The Daily Evergreen The student voice of Washington State University since 1895 Wed, 10 Feb 2021 17:38:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Foley event discusses COVID-19 vaccine issues Wed, 10 Feb 2021 08:00:52 +0000 WSU’s Foley Institute hosted a virtual meeting Tuesday to discuss the technology and misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine. 

There are three major types of vaccines, said Dr. Bob Lutz, member of the Washington State Department of Health. There is a protein-based vaccine, an mRNA vaccine and a viral vector.

The mRNA vaccine technology has been around for a very long time, but this is the first vaccine of its kind to be produced, he said. It is also the main COVID-19 vaccine, which is produced by Moderna and Pfizer. 

Lutz said this type of vaccine allows the body’s own mRNA in the cell to create proteins against the virus.

“The vaccine stimulates your immune system to make proteins and destroy the spike protein,” he said. 

Johnson & Johnson has filed the authorization paperwork for emergency use of its vaccine, Lutz said. It is called an adenovirus vaccine or a viral vector.

The adenovirus is a common cold or flu strain that is injected with the genetic material of the COVID-19 virus, he said.

“We are using one virus to get the genetic material of another virus into your body,” Lutz said. “It is like a Trojan horse.”

One of the biggest concerns right now are the mutated variations of the COVID-19 virus. Lutz said people need to keep COVID-19 cases as low as possible to prepare for when those variants arrive in Whitman County.

Lutz said epidemiological tracking shows there is a decrease in COVID-19 cases during the winter surge. 

Washington state may be able to get to Phase 3 by June or July, he said. When the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is approved, it will be a game-changer. 

After vaccine priority guidelines were submitted by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the National Academy of Medicine, states and counties had to determine which populations of people should receive the vaccine first, he said. 

They determined vulnerable populations would receive the vaccine first. Lutz said people with pre-existing conditions in those groups have top priority. 

“There is a direct association between the number of health conditions makes you more susceptible to being hospitalized,” he said. 

Lutz said a big concern is making sure to reach all communities. The Washington State Department of Health reached out to many members of different communities and found the main concern is allergies and long-term side effects from the vaccine. 

The anti-vaccine movement is also a concern, he said. 

Another issue is accessibility, said Amber Lenhart, health policy specialist at Spokane Regional Health District.

Lenhart said access to the internet, transportation and safety are all concerns for vaccine accessibility. 

“We are trying to address the barriers by making vaccines available at community clinics and grocery stores,” she said. 

There are many different factors that go into people getting a vaccine, but social norms play a large role, she said. 

People may feel pressured by society, but also see it as a moral obligation to keep people safe, Lenhart said. 

Lutz said public health officials can reach out to skeptical communities by connecting with trusted allies of those communities to communicate correct and crucial information about the COVID-19 vaccine.

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OPINION: Japanese is easier to learn than French Wed, 10 Feb 2021 08:00:35 +0000 I took three years of French before college and one semester of Chinese in college. After deciding the tonal nature of Chinese, although beautiful, was too much for me, I began taking Japanese. I am now in my fourth semester.

I always thought French enunciation was a little wild since there would be so many vowels I may or may not actually have to pronounce when speaking. The way words were said, much like English, didn’t seem to be all that consistent.

Japanese feels much more simple in that regard, even if reading kanji (adopted logographic Chinese characters used in the Japanese writing system) still gives me a headache. I feel like once you know hiragana (Japanese syllabary), you can pronounce almost any Japanese word recognizably.

It may not be perfect, but someone who knows the language can probably tell what I mean. On the other hand, I don’t feel the same way about French.

I know that my opinion, that speaking Japanese is easier than French, is probably not a common one among American students. Asian languages are notorious for being perceived as difficult to learn. 

Now, that isn’t to say Japanese is an easy language as it has harder portions, but the difficulty of speaking it could be worse. 

Alexandra King, senior electrical engineering major, has been studying French since high school and continued to study the language in college.

King said the most difficult part of learning French would be the lack of practice we get in the Pacific Northwest, due to the lack of French-speaking communities nearby.

In terms of the language itself, King said pronunciation and context clues can be a challenge. 

