They’re going down, we’re yelling timber

The recent windstorm sent trees falling all around Whitworth, especially in the Loop.

Whitworth is ranked 20th in beauty for Christian campuses across the globe, according to Christian Universities Online. The campus has a grounds crew that helps maintain this standard through upkeep of the campus.


However, the unnatural growing conditions associated with this upkeep may have altered how the trees grow.

Some trees may have needed to be removed but were kept for their beauty. Others didn’t grow the way they needed to because of the sandy soil underneath much of Whitworth, university arborist Will Mellott said.

“Because of the soil, the trees’ roots can’t grow down, but have to grow out to reach water,” Mellott said. “This means that the roots are shallower and don’t provide as much support.”

Normally roots can extend out in equal proportion to the tree’s height in order to reach these nutrients. Because of the proximity of the trees they begin grafting which causes them to fall together, Mellott said.

Last year Whitworth experienced two small storms that uplifted almost 100 trees on campus. Because those trees fell, it left previously protected trees open to nature’s forces, Mellott said. Many of the trees that fell last summer had grafted roots, which caused them to fall in groups.

Mellott attributes the amount of trees that fell this year to the fact that this protection was gone.

It was those combined forces, along with the force of mother nature that ultimately caused the trees to fall.

“It is a combination of a bunch of factors, “ Mellott said. “Part of it is an action of God. Everything on this earth evolves and dies, and this is the way that the trees followed this course.”

Instead of looking at the destruction, he urges students to examine the future.

“This is an evolving landscape. As caretakers for God we are called to watch over them, but we can’t worship the creation,” Mellott said. “Just because the trees fell, doesn’t mean our responsibility to maintaining nature is over. Now we look to the future student and plant more other trees that do fit this system and follow the natural evolution.”


Parker Postlewait

Staff Writer

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More students come to Whitworth for the sciences

Whitworth University has 921 students majoring in some category of the sciences. This is nearly 40 percent of the 2,349 undergraduate students. This number has been growing since 2011.

After the construction of the Robinson Science Hall four years ago, the health science major gained 52 more students in the program than the previous year according to the 2015 Whitworth University Fall Factbook.

Other science majors currently have more seniors in each of their departments than other grade levels. Seniors compose 33 percent of the students in the biology major. Chemistry seniors make up 39 of the 83 members of the department. They were the first graduating class after the dedication of the building, perhaps showing the effectiveness a new building can have.

“The architects, who had just done SPU’s new science area, told us that when a campus builds a new science building there is a kind of honeymoon period for an influx of science majors,” biology chair Craig Tsuchida said.

Students responses to the building indicate that this theory was accurate for Whitworth. “Robinson was one of the places they gave me tour of and seemed to want to sell me on and I have to say it worked,” senior Jordan Holmes said.

Another reason for the number of students in the sciences is the diversity within the de- partments. There are 22 subdivisions of science majors—including mathematics and engineering—that are offered. Of 600 students, 45 percent of the freshman class of 2019 declared themselves as one of these science majors, according to the admissions department.

Most of the 270 incoming students in the sciences declared in nursing, pre-medicine and biology.

These three majors within the science department accounted for 113 or 42 percent of the total science-related majors, according to information supplied by Admissions Vice President Greg Orwig.

Whitworth also has added four science majors since 2009.

In 2009 Whitworth added a health science major. Currently 182 students, nearly eight percent of undergraduate students, are health science majors, according to the Fall Factbook.

The number of health science majors has grown nearly every year since being added to the catalog, according to the Fall Factbook.

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However, these additions do not usually take away from other departments, but the sciences as a whole.

“We have a lot of students who come into the biology program wanting to be a doctor. But a lot transfer over to health science to pursue another form of healthcare,” Tsuchida said. “We used to have a lot more students who just stayed in our department to get those degrees.”

The department sees a lot of those students who just change majors because of grades and the difficulties, according to advisors across majors.

“The two main reasons I get for students choosing this major is they loved the subject in high school and that they want to work in the health care field,” Tscuchida said.

The latter may be a main cause. Some students choose the major because the United States is pushing for more scientists and health care positions, senior Rob Thullen said. In June 2015, 14.2 percent of job listings were for health care practitioners and technicians, according to an Indeed report of the Talent Driven Economy.


