Monday, May 2, 2011

Students engaging within the community through classes

By Jenna Cook 
       Students are getting involved with civic engagement through various classes across the Washington State University campus.
            Christine Oakley, a sociology professor at WSU, has been working with the civic engagement for about seven years.
             “What students learn in the classroom can be translated into some social change,” said Oakley.
Every fall, Oakley teaches Sociology 433 a Tier III class. This class is focused on community and urban development. At the beginning of the semester students are assigned groups and given the goals of what the group should try to accomplish.
“Students learn and talk about community and then they are able to experience community,” said Oakley.
Oakley likes teaching the class. She has a variety of students enrolling who need to fulfill their Tier III requirement.
“We get students from every major and they each bring different perspectives to the class,” said Oakley. “Every semester is a little different.”
Oakley said the organizations she works with vary every year.
First she meets with Vernette Doty, Center for Civic Engagement Academic Program Coordinator, to see what organizations and civic engagement has available that need assistance. Oakley has worked with a variety of organizations such as WSU Green Bike, Horizon Communities and organizations in Spokane.
Oakley said if she could “have her way” the class wouldn’t be 100 students.
“There is only so much you can do here,” said Oakley. “If the class was smaller we could integrate the project more and it would be more meaningful to work toward a similar goal.”
Although it is a big class, Oakley has heard various responses from former students after taking the class who were glad they were able to experience community and some even questioned what community really was.
Courtney Salazar, junior psychology major, said “I liked how Professor Oakley taught the class and included the group projects.”
“I was able to experience what I was learning in class and it really put the concept of community in perspective,” said Salazar.
Oakley has had an overall good experience working with civic engagement and the group projects. Students have been able to make connections with communities and some groups have gone above and beyond what is asked of them.
Students working with Horizon have provided communities with information and the tools for them to be successful, Oakley said. Students who got enthusiastic about the project were able to connect with children and gave them a sense of hope of attending college. After the class the group worked with the school district and WSU to connect them together and bring children to the campus.
“The goal is to look at the world and contribute to it,” said Oakley.
Cindy Ola, junior human development major, enrolled in Oakley’s class last fall.
“I think it’s important for students to have classes that work with civic engagement,” said Ola. “More students should be experiencing what is going on around them in the community.”
Last year students worked with The Green Bike program and Jamie Bentley. The work the students did throughout the semester helped increase bike check outs and helped Bentley make some needed connections throughout campus, said Oakley. A variety of students researched bike lanes, helped the promotion of the program and researched biking safety.
“It enabled students to create bike awareness on campus,” said Oakley.
Ola and her group of classmates created a booth in the Compton Union Building to promote the Green Bike Program. Ola liked promoting the program and getting out of the classroom.
“Working with the Green Bike program made the class more interesting,” said Ola.
In fall 2011, Oakley will work with The City of Pullman and the city planner to continue the work of students in 2010 and the Green Bike project. 
The projects from last fall will be presented to the city planner and the City of Pullman.
“We want to connect the city with the WSU campus,” said Oakley.
These projects will present the possibilities of bike lanes from WSU into the city.
“I would like to see the project scaled down so students are able to see the impact they are making,” said Oakley. “Working with the city planner will make this possible.”

Thursday, April 14, 2011

More people are joining the party

 By: Jenna Cook
            Many students like Brittlyn D. Zeller junior construction management major are joining the party craze called Zumba at WSU.
            Zeller is among many other students who participate in one of eight Zumba classes offered by WSU University Recreation.
            According to University Recreation webpage “Zumba is a Latin dance inspired aerobic workout for all fitness levels. This class feels more like a party than a workout, but after an hour of this class you will know you did plenty of work!”
            Zeller tries to push herself and stay fit she says before her Zumba class begins on Tuesday and Thursdays at 5:10 p.m.
            “I don’t like going to the Rec because I get bored being on exercise machines or running on the track, said Zeller. After hearing from a friend about Zumba and trying it, I really like it.”
            Zeller is taking her second Zumba class this year and loves it. She also likes her instructor who gives the class lots of energy with her hip shaking dance routines.
            “My instructor is really fun and she is a big part of why I like taking this (fitness) class.”
            Since Zumba is based on dancing each instructor has their own style and energy levels that they bring to each class said Zeller. “I like my instructor because her choreography is really fast pace.”
            Even though this is her second class Zeller still fumbles up on some steps in the routines.   “Some of the routines take a couple times to get the hang of them, but when I mess up I just move my feet and laugh at myself. Zumba isn’t serious it’s fun. So if you mess up there are probably other people who are too.”
            Zeller said she has told many of her friends to take the class with her. “I have told at least five of my friends to take the class with me or at least take a Zumba class and try it.”
            Nate Balko coordinator of Group Fitness & Instruction at the Recreational Center at WSU said “beginning with our first class in Spring 2010 we have seen a consistent increase in registration for our Zumba classes.”
            University Recreation has had to add classes and make changes to their fitness classes program. “We had to do away with the Fitness Passport (where you could pay a flat rate for access to many different classes) because we had too many people showing up to Zumba classes.  Instead, we separated out the classes, added more Zumba classes, and capped the registration of each class to avoid having to turn anyone away” said Balko.
            Tracy Casteel, junior apparel merchandise and textiles major said “I loved the class and I would recommend it to anybody who wants to exercise and have fun doing it too.”
            Just like Zeller, Casteel has suggested Zumba to her friends too.
            Balko believes the trend will grow, “as Zumba adds more training programs it makes it easier for instructors to continue to add variety and fun to the classes.”

