Students flock to Springfest for a quick study break

Springfest, Whitworth’s annual pre-finals festival, is attended by hundreds of people. The question is not whether it is fun, but what the purpose of it is. Many students have strong opinions about what Springfest is and what it means to them. Some emphasized relaxation as the purpose.

“The importance of [Springfest] is to relax at the end of the year and get ready for summer,” freshman Daniel Whitmore said.

Other students, as is the traditional Whitworth standard, reflected on the value of community in Springfest. Some said that they saw many friends they usually didn’t see and interacted with people that usually don’t come to on-campus events.

“Its a good way to build community and come together at the end of the year,” junior Mikaila Lenderman said.

Another purpose expressed by students was the importance of club recognition and interacting with the clubs on campus. Some of the clubs that attended include the Heritage of Latino Americans club (HOLA), International club and Swing and Ballroom Dance club.

“It is an awesome opportunity for the campus to come together and also for the campus to find out about the different clubs that are going  on...and have unbridled fun together,” senior Becca Seideman said.

Simon Puzankov, Photographer

The strongest purpose that came up again and again  was the value of Springfest as a pre-finals stress reliever. Many colleges across the country have pre-finals rituals, the most important being Dead Week, a week of silence, lack of tests/quizzes and sometimes lack of classes, that falls just before finals to give students adequate time to study.

Dead Week is “a time of reduced social and extracurricular activity preceding final examinations. Its purpose is to permit students to concentrate on academic work and to prepare for final examinations," according to Stanford’s official Dead Week policy.

Dead Week is not a part of Whitworth's academic schedule. Instead, Whitworth has Springfest.

“I think around the time of finals, you’re stressed out and you need something fun to get your mind off of it," sophomore Naomi Guidry said. "Most colleges have a dead week and we don’t have that time to kind of get a break but also have solid time to study. I think this is our replacement for that.”

Emily Goodell

Staff Writer

Students discuss tough theological topics

This semester, theological conversations between students and faculty took place outside of the classroom as part of the Overflow theology project. The discussion series, which culminated April 27 after two preceding meetings, covers topics which are seen as too broad or too difficult to tackle in most classes but are still relevant for students to understand and talk about. The series was first conceptualized last December when theology professors determined that students wanted them to be more involved in discussions on campus, said theology professor Will Kynes, who has been heavily involved with Overflow.

Senior Heidi Biermann has been integral to the success of the series. Although she is a political science major and only a theology minor, she feels the professors in the department deserve to be listened to about different issues that impact Whitworth students daily.

“When people have questions about different issues and current issues, the theology department isn’t where they tend to look for guidance and information and we wanted to change that,” Biermann said.

“The truth is we all love doing that kind of thing,” Kynes said. “We all love interacting with students, we all believe that theology shouldn’t be restricted to the classroom, that theology affects all of life.”

The first discussion dealt with the question, “What does it mean to be a Christian in a secular world?” Professor-led, the meeting was attended by 12 students and featured six professors from the theology department.

After the success of the first discussion meeting, the faculty decided that the following discussions should be student-led, with professors acting more like guiding moderators than lecturers. Biermann and fellow theology minor senior Kevin Glover were asked to take charge and facilitate conversation in future meetings.

Attendance continued to grow during the following to meetings, which discussed the questions, “What does it mean to be a Christian university?” and “Do I have to sell everything? When is a Christian radical enough?”

Ideas for discussion topics were discussed by theology faculty and student leaders Biermann and Glover, collected from other students in the department, and generated by Overflow attendees. Because of the wide variety of students from differing majors and professors from departments other than theology, the ideas discussed were diverse and applicable to many students.

Reactions to the series has been positive and the department plans to continue and expand Overflow meetings next fall.

“Students were definitely piping up, sharing their opinions, sharing their ideas,” Biermann said, about student participation in the discussions.

Next year, the department plans to discuss some possibly controversial topics where students may need more guidance, such as sex and marriage, social justice and what a Christian perspective on environmental conservation might be. They also want to expand the Overflow leadership team so that students of different majors will be represented.

Overflow also offers professors the chance to converse with each other and learn more about their colleagues’ views on certain topics in order to work through them, which is a valuable thing for students to see, Kynes said.

“We think there’s a great value of us getting together, putting our heads together and thinking about how we might be called to pour into various issues that we face in life,” Kynes said.

Biermann hopes that through the Overflow series, students will see that the theology department is a place where meaningful discussions are constantly unfolding and where students can go for advice about the Christian faith.

Courtney Murphy

Staff Writer

Hawaiian Club Lu'au brings island culture inland

The sounds of ukuleles and the smell of pineapple filled the Fieldhouse on the night of Saturday, April 25th as the Hawaiian Club held its annual Lu’au. The event began at 5 p.m. with a Polynesian buffet. Guests were treated to Hawaiian dishes such as kalua pork, chow mein and lomi salmon. Several student performers provided live Hawaiian-themed songs as background music during the dinner. At 7 p.m., a show of traditional Polynesian dances portrayed folk tales from the Polynesian islands, entertaining the Whitworth audience. The night also included a raffle.

The Lu’au celebrated its 45th anniversary on Saturday night. First celebrated in 1970, the lu’au is put on by Na Pu’uwai O Hawai’i (the heart of Hawaii), the official name for Whitworth’s Hawaiian Club. Over 35 students danced as part of choreographed dances, and several audience members (including President Beck Taylor) were also invited onto the stage to dance.

Sophomore Hawaiian club president Asa Arhelger says that the lu’au is an important cultural event for students and Spokanites with and without Hawaiian heritage.

“It’s meant to give people a feel for what the Hawaiian culture is because it’s not really accessible in Spokane,” he said. “I think on average maybe about 20 students come in (per year) from Hawaii. Even some of the staff have ties to Hawaii.”

Arhelger hopes that the event sparks a deeper appreciation and understanding of world cultures on campus, Hawaiian and otherwise.

