Spokane Mayor David A. Condon declares October 9 international students and scholars’ day

Abebaye Bekele| News Editor

October 9 was declared international students and scholars’ day in Spokane by Mayor David A. Condon.

To celebrate the day, Condon held a gathering at city hall for international students enrolled in higher institutions of  Spokane.

Anesu Mujenge| Staff writer Whitworth sophomore Theresa Vimbanayi Chowa, Mayor David A. Condon and Whitworth sophomore Karen Sbobtafo

Anesu Mujenge| Staff writer Whitworth sophomore Theresa Vimbanayi Chowa, Mayor David A. Condon and Whitworth sophomore Karen Sbobtafo

“It is an effort to connect all of the international students and scholars and welcome them to our city and be able to also allow them to meet other students that are in the area so that they know that it is not just students at Whitworth or just students at Gonzaga but we have a big community of international students and scholars,” said Gloria Ochoa-Bruck, director of multicultural affairs for the city of Spokane.

Staff, faculty and international students from Whitworth University, Gonzaga University, Eastern Washington University, community colleges of Spokane and Washington State University Spokane were all in attendance.

“We are welcoming them [international students and scholars] to Spokane we want them to also have an opportunity learn about the services the city has,” Ochoa-Bruck said.

Mayor Condon, representatives from each school and Sister Cities Association of Spokane gave speeches welcoming students and guests.  

Sister Cities Association is an organization that works to build opportunities for Spokane residents by developing ties of friendship, culture, and business around the world, according to the sister cities association website.

“Back in July, the senior international officers of Whitworth, Gonzaga, Eastern, WSU Spokane and the community colleges, we got an email from the mayor saying in this sort of current climate he wanted to be sure that international students would feel welcome in Spokane and he wanted us to work on some kind of an event to make that happen,” said Sue Jackson, Director Of The International Education Center At Whitworth.

Representatives of the city of Spokane, the police department, fire department, parks and recreation, Spokane transit and Sister Cities Association of Spokane also attended the event.

“What is going on right now we really wanted specifically the students that are visiting our city to know that they are welcome here that we are very thankful they choose Spokane for their higher education and we hope they have a wonderful experience because this community is welcoming them,” Ochoa-Bruck said.

“For the city so publicly to say we are a welcoming city I think is very important especially now in these kinds of political times,”  Jackson said.

Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer was among the people that attended the event

“I can’t believe we have not done this before,” Schaeffer said.

Students can meet the firefighters by going and scheduling a meeting in our fire stations that are located in every neighborhood, Schaeffer said.

“An American that was born here and grows up here sees a badge and they reference that with safety, security or justice. In other countries it may not be the same situation often times it is seen as fearful,” Schaeffer said. “What we really need to do is show our students that are coming from abroad the reality here. All the public safety is here for their protection.”

Abebaye Bekele| News Editor Guests listening to speeches given at the event 

Abebaye Bekele| News Editor Guests listening to speeches given at the event 

After the speeches were given students had the chance to interact with one another and representatives of institutions that were present. The mayor also took pictures with students before leaving for his council meeting.

The police were there to show students that they are friendly because that may not be the case in many parts of the world, Jackson said.

We are trying to get connected to students through the institutions they attend, Schaeffer said.

“We need to make it as easy as we can for people from other countries to be able to not just survive and thrive in our community. That is a lot more complex than a simple statement like that,” Schaeffer said.

Feedback from students is very important. It tells us what we can do for you, Schaeffer said.



Whitworth Freshman Canni Nwokorie-Vincent from Nigeria was present at the event.

“We got to talk with the mayor and dab with the mayor. We also got to witness the first international students day,” Nwokorie-Vincent said.

Sometimes I feel like we are alone here but at the event, I saw so many people from different schools and I saw that we had a community of international students here. Whitworth international students also got a chance to bond with one another, Nwokorie-Vincent said.

“One little event with food and speeches is very nice but it is not what continues to make Spokane a welcoming place for international students,” Jackson said. “People in Spokane need to know that there are international students here. Maybe that’s our job as international institutions to remind the community that we have international students here.”