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Alternative Spring Break interests more students

By Jenna Cook

             During spring break a group of Washington State University students traveled to Galveston, Texas to help repair homes instead of having a traditional spring break vacation. Cindy Ola was one of the students who participated in one-of-seven alternative spring break trips offered by WSU and the Center for Civic Engagement.
            “This was an experience that I would not trade for anything in the world and I would definitely do it again,” said Cindy Ola.
            Ola, junior human development major at WSU wanted to attend the Galveston, Texas trip because she has attended pervious service trips within Washington State and wanted to expand and help other outside communities.
            WSU brought Ola and 19 other students to Texas to help repair and rebuild homes for Hurricane Ike victims.
            “Through this experience I was able to learn about devastating problems that other communities outside of Washington are facing,” said Ola.
            Michael J. Schwartz, student involvement coordinator for the Center for Civic Engagement said this past year civic engagement has received about 120 applications for about 90 spots.
            WSU and the Center for Civic Engagement offered trips to students to New Orleans, Guatemala, Washington State, and Galveston, Texas. This year students were most interested in the trips to New Orleans and Guatemala. The students that applied to attend the trip to Guatemala and did not get a position were offered a spot in one of the Washington trips.
            Schwartz said he believes the reasoning for many students wanting to participate is because “students are able to get with other college kids to help out.”
            Students are also able to meet new friends while having fun and gaining life changing experiences.
            Schwartz said the students experiences have been “across the board awesome.”
            If any students are interested in attending a trip there are enough spots for everyone because no student will be turned away. The cost of a trip will not interfere with students participating because some trips such as the ones in Washington do not cost students more.
             An increase in applications can also be due to students like Ola who have told her peers about her experience.
            “I have encouraged friends to take part in different community service projects but not necessarily Alternative Service breaks, but after my experience I know that it is something that I will definitely start doing,” said Ola.
            Katie E. Veloz, junior organizational communication major is interested in applying for an alternative spring break trip next year because of the positive feedback she heard about the program and an experience her friend had on a previous trip.
            “I would love to go on one of these trips. It sounds like a great experience and a good way to help out those in need.”
            Veloz said she is interested in applying for either a Washington State trip or a trip to New Orleans if they are offered next school year.
            Schwartz believes the higher application rate and interest in the program will continue to grow each year.

Monday, March 7, 2011

WSU expanding to the Everett Area

Jenna Cook

            A new bill may give Washington State University permission to create a new branch campus replacing Everett Community College in 2014.
            “This will import higher education opportunities to the area,” said Rep. Mike Sells of the 38th Legislative District.
            This bill would require WSU to create a plan for establishing a branch campus in Everett, Wash., and to take over the University Center at EVCC. House Bill 1792 is currently being viewed in the Senate by the Higher Education committee for approval.
            The Senate bill 5636 is a companion bill to the house bill. It is in the House and is being overlooked by the Higher Education Committee for its first reading. The house and senate bills will need to be approved the legislature and the Governor to pass.
            Currently EVCC has eight four-year higher education programs at the University Center, if the bill passes the programs will be transferred over to WSU.  Also the estimated $89,000 in revenue from fees collected by the University Center will be collected by WSU.
            The plan created by WSU will need to address the higher education needs of Snohomish, Skagit and Island counties and include a budget and expenses required to apply the plan.
            This change is due to a greater demand of students in the area attending college and a need for engineering, science, and math baccalaureate degrees needed for jobs. The bill will “expand access” for people who want to further their education and earn their bachelor degree Sells said.
            For many students who would like to attend WSU currently that live on the west-side of the state would be given an option to attend either Everett or Pullman campus.
            “The majority of people that are here in Pullman are from the west side of the state, said Amanda Sherin junior Human Development major.  I know a lot of my friends would have loved to come to WSU but they just were not ready to come all the way to Pullman.”
            A junior transfer student Jeremy Morrell is also in favor of the bill but would rather take classes at the Pullman campus. “I would have considered staying in Everett for the reason of being closer to home for less expenses but if I would still have made the choice I did to come here because I'm away from home,” said Morrell.
            With a new campus located in Everett many students would be able to finish their degrees in another location or transfer credits.
            “I am switching to WSU online so that I can move back home and if there was an option to do an Everett campus I would jump on that,” Sherin said.
            According to the House Bill Report the people who oppose the bill believe “We need to consider the costs of this plan…and focus our energy on dealing with the current financial situation.”
            WSU President Elson Floyd is a supporter of the bill along with Sells and fellow represtentatives Hope, Dunshee, Haler, McCoy, Moscoso and Liias.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Former Coug Comes Back