“Diversity is really a whole bunch of other things, not just what people would normally think,” he said. “There’s not a lot of diversity in what people see and experience on campus, and so the Lu’au, and I hope the Hawaiian Club in general, is one of those things that can be seen as unique and an experience that you might not get necessarily anywhere else.”

Many of the dancers performing in the event were student volunteers who signed up for the experience. Sophomore Dustin Dillon was one such student.

“I decided to do it because I had friends that were doing it so I thought it’d be cool to do it with them,” he said. “I liked the fact that there were a bunch of people who came together to entertain other people.”

Dillon remarked that the experience of performing was particularly exciting for him.

“It was kinda nuts,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting there to be as many people as there were. I was kinda nervous but it was a good kind of nervous. It was surreal.”

Several styles of Polynesian dance were performed, not just Hawaiian. Maori chanting, Tahitian hip dancing, poi ball twirling and others were included in the festivities. Each of the individual dances served as part of a larger narrative illustrating a Hawaiian cultural folk tale. The stories included themes of forbidden love, the creation of the world and spiritual journeys. One of the legends presented at the lu’au was that of the daughter of a great chief, Hinemoa, who fell in love with a commoner, Tutanekai. Forbidden by the chief to see each other, the two were separated by a great lake. Tutanekai played his flute so that Hinemoa could canoe across the water to him. When her people pulled the canoes ashore to make them impossible to use, Hinemoa strapped gourds to herself and swam across the lake to her love. Through dance, the separation of the lovers was portrayed by hula dancers, and Hinemoa’s love for Tutanekai was shown through poi ball twirling, a dance that involves weights at the end of a string being twirled through the air in various ways. Two other folk tales were told throughout the night.

The Hawaiian Club also honored its officers with leis and its seniors with a final dance.

Above all, Arhelger emphasized a desire for people to try new things.

“Whitworth likes the whole challenging your worldview thing,” he said. “The only way you challenge your worldview is to go out and do something different, something that puts you out of your comfort zone. You don’t really grow if you don’t do that.”


Spokane gaming community gathers at WhitCon

Fans of gaming, movies and fantasy came together on the weekend of April 18 for WhitCon, Whitworth’s annual gaming convention in Dixon Hall. The event takes place every year on the third weekend in April and is a celebration of games and fantasy for the students of Whitworth and the Spokane community. Both Saturday and Sunday, the event ran all day.

Whitworth’s on-campus Gaming Club is the event’s main sponsor.

WhitCon featured opportunities to play board games or video games, watch movies, and attend clinics and masterclasses on popular video games or role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons.

The highlight of the event for most, however, was the live action role playing, or LARPing, which involves competitors engaging in mock combat in a tournament setting for a chance to win prizes.

The LARP contest featured one-on-one and two-on-two style matches between competitors dressed in homemade armor, whacking one another with foam-padded sticks and swords. Epic battle music accompanied the spectacle to set the mood.

Senior Ian Chivers, one of the main event coordinators, said that putting the event together is no small task.

“We coordinate with the League of Pirates and the Anime Club and also on top of that we use a lot of staff from the Gaming Club and that is like herding cats,” he said. “A lot of moving parts from a lot of different places and getting our ducks in a row can be a tall order.”

Freshman WhitCon staff member Scott Price said the effort was worth the rewards.

“I joined Gaming Club at the beginning of the year. My older brother told me about it. I’ve been playing RPGs [role-playing games] and board games before that though,” he said when asked about his gaming background. “Gaming Club was the first time I’ve been in a community.”

Price said that the fellowship he feels with other gamers is special to him.

“I suppose what draws me to it is that I can be comfortable just playing games with people,” he said.

Senior staff member Daniel Rogalsky agreed.

“Part of Gaming Club is when you show up you just kind of become friends with everybody,” Rogalsky said.

Freshman Ian Trefry, a WhitCon attendee, shared what makes gaming culture so exciting for him.

“There’s all kinds of great arguments about the canon and different kinds of stuff and then people start shipping [pairing romantically) characters and it gets way out of hand,” Trefry said.

The Whitworth Gaming Club meets every Saturday night. League of Pirates meets on Fridays and the Anime Club watches Anime every Friday night, according to the Whitworth Clubs website.

Denin Koch

Staff Writer

Whitworth students host public reading

Words leapt from pages last Friday night as English students and faculty read poetry and prose at Boots Bakery & Lounge. The off-campus reading event hosted by Westminster Round is in its second year and attracted a large crowd that sat on chairs, benches, booths and the floor.

The reading began with senior Kyler Lacey and showcased close to twenty students and professors.

The off-campus reading is a way for Westminster Round to put on a more serious, formal event than Bad Love Poetry or Poetry & Pie, Westminster Round President Katie Cunningham said.

With English department faculty members Nicole Sheets, Fred Johnson and Thom Caraway reading, students were encouraged to put their best work forward.

“It’s kind of a nice, more adult type of reading, but it’s also not super serious,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham, whose responsibilities include sifting through emails, running Westminster Round meetings on Thursday mornings and attending both ASWU and English department meetings, thinks the club is good at connecting the department, students and Whitworth community.

Reading pieces aloud can be nerve-wracking to many students, but the off-campus reading provided a safe environment to get over this fear and become comfortable with performing what they have written.

Sheets admitted that she still gets nervous before she reads, even though she performs her work regularly and reads aloud when she revises pieces. To her, the nervousness is not purely a bad thing.

“It’s constructive to see when people laugh, and how the pauses sound in a piece,” Sheets said.

Sheets, who usually reads excerpts from longer essays, was also inspired by the variety of work performed at the reading. It’s a misconception that you can only read poetry at a reading, Sheets said.

Students performed a wide variety of original work at the reading. One creative performer was senior Josh Tuttle, who presented a how-to guide-esque description of how to go about entering a graveyard in the middle of the night.

