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

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.”


Wind Symphony presents civil rights themed concert

The Wind Symphony channeled some of the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr and other reformers at their spring concert on April 26 in Cowles Auditorium Main Stage. They played pieces by various composers, but the final piece “New Morning for the World: Daybreak of Freedom” by Joseph Schwantner, was the focus of the concert. The piece featured narration by Dr. Larry Burnley, who read selections from Martin Luther King, Jr’s work, including portions of his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

Richard Strauch, Wind Symphony director, first heard the piece, originally arranged for orchestra, on the radio several years ago on Martin Luther King, Jr Day. He liked the piece immediately, and soon found a similar arrangement for winds. Burnley was his first choice for the narration because of his love for MLK, Strauch said.

“I knew nothing about it, I’m not even familiar with the piece,” Burnley said. “He just contacted me, came up to the office and said he had something [he] wanted to ask [me] about, and he came and presented it. I was honored, and really didn’t know quite what I was getting into in terms of the depth of this piece.”

The various aspects of the piece complement each other, and give each other deeper meaning. Burnley described the impact of the narration and music as the music in church, because it resonates with people.

“The [music and narration] together takes you to a place of both memory, in terms of history, in terms of connecting to the struggle of my predecessors, my ancestors if you will,” Burnley said.

Freshman Amanda Sheller, who has been playing the oboe since she was in 7th grade, had never performed a piece like “New Morning for the World” with narration and such a serious message before.

The piece left a significant impact on Sheller, who feels that it is important to remember that civil rights issues are not only events in history books, but still exist to an extent today.

“I can empathize with people and I can remember the history and I can work to change it, but I didn't live it, my parents didn’t live it, my grandparents didn’t live it,” Sheller said.

As part of the Wind Symphony, Sheller appreciates the self-motivation and drive of her fellow musicians. Although the ensemble is much more difficult than any she has participated in before, being involved is worth it, Sheller said. She juggles the responsibility of being both a Wind Symphony member and a biology major, which both take extreme commitment and dedication, but do not overlap in other ways.

“I’ve gotten used to just being constantly frightened,” Sheller said. Although delegating attention between her two time-consuming interests is difficult, it is completely worth it, Sheller said.

The Schwantner piece, though technically and musically difficult, was also emotionally charged and impactful.

Burnley, Strauch, and the members of the Wind Symphony hoped to convey a sense of remembrance for Martin Luther King, Jr. and the spirit of the Civil Rights Movement through their performance.

“I hope it arouses curiosity and I hope on some level [audience members] can connect personally to this, and they want to know more, that it inspires appetite of wanting more,” Burnley said.

Courtney Murphy

Staff Writer

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

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

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

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

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

Poets share best of bad love poetry

Kari Johnson | Photographer       On Friday the 13th, the eve of Valentine’s Day, the English department club Westminster Round hosted Bad Love Poetry, an event created to irreverently celebrate the holiday and the best of the worst love poetry that can be culled from the Internet as well as past diaries of Whitworth students.

Junior Molly Rupp is treasurer of Westminster Round. The event was fun because of the collective cynicism—Bad Love Poetry is a non-traditional way to celebrate using a familiar form, Rupp said.

Junior Nick Avery, vice president of Westminster Round, served as the host. He opened the event with a reading of Kristen Stewart’s “My Heart is a Wiffle Ball/Freedom Pole,” and encouraged audience members to get up and read poems of their choosing. The club also provided poems for volunteers to read.

The lightness of the event was reflected in the enthusiasm of both audience members and participants, many of who laughed their way through recitations.

The event was run open-mic style, allowing any willing participant to take the stage and read. Of the 40 or so attendees, around 10 students volunteered to entertain the crowd with poems mostly found on Google and read off of smartphones.

Senior Hannah Cruze  shared “The Socially Awkward Love Poem” found online, while senior Kyler Lacey took to the stage between poems to encourage audience participation and tell jokes. He also read from his own original work about two things he loves very much—cars and girls.

