A Supreme Week for Evergreen Faculty Stephanie Coontz

Stephanie Coontz, Faculty member. Photo by Tao Ruspoli

Stephanie Coontz. Photo by Tao Ruspoli

An historic decision by the United States Supreme Court on Friday, June 26 established that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority in the ruling, directly citing Evergreen faculty emerita Stephanie Coontz twice in the groundbreaking opinion.

Seattle Times editorial columnist Danny Westneat uncovered the story, investigating the unlikely front and center role Coontz’s work played in swaying the Reagan-appointed swing vote.

Westneat ends with a nod to Evergreen:

Evergreen’s alternative style was crucial to developing all this, Coontz says. It’s not a traditional research university. For example, she said, “They insist you talk about your work extensively with your students. So the students have contributed to a lot of my thinking over the years.”

Coontz, 70, is semiretired from Evergreen now. But she plans to teach her seminar, “American Families: Historical and Sociological Perspectives,” there next spring. That’s going to be one sought-after class, I’d guess.

I still sometimes hear people deride Evergreen as “too weird” to be a public college that gets taxpayer money.”Well, Geoducks, you showed them. Weird made history.

Portland Greeners In The News

Two stories have come across the wires the past couple weeks about Evergreen alumni in Portland, Oregon making news.

Nancy Haque ’96 was named co-director of Basic Rights Oregon, the state’s largest nonprofit gay and transgender advocacy group.

Nancy Haque '96 (left) and Jeana Frazzini (right). Photo Credit: LGBT Weekly

Nancy Haque ’96 (left) and Jeana Frazzini (right). Photo Credit: LGBT Weekly

According to LGBT Weekly, “Nancy Haque joins the Basic Rights staff after serving on the Basic Rights Board for three years and serving as a consultant on the organization’s strategic planning process this past year… Haque has more than 18 years of professional experience, including seven years as the Building Political Power Director at Western States Center, where she led a voter organizing training and empowerment project and managed the 2013 Racial Equity Report Card for Oregon. Haque also spent eight years working on economic justice issues, including stints with Portland and National Jobs with Justice and with AFL-CIO. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Evergreen State College and a Master’s of Public Policy and Administration from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.”

Lauren Hall-Behrens. Photo Credit: Joshua McCullough, Portland Monthly

Lauren Hall-Behrens ’94. Photo Credit: Joshua McCullough, Portland Monthly

Lauren Hall-Behrens ’94, owner of Lilyvilla Gardens, a landscape design company in Portland, was featured in Portland Monthly.

In the piece, Hall-Behrens talks about her path to landscape design after Evergreen and  inspiring ideas for spring gardening and the perspectives that make her successful. Finally, she gives her top picks for planting this year, including Fairy wings and Korean feather reed grass. Enjoy this fascinating glimpse into the mind of a Greener landscape designer.

What stories from Evergreen alumni in Portland did I miss? Share your stories in the comments section.

Candyce Lund Bollinger ’87, Parent Educator

Candyce Lund Bollinger Head Shot

Candyce Lund Bollinger ’87. Photo: Michaela Winkley

Author’s note: Candyce Lund Bollinger has conducted three interactive workshops for the Evergreen parent and child caregiver community, with four more scheduled, during the 2014-2015 academic year. Following Bollinger’s third workshop on January 9th, we sat down for an interview.

Candyce Lund Bollinger ‘87, well-known for her work in the Olympia parenting and education communities, is a parent educator at South Puget Sound Community College and in private practice. Continue reading

Adam Fletcher ’02 Pioneers Youth Policy in Brazil

Center for Studies and Research in Education, Culture and Community Action (CENPEC) Advertises November Conference

Center for Studies and Research in Education, Culture and Community Action (CENPEC) advertises November conference

Adam Fletcher ’02 is a consultant, author, and public speaker on topics including youth engagement, education policy, and community development. As a consultant, Fletcher has gotten used to “posing questions and challenging norms to which [he doesn’t] get to see outcomes.” But for eight days in November 2014, at a conference organized by the Center for Studies and Research in Education, Culture and Community Action (CENPEC), held in São Paulo, Brazil, his experience shattered that narrative. This is the story of how Adam Fletcher, a man who started his career as a youth worker at age 14, and at times lived homeless while growing up in Alberta, Canada and later in South Dakota, Montana and Nebraska, came to inspire and inform the creation of Brazil’s youth engagement programs. Continue reading