“It’s a steep learning curve,” King said, “A lot of things sound the same, so you really need to approach it with a critical thinking mindset.” 

King said it can be difficult when vowels in French are dropped depending on whether it is a verb or an adverb, especially in the beginning.

Practice makes perfect. King said she does think pronunciation would be easier in a language that is more consistent, but as English and French both can vary greatly, she isn’t really sure.

King said she enjoys France’s deep roots in cinema, as well as how many people can speak French worldwide. 

I can’t say the same about Japanese, as it really isn’t spoken in many places, but I do love the history. That is why I was inspired to learn it.

“I feel like Mandarin would be really difficult to learn. I don’t know anything about Mandarin,” King said, noting that she has heard it has a lot of alphabet-like systems that she thinks sound hard.

King said she thinks she would find Spanish easier to learn because she already knows a romance language. On top of that, there are more Spanish-speaking communities so speaking practice would be more accessible.

When it comes to becoming confident when speaking a new language, King said to be comfortable sounding kind of weird. As it takes a long time, for any language, to gain your own personal accent.

John Holian, sophomore Kinesiology major, is currently taking Japanese 101. 

Holian said that he doesn’t think Japanese pronunciation itself is the difficult part, rather, it is knowing how and when to pronounce things. 

I kind of understand what he means. I would argue that Japanese, like most languages, has its own cadence.

“I can figure out how to pronounce a word but because it inflects differently than English, it’s more or less the enunciation that I find confusing,” Holian said.

He said he also took French in high school and finds the excess of vowels in French harder for him to read than to speak, and agrees that it may be a bit more difficult than Japanese in that regard.

I never found it harder to read French than speak it, but that’s just me. The last time I used French was probably around five years ago, so it is also possible I’m misremembering my experience. 

Students in Japanese 101 have yet to do much reading. Holian said they just finished hiragana and are starting katakana (Japanese syllabary), but he’s terrified of kanji because of the quantity. 

He said he struggles with hiragana at the moment, despite studying, because it still feels new to him. He can read it but not fluidly.

Holian said knowing the same general alphabet for French was easier, but learning a new system for Japanese is motivating because it feels like he’s learning a secret.

Holian and I also agreed that the lack of a distinct L and R sound in Japanese can be interesting to get used to.

My last name in Japanese doesn’t sound much like how people say it in English, so when I was a 101 student, sometimes the professor would call my name and I wouldn’t recognize it. It could be kind of embarrassing.

Holian said he wouldn’t credit French for helping him learn another language either because sometimes he tries to say something in Japanese and will default to French by accident.

French and Japanese are not as similar as French and Spanish, like King mentioned, so I could see why it wouldn’t help much.

Holian said he doesn’t find listening to Japanese to be difficult, as he has heard it spoken quite frequently, but is less confident about his own pronunciation because he wants to speak as fluidly and correctly as possible.

In the end, every language is going to pose unique challenges to new learners. While Japanese feels easier for me, that might just be because I enjoy it more than French.

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Council gives go-ahead for Pullman window art walk Wed, 10 Feb 2021 08:00:21 +0000 Pullman councilmembers approved a Pullman Arts Commission-sponsored event at a meeting Tuesday night. The council also approved about $125,000 toward improvements for Airport Road.

Councilmembers approved a socially-distanced “Pullman Window Walk 2021” organized by the PAC. 

The council made amendments to the proposal, including creating selection criteria, contacting all Pullman downtown businesses and incorporating a youth category for the contest.

PAC Chair Jeri Harris said selected artists will be paired with participating downtown businesses to display their art in storefront windows, similar to the recently canceled ArtFest. 

Submission must be age-appropriate and family-friendly art. There is no cost to enter the event, she said.

“The aim of this project is to promote and provide visibility for local and regional artists,” said Joanna Bailey, Neill Public Library director.

The artwork is set to be showcased from April 3-28.

Harris said the contest will be judged by community members in March, such as a Pullman Arts Commission member, a local business owner, a councilmember and the mayor. Artists who win could receive a gift certificate for a local restaurant. 