The off-campus reading was freshman Lauren Klepinger’s first chance to read her work in a formal setting.

Most of the time, Klepinger prefers to write prose, but at the reading she performed two poems. Her prose narratives require more planning, and poetry is less planned, Klepinger said.

“I’m somewhat inspired because there are people here who are better than me, but I...can learn from them,” Klepinger said, about reading with other students and successful professors such as Sheets, Johnson and Caraway.

“I feel like I know them well even though there’s this whole ‘I would be afraid of them if I had read their bio before I had a class with them’ type of thing,” Cunningham said.

Through events like the various readings put on throughout the year, Westminster Round hopes to foster a community of fun in the English department and across campus. It also aims to show people that English teaches valuable practical skills, such as analysis, oral and written communication and persistence.

“[Westminster Round] makes the English department not merely just an academic department but kind of a social department—a department where you make a lot of friends and you feel really comfortable,” Cunningham said.

If you are interested in being involved in Westminster Round or learning more about their events, you can attend their meetings Thursdays at 8 a.m. at Le Petit Chat.

Courtney Murphy

Staff Writer

So You Think You Can Dance Whitworth extends Jubilation to student performers and community

Jubilation’s take on the TV show So You Think You Can Dance celebrated dance in the Whitworth community Friday, April 13 in the Multi-Purpose Room. This is the fifth year of Whitworth’s SYTYCD. “So You Think You Can Dance celebrates dance in the community. It show that dance has a presence on campus and shares the joy of dance with the community,” theatre dance minor, SYTYCD competitor and director of this year’s competition Brooke Grissom.

The Multi-Purpose Room was filled to the brim with non-competing dancers, competing dancers and non-dancers alike. There were so many people that many had to stand in the back or sit on the ground in the front to be able to see.

Sena Hughes and Bailey Kasler hosted the performance, filling in transitions between pieces with a variety of dance-related puns involving squares, polka dots, salsa and merengue pie.

There were eight dances performed through the night. After each dance, a panel of three judges provided feedback about the dancer’s performance. The judges were English Department’s John Pell, Dance Minor Faculty Karla Parbon and Campus Event Coordinator Raleigh Addington.

“I loved sitting with a panel of people who enjoyed being able to celebrate dance,” Parbon said.

The end of the night the audience, judges included, voted via cell phone for the winner of the 2015 SYTYCD, who will be performing at Jubilation’s end of the year concert May 3.

Receiving first place was Bethy Mack and Isaac Quezada performing “True Image,” a powerful piece that brought to life the issue of eating disorders and self-image, focusing on Jesus’ role in the healing process.

Other dances included Kari Johnson and Raleigh Addington’s “Uncertainty,” Kaylen Blue’s “Like Real People Do,” Erika Boyd and Heidi Biermann’s “Two Girls in Tap Shoes,” Emily Beloate, Christine Drummond, Emily Gates, Olivia Shaffer, Kolina Chitta and Emily Carney’s “Eyes on Fire,” Brooke Grissom’s “Worthy,” Bailey Vallee and Brooke Grissom’s “Hipster Hip Hop” and an untitled performance by Logan Shenkel and Jennifer Rudsit.

Grissom said she enjoyed watching everyone’s hard work pay off.

“It’s really nerve-wracking performing. You never know how it’s going to be received,” Grissom said.

Many of the performers are Parbon’s students or Jubilation members. Parbon said that she enjoyed watching them challenge themselves and continue their work outside of the classroom.

At the end of the night, during voting, the hosts opened up the dance floor to the audience and performers to dance. This was Parbon’s favorite part.

“So You Think You Can Dance is important because it makes dance accessible to the community, so anyone can enjoy dance,” Parbon said.

Emily Goodell

Staff Writer

Jess Waltar takes up residence

“Building a body of work is exactly what a writer does, and published is the best kind,” Jess Walter, Whitworth’s writer-in-residence said. Walter gave a reading on March 31 in the Music Building Recital Hall and talked about how he found success as an author. The reading was filled with students, English department faculty and many members of Spokane’s literary community. Walter’s writing is “broad in scope and mind,” professor Thom Caraway said. He uses his platform to touch on themes such as empathy and brokenness.

At the event, Walter read a short story that is currently unpublished which he wrote last year for Auntie’s Bookstore’s annual community reading event, Pie and Whiskey. Either of the two words “pie” or “whiskey” must be referenced in the work for it to be eligible for the event.

The short story, “Whiskey Pie”, chronicles the reactions of four adult siblings as they come to terms with their parent’s recent divorce. Interspersed with heavy doses of humor, profanity and complex themes such as forgiveness and healing, “Whiskey Pie” was well-received by the audience.

In the question-and-answer session after the reading, Walter encouraged aspiring writers to write as much as possible and build up a body of work before they search for publishing opportunities. About 70 percent of his writing is not published, Walter said, while emphasizing the importance of finding time to write every day.

He also encouraged the audience to read as much as possible, and from a variety of genres.

“Look for things you admire in a work, and then emulate/steal them,” Walter said.

During the Q&A, several people commented on Walter’s vivid and unique descriptions in his writing, and asked where he got his inspiration. In response, Walter spoke about how he uses vivid figurative language to slow down or speed up a section of writing, based on its context.

Allow yourself to go into big, broad descriptions when you want to slow down the writing, Walter said.

“If I see something I think is a great, vivid description, I write it down,” Walter said.

Walter also told the audience that as a writer, his political and social views are not always the same of the views of the speaker in his work, but he sometimes makes a “comic over-statement of some twinge [he] might feel.”

Junior Chris MacMurray attended the event because he was familiar with Walter’s work after reading his short story collection, We Live in Water, in his writing workshop.

“A lot of his stories have to do with brokenness and broken people…[but] I think that he, himself, as a person separates his voice from the speaker in his stories,” MacMurray said.

