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

Voice students perform jazz and classical repertoire

Whitworth’s vocal arts were in full swing this week as the music program hosted a classical voice area recital on Monday, April 27. The jazz department put on a vocal jazz concert on Thursday, April 30. Both events were held in the Music Building Recital Hall. The classical voice area recital featured students from all classes of the voice studio performing solos while accompanied by piano. Selections ranged from Renaissance music to 20th century poems set to music. Even included was a re-imagined show tune mocking the exotic tendencies of contemporary classical composers. The hour-long performance showcased a large variety of vocal talents from the music department.

Senior voice major Lise Hafso found the recital to be an enjoyable departure from typical solo recitals.

“It’s cool because you get to hear so many voices,” she said. “People are coming from different studios and are doing such a wide range of style. It’s really cool to see what all of your peers have been working on.”

Hafso is drawn to voice performance because of how easily she feels she can express herself, she says.

“It’s just the best way that I can express myself, through singing and performing,” she said. “It’s just a powerful experience for me.”

The concert was the culmination of director of jazz studies Dan Keberle’s vocal jazz class, which featured classical singers and musicians who chose to expand their schema. The singers were accompanied by an all-star combo of jazz faculty and professional musicians from the Spokane area. All of the music performed came from standard jazz repertoire. In several songs, the singers were joined by faculty trumpeter Keberle and saxophone professor Chris Parkin for improvised call and response.

The class is all about “teaching people who have a good voice and an interest in jazz how to sing in a jazz style,” Keberle said. “With talented students like we have at Whitworth, they all improve.”

Keberle said that the vocal jazz concert has a special energy.

“I like all the enthusiasm,” he said. “I love having the professional rhythm section there. I love having the enthusiasm that is always there.”

Senior voice major Sarah Nadreau said she enjoyed the unique experience of learning and singing the jazz style, which varies from her classical background.

“I liked it a lot,” she said. “I think the hardest part was not thinking so much about technique because in classical singing it’s all about how you take your breath and how you release it and in jazz it’s more about the feeling.”

Nadreau elaborated on communications between musicians, a hallmark of jazz that is less prevalent in classical voice performance.

“I tried to make eye contact [with pianist Brent Edstrom] and we interacted a lot more,” she said. “In classical singing your pianist is behind you so you can’t typically interact that way, but that kind of interaction is a priority in jazz.”

Freshman Travis Widmer, who attended both events, expressed excitement about the future of Whitworth’s vocal program.

“I thought they were both fantastic,” he said. “We have some really fantastic singers at Whitworth. It’s very cool to think that a lot of them are underclassmen. It’s going to be fun to see what they do in the next few years at Whitworth.”

Denin Koch

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

Artist Spotlight: Dana Stull speaks for the voiceless

“My first serious writing project was a comic strip in third grade about my hamster, Speedo. I’ve always liked writing little stories and things,” junior Dana Stull said. Although she has moved away from comics, Stull still writes. She is the assistant poetry editor of Rock & Sling, Whitworth’s national literary journal and majors in English on the writing track. Her chapbook—a small collection of poetry, often with fewer than 40 pages— “the girl who says nothing,” won Whitworth’s chapbook competition this year and will be published in a limited run.

It was after a creative writing class her freshman year that Stull found herself drawn to writing as a serious discipline. Stull then began working with Rock & Sling, which she credits with teaching her how to write and discuss poetry.

“[There], it mattered that you looked carefully at things and considered what was happening and [put] personal preference aside," Stull said. "That’s when, I think, it shifted from like, ‘reading poetry is kind of fun and neat’ and ‘I took a poetry class in high school’ to it being a serious field of study.”

There have been opportunities at Whitworth that she may not have encountered at other schools, Stull said. She comments that it is special to be in a town with a thriving literary scene where people are creating a community of writers. She has worked with professors here, especially Thom Caraway and John Pell, who have inspired her and shaped her understanding of what it means to be a poet.

“They’re all great … I would say especially Thom … and I think John Pell too [because] I think developing a rhetorical foundation is actually really important when you’re looking at and writing poetry, and critically that has helped and influenced me,” Stull said.

