May’s Big Idea Strikes The Right Chord

Group applause for Nancy Koppelman's talk

Group applause for Nancy Koppelman’s talk

“What Are Families For?” That’s the question that sparked May’s Big Idea, which brought together an exciting combination of thoughtful minds, relevant conversation, and good food and drinks together for a truly memorable and fun evening at Three Magnets Brewing Company in downtown Olympia. The star of the evening was faculty guest speaker Nancy Koppelman ’88, who had a lively crowd of Greeners alternating between laughter, asking questions and examining assumptions for upwards of an hour after a relaxed social hour in the restaurant’s Barrel Room. Once guests had drinks in hand, food ordered, friends made, and old friends greeted, we slid the rustic sliding doors closed and initiated a conversation that unquestionably had everyone’s full attention. Continue reading

The Greeners Behind Our Cities Gather in Seattle

Jennifer Gerend Ph.D AICP welcomes alumni and friends

Jennifer Gerend welcomes alumni and friends

On April 18, 2015, Evergreen faculty member Jennifer Gerend Ph.D AICP hosted a gathering of The Greeners Behind Our Cities: alumni, friends, and several of her most promising urban planning students. Over thirty attended the event at the Tap House Grill, located within walking distance of the American Planning Association’s national conference at the Washington State Convention Center.

Alumni and friends enjoying remarks from one of Jennifer Gerend's urban planning students

Alumni and friends enjoying remarks from one of Jennifer Gerend’s urban planning students

About an hour into the event, the clink of a glass drew Greener’s attention away from small group conversation, steak skewers, crab cakes, 14 Hands wine and other delectable appetizers and drinks to Jennifer’s opening remarks. She shared a multitude of exciting field trips, class readings and guest speakers her planning programs have experienced over the years, since joining Evergreen’s faculty in 2008, and introduced several of her recent and current students:

Acacia Weeks, Carlos Gemora '15, Alex Shields and Shira Moch '14

Acacia Weeks, Carlos Gemora ’15, Alex Shields and Shira Moch ’14

– Shira Moch ’14 studied with Jennifer and Ralph Murphy before being accepted into the first year of Evergreen’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program, doing research for the same faculty in 2013. Shira, who is currently a session aid to Washington State Senator and Evergreen Adjunct Faculty Karen Fraser, announced that she will begin graduate school at UCLA in urban planning this coming fall.
– Carlos Gemora ’15 also studied with Jennifer and Ralph, during which time he also started a planning internship with the City of Tumwater. When his internship ended, Carlos was offered a full time position in planning with the city, which he continues to hold today. Carlos will begin graduate school at Cornell University in urban planning this fall.
– Will Hamlin also studied with Jennifer, and while still a current undergraduate student,  he has begun a full-time position with Pacific County as one of their two staff planners.

Gil Kelley '79 begins introductions

Gil Kelley ’79 begins introductions

Following those special introductions, Jennifer asked everyone in attendance to introduce themselves and what brought them to the event , which encouraged some of the evening’s many highlights. Introductions started with Gil Kelley ’79, Director of Citywide Planning for the City of San Francisco. Gil noted the strange circumstance that the latest Evergreen Magazine, stacked on the table behind him, bared him on its cover. A former classmate of Kelley’s, Michael Bergstrom ’75, was also in attendance. They reminisced on the paths they’ve taken since doing the same life-changing planning internship as Evergreen students in the 1970s.

There were also several graduates of Evergreen’s Masters in Public Administration (MPA) program in attendance: Rita Robison ’75 MPA ’91 and Lynn Scroggins MPA ’97. Rita has since retired, and was joined by fellow retiree and long-time Olympia City Council member Holly Gadbaw, while Lynn works for the Nisqually Indian Tribe.

There were several Greeners new to the planning and development world, including Lynn Schneider ’88 and husband/wife David Wagner ’90 and Ann Marie Crane ’00. Lynn has just started a job with King County, while David and Ann are new to the Seattle real estate industry. As developers, David and Ann were well received by the lively group of planners.

Alayna Rose Leibman, Alex Shields and Acacia Weeks talk about Evergreen's new urban planning student club

Alayna Rose Leibman, Alex Shields and Acacia Weeks talk about Evergreen’s new urban planning student club

There were countless other stories from the group, and their conversations will undoubtedly continue, both professionally and personally. It was a memorable evening of engaging conversation, new friends, and great connections among students and alumni, colleagues, and old classmates. Some alumni will go on to serve as mentors, internship sponsors and employers of the students and recent graduates in the room. Some will rekindle friendships, and others will use new connections in their professional lives.