The commission wants to work with WSU students to paint vacant storefront windows as a way to encourage hands-on learning for students, Harris said. 

Councilmembers brought up concerns about the event timeline and the exclusion of young artists.

“The timeframe on this seems really squished,” said Councilmember Eileen Macoll. “The council has been made uncomfortable in the past by getting things dropped in our laps.”

The commission planned to open submissions on Feb. 10, one day after receiving approval from the council. The window walk dates were chosen in April instead of May, when ArtFest is usually held, to accommodate WSU students, Harris said.

“It’s starting to sound WSU top-heavy to me and not very Pullman focused,” Macoll said. 

In addition, Councilmember Al Sorensen said he wants downtown businesses to be fairly represented and have the opportunity to be included in the event.

Harris said about 10 businesses who regularly participate in ArtFest confirmed to host art so far.

Airport Road improvements

The Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport completed major projects, including runway realignment and gravity sewer line extension construction for the proposed airport terminal. Plans are in the works to extend its water distribution, said Kevin Gardes, Pullman public works director.

Improvements should be completed by August this year with Parametrix, Inc. selected as the project engineer. Both Whitman County and Pullman each own about half of the road, he said.

Pullman owns the section running from NE Terre View Drive to the east end of the airport near Orville Boyd Road, Gardes said.

The county plans to complete construction for their portion of the road using grant funding slated for 2025. He said discussions about collaboration between the city and county are still preliminary.

Gardes said the project will meet requirements set by the recently implemented Complete Streets policy.

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Pullman Arts Commission paints history with “End Racism Now” mural Wed, 10 Feb 2021 08:00:21 +0000 The Pullman Arts Commission chose a mural design to recommend to the Pullman City Council for the “End Racism Now” project that will be painted in town later this year.

Joanna Bailey, Neill Public Library director, read 35 emails with comments from the public regarding the “End Racism Now” project and recommendations for submissions. The emails represented a broad range of opinions from community members.

Some individuals praised the project’s goal to bring awareness to systemic racism, while others criticized the idea of “Black Lives Matter” being a part of the mural. Members who expressed disinterest in the wording said the BLM statement draws attention to a political movement instead of systemic racism.

Many people expressed disinterest in the John Lennon-inspired “Imagine” mural. Community members who responded felt the song does not directly address systemic racism and Lennon admitted to abusing women before his death.

“A colorblind statement is not more inclusive,” said a community member in their email to PAC. “It just massages the egos of white people.”

PAC Chair Jeri Harris said out of the top three submissions received, the “End Racism Now Black Lives Matter” mural with a rainbow background received the most favorable reviews at 80. The other “End Racism Now Black Lives Matter” mural, which included additional wording within the “BLM” statement, received the second most with 63 favorable reviews. The Imagine mural only received 20 reviews.

PAC will recommend the “End Racism Now Black Lives Matter” mural with the rainbow background to the City Council on Feb. 23, Harris said.

She said the last day to provide feedback was Feb. 7, but the PAC recommends that the City Council allow submissions to reopen. People are still discussing the project on social media sites. PAC believes that if submissions reopen, the committee will receive more than before.

“I feel like we’re a part of history here in Pullman,” Harris said.

PAC expressed interest in the designs already submitted but wants this project to be the best possible. If the decision to reopen submission is approved, PAC would have to push the timeline of selecting a new recommended submission to mid-March.

The city will have the mural painted later this year. 

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OPINION: People should use virtual fitness programs, stay active during pandemic Wed, 10 Feb 2021 08:00:06 +0000 Quarantine has forced us to isolate ourselves in our homes. This can make certain activities tricky, such as working out. Since most gyms are not entirely open, many people have had to develop their own workouts at home.

Crystal Abrica, junior criminal justice major, said that before quarantine, she would walk to and from class on campus to get her exercise, but since the pandemic she has started exercising at home more frequently. 

“My walks would be my exercise, but during quarantine, I actually started working out like 30 to 40 minutes a day. So I am exercising more than usual,” Abrica said. 

Abrica said she follows popular exercise Youtube programs, like Chloe Ting’s Hourglass Workout program

“I think it’s a nice thing to keep my body in shape during the pandemic,” Abrica said. 