Other poems read included “The Worst Love Poem That Fails to Use the Word Lame” by Aimee Salter, “The Worst Love Poem Using the Word Lame” by Andrea Heinecke, “A Twilight Saga Poem, For Twihards Only” and “Nora, the Maid of Killarney” by William Topaz McGonagall.

Kari Johnson | Photographer

Junior Dana Stull also shared original work. Stull and junior Audrey Strohm read excerpts from Stull’s journal, written while Stull was at Lutheran confirmation camp during eighth grade. Stull’s work included both poetry and prose excerpts, including this untitled piece:

Steven Potter is wearing a cute sweatshirt without a shirt underneath. Hallelujah!

An annual event, Bad Love Poetry is an opportunity for students to meet, laugh, and share in some great bad poetry.


Kelli Hennessey

Staff Writer

Alumnus lectures on the philosophies of happiness

Whitworth alumnus Stephen T. Davis presented the lecture “Happiness in Life: Epictetus and Christianity” last Thursday night in the Robinson Teaching Theatre. The audience of students, faculty and community members listened close as Davis said that the secret to happiness lies not in ambition and achievement, but in changing the way one’s mind reacts to the external world.

Junior Anneliese Immel was deep in thought after the presentation.

“The philosophy of happiness that he presented—as a shift in the way of thinking—was not surprising to me,” Immel said. “What was surprising is that I know and believe in the concept, but I don’t live my life that way.”

“Everybody wants to be happy,” Davis said.

Davis is a professor of philosophy at Claremont McKenna College in California, and a Whitworth alumnus. He majored in philosophy and history at Whitworth, and later received both the distinguished alumnus award and an honorary doctorate from Whitworth.

“If you follow the usual theory of how to be happy, happiness runs through your fingers like water,” Davis said.

Davis says that the modern equation for happiness has to do with trying to fulfill as many wants and desires as possible while trying to avoid as many undesirable things as possible, in the hope that this will make bring happiness. He says that the fallacy of this recipe is that it assumes that people will be satisfied when they achieve their wants and desires.

“Human desire is insatiable,” Davis said.

Davis says that as one achieves a goal that he or she thought would bring happiness, one instantly begins thinking of the next goal that will bring happiness, but happiness never comes.

Davis gave a brief history of the philosopher Epictetus and provided the premise of his philosophy. He said that Epictetus believed that the internal world inside the mind can be moral or immoral and that it is the only thing a person can control. He said that the external world, the things that happen are fated, beyond control, and are neither moral nor immoral.

Davis iterated that the bulk of Epictetus’s philosophy is stoicism. A stoic trains oneself to live a life of reason and accept the world as it is and as it comes. Those who think that stoicism and achievement are mutually exclusive are wrong, he said.

A stoic can work to achieve an external goal, such as getting into the Stanford MBA program, if three conditions are set. They must realize that internal goals are more important than external goals, that external goals will not make you happy, and that you should not allow failure to achieve an external goal to disturb your internal goal of tranquility.

Davis disagrees with Epictetus on two levels. First, he believes that there should be more distinction between how much people are in control or not in control of situations. Second, he disagrees with Epictetus’s approach to loss and suffering.

Epictetus says that death along with everything else, isn’t bad because it has no moral and that you shouldn’t mourn the death of a loved one, because it is out of your control. Consequently, Epictetus says that you should pretend to mourn another’s loss, but not actually mourn, because another’s sorrow is of no concern to you. Davis disagrees and argues that some things in the external world do have morals and are truly bad.

Davis said that Epictetus’s philosophy of stoicism relates to Christianity, but that they have basic differences. Stoicism values self-sufficiency and personal happiness, assumes that the external world is morally neutral, and doesn’t require a social ethic.

On the contrary, Christianity values doing things through God and community and honoring God in one’s life, believes that there are morally good and morally bad occurrences, and requires a social ethic.

Davis said that even though the Bible has little to say about happiness, that the Christian value of joy, which is arguably more important, is presented often.

Despite these differences, Davis believes that with adhering to Christianity placed first, before stoicism, that stoicism can be a useful tool for Christians.

