to the 16-member implementation committee which is now taking over the project. ASWSUV President Audrey Miller is the student representative on the implementation committee. This group will discuss the logistics and impact of the new scheduling grid with faculty, students and staff at open campus forums and meetings with individual departments and program coordinators. To test the new scheduling system, a simulation will take place at the beginning of summer session 2012. “Will [the new system] be perfect for everybody? No, but the current system is not perfect for everybody,” Orr said. “Within two years, all the adjustments will be made and people will be used to the new system.” n

Photo by Christine Watson | VanCougar Staff

ABOVE: WSU Senior, Janae Teal, dances in drag as Kolby Cox. Tips went to Triple Point and the Queer Youth Resource Center.

‘Black Tie Affair’ raised spirits and donations BY CHRISTINE WATSON, The VanCougar

Despite pouring rain and wind, there was a good turnout for Cougar Pride Club’s third annual drag show “Black Tie Affair” on March 29. Before the show began, Spring Dowse and Daniel Schollaert, representatives from Triple Point and Queer Youth Resource Center, discussed the organizations that would benefit from funds raised at the drag show. “To you a dollar may not seem much,” said Dowse, coordinator and family educator from Triple Point. “But it means a lot to organizations like Triple Point and Queer Youth Resource Center because it allows us to provide local youth of the queer community with meals and activities.” Drag performers included Kendra Diamond Solaris (Michael Blankenship, a senior majoring in anthropology and psychology), Ash M. (current Mr. Gay Vancouver), Moana Storm, Jay Diesel (Alléna Barnes), Kolby Cox (Janae Teal, senior majoring

in sociology), professional drag queen Ivory Cox and the D Street Bois. They performed upbeat dance songs like Britney Spears’ “I Wanna Go,” romantic ballads like “Fly Me to the Moon” by Frank Sinatra and country songs like “Fish” by Craig Campbell. Alléna Barnes’ encore performance was a “read out” called “Memories.” Barnes relayed her own experiences of coming to terms with her sexual identity within the queer community and as a member of the Christian faith. Barnes’ performance received a standing ovation from the audience. Following the drag show, about a third of the audience stayed for a dance party. The drag show raised $855 which was donated to Triple Point, Queer Youth Resource Center and Cougar Pride Club — 40 percent, 40 percent and 20 percent respectively. n

“You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.” – Golda Meir


Continued from page 1 OMSI plans to clone it for distribution to other museums. The WSU Vancouver students who have worked on the project for nearly a year are eager to complete it and see it operate as planned. It has been a time-consuming task, requiring approximately 200 student hours per week. The project hit a few bumps along the way. Jason Cook, WSU student and programmer on the OMSI project, said OMSI altered some of the students’ plans, frustrating members of the student group. “As stressful as the project can seem, we do hope it will work out to OMSI’s liking,” Cook said. Creating museum installations is a new and growing field for CMDC majors. One recent WSU

Vancouver graduate, Reed Rotondo, is now employed as director of exhibits at the Arizona Science Center in Phoenix, Ariz. “Anything that takes us beyond where we are currently is always a good thing. That’s the point of this program,” Grigar said. She hopes this type of activity will provide more jobs for students and further the reputation of WSU Vancouver’s CMDC program as highly-capable across a variety of multi-media applications. “I want students to have a future. I really want technology to be used for the betterment of humanity — to promote “humanness,” Grigar said. “We can be responsible users of digital media.” n

Washington State University Vancouver



Washington State University Vancouver

Recreation 5

take a hike

Spring Break trip to Utah with WSU Vancouver Recreation Office was a memorable adventure PHOTOS AND STORY BY CAMBRI SHANAHAN, The VanCougar

Spring break 2012 is a week I will remember for the rest of my life. I broke with routine and found adventure and excitement as one of 11 WSU Vancouver Cougars who trekked through Utah. On the backpacking trip hosted by the Office of Student Involvement, I finally got a start on my aspirations to travel, to learn more about the wilderness and to forge new friendships with my fellow Cougs. On March 10, a group of eight students and three staff members loaded into university vehicles and left rainy skies behind. My fellow travelers included WSU seniors Jan and Elizabeth Roe, Andrew McConathy and Jair Juarez, juniors Marcus Dupont and Justin Johnson and sophomore Austin Black. OSI Recreation Coordinator Anthony Deringer, Student Involvement Specialist