Stull is invested in what poetry writing means, noting common misconceptions that students often have about the craft. She says that the study of poetry is more intellectually rigorous and applicable to other areas of study than people may generally believe.

“I think in general … poetry just has this weird aura. [The perception is] you can’t talk about poetry because it’s just the way that people feel … [but] just looking at all of the things you should be learning about writing in college, like, the argument [and] the audience you’re writing to … you learn all of those things in a poetry class, and I think that’s useful,” Stull said.

Stull says that she does not necessarily have a preference for a genre of writing or any particular subject that she draws inspiration from.

“I just like writing things,” Stull said. “I think there are things I end up writing about more than things I like writing about.”

In “the girl who says nothing,” Stull focuses on her experience working in a childcare program with a 6-year-old girl who was selectively mute. After the program lost funding and closed, ending Stull’s relationship with the girl, Stull began to write about her observations.

Stull has not decided on her definite plans post-graduation, but hopes to incorporate writing and editing into her future work.

“I think I would really like doing the things I am doing now," Stull said. "I really enjoy the editorial process.”

Stull’s chapbook will be published in a short run this semester, but selected poems from the work can be read below.


the girl who says nothing

needs to sit at the table

with everybody loud and stacking

cheese squares that are for snack

that need to be eaten or

at least given a no-thank-you

bite or no leaving the table no

moving on to blocks, if

Fuzzy eats it does not count

because he is pretend

and does not have a real throat


The girl who says nothing

cannot hit the ground with her fist,


it can mean all different things

it is not the way we use our hands

our hands are not our words


incident report #3

child & Fluffy brought cardboard fort and reading lamp into bathroom & plugged lamp in & went (w/ lamp) into fort & told to keep the fort & lamp in the classroom & made a choice to not listen & locked the door & the assistant teacher says she listened for a while & heard voices coming from the inside & we want a safe space for her to talk but not here & not alone


Kelli Hennessey

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

Senior art show opens

For seniors, graduation means looking forward to the future and reflecting on the past. For art majors, that process culminates in the Senior Art Show, an opportunity for Whitworth’s graduating art students to showcase the skills and point of view they have developed during their time in the program. The 2015 graduating class of Whitworth’s art program is comprised of nine students: Jessica Banzet, Katie Bergmann, Linnea Goold, Melissa Helgeson, Kelsey Herman, Jasmine Pallwitz, Jorie Rehnberg, Ashton Skinner and Tayler Wood. The artists explore a variety of media in the gallery show. Photographs, paintings, graphic designs, charcoal drawings and sculptural installations by each senior artist can be seen.

The current senior class contains students who began in other majors—sociology, psychology, Spanish and communication, to name a few—that have found that art encompasses a wide variety of ideas and disciplines. The students interviewed all discussed the ways in which their art educations have challenged and inspired them.

Skinner paints self-portraiture that explores reflection and identity.

“I expected to learn technique, the craft, the more face-value skills of making paintings and making drawings, but I’ve had a few teachers and mentors here that have taught me how to think differently and taught me how to go on rabbit trails when you are interested in something and explore it, and that’s been super exciting because I’ve really learned how to follow my curiosity … and we have learned critical and analytical skills here that I wouldn’t  have learned in any other major here,” Skinner said.

Other art students agree that Whitworth offers a unique perspective in the field.

“Whitworth emphasizes worldview and I feel like ... the art department is the best place I could have been to really widen that [idea] or challenge me,” Herman said.

Herman’s experimental 3D yarn sculpture is meant to challenge viewers’ perceptions of the way common materials are viewed.

Apart from the traditional art classes expected in this program, some students have also had the opportunity to take their education into the real world with community-based programs. This semester, Jasmine Pallwitz worked at Salem Lutheran Church in an internship that allowed her to use her love of art to help serve the Spokane community.

Pallwitz is a painter, focusing on works that work to bring attention to the world through reflecting cultural inequalities.

“For me, I’m a very faith-based person, and so that is very important to me as well as my art, so I’m always thinking about ways to integrate the two,” Pallwitz said. “It’s actually made me more passionate in my desire to help people, to serve in whatever way I can … [art] can be used a lot in community development and as a way to spread a message of change.”