President Beck Taylor attended the lecture and was pleased with the results.

“This was a good example of integrating faith and learning,” Taylor said. “It’s great to see him (Davis) embodying Whitworth as an alum.”

In summation, Davis said, “So far as joy in life is concerned, stoic philosophy is good, but Christianity is better.”

Emily Goodell

Staff Writer

Poetry and Pie sweetens a Friday night

If there is one thing that makes people come together universally, it is pie. But pie is only one of the attention grabbers for Poetry & Pie, an event hosted by Westminster Round, the English Club.

The event allows for students, alumni and faculty to come together and share poetry that they have created with an audience, while enjoying free pie. The event took place in the Mind and Hearth and drew a crowd that filled in the area and milled around  the coffee shop.

“One thing that is important about Poetry and Pie is that it allows us to bring our love of literature to the greater community. It is not just English majors, but everyone can come and share and listen to the poetry,” junior and Westminster Round president Luke Eldredge said.

“The feeling of the crowd laughing when I wanted them to when I read my first piece was exhilarating and it certainly helped boost my confidence as a writer and performer of the written word,” senior reader Kyler Lacey said.

Many of the poetry performers were students, but there were a few exceptions. Cathy Bobb, the wife of English professor Vic Bobb, also shared poetry, as did a few Whitworth alumni. English professor and Spokane poet laureate Thom Caraway also shared some of his work.

The content of the poetry varied for each person, which allowed for myriad different topics and emotions to be present at the event. One poem was a tongue-in-cheek representation of selling typewriters, while another was about parents fighting downstairs while siblings hold each other in their bedroom. The mixed bag of topics is one of the important parts of Poetry and Pie, Eldredge said.

“It was great to be a part of an event where I was able to share something I had written with the community as a whole,” Lacey said.

“There is such a diversity of experiences reflected in the people’s poems, and so when different majors come they can share their own experiences through poetry,” Eldredge said.


Jacob Millay

Staff Writer

Faculty art exhibit opens to students and community

On Nov. 11 at 5 p.m. in the Bryan Oliver Gallery of the Lied Center for the Visual Arts, the 2014 Whitworth Faculty Exhibition entitled “Parole,” opened for students to walk through. “It’s cool that professors can show their art and students can see it. We can get an understanding of who they are outside of the classroom,” senior Amanda Blankenship said.

At 6:30 p.m., students and faculty gathered in the center of the gallery so each professor could explain their art and students could ask questions or comment on them. Professors strongly encouraged students to comment and even critique their pieces, since professors are often the ones who do the critiquing in the classroom. However, the discussion was still mainly driven by conversation between the professors.

A piece called “Nightie” by professor Katie Creyts was a night gown sewn out of handkerchiefs, in the form of a straight jacket. She explained the piece as a possible representation of being in love with your own sorrow and the soft material representing the ease of breaking free of that. During the discussion, a student perceived the resemblance of the piece to the stereotypical housewife and how she may feel trapped in her duties and expectations as a mother and wife.

Another student recognized the contrast between the cheerfulness of the patterns on the handkerchiefs and the sadness of its overall structure.

From the beginning of the discussion, professor Gordon Wilson stated the importance of responding to art and how each person’s response will differ from one another. Kirk Hirota said that when he took the photographs that were being displayed, his perspective was to capture the moment as best he could. In his piece, “Trondheim Cathedral, Norway”, Meredith Shimizu pointed out how one of the architectural structures appeared to be looking down on a woman in a robe. A student pointed out the contrast in how all the architectural structures in robes were males and the person being photographed was a female in a robe.

Many students were drawn to three pieces of oil on canvas, by professor Robert Fifield, who is in the middle of his second year at Whitworth. In the most basic terms, they were paintings of circles in different positions with different colors.

But the underlying message is much more expansive. His inspiration included his grandma, composition theory, bending the color spectrum of Newton’s color theory, Manifest Destiny, satellites, Thomas Jefferson, the Lewis and Clark expedition, and many more concepts, he said.