One great way is inviting more people to the annual international festival Whitworth holds, Jackson said.  

Different schools were also inviting us to different events, Nwokorie-Vincent said.

“That was the beginning. There will be ongoing things,” Jackson said.

Students can get involved in Spokane through different clubs and the Dornsife Center.


ASWU executive candidates debate before election

Abebaye Asrat Bekele | Staff Writer 

The ASWU executive debates were held on April 10. Presidential candidates Jeff DeBray and  Hannah Le Roy, executive vice president candidate Dylan Reyes and financial vice president candidates Andrew Weeks and Shaun Fisher were asked questions on various issues from the audience, the organizers of the debate and each other.    

Making it [ASWU] more connected with residence life so it can have a more visible presence is one solution to get more people involved, DeBray said.

“I would hope that ASWU can come to those Prime Times and engage with the students first and it also encourages them to be involved in leadership,” DeBray said.

DeBray is a junior majoring in political science and economics, and the current ASWU financial vice president.

“[Leadership is] a proactive and reactive position of empowering students learning what they want to see and then moving forward from there,” DeBray said.

As a president, I would patch the disconnect with students by getting to know people and by being more approachable, Le Roy said.  

“A good way to amend that [disconnect with ASWU president] is to go to Prime Times got to BJ’S primetime get to know them and be part of their community,” Le Roy said.

Le Roy is a Junior majoring in sociology with an emphasis in social services.

Being able to hear what other people have to say is really valuable, Le Roy said.

“I have a passion for people that is one of the big reasons why I decided to run for executive Vice president,” said executive vice president candidate Dylan Reyes.

Reyes is a junior majoring in theology.

As a leader, my role is to bridge the gap between the leadership and what people want, Reyes said.   

“I am running because as an executive member I think I can be a very effective leader on the ASWU team and allow our student government to be a lot more transparent to the student body,” Weeks said.

Weeks is a freshman majoring in arts administration. He is also the current senator of Duvall.

Fisher is a sophomore and he is the current senator of Baldwin Jenkins.

Financial vice president candidate Shaun Fisher was encouraged to apply by his friends and being a Mathematical Economics and Mathematics dual major has helped him learn about finances, Fisher said

“Not only is it all about money in the books but I think the FVP position is a very strong interpersonal position where you go out and make this connection with the student body and helping students connect them with other students that have similar passions as them,” Fisher said.

Elections will be held April 11. Students can vote from home or their dorm rooms by going to the website, Whitworth ASWU.com/vote and then by logging in using their regular username and password or students can vote in the HUB by using the iPads provided for this purpose.

Contact Abebaye Asrat Bekele at abekele20@my.whitworth.edu


ASWU general election candidates announced

Abebaye Asrat Bekele | Staff Writer

The results of the 2017 spring ASWU primary election have been announced.

Junior Jeff DeBray and junior Hannah Le Roy will be on the ballot for president for the general election.

DeBray is majoring in political science and economics, and the current ASWU financial vice president.

Le Roy is a Junior majoring in sociology with an emphasis in social services.

The only student on the ballot for executive vice president is junior Dylan Reyes. Reyes is majoring in theology.   

Freshman Andrew Weeks and sophomore Shaun Fisher are on the ballot for financial vice president.

Weeks is an arts administration major. He is also the current senator of Duvall.

Fisher is a mathematical economics and mathematics major.

The general election will be held next Tuesday, April 11 from 8am-8pm.

“Students can vote online finding a link that Dayna sent out in a mass email or you can just go to Whitworth ASWU.com/vote and then you just log in using your regular password and username,”  Abigail Hochberger senator of Stewart/Village said.

Candidates will go to prime times on Sunday, April 9 and a debate will be held in the Lied square Monday, April 10 at 6 Pm, Hochberger said.

Contact Abebaye Asrat Bekele at abekele20@my.whitworth.edu.

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 abekele20@my.whitworth.edu