Jennifer Gerend Ph.D AICP

Jennifer Gerend Ph.D AICP

All in all, it was a celebratory evening for The Greeners Behind Our Cities and the passionate, systems and interdisciplinary thinking they bring to their work. A very special thank you to Jennifer Gerend, not only for her collaboration in planning the event but for carrying on Evergreen’s evident legacy of educating future planners.


Alumni turn out for December event in Seattle

Greeners gather in Seattle on December 10th

Greeners gather in Seattle on December 10th

On December 10th, 2014, winds projected up to 60 miles per hour didn’t stop 24 Greeners from turning out to The Ballard Loft in Seattle. The event, which was hosted by the upstart Alumni Circle in Seattle, was attended by Greeners from the ’70s and as recent as 2014, all showing up to meet and network with other alumni and friends. Continue reading

Evergreen Students Take Eighth Place in National Cyber Security Competition

Last weekend, a team of four computer science students from The Evergreen State College traveled to New York, where they participated in the annual Cyber Security Awareness Week (CSAW) at New York University’s (NYU) Polytechnic School of Engineering. The team, GNU E-Ducks, named for the Evergreen mascot, the Geoduck, and the GNU open source software movement, became Top-15 finalists in a pool of 300 college teams. The top 15 teams met in Brooklyn Thursday, November 13 through Saturday, November 15, and solved numerous cyber security puzzles, from reverse engineering to cryptography, in a game of virtual “Capture the Flag.” The Evergreen team took eighth place in the national competition, dubbed the world’s biggest student cyber security contest. Continue reading

First Traveling Seminar of 2014 a Full House

Alumni Seminar

Alumni, friends and facilitators packed the seminar circle for the Portland Traveling Seminar (photo: Bob Haft)

Evergreen Alumni Programs launched the 2014 Traveling Seminar series in Portland, OR on January 23 with a full-house discussion titled “Capturing Life Once and Forever: Why People Photograph.”

Faculty member Bob Haft teamed up with photographer Chris Rauschenberg ’73 to explore the art, history, technology and the philosophy of photography. The group talked about why photographs are powerful, why millions of people are compelled to take photographs, and the role of photography in a culture, a society, a community, a family.

The next Traveling Seminar takes place in Seattle, Friday, March 14 at the Washington Athletic Club. Information and registration on Evergreen’s Alumni Programs web page.

27 Students + 2 Faculty + 9 Alumni = Magic New York Field Trip

Faculty member Drew Buchman ’77 describes a recent field trip to New York City: twenty-seven students on a mission of inquiry to learn how alumni are creating their livings by living their creativity. As so often happens when alumni and students meet, they recognize in each other a shared “Greener” spirit. It makes wonderful magic.

Story and photos: Drew Buchman ’77, Member of the Faculty
Program: The Business of Art: Making a Living as an Artist
Faculty Members: Drew Buchman, Zoë Van Schyndel, Doreen Swetkis

We went to New York City this December to network with alumni making a living in the big city. Faculty member  Zoë Van Schyndel and the students themselves did a lot of the planning. Abby Kelso, ’01, MPA ’11, who works in Evergreen’s College Advancement office, helped identify and set up meetings with a series of amazing young alumni pursuing professional careers in both the “profity” and “nonprofity” worlds, to use fellow faculty member Doreen Swetkis’s useful new adjectives. (Doreen usually teaches in the MPA program, so this year has been a rare opportunity for undergraduates to benefit from her expert knowledge on non-profits, which are the most important organizations in the art world.) Zoë (from near Boston) and I (from  New York) provided insider perspectives: navigating subways and buses, buck-a-slice pizza and general street-wise-ness.

Students consider meetings with alumni to be the highlights of the entire program and we’ve met with quite a few on campus, including independent artist and author Nikki McClure ’91 and Jami Heinricher ’91, owner of the Sherwood Press.  But we did a whirlwind of meetings with alumni in our brief week in the Big Apple, including visits with photographer/camera inventor Liz Sales ’01, performer and publishing executive Erik Fabian ’00 of Moleskine, and theater director Hilary Adams ’95, soon heading out to Omaha, Nebraska to become artistic director of OCP (Omaha Community Playhouse, one of the largest regional theaters in the country, founded in 1924).