“If you want to look at where it all started, go on Google Earth and search the Ogallala aquifer in Nebraska or the fields in Middle Eastern places such as Saudi Arabia. They have circular fields that produce food in places where agriculture shouldn’t exist because they are such arid regions. The global homogeneity of agricultural land and food,” Fifield said.

Hope Barnes | Photographer

Fifield has dedicated hours and hours to the pieces since May and a few pieces in the series are not yet finished he said.

“The most important part of these pieces is that they’re super pretty to look at. I can talk until someone falls asleep, but they won’t fall asleep while looking at them,” Fifield said.

Another interesting piece was a mixed-media piece, entitled “Transitions”, created by Jeff Huston. There was a background projection of uniform suburbs houses, figures made of iron and standing on wooden carts, that were tied with rope to a block of wood that held three blades. His focus was on the concept of contemporary masculinity that involves being different from the conformity implicated in society, and connecting with others and the earth in the presence of harsh figures that we are forced to be connected to, he said.

The faculty exhibit will be showing until Jan. 30. For more information, contact 509-777-3258.

Rachelle Robley

Staff Writer

Gearing up for This Whitworth Life

They are students. They are staff. They are faculty. They are alumni. These are the faces that create the Whitworth University community. What is their story? Who are these people? Through a storytelling event titled This Whitworth Life, assistant professor of English Nicole Sheets is striving to awaken the Whitworth community to various personalities and perspectives campus-wide. Sheets attended a similar event at Gonzaga University a few years ago and appreciated the idea of uniting a community through the sharing of experiences. She decided to pilot the event last year and is repeating it with new speakers on

Nov. 21 at 6 p.m. in the Seeley G. Mudd Chapel. Sheets hopes this will be an annual fall event.

The goal of This Whitworth Life is to illuminate some of the untold stories of Whitworth’s faculty, staff and students, she said.

“I’m calling it a storytelling event. I’ve asked several people from different facets of the university to share a short nonfiction story,” Sheets said. “Their prompt was to write about a significant moment in their personal or professional lives.”

By inviting speakers from different parts of Whitworth life, Sheets said she may expose the audience to unfamiliar but valuable perspectives.

“I don’t know a lot of people on the facilities, services and custodial service side of things because they’re often working in other parts of campus, but I know I benefit so much from their work,” Sheets said.

Each speaker will share his/her story, followed by a short reflection by panelists Karin Heller and Fred Johnson.  Sheets said that short reflection is designed to let the audience catch a breath between performances.

Speakers include basketball coach Helen Higgs and Amanda Clark, director of the Harriet Cheney Cowles Memorial Library.

“I expect it to be a time of growth and understanding as we share our stories with each other,” Higgs said.

Part of sharing stories is inviting the audience to experience the speaker’s story as if it were their own.

“This event is very much about the process of being an author and part of that is oral communication,” Clark said. “You have to think about how your audience will engage with your personal story so that it becomes personal to them in a way.”

Two students from Sheets’ creative nonfiction class will also share their stories.  Sheets required each student to write and share an answer to the prompt and then offer evaluations and possible improvements to others. In the end, senior

Katie Ferris and junior Henry Stelter were chosen by the class to share their stories.

Ferris said she is writing about the experience of being a “prefrosh,” or a high school senior looking at Whitworth. Stelter said his story will be inspired by a somewhat traumatic experience in his childhood that helped shape his current self.

“I think it’s very unique event, as it brings people from different roles and disciplines together: professors, students and other types of faculty,” Stelter said. “I think it’s a great way of illustrating how distinct and different the individuals who make up the Whitworth community are.”

For more information on This Whitworth Life, contact Sheets at


Kyla Parkins

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

Freshmen Fall Fest relieves midterm stress

About 50 freshmen students gathered on the BJ lawn and inside BJ and Stewart on Oct. 17 at 6 p.m. to celebrate the onset of the fall season. Freshmen students were thrilled to see pies being thrown at President Beck Taylor’s face continuously for about thirty minutes at the first annual Freshmen Fall Fest. Money collected from the pie throwing went toward donations for the Spokanimals foundation.