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Sex, drugs and rock and roll not allowed: The language of The Big Three

No Cohabitation

“There is to be no cohabitation on campus...[T]he practical application of the policy requires that it be used... to address persons who spend extended hours of a night together, who sleep together, and/or who engage in genital contact even if it falls short of actual intercourse.”

- The Whitworth Student Handbook

That last phrase of the rule leaves room for interpretation. What counts as extended hours?

Resident directors were given two situations comparing a long-term relationship to a one-night stand.

If people are having one-night stands, advisers would most likely help focus on how those actions could impact the two students later, McMillan RD Matthew Baker said.

“There is room for a little interpretation in the gray area and that’s because Student Life philosophy is that we want students to become decision makers, not rule followers,” Baker said.

The gray areas also allow for different ways for individual situations to be addressed. While wanting to be consistent in disciplining for policy violations, Student Life also wants to be fair to residents, Baker said.

In long-term relationships, the discipline would be similar, but leaders would focus on this being an intellectual experience in which they build a stronger relationship, Baker said.

“[The gray area] allows for healthy relationships, and allows for students to take ownership,” Arend RD Michael Ames said. “Students get to set limits on things.”

Usually, initial contact with the resident is made by the resident assistants, such as Resident Assistant Ben Olson.

“For the well-being of the person and the relationship, I might address them differently,” Olson said. “This job is less about getting people in trouble, and more about helping people towards growth and self-betterment.”

Residents should not take this as an invitation to break the rules, but to make decisions in order to grow closer to their community, Baker said.

No Drugs or Alcohol

“There is to be no on-campus possession, consumption, or distribution of alcohol, illegal drugs/ mood-altering substances or controlled medication without a prescription.”

- The Whitworth Student Handbook

When someone has been accused of violating a Big Three, one question that arises during conversation, is the topic of trust. Baker prefers to trust his residents, because he is unhappy with the idea of a community that do not trust one another, he said.

“However, it can be difficult when what someone says doesn’t line up with the evidence, what other people say or even what they had said earlier,” Baker said.

At that point, consistency in documentation can help when they pass on the case to Dean of Student Life Timothy Caldwell.

Honesty between residents and Student Life is really a matter of integrity on the part of the student and a matter of creating a positive community for student life, Ames said.

“If we have these things, students will feel like they can approach us with the truth, or with their own concerns and issues,” Ames said.

“We have to document any events that might look like a policy violation,” RA Cass Busch said. “However, addressing the situation should begin with conversation.”

By speaking with residents about a Big Three violation, she is able to shed some light on the situation when talking to the RD and share her observations, she said.

No Disturbing the Peace

“There is to be no violent or destructive behavior or other conduct that threatens or endangers the safety or emotional well-being of any person on campus. This prohibition includes, but is not limited to, such behaviors as fighting, vandalism, and any behavior that results in destruction or loss of property (including theft), or disruption of community life. This prohibition also includes, but is not limited to, physical abuse, verbal abuse, threats, and/or intimidation, as well as behaviors including assault, sexual assault, harassment and other forms of sexual misconduct.”

- The Whitworth Student Handbook

One question of Student Life is how approachable they are for students who want to confess to a Big Three violation or to report one they have seen.

“People can be a little turned off by reporting someone else, or by getting in trouble themselves, it just depends on the relationship we have,” Olson said.

Having a conversation does not mean you are guaranteed a Big Three punishment on your record. Often it is just that, a conversation, said Busch.

“We talk it out and handle it in a positive way,” Busch said. “People should talk more often because we are friends as well as advisers.”


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Staff Writer

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House hunting advice for and from Whitworth students

Where to start looking

The Whitworth website:

The Whitworth website offers links that can direct students to local rental property listings.

The Whitworth off-campus Facebook page:

The Facebook page provides a space for students to list off-campus housing needs and collaborate to fill them.

The properties listed on the site, “house up to 100 Whitworth Students each year,” according to the website, and are all within a short distance from campus. These properties, recently owned by Bill Meyers, have been taken over by Jasbir Thabel and Patrick Cardinal. Meyers had been renting properties since 1994. However, after undergoing brain surgery to control his Parkinson’s, “it was time to move on while I still could,” Meyers said in a notice to his residents.


Encountering tricky situations

Some rentals come with issues and, “even if it is not in your rental agreement or lease, your landlord is required to keep your building and unit in a habitable condition,” according to’s legal encyclopedia.

