Thanksgiving and Saint Martin’s Values

Hillary Thompson, Staff Writer

As November ends, many students and staff are looking towards the Thanksgiving break, and many students discuss their plans. Senior Annika Briggs says, “My plans for Thanksgiving are to drive to my hometown and spend time with my parents and cousins.” Junior Rhea Herradura explains that over break, “My family has decided to have our regular/traditional get together with our close friends and family here in Washington. Every year we always think about what we’ll do, such as traveling or going on a road trip, but it usually ends up staying close to home”. Sophomore Alexandria Parsons shares with us her plans for the holiday break, “My plans this Thanksgiving are going to Utah to spend it with my sister and her family!” Saint Martin’s is known to throw amazing events for students to enjoy.

Director of the campus ministry, Colleen Dunne, informed us about Saint Martin’s upcoming plans for Thanksgiving: “So we don’t have a lot because so many of our students are close by and they go home. For our students who can’t go home, we are doing a Thanksgiving dinner! It is going to have more like a home-cooked potluck feel. It will be in the residents’ halls, and any student is welcome to come. There have been sign-ups that have gone out, and some of the food is coming from Bon Appetit. We are also reaching out to faculty and staff and asking anyone close by if they can make extra food or dishes and bring them! We are just trying to create a community feel with the dinner, and Janie Sacco, Sara Haugh, and I are working on it together. Thanksgiving is a holiday known for being centered around families and food. Students and staff share how Thanksgiving relates to Saint Martin’s values.”

“Come out and join us, everyone is welcome”

Annika Briggs shares, “Thanksgiving ties into the SMU values because of the respect for persons, and the time to reflect on who we are grateful for. It is also a time to give to those in need, which is a key part of hospitality. Doing things for others is an important aspect of the Thanksgiving season.” Alexandria Parsons shared that Thanksgiving values relate to the values of SMU because, “I think the community is a key part of both Thanksgiving and St. Martins, the two focus on togetherness!” Rhea Herradura discusses how values and the holiday are related. She said, “How I see Thanksgiving tying into the values of Saint Martin’s University is how we build a sense of community with those we love and care about, around us or even far away. It’s almost a celebration of gratitude where we appreciate our relationships, in which we gather and enjoy each other’s company. We relish in the greater understanding of service towards others and letting go, with our trust in one another I would associate that with faith. Of course, the last value is reason. I believe this is self-explanatory through the years of loving memories and stories. Sure, there are other holidays such as Christmas where you could argue we celebrate one another, but those times are different in the sense of where our focus is. Thanksgiving is around family and friends, while Christmas is more about the birth of Jesus Christ and/or a day of rest.”

Sister Raphaela Cady shares her insight on the values of SMU and how they relate to Thanksgiving, “For me, the Benedictine value of simplicity comes to mind. Inclusiveness, gathering people together, and gratitude are important aspects of the holiday. Thanksgiving has traditionally been about people being together and sharing what they have. Hospitality is a Benedictine value at Saint Martin’s encompasses as well. There are many opportunities for people to participate in Thanksgiving at Saint Martin’s to engage in the Benedictine hospitality of creating space for people to gather. This is essential to who we are so we can continue to create hospitality and give ourselves room for simplicity.” Overall, Thanksgiving is seen as a time for students to spend time with loved ones and reflect on what they are thankful for.

Upcoming Events

Emmanuel Son, Staff Writer

It’s a new school year and with midterms passed and the semester drawing to an end, it’s time to destress and celebrate with some school activities. Now that classes for the most part are back to in-person learning, the games at the TUB are open again, and the community is large again. There are now a number of events that are coming back, continuing to follow COVID-19 protocols. Campus Activities Board (CAB) member Erin Luong and new Campus Life Activities assistant director Shandra Witke talk about some upcoming activities to be on the lookout for.

Some upcoming campus life events to close off the semester include a movie night for international week, the annual Christmas under the canopy, and a number of other events that will be hosted by the clubs on campus. While many events for next semester may not be official yet, many of them are in the planning stages. Some usual events will include commuter lunch every first Wednesday of the month where it includes an opportunity for commuter students to win raffle prizes.