We met jewelry designers Erin Considine ’05 and Tarra Rosenbaum ’97, and got behind-the-scenes tours of the jewelry district in Manhattan and artist’s studios in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, one of New York’s hottest neighborhoods. In downtown Brooklyn, we got to visit the brand-new digs of Makerbot, and one of this burgeoning 3-D printer company’s principal creators, the amazing Bre Pettis ”95, also featured on the cover of the new issue of the Evergreen alumni magazine.

A Time Magazine video profile of Bre Pettis and Makerbot. Continue reading

Craig Bartlett ’81: Report from ComicCon 2013

You may remember a recent post (July 17) about Craig Bartlett ’81 (Hey Arnold! Dinosaur Train, etc.) speaking on a Nickelodeon panel called “Nick Re-mix” at this year’s ComicCon.  Ever the loyal Greener, Craig has sent a report straight from the front lines of geekdom:

Craig Bartlett ’81 on Nickelodeon panel at ComicCon 2013

I’ve been to the ComicCon between 5 and 10 times over the last 25 years. Last time I went was 5 years ago, and then the convention center was as crammed as it was this year, with 130,000 people attending. At the crosswalks leading away from the center, sometimes it looked like a thousand people were crossing the street and pouring into the neighborhood, all looking for lunch.

I brought my daughter Katie, who is also a Greener and has been coming with me since she was a kid. We took the train from Union Station in LA to the Santa Fe station in San Diego. It’s the way I’ll go from now on. Legroom even in coach, and bathrooms you can actually walk around in! You ride though kind of LA’s back yard for the first half of the trip. Then you get to the ocean at San Juan Capistrano, and the rest of the way is friggin’ beautiful. The train is practically on the beach for a while, clipping along so close to the ocean you’d think waves would hit it. I wandered around the cars and checked out my fellow passengers, half of whom were Con people and half going to opening day at Del Mar. The Del Mar people were much more dressed up. The women all wore hats, from really big to really small, like in-on-the-joke small. And they were all getting smashed. It was 11 in the morning.

Katie Bartlett ’13 with Trekies

We arrived on Wednesday, which is “preview day” at the Con. Even on preview day, there were so many people on the big floor that the crowd barely moved. Most of the Con-goers have that glazed, overstimulated look in their eyes, like they are trying to register 100 things in their heads at once. Many of them wear a long tube on their back for posters and big paper items, which make them look like they are wearing a quiver or one of those longsword scabbards out of Game of Thrones. As you get hit by someone’s tube, or stepped on by someone in costume, you think, “I can’t believe someone doesn’t start swinging and this crowd just turns into a melee,” but no one does – comics fans are lookers, not brawlers.

There’s nowhere to sit at the Con. You notice that after a few hours. You get a LOT of walking in. We stayed at the Westin, 8 or so blocks away. The only thing wrong with the Westin is it isn’t the Marriott, which is literally connected to the Con, and a totally swingin’ scene with pools and waterfalls and swim-up bars. But I’m not complaining — Nickelodeon put me up for the three days. They invited me to be on a panel with some other show creators to talk about how we got started, and what we are doing with Nick now. The other panelists created new shows “Sanjay and Craig” and “Breadwinners,” and rounding it out were the old school guys: me for “Hey Arnold!” and Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi for “Pete and Pete,” one of my favorite things that Nickelodeon ever did. It was fun to hang out with Will and Chris, even if only for a one-hour panel.

Unknown fans who came dressed as Arnold and Gerald, characters in Craig Bartlett’s hit animation series, Hey Arnold!

Our panel was held in a room that looked like it seated around 300. We filled it, which was nice – when you look at the Con’s schedule, there are like 20 other panels happening at the same time as yours, and you’re glad anyone made it! A friend of mine actually had a film premiere at the same time, way over in a ballroom of the Marriott. So you can’t possibly see everything, you can’t even see a fraction of what’s going on. Anyway, I showed some clips from “Hey Arnold!” and spoke about making the series, maybe for five minutes total. Then I pitched my new show I’m developing with Nick for like 2 minutes. I went first and didn’t want to glom too much of the hour-long panel. So then it was over, and we were out in the hallway again with the 130,000.

Katie and I spent the rest of our Con time trying to find friends in the mob out in the big floor. All the cartoon channels have a big presence with oversized multi-media displays, and long tables where people line up to get autographs from voice-over stars. I told Matt Groening [’77, Craig’s brother-in-law, Katie’s uncle] that I’d text him when I got to the floor Friday, and would meet him in the area where the small-press and independent graphic novel-type booths are. I was looking through the comics at the Drawn and Quarterly booth when I noticed that Matt was standing right next to me. I like running into Matt at the Con, because it’s the one place where 9 out of 10 people actually recognize him. It becomes a problem, though, because if he stops long enough someone asks for an autograph, and then people start to swarm.