“We had some damage to a railing outside of our house that was a real safety concern. We tried telling our realtor about it and he didn’t listen,” senior Jacob Forrest said in regard to his previous residence. “Eventually it broke and someone fell and got hurt. We almost got in trouble as a result.”

However, because they had reported the damage to the landlord, they were not responsible for the injury, Forrest said. As a result he recommends you always report problems to your landlords so they can get issues fixed quickly and effectively, he said.

Senior Matthew Thomas shared a similar story.

“We had a realtor who wouldn’t respond to our needs,” Thomas said. “He wouldn’t fix the sealant so our house was always freezing cold. We had mold, a broken door and a mouse infestation.”

The main issue was each of the prospective tenants didn’t check out the house for themselves before hand, he said.

“In retrospect, I would have gone and checked out the house so I knew what I was getting into and made sure they fixed it beforehand,” Thomas said.


Beginning the search early

Sometimes it is difficult to nd a house that fits students’ needs if they don’t start their search early.

“We had a lot of guys that wanted to live together. We ended up renting both sides of a duplex so that we could all be in the same place,” senior Bryan Walsh said. “However, we had to sacrifice some amenities we wanted in order to do so.”

Most of the houses that fit their large numbers were already rented by the time they began their search in January and February. Because of that, most of the housing attributes they wanted were missing, including a large living room area, a garbage disposal and a second fridge, he said.

Other students, such as junior Maggie Callan and senior Shawna Angle, began searching for rentals a lot earlier in late October and early November. Both were happy with their house rentals.

“We started searching early and signed the lease before Christmas break, and even then a lot of houses were already gone by the time we settled on ours,” Angle said. “Overall we’re very happy with the house and glad we got started early.”

The general consensus of off-campus students is that sophomores should start their search early in order to find a house that fits their needs and number of people.


Staying connected to on-campus life

Moving off campus brings a lot of questions, fears and excitement.

“I’m excited about having my own space that I can relax in, but a little worried about the difficulty of staying involved on campus,” sophomore Jaime Quaresma said. “I want to be involved with people that I am not living with.”

Those fears echoed those of other students. However, students who entered the year with those same worries were quick to calm these fears.

“I thought I wouldn’t get to be connected with campus life,” Callan said. “But I feel like it was easy to maintain connection through sports, campus activities and putting effort into relationships.”


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Increase in honors requirements

Next year’s incoming class of 2020 will encounter a new standard when it comes to the honors program.

Currently, the Whitworth website lists the requirements for George Whitworth Honors to be 15 credits at a grade level of C or higher. However, the requirements will increase required credits to 18 beginning next year.

This change comes at the recommendation of the National Collegiate honors council, director of honors Doug Sugano said. The NCHC “provide support for institutions and individuals developing, implementing, and expanding honors education through curriculum development,” according to the website

Since the NCHC sends evaluators to each of their member schools every three years, Sugano and the Honors Committee wanted to implement the new policy before the NCHC visits this year, he said.

Whitworth has fewer honors credits required than most other Washington private schools such as Seattle Pacific, Whitman and Pacific Lutheran University.

According to the Pacific Lutheran University website, honors students need about the equivalent of 28 credit hours for their honors program. Seattle Pacific University requires 66 credits for their University Scholars program; however, each class is five credits.

The base standards for Whitworth’s honors program remain high. Whitworth requires the credits to be taken within multiple academic departments with no more than nine credits earned within a single department, according to the Whitworth website. The system allows for honors students to get a well-rounded education, according to the website.

These credits also have to be earned in different types of courses such as: honors courses, honors research, honors internship, honors off-campus program, honors creative project and honors discussion groups, according to the Whitworth website. Whitworth offers a lighter course load but makes the honors system well rounded, Sugano said.

“I know how busy Whitworth students are,” Sugano said. “Some have two majors, and those that don’t have multiple minors. Honors are important but I don’t want it competing with everything else that is present in students' lives.”

Any incoming freshmen that enter the school with honors, as noted by their incoming GPA, are entered into the program for their first year of attendance. Each year, the incoming freshmen class has about 240 honors students, which drops to around 50 by a class’ sophomore year, Sugano said. This is due to opting out of the program or a drop in GPA and sequential removal from the program, Sugano said.

