ASWU Sustainability Coordinator challenges Whitworth students to live waste-free for Lent

Josiah Van Wingerden | Social Media Specialist

Ash Wednesday begins on March 1 and officially kicks of the season of Lent, which is a traditional time when Christians observe and reflect upon Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and give up something significant to them from now until Easter Sunday.

This year, the Sustainability Coordinator for ASWU, senior Whit Jester, is challenging all students of Whitworth University: to live for at least a month with a zero-waste or waste-free mindset.

This project is called Wasted: A Lent Project, and encourages students to use products that do not produce any waste that would end up in a landfill. This means only using recyclable and repurposed products.  

Jester said that she envisioned this project at 1 o’clock in the morning one Sunday and told the Kipos club, which advocates for environmental awareness and social justice, that night.

The club fully supported her vision and began advertising for the project and some members even asked local zero-waste companies for donations like bamboo toothbrushes and other natural projects, according to Jester.

“I had been thinking for several months on how I could educate the student body on the impact that their trash has and how they can reduce that,” Jester said. “I was like ‘what if I took advantage of the majority of the Christian population and did an event about reducing waste that tied into Lent.’”

That is how Wasted: A Lent Project was created. The program starts March 1 at 7pm in the HUB MPR and will last the entirety of Lent. The first session will be a discussion based meeting during which the participants in the movement will talk about some ways that they individually hope to reduce their waste.

On average, Americans throw away enough trash everyday to fill 63,000 garbage trucks, according to a study conducted by the University of Utah. Additionally, the average American will dispose of trash 600 times their body weight, which typically equates to around 90,000 pounds of garbage during an individual’s lifetime.

About half of the trash the average American discards each day could be recycled, according to the same study.

Because environmental awareness and social justice are ideas that are a part of Kipos’ mission, several club members have agreed to sponsor the event, participate in activities and commit to fitting all of their waste into a mason jar.

“It’s easy to have Kipos events and talks in which we learn about environmental issues, but this is a chance in which students can actually participate in what they’ve learned about,” Kipos Treasurer Adrianna Horsey said. “This gives students a timeline and a goal in which they can pursue not wasting as many things as possible. It’s cool because you get to do it as a community, which makes it special.”

Those who agree to reduce their waste during Lent will meet every couple of Wednesdays to check in with one another and reflect on what they may be struggling with, Jester said.

The participants will also have some opportunities to learn how to make their own natural products, such as toothpaste, soap and deodorant through practical workshops hosted by Jester, members of Kipos, or a guest, according to Jester.

Both Jester and Horsey spent Jan Term on a trip to Tall Timber Ranch, taking a class called Ecology and the Bible, taught by professor Jonathon Moo. The two of them were challenged to be more conscious of the products they waste each day.

The trip served as a part of the inspiration of the project, Jester said. She is also excited about the amount of interest and positive feedback she has received from students leading up to the kick-off.

“It’ll change the world, not this project by itself, but student movements like this that grow and get momentum have the potential to change the world,” Jester said. “It’s always students that start revolution movements and I think, in the realm of sustainability, I think it’s students that are going to start that revolution in our country.”

For more information about Wasted: A Lent Project before the kick-off tonight, students can visit the website, to see upcoming workshops or events. Students interested in joining the Kipos club can attend meetings every Sunday at 6 p.m. in the HUB MPR.  

An earlier version of this article listed the professor of Ecology and the Bible as Adam Neder. The Whitworthian staff apologizes for this error, which was corrected on 3/1 at 10:00 p.m.

Contact Josiah Van Wingerden at

Whitworth marriage and family therapy center provides community with affordable support

Abebaye Asrat Bekele | Staff Writer

The Whitworth Marriage and Family Therapy Center has been serving Whitworth and the greater Spokane community for seven years at lower rates than many therapists. Douglas Jones is an assistant professor and director of both The Marriage and Therapy Program and The Marriage and Family Therapy Center.

“It is a very low cost option for getting therapy,” Jones said.

The center charges $25  per session and specializes on relationship issues.

“Because we are a marriage and family versus mental health counseling, we teach pretty much everything that a mental health counseling program does but then we teach probably about another 12 credits that other programs don’t teach,” Jones said.

The therapy sessions are conducted by graduate students in the marriage and family therapy program with the supervision of faculty. Clients are made aware of this fact before they start the session.

“This is part of our informed consent,” Jones said.

Taylen Gilden is a second-year graduate student at the marriage and family therapy program. She has been interning in The Marriage and Family Therapy Center for a year now.