After graduation, Whitworth’s art students have varied plans that include graduate study, volunteer work and community building. Herman’s, Skinner’s and Pallwitz’s work can be seen at the show, now open in the Bryan Oliver Gallery at the Lied Art Center.

Kelli Hennessey

Staff Writer

Artist Spotlight: Andrew Isom plays from the soul

Senior Music Composition major Andrew Isom views music as a God-given duty—one that he fully plans to fulfill. Isom has been playing the piano since he was seven at the request of his parents, but found his own desire to continue playing and composing music in the ninth grade when he learned jazz theory.  Since then, he has struggled with determining why he continues to pursue music as an art and a career.

“I’ve struggled with the question of why I do this until last week. I’ve had a hard time figuring out why I do this, but I’ve figured out that I do it because I’m good at it. It’s hard for me to believe that God wants me to do this,” Isom said.

Isom plays the piano because he’s been playing it the longest; it’s the instrument that he’s best at. He has composed around 15 classical pieces, and many other jazz tunes on the piano.

“Composers are not geniuses. We’re just normal people. Just because I’m a composer doesn’t mean I’m more talented. Just because music is my vocation or calling, doesn’t mean it’s not hard work. I’ll compose and wonder if this is what I want to do, because it’s so frustrating. I’ll spend an hour and put something on the page and not like it, or I’ll put nothing at all,” Isom said.

Isom said that his compositional philosophy—the way that he approaches composing music—is somewhat different from that of other composers.

“I value thinking of what I want my philosophy to be before the piece. What I usually think about most is the setting. When I’m composing, I try to strive to create a setting, an atmosphere. If my music doesn’t do that, it’s empty,” Isom said.

Isom’s focus on setting was inspired by playing Legend of Zelda growing up. He said he was fascinated with the characters moving between worlds.

“God gives us the ability to create. We have the ability to create other worlds,” Isom said.

Isom thinks about the relationship between music and spirituality. He said that although God made music for people to enjoy, people give it too much spiritual value and its purpose has much more to do with our experience of music.

“God gave us music to like it. The existence of sin is proof of good things gone bad. Music goes bad all the time, but the enjoyment of music isn’t inherently bad,” Isom said.

Isom said that he believes that the main purpose of music is for enjoyment, but also detailed that music does not have just one purpose.

“Two other purposes of music that I believe in, but don’t always represent in my compositions involve music’s ability to teach us about God in the way that an artist may paint a picture of Jesus and music as an avenue in which we express ourselves to God, the Psalms being an example,” Isom said.

Last Friday, Isom had his senior recital in which six of his pieces were presented by himself and others. After graduating, Isom’s plans involve private music education and continuing playing and composing jazz and possibly going to graduate school.

Aside from plans for what he wants to do after graduation, he has a more personal goal he would like to achieve.

“I would like to reach a point in my life where the effort i put into my music, that I will compose with all of my heart—for God and not man,” Isom said.

Emily Goodell

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

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

Visiting trombonist shares jazz expertise

Trombonist Ryan Keberle’s career has taken him to places far and wide, but on Wednesday, April 8, it brought him home to Spokane for a clinic in the Whitworth Music Building and a concert at the Bing Crosby Theater on Friday, April 10. Keberle and his five-piece band, Catharsis, performed selections from their newest album, “Into the Zone,” in the band room on Wednesday for a gathering of jazz students and music lovers. Between tunes, the musicians also answered questions from audience members and spoke about their experiences in the music industry.

On Friday night, Keberle and Catharsis performed a selection of jazz standards, original music and covers for a full house in downtown Spokane. The concert was opened by the local Brent Edstrom Trio, which features three Whitworth jazz faculty.

The son of Dan Keberle, Whitworth’s Director of Jazz Studies, Ryan Keberle is a Spokane native and graduate of Mead High School. He attended Whitworth for a year before transferring to the Manhattan School of Music in New York to finish his undergraduate degree. So far in his career, he has collaborated with artists such as Sufjan Stevens, Alicia Keys and Justin Timberlake. This was only his second business trip back home, the first being a guest feature with the Spokane Jazz Orchestra two years ago.

Keberle was enthusiastic about performing for his hometown crowd.