Evergreen Student Civic Engagement Institute Wraps Up Successful Second Year

Group picture of the 1st ESCEI cohort from 2013. Photo: Shauna Bittle

Group picture of the 1st ESCEI cohort from 2013. Photo: Shauna Bittle

On November 19th, 2014, graduates of the second annual Evergreen Student Civic Engagement Institute (ESCEI) gathered for their final cohort meeting to present and share their service projects. They first met in a five day pre-orientation program and under the leadership of Member of the Faculty Nancy Koppelman and Recreation and Athletics Director Matt Newman, they embarked on a journey that will define their academic and social experiences at Evergreen. Continue reading

Foster Teens Find Ally in Ann Whiting ‘85

Ann Whiting '85

Ann Whiting ’85

Ann Whiting ’85 has been a Child Welfare Worker for four years, serving youth between ages 15 and 21 in Alameda County, California. While Ann works for the county, much of the job involves coordinating with local non-profit care providers, and, of course, the legal system. Just two days before Ann was back on Evergreen’s Olympia campus for Return to Evergreen, Continue reading

Recruiting Veterans is Personal for Ty Somerville

Tyrone (Ty) Somerville is an Evergreen Admissions Counselor specializing in Veterans and Evening and Weekend Studies. Photographed in the Admissions department on Mon., Dec. 23, 2013.

Tyrone (Ty) Somerville is an Evergreen Admissions Counselor specializing in Veterans and Evening and Weekend Studies. Photographed in the Admissions department on Mon., Dec. 23, 2013.

Tyrone “Ty” Somerville joined the Office of Admissions at Evergreen in November 2013 and was immediately confronted with a difficult yet personal challenge: overcoming the negative impression of the college. Ty is familiar with those misconceptions because he faced them himself when he decided to transfer to Evergreen as a student and 11 year U.S. Army veteran from Green River Community College.

When Ty talks to prospective students at Joint Base Lewis McCord, no one understands the difficult decision to enroll at Evergreen more than he does.

“My recruiting efforts revolve around exposing our service members, their families, and veterans to the great community we have here at Evergreen. It is my duty and privilege to present The Evergreen State College to some of the greatest people who have sacrificed the most in service to this country.”

Evergreen regularly recruits and distributes literature on the military base, but they are faced with competing against schools that offer associates degrees. According to Randy Kelley, Director of the Veterans Resource Center at Evergreen, that’s exactly what service members and veterans are instructed to pursue. The prospect of pursuing a liberal arts education goes against the advice of many career counselors in the military, who see an education at technical colleges as a more direct line to employment. This makes Ty’s job even harder- not only does he have to sell Evergreen, but he has to sell the value of Liberal Arts.

Director of the Veterans Center Randy Kelley talks about the history of medallions in the armed forces at the Welcome Reception for Veterans and Veterans' Dependents on Fri., Sept. 27, 2013. The reception ended with the presentations of an Evergreen Veterans Medallion to each of the veterans present. From left to right: Daryl Morgan, Thomas (Les) Purce, Randy Kelley

Director of the Veterans Center Randy Kelley talks about the history of medallions in the armed forces at the Welcome Reception for Veterans and Veterans’ Dependents on Fri., Sept. 27, 2013. The reception ended with the presentations of an Evergreen Veterans Medallion to each of the veterans present. From left to right: Daryl Morgan, Thomas (Les) Purce, Randy Kelley

But Ty doesn’t have to do it alone. Daryl Morgan, one of at least seven members of the faculty who are veterans themselves, teaches a specially designed program called “Veterans’ Next Mission: Crossing the Bridge Between Military and Academic Life.” This course specifically helps students transition into Evergreen and understand the value of their transferable skills from military service.

Somerville describes the Veterans Resource Center, under the leadership of Kelly, as “a resource and support hub for those who utilize The Evergreen State College, supporting them in ensuring that achieving their educational goals isn’t an insurmountable task. That support is provided in various ways and the information regarding the proper resources for obtaining the support can come in many different fashions.”

The Veteran’s Resource Center employs student workers, veterans themselves, and guides students from the admissions process through graduation and beyond. The Veteran’s Resource Center works collaboratively with staff across the institution to bring support services under one roof, and works with external organizations like the VA to ensure students have access to all benefits available.

For Somerville, while he knows Evergreen isn’t for everyone, it’s gratifying to connect with non-traditional students and show them the opportunities of getting their four year degree at Evergreen. Somerville himself is on track to graduate in the winter. Like many veterans, he’s a hard worker and is working full time while finishing school. So when he talked with a student with an A.A. earlier this year working at a drive-through, he felt confident as he walked him through the application process for Evergreen Tacoma and showed him a Bachelor’s Degree is possible.

If you are an Evergreen alumni and a veteran, service member, or dependent, please complete this survey to help Evergreen better serve you.

