The future of the TUB: Is a new student union building in the works?

TUBMyki Dee Kim, Staff Writer 


Whether it be attending an Associated Students of Saint Martin’s University (ASSMU) meeting, playing pool at 10 p.m., or even grabbing $5 movie passes from the front desk, the Trautman Union Building (TUB) continues to be the heart of campus. From a wide variety of programs to two  offices, the TUB serves the community in a multitude of ways. 

As the campus population continues to grow and programs become more frequent, there has been talk in recent years to push for a larger student union building to accommodate current and future Saints. 

At universities such as Seattle University, the University of Portland, and Gonzaga University, student union buildings are bigger (typically two to three stories), and have the accessibility to hold more programs, and events without worrying about reaching maximum capacity of the space. At these universities, their student union building also encompasses many other on-campus services such as their respective office of campus life, several meeting rooms, dining services, bookstores, and other programming facilities for all to utilize. 

The TUB has served generations of the campus community well, but many worry that the school is beginning to outgrow the TUB. Many on campus events that typically have been held in the TUB have had to be moved due to building capacity. For example, High Stakes Bingo Night at the beginning of each semester used to be held in the TUB up until last academic year. It has since been moved to the Worthington Center as space in the TUB became scarce to meet the needs of the attending population.

Senior Business Administration major, Marcus Bufford, believes that the TUB is not necessarily a perfect space but “it’s where we gather and where we have all these fantastic community based events.”  

Bufford has fond memories attending varying on-campus events in the TUB such as Casino Night, performances by breathtaking magicians, and hilarious comedians. Bufford believes that TUB staff has done a wonderful job livening up the space, but to him, the building feels small and bland. As a student hang-out area, and a hub for the community to gather and engage with one another, he believes that there should be different types of decorations to represent different communities and ideas. 

Compared to other universities, the TUB is smaller, but he does not believe that it is a detriment to the space itself: “I say that because from what I have seen and understand about other student union buildings, a lot of them seem to incorporate other things so it’s not just a space dedicated to student community. Whereas the TUB really is and that’s what it’s main focus is.” 

If Saint Martin’s does get a new student union building in the future, Bufford hopes that it would evolve in its amenities and allow for other spaces such as workshops, a music hall, another dining facility, and other interactions that the university may allow for. 

Bufford emphasized the importance of a shared music space as he believes that music is a good form of community, and “a larger music hall would be perfect because the current building we have is small and the campus is in desperate need of a larger space for the arts.” 

He also emphasized the importance of an added coffee stand or cafeteria service in the new building as food brings people together and creates community. Bufford does worry that other on-campus spaces, such as the Norman Worthington Conference Center, would not be utilized as much by the campus community if a new student union building arrives on campus. 

In his personal opinion, Bufford does not believe that there is a current need for a new student union building and would prefer the funding for the potential building to go elsewhere such as to new and improved student scholarships, or even a larger recreation facility to accommodate all users of the space. 

Melanie Richardson, Dean of Students, has been in active and regular conversations surrounding the idea of a new student union building. Richardson noted that administration, the board, and members of the abbey have had a great deal of conversation surrounding the idea of a new building. 

Chief Financial Officer, Sarah Saavedra, is actively working on a needs-analysis with the student government to align with the needs of the university. 

With the conversations held by university executives, there was a note that creating a new building in the short term would be extremely difficult and a future campus building would include a potential performing arts building: “In the immediate future, space needs should be addressed through potential reuse of existing space.” Richardson loves that the TUB is an area students can call their own and that student services such as ASSMU and Campus Life are easily accessible for the campus population. 

In the event of a new building, Richardson hopes to have a planning committee with heavy student membership and input and to allow for relevant student affairs offices and student services to be in the building while continuing to be a gathering spot for all students to join in community with one another. She hopes for student events to continue to draw increasing numbers of students and to allow spaces to accommodate hosted activities. One thing to consider is what to do with the existing TUB in the event of a new student union building. 