“Very exciting, obviously,” he said when asked about playing in Spokane. “Maybe I can change Spokane’s lack of appreciation for jazz music. Jazz for some people is a scary word. It’s a word that means you aren’t going to understand what’s going to happen. The term ‘jazz’ for so many people scares them away, but I’m looking to make music that everyone can enjoy.”

Students who attended the clinic and concert were inspired and motivated by Keberle’s performance. Sophomore trombonist Jonathan Bumpus was particularly excited to work with Keberle.

“I went to the concert in 2008 when he was the guest artist with the Whitworth Jazz Band and was just blown away,” Bumpus said. “He’s always just been a big inspiration to me”

Bumpus expressed gratitude and disbelief at the opportunity to learn from one of his heroes.

“It’s kind of surreal. I’ve admired his playing for a really long time, and to hear him and get his feedback on my playing was really crazy. I’m still just processing everything that happened,” Bumpus said.

Keberle offered advice on a variety of topics to those who attended his clinic. While he spoke much about the importance of practicing, his biggest advice had nothing to do with playing.

“Basically, it comes down to listening,” he said. “There’s so much more to music than what you hear at this point in your career. It’s like learning a language and the accent.”

Even now, Keberle said, he is continually surprised by the music he plays every day. “Every so often I say wow, I’ve never heard that before or I’m just starting to notice how this player swings differently from this player.”

Despite its decline in popularity, Keberle remains optimistic about the future of jazz music.

“So many exciting options happening right now where people are fusing different genres with jazz or fusing their own musical culture with jazz,” he said.

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

Artist Spotlight: Linnea Goold glows

Senior Linnea Goold did not come to Whitworth intending to be an artist. Rather, it was something that she fell into. “I actually didn’t do any art before college,” Goold said. “I started as a psych major, and then I took one art class my first semester here … I’m still very involved in the psychology department; I would really like to go into art therapy.”

Goold said she believes that art and psychology have strong ties and sees art as an important resource to use in the field of psychology. Her own pieces reflect the way that art can influence the feelings of both the artist and the viewer. The piece she is working on now, which will be featured in her senior show this week, is a large installation that involves using string to web found car doors into a web-like structure, was inspired by recurring dreams she had as a child.

“That’s kind of where this all stemmed from … I love seeing how art can psychologically impact me, and others, so I wanted to see what it would be like to work through those dreams in this way,” Goold said.

Although this particular work is based on her dreams, Goold wants viewers to be able to take their own impressions from the piece. Goold wants her art to be accessible and interpretive, so even when the pieces have personal histories relevant to her life, she wants viewers to take from the piece their own interpretations, she said.

“It’s not all about me,” she said.

Goold plans on taking her passions for art and psychology into the community and working as an art therapist, though she does also want to explore participating in gallery shows at some point. She is interested primarily in working with youth and adolescents. She believes that art has the power to help individuals overcome trauma and wants to participate in that process.

“I also have become a lot more interested in the past year in prevention and how art can be used to help people handle emotions in a different way or express themselves in a more healthy way,” Goold says.

Though she has largely worked with organic materials such as branches or tumbleweeds in her other pieces, Goold experiments with a variety of objects, such as the car doors in her current work.

“I do like found objects; I like things that have a history to them,” Goold said.

Though now her preferred media are sculpture and installation work, Goold did not find her love for it initially. It was not until halfway through her studies that she became interested in the work. Initially, Goold said, she was under the common misconception that art majors should be painters and illustrators. Taking a class in three-dimensional design, however, drew her to sculpture and other forms of three-dimensional design.

“Three-dimensional art just really comes to life for me, and I love taking something in my head and seeing it turn into something big and three-dimensional in the real world,” Goold said.

Her current installation, which incorporates several car doors borrowed from a local junkyard and thousands of feet of string, has been something that Goold has been planning for two years. She said that lecturer Rob Fifield has told her that art is about posing a problem and fixing it, and she agrees. For this project, she faces the challenge of broken string and how to mount heavy metal doors, temporarily, to gallery walls.

That is part of what draws her to art—the ability to work through challenges and grow from the process. By combining her passion of art with love of psychology, Goold hopes to help others work through their personal challenges through exploring the power art holds.

The senior art show featuring Goold, as well as several other graduating art majors, opens on Tuesday, April 14 in the Bryan Oliver Gallery in the Lied Art Center and will close on May 16.

