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SINCE 1994







TRAILS | 1, 2

•July 24, 2013• Issue 17

Volume 23

First Copy Free

Photo credit: Matt Wadzita

From left to right Phil Hawkins, Kirsten Reynolds, Diana Plotnikova, Brian Robles, Shyanna Reyes, Jonathan Rader, Casey Karlsen, Anthony Deringer, Derick Lock and David Choi

Students return from Yosemite trip By caseY KaRLseN The Vancougar Students and Recreation staff recently returned from an eight-day backpacking trip in the Yosemite Valley. An adventure to Yosemite Valley, one of American’s most wellknown vacation destinations, this summer was the REC’s longest backpacking trip of the year. This trip marked the start of summer for some and a break between summer sessions for others. Yosemite National Park averages four million visitors per year, 11 of those visitors this summer were from WSU Vancouver. The students and REC staff visited Yosemite Valley on the Merced River, the most popular destination in Yosemite National Park, in central California. This valley, which makes up a small

portion of Yosemite National Park, has paved trails, cabins and restaurants catering to the tourists that flock there from all over the world. Sites to see in the valley include Yosemite Falls, Half Dome and many others. Before the trip began, students attended two pre-trip meetings. In these meetings, students came up with goals, which included getting in better shape, trying something new and seeing bears. This story details the student’s daily activities on the Yosemite National Park REC trip. Day one: Students departed from WSU Vancouver early in the morning. Throughout the drive, frequent stops were made during which students played volleyball, juggled a soccer ball, tossed around a hacky sack or hung out in the sunny summer air. Later that night, the caravan arrived

at a camping site where students pitched tents or slept under the stars. Day two: The next morning, students woke up and set out for Yosemite National Park just a few driving hours away. Before students arrived in the Yosemite Valley they stopped at Starbucks for coffee and had their, first glimpses of Yosemite Valley. On the drive descending into the valley cliffs on either side dropped down almost a mile to a forested valley floor with large boulders. After descending into the valley, the group parked and walked to Yosemite Falls and up to a little-known destination called the Devil’s Bathtub. The Devil’s Bathtub is a slight ledge on the cliffs of Yosemite Falls where water pours into and has formed a small pool. That night, the students went to a hotel in

Campus trails could be hiding Bigfoot

By caMBRi sHaNaHaN The Vancougar

Wide-eyed and heart racing, environmental science major and recreation intern, Jonathan Rader stood in awe while he was face-to-face with the creature called Bigfoot. “Seeing a Bigfoot has been a dream of mine ever since I was a young boy scout. Many people do not believe in their power and presence in the woods, but I do, and I know that is why I saw

See “Campus trails” on

See “Yosemite" on page 3

Ghost money haunts students' financial aid accounts By KeLLY scHRocK The Vancougar The appearance of "Ghost Money" in students' zzusis accounts this Spring raises the question of whether we are in for an encore of the financial aid problems we faced in Fall 2012. The "Ghost Money" was caused by recalculations

whichlowered some students’ cost of attendance. These recalculations reduced the amount of federal aid that should have been awarded, which left a negative amount in some zzusis accounts that had to be repaid. These unpaid and unexpected debts caused some students to find they were unable to register for classes and frustrated with

new expenses in addition to cost of attendance. Despite past issues regarding zzusis and financial aid, WSU representatives do not foresee any problems this Fall. As the financial aid offices become more comfortable with the new systems, less problems are expected. Abril Hunt of the WSU Vancouver financial aid office encourages students to be proactive, however, and contact the WSU Vancouver financial aid office right away if they no-

one. I didn’t find a Bigfoot, Bigfoot found me,” said Rader. Rader was running alone through the WSU Vancouver trails on June 19 when he noticed something “extremely large, hairy and elusive” in his path. To be safe, he took shelter behind one of the many trees to get a better look. As soon as he realized what was before him, he snapped a couple photos before the Bigfoot dipped over the embankment into Mill Creek. These “keepers of the land”

tice phantom money haunting their student accounts. As Chio Flores of the Pull-

man financial aid office notes, this is especially important since changes to financial aid "happen frequently and without much

notice." Financial aid offices from both Vancouver and Pullman offer similar advice to students regarding financial aid issues. Both offices recommend students to closely monitor their zzusis accounts. If you do find a ghost in your account, contact the WSU Vancouver financial aid office right away for an exorcism. n Graphic credit: Kelly Schrock


How can technology help VanCougs save time and money?