Although Abrica doesn’t like to exercise, she drives herself and pushes through the lack of motivation. 

“I actually don’t like exercising. I hate it personally, but it’s good for my body and it makes me feel less depressed, so I just do it,” Abrica said.

She says to start with short, easy exercises, and then gradually build up the intensity and duration.

“It’s like a routine, basically like brushing your teeth every single morning and night. At first it’ll be hard,” Abrica said.  

 She also said that she does group workouts with her friends on Facetime to make it more fun. Doing workouts in a group setting can help make the workout easier because the group is there to support each other.

Maddison Ruther, junior kinesiology major and group fitness instructor for UREC Programming, also agreed with this logic. 

“Bigger fitness classes are [environments you are] less likely to feel judged in, because of the community aspect,” Ruther said.

You get to know other people well, especially if they frequently attend the classes.

Ruther recommends enrolling in UREC classes for several reasons: Online classes are free of charge for those wanting to stay home, while in-person classes have a small charge. They are a great way to start working out, and do what you feel most comfortable doing.

“If you don’t know what to do at the gym, you often look for guidance. I think group fitness classes are a good way to avoid the awkwardness of like, ‘Okay, what machine do I use? What do I do here?’ Because you have an instructor telling you what to do,” Ruther said.

Ruther said that for online classes, there are many spots still open and free to WSU faculty and students. You can design the class to your personal preference, which could mean either working out on-campus or from home. 

If you decide to venture down to the Student Recreation Center for an in-person class, Ruther said they are taking the proper precautions against COVID-19. 

“I think each patron has to have more than 300 square feet for themselves. We’re spaced out pretty well, and I disinfect everything. We make sure that everything’s safe,” Ruther said. 

Although there is a small fee for in-person classes, it is a small price to pay to keep yourself healthy and meet new people. Ruther said she likes to exercise because it makes her feel better, and also she can see how the body functions. 

“I set myself up for a better day because I already feel accomplished in the morning. I like seeing how these movements make me stronger,” Ruther said. 

If you are having trouble, Ruther recommended you don’t do too much and to take baby steps first. 

“Don’t try to work out for an hour. Do like a 25-minute workout and then just find shorter [Youtube videos]. Have something that’s not super high intensity, and then you can keep building up,” Ruther said. 

Ruther said she uses television as a reward for working out while keeping herself entertained. She also said she likes to work out with friends.

If this column has sparked your interest in exercising more, you can do many things in order to begin. Start out small and work your way up. Make your workouts fun by using Youtube videos, working out while watching TV or by working out with your friends over Facetime. While every little bit counts, it is also important to enjoy your workout.

Whether you are ready to work out at the gym or workout from home, you can explore both options on the UREC website!

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Chigozie Obioma comes to virtual Pullman Tue, 09 Feb 2021 17:00:00 +0000 WSU’s Visiting Writers Series will host a reading with Chigozie Obioma, a two-time finalist for the Man Booker Prize, through YouTube Live. Obioma is one of two writers in history to have all of their published books become a finalist for the prize.

Obioma will do a reading from his fiction books, “The Fisherman” and “An Orchestra of Minorities” at 7 p.m. on Feb. 10.

“The Fisherman,” Obioma’s first novel, was a finalist for the Man Booker prize when it came out in 2015. Following this success, his second novel “An Orchestra of Minorities” was also a finalist for the Booker prize when it was released in 2019.

Peter Chilson, English professor and former director of the Visiting Writers series, said it is a great opportunity for students that WSU can host Obioma. He hopes students tune in to YouTube and take advantage of this opportunity to hear such an accomplished writer.

Following Obioma, on March 1, Major Jackson will have another live YouTube poetry reading at 7 p.m. The other readers of the semester include Catina Bacote for a nonfiction reading, C. S. Giscombe for poetry and memoir reading, and a night with Mahogany L. Browne and Deborah Magpie Earling for a fiction reading. Specific times for these readings can be found on WSU’s Visiting Writers series website.