Phil Babcock and Recreation Assistant Jonathan Rader were our trip hosts. The first day, we drove 558 miles to Jerome, Id. where we pitched camp for the night at a KOA campground. The next morning, we faced another 495 miles before we would reach our final destination: Escalante, Ut. Along the way, we would visit the Great Salt Lake and stop for lunch at In-N-Out Burger. Once at our destination, we set up camp in Escalante Petrified Forest State Park and enjoyed stargazing on the Wide Hollow Reservoir nearby. Monday morning we prepared for a day hike near our camp. With small packs, a trail map, GPS and Deringer’s previous knowledge of the canyons, we followed rock cairns — carefully stacked rocks — that marked the trail toward

a set of slot canyons. These beautiful canyons, carved by rainfall over thousands of years, are narrow, deep and fun to explore. Red and orange sand and rock covered the landscape as we approached Peek-A-Boo Canyon and Spooky Gulch. We accessed Peek-A-Boo by climbing a 15-foot rock face using a rope secured around Deringer for support. The canyon’s beautiful red-orange 20-foot walls and formations lead through narrow passageways that are sometimes only a foot wide. An occasional glimpse of the bright blue sky above was often the only reminder we were still on Earth. Tuesday morning we headed off on a four-day expedition through Coyote Gulch. Each day, we hiked about five miles through sand, mud, rocks and water. Our 40-pound packs See “Spring Break in UTAH” on page 7

Washington State University Vancouver

6 Arts, Culture and Entertainment

Salmon Creek Journal celebrates tradition of creative and visual art BY CHRISTINE WATSON, The VanCougar

On April 5, the staff of the Salmon Creek Journal (SCJ) hosted the publication’s annual launch party, celebrating the 2012 edition of WSU Vancouver’s literary and arts journal. This year, the event showcased selected submissions and all SCJ journals published since 1997. The new journal’s cover resembles aged leather inscribed with gold lettering. Internationally renowned jazz musician Tom Grant played keyboards while students, faculty, staff and members of the public enjoyed journal selections and hors d’oeuvres. Salmon Creek Journal Editor-in-chief Kimberly Lawrence announced the winners of the 2012 “Editor’s Choice” submissions. Lawrence acknowledged the support of SCJ advisor David Menchaca, associate professor of English. On behalf of the SCJ team, prose editor Kameron Franklin acknowledged the work and leadership provided by Lawrence. Guests designed and created

handmade journals at a creation station stocked with paper, stamps, ink and other craft supplies. The activity was intended to encourage creative writing and ideas that could be submitted for future editions of the Salmon Creek Journal. The 2012 edition of the Salmon Creek Journal is free for WSU Vancouver students. It is available at the Salmon Creek Journal office in VCLS 212 as well as the Library, Writing Center, The Office of Student Involvement (OSI), the Bookie and English department offices in the Multimedia Classroom (VMCC) building. n

ABOVE: Launch participants built journals at the “creation station” From left: Emily Uhde, Haley Sharp and Margarita Topal. Photos by Christine Watson | VanCougar Staff ABOVE RIGHT: Dillan Simmons turns on mood music. BELOW RIGHT: Attendees read selections from the current edition of SCJ.

Slocum House ghosts to Campus choir star in TV’s ‘Dead Files’ to perform on BY TERESA LANE, The VanCougar

The Slocum House, a historic building located near Esther Short Park in downtown Vancouver, has enjoyed local notoriety for its ghostly residents. The historic home will be featured in an upcoming episode of “The Dead Files,” which airs on The Travel Channel. Rebecca Kramer, vice president of the Slocum House Theater Company, described her experiences with the ghosts of Slocum House. “I’ve seen an apparition of a lady walking in front of me. I’ve heard voices. I’ve heard children laughing in the basement,” Kramer said. The spirits reportedly interrupted plays produced by the Slocum House Theater Company. Once, a bouquet of flowers flew from a vase and onto the floor of the stage, Kramer said. “A lot of things have happened that audiences have seen, but they don’t know it,” Kramer said. “They think it’s all theatrics.”

