That Time When Matt Groening Was On Portlandia

The Peabody Award winning satirical sketch comedy show, Portlandia, finished up its fifth season just a couple weeks ago. Episode 43 in the latest season was particularly notable for Evergreen.
The episode, titled “Fashion”, which aired on February 12, 2015, featured a guest star a few of us may know: Matt Groening ’77. Of course, Carrie Brownstein ’98 is one of the show’s two stars, and a co-creator, so for those of you who already watch the show this is just a fun blast to the past. But in this episode, jump straight to 19:15 (the scene starts at 18:25) to hear a mention of Matt Groening going to “Evergreen State”. Then, watch the whole episode, in which one of Fred Armisen’s characters, Spyke, faces trial for making unlicensed Bart Simpson merchandise.

Eben Greene ’91, Designing For Change

A young Eben Greene selling E-Dog merchandise

A young Eben Greene selling E-Dog merchandise at Super Saturday

Eben Greene ’91 quickly became a familiar face at Evergreen. Perhaps most famous for his South African pillbox inspired hats and t-shirts, Greene started his first business, E-Dog Clothing, as a student. While E-Dog didn’t grow far beyond Evergreen, Eben Greene has owned his own business ever since.

Eben grew up in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and came to appreciate the reformist ideas of Horace Mann, the first president of local Antioch College. Greene describes Mann’s philosophy as a guiding factor in deciding to apply an environmental scholarship to attend Evergreen. Greene credits his mother’s health and wellness business in Ohio as a motivating factor in studying promotion. It may also have been his grandfather, the commercial artist responsible for the Yellow Pages “Let Your Fingers Do The Walking,” who was his first introduction to the power of graphic design.



Right away, Greene got involved with Earth Day and balanced courses like Health: Individual & Community with an Individual Learning Contact to learn how to manage an art design business. After graduating, Eben leased space for E-Studio, the name of his first marketing and graphic design business. Moving away from merchandise to graphic design, Greene leased a space in the iconic Security Building in downtown Olympia, across from the Harlequin Theater. Green participated in traditions like Arts Walk, and used the space above Mix96, one of Greene’s first clients and at the time an upstart effort by two Evergreen graduates. It was during Arts Walk that he met fellow alumni Pablo Shugurensky, who he credits for getting his first booth at Seattle arts and music festival Bumpershoot; Shuguresnky was also a collaborator on a line of 24 greeting cards. Greene became entrenched in the Olympia community, and many of the clients and the network he created in three years of business in Olympia have stayed with him to this day.

Eben’s career went in a different direction three years after graduating during a trip to Oregon’s Breitenbush Hot Springs, where he met a representative from Nike, who got his foot in the door at Brooks Sports in Seattle. Eben developed a strong (and enduring) portfolio at Brooks Sports, creating logos still in use today. But it was satisfaction from working with his independent clients, including ones from Olympia, that prompted the decision to focus on his own business and leave Brooks Sports in 1996.

Eben Greene

Eben Greene

Green’s business has changed names a few times over the years. Just recently, Eben Design became United Creations, which Greene describes as more than a marketing and graphic design company. Instead, he describes it as a change agency, uniting brand culture to help companies market smarter. Greene’s philosophy  “Be You More” is a way for people and organizations to more fully realize their vision, voice, and values. Greene has been doing organizational development work as part of the branding process for years, and perceives that’s where other companies are headed.

Despite having worked with clients including Washington State Ferries, Bartell Drugs, AT&T, Google, Microsoft, Haggen, and the City of Olympia, Greene cites the 2008 recession as a time that all designers struggled as companies cut back. Things are picking up again for United Creations, but that doesn’t mean Greene will expand his company. Instead, the vision for United Creations is to build relationships and work with socially and environmentally conscious companies and organizations.

P1010023Eben sees the power of leveraging culture to build brands for his clients. To that end, his company will launch their own “positive brand for change” in the coming year. One of the concepts Greene is most excited about is one he conceived soon after he graduated Evergreen. He credits a financial planning class providing the necessary boredom to start thinking about the symbols people identify with, like the Peace Sign. Ever since, Greene has been motivated to develop symbols for people’s values. United Creations has developed forty two of what they call ValYou symbols, which will be first displayed at this year’s Bumpershoot festival. Which do you connect with most? Soon, Greene predicts that will be a common question.