Kelli Hennessey

Staff Writer

Whitworth Choir returns from tour triumphant

Whitworth students and music enthusiasts from around Spokane packed the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox downtown to watch the final leg of the Whitworth Choir’s spring tour on Saturday, April 11. The choir spent spring break on tour across the state of Washington and part of British Columbia. After starting in Wenatchee at Saddlerock Evangelical Presbyterian Church, the choir then traveled the coast from Vancouver, B.C., to Vancouver, Washington. After a week of rest, the tour closed with Saturday’s concert downtown.

While they were on tour, the choir also had the opportunity to do several workshops with high school choirs in addition to performing.

To several choir members, this tour stood out from tours in past years because of the Mass they performed, composed by Director Marc A. Hafsø.

“The Mass has formed every form of Christian worship,” Hafsø, who is in his 12th year at Whitworth, said. This is why he decided to include it in the tour, along with other spiritual songs. The Mass was about 25 minutes long, and has five movements and is sung in both Greek and Latin.

Junior Katelyn Hunter, a Spanish and secondary education major, also enjoyed performing the Mass.

“It’s really long, kind of exhausting, but it’s beautiful. It’s very intricate, very intentionally put together and it was really cool to be able to put that together for the choir because it was a ton of work,” Hunter said.

For the Mass, the choir learned the Nicene Creed in Latin. Singing in other languages is sometimes easier than in English, because in English, singers bring bad habits in from their speech, Hunter said.

Hunter, who has been singing for eight years and has been a part of both the Women’s Choir and the Whitworth Choir, started in junior high and fell in love with choir in high school. Her teacher made singing relevant to her daily life, and taught her to use singing as a tool to change her outlook each day.

Although Hunter found choir at Whitworth to be harder and more intense than choir in high school, she enjoys the commitment, talent and knowledge each choir member displays.

“There’s a lot more opportunities to make real music because the bar is so much higher,” Hunter said.

Hunter enjoys working with Hafsø as a director because of his creativity, sense of humor and commitment to the choir.

“It’s nice because he has a really good balance of taking it seriously, but also there’s joyful moments that bubble up and we just laugh at mistakes and things like that, If your director is committed, then you’ll be a lot more willing to give a lot more and work harder,” Hunter said.

Hafsø’s sense of humor was evident during the concert when he referred to “The Ballad of Green Broom,” part of the Songs of Spring and Summer section, as his favorite song about brooms ever composed.

Juniors Jennifer Rudsit and Elizabeth Williams, who attend most of the Whitworth Choir’s bigger concerts and have backgrounds in choir, enjoyed the performance.

Williams’ favorite was the traditional Zambian song “Bonse Aba”, because she had sung in before, Williams said. Rudsit most enjoyed “Tomorrow Will Be My Dancing Day” and “No Time.”

The Whitworth Choir finished their 2015 Spring Tour strongly, and showed their support for each other by honoring their 12 graduating seniors.

“We all like to say we’ve ‘run the river’ together, meaning we’ve all gone through crazy stuff together. We’re a really tight choir, extremely supportive,” Hunter said.

Although the tour is over, the returning Whitworth Choir members, like Hunter are already looking forward to what next year holds.

Courtney Murphy

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

Music Review: Kendrick Lamar "To Pimp a Butterfly"

Few rap albums can at the same time simultaneously offer heavy, introspective looks into an artist’s life and force the listener to dance in their seat. Rapper Kendrick Lamar has created a masterpiece that succeeds at doing just that.

To Pimp a Butterfly, Lamar’s 2015 release, is a collection of hard-grooving tracks whose lyrics weave the tale of Lamar’s rise to fame almost as if the rapper were playing at being a novelist. Make no mistake though - this album is not a self-appreciative victory lap, but uses Lamar’s experiences to point out the major problems that he sees in society. Launching straight into his teenage years as a “caterpillar” and journeying all the way to his current day life as a “butterfly,” To Pimp a Butterfly is a 16 track epic that waxes on matters of racism, depression, family, fame and fortune while riding a groove worthy of the dance floor.