International education week is an opportunity for students across campus to meet international students on our campus and learn about new cultures around the world. At the end of the week, a movie will be played. The week will consist of Campus Life partnering with the Office of International Programs and Development. The movie night will be at the Worthington Center on Friday November 19 at 7 PM. “The movie that’s chosen will hopefully give a good viewpoint of the international experience and give students a good idea of what it might be like in other countries” says Witke.

On November 8, first generation college/university students and alumni at Saint Martins will have an opportunity to speak their stories and thoughts at a first gen lunch event hosted by Campus Life. The event will feature a Q&A panel where attendees can ask different questions and share their stories. On the 9th, ASSMU will be hosting a coco social at the TUB from 3-5.

With the Christmas season coming up, campus life has events planned out that will help celebrate the holidays. Christmas under the Canopy celebrates the end of the Advent season as the Saint Martin’s community prepares themselves for the coming of the Christmas season before the month-long break. The prayer service is followed by the tree lighting as well as music provided by the choir and the band. One of the largest events that is yet to come is the campus’s annual Winter Ball which will close off the Fall 2021 semester. This event was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19 protocols. The event will be in its usual venue at Indian Summer Country Club and Golf Course.

CAB is in the works right now planning an event for the week of Veterans Day. That week will feature an event that will honor both veterans and active military members for their service.

For Spring of 2022, some events that CAB has planned out are its annual Welcome Week. Just like the beginning of the fall semester, Welcome Week is meant to celebrate the return of students for a new semester and an opportunity for new students to get to know the university better. While the weather in January might be different from a sunny and warm summer in August, events such as games and other activities are being planned out to be indoors following COVID-19 protocols. CAB is also working on throwing another destress event for the spring semester.

Homecoming week is another annual event that is in the making. This week will consist of the Men’s annual homecoming basketball week where students can have an opportunity to win prizes. It is also a great opportunity for the alumni to come back. Most club events are still in the planning process. Dates and times are subject to change.

Plastic Bag Ban

Gilbert Smith, Staff Writer

Since Oct.1, 2021, the state of Washington began a plastic bag ban in effect for some stores, primarily grocery and department stores. They are called retail establishments in a special notice from the Department of Revenue, or D.O.R., for Washington State. It was originally supposed to take place earlier, but the pandemic forced it to be halted temporarily by Gov. Jay Inslee’s Emergency Proclamation 2082. A reason for this ban was the numerous complaints about bag shortages. The emergency proclamation expired Sept. 30th. The current ban has been put into action by the Department of Ecology, or D.O.E., for Washington State. It was passed by the State Legislature.

It only bans the use of single-use plastic bags in Washington State. This is applying to new bags being produced and not the ones that are already in the stores. There are six types of allowed bags according to the Wash. D.O.E website. Some kinds of bags will have charges attached to them but only two have mandatory charges. One of the charges, according to the special notice from the D.O.R. will start in 2026 for reusable plastic bags to increase from 8 cents to 12 cents. The paper bags will not change in price. There is even a form that can be filled out if you wish to report a store that is not in compliance with the bag ban. Compostable bags are still allowed but not recommended to use due to the fact that not all places can process them because of lack of equipment.

This ban doesn’t apply to various forms of public assistance that those with lower incomes have access to, such as food stamps. There are expectations for food banks and food assistance programs as well. This means you may find them still in use at some stores and that some will still have them as an option. According to the D.O.E., “Some single-use plastic bags are exempt from the law, including plastics to wrap meats and produce, bags for prescriptions, and newspaper or dry-cleaning bags.”

This means that now when going to most stores if you aren’t exempt from this law, you will need to pay less than ten cents per bag you request from them. However, reusable bags are still allowed in free of charge as well. There are two types of bags, green or brown banded plastic produce bags and single-use plastic bags, which are not recyclable. The ones that are still an option have been determined to be more recyclable.