Walter visited MacMurray’s advanced writing workshop class, along with several other classes, and spoke about how to start a piece and where his inspiration comes from.

“He talked a lot about how most pieces, for him, start with the voice of the piece. Once you can find the voice of the piece, then you can find the different characters, or the themes that are going to go into the story, and you can progress on from there,” MacMurray said.

After hearing Walter speak in his class and at the reading event, MacMurray, a poet, is interested in experimenting with fiction writing.

“Fiction has always been intimidating for me, because it’s totally an interaction with your imagination, which I haven’t really explored a whole lot, but he’s made me want to do some research with that,” MacMurray said.

Having Walter, a proud Spokane native, as Whitworth’s writer-in-residence has been a positive experience not just for MacMurray but for other students, faculty and community members as well. By attending classes and participating in 125th anniversary events, he has inspired many aspiring writers throughout the Whitworth community.

Courtney Murphy

Staff Writer

Club Update: Student Symposium

Student Symposium is a five-part student lecture series in its second year of existence. Over the past two years, they have had nine lectures, covering topics such as philosophy, science, public policy and other diverse subjects. Senior philosophy major and Symposium president Sam Director said that his favorite part of Symposium club is seeing the impact it has on students.

“Symposium is a group of students and faculty dedicated to improving and enhancing the quality of intellectual conversation at Whitworth,” Director said.

No subject is off-limits, but presenters are chosen based on how well they fulfill the club’s mission of furthering intellectual conversations. There are approximately 40 to 50 attendees per lecture.

“The best thing is that it’s student-run, student-presented and done predominantly for students. We want to help students see that education is something that leaves the classroom,” Director said.

The club is currently getting ready for its next lecture and prepping for next year.

“The students on the symposium board exemplify the behaviors that we’re trying to instill in students. They start conversations that matter,” Director said.

They will be opening up applications to be symposium board members soon.

“What we’re doing has caused people to reexamine their beliefs. This is vital to us as students, as Christians and as human beings,” Director said.

Emily Goodell 

Staff Writer

HEAT puts a creative spin on drug and alcohol awareness

Roughly 30 students gathered in the Multi-Purpose Room on Wednesday, March 11 to celebrate “Hugs Not Drugs,” an event sponsored by the Health Education Action Team (HEAT). The event began at 7 p.m. and featured a host of student performers who were invited to perform at the event. Between acts, members of HEAT shared facts and statistics about alcohol, drugs and tobacco.

“Our idea for this event was a fun night where students can share their art and music,” Emily Fisher, a member of HEAT, said. “We want to see a little different crowd than a lecture. This can also be time when we share information about health statistics.”

HEAT is a four person team comprised of Fisher, Cindy Duncan, Anneliese Barnes and Kyle Davis that sponsors four health-related events each semester. Hugs Not Drugs was the second HEAT event to take place this semester. Every HEAT event focuses on one of four major areas of health: mental, physical, sexual and alcohol, drugs and tobacco. All four are covered each semester.

HEAT related facts about drugs, alcohol and tobacco to encourage attendees to consider carefully their use of these substances. Davis revealed that of the over 7,000 chemicals released by cigarettes, 69 are known carcinogens. Duncan spoke about the growing popularity of hookah, reporting that one-fifth of male and one-sixth of female high school seniors have used the device.

HEAT also used survey results to juxtapose the perception of drug use at Whitworth against the reality of its prevalence. In a survey conducted last year, 55 percent of students reported that they believe that the typical Whitworth student drinks six days a month. Only 24 percent reported this being true for themselves. Members further reported that 80 percent of Whitworth students claim to have never used marijuana, and 99 percent claim to have never used cocaine.

In light of these results, Duncan emphasized the continuing importance of HEAT’s mission.

“People are continuing to make personal decisions about what they are doing,” Duncan said. “If we stop [educating people], people continue to not know and it can be a problem later down the road.”

The seven student performances ranged from guitar and vocals to a spontaneous showing by members of Cool Whip, Whitworth’s on-campus improv comedy troupe. Music selections included classical piano, worship songs, originals and familiar pop tunes.

HEAT’s next event is a partnering with Green Dot to raise awareness of sexual harassment. Registration for the 2k walk begins April 8, and the event will be held on April 11.

Denin Koch

Staff Writer

Artist Spotlight: Kyler Lacey re-creates treasures

Senior English major Kyler Lacey finds beauty in what others seek to throw away. He is passionate about writing, and the art of antique restoration and the many challenges and wonders that arise from that process. Lacey restores antique, collectable and vintage items as an art form, taking items that are “dirty, greasy and damaged” and making them “restored, shiny, polished and beautiful,” Lacey said.

“I’m interested in antiques and old things because there’s something special about them and their history,” Lacey said.

Lacey’s fascination with restoring old items as an art form comes from his first typewriter purchase: a vintage 1971 Smith-Corona Galaxie Twelve.

He bought the typewriter to use for his writing and still uses it to type important projects. He likes using a typewriter instead of a computer because he can’t spell check, delete words or move content. It’s a more thorough process because he has to think harder and be more intentional with what he writes, Lacey said.

Lacey restores, re-imagines and sells old typewriters, televisions, radios and other items. He redoes the paint, interior, exterior and any electric wiring by himself. He enjoys modernizing the things he works on to make them compatible with modern technologies and atmospheres.

“I love finding it: going into a packed garage, climbing over things and finding that one treasure,” Lacey said.

Once he finds an item, he researches it, learns about it and then fixes it. He said that a big part of fixing it is that he gets to use it.

“There’s people who say what I’m doing is work, not art. It’s different than what most people would consider as art,” Lacey said.

One way that Lacey’s restoration distinguishes itself as an art form and not just work is that he isn’t in it for the money; he enjoys the process of taking something broken and making it whole again. Since his focus is on his artistry and not about making lots of money, he charges very little over the cost of what he pays for the items he sells, just enough to buy supplies for his next project.