The honors program is working on expanding it’s o erings, recently offering the priority opportunity for eight George Whitworth Honors students to intern at the Smithsonian during Jan Term, which afterwards opens to general students. The committee plans to expand this to May Term as well, Sugano said.

Honors students also have the opportunity to drink coffee and have conversations with important guest speakers. For example, the past month students have had co ee with B.H. Fairchild, breakfast with Dena Samuels, and attended the President’s Leadership Forum with David Brooks. Exciting opportunities continue to be offered throughout the year for honors students, Sugano said.

Further information about the Honors program can be found on the honors section of the Whitworth website, or by contacting the members of the Honors Steering Committee.


Parker Postlewait

Staff Writer

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New Dean of Spiritual Life

This year, Whitworth welcomed a new faculty member. Whitworth University hired Forrest Buckner at the end of the last calendar year as the new dean of spiritual life. Buckner filled the position of Terry McGonigal, beginning his first full year in July.

Buckner’s full title is Dean of Spiritual Life and Campus Pastor.

“This position encompasses three main categories: campus ministry, administration, and teaching,” Buckner said.


The first category is the overseeing and leading of staff, pastors and students in the chapel. The other staff members have welcomed him with open arms, which makes this part of the job a lot easier, Buckner said.

The second part of his job means he sits on President Beck Taylor’s Cabinet and helps make adjustments in regard to the big picture of campus. Specifically, the dean of spiritual life holds the position because there is a want for someone with a lens dedicated to how Whitworth is fulfilling their Christian mission, Buckner said of his administrative position.

The third and final part of his job is to teach one class a year. He is currently co-teaching Foundations of Christian Theology with Jerry Sittser. That may increase to more than one class a year as he grows into his position, Buckner said.


“I want everyone who comes to Whitworth, wherever they are on the spectrum of faith to have the chance to know the truth and reality of Jesus,” Buckner said with regard to his goals for the future.

Bucker wants to help by opening doors that can help this happen. He desires to get to know everyone and walk with them toward Jesus, Buckner said.

Beyond that, Buckner wants the campus to continue to bring a new energy and atmosphere to Tuesday and Thursday chapel. His hope is that people will tell him what to change and what will make the process better. Through them, he will be able to help allow people to enjoy the influence of Jesus on campus, Buckner said.

Buckner joins Whitworth faculty after spending three years in Scotland where he received his Ph.D. in systematic theology at St. Andrews. He began his schooling with a degree in engineering at Colorado School of Mines, where he also played football. Buckner continued his education at Fuller Seminary where he received a masters in divinity in 2012.

“Two friends, not connected at all, both told me about this job and said it would fit me within two days of one another,” Buckner said when asked how he heard about the position. He decided to apply as he found himself interested and excited.

Some of the aspects that stood out most to him were Whitworth’s commitment to provide an education of mind and heart, and the decisions of students and faculty to honor God, follow Christ and serve humanity, Buckner said.

Finally, Buckner said he felt, “this was written for me,” as he read the job description.

It combined both of his desires when it came to ministry, pastoring and theological study, Buckner said. For 10 years, both before and during his time at Fuller, Buckner worked as a youth pastor in Colorado. He was at the position because First Presbyterian Church of Boulder was part of what had given rise to his faith in the first place, Buckner said. The former pastor had told him to apply, and his acceptance gave him a new passion as a pastor.

As he spent time at Fuller, he realized he also had a passion for learning. The job offered him the ability to spend time getting to know more about theology, Buckner said. He loves reading about the topic and using it to reach more people accurately.

Buckner brings with him his wife Janelle, his two daughters Esther, eight, and Bella, six, and his son River, three. As he approaches this job, his personal priority is to make sure his family knows they are loved and he spends time giving his heart fully to them and to Whitworth, Buckner said. Managing this has been made easier because he is “already surrounded by students and faculty who already have shown love to his family,” Buckner said.

“I am very thankful for the open arms and people on this campus and I want to get to know the students,” Buckner said.


Parker Postlewait

Staff Writer

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Feature image courtesy of Forrest Buckner

Student earns grant to start Madagascar camp

IMG_6263 Last semester junior Jessica Razanadrakoto traveled the world by ship and earned the opportunity to positively impact her home country, Madagascar, with its first-ever summer camp.

Razanadrakoto said she didn’t know what to expect because she had never been on a cruise ship before, but she entered into a competition created by the Resolution Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating “leaders with a lifelong commitment to social responsibility,” according to the organization’s website.