Information about how to register for the one-credit workshop that is offered through the series can be found on the website. The workshop will take place from March 22-24 and is open to all WSU students.

“The Writers Series highlights and brings noted poets and writers of fiction and nonfiction to campus for creative readings, workshops and collaborative exchanges,” according to the website.

The two directors of the writers series, DJ Lee and Cameron McGill, want the series to include a broad range of topics for the enjoyment of all the students at WSU. These include the environment, LGBTQ+ topics and issues, social justice and more.

Speakers are decided through a collaborative effort between faculty and student representatives. Students who are involved with the series can suggest writers that they want to speak to and advocate for them to come to WSU.

Lee and McGill said the students have a lot of say in who comes to WSU to speak and hope more students take the opportunity to suggest writers that influence them.

Allyson Pang, editor-in-chief for LandEscapes, pushed heavily for Kelly Yang to be a speaker for the series. She helped recruit Yang for a reading last semester and is excited to hear the upcoming readings this semester.

Across the state at WSU Vancouver, student intern Alena Bush enjoys that her class allows her to discuss these authors and attend the readings.

“It’s a really big treat to get to have the opportunity to ask [Obioma] questions personally about his work,” she said.

This is the first year WSU Pullman has partnered with the Vancouver campus. However, WSU Vancouver has had its own version of the writers series called the Creative Writers Speakers Series.

“It was a highly anticipated event among staff and students, as well as members of the community outside the university,” said Chelsea Ratzlaff, one of the series directors at WSU Vancouver.

COVID-19 simplified this collaboration, as all events are virtual. WSU Vancouver will certainly continue the series as it has in the past, and the staff ultimately hope to bring in speakers who will visit multiple campuses once the need for social distancing is behind us, she said.

“Normally it’s so hard to connect with them because they are so far away. But this year we’re partnering with [Vancouver], so that’s why we have so many writers slotted this semester,” Lee said.

The Writers series was moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Typically the speakers would be in person at places like the WSU cultural center or the Schnitzer Museum of Art.

“COVID-19 definitely played a part in the writer’s series being able to have more people speak. It cost a lot to host someone in person, and because of COVID-19 guidelines, we host remotely. It allows us to acquire more speakers for the students to learn from,” McGill said.

The writers series plans to continue hosting readings live on YouTube throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. If students want to become involved with the series for the next school year, they should contact DJ Lee at

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Incoming freshmen prepare for unique in-person first year at WSU Tue, 09 Feb 2021 08:00:58 +0000 As WSU considers making in-person courses available for the fall semester, incoming freshmen are preparing to make the transition from their hometown to Pullman.

Kaia Lindstrand, Zillah High School senior, said she is choosing to attend WSU because she has always loved the atmosphere. She said she lives in a split household, her mom was a Cougar and her dad was a Husky, but she has always loved WSU’s campus. 

“I’ve been to campus quite a few times for band concerts,” she said. “It kind of feels like a home away from home and I really like it.” 

Lindstrand said she likes the idea of attending classes in person because she has been online all year. 

“It’s really frustrating because I’m a senior,” she said. “I think that with the right safety protocols and everything, that would be [a good idea].”

Lindstrand said she is excited to go to campus and live in a dorm even though the college experience is going to be different than what she expected. 

She said she wants to enjoy things, like being able to go to class and sporting events.

“I really like sports … I’ve been to a couple football games and those are always fun,” she said. “I am really excited to meet new people.” 

Chris Thompson, Columbia Basin College transfer student, said he chose WSU because of the environment and the short distance from home. 

Thompson thought the pandemic would be over by the time he finished community college. 

“When all this started, I don’t think many people thought it would be going on now,” he said. “It’s a little weird having it still going on.”

Thompson said he wants classes to be in person next semester, but it is okay if they remain virtual.

“If it’s safe, then that’s fine with me, and if it takes a little longer to get back to normal, I can do Zoom classes and be just fine with that,” he said. 

Thompson expects more challenging classes at WSU than CBC. He is excited to be around more people.

Thompson is looking forward to living on his own, but is worried about being away from his parents.

“I’ve never been in a different town from my family for a long period of time, so it will be scary striking out on my own,” he said. 