Kramer said she thinks the downslide of the theater’s summer program for children may have also been due to the spirits. “Activity really increases when there are kids in the building, and [the children] were scared to be here,” Kramer said. Allison Olsen, a 13-year old veteran of the summer children’s program, said she had personal experience with the ghosts. “Sometimes we could hear them walk around upstairs when we knew no one was there. Once, I went to open a door and the knob twisted on its own and no one was on the other side,” Olsen said. The Slocum House is the last remaining Victorian home from a river-front neighborhood that once stood just blocks from its current location in downtown Vancouver. It was built in the mid-1800s by Charles W. Slocum and his wife Laura. It was also the home of Esther Short. According to Kramer, many people believe

that Laura is the female entity sometimes seen in the house. In 1966, before the rest of the homes in its original neighborhood were destroyed, the house was moved to its present location by the City of Vancouver Historical Sites Commission and the Old Slocum House Theater Company . “Dead Files” experts, Amy Adams, a psychic medium, and retired NYPD homicide detective Steve DiSchiavi came to Vancouver for the filming and explored the history of the home. “The house has been investigated by four different psychic groups before, ” Kramer said. Kramer said the Slocum House episode, is expected to air sometime in mid-May on the Travel Channel. The Slocum House Theater closed on March 11. “I imagine with us moving out, [ghostly activity] will increase,” Kramer said. n

April 25 BY TERESA LANE, The VanCougar

Author Karen Karbo concludes Professionl Writers Series

The WSU Vancouver Community Choir will perform pieces by Felix Mendelssohn at their free noon concert on April 25 in ADM Room 110. The choir, which members call one of campus’ “best kept secrets,” has been singing together for over 10 years. When it started in 2001, the choir had only 20 members. Today it has nearly 40 singers including students, faculty and staff from WSU Vancouver and community members. “There wouldn’t be enough students to form a whole choir on their own,” said Debra Barnett, the group’s president and principal assistant in the department of education. “[The choir] gives us an opportunity to sing and form friendships that we wouldn’t necessarily have been able to.” Only one quarter of current choir members are WSU Vancouver students, although Barnett hopes the number will increase. Students who participate in the campus choir may register to earn one credit hour per semester.

“Singing has definitely been a stress reliever from harder math and science classes. It trains a different side of my brain,” said Sarah Neveux, freshman biology major and choir member. “It has been proven over and over that participation in music improves the academic accomplishments of students,” said Choir Director Lee Jennings. Over the past 11 years, the choir has performed a variety of pieces. “I usually choose a theme for the concert and find music to fit the theme,” said Jennings. The choir’s repertoire ranges from music from the southern hemisphere to songs by The Beatles. The choir has performed songs in seven different languages. “Those are always a little bit more difficult,” said Neveux. There are few musical opportunities on campus for WSU Vancouver students and there are currently no plans to create a music program. n

At the final session of the Professional Writers Series on April 4, writer Karen Karbo met with WSU Vancouver students and other aspiring writers from the community to discuss her professional journey. Karbo’s advice to aspiring writers was simple: keep writing. Karbo encouraged students to chase ideas, to get involved

true for you,” she said. “Unless it originates from [your heart], you may as well forget about it.” Karbo offered solutions for writer’s block and lack of time. “Make it so it’s easy,” Karbo said. “If you can’t write for an hour, write for half an hour. If you can’t write for half an hour, write for fifteen minutes.” All three of Karen Karbo’s

novels — “Trespassers Welcome Here,” “The Diamond Lane” and “Motherhood Made a Man Out of Me” — were named New York Times Notable Books, and her writing has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, “Elle,” “Redbook,” “Sports Illustrated for Women” and “Psychology Today.” n


wherever they can and, most importantly, to never give up. “At the end of the day, you’re only a failure if you quit,” Karbo said. Karbo suggested the website which allows writers to search for reputable agents based on their chosen genre. The site contains information on how to contact an agent

Washington State University Vancouver

or publisher, a description of how the process works, and links to other sites that aspiring writers may find useful. Karbo discussed inspiration — specifically how to find it and how to act on it. Karbo stressed drawing from the things that are important to the author, both as a writer and as an individual. “All writing flows from what’s