A post by the D.O.E in July explains, “Plastic bags are a common form of pollution that threatens human health, wildlife, and the environment. Harmful chemicals are released when plastics are produced, used, incinerated, or slowly disintegrate into microscopic particles. Plastic bags are also a major contaminant in Washington’s recycling system that clog sorting machines and put worker safety at risk.”

Covid-19 Booster Vaccine Roll-Out

Brianna Lopez Staff, Writer

Covid has taken away some memorable moments due to the world shutting down, especially from important events like weddings or graduations. We struggled to find a solution near the beginning of the pandemic, our scientists working hard to create one. We were able to find a vaccine within the year and now as a country we are slowly but surely getting back to what we now call normal despite our mask mandates.

As a whole, we now live in vaccinated times. Like many vaccines, there is more than one dose especially for Covid-19. Now most people are currently vaccinated and going through with their daily lives whilst still utilizing masks everywhere regardless of vaccination status. Many different reasons for vaccination include going back to school requirements, work, or any other relatively important place a person could be a on a daily basis.

When vaccines first started, we only had one vaccine option which included a second dose that one had to receive about a month after receiving the first dose. The second dose had some effects on the general public for the most part, therefore after this vaccine a lot of people were probably glad to be done and over with it.

There is talk of a booster shot that is supposed to be administered at least 6 months after your full vaccination process. According to ABC news as well as other sources, the Covid-19 vaccine is still effective for most people. This does not mean that there will not be a booster vaccine, it just means that with the current vaccinations there are less people are getting Covid-19.

Just as the name states it is a booster shot, but this does not indicate that the vaccines administered are failing, it mainly ensures the safety of the general public, as well as making sure that no one else gets dangerously sick with the virus.

The CDC has updated their website with information on who will be eligible for the booster shot as of Oct 21. 2021, which has already passed. Therefore, if you fall into any of the following categories than you are eligible for a booster shot after 6 months or more after your second Covid-19 shot. 65 years and older, age 18+ who live in long-term settings, age 18+ who have underlying medical conditions, and age 18+ who work or live in high-risk settings.

Make sure to do your research on the vaccine whether you are on board or not. These vaccines have the potential to protect those around you from the deadly results of the virus. Even though many of us are being safe by wearing mask, we aren’t quite out of the woods yet. Please do what you can by practicing hygiene and sanitizing high touch areas around you. Mask up Saints and be safe.

Indigenous People’s Rights

Ailina Cunningham, Staff Writer

In this modern era of activism and civil liberties, the visibility of minorities has birthed the public awareness of several movements, including Black Lives Matter, criminal justice reform, and LGBTQIA+ rights. Some are more focused on a specified genre of political or racial activism, one of which has been slowly gaining steam being the rights of Native Americans. In recent memory, we can recall the protests dating back to 2016 with the occurrence of Standing Rock, Dakota. The Sioux tribes fought for their right to not have an ancient indigenous burial ground demolished to stain a crude oil pipeline.

Millions across the globe joined in solidarity to stand with them in this fight against having their land taken illegally. A common trend in history, which repeats as different parts of indigenous life is threatened. Starting in 1924 when Native Americans were granted the right to vote. This means that it was not until the 1900’s, or around 100 years ago, that Native Americans qualified as citizens on their own land and were allowed to vote. This movement for rights has gone on for years and has continued to grow in popularity in the public domain as members of tribes can tell their stories.

Currently, a movement is being made to find the missing women and children who are supposedly being brutally harmed but have not been reported or investigated. This is a very disturbing fact given the ideal of the criminal justice system is to investigate every crime to achieve justice. Organizations such as the Native Women’s Wilderness Organization have put up videos and information to explain the problem to the public and raise awareness. This awareness garnered White House attention back in 2019 in the form of designating May 5th as the National Day of Awareness for Missing & Murdered Native Women and Girls. Additionally, this form of awareness brought about the existence of Executive Order 13898, or in other words, operation of Lady Justice. This is an operation that builds a task force to find the missing women and children who are of indigenous descent or ethnicity. Statistics are not currently out on how many women or children have yet been found.