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Faculty senator says WSU needs ‘self-sustaining athletics department’ Tue, 09 Feb 2021 08:00:47 +0000 A Faculty Senate member urged GPSA Senate to contact WSU’s student regent to oppose the proposal diverting $2-3 million annually from unappropriated funds to combat WSU Athletics’ debt crisis during a meeting Monday.  

Von Walden, professor and Faculty Senate member, said WSU Athletics struggled to pay debts attributed to the football program’s stadium and facility upgrades for about a decade. WSU Athletics has taken out numerous “internal loans” from other university departments in an attempt to combat an increasing annual debt of $8-10 million.

WSU Athletics now owes around $120 million in internal loans on top of its other loan, which the department will not pay off until 2039. He said WSU administrators hope the $2-3 million in diverted funds will help WSU Athletics pay off its loan, but the money does nothing to pay back other university departments for internal loans.  

“We support a self-sustaining athletics department,” Walden said.

Faculty Senate voted 48-3 in favor of presenting their statement of opposition to the Board of Regents, he said.

“The current funding proposal will reduce resources from the university’s land grant mission, which is not athletics,” Walden said. “It’s teaching, research and outreach.”

Walden said Faculty Senate does not disapprove of an athletics department; they only oppose the use of funds. Many people in the WSU community have made it clear they are tired of administrators appropriating funds to athletics instead of other education or research-related departments.

The majority of WSU’s faculty and students have no say over the Board of Regents’ proposal to divert the funds. Walden said GPSA and ASWSU members should contact student regent Arliegh Cayanan to advocate for opposition to the proposal.

Laura Lockard, director of public affairs for WSU External Affairs and Government Relations, spoke to GPSA Senate regarding how the WSU Impact website makes legislative advocacy easier for the community.

WSU established Impact about 10 years ago to expand education accessibility. Lockard said the website now emphasizes the current biennial legislative session in Olympia. The staff is working hard to keep the WSU community engaged.

Lockard said there is a resource on the website making it easy to connect with Washington legislators. A take-action button on the website allows users to sign up for Impact’s newsletter and find information about legislators.

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Librarians will host Anti-Valentines Day event for young adults Tue, 09 Feb 2021 08:00:33 +0000 In a time of social isolation, Latah County librarians want to remind their patrons it’s important to take care of themselves. 

Bloody Valentine: An Anti-Valentine’s Day event will be hosted 10 a.m. Friday on Latah County Library’s Facebook page.

The library is hosting this event to show its patrons they can have an enjoyable Valentine’s Day even if they are spending it alone.

Youth services manager Stacie Echanove and adult services manager Bailey Gillreath-Brown said they have a shared joy for reading scary stories and collaborated to plan an event in which they could share an experience with fellow scary story lovers. 

“We thought, what better time than Valentine’s to take time to celebrate ourselves,” Echanove said. “We are also targeting a new audience so this is very exciting for us,” Echanove said.

In conjunction with the event, Gillreath-Brown said the library created self-care kits for their patrons who wish to pamper themselves during this season. 

“For our patrons who might not have a valentine or are happily choosing to be alone, we created self-care kits,” Echanove said. “We want everyone to know that even though they might be alone, they still deserve to be celebrated.” 

The self-care kits will include items like sheet masks, bath bombs and art supplies. Gillreath-Brown said the kits will be available in limited quantities. 

If attendees are interested in receiving a self-care kit, they can take advantage of the Latah County Library’s curbside services and pick one up after the event is hosted. 

Echanove said that the library eagerly looks forward to hosting the event and showing its patrons that self-care is a valuable form of love. 

“We want to show people that there are so many things to love about themselves,” Echanove said. “We want to show them that they don’t need love from someone else to be a worthwhile person.” 

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Student organization advocates for feminism Tue, 09 Feb 2021 08:00:32 +0000 After working together for almost a year, three WSU students and alumni are helping their respective troops navigate through feminism despite never having met each other in person because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

FemScouts began as an initiative to build the feminist toolkit and prepare its members for the world, said Soph Roemer, recent WSU graduate, troop leader and Women*s Center volunteer. The organization operates under the Coalition for Women Students. 