Richardson noted that the TUB “is beloved and there is much history to honor in the building. Space is always a sacred commodity on campus, and I imagine there would be many competing interests.” 

Through recent conversations, Richardson has appreciated the passion and advocacy from ASSMU these years with the Board of Trustees. She had wished for conversation this academic year to continue in order to strategize other options for student ideas in the future. However, she does believe that the continued advocacy of ASSMU has opened the door for additional student spaces and ultimately a new building in the future. 

The beloved TUB continues to be the heart of student activity on campus ranging from a nice study space to an awesome Campus Life event. Talk of a new student union building is currently in the works but may be seen later in the future rather than an immediate action. It is important that Saints remember to cherish the spaces and resources we currently have and to look forward to new and exciting innovations for our campus community in the future.


Winstead has big plans for sabbatical

Faculty SpotlightKaitlin Cunningham, Staff Writer 


Professor Teresa Winstead, Ph.D., will be on sabbatical at the end of this semester to pursue research projects. A sabbatical grants professors time off so they can conduct research projects that coincide with their academic discipline. This allows them time to step away from the demands of instruction in order to engage in research they can bring back to the classroom. 

Winstead’s research consists of two related projects, in collaboration with the Olympia Bupe Clinic, a sub-unit of Capital Recovery Center. The Olympia Bupe Clinic is designed primarily to provide support for heroin addicts, through the use of buprenorphine treatment. According to the clinic, “Buprenorphine (also called Suboxone) is a medication used to treat opioid use disorder. It promptly stops withdrawal symptoms and reduces opioid craving. It is long-acting, has a very low overdose risk, and minimal euphoric effect, and helps support recovery.” 

During her sabbatical, Winstead will be working with the clinic’s staff and patients to conduct research that describes how patients experience buprenorphine treatment, and specifically the impact of the treatment on patients.

In Winstead’s words, this research is meant to “contribute a deeper understanding of the experiences and perspectives of people who are undergoing buprenorphine treatment and by doing so help to dismantle misconceptions, confront discrimination, and build understanding.” 

The initial gathering of stories and personal accounts is scheduled to occur over the course of six months, and culminate in an event that allows participants to share their stories with stakeholders involved in opioid response in the South Sound region. 

In addition, Winstead was asked to lead a qualitative research study for a PEW Charitable Trusts grant that the Olympia Bupe Clinic received this year. The grant funds a larger study led by the University of Washington’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute. The PEW research project aims to understand the multi-faceted impact of medication-assisted treatment on the lives of opioid use disorder patients’ lives. 

The final component of her sabbatical is a faculty affiliate position with the University of New Mexico’s Office for Community Health in the Department of Family & Community Medicine. As the year progresses, Winstead will visit Albuquerque, N.M. on several occasions to collaborate with faculty involved in similar research and make several public presentations. 

Unfortunately, the looming issue of cancellations and delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic could interfere with the current schedule, but Winstead believes the start dates for her projects will likely be postponed temporarily as restrictions on social contacts continue. 

What students have to say about Zoom

Mary Seiner, Staff Writer


Zoom, like any online learning module, has its pros and cons. For a student body that was not prepared to learn at home with their families, Zoom incites various opinions about its applicability in a professor’s online curriculum. 

Zoom presents students with some normality in an otherwise unconventional situation. As students are stuck in a time where they must practice social distancing, Zoom gives much needed interaction that cannot be gained through Moodle posts or discussion forums. 

“In Stephen Mead’s Shakespeare class, we have scenes we have to act out real time in front of the class, and that can still happen because of Zoom,” said Max Dumyahn, a junior and History major. 

Students find that the level of interaction and engagement Zoom provides is a healthy change for their learning, at least in comparison to non-video platforms. Rather than merely completing an online assignment, the program helps students manage their time, maintain consistent schedules, and stay focused when in the presence of their classmates and professors. The direct contact can help students to engage with their class’s learning material. Zoom ultimately offers a different medium for learning, and students can find that Zoom helps them better absorb information than through Moodle. When classes are conducted strictly through Moodle discussion forums, the class engagement is typically low. 