The fight for awareness and understanding of Native American Rights has reached new audiences currently with social platforms, such as TikTok and YouTube, which allow personal accounts on issues from the voices of Indigenous people to reach a more public platform. Using this platform has become a way for indigenous people to find pride in their history and their culture, rather than trying to blend in with the modern culture that excludes their heritage. Trends such as #NativeTikTok and #NativeStories allowed Indigenous people to share their culture and their heritage with people who may not have any other way of knowing about indigenous life.

Fighting for your civil rights is one thing, and it is very important, however, these people have found a way to fight for their heritage as well. By telling stories that were passed down to them so that the stories do not disappear, and instead reach a wider audience. Some creators have even started to explain indigenous dances and tribal rituals to spread awareness of the cultural significance that they bring. In this modern-day, as rights movements soar in public awareness, so does Indigenous awareness.

ASSMU Elections

Tinsae Shifreaw, Staff Writer

With the end of the school year coming in just a few more weeks, we must prepare for the new changes that will lead to the 2021-2022 school year. With that in mind, we recently had the elections for The Associated Students of Saint Martin’s University (ASSMU), which began on April 9 with the results sent out on the 16th. All positions were open and there was a diverse set of candidates, ranging from current freshmen to upcoming seniors. The positions we voted on as a community were president, vice president, executive secretary, executive treasurer, the executive club representative, and the 12 senators that represent the majors and affiliation communities on our campus. Let us meet the people who are going to represent the students.

Our president is Katherine Jamerson. Her goals as president is to help enrich the college experience, continuing the foundations set by ASSMU in previous years in upgrading the student union building, and to help make heard the voices that are often left unheard in the community. She wants to help Saint Martin’s have a brighter future and to help the community grow. 

Our vice president is Andrew Oslin, who is a current junior. He has previous experience in ASSMU, acting as the Senator of Athletics for two years, and has acquired a deep understanding of how the council works and how to work hard and collaborate with different people. 

The executive secretary and executive treasurer are appointed by the incoming president and vice president. Running for the executive secretary position is Elizabeth Miller, and running for executive treasurer is Cheyenne Yap. Miller has many attributes that are conducive to the role of secretary, such as organizational skills, the ability to transcribe for meetings and communication skills to help communicate with the senators while helping to boost the social media presence for ASSMU. Yap’s goals if appointed as Executive Treasurer is to make sure all clubs have the funds for their activities and help fulfill financial requirements and responsibilities. 

The senators are up next, with there being senators for the arts and sciences, athletics, business and more. The senators also represent the commuter, international, non-traditional and military-affiliated students. The incoming senator of arts and sciences is Yuan Angelo Fernandez, who is a first-year psychology student. His goals for this position are having everyone in the community succeed by guiding the community to show their potential to build bridges and connecting them together so we as a community can evolve. He has leadership experience being an event coordinator for the Campus Activity Board, president for the NAMI Club here on campus and is an Act Six Scholar. 

For senator of non-traditional Students, Marissa Grab is the nominee. She is 33 years old as well as a single mom who knows what it means to work hard, working long hours her first two years of college to reach her goals. She aims through her position to inspire those who are at different points in their lives to continue with their schooling and also bridge the big gap between the nontraditional and the traditional students. 

Asma Ibrahim is the incoming senator of cultural diversity once again, and her goals are to advocate for the clubs running here on campus and have many ideas and events planned for the upcoming semester. With the new array of representatives in the different positions, many with promising and diverse ideas, the senate of 2021-2022 is set up to do a wonderful job representing the students of Saint Martin’s. 

Attacks on the Asian American Community

Shy Yamasaki, Staff Writer

On the night of Tuesday March 16th, a shooting in Georgia has left the Asian American community terrified. Many other acts of crimes in the Asian American community have occurred within the past few days. In keeping up with the social media posts, many people are advocating that we need to stop hating or agonizing certain communities to “get rid of” or to “stop spreading diseases.” Within the Asian American community, incidents of verbal harassment and name-calling have arised. As explained by the New York Times, “Name-calling, shunning and assault were among the nearly 3,800 hate incidents reported against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) nationwide over the last year, according to Stop AAPI Hate.” Verbal slurs and discrimination are always hurtful, but deadly violence like the shooting in Georgia is unacceptable. 