By Jenna Cook
A former Coug spoke Tuesday night to the Washington State University Public Relations Student Society of America, about how her education and passion for life has helped her throughout her career.
            “I wanted to save lives,” said Kim Papich about her job in the healthcare industry.
            Kim Papich, the public information officer for Spokane Regional Health District, and a former WSU graduate, also previously worked for several companies in the healthcare field such as Itron Inc. and TRA Medical Imaging. At WSU, Papich was taught basic writing, grammar and style rules in classes such as Journalism 305 and Communication 295. She also learned about real-world campaign planning and working with a client in Public Relations 412.
            Papich had two internships in healthcare while attending WSU. She said internships can help show what skills to focus on to be successful. Papich also said internships give great experience and an idea of what you would like to do for a career.
            Papich said she learned a lot at WSU during the three and a half years she attended she wishes she learned a lot more. “Writing is always an uphill battle,” said Papich about the need to learn more about writing. Papich also wishes she learned more about real-world situations like interviewing skills, and about various types of new technology.
            “It helped hearing from a professional what we needed to prepare ourselves for, outside of what we learn at WSU,” said Lauren A. Peak, a student who attended the meeting.
            Although Papich was not taught these things or may have missed them in class that day, she stressed the importance of education. She explained that this is the time to learn and to take advantage of every opportunity students are given. This education is only given once, so students should get the most they can out of it, she said. Papich was proud she attended WSU, and her education here helped her greatly when she entered the workplace.
            “She really taught us to learn all that we can in college because we only have one chance to take it all in before we have to apply our knowledge and experience to our future careers,” said Alyssa G. King, vice president of the WSU PRSSA.
            “Before I got out of school, a job was a paycheck. Now, it’s something that I need to be passionate about,” Papich said.
            She said in the healthcare field she gets to work and learn about various topics every day. This is what she loves about her job and her career.
            “Money is cool only if it complements your life, a job should compliment your purpose”, she said. Papich wanted to save lives, so working in healthcare is a job she values.
            “I really enjoyed how influential Kim was at telling students to slow down and enjoy every accomplishment they make,” said King. “She really put it into perspective that life moves fast and before we know it we are out of college and into the real world.”


Monday, January 31, 2011

Increasing parking rates proposed by WSU Parking and Transportation Services

By: Jenna Cook

             Parking and Transportation Services proposed an increase for all parking rates during the ASWSU meeting Wednesday.
            The proposed rate increase would take place over three years and would raise funds for repairs to parking garages and surface lots. Bridgette G. Brady represented PTS at the meeting and presented the proposed plan of action and asked for ASWSU support.
            The new rates would include a monthly increase of $0.46 for blue parking passes and $2.40 for orange parking passes. The hourly rate for all garages will increase up to 5 percent. The PTS said they are trying to keep the increases as small as possible. They are taking other actions other than the increases such as discontinuing the Wheatland Express Intercampus Shuttle service and reduce expenses by decreasing staffing.
            The PTS said they do not receive any state funding and all parking maintenance, construction, enforcement and administrative services are paid for by the parking system users through permit, enforcement, garage and event parking revenue. Brady stressed the importance of approval for this increase to build the funds to repair the parking garages and surface lots on the WSU campus.
           Currently, the Fine Arts Garage is in need of the most repairs. According to the PTS FAQs sheet for the proposal, no major capital repairs performed on the garage since its construction in 1970. Brady said the Fine Arts Garage will account for about $1.2 million or 50 percent of the total funds. If there is no rate increase there is a possibility of closing garages for safety reasons.
         “I'm sure you heard the dire situation that the Fine Arts garage is in. I'd rather see a marginal increase in parking rates than see the garage close down”, District 7 Senator Alex D. Smith said.
          Most of the senators agreed that shutting down the garages is not the best option. PTS states if no work is done to the garages the deterioration will continue at a fast rate and the cost to repairs will increase each year the repairs are deferred.
         “We should fix the problems present now, because things will only get worse as time goes on and who knows how much damage could be done if we let the current problems sit”, District 4 Senator Grant M. Eastey said.
           Some of the senators had various concerns about this increase such as would the increase be permanent after the three years and would all students be affected? Brady said the increase would not be permanent and students who don’t park in the garages or buy WSU parking passes will not be affected.
           “I am in favor of the increase. People are going to buy the parking passes no matter what, since the increase is a little under $1 a month, I don't see them having much trouble selling the passes”, Eastey said.
           If the proposed increase is approved and repairs are made to all garages, some senators questioned if this would be the end of the increases. “It’s going to be hard to tell if there will be a need for anymore increases after the three years”, Brady said.