Features and Opinions

Letters to the Editor


Spring Break in Utah

Dear Editor: I am very appalled and offended that organizers and supporters of the Gender Neutral Bathroom Week at WSU Vancouver would choose this manner to “bring awareness” about gender issues, diversity and tolerance. I am sorry that you (or others you know) have been the recipient of ignorant comments while using the bathroom. I have no doubt that you felt uncomfortable as a result. However, is subjecting other innocent and uninvolved parties to losing their sense of privacy, security and comfort really the way to bring about this

awareness? If you ask me, this method sounds closer to “retaliation” or “revenge” than it does to “awareness”. Is this really the message you want to send? It seems hypocritical for one who wants to promote diversity and tolerance. Think about those people who are victims of sexual assaults, and the trauma that can result from the very idea of gender-neutral bathroom week. I’m very disappointed in Washington State University Vancouver. I would have thought that, especially on college campuses, minimizing the

amount of sexual incidents and misconduct would be a priority. However, this gender-neutral bathroom idea is quite the opposite; in fact, it provides an additional avenue to increase the opportunity of sexual harassment and assault across genders. Keeping in mind how much I pay for tuition and college expenses, is it too much to ask to keep my privacy and dignity when going to the bathroom? And what a ridiculous concept that is, to have to ask for my right to privacy when using the bathroom! — Steven Rigby Senior Mechanical Engineering

To the Editor: We would like to express our gratitude and humility at the wonderful outpouring of support and encouragement we experienced during our weeklong event, Gender Neutral Bathroom Week. We appreciate the time, energy and enthusiasm of “toilet trainers” who actively promoted, educated and helped things run smoothly. We applaud those who bravely tried a bathroom, not knowing what they might find, and survived. We hope it was just as unexciting as we thought it might be. We thank those who got past their knee-jerk reaction and actually thought about what it means to have a safe campus for everyone — not just for people who look like them. This is an institution of higher learning, and sometimes we must push ourselves beyond our comfort zones to learn. For those who disagreed with this week, we ask: why? Did you take time to read about our goals and to educate yourselves? Or did the words “gender neutral” throw

you off? Did you think “gay issue” and start yelling before you realized straight people are impacted just as much? We are NOT trying to change any facilities on the WSU Vancouver campus, or anywhere. We simply want everyone — no matter what they look like — to be able to use public facilities safely. If someone does not look like the stereotypical version of masculinity or femininity, they already know it and don’t need snide comments, stares or fists. Do we want a culture on this campus or in this community where students are harassed for being different about the way they wear their gender? If we relax our need to be gender police in the bathroom, more people would be safe and more people could use the bathroom in ways that impact all of us. For example, some of us are not the same gender as the aging parents we care for, or as the growing children we accompany. Some of us have caretakers who do not share our gender. We don’t need to police each other, we need to allow each other use

the facilities when we need them. That includes all of us, not just LGBT students. Gender neutral bathrooms do NOT make women unsafe. Not all women need protecting, and all men are not rapists. We should all be insulted by such limiting stereotypes. Women are far more likely to be victimized by someone they know than by a stranger. If we really care about the safety of women, we would reduce gender inequality, not enforce a stick figure on a sign. For those who have questions or concerns, we are not taking away their gender, pushing a gay agenda or asking for bathroom mayhem. We ask people to value the safety of ALL members of this community, not just the ones that look like them. We ask others to embrace diversity in all of its forms, and celebrate difference — not fear it. For more information, go to — Janae Teal, senior in sociolgy and English, and Meredith Williams, doctoral candidate in sociology

Letters Policy The VanCougar welcomes brief letters (250 words or fewer) from members of the WSU Vancouver community on current issues. Letters must include the author’s full name, contact information and WSU affiliation; year and major/department for students, department for faculty and staff, or degree and year graduated for alumni. The VanCougar does not publish anonymous letters. Priority is given to letters that relate directly to stories printed in The VanCougar. The VanCougar also welcomes guest commentaries of 550 words or fewer addressing issues of general interest to the WSU Vancouver community. Letters and commentaries should focus on issues, not personalities. Personal attacks and anonymous letters will not be considered for publication. The VanCougar reserves the right to edit for space, libel, obscene material and clarity. The views expressed are solely those of the individual authors. Letters and suggestions may be delivered to OSI, the VanCougar office (VCLB 212), dropped in a suggestion box at a VanCougar distribution rack, or e-mailed to