Other than these hate crimes, Stop AAPI Hate was formed to protect and prevent discrimination during the pandemic. Ever since the pandemic has started, many parts of the Asian-American population have fallen victim to hate crime over accusations of them having “brought” over the disease. Stop AAPI Hate collects and studies the hate and discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across the country. Over the past year there were 3,795 incidents reported, and the number could rise because a lot of people either refrain from reporting it or just don’t want to speak upon the issues happening in their neighborhoods. According to the New York Times, “The incidents compiled by APPI Hate included mostly verbal harassment and name-calling, or about 68 percent of those reported, while shunning or the deliberate avoidance of Asian-Americans, composed about 20 percent. About 11 percent of the reports involved physical assault.” It is crucial that such incidents are reported and that the victims and their families receive justice.

In the Atlanta, Georgia shooting, there were eight injured, with six of them being women of Asian descent. There was a study released last week by CBS that revealed hate crimes in 2020 went up 150 percent, with women being the main target. 

Recently the hashtag “#StopAsianHate” has been trending to advocate for the ceasing of hate crimes against the Asian American community. Many celebrities like Mindy Kaling and Lebron James, along with politicians like Vice President Kamala Harris and other senators have been speaking out about the negative actions toward the Asian American community.

Thurston County to receive money for Covid-19 relief

Brianna Lopez, Staff Writer 

The country is still suffering from COVID-19 and numbers are rising and declining rapidly. One day there are little cases and other days the cases are through the roof in numbers. Here in the state of Washington, we have officially made our way to Phase Three of lockdown, allowing us to go about our normal lives. For Thurston County, because the county is such a close-knit community, it was easier for us to go through lockdown and still move through the different phases, hence why Saint Martin’s University is in session currently. 

Due to Thurston County’s immediate response to the pandemic, according to The Olympian, the county is expected to receive a total of $56 million in just COVID Relief Funds from the Federal Government. This article was written by Martin Bilbao and he stated that these funds would be received over the course of the year. Of course, the first half will come within a couple of weeks to months and the other half would arrive within the next year or so. 

The money would be coming from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Act signed by current President Joe Biden two weeks ago on March 11. The act is separated into 11,006 sections, each section stating how the country as a whole will function from now on whilst in the middle of a pandemic. For example, Subtitle B- Nutrition of the new act has to do with improvement in assistance for SNAP online purchasing and technology improvements, and the list continues from there. 

Of course, because Thurston County is not the only County in Washington, it had to be divided within the state. According to County Manager Ramiro Chavez, from the $65.1 billion that was brought together for all counties in the state of Washington, Thurston would be receiving $56 million and the money has been divided already based on how it will be used. The money will be available not only for business recovery but also for infrastructure improvements and maybe even transitional housing. 

From that first $28 million the county manager could come up with $10 million to give to  Thurston Strong. This a community that has helped countless local businesses and different organizations whilst dealing with the pandemic. Chavez stated that the money would be separated as such; $3 million, $2 million, and $5 million. The first $3 million would be given as grants for minority-owned businesses, the $2 million would be for the farm-owned businesses and the last $5 million would be for other businesses that are in need of some serious help and recovery. The county of course will have to revisit the subject to make sure that everything is in order when it comes to money. Whether or not the money is going to be used appropriately is very important not only to the county but to the U.S treasury as well.

This pandemic has harshly affected businesses both big and small. The funds are being used for the right reasons, and hopefully, with these continued resources, businesses will be back in full swing. 