Lacey’s love of writing stems from when he was seven years old. He was unsatisfied with the lack of a third Toy Story so he decided to write one himself. The plot revolved around Andy and his mom and sister flying somewhere with Buzz Light Year and Woody, opening up a window in the plane, and having the toys fall out into the middle of nowhere to be taken home by a family there.

His love of writing and passion for restoration come together in his inspiration. When Lacey finds an antique, he is often inspired by its past. He writes historical fiction based on items he’s found, placing his characters and his writing back in a different time in the past.

Lacey said that one of the most special things about antiques is that even after 100 years they can still be made to work in some way that brings joy to the people who get to use them. He said that he wonders if the products produced today will work in 100 years.

Emily Goodell

Staff Writer

Slam poet aids students

All people have natural storytelling skills as human beings, professional spoken word artist Kane Smego said. On Friday, March 14, Smego taught a free slam poetry workshop and performed with students at Unplugged in the Mind and Hearth. Smego tried to avoid poetry throughout his adolescent years, but became involved in spoken word at age 19 after being invited to an International Poetry Slam by a former high school teacher.

“Poetry is seen as a thing that only exists in books...and is hard to understand,” Smego said.

Through his workshops, Smego erases that misconception and encourages people to tell their stories through words.

Students participating in the workshop were asked to choose an important moment of their lives and write vividly about it in exactly 30 words. Many found that difficult, but afterward Smego asked the students to cut their poems down to 20 words, followed by 10 words and finally six. Through this exercise, students learned that poems can sometimes be most effective when they are concise and the words are carefully chosen.

Junior Sarah Cruz found the exercise to be one of the most valuable parts of the event.

“[The workshop] showed me that poems can become more powerful the less you’ve said,” Cruz said.

Students were then asked to craft poems in the style of spoken word artist G Yamazawa’s piece “10 Things You Should Know About Being an Asian in the South.” Freshman Annika Bratton performed the “10 Things” poem she wrote during the workshop at Unplugged later that night.

Later that evening in the Mind & Hearth, Smego shared several powerful poems chronicling his life with a difficult father, his love for his mother and how the media uses people to market products.

During the performance, Smego also performed several haikus and a humorous poem about time travel. Cruz, sophomore Nicholas Fuller and freshman Hannah Howell performed poems they had written before the workshop and received overwhelmingly positive reactions from the crowd.

“This was my first poetry slam and I was really impressed,” sophomore Annette Peppel said after the performance.

“I’ve recently gained interest in poetry, and this brought me in deeper to the poetry culture,” Cruz said about her performance.

Many of Cruz’s poems discuss hardships she has gone through.

As a professional spoken word artist, Smego sometimes finds it hard to create new material because of his frequent performances. To stay inspired, Smego tries to jot down a line or concept whenever one crosses his mind, and to be prepared for any moment of inspiration.

Sometimes a writer must sit down and break through that dam of writer’s block, Smego said.

Smego encourages students to pursue spoken word, and hopes to aid them by teaching workshops and traveling to schools, as well as prisons and juvenile detention centers, where his workshops teach leadership roles as well as poetry and hip hop.  He believes that if people love what they do, and they are passionate about it and do it very well, they can make their lives out of it.

“If you take two steps forward, God will lead you the rest of the way,” Smego said.

Courtney Murphy

Staff Writer

Club Update: Association for Computing Machinery

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) is Whitworth’s resident computer science club. The club helps to organize students majoring and minoring in computer science, as well as organizing programs for all students to help them learn computer programming. “ACM’s purpose is to educate and promote computer science in all aspects of life, for everyone,” Bryan Hassel, co-vice president of web development for ACM said.

There are eight people on leadership for ACM. They have a president, two co-vice presidents of web development, an executive vice president, two co-vice presidents of gaming, a treasurer and a secretary.

Hassel led an HTML/CSS workshop last Thursday in the Eric Johnson Science Center.

“Programming really helps you in all disciplines. It gives you a new way to think of and understand the world of technology that we’re living in,” Hassel said.

The club has no regular meeting schedule, but offers numerous workshops and opportunities throughout the year.

Emily Goodell

Staff Writer

Club Update: Pre-Law Society

The Pre-Law Society “provides resources and support for students who are interested in going to law school or pursuing a law degree” said freshman and club member Phillip Allevato. The club began meeting last semester. The creation of the club was influenced heavily by professor Julia Stronks, but was brought into fruition by club president Jonathan Kim and vice president Norann Beidas.

The club is comprised of students hoping to pursue law careers, but is open to anyone who has interest in law. There is no defined pre-law track at Whitworth, so the club provides necessary support to those students wanting to head in that direction.

“My favorite part of being in the club is the informational side. I’ve already learned so much,” said Allevato.

Kim, president of the club, is currently in the process of applying for law school and is sharing his step-by-step experience with the other members. He is also interviewing current law students about their experience and sharing that information with the club as well.

Two weeks ago, club members had the opportunity to hear a lecture given by a law professor from Willamette University College of Law.

The club meets every other Thursday at 6 p.m. in the coffee shop. Their next meeting is March 12th.

Emily Goodell

Staff Writer

Writer-in-residence focuses on local stories

Although many do, writers do not need to live in big cities such as New York or San Francisco to be successful. On Thursday, Feb. 24, local author and Whitworth Writer-in-Residence Jess Walter answered questions about his literary beginnings, writing process and childhood in Spokane. As Writer-in-Residence, Walter held several free literary events on campus. The event filled the Robinson Teaching Theatre with English majors, community members and fans of Walter’s work. Each of Walter’s books have been a “radical departure from the last one,” said senior lecturer Thom Caraway, who was facilitating the conversation with Walter.

Walter has written everything from nonfiction to novels to short stories.

Instead of enrolling in a Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) program like many writers do, Walter started his writing career as a journalist for The Spokesman-Review.

“I took the service entrance into literature,” Walter said.