Matt Groening ’77 (right) with Scottish cartoonist and artist Tom Gauld

Matt introduced me to the two comic book artists that were signing their books right then – Lisa Hanawalt with “My Dirty Dumb Eyes” and Tom Gauld with “You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack.” Matt told me how great their comics are, and that I should buy each of their books. Which I did, and they each personalized the books with amazing little drawings. Matt then sat next to them and posed for pictures – I have one of Matt with his arm around Tom, who has a reserved little Mona Lisa smile, probably thinking, “Matt Groening just said he loves my work, how cool is this?” I know that some people come for the panels, or sneak previews, or to walk around in costume, but for me the best thing about the Con is meeting artists and getting a little drawing from them in exchange for buying their stuff.

Katie Bartlett ’13 (right) with uncle Matt Groening ’77 (middle) and Princess Leia

We were about to go when Matt pointed out a guy dressed as Princess Leia. He had a scruffy beard and a missing tooth. We all posed for pictures with him, and it was probably my favorite moment of the whole Con. Like most of the other people who are dedicated to walking the Con in costume all week, he said nothing and merely posed, with a slightly stunned, long-ago-in-a-galaxy-far-away look in his eyes.

Unknown Mononoke fan who attended the “Nick Re-mix” panel.

On our way out, Katie and I searched the floor looking for stuff we’d seen in the last two days, trying to find them again. She wanted an “Uhura” Star Trek dress, and I was looking for a Chewbacca hoodie robe that caught my eye on preview day. But we found neither – the place is just that crowded, it’s hard to leave a trail you can follow later. Finally we retreated to the neighborhood to eat something. And then it was time to go to the train. The ride home was in business class, so I got to experience that version. Which seemed identical to coach, except they bring you wine and cookies and candy bars.

San Clemente Beach

We got the scenery in reverse – this time the sun was setting over San Clemente beach, and it still looked like one rogue wave would wash over the tracks and soak the train. We reached Union Station at dusk, and took a cab home. I recognized a couple friends in line at the taxi stand. The world of comics and animation is pretty small – around 130,000 people.




Greeners Abound at Hoopfest ’13

Left to right: Durriel Jones ’07, Nate Menefee ’10, Antonio McClinon ’08, Terrance Menefee and Patrick Lewis ’12 . (photo credit: Antonio McClinon)

This just in from Antonio McClinon ’08:

Among the 27,000 players (over 7,000 teams) playing at Hoopfest in Spokane, Washington last week were Evergreen alumni Durriel Jones ’07, Nate Menefee ’10, Antonio McClinon ’08, Patrick Lewis ’12 and current student Terrence Menefee. They were participating in the largest “3 on 3” basketball tournament in the world!

This basketball extravaganza has been a regular summer event in Spokane since 1990. This year, it attracted 225,000 fans and occupied over 450 courts throughout the city. In addition to the excitement on the courts, Hoopfest has become a full-blown outdoor festival complete with shopping, food, and lots of entertainment.

Thanks Antonio.  It’s great to hear from Greeners out in the world doing things.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Evergreen Athletics, take a look at their website.


Stormwater: Life in the Gutter – Stokley Towles

Editor’s note: Stokely Towles’ is both a librarian at Evergreen and a performance artist.

For more than a decade, solo performer Stokley Towles has been studying us. He examines the mundane aspects of life in Seattle like an anthropologist from another planet–our libraries, our trash system, our police force, the history of a single city block–and delivers his findings in rich, understated monologues full of bizarre, colorful trivia and bittersweet observations about how people navigate the world and each other. His latest study, Stormwater, is about the rivers that run beneath our feet. – Brendan Kiley, The Stranger Weekly

To watch a full performance of Stormwater: Life in the Gutter click here.

Greeners bring Solar Power to the South Sound

From left to right: Solar Specialist, Bruce Hargrave; VP, Dever Kuni ’12; and President & Owner, Kirk Haffner ’88 -photo by South Sound Solar

Since 2007, family-run South Sound Solar has been in the community installing commercial and residential solar panels. Earlier this month we connected with company execs Dever (Haffner-Ratliffe) Kuni ’12 and Kirk Haffner ’88 to learn what they’ve been up to and talk about how The Evergreen State College has influenced the shape and success of their company.