The founders were tired of being referred to as the leaders of tomorrow and they decided to inspire the generation to be the leaders of today, according to their mission statement and story.

Through winning the Resolution Fellowship Razanadrakoto and two teammates received a U.S. Grant to develop a summer camp in her home of Moramanga, Madagascar.

Razanadrakoto believes Madagascar’s untouched potential helped them win. Razanadrakoto’s team’s camp would be the first summer camp in Madagascar, Razanadrakoto said.

“Madagascar’s education is based on memorization. Students’ performance is measured on how well they memorize the information and how well they get on the test,” Razanadrakoto said. “Though grammar, math, and history for instance could be done this way, leadership skills can’t.”

The goal of the camp is to teach the kids of Moramanga the leadership skills they don’t learn in school, Razanadrakoto said.

The first year of camp will begin in July of 2016 with an expected enrollment of 30 students.

“We will be teaching students leadership skills through sports and activities, such as Lacrosse and the human knot,” Razanadrakoto said.

An ideal day at camp would include sports in the morning, followed by lunch. Then arts and crafts and other activities, and closing the day with a discussion session on what the students learned on and off the field and why it matters in their everyday life, Razanadrakoto said.

The team working at the camp will be made up of Razanadrakoto’s winning team and five native Malagasies and five international volunteers. The 10 leaders will work with students 10-15 years old for two-week periods who were suggested by teachers in Moramanga.

Razanadrakoto had the opportunity to join in the competition that Resolution Projects hosts during the Semester at Sea program. Resolution Projects brings their Resolution Fellowship to the Semester at Sea program to find undergraduate students and helps “them implement their idea and develop as socially-responsible leaders,” according to the program description.

She struggled to find a team at first, but then came together with two other women, Laura Patterson, a D1 lacrosse player, and Sophia Connot, a student heavily involved in student leadership. Together, these near-strangers combined their skills to build a sports camp in Madagascar for leadership development for today and tomorrow, Razanadrakoto said.

The idea for the camp partially originated from Razanadrakoto’s experience in the U.S., she said.

After moving from Madagascar she began attending high school in Seattle her sophomore year. During that time she recognized Madagascar doesn’t offer nearly as many extra-curricular activities as the United States, Razanadrakoto said.

Participating in the Resolution Project gave her the chance to increase the opportunities offered to children in Madagascar, she said.

The project was not an easy one, Razanadrakoto said.

“This [process] took late nights and very little sleep,” Razanadrakoto said.

The Resolution Project competition consists of three rounds of presentations before a judging panel in which teams explain their plans for finances and organization.

The hard work paid off, Razanadrakoto said. The team felt confident in their idea after the final stage of presentations, where they competed against three other teams. She and the other members of their team knew in the back of their minds that they would win because of how well the presentation had gone, she said.

Razanadrakoto and her teammates want to create as many leaders as possible in the country, while allowing the students to have fun at the camp.

Razanadrakoto’s parents gave her a piece of land that is big enough for a school. The land is in the same area as the camp so she hopes to be able to incorporate this to further the purpose of the camp, she said. Razanadrakoto plans to be at the camp for the first few years, eventually planning on teaching others how to sustain the camp.

The time at sea wasn’t all about the project. Class would stop when a family of dolphins swam by, Razanadrakoto said of her time on the ship.

They spent two to 14 days on the water between ports, Razanadrakoto said, calling the trip amazing. The students on the ship took classes and admired the sights and cultures that come with a trip around the world.

Their journey included 12 countries, many of which were in Africa and Asia.

Departing from Ensenada, Mexico, the ship’s passengers and crew gathered on the upper deck and clapped. They continued clapping as they saw beautiful sunsets and sunrises the likes of which they had not experienced on land, Razanadrakoto said.

Razanadrakoto initially went on the trip because “traveling the world was on her bucket list” and when she saw the Semester at Sea program she couldn’t help but agree to it, she said, adding that she was excited to get to know other peoples and cultures.

Students who have an interest in a similar trip can find more information at

More information on the Resolution Project can be found at Anyone who wishes to get involved with Razanadrakoto and her team’s project can apply as an international volunteer as the camp gets started. Donations toward sports equipment/volunteers travels are also welcome as the camp enters its growth period, Razanadrakoto said.


Parker Postlewait 

Staff Writer

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