While the program offers students a taste of their once regular, college routine, Zoom bears some disadvantages. Some students may have internet issues at home; and while discussion forums on Moodle allow students to participate at any time, a Zoom class requires students to contribute at a definite time. Lagging and skipping, among many other technical problems, can occur frequently during a Zoom conversation; therefore, organizing class lectures or discussions over video may be challenging. 

For students living outside the Pacific Time Zone, attending a class that may be as long as two hours can be difficult to manage. The disorienting aspect of participating in class during a time that a student is not accustomed to, as well as in a setting completely different from their peers, can add unneeded anxiety in an already stressful situation. 

“I think the professors should stick to what they are comfortable with while we all adjust to the new environment, but they should definitely make sure to record each lecture using the built-in function and post the lectures on their Moodle page for students that had to miss the session or can’t attend for any reason,” Jake Nicholas, a senior Math major said. 

“I also know some professors have set up office hours as a Zoom meeting, and I feel like that can also be helpful to students if they need that extra interaction with their professors,” added Nicholas.

Dumyahn said, “I think professors should have Zoom meetings that mirror their regular class etiquette (or at least as close as possible to that), since I know a majority of us students are struggling with this transition. If the classes were conducted in a similar manner, such as with lectures or discussions, it would take some stress off of the student because we acclimated to that kind of class before switching to online, instead of the professor creating an entirely new way for us students to learn.”

Last call for withdrawal

AddDrop.plistColin Rivera, Staff Writer


With the closing of Saint Martin’s campus and classes moving online, some important policies have been changed to help students adjust to the new settings. These changes have to do with the ways that students can have their classes graded. At the end of March, Cindy Juarez, the Saint Martin’s registrar, sent out an email precisely detailing what the policies are and how to sign up for classes. 

The first major change is that the final deadline to withdraw from a class has been pushed back to May 1, at 5:00 p.m. The other policy that was highlighted in the email has to do with pass/no pass grading. Any student can write a form to shift a class in their schedule from a letter grade to a pass/no pass option. The difference between not passing, and failing a class is that failing will count against your grade while the former is neutral. Using the option on a class that is a prerequisite will in most cases still allow students to take the course after it. 

The registrar urges that students speak with their advisers before following through with this action, as there are downsides to it, as well. For instance, simply passing a class does not count for or against a student’s grade point average. Also, depending on the student’s major, a pass grade may not be adequate for programs with standards for accreditation. A pass may not be applicable to external programs, either.

Switching to this grading format can be beneficial to students who are having trouble satisfying their course requirements because of the transition to online learning. Extended deadlines and policies have been extended so that students could have a full month to see if their classes are meeting their needs. These policies have been implemented by many other schools in the region as part of an effort to not harm the education of students. 

“If a student were to transfer courses and it just shows a pass, typically, schools wouldn’t accept a pass grade for transferring in,” said Juarez. 

Since many colleges are following the same plan, ideally a student who has a pass grade in a class in the spring semester will be able to transfer that class into or out of the university. 

Another thing that Juarez made clear was that the decision to change a class’ grading format is irreversible, meaning the pass or no pass grade will stay on the recorded transcript. Juarez’s last point was, “The intention behind extending that (the deadlines), is that students can have several weeks to a month of online learning to determine whether they can be successful.”

With deadlines right around the corner, add/drop forms must be sent to the office of the registrar before Friday, May 1, at 5:00 p.m. with no exceptions. The same is also true for the pass/no pass paperwork. Both forms can be found online on the university website in the office of the registrar page. Any questions can be emailed to the Saint Martin’s registrar. 