“We liked face-pieing Snickers,” said freshman Joshua Standridge and Dominic Chiabotti. Although he was on the receiving end, freshman Eamonn Eppinga-Neff said he enjoyed the face pie booth.

Students bonded through games of volleyball and frisbee played on the grass. But even more students swing- and line-danced to country music played loudly in front of BJ. At one point, everyone line danced to “Cotton Eyed Joe” by Rednex.

“I’m from a country town, so I loved the country music playing and instructing the swing dancing. It reminded me of where I’m from,” freshman Taylor Hillmick said.

Other activities, such as sack races, jump roping, face painting and apple bobbing occurred throughout the night. People were brave enough to bob for apples, even though the night was chilly and the water was freezing cold.

In the Stewart lounge, students decorated pumpkins, ate caramel apples and drank apple cider.

Pictures taken at the event were tagged with the hashtag #freshmenfallfest to be shared on Instagram and were played as a slideshow in the middle of the BJ lounge. Students were also able to have their pictures taken with a variety of fall themed props, such as farmer straw hats, pumpkins and autumn leaves.

“I like how Whitworth tries to get students involved. It can be hard to find things to do, but the Whitworth events are always comfortable and accessible,” freshman Amy Cheng said.

The event was intended for freshmen only, so there was a feeling of familiarity and students seemed very comfortable with each other in knowing they were all in the same boat.

“Having this freshmen-only event opens communication and relatability. We can get to know freshmen from other dorms,” Cheng said.

Jonny Bratt | Photographer

The main attraction of the night was the puppies, brought by the animal rescue organization Power of the Paw. Students sat in two circles in the BJ lounge and enjoyed puppies jumping and kissing them.

“I loved the puppies, almost too much. I had to get away from them. The fluffy one was my favorite,” Hillmick said.

After a week of stressful midterms, there was a general consensus that loving from cute puppies was exactly what everyone needed. Overall, freshmen loved coming together from different dorms after a stressful time to get to know each other and participate in fall activities.

Rachelle Robley

Staff Writer

English faculty speak on scholarship in pop culture

How do Batman, Bono and Stephen Colbert relate to scholarship? On Oct. 14, Fred Johnson and John Pell, professors in the English department, explored those connections in a presentation called Scholarship in Pop Culture. Room 102 of the Lied Center for the Visual Arts overflowed with attentive spectators, some forced to stand or sit upon tables in the back.

At 7 p.m., Johnson began with Batman. He showed the audience illustrations created by various artists.

“There are so many different kinds of drawings of Batman that you can really easily put two up against each other and think about the differences, so it makes a really vivid example,” Johnson said.

Although the pictures were diverse in style, he explained that Batman was still recognizable because of criterial aspects. If he’s wearing the Bat Suit and fits the criteria, Johnson said we generally infer that Batman is pictured.

“When you look at a comic, you’re reading the image almost as fast as you’re reading the words,” Johnson said.

Assistant professor of English John Pell speaks to students about scholarship in pop culture. Janik Emmendorfer | Photographer

Because of this, we read an image to be Batman. However, what happens when a character changes too much?

Johnson talked about that with his next pop culture example.  Bono is the frontman of the band U2. According to Johnson, Bono has undergone numerous changes in identity and the ways in which he represents himself.  He explained that when U2 started out, they were characterized by an iconic image and the public viewed them in a specific way. Seeking reinvention, Johnson said U2 fully changed their style.

“How far can you go before it’s not Bono or not U2?” Johnson said.

They became so different that Johnson claimed the old version of U2 would never have agreed with the new version. Likewise, the new version would never agree with the old. Johnson said this creates a lot of confusion about who U2 really is.

In fact, Johnson said that U2 virtually does not exist because the band has changed too much to have a core identity. The U2 on one album is different than the U2 on the next, so a real U2 isn’t sustained.

When Johnson finished, it was Pell’s turn to talk about scholarship and pop culture. His example was TV personality Stephen Colbert.