From the opening track, “Wesley’s Theory,” Lamar’s lyrical content is brutally honest and hugely creative, never sacrificing his message in order to avoid offense or showcase Lamar’s impressive vocal dexterity (although this album leaves no doubt about that, either). Prominent African-American cultural figures appear all over the record, as Michael Jordan, Nelson Mandela, Michael Jackson, Trayvon Martin and others all receive name drops. The album concludes with a “beyond the grave” interview of legendary rapper 2Pac, Lamar’s largest influence. Lamar’s inventive use of allusion seems to etch his name alongside the aforementioned individuals in history while paying respect to those who went before him.

What sets Butterfly apart from other rap albums is its merging of Lamar’s personal history with modern issues of racism. “The Blacker the Berry” is a scathing attack on racism in America that exposes cultural evils while also admitting Lamar’s own racist hypocrisy during his years in a Compton gang. Early in the album, “u” allows the listener to witness a chilling hotel scene in which a drunken Lamar confesses his demons to a hotel room mirror. The penultimate track, “i,” however, is a self-love party anthem that releases these demons and urges African-Americans to stand together against racism rather than warring amongst themselves. This track also completes Butterfly’s central metaphor, as explained by Lamar on “Mortal Man”: “Although the caterpillar and the butterfly are completely different, they are one and the same.”

Aside from lyrical content, Butterfly is unique for its successful melding of several musical genres. Lamar abandons the electronic setting typically employed in rap music for a host of live musicians. Crossover jazz/hip-hop pianist Robert Glasper is featured on keys, saxophonist Terrace Martin offers jazz stylings throughout, and bassist Thundercat holds down a funky groove on many tracks. Lamar’s genre bending ideas are especially evident on “For Free? – Interlude” – the musicians play as a jazz band rhythm section while Lamar “solos” with his lyrics. Immediately after, “King Kunta” finds him laying down verses on what could pass for a funky Parliament bass line. The convergence of these musical styles not only creates a fascinating, fun album, but shows just how committed Lamar is to his African-American heritage: all of the styles channeled here have roots in black culture. The album is worth a listen just for the tight band backing Lamar.

To Pimp a Butterfly is a triumph both lyrically and musically. Lamar has brought together the highlights of African-American culture to create an album that inspires his audience to celebrate the best things within themselves, live in harmony with others and live life zealously - and his listeners can’t help but just forget everything and dance.

Denin Koch

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

Do-it-yourself three-course meal in a mug

I come from a family of cooks and eaters. We are always passing around new recipes and trying out new things in the kitchen, so food experiments are a bit of a hobby of mine. I have never lived on campus, but I wanted to see if, using the limitations of on-campus living, I could create food that is easy to make and tastes good—this is the result. Using simple ingredients and four mugs, I made a three-course Mexican-inspired meal, and I am going to show you how to do the same. I used a 700-watt microwave, so be aware that higher powered microwaves will probably require less cooking time. The latter two recipes were adapted from online sources, but this first one I created on my own. I’m a big fan of polenta, a coarsely ground dried corn grit that is surprisingly versatile and easy to make in the microwave. Polenta has a subtle nutty taste and can be made in different degrees of firmness. This recipe creates very firm polenta, but if you prefer something softer and creamier, that can easily be achieved by adding milk a tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.

Normally I make polenta with Italian flavors to accompany it, but I thought that doing something with a different flavor profile could work, and I was pleased with the result. I added cumin, which I usually put in my enchilada sauce, directly to the polenta before cooking to make sure the flavor was noticeable. The black beans and corn help to add some mild flavor and texture to the recipe, while the cheese helps to increase the creaminess of the polenta once it has been cooked.

The mugs I used in this recipe (which I found at the dollar store!) are pretty big—they hold about 20 ounces, so this was quite a bit of food. Polenta is pretty heavy and filling, so next time I will cut the ingredients in half and make it in a smaller mug. It tasted great though, and is something that I am likely to make again.

Enchilada Polenta with Black Beans and Corn

Ingredients: ¼ cup coarsely ground polenta 1 cup water ¼ tsp. salt ¾ tsp. cumin pinch granulated garlic pinch fresh cracked pepper 1-3 tbs. shredded cheese 3/8 cup black beans, canned 1/4 cup sweet corn, canned

Combine ground polenta, water and spices in microwave-safe mug. Stir with a fork, then microwave for about five minutes, stopping half way to stir. Cooking times will change depending on the wattage of your microwave. It took me about six minutes to cook the polenta.