Saint Martin’s switches to test optional admissions policy

AdmissionsGrace Gillespie, Staff Writer 


An increasing number of universities and colleges are changing their admissions policy to no longer require an admissions test, such as the SAT or the ACT. This means undergraduate students will no longer have to send universities their SAT and ACT scores. Since 2019, a host of liberal art schools have started to adopt this type of test-optional policy, with the intent that student acceptance should not be based on a single test.

It has become a common routine for high school juniors and seniors pursuing higher education to take the SAT or ACT. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down face-to-face schooling, many high school seniors who had planned to take placement tests this spring are no longer able to do so.

Beginning in the school year of 2020-2021, incoming freshmen will no longer be required to submit their test scores when applying to Saint Martin’s University.

In a virtual interview, Dean of Admissions, Pamela Holsinger-Fuchs, Ph.D., shared how Saint Martin’s has been considering the change in policy for several years: “We made the change for just those seniors that were not able to test, and then opened the discussion up to make it a permanent change. It was presented to the faculty senate and our Cabinet and no one had any issues making it a permanent policy going forward.” 

At present, this is a one-year policy, but such a change becoming permanent seems to have a rather high likelihood. Holsinger-Fuchs also commented that on the whole, a student’s grade point average tends to be a stronger indicator of how they perform overall. This is evidenced by the over 1,100 colleges that have already chosen to go test optional, having shown no negative impact on their student’s academic performance.

There are some concerns with switching to this policy. Students who worked hard, studied, and took the SAT and ACT early might feel their work was for nothing. Another concern is that those hoping to receive scholarships because of their test scores might be unable to do so. 

One upside of changing to a test optional method is that it could attract more applicants to the school and lead to higher acceptance rates. The other benefits of switching to a no test admissions system are reducing stress on students while they are applying to schools because they will no longer have to worry about their scores being high enough to get into the colleges they wish to attend. Additionally, the SAT and ACT cost around $50 to take, plus the cost of a written essay and registration fee, and such a cost can be prohibitive for some families. 

Schools opting to take a test free or optional route, show that they are willing to make accommodations for students who are unable to complete the tests many universities currently require for their applications.

A sweet swirly treat: Lacey’s very own fro-yo hotspot

LimeBerryMyki Dee Kim, Staff Writer


In a cup or cone, frozen yogurt is perfect for the warm weather that is just on the horizon. Limeberry sits on the outskirts of campus and has been a quintessential part of Saint Martin’s students sweet treat experience. Students may know Limeberry as a frozen yogurt establishment right next door to the Starbucks on College Street, while others may know it as a fundraising partner for Saint Martin’s clubs and organizations. Whatever the case, Limeberry brings a sweet presence to the entire Lacey community. 

As soon as you walk in, you are greeted by friendly staff and an extremely clean and spacious store. They are open every day of the week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. When you walk towards the back you must make the choice between a cup or a cone (a hard decision). Customers are able to choose from 10 flavors and are able to mix-and-match their own yogurt experiences; they can even swirl two flavors together to get double the yummy treat. 

After choosing their favorite combination, customers can move onto the coveted topping section. There are over 25 different toppings that people can choose from. Toppings include, but are not limited to: fresh fruits, hot fudge, assorted cookies, nuts, candy options, and even whipped cream. I went for my usual mix of Dole Pineapple Whip, Strawberry, and Vanilla topped with fresh strawberry, cheesecake bites, and mini chocolate chips.

If you are not into frozen yogurt, do not worry; Limeberry has got you covered. Limeberry also offers options for smoothies and even bubble tea. Smoothie options include: Peach, Wild Berry, Strawberry, Green Apple, and Pineapple Dole Whip. Bubble Tea options include Strawberry, Vanilla, Coconut, Pineapple, Mango, Avocado, Japanese Green Tea, Honeydew, Passion Fruit, Taro, Lavender, Green Apple, Banana, Watermelon, Blueberry, Chocolate, Mocha, Lychee, and Guava. They have a little something for everybody.