Read coverage of the Veteran’s Resource Center at northwestmilitary.com

Listen to Randy Kelley, Ty Somerville, and other veteran students in this video produced by Veterans for Peace


Alex Stupple ’00 Reports On GTMO Trial

Pictured: Alex Stupple '00

Pictured: Alex Stupple ’00

When Alexandra (Alex) Stupple ’00 was offered the opportunity to observe a pre-trial hearing at the Guantanamo Bay prison detention camp, she jumped at the possibility. Stupple was nominated by her law school professor, who was also then-president of the National Institute of Military Justice (NIMJ), the NGO responsible for sending her as a trial observer. Stupple didn’t know what she was in for, and with the hearing date continually postponed, she wasn’t sure if it was even going to occur. But finally, last February, Stupple boarded a military plane to Cuba for the chance of a lifetime, where the alleged perpetrator of the suicide bombing of the U.S.S Cole in Yemen was standing trial. The experience, which Stupple reported on with only ten other NGO observers, was mentally somewhat of a struggle. Stupple recalled:

“Everything was so contradictory. Beach bars and barbed wire. Secret roads. Gift shops with ‘I heart GTMO’ merchandise without even a sense of irony. We stayed in MASH-style tents, with one for men and one for women. There was another tent surrounded by barbed wire. They wouldn’t tell us what it was for.”gtmo6

What might have been most difficult for Stupple were not the accommodations, but the fact that “the hearings themselves weren’t as blatantly unfair as [she] imagined they would be.” Stupple described a place where nothing was black and white, clear cut, or totally fair. In Stupple’s eyes, “the law strives for fairness and ways of dealing with conflict without violence. The problem with the GITMO situation is that we did resort to violence.” But sorting out these questions is something Stupple is well equipped to do.

Alex Stupple described her Evergreen experience, where she focused on American Studies, as where she “learned how to think.” While attending the Hastings College of Law at the University of California, Alex came to appreciate her Evergreen education more. She views the traditional model of education as “a ridiculous way to learn,” and recounted one class at Evergreen in particular, with David Marr, where she was tasked with the challenging assignment of “writing one perfect paragraph.” When she arrived at law school after spending ten years as an English teacher in China, then as a science editor in Scotland and in D.C. working for the National Academy of Sciences and the American Journal of Public Health, she wondered what traditional colleges actually taught students. Since Alex’s law school experience, she concedes Evergreen has “since been dear to my heart” especially during three and a half hour exams that comprised 100% of her class grades.

Alex is an Attorney for the California Department of Public Health in Sacramento and in her spare time is “still obsessed with international and military law.” You can read more about the significance of her experience to observe the pre-trial hearings at Guantanamo Bay in her other proud alma mater’s news release.

Anthony Airhart ’00 Takes On Hunger in Coastal Washington

Tony and Coastal Harvest's Food Bank Truck

Tony and Coastal Harvest’s Food Bank Truck

When Anthony (Tony) Airhart ‘00 arrived at Coastal Harvest in 2010, he reflects that the Hoquiam Washington based organization “was simply screaming for a collaborative, multi-dimensional, creative set of solutions to organizational woes—it needed to have someone question why things were done as they were—to look at everything with a critical view. Someone who knew how to work across boundaries and barriers to build consensus and coordinate a path forward.” Coastal Harvest started out of a pickup truck more than 25 years ago. It now delivers as much as 4 million pounds of food a year for more than 54 agencies (food banks and feeding programs), all for free, in seven counties across Southwest Washington.

AmeriCorps members sorting food at Coastal Harvest

AmeriCorps members sorting food at Coastal Harvest

Tony’s path to becoming the Executive Director of Coastal Harvest was a long, winding road that took him from “cog in the wheel” at Weyerhaeuser to where he is today. Tony attended Evergreen’s Grays Harbor Reservation-based AA Degree Bridge program, graduating at 45 years old with a bachelor’s degree in community leadership in 2000 . Although he originally enrolled while working, a facility closure at Weyerhaeuser meant he was out of a job after nearly 31 years. With his degree and experience from Evergreen, Tony got the opportunity to direct the small nonprofit, which has 6 employees, many dedicated volunteers, and an enormous daily impact.

Tony insists “the Evergreen learning style and methodology is a perfect fit in the nonprofit world. The ability to work with diverse groups and communities and having excellent communication skills are very important.” He describes the foundational role of interdisciplinary studies in preparing an executive director to wear many hats, juggle priorities, keep learning, and become proficient in a broad spectrum of topics, all while working for a diverse board of directors and with staff and community members. For Airhart, this means that “all of this information must be filtered, absorbed and analyzed, then placed against the needs, priorities, and mission of Coastal Harvest before making decisions.” In the big picture, Airhart reflected that his “years at Evergreen prepared [him] to face these challenges”.

It was a long and unexpected road for Tony Airhart, but he eventually found his passion at an organization that clearly needed a Greener.