Roemer and their co-troop leaders — Acacia Patterson, first-year physics graduate student and community outreach student coordinator for the Women*s Center; and Monipel Babb, first-year food microbiology doctoral student and troop leader — are not experts, but they have knowledge and resources to communicate about feminism and its various topics to members in their troops. 

“For my group, we were talking about how there’s no wrong way to do feminism, except for like … trans-exclusionary radical feminism,” Roemer said.

Soph Roemer, recent WSU graduate, troop leader and Women*s Center volunteer (COURTESY OF ACACIA PATTERSON)

Roemer, Patterson and Babb lead their own troops, each with about five members. They follow the same program but at their own pace, Roemer said. 

It is important to adjust to the needs of each of their groups, Roemer said. 

“I asked my students, ‘Are you here for activism? Are you here for education? Are you here for community?’” Roemer said. 

Roemer’s group said they were interested in education and community, so that is what they focus on. 

FemScouts is a place to connect with people, Patterson said. It is her “weekly hour of endorphins.” 

She said she is constantly blown away by her troop’s eloquence during group conversations, especially because several of them have never taken a class on gender or sexuality studies. It is an hour of sharing. 

Roemer said quite a few of their troop members are STEM majors, or majoring in subjects not directly related to gender studies. 

“We get a lot of students that just hear about feminism in a different way — hear about feminism in a fun way,” Roemer said. 

FemScouts is a platform for students’ voices to be heard, built, shared and magnified, Babb said. 

Babb said her academic work is intense, but FemScouts provides relief from that.

Monipel Babb, first-year food microbiology doctoral student and troop leader (COURTESY OF ACACIA PATTERSON)

“It’s the only one time where I also get to see people outside academia,” she said. “I am a feminism advocate, so it’s just a time, fortunately, to learn and get to know what people know.” 

FemScouts, for Babb, is a way for her to continue her advocacy. 

FemScouts began last fall semester with four troops, all named after plants: Radical RADishes, Rebellious Roses, Screaming Greens and Foxy Ferns. 

Each troop’s name is meant to be meaningful, Roemer said. It could be a pun or some other interesting wordplay. For example, Screaming Greens is based on Screaming Queens, which is a documentary about riots in Compton. 

Members are awarded badges as they complete units during the semester, Patterson said. The first badge they receive is of a cougar wearing a red beret with the word “FEMSCOUTS” written across it in white letters.

Acacia Patterson, first-year physics graduate student and community outreach student coordinator for the Women*s Center (COURTESY OF ACACIA PATTERSON)

Patterson said the organization is working to find a small women- or BIPOC-owned company to order future badges from. 

“We’re just hoping to further support communities when we’re buying these badges,” she said. 

Weekly troop meetings serve as a discussion space where members share ideas and empower each other, Babb said.

“In FemScouts, everybody’s right. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to this question,” Babb said.”It’s not like we teach people what they have to do.” 

FemScouts’ first unit was called “The 411 on the F-Word,” and it involved untangling the F-word: feminism. During this unit, troop members dissected the fear, humor and harm some people feel toward feminism by talking about global feminism, multicultural feminism and the waves of feminism.  

“We talked about how limiting the waves are, and how we need to think much farther outside the box, beyond white feminism and beyond the suffragette movement,” Roemer said. 

One of FemScouts ongoing units is “Discovering HerStory,” where members interview women and ask about their experience with feminism. Roemer is currently interviewing their grandmother and aunt through letters. 

“It takes [my grandmother] a lot of time and energy to really meditate on what I’m asking her to do,” Roemer said. “I’m mainly just stressing to her that I want her experience and her personal view of the world, and there is no right or wrong in that way.” 

FemScouts is hoping to host an event to showcase the works created by troop members during this unit in March for Women’s History Month. 

All three troops meet on Zoom, Patterson said. This is the first week they are meeting, and they are focusing on introductions. One troop meets 2 p.m. on Mondays and the other two meet 6 p.m. on Wednesdays. 

More information about FemScouts, including registration, can be found on their website and on social media. 

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