Walter spent much of his time as a journalist reporting on crime stories, and looking for a story big enough to write a book about, Walter said. During this time, he wrote and attempted to publish many short stories, but was often rejected by the institutions he sent them to.

After years as a journalist, Walter found inspiration that manifested itself in “Ruby Ridge,” a nonfiction crime novel documenting a confrontation between the Weaver family of northern Idaho and the federal government.

The early manuscript of “Ruby Ridge” was rejected multiple times before Walter was contacted by a publisher offering him $30,000 to finish the novel. He agreed to write it without hiring an agent, Walter said.

Following his publishing debut, Walter had several jobs ghostwriting nonfiction crime novels, including one documenting the O.J. Simpson murder trial. However, Walter soon entered the world of fiction novels in 2001 with Over Tumbled Graves.

“I’m usually writing to get the taste of the last thing out of my mouth,” Walter said, about his tendency to genre-hop.

During the interview, Caraway asked about Walter’s decision to stay in Spokane as a writer, when many people choose to leave, and his continual inclusion of Spokane in his writing.

“There’s an entire narrative about Spokane that runs through [my] work,” Walter said.

Several stories are set in Spokane; in others characters travel to Spokane and in others it is mentioned.

Although he used to feel ambivalent toward the Spokane area in general, he now feels a “fierce love” toward the city, and that is at the beginning of a cultural boom, Walter said.

“There’s just this great energy downtown,” Walter said. Art is returning to the city in several ways, including the Spokane International Film Festival, various art gallery spaces and on a more humorous level, non-ironic diners.

Walter believes that there is no “us and them” dichotomy between good and bad people. Because of this, his protagonists are flawed and not always likable, yet relatable. He is interested in the gradation of ethics and morals, and the idea that people imagine they are more different from others than they really are, Walter said.

Students and community members found Walter’s discussion thought-provoking, and many asked perceptive questions during the Q&A session.

“I really liked how open he was about sharing his process of writing, he was down to earth and funny,” said Elizabeth Merriam, a junior English major who attended the lecture.

Walter’s newest novel, “Beautiful Ruins,” was published in 2012 and won many awards, including  New York Times Notable Book of the Year. His books are available at most bookstores around the area.


Courtney Murphy

Staff Writer

Artist Spotlight: Acting major cherishes spiritual joy

Madeleine L’Engle, author of “A Wrinkle in Time,” once said that there is nothing so secular that it cannot be sacred. Junior theater major Rebecca Seideman exemplifies that ideal. She tries to serve God in all things that she does, especially within her major. She is inspired by the idea of ministry through theater.

“I want to represent God in a good way in the professional acting community,” Seideman said.

Seideman has been involved in theater for seven years. She became interested in theater when she moved to a new state and became enrolled in a huge high school. Her mother was in charge of picking her classes and put her in beginning drama.

“I was absolutely terrified,” Seideman said.

Since then theater has been an integral part of her life. Seideman recently experienced a death in her family and theater helped her to process the tragedy and keep going.

“When you think about how fragile life can be, suddenly nothing else matters but to pursue passion,” Seideman said.

Seideman likes that theater brings together a whole group of people that would otherwise never be in the same room with each other. Theater has given her a new way to look at people and has shown her the importance of empathy—for characters and for people.

“I wish that I had a way to concisely describe how important theater is to me,” Seideman said.

She has lost count of how many shows she has been in, but her involvement with theater goes further than acting.

She is involved in many of senior projects, has participated in the Broadway Unbound dance showcase every year she’s attended Whitworth and had the opportunity to collaborate with directors and designers in New York. She is the stage carpenter, is in the mainstage production, and is co-leading and starring in Cool Whip this spring. She sometimes has rehearsal for upwards of five hours a day.

“I have to keep my sanity and remember what’s important,” Seideman said.

Something else that is very important to Seideman is her involvement with the homeless.

Last summer, Seideman moved to the Tenderloin District in San Francisco, which houses a large homeless population. She said that although it’s a disadvantaged neighborhood, most of the sadness and depravity is in the houses, not on the streets. She worked with the organization City Impact and ran a rescue mission in the district. They coordinated food and services, prayed with people and distributed much-needed items such as clothes.

Junior Rebecca Seideman hopes to use theater to help disadvantaged youth.   Jeanette Vazquez | Photographer

Seideman has many homeless friends and says that the homeless population is misunderstood. She said that they are suffering from a “spiritual starvation.”

“The real problem is addiction and lack of spiritual support,” Seideman said.

Seideman has thought about completely engrossing herself into the homeless population, but has decided that she can better serve them through art.

“There’s something inherently spiritual about art,” Seideman said.

Seideman finds her inspiration in people and the quirky things they do. She has a rule that she is aware when she is anywhere. She watches people to inspire characters.

This summer, Seideman plans to temporarily move to San Francisco to be trained and certified in InterPlay, a technique using stories, movement and voice to unlock wisdom. After her certification, she would like to use that technique to help the disadvantaged youth and homeless population in San Francisco, using InterPlay as a sort of therapy.

After she graduates, she plans to marry her fiancé, whom she met while in San Francisco, and possibly moving to New York to become an Equity actor.

Seideman’s advice to other artists and people is to live for right now, accept help, not be afraid, and most importantly: to laugh.

“Laugh. Just laugh at everything. It makes life more bearable,” Seideman said.

Seideman will perform in the mainstage production, “These Shining Lives,”  opening March 6 in Cowles Auditorium.


Emily Goodell

Staff Writer

Students celebrate diversity with soul music

To commemorate Black History Month this February, Cultural Events Coordinator senior Ashton Skinner, worked with the Swing and Ballroom Dance Club and the Black Student Union to hold a swing dance lesson followed by a Sodexo-catered dinner of soul food and a live concert featuring Grace Love & the True Loves held Saturday, Feb. 21. The event began at 7 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room of the HUB with a lesson sponsored by the Swing and Ballroom Dance Club and was attended by approximately 16 student dancers and several members of the band. After the dance lesson, a meal of fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, greens and pie was served while students waited for the concert to begin.