“They [the clients] never complained that I was a student, they took that and it was helpful for them,” Gilden said.

The Marriage and Family Therapy Center also partners with the Northwest Autism Center “to train them (Special education majors) on behavioral analysis,” Jones said.

“It is a safe place to practice and get training,” Gilden said.

Ellie Wadsworth is a first-year graduate student in the marriage and family therapy program. She is also a graduate assistant to Jones.

“I love the community that we build here with our cohort and Whitworth in general is really great,” Wadsworth said. “This program has really equipped us to be good therapists.”

The cohorts, students move through classes together throughout the two years, build a sense of community within their program.

“I think [the program] has been really good in terms of being client-centered,” said Derek West, a second-year graduate student at the marriage and therapy program.

“We get couples work, we get family work and we are also able to do individuals,” West said.

The students get their clinical training from Marriage and Family Therapy Center and from other clinical training locations.    

“I think because we have been introduced to a lot of different modalities of therapy it helps us to be able to conceptually understand how to work with all those different kinds of patients whether they are clients; whether that's like family or couples or individuals,” West said.

“I really like this concept of pre-premarital counseling,” Jones said.

The pre-premarital counseling notion is going to therapy with a partner at the beginning stage of a relationship to see if it will be worth the effort, this is a newer trend, Jones said.

“So that you can decide before you invest a lot of time and energy into a relationship whether or not it is going to be a positive thing for you,” Jones said.

The Whitworth Health and Therapy Center is located in Tacoma hall just off of the football field. The center offers affordable therapy to Whitworth students and the Spokane community.

The students cherish the experience that is provided to them by the center.

Contact Abebaye Asrat Bekele at


Voluntary resignation program saves money and offers faculty benefits for early retirement

Emily Goodell | Staff Writer

Almost 30 faculty and staff will soon be leaving Whitworth as part of the Voluntary Separation Incentive Program, which is expected to bring $900,000 in reduced personnel expenses, according to the budget prioritization and rationalization PowerPoint posted on SharePoint.

“The program is intended to be an opportunity for employees who might be considering other opportunities,” Dolores Humiston, associate vice president of Human Resources said. “We didn’t know what we would get, but hoped to get enough participants to not have to do involuntary separations.”

Humiston said those involved in the VSIP did not encourage or discourage personnel from applying to the program.

“We made the application available and created space for them to be thoughtful,” Humiston said.

Humiston said the driving factor in many leaving was that they were close to retirement and/or wanted the opportunity to do something different. She said that they are currently trying to discern which individuals will be replaced when they leave. The program is a one-time occurrence.

Humiston said that hiring people to replace those leaving is a loss because Whitworth is losing years of knowledge from committed professors.
“The administrators involved want people to know how much they appreciate them and value the work they’ve done,” Humiston said. “They were interested in doing what was right for Whitworth.”

Raja Tanas has been a professor at Whitworth for 34 years, over half his life. Tanas did not know it was time for him to leave Whitworth, but when he received an email from Whitworth Human Resources last August, he decided to apply.

“It was bittersweet,” Tanas said. “On one hand, I love Whitworth. I love the students. I love the community. That’s the bitter part; I’m going to leave what I love.”

Tanas has been teaching since he was 17 years old, when he taught Sunday school at his church. He said teaching is his life and that he doesn’t know if he can do anything else.

“On the other hand, as the sweet part you know, the Bible teaches us that there is a season for everything,” Tanas said. “As my wife and I prayed about it, we said this is the season for us to close a chapter and open a new chapter in our lives.”

Tanas said it was a difficult decision for him and his wife to make, but that once they signed on the dotted line, they felt peace in their hearts.

“I applaud them for the process they put in place. It was very clear, very straightforward,” Tanas said.

After leaving Whitworth, Tanas and his wife plan to take one or two years to regroup and consider their options. He said they plan to play with their five grandchildren.

“Another thing I will continue to do likely—very likely, actually—is to keep lecturing in public,” Tanas said. “To be an interpreter of the Middle East.”

Tanas said he will continue to write and work on a book that he has been in the process of completing.

“I know one thing that’s going to be extremely difficult for a year or two or perhaps more is when I drive on Hawthorne Road from the west side to the east side, because we live close to the university,” Tanas said. “When I turn my face to the left to look at the campus, I have nothing to do with it or they have nothing to do with me. I am no longer a faculty member.”

Tanas said he feels that both he and Whitworth have received something positive out of this process, with him easing financial pressure on Whitworth and them honoring him for his years of service to the university.