But what do these all cost? Limeberry offers affordable goodies for all price ranges, especially for those who are balling on a college budget. Smoothies are $3.75 and Bubble Tea is slightly higher at $3.95 a cup. For Frozen Yogurt lovers, it is just $0.59 an ounce. Make sure to not go overboard on the toppings and filling your cup, as it may cost you a pretty penny. Limeberry will also give students a 10 percent discount with their valid Saint Martin’s ID, and $1 off your order if it is your birthday. Make sure to sign up for their rewards when you go in to visit. 

Since coming to Saint Martin’s four years ago, Limeberry remains as the top sweet treat spot around campus. I can always rely on them to have the flavors and toppings I want while having a wonderful staff to greet and work with you. 

Karen Blair comes to SMU to discuss women’s suffrage

Women's suffrageOlivia Alvord, Staff Writer 


In commemoration of Women’s History Month and the centennial anniversary of women winning the right to vote in the U.S., Saint Martin’s University welcomed Karen Blair, Ph.D., 

History Professor Emeritus at Central Washington University, to speak. The departments of History, Political Science, and Gender and Identity Studies co-hosted the event.  

Blair’s lecture and discussion titled, “Pacific Northwest Women and Power at the Dawn of Suffrage,” was centered on prominent historical women in the Pacific Northwest, and events leading up to women’s suffrage both in Washington and throughout the U.S. 

Blair has been a part of the History Department at Central Washington University since 1987, and devotes much of her time to researching Pacific Northwest history, the history of education, and American women. Blair was granted the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Pacific Northwest Historians on Friday March 6.

One of the key points of her lecture was how Washington and the majority of the West Coast paved the way for women’s suffrage. 

According to the Washington Historical Society, “Washington was the first state in the 20th​ century, and the fifth state in the Union, to enact women’s suffrage. Washington women’s success in 1910 helped inspire the campaign that culminated in passage of the 19th​ Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920, when women won the right to vote nationally.”  

In the 19th​ century, this part of the world was dominated by men. Cities were minimal and most communities were small and agricultural. Therefore, most jobs outside the home were for men: mining, logging, farming, etc. Women began to form societies such as book clubs just to get together outside of the home and talk with their peers. This was a chance for many to read things they would not have had the opportunity to do otherwise, often as a result of upbringing and poor education. 

These book clubs were typically held once a month, and granted Pacific Northwest women the ability to discuss taboo topics and engage politically, economically, and socially. 

“As women began researching, they began to feel dissatisfied with the way that no one was addressing these problems in society,” explained Blair. 

But this increased action and involvement only brought up the counterargument that the woman’s place was only in the home, and they should not be welcome to engage in activities such as book clubs. 

Blair explained the viewpoint behind this: “how dare women spend two hours a month to read a book and talk about it when they could be cleaning their home and taking care of their families.” 

Not to be torn down, however, these women decided they would learn public speaking skills and how to organize support in their communities. Not long after this, the women learned about an amazing opportunity offered by the Andrew Carnegie Foundation, which was based out of Pittsburgh. The foundation provided a generous gift of $10,000 to build a library in a town, provided the town raised taxes to pay for a librarian and books for the library shelves. The women made it their personal goal to use their newly learned skills to acquire this service for their community. 

“These women are responsible for 75 percent of the libraries in Washington State today,” said Blair. After achieving a bit of success in their communities, these women began to think outside the box and focus on new ideas such as the creation of parks, cleaning up cities, and issues specific to women and children. 

Some ideas included, “clinics that doctors might volunteer for where families who could not afford to go to the doctor could get regular checkups for their babies; and factory inspections to make sure that women had access to a restroom or a bench to sit on and rest, or a table to eat their lunch at so they didn’t have to stand out in the rain,” Blair explained.  

As women began to organize for the greater good of their communities, and the state as a whole, their numbers increased rapidly, moving from books clubs of six to crowds of 200. At this point, meeting in their homes was no longer an option.