Tacoma native Grace Love blends soul and funk into music that is described on her Facebook page as “a fusion of human nature mixed in with sprinkles of heartache, and chocolate velvet melodies.” The soul singer is backed by a five-piece band and played for an hour, adding in an encore after an enthusiastic request from the crowd. Love’s set included her new single, “Fire,” as well as a well-received blues-infused cover of “No Diggity.” Love’s enthusiasm, coupled with the smell of soul food, brought in a crowd. What started as 20 students quickly became 40, then 80.

Students kept the dance floor occupied throughout most of the band’s set.

Love also took some time to speak to the audience about Black History Month and encouraged others to speak with her about the connection between soul music and Black History Month.

“The best thing about celebrating something that a lot of people don’t understand is to educate them. Not tell them what they should know, but to educate them,” Love said.

“It’s nice to be a part of something educational and not just, you know, a show type of place … this is fun because we get to bring something culturally cool to the campus … most times, people tie race to soul music and blues music and all different kinds of music, but I think it’s just something that is a feeling, and if you can create that kind of feeling in a group of people who have never experienced it, you’re going to get a reaction that you never experienced,” Love said.

Senior Jade Faletoi also thought the participation in the event was positive.

“I was really hoping that people would come to this, and it seemed like a lot of people came, [which was good] because this is an event that should be happening at Whitworth and people should be coming to this kind of stuff  [because] when you don’t have stuff like this, it kind of sends a message that you don’t belong here, that your culture doesn’t belong here, so diversity events like this especially make people feel at home, and it kind of creates a space for more students to be here,” Faletoi said.

Skinner organized the event with the goal of exposing new cultures to Whitworth students and hoped to create a fun, casual event.

“I think it is going to be a good time for some people to come into Black History Month and celebrate by what they already do, which is share food, share music, have fun,” he said. “I tried to make an event that is right in the HUB so people will just kind of wander in. I hope to get people to come in whether they were planning on it or not. I think it’s important to have events that aren’t so formal, and I think this will be one of those events. This is going to be the kind where people can chill and hang out.”

Grace Love & the True Love’s single “Fire” will be available in April, and can be streamed now through links on the band’s Facebook page.


Kelli Hennessey

Staff Writer

Shearer makes Ferguson concrete to students

Tobin Miller Shearer, African-American Studies director at the University of Montana, presented the lecture, “Why Ferguson Matters to Whitworth: the Importance of Black History to Us All” last Tuesday in the Robinson Teaching Theatre. “The connection between Ferguson and Whitworth is made by the problem of kindness,” Shearer said.

In the aftermath of Ferguson and other racial crises, Shearer said that there is a need for white Christians like himself and a majority of the student body at Whitworth to reexamine the ways they deal with racial situations.

Shearer began the lecture by presenting a long list of unarmed black men killed by police, including Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Trayvon Martin.

“The long list represents the all-too-familiar history of racial crisis in this country,” Shearer said.

He contrasted the list with a very short list of the criteria needed to be a Fresh Air Fund host. The Fresh Air Fund program takes kids, mostly ethnic minorities, from the city and allows them to spend about two weeks in the country with a host family. The criteria to be a host is simply that they are kind.

Shearer said that although the program means well, the kindness presents more problems than it solves.

“The short list represents the limited breadth of response to those crises,”  Shearer said.

Shearer said that the kindness white families show toward those children only reinforces the power dynamic. By taking the children out of a “harmful” environment and putting them into a “positive” environment, they reinforce that the white hosts are superior while participants are inferior. Their kindness is also limited. There is an age limit and a time limit, as well as the fact that the program is one way, not an equal exchange.

He said that the way Christians commonly approach any negative racial situation is with “the hammer of kindness” as the only tool in their toolkit. Shearer advocates that instead of just focusing on kindness and relational diversity during racial crises that individuals should focus of the problem while not in crisis.

Junior Ruth Wabula was pleased with the presentation and the effect it had on her. “I like the way he put the whole notion of kindness. He presented it in such a way that it didn’t make people defensive,” Wabula said

Shearer said that the most common question he is asked by Christians wanting to make a change is, “How can our congregation or college become more racially integrated?” He said that is the wrong question.

“I think that the question, ‘How can a white congregation or college become integrated?’ is ultimately unproductive and leads to the same traps of kindness and crisis that I have already described,” Shearer said. “Instead, I think the more appropriate question is to ask, ‘How can white congregations and colleges equip their members to resist racism when crisis is not unfolding?’”

Shearer offered advice on how to make a difference.

“Open yourselves to deeper examination of how Christians can be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Recognizing that we have a history of being part of the problem is the first step,” Shearer said.

Junior Marianne Sfeir was also glad that Shearer gave the presentation.

“This is something that we’ve been needing to hear. It challenges our paradigm of what it means to be socially responsible and civically engaged Christians,” Sfeir said.

Shearer ended his lecture by giving the audience some more tools for their toolboxes.

“I long to see institutions like Whitworth become places that equip their students and that are themselves equipped to respond to racial crisis with the pliers of racial analysis, the vice-grips of spiritual discipline, the rip saw of action and the ratchet set of Black history,” Shearer said.


Emily Goodell

Staff Writer

Operation Christmas Child packs shoeboxes for children worldwide

Now is the time for an empty shoebox to transform into something new. Algelito Panot said he was an honored person to receive his shoebox last year. Though he didn’t know the donor, he thanked her from the bottom of his heart, saying he was grateful to become her friend.

Panot’s shoebox wasn’t empty, but filled with gifts from junior Alicen Freeman through a program called Operation Christmas Child.

“Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christmas relief organization,” Freeman said.

Freeman said the annual project started in 1993 and has brought shoeboxes filled with gifts to over 113 million children in 150 countries.