“We will keep Whitworth in our mind and prayers,” Tanas said. “Whitworth will always be part of my life.”

Contact Emily Goodell at


Administration continues to work to meet goals defined by 2021 vision plan

Josiah Van Wingerden | Staff Writer

During the 2010-11 academic year, Whitworth faculty, staff and administration members outlined eight broad goals in a 10-year vision plan that the university has endeavored to achieve.

Whitworth administration plans to restructure its budget and intends to free up approximately $3.7 million over the next three fiscal years. The university has made progress toward achieving its goals, but administration also realizes it is a 10-year plan for a reason, President Beck Taylor said.

“I am pleased with where the university is in a lot of areas, but we have a lot of work to do,” Taylor said. “If you look at some of the areas in our strategic plan that haven’t moved a lot in the last five years, we’re going to be turning our attention to those things and seeing what we can do and accomplish to ensure that by the time 2021 rolls around, we’re in good shape.”

The year the plan was created was Taylor’s first year as president of the institution. He took over the position after the 17-year tenure of Bill Robinson. Taylor formed his own university council, which included staff members, faculty and students. Together, they drafted the 2021 vision, Taylor said.

Greg Orwig, now the vice-president of admissions and financial aid, served as Taylor’s chief of staff in 2010 when the vision was created. He also was a key member of the budget prioritization committee and oversaw the entire process, Orwig said.

Six years later, Orwig said that the key performance indicators offered a “mixed report” in terms of tracking the university’s progress toward those goals.

Orwig highlighted student diversity as an objective the university has had success in, and now recruits a variety of students from multiple countries around the world.

For instance, there were 312 students from underrepresented countries, populations and ethnic backgrounds attending the university in 2011.

The university wanted to increase that number by 15 students each year, with the end goal being at least 462 students. In 2016-17, however, there are 537 students currently enrolled from underrepresented demographics, Orwig said.

“I think they are doing really well when it comes to recruiting and making Whitworth more diverse,” said sophomore Jeff Louissant, an Act Six scholar from Haiti, studying health sciences.

However, an area that is not making much progress is overall student enrollment, which has stagnated at about 2,200 students, Orwig said. The current student population is not growing and is 100 students shy of the goal. To achieve the objective, the university plans to implement customer relationship management software to help reach a broader body of students.

In addition to increasing the student population, the university administration wanted to provide faculty with raises and benefits, which made a reprioritized and reallocated budget, Orwig said.

“I believe Whitworth is on track toward achieving its 2021 goals and I think this process to identify resources that could be reallocated and invested toward strategic priorities will only help us to achieve those goals,” Orwig said.

In an attempt to elevate a liberal arts education, Whitworth plans to offer more programs that would encourage more students to come to the university.

Such programs include a new and more comprehensive engineering program and a women’s lacrosse team. Both are intended to be sources of revenue for the university, Taylor said.

Neither Taylor nor Orwig believe the budget reallocation will have significant impacts on recruitment, class sizes or quality of education. However, some departments, including political science, may experience some unique changes over the next few years. The Community Engagement and Transformation minor had been recommended for phasing out under the Political Science department.  

“The one thing about a plan is that as soon as you write it, it’s immediately out of date,” Taylor said. “That’s true of any plan, because any plan assumes that the future is going to look exactly like the present. But we of course know that the future brings a lot of unanticipated surprises.”

Students with questions about the 2021 vision can visit Whitworth’s website. Whitworth administration also plans to introduce a revision of the plan during the April board meeting now that it is the halfway point.

Contact Josiah Van Wingerden at

Minors considered for phasing out pending financial stress

Kristen Grattan | Staff Writer

Due to recent financial distress, Whitworth administrators have suggested the possible recommendation of reallocating some minors and majors, according to the recent budget prioritization report. That is contingent on if the school faces more financial hardships.

There have been no final decisions on which majors and minors would be phased out if the school has more financial hardships. However, if the school experiences more financial difficulties, a few majors and minors are being recommended to be phased out, according to the report.

The French major and minor, as well as the German and athletic coaching minors are on the list to be recommended being phased out. If those minors and majors were to be phased out, existing the students would be “taught out” but no one else would be accepted into the program.

“Taught out” means that the students in the program would be able to finish the program and graduate with their major or minor.

“We recommend relocating leadership studies to the School of Business, and phasing out the community transformation minor,” Carol Simons said at an ASWU meeting on Feb. 15. “Phasing out means they would teach the courses and degree out for everyone currently registered for the minor.”