As soon as the polenta is done, stir in the cheese, beans and corn. The polenta will be very hot, so the beans and corn will heat up and help bring everything down to a temperature that won’t burn your tongue. If you want, add a little extra cheese and enjoy!

If you want it to look fancy, heat up a tablespoon of beans and a teaspoon of corn. Put the beans on top in a small pile and then layer the corn on top of the beans. Finish it off with a pinch of cheese.

While doing my research for this article, I had a really hard time finding savory microwave-in-a-mug recipes. There are endless recipes for cakes and muffins, but I wanted to find something savory that could be made in the same manner. I wasn’t sure, before trying this, what chilaquiles are, and I think it is likely that these aren’t especially authentic, but they tasted pretty good. Traditionally, chilaquiles are tortillas that have been lightly fried then cooked with salsa or mole sauce and served with eggs or refried beans. This recipe is egg-based and I was surprised how well the eggs cooked in the microwave, as I was very skeptical about it. They turned out light and fluffy, but could easily be overcooked if you aren’t paying attention.

This recipe would actually make a great breakfast. I’ve always been a big fan of breakfast burritos, and these chilaquiles are like a breakfast burrito in a mug, with the eggs, cheese, salsa and tortilla chips. I added more chips than the recipe called for at the end for a little extra crunch, which I enjoyed. It would be a great thing to grab on the way out the door on those mornings that are a little rushed.

Microwave Chilaquiles

Ingredients: 2 eggs 2 Tbs. milk 2 Tbs. shredded cheese 2 Tbs. salsa 8-10 tortilla chips, divided queso fresco sour cream salt and pepper to taste

Beat eggs and milk together in mug. Stir in cheese. Break up 6-8 tortilla chips into the mug and mix gently to keep from crushing them. Add the salsa and microwave until eggs are cooked. In my microwave, that took about 4 and a half minutes. Top with additional chips, queso fresco and additional salsa, if desired. [Recipe adapted from]

The chocolate cake is what I was most skeptical about. I have found, in my limited experience, that any sort of batter or dough-based food tends to get dried out and unpleasantly crunchy in the microwave. I watched this closely and took it out to check often, ending the cooking as soon as the ingredients no longer looked wet. Because of the large size of the mugs, I doubled this recipe and it overflowed the mug and got all over the inside of the microwave, but if you stick with the directions here you should be fine.

The addition of cayenne pepper was interesting, but I thought it complemented the dark chocolate flavor nicely. The chocolate chips also made for a soft contrast in texture and moistness to the cake that I think helped to counteract the issue of microwave dryness.

I made two of these—one for me and one for my roommate—and ran out of milk, so in one I substituted unsweetened coconut milk, but I couldn’t taste the difference and the texture was consistent.

Spicy Chocolate Mug Cake

Ingredients: 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour 3 Tbs. white sugar 2 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder 2 Tbs. chocolate chips ¼ tsp. baking powder 1 pinch salt 1 pinch cayenne pepper 1 pinch ground cinnamon 3 Tbs. milk 1 Tbs. canola oil 1 egg, beaten ½ tsp. vanilla extract

Combine dry ingredients in mug. In a separate mug, beat egg, milk, canola oil and vanilla. Blend the egg mixture with the dry ingredients until thoroughly mixed, then microwave in one-minute intervals until cooked through. The cake will rise in the microwave, so if you don’t have a large mug like the ones pictured, place the mug on a plate to catch anything that might overflow. [Recipe adapted from]

These recipes are easy to follow and have ingredients that are easy to find and inexpensive. Out of the three, the chilaquiles were my favorite. The eggs and cheese are a decent source of protein, and they were so simple to make and very tasty. I’ve since added them to my breakfast rotation because they are portable and easy to make and take with me on the go.

Even though I was skeptical about cooking a full meal in the microwave, I am happy with the way everything turned out. Nothing had the overcooked microwave texture I was concerned about, and everything tasted like something I would make and eat at home by cooking on the stove.

Kelli Hennessey

Staff Writer