Learn more about United Creations on their website.

CommitChange Aims to Transform Non-Profit Fundraising

Roderick Campbell and Jay Bolton

Jay Bolton (left) and Roderick Campbell (right)

Roderick Campbell ’10 and Jay Bolton ’11 never crossed paths while at Evergreen, but with more than $700,000 in seed investment from the likes of Mark Cuban and Tim Draper, this odd couple has taken internet startup CommitChange to the Major Leagues of Silicon Valley.

Roderick described the way he came to partner with Jay as an “arranged marriage” by Merchant OS, now a part of LightSpeed Retail.  Merchant OS was a client of Roderick’s small web development business, which helped Campbell pay for school. Fatefully, Jay was an intern with the company at the same time. To this day, Roderick and Jay still remember the offer of a year’s salary to do whatever they wanted, as long as it was with each other, as the most bizarre offer they’ve ever received. But that’s when the seed of CommitChange was born.

While Roderick and Jay are business partners now, they took vastly different paths to where they are today. Roderick was a theatre student at Evergreen, studying with faculty like Sean Williams, a big influence for Roderick. While a student, Roderick was the Assistant Director of local theatre fixture Harlequin Productions. Roderick took advantage of travel opportunities while he had them, traveling to 32 countries, and spending two to three months abroad every year since high school.

Meanwhile, Roderick describes Jay as “the smartest guy he’s ever met,” even in the one of the world’s leading hubs for high tech innovation and development. Jay studied computer science at Evergreen, and Roderick described him as a person who can “learn a new computer programming language in a weekend; someone who can build anything.”

When they started working together, under contract with the booming Merchant OS, they keyed in on an app which allowed consumers to pay rent online. Several months into their work, they had something of an ‘aha’ moment and went back to the drawing board. Their goal: a billion dollar company that could help a billion people. Otherwise, they might as well work for Google, Campbell conceded.

They came up with an idea for supporting non-profit philanthropy efforts. The reason: Roderick estimates that over 2 billion people on the planet are directly impacted by non-profits. When they performed an environmental scan of the products and services available for non-profit development, Campbell described an industry stuck using old technology and widespread lack of innovation. With the fees companies levy on non-profits for online fundraising, Roderick discovered it is often less efficient than using direct mail! CommitChange aspires to develop a product for non-profit philanthropy in the way that Linkedin is the product for professional networking. With the right technology and product at the right price, they believe non-profits will move more of their fundraising efforts online.

While Roderick and Jay are far from where they were when they first started CommitChange on the top floor of the Evergreen Plaza Building in downtown Olympia, Roderick insists Evergreen is “the most underrated school in the country” and is hopeful to hire Evergreen students as his company grows in the years ahead. Roderick Campbell and Jay Bolton are definitely two young alumni worth watching for.

Read more about Roderick and Jay in The Olympian, linked here.

The Evergreen Mind Creates a Space for Teachers

MPA Grad photoEvery June, the Master in Teaching Program at Evergreen graduates a new class of passionate, creative, innovative teachers. The program has gained a reputation for excellence, and every year, MiT alumni win more awards and accolades. They are close cohorts and like to stay in touch with each other, and with their graduate program.

In celebration of the public service Evergreen MiT alumni provide – as teachers, administrators, education innovators and advocates –  we’ve created this space to share, with permission, “MiTeachers”  vignettes and updates: classroom wit and wisdom, awards and honors, “a-ha” moments, cheers and tears – the meaningful elements that comprise a teaching life.

Of course, you can stay in touch with Sherri, Loren and Maggie directly as always. Now, you can also post directly in the “Leave a Reply” comments section, below.

Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner ’91 on Michelle Obama’s Public Role


Author, speaker, radio host Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner ’91

In Politico, November 25, 2013: “The Real Feminist Nightmare. It’s definitely not Michelle Obama,” by author and activist Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner ’91.

“When the first lady is attacked for embracing her role as “mom-in-chief”—despite her leadership in key policy areas like stemming the childhood obesity epidemic, increasing access to healthy food and aiding military families and veterans—it’s time to call foul.”