'Campus trails' Continued from page 1

Photo credit: WSU Vancouver

From automatic oil lights to smart phone applications, students can use technology everyday to make life easy By Jessica MoHR The Vancougar Are you the kind of person who doesn’t know when to change your oil? Do you think the service light is only important if your vehicle stops working? Are you driving to school everyday spending money on gas? Don’t panic. Here are some tips on different technologies that will make student life easier and maybe even save you some money. Delphi Automotive has partnered with Verizon to produce a tool that allows drivers and students to locate, track, secure, access and monitor their car via smartphone, computer or tablet on any model made later than 1996. The adaptor sends encrypted data to your mobile device or web browser. Originally, Vehicle Diagnosis was designed to report on the health and maintenance issues of the car. For students on a budget,

EBay and Amazon sell cheap automotive software that calculates fuel economy, analyzes emissions and tests fuel pressure as well as electrical power. There are even apps that help owners self diagnose check engine lights in order to avoid being swindled for unnecessary repairs. For students who may be considering a smart car, the time to buy is now. Electric car engineers have used cuttingedge science technology to develop the, “fun calculator.” The fun calculator seperates you into one of five driver personalities: the human odometer, tool, haymaker, joy rider and bumper-humper. Based on these driving habits, the fun calculator essentially determines your cost savings at the gas station or when getting an oil change, depending on your style of driving. If you can’t afford a smart car, there are plenty of applications to help you save your time and money. To find the lowest gas prices available, download

iGasUp. iPhone users that download this application will be updated on gas station location as well as fuel prices anywhere in the US. Are you trying to save money on all those speeding tickets you get on your way to class? Download “Trapster” to scan your local area for police hot spots, speed traps such as school zones and stoplight cameras. Tapster software works by statistically analyzing credible police reports/incidents. Save your pennies and live like a celebrity. Keep track of time so you can commit to doing all the things you’ve always wanted to while you are still on summer break. Take some time to invest in technology that just might help you as a stuent in the long run. If anything, learn about some ways that you can make your life easier as you, hopefully, more closer and closer to graduation. n


VanCougar Newspaper

as Rader calls them, are one of the most sought after creatures on the planet. Bigfoot are mysteriously secretive and usually great at keeping themselves hidden. Seeing one on the campus trails is a pat on the back for WSU Vancouver, said Rader. “This only means they feel comfortable here and can continue their harmless lifestyle,” said Rader. According to Rader, there have been Bigfoot sightings all over the world, leading to his theory that there are thousands of these independent creatures and they do not travel in packs. Generally seen in geographic regions that contain trees and mountains for shelter, Bigfoot are notorious for being wanderers and keeping to themselves. Besides their infamous banshee

screech, Bigfoot are relatively quiet and hard to detect. So what do we do now that the trails have attracted one of the most novel creatures in the world? Do not hide, do not be afraid and do not hunt. This particular Bigfoot, and those who may follow are comfortable to call this place home, as many of us Cougs have as well. Cougs and Bigfoot can live in harmony, as long as we believe. If you are interested in knowing more about Bigfoot habitat explore the extensive campus trails and get into shape. The map shown above can be found at For any questions about the campus trails please visit the REC office in VFSC 136 or call 360-546-9788. n


THE OFFICIAL STUDENT NEWSPAPER OF WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY VANCOUVER 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 VanCougar may be viewed online at

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF..................................... AUDREY MILLER .

Correction Policy

MANAGING EDITOR................................. SARA SEYLLER .

It is the policy of The VanCougar to correct errors. Please contact the editor via e-mail at


The existence of advertising in The VanCougar is not meant as an endorsement of any product, service or individual by anyone except the advertiser.