“I think when you do rhetorical studies like I do, it’s better to pick examples that people have access to,” Pell said. “One of the things when you talk about political rhetoric is that it can make people uncomfortable because you talk about policy and parties and these big issues. But I think if you show a clip of the Colbert Report...It allows a little bit of release. It helps people wrestle with these ideas and not get offended politically.”

Pell explained that Colbert’s humorous style allows him to mock corrupt processes in a subtle way. For example, Pell shared a clip of Colbert’s Super PAC ad starring Buddy Roemer. Roemer said that the Super PAC paid for the ad even though they aren’t supposed to coordinate with candidates. However, because the ad is presented as an issue ad, Roemer stated that he can star in it regardless. In the end of the ad, Colbert appears with a unicorn. The ad mocked Super PAC advertising.

“The point is that his mocking of that process is completely indistinguishable from the process,” Pell said.

Colbert’s humor has the capability to teach us things, Pell said.

“I think humor is pretty serious, actually. I think it’s actually an important human mechanism for getting at truth,” Pell said. “I think we don’t talk about it enough. We sort of see it as that tearing down process of making fun of but I hope we also see humor as inventive and constructive.”

Overall, the presentation offered Johnson’s and Pell’s perspectives on scholarship in pop culture for the audience’s interpretation.

“This presentation taught me the importance of storytelling and how we are influenced by pop culture. Also, how everything we see in pop culture is more or less a façade,” senior Kaurie Albert said.

Kyla Parkins

Staff Writer

English faculty salvage problematic poetry reading

“As the wind rises,/your legs shake and you remember learning/that language has power. What need for fists,/in the face of such force?”  English professor Thom Caraway said in his original poem “Hard Wind, End of the Block,” which he presented as part of the English department poetry reading Monday, Oct. 6 in the HUB Multipurpose Room. Award-winning poet B.H. Fairchild had been scheduled last spring to read his work at the event, but he cancelled his trip to Spokane a week before the reading on doctors’ orders.

“Mr. Fairchild sends his profuse apologies,” Caraway said. “We send him our best wishes and prayers.” Caraway opened the reading with the first part of Fairchild’s four-part poem about prejudice entitled “Beauty.”

In an effort to salvage the long-awaited and highly publicized evening, the English department gathered a handful of local poets to read in lieu of Fairchild. Nicole Sheets, an assistant professor of English and Cathy Bobb, the wife of English professor Vic Bobb joined Caraway in the presentation of their original creative works.

Students, faculty and community members filled rows of chairs and tables in the Multipurpose room to hear the poetry.

“These are brilliant writers, and they’re part of our Whitworth community. It’s wonderful to come together and listen to their work,” associate professor of English Fred Johnson said. All three of the substitute readers have extensive bibliographies.

Thom Caraway reads original poetry. Simon Puzankov | Photographer

In addition to teaching alongside Johnson in the English department, Caraway is also the poet-laureate of Spokane. He read several poems last Monday, including “Hard Wind, End of the Block,” which is set in his own neighborhood in west-central Spokane. The poem examines the struggles of a father who has been court-ordered away from his family, and who shows up once in a while, ghostlike, to curse at them from the street until the police chase him away.

Sheets has had work published in a variety of journals including “Image” and writes a blog called WanderChic about travel, fashion and everything in between. She presented a piece of autobiographical prose in six parts dealing with her relationship with her mother, her perceptions of salvation and an orange kitten.

Bobb (photo above) recently received the Violet Reed Haas Prize for Poetry for her book, “Among the Missing.” She read a series of poems from the collection. Her poetry focused on loss; the death of her daughter and her struggles with mental health were foremost in her subject matter. Near the end of her reading she made a point to say how blessed she felt, in spite of the hardships she had faced.

Though the evening did not go as planned, Spokane’s tight-knit literary community turned out to support the event anyway.

“Even when things don’t work out we can still pull something together,” junior English major Nick Avery said.


Samantha Starkey

Arts & Culture Editor