“I don’t think it’s a good idea for the German language to be cut, but I understand at the same time because we have so few people,” sophomore Isabel Hoggatt said.

Hoggatt says that since Whitworth is a liberal arts institution, we should not only learn languages, but learn to be culturally aware as well.

“I know a lot of the money is going to sports,” Hoggatt said. “I think sports are important, but it just doesn’t last as long. Education is lifelong; sports isn’t.”

Hoggatt says that the German minor educates not only the mind, but the heart. She says she is not only learning the German language, but also the culture and how to connect with those people.

One of the other minors being recommended for reallocation is athletic coaching.

“I think the value of having an athletic coaching minor is to make an impact on other kids’ life at any age,” junior Jayden Jira said.

Jira plays for the football team and says his dream of being a football coach continues to be inspired by his coaches, on and off the field.

“My coach had a big impact on my life in high school for football and that’s what made me want to be a coach,” Jira said. “I even look to my high school coach as a father figure now.”

Jira says they should cut minors that already have a major in the same subject if that particular minor is lacking students.

According to the budget prioritization SharePoint, the university is making structural adjustments that will allow for strategic improvements while keeping tuition increases low and faculty/staff compensation increases at levels appropriate to its quality.

The SharePoint can be found on Pirate Port, while the transcript from the ASWU meeting can be found on the ASWU website or by requesting them from ASWU secretary Tristan Renz at

Contact Kristen Grattan at

CCCU sets definition for marriage

Taylor requests trustees to remain neutral on CCCU’s definition

The Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, (CCCU), has added to its criteria to remains a governing member. Members must subscribe to the CCCU’s definition of marriage which is between one man and one woman.

The CCCU is a higher education association of 178 Christian institutions around the world designed to advance the cause of Christ-centered higher education, according to the CCCU’s website. 

Since the formation of the CCCU in 1976, Whitworth University has supported the CCCU tenets as a governing member of the organization. The CCCU has a criterion of beliefs that institutions must agree to in order to be a governing member of the organization. An addition to the criteria made last summer, for membership of CCCU concerning the definition of marriage has caused President Beck Taylor to bring the possible membership status change to the Board of Trustees’ attention. 

The criterion from CCCU under question is: “We hold the Christian belief that human beings, male and female, are created in the image of God to flourish in community, and, as to intimate sexual relations, they are intended for persons in a marriage between one man and one woman. We advocate for the right of Christian institutions to maintain practices that align with this sexual ethic.”

Following the addition to the CCCU criteria, Taylor decided to propose that the Board discontinue Whitworth’s governing membership with the CCCU and instead be collaborative partners with the organization. 

“Governing membership, as I understand it, is reserved for those institutions which can support and affirm all of the new membership criteria that have been set forth,” Taylor said. “If an institution cannot support every single one of those criteria, then they can become collaborative partners.”

Whitworth lines up well with most of the new membership criteria for the CCCU, Taylor said.
“[However,] there is one new criterion which is new to the CCCU—which would be difficult, given Whitworth’s quarter-century history on the issue around homosexuality and gay marriage—that unless Whitworth took a very different position than it has in the past quarter-century, it would be very difficult for us to line up in the governing membership category,” Taylor said.

Taylor anticipates a variety of reactions from families of students and alumni about the switch to collaborative partner if the Board agrees to change membership status.

“I am persuaded that our position is the position for students who are debating this issue themselves, are curious about the various sides of this issue, and, frankly, have lived a very different experience than people of my generation or older, as it relates to this,” Taylor said. “Yes, people will be upset with us, no matter what. I think it is important, though, to make very clear that it is the CCCU that is changing, not Whitworth University.”

Taylor and other staff members emphasize the importance of Whitworth’s lack of stance for or against same-sex marriage, seen in Taylor’s initiative to talk to the Board of Trustees about the CCCU.

“To not take a position opens doors for conversation,” Keith Beebe, professor of theology said. “What we are doing as an institution is helping students learn how to think through issues, how to think critically, and so we apply this in our classes, too. We represent different positions, try to do in an even-handed way. We think students are better served than simply saying, ‘Here is what you must believe.’”

If Whitworth is to make the switch from a voting member to a collaborative partner, the University’s status as a Christian institution will not change.

“My concern is that there might be some constituents of the institution that look at this decision and improperly elevate the significance of the CCCU with respect to Whitworth’s mission,” Taylor said. “Whitworth will be a Christian and Christ-centered university with or without the CCCU. Our choice would be to fellowship with other Christian universities: we think that that is important.”