ADVERTISING MANAGER......................... JAYME SHOUN . WEB AND SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER....... ALICIA UHACZ GRAPHIC DESIGNER................................. KATIE FENNELLY PHOTOGRAPHER...................................... ALBERT TRAN




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

Letters to the Editor

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 for students, department for faculty and staff, 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 the Office of Student Involvement, the VanCougar office (VCLS 212), dropped in a suggestion box at a VanCougar distribution rack or e-mailed to


The VanCougar | Classroom Building (VCLS) Room 212 | 14024 NW Salmon Creek Ave. | Vancouver, Wash. 98686 | 360-546-9524 Washington State University Vancouver




Campus Events

'Yosemite' Continued from page 1

the valley for tea and crumpets before heading back to a camp.

Photo credit: Shyanna Reyes

Photo credit: Anthony Deringer

Photo credit: Matt Wadzita

Photo credit: Anthony Deringer

For more images, always visit

Day three: The students went on a day hike up the Mist Trail, a path that follows the Merced River to Vernal Falls. The trail meandered lazily along the river at first and then transitioned to a steeper climb. As the trail approached the waterfall, mist from the falls poured over the trail. That evening, students went for a swim and prepared for backpacking the next day. Day four: Students departed for the first day of official backpacking. After a long climb, students broke out of the trees and over a ridge. After descending near the Ten Lakes area of the national park, students set up camp for the night. In hopes of seeing a bear, students Brian Robles, Kirsten Reynolds and Casey Karlsen slept under the stars, a habit they repeated for the duration of the trip. Day five: The day began with a short day hike to a glacier-fed lake where some students jumped in the lake and others chose to warm themselves on the rocky shores.. That night, students ate a snake that Matt Wadzita and Brian Robles caught and cooked. Day six: Backpacking resumed bringing the group over 10,000 feet in elevation and past the Ten Lakes area. Along the trail were several Bristle Cone Pines, one of the longest living organisms able to survive up to 5,000 years old. Students then descended into a valley and began a trip tradition. Anyone who left an unattended backpack around or who wasn’t vigilant against a crafty hiker behind them could expect rocks slipped into their backpack. That night, students sat on a rocky mountain top perch above the valley to watch the sunset and the rise of the perihelion

Photo credit: Dianna Plotnikova

moon, the point in orbit it is closest to the earth. Students set alarms that night to wake up at 3:30 a.m. and star gaze after the moon set. Day seven: The students hiked out of the valley with hopes of finding a hot spring on Bureau of Land Management property. Before heading to the hot springs students swam in a nearby lake. The natural hot springs were streams and pools of hot water dotting a sagebrush field of rolling hills. Students soaked for the afternoon in the hot springs and then went into town for pizza. On the seventh night students returned to the hot springs and later back to camp for a late-night game of poker. After poker, students returned to the hot springs for a late-latenight soaking session where they smoked cigars and absorbed the surrounding environment. Day eight: Some students woke early for one last sunrise soak in the hot springs before heading to Schats Bakery in Mammoth. On the eight day the group began the trip home and stopped for their last night in the northern California woods. After one last campfire with marshmallows and camaraderie, all the students slept under the stars with hopes to spot a bear. For better or worse, no bears were spotted. Day nine: The hiking group arrived back at WSU Vancouver. With the unfortunate exception of not seeing a bear, the students’ goals to get in better shape and meet new people were happily met. Staff and students look forward to the next recreation trip. For more information about recreation trips, contact the recreation office at osirec@ or stop by in person at VFSC 136. n

Friday, July 26

Wednesday, Aug. 7

n ROAR Advising & Registration Morning Session 8 – Noon SVP with Student Resource  Center before attending Free

n ROAR Transfer

n ROAR Advising & Registration Afternoon Session 1 – 5 p.m. RSVP with Student Resource  Center before attending Free n ROAR Family Program 1 – 5:10 p.m. RSVP with Student Resource  Center before attending Free