Blair explained their motive: “if they grew bigger, this would provide a better opportunity to go to the people with the purse strings [the money] to get things done in their communities.”  

After going out in their communities to ask for money and to achieve great things, these women began to realize that because they did not have the vote, their requests and ideas were not taken seriously. Thus began the push to attend public meetings, parades, and lobby at the legislature as another way to increase support for women’s suffrage.

Blair mentioned that “women were divided on how they should ask for the vote: some decided to be ‘annoying and outrageous’ and others decided to take on the ‘polite and ladylike’ approach.”  

In 1910, Washington women gained the right to vote, followed by Oregon in 1911, California in 1912, and the U.S. as a whole in 1920. In Washington, minority groups such as Catholic men and labor union activists, who knew what it felt like to be outsiders, banded together in support of this new normal. According to Blair, “women became the backbone of the electorate,” and began to think of bigger issues like education and the conditions in which women teachers worked, which resulted in the hiring of a woman who would become the first female to hold a government position as Washington Superintendent of Schools. 


Freshman founds Beekeeping Club

beekeepingGrace Gillespie, Staff Writer


Saint Martin’s University now has its first ever beekeeping club. The club began this year, after it was started by freshman Carly James, a nursing major, who has a fondness for bees.

Bees are a necessity for the environment, and teaching the community how to care for them can create sustainability for plants and crops. James is the president and founder of the beekeeping club, and her ultimate agenda is to educate other students on sustainable beekeeping while bringing bees into the nearby environment. Currently, she is working with the engineering club, faculty, and the president to bring bees to the Saint Martin’s community.

Even though James is starting this club as a freshman, this is not the first beekeeping club she has managed. The first was at her high school, Pope John Paul II, which is close to the Saint Martin’s campus. During her time of managing her high school beekeeping club, she brought two beehives to Pigman’s Organic Produce Patch farms in Olympia.

 James is capable of safely purchasing hives thanks to her prior experience, and the club has done good things for the environment. She shared how her time managing a club in college is much more work and stress than in high school. There is more scheduling that must take place to get meetings and club announcements out. 

James said, “When you’re in high school, you can just go on the intercom during the last five minutes and say, ‘bee club meeting afterschool today meeting in this room.’ Now every member in your club has a different class schedule, you must rent out a classroom in advance, and there’s a lot more people you must go through.” 

Although she has been experiencing some hardships, that has not stopped James’ motivation to bring bees to another environment. The club has one confirmed hive coming to campus, but James is working efficiently to receive a second one, as well. The confirmed hive is coming to campus in April, although there is no specific date, yet. The event will showcase the brand-new hive, and any student interested in learning to care for bees is encouraged to attend and speak with James. However, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, large social gatherings may still be prohibited by the governor in April. When asking James if the hive will still be coming, she shared that, “Yes, the bee club will continue as planned.” 

This next school year, there should be more bee activity on campus as this pandemic hopefully clears up soon.  

Finally, when asked why bees were so important to have on campus, the beekeeping club president answered, “This is a place that doesn’t have bees and can support them, so why not?” Expect bees to be buzzing around campus this April to end this semester. 



Immersion in Texas 

Prya Oliveira, Staff Writer


During spring break, Saint Martin’s University gave students the opportunity to go on an immersion trip to McAllen, Texas. Here, students volunteered their time to serve a community other than their own. Jessica Andres, a Saint Martin’s junior, talked to The Belltower about the trip and highlighted the impact and importance of the trip. 

When asked how her group served the community of McAllen, Andres answered, “I was giving a voice for those who could not and voguing for them in their time of need.” 

She also mentioned the power that is given to young adults and said, “as young adults, we can listen and act, so being at this age gives us leverage to go out and serve the community not just leaving them on the curve and forgetting about them.”