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ABOVE: WSU students and Recreation Office staff trekked through Utah over Spring Break. made the hike challenging at first, but in time, our muscles adjusted to the added weight. On Wednesday, our path led to the famous Jacob Hamblin Arch. Some of us climbed to the top of the large formation for the thrill of looking down on the small group of Cougs below. We camped near a small waterfall later that day and enjoyed exploring the canyon around our camp. Roadblocks hit us hard on Thursday. After a three-mile hike, the trail dropped about 20 feet where a stream trickled through huge rocks. We found a way down by squeezing through a crevice in the rock. Our packs had to be suspended over the rock face by rope and carabineer as they could not fit through. The little stream grew into the Escalante River as we headed out of Coyote Gulch. The river intensified our journey as we carefully crossed the sometimes thigh-high current. By the end of the day, checks of the map and GPS indicated we were no longer on the trail. Before dark, we split into two groups and ventured in opposite directions in search of the trail. McConathy and Dupont arrived back at camp just after dark with exciting news that they had found the trail. Bright and early Friday morning, McConathy and Dupont led the way back upriver to the trail. We zigzagged slowly up a rock face with heavy packs, taking care not to create a rockslide. Once atop the cliff, we

reached a valley where a steep incline led out of the canyon. When McConathy said it was the way out, I hoped he was joking. He wasn’t. That day’s hike was by far the most physical part of the trip. A final squeeze through the historic Hole-in-the-Rock passage led to the top of the canyon where we were rewarded with an incredible view. Pride in our accomplishment could be seen on each face as we gazed across the canyon and looked back at our journey. Two more miles of trekking through the sand brought us to our car. An intense sensation of accomplishment hit us all over again. It was high-fives and smiles all around as we took a break and reminisced about the amazing journey we finished together as a team. This trip was exactly what I needed for Spring Break. I escaped life’s everyday responsibilities and submerged myself in a thrilling, unforgettable adventure. It strengthened my appreciation for the beautiful outdoors and I gained knowledge I will use for a lifetime. The opportunities WSU Vancouver offers its students are incredible. By helping me to grow in areas outside of academic field, this school is giving me the chance to engage in activities that help reinforce and define my aspirations and goals; all while meeting people with the same drive. As Juarez would say, “Choose your own adventure!” n

The WSU Vancouver Writing Center Hours of Operation

Word of the week: Obfuscate-

Monday - Friday: 9 A.M. to 5 P.M., Sunday: Noon to 5 P.M. Location

To make so confused or opaque as to be difficult to perceive or understand

VLIB 203 (2nd floor of the Library building) Contact Us

(t) (360) 546-9650 (e) writingcenter@vancouver.wsu.

Washington State University Vancouver

8 Student Life

Feathers, Flappers and Fedoras BY CHRISTINE WATSON, The VanCougar

Students gear up for the WSU Vancouver Spring Gala

“Jump-Jive-Jazz” is the 1920s-inspired theme of this year’s WSU Vancouver Spring Gala. To assist wardrobe-challenged students, ASWSUV hosted “Feathers, Flappers and Fedoras,” an opportunity to create the perfect headpiece for the event and enjoy a little pre-gala fun.

Jacob Greer, a junior majoring in English, chose a colorful assortment of feathers and gems to decorate his hat. “I ‘Elton John-ized’ my fedora,” Greer said. The third annual Spring Gala will take place from 8 p.m. to midnight April 21 at the Vancouver Hilton. In addition to music, dancing and a magician, the event will feature casino games such as Texas hold ‘em, black jack, craps

Washington State University Vancouver

and roulette. Gamblers will win raffle tickets that may be entered into a drawing for a chance to win restaurant, spa or movie certificates and Cougar gear. Hors d’oeuvres and sparkling cider or champagne (for those over 21 – I.D. required) will be served. Spring Gala tickets are on sale in the Office of Student Involvement (OSI) for $10 each until the day of the event or until they sell out. The Hilton Hotel is offering rooms at a discounted rate of $89 per night for students. Ask for a “WSU Spring Gala” discount when making reservations. n

LEFT: WSU Vancouver junior, Jacob Greer, models his Elton Johninspired fedora at the Feathers, Flappers and Fedoras event. Spring Gala is Saturday April 21. Tickets are on sale in OSI for $10 each.

Issue 9  

Volume 18 Issue 9

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