Saturday, July 27 n Overnight Stand-Up Paddle Boarding and Kayaking Trip All day Sign up in REC Office, FSC 136, by June 25 Student cost: $5 Non-student cost: $10

Sunday, July 28 n Overnight Stand-Up Paddle Boarding and Kayaking Trip All day Sign up in REC Office, FSC 136, by June 25 Student cost: $5 Non-student cost: $10

Wednesday, July 31 n A – Z of Financial Aid and Scholarships Workshop 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. VSSC 101 Free

Friday, Aug. 2 n Wild Waves Theme Park Trip Last day to Sign-up Sign-up in REC Office FSC 136 Student cost: $10 Students Only

Sunday, Aug. 4 n Wild Waves Theme Park Trip Students Only

Orientation Program 10 – Noon RSVP with Student Resource  Center before attending Free

Monday, Aug. 12 n New Graduate Student Orientation and Welcome Program 4 – 6 p.m. RSVP with Student Resource  Center before attending Free

Tuesday, Aug. 13 n ROAR Freshmen Orientation Program 8 – 5 p.m. RSVP with Student Resource  Center before attending Free n Field Day 5 p.m. WSU Vancouver Free n A – Z of Financial Aid and Scholarships Workshop 6 – 7 p.m. VSSC 101 Free

Thursday, Aug. 15 n ROAR Transfer Orientation Program 4 – 6 p.m. RSVP with Student Resource  Center before attending Free

Monday, Aug. 26 n Cougar Food Pantry Food Drive Aug. 26 – Sept. 6 Student Services Center

Wednesday, Aug. 28 n Back-to-School BBQ & Involvement Fair 11 – 1:30 p.m. WSU Vancouver Free n Best Semester Yet Workshop Noon – 1 p.m. VFSC 104 Free Want your event featured here? Email details two weeks in advance to

Spotlight: Student, Stephanie Holt, volunteers and advocates for abused children By Jessica MoHR The VanCougar This year Stephanie Holt won the fifth annual Washington State University Vancouver Women of Distinction Award. The award was designed to celebrate women who inspire, mentor and empower others. This is a follow up on the volunteer work she does in the surrounding community. Holt was recognized for this award because she organizes a charity called “Bearable Bears” that has sent more than 200 stuffed teddy bears to children who have faced abuse. Holt also

volunteers as a court appointed special advocate for children (CASA). “I was very honored to win this award because I get tired of hearing how hard life will be for children who have been abused,” says Holt. “It is the system that is broken, not the people.” Having been a foster child herself and working with foster children, Holt has experience with issues related to child abuse. Community is a big part of the healing process for children who face this kind of adversity, especially as they reach adulthood. Holt argues that when people say kids are “resilient,” then it lets the government off the

hook to provide quality therapy for atrisk youth. “Bearable Bears was born out of desperation,” Holt says, “it is hard for me to sleep at night because of my past and knowing that there are still kids in the world who are suffering.” One day, Holt decided to send a teddy bear to a little girl who had been raped. From there Holts kindness turned into an outreach program that has begun to grow.. “Teddy bears are the universal comfort toy,” Holt says, “ so we place stories of traumatized children on our website or Facebook, and people sponsor them by purchasing a teddy,

and we mail it to the child.” Holt became a CASA to give a voice to those in foster care. The job makes her the eyes and ears of a judge, Holt says. As a CASA she does an independent investigation of the situation a child is in, and summarizes it in a report for the judge. On April 22, Holt led the “Million March,” a non-partisan, grassroots, nation-wide effort to unite all child advocates for peaceful demonstrations to prevent and raise awareness about child abuse. The event focused on the lack of appropriate sentencing for those who are convicted of child abuse.

As a message to WSU Vancouver students who are or have been abused Holt has a message. “You are amazing for being in school with such a heavy burden. I know you may feel different than other students but you would be surprised at how many students have had a traumatic past. Take advantage of counseling services and be gentle with yourself,” Holt said. Holt hopes to see a foster alumni program become developed at WSU one day. n

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