So how does this connect to Benedictine values? The Saint Martin’s website reads that the goal of immersion trips is to “summon in you an ethical call to personal and social transformation, to engage in authentic relationships with others and address the needs of our shared humanity.” 

Andres says that through these amazing immersion trips, you are given the opportunity “to advocate, be present, and serve with the dignity of your heart.”  

Other students on the McAllen immersion trip have published various blog posts on the Saint Martin’s Ministry website regarding their experience. Shayeleen Quintana, a Saint Martin’s senior said, “We have encountered people and families coming from different walks of life, and we were reminded in these interactions, how truly important it is to remember to treat another person as a human being first and foremost.” 

Cung Le, another senior, commented on her trip, and said “Being in a service where the majority was in Spanish brought me home in a way. It reminded me that I, along with so many other people in the world have a different first language than English.” 

It is interesting to hear that volunteering at places away from home can still manage to make some feel so connected to themselves. This trip has resulted in students partaking in a lot of self-reflection.

Andres said the trip to McAllen has changed her in many ways:  “A lot of people believe that heading to the US-Mexico border is dangerous and unsafe, however, when visiting the border, there was no threat and seemed peaceful for the most part. Going on the McAllen trip made me realize just how much work needs to be done in our country because there are so many people suffering yet, we aren’t helping them.”

A few other students who attended this trip said that they would recommend immersion trips  to anyone who is interested in service because it broadens their perspective on the world. This experience has helped students to step out of their comfort zones and experience a new side of life. 

“I can say, coming back from this trip made me feel more inspired to make a huge change with our policies in our country and to really push what is right,” Andres said.


Andres concluded the interview by saying that the McAllen trip differed from the Flint trip because “the Texas trip mainly focused on immigration while the Flint trip focused on systemic poverty we face in our country.”

Friday Faculty Lunch: Rediscovering suffrage history

FacLunchKGColin Rivera, Staff Writer


At the Friday Faculty Lunch on March 6, Professor Keri Graham of the Gender and Identity Studies program gave a presentation to the staff about a project that she has been involved with for the past few years. She told the story of her work with students and their work to bring to light the efforts of suffragists who were previously forgotten. 

The project serves as a backdrop to discuss the time she spent with her classes and her methods used to instruct her classes in completing this endeavor. Graham and her classes were given the names of people who participated in suffrage activities and were asked to research them and write their biographies. Many of them were known only by their names, but little was known about who the people were behind their activism. 

To complete the project, she worked with students in her History 305 class. She paired the students off and gave each a pair of individual names. The purpose of this, separate from contributing to the biography, was to test and better the research abilities of the students. One of the most challenging components of this task is the fact that most of these people are not “google-able,” which was a frequent complaint from some students. 

Students had to use alternate sources to find information on the names they were given, such as or 

Another issue that students had to overcome was understanding past terminology. For example, some students were looking for a person and discovered the name “Mrs. Jim Smith” and concluded that the person was a man instead of the wife of Mr. Jim Smith. At this point in the class students had not yet learned legal terms, such as coverture, that Graham had taken for granted, and it resulted in some confusion.

Most of the course was centered on gathering skills rather than the content produced. These included general writing skills, finding primary sources, and meeting deadlines. Graham highlights another source of difficulty within the processes of peer review: It is common for many students to skim another’s work and say that they liked it without giving any ways for it to improve. 

Some of the biographies produced by the class were strong enough to be published. These can be found on Alexander Street. 

Graham has had several takeaways from her time working with these biographies so far. The first is that it helped students develop professional skills. Her past students have told her how well the class has prepared them. Other feedback she received is that there should have been more editing earlier, and that the editing process would have been better if students were able to meet with copy editors. 

The quality of the previous work her classes have completed has resulted in being asked to work on even more biographies from more places and demographics than Washington; such as Michigan suffragists and African-American suffragists. These will be a bit more of a challenge due to their being less resources available. Going into the spring semester, the class will focus on editing their current round of articles and they should be ready this summer.