Other faculty members support Taylor’s decision to preserve Whitworth’s tradition of welcoming diversity in the student body to campus. Kathy Lee, professor of political science, sees the possible transition to collaborative partnership as a mark of Whitworth’s character.

“I think that it sort of says to the outside that we try in our way to embrace people no matter who they are,” Lee said. “At this moment in time, with the election, that, to me, is extremely important. So we say to the outside world we hold to these Christian truths, but that does not mean we exclude: in fact, it makes us, or compels us, to include people. Right now, from my perspective, that needs to be shouted from the rooftops.”

The Board of Trustees will meet in January and April of 2017 to discuss and decide Whitworth’s membership status of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. The CCCU is requiring its constituents to announce a decision before July 1, 2017. More information about the council can be found online at

Madeleine Danusiar

Staff Writer

Leonard Oakland leads students in unity gathering after election

After the election results declaring Donald Trump the president-elect came out Nov. 9, many students were left feeling marginalized and defeated at best;  threatened and scared at worst.

Junior Ryan Karpenko had coffee with English professor Leonard Oakland after the election, and the discussion turned to activism. Karpenko and Oakland were inspired to organize the “Affirmation of Inclusive Community” event on Nov. 15 at noon outside the HUB.

“Ryan spoke as someone who spoke for a lot of people who suddenly felt threatened, whether it’s the threat of being deported, or the threat of equal rights going away, voting rights going away,” Oakland said. “He spoke in a way that made me realize there are a lot of people on campus who felt marginalized and like something bad might happen.”

Karpenko estimated that more than 200 people attended for part or all of the gathering.

“Going out there and seeing the giant crowd coming down the Hello Walk with a bunch of professors already holding their own signs that they made, and seeing professors with students leaving their classrooms together to come join us was just so breathtaking,” senior Camina Hirota said.

At the “Affirmation of Inclusive Community,” attendees stood in a circle holding signs and sang a call-and-response version of “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” Hirota said that while the event was great, she has heard some express that they wished there were more “fire.”

“I almost wish there was a little more anger,” Hirota said. “I talked with students who are marginalized who were there. They felt supported but also were like, ‘Why aren’t people fired up?’ Where’s the fire behind it? It was all great, but some people did wish there was more.”

Hirota, Oakland and Karpenko emphasized that the event was not a protest and not political.

A variety of staff and students attended, including members of the conservative group “Young Republicans” on campus. When the planned portion of the event was over and attendees were encouraged to mingle and meet someone new. Karpenko immediately went to talk to them, he said. He was initially unsure about the intentions of students wearing “Make America Great Again” clothes.

“I think there’s a disconnect in people who support Trump and that some don’t understand what the slogans mean to other people,” Karpenko said. “There’s a disconnect there in the same way the Confederate flag means something to people in the South. I think if people saw the hat there, they might feel uncomfortable in a place people were supposed to feel safe. At the same time, he has a right to represent who he is.”

Karpenko said the conversation he had with the students was civil and that their intentions were good. He said he appreciated that the group was there.

“They said, ‘We want to show that we are not hateful,’” Karpenko said. “That’s what they said they wanted to demonstrate.”

Sophomore Tanner Stepp was part of that group of conservative students, although he didn’t speak to Karpenko. Stepp said his initial reasoning for attending was to see how people reacted to seeing conservatives there, but also appreciated the chance to defend his beliefs and see the inclusivity efforts.

“Every person’s right to life and that their lives matter, whether you’re white, black, female, male, your life does matter,” Stepp said. “Being able to go and see the affirmation of inclusivity, and being involved in that, and being able to share that just because I’m a conservative doesn’t mean I hate people… it’s a necessary conversation to have.”

Oakland said that he thought the event was great for Whitworth and allowed, even for a half hour, for people to show commitment to action in the future as it is necessary.

“This event was really a turning point for me from being in a grieving state into a state of action and asking what can I do to help,” Karpenko said.

When asked whether Oakland had participated in organizing events like this one in his long tenure at Whitworth, he mentioned being involved in the Vietnam War protests on campus and downtown.

“The one thing they had in common is a sense of urgency,” Oakland said.

Junior Sarah Dixit helped pass out safety pins at the gathering, encouraging people to wear them in a representation of solidarity with the marginalized.

“I know there are people on campus who believe the same things that I do,” Dixit said. “I have more hope after that demonstration; they’re fighting for the same thing: love and kindness toward others.”

Katie Shaw

Opinions Editor