Students Plans After COVID

Tinsae Shifreaw, Staff Writer

During this pandemic, many fun activities that allowed interaction were canceled, such as concerts, amusement parks and common hangout areas, so that state and federal governments can slow and stop the spread of the COVID-19 disease. Thankfully, vaccine research and distribution to the population has begun. With the state re-opening and moving to Phase Three, many places and businesses are starting to open up, allowing the businesses to host at 50 percent capacity, and allowing more freedom for citizens to participate in different, yet still limited activities. Though the state is opening up, it is a long process, with us backtracking when there is a high spike in cases across the state and taking a slow approach to opening. With this information, “what is the first thing you would do after COVID is over and safe to go around and attend the many different activities once unavailable?”  This question was asked to students, allowing them to consider what they may do after our long quarantine is over. Max Turner, a junior at Saint Martin’s University, said, “probably go somewhere crowded and just relax”. Something many people miss. Others responded the same, saying how they want to walk around without masks, enjoying the fresh air and hanging out with their friends in public places like the mall or something like the Puyallup State Fair. Freshman Ja’Tarya Hoskins says that she would go to a concert or festival with her friends, dancing and singing to the lyrics of the different songs, losing their voices over the loud beats. 

Many do plan on traveling to other states or countries, feeling the need to travel as the warm weather creeps in, kicking the cold weather of winter out, and missing the adventures in different and new places. However, some students do not have a plan, still waiting for it to officially be safe to have fun. Sophomore Asma Ibrahim had that thought when asked the question. “I haven’t thought that far ahead because it became a way of living that if I go to crowded areas now, it doesn’t feel right”. With life slowly getting back to normal, many feel the awkwardness of life  before the pandemic and before the quarantine, especially in crowded places like malls and parks. Those with high-risk family members and are attending classes online may soon be able to safely attend classes in person. They are going to be able to experience the college life that many have been hoping to witness by attending the different activities available. With the college experience in mind, different activities for classes or even just part of campus life can actually take place, allowing for bigger events, like potlucks or even dances that many have heard occurred during the previous years of many upperclassmen who attend Saint Martin’s University. 

Schools Reopening

Ailina Cunningham, Staff Writer

For students with families who live locally, it’s important to understand how schools are attempting to open back up amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and how they plan to handle the delicate balance of Education vs. Public Safety. Locally, the Thurston County school districts are opening up as we inch closer and closer to COVID-19 free schooling. This of course is not a perfect system as several schools have opted for hybrid and online classes. This is a compromise the school districts are using in order to keep the school going while also being aware of social distancing protocol and safety protocol for students and teachers. The Thurston County School District website even states that in order to get back to school, students and staff are both encouraged to take a COVID-19 test to ensure the safety, health and wellness of each person. On their website, it says “participants are encouraged to pre-register online before arriving at the testing site. Parents/guardians who pre-register their student online will also be asked to fill out a permission slip that allows test results to be shared with their student’s school district.” This is regarding a testing site that has been set up for the Thurston County School District to get tested that is located conveniently at 6005 Tyee Dr. S.W. in Tumwater. 

Currently, the plan for implementing public safety within the school district is to enact hybrid learning that allows students to opt for virtual or in-person learning as needed. Different grades are given different times that their hybrid learning styles are going to be implemented, including as early as March 15 for 6th graders. This however does not mean that masks will be excluded from the educational plan as students are still encouraged to wear a mask and promote public safety for their fellow students. The hybrid learning is the fifth part of a six-part education reopening plan which allows students to get back to pre-k COVID-19 school learning. The first two parts of the reopening plan include remaining at home and full remote learning. Steps three through five include gradual hybrid learning with an emphasis on in-person learning with each step. Currently, in Stage five, it is a requirement that in-person learning takes place at least two times a week out of the five days that school is in session with three of those days being an optional online class. Currently, much like Saint Martin’s students who are using online classes to complete their degree, students of Elementary and High School are using Google Classroom and Canvas in order to get their assignments completed and meet virtually through Zoom calls. Luckily in this age of technology, it becomes easier to adapt to learning environments such as virtual classrooms that allow people to proceed with their education no matter where they are. Even as schools open up and learning becomes more in person, maintaining the ability to have hybrid classes could be beneficial in the future and a valuable model for teachers to use to reach students everywhere.