Read the full article in Politico.
Follow Kristin in The Huffington Post and on Twitter: @rowefinkbeiner


Master in Environmental Studies Launch a New Blog


Pack Forest, Washington State. Photo used with permission, MESsages blog

Editor’s Note: Just across Red Square, the faculty, students and staff of the Graduate Program on the Environment are making positive changes in the world every day.  Here’s a way to stay in touch.

MESsages, started in October 2013, is the official blog of Evergreen’s Graduate Program on the Environment, which offers a Master of Environmental Studies (MES) degree. This interdisciplinary degree teaches graduates to be creative, critical thinkers with the research skills required for the complex nature of professional environmental work and leadership. We recognize that the best environmental solutions come from a wide variety of perspectives—that is why we accept all majors, and why our students, who come to us from across the US and abroad, represent a wide range of ages, cultures, and expertise. Regardless of a student’s educational or work background, we train our graduates to build upon their strengths by creating holistic approaches to environmental challenges through exploration and collaboration.

Stay in touch with the program via the new blog, MES Weekly or contact Gail Wootan.

Photographer Carli Davidson ’06: Just Watch Her Video


Image from web-hit video, “Shake,” by Carli Davidson ’06

Portland, Oregon photographer Carli Davidson’s  book of  portraits of dogs, “Shake,” captures images of dogs transformed by the simple action of shaking off water. The result is some crazy, mushed up faces and goofy expressions.Read full article and watch the video at

Student Watch: Troy Mead ’15 Chemist-Cartoonist


Living the Liberal Arts: Troy Mead ’15, CPJ Comics Editor, Scientist, Performance Artist, Future Zookeeper or Biologist, or ….

Troy Mead is an alumnus of the first graduating class of the Health and Science High School, a magnet school in Beaverton, Oregon. Where does he think he’s headed? Somewhere in art or science; Troy doesn’t seem concerned, nor should he be. With his talents, interests, early accomplishments and energy, Troy is likely to achieve whatever his Evergreen Mind aspires to.

realcatTroy was comics editor for the Cooper Point Journal (CPJ) last year. Among his many published works is a riff on “Schrodinger’s Cat,” a fundamental principle of quantum mechanics that states a physical system such as an electron – or a cat – exists partly in all its particular theoretically possible states simultaneously until it is observed, at which time it exists only in the state corresponding to the exact instant of observation. Don’t see the humor? Look what Troy does with the concept.

Troy says he’s always drawn comics,
just as he has always been devoted to academic disciplines surrounding zoology, biological research or conservation work, the fields to which he aspires. His first published comic Troy describes as “horrible but incredibly clever.” – irreverently playing with William Blake’s “The Lamb.” The biggest challenge for Troy is creating humor that appeals to the non-scientific mind. Finding himself creatively frustrated at 3 am, unable to come up with joke ideas that are not abstrusely science based, Troy says he either processes his creativity through a computer word generator or bounces ideas around with a “web buddy.”  Other sources of inspiration? At the moment, the cartoonist Randall Monroe, author of “XKCD” is his muse.

We’ll keep in touch with Troy and share more creations from his Evergreen mind.



Morgan Chambers ’08, Olympia’s Newest Entrepreneur

Morgan Chambers' new thrift shop in downtown Olympia

Morgan Chambers’ new thrift shop in downtown Olympia

Let’s see, where to go for first-generation transformers? Ebay? Seattle? San Francisco?  How about downtown Olympia?  Morgan Chambers ’08 and his partner Nick Poulakidas have opened a new thrift shop, Capitol Eclectic Merchants, that is sure to attract lots of Evergreen students and anyone with a sense of whimsy and adventure. Hot tip: Issues of Mad Magazine are only $2.00 and, in the “priceless” category,” a Star Wars Monopoly game with pewter game pieces.  Read the full story in The Olympian.

Fotoland Galerie: a Look Back at Evergreen 2012-13

Editor’s Note: See the full text and gallery at Inside Evergreen, and more great photography by our Photo Services colleagues.

A photographer’s job doesn’t end after the pictures are taken. You could say that’s the beginning.


On stage at the 2013 performance of the Vagina Monologues presented by the TESC Womyn’s Resource Center. Photo by Shauna Bittle

From untold thousands of images, (as well as videos and audio recordings) brilliantly captured during the last academic year, staff Photographer Shauna Bittle and her intern Andrew Jeffers continue to work. Continue reading