“These shoeboxes are a powerful way to let children around the world know that they are special and introduce them to God’s greatest gift, salvation through Jesus Christ!” Freeman said.

Whitworth University contributes to Operation Christmas Child through an on-campus collection of shoeboxes. Freeman said 182 shoeboxes were collected last year and they hope to collect even more this year.

You can pick up a shoebox in the HUB, along with an information packet. Filled shoeboxes must be returned to the HUB by Nov. 23 wrapped in a rubber band.

Shoeboxes can be filled with various items including toys, school supplies, letters, hats and anything else you’d like to give.

“Packing a shoebox is lots of fun! By going to the Dollar Store, you can easily fill a shoebox for $10,” Freeman said.

If you desire some company while packing your shoebox, Warren Hall is hosting a Shoebox Packing Party Nov. 21 from 7-9 p.m.

“We will have shoebox supplies available, but encourage students to bring some of their own items to make their shoeboxes special,” Freeman said.

Once a box is packed, students can add the $7 shipping fee as well as a shipping label. Freeman said that if students are unable to cover the entire shipping cost, they can place as much as possible in an envelope in the box. Donors will cover the rest.

“Operation Christmas Child is an opportunity to serve others around the world and share the wonderful gifts we’ve been given,” Freeman said.


Kyla Parkins

Staff Writer

Spokane explores the magic of coffee and chocolate

According to some cultures, chocolate is a gift from the gods and coffee can give a person certain mental powers. Although these are different products produced from different crops, they are quite similar in their history and the addictive qualities they possess. Anne of Austria refused to marry Louis XIII of France unless she was able to bring along her chocolatier, and monks relied on coffee for longer and more focused prayer sessions. Karen Decristoforo from Chocolate Apothecary and Katie Blom, head barista at Revel 77 Coffee, spoke about the history, importance and some surprising facts about chocolate and coffee, even passing out some samples at the event, Sip and Savor. The event was hosted at Revel 77 Coffee in South Hill Spokane and organized by Aileen Luppert, librarian at the Moran Prairie library.

Luppert opened the event, welcoming about 30 audience members in the homey and artistic environment of Revel 77.

“We’re trying to think outside of the book,” Luppert said. She explained that Sip and Savor is the first of many events that will be working with local businesses to help them promote and network by creating a support system that will allow businesses to give each other tips and promote each other.

Blom began with an Arabian poem about coffee. Historical legends state that the coffee bean originated in Ethiopia and the Arabian Peninsula around 1000 A.D. According to the legends, Kaldi, a goat herder, noticed his goats became rambunctious after they had eaten a certain berry and would not sleep at night. Kaldi reported his findings to a local monastery, where monks made a drink with the berries. The energizing effects the berries contained were recognized and the brew became a religious drink, allowing the monks to stay awake and focus on prayer.

Decristoforo discussed some chocolate background and specifics on the South American chocolate samples offered to the audience.

“Chocolate is a full-body experience using all the senses,” Decristoforo said. “Chocolate has a distinct texture when it melts in your mouth, a crisp snap when you break it and a smooth, shiny look to it.”

Chocolate was first used as a currency and a bitter, spicy beverage. Theobroma cacao, meaning “gift of the gods,” was used during Mayan rituals of marriage and sacrifice. During times of war, warriors would feast on the chocolate drink to nourish their bodies with the blessing of the gods before battle. Over the years chocolate transformed from a bitter drink, to baked goods, and eventually to sweet solid chocolate.

Death by chocolate is not only a dessert, but holds truth to many cases, such as the death of the bishop of Chiapas. It is said that he and some women of the church had a falling out when the bishop banned chocolate from mass. The ladies then settled this by apologizing with a chocolate gift said to be poisoned, ending his life, Decristoforo said.

“The more I learn about chocolate, the more I love it.” Decristoforo said.

“Chocolate was designed to be consumed by humans. The perfect melting point for chocolate is about 94 degrees, the same temperature it melts at on the tip of your tongue,” Decristoforo said.

For other events like Sip and Savor, check out the Spokane County Library District website or a local library for details.

Alyssa Saari

Staff Writer

Club Update: Eagle Club

The Eagle Club was founded by senior Eric Nikssarian, and was established in the spring of 2014.The club was initially based on the idea of joining previous Boy Scouts together in attempts to influence and volunteer within the scouting community. Nikssarian wanted the club to be open to everyone, regardless of any past scouting experience. He extended the club to include volunteer opportunities with nonprofit organizations, such as Christ Kitchen, in order to encourage and influence anyone and everyone who wants to make a difference to join.

“Join the club and we’ll find a place for you,” Nikssarian said. As the president of the Eagle Club, Nikssarian believes it’s important for students to find what inspires them and to feel comfortable volunteering in a position they know will work for them. Regardless of scouting or volunteer experience, there is a place for everyone and Nikssarian works with his members to find their place.

Nikssarian was initially given the idea to start the Eagle Club by a Tiger Scout Den Leader. As a sophomore, Nikssarian was convinced by a very influential classmate, John Ekber, to become a sports broadcaster for Whitworth FM during the current basketball season. At the first home game of the season, Nikssarian spotted a group of Tiger Scouts and their Den Leader. A former scout, he appreciated their presence and introduced himself. The Den Leader asked for Nikssarian to speak to the boys and they kept in contact.

A few months later, the Den Leader gave Nikssarian the idea to start the club.

“At first I didn’t know what the club was going to do,” Nikssarian said. He started the club and went with the flow. Eventually an opportunity presented itself and it all fell together.

Today the club has been active in many scouting and nonprofit opportunities as well as nature hikes. Their next coming event is Food for Thought on November 19th, working to feed the homeless in downtown Spokane at the House of Charity.  The club meets every Monday night at 7 p.m in Weyerheuser 305. For more information, contact Eric Nikssarian at


Alyssa Saari

Staff Writer