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Dear Truly

Truly.

Last year I started going to Evergreen State College. This summer my mom got really sick. I didn’t want to give up my dream of going to school, but I decided that staying closer to home would be the best thing for the family. It didn’t seem like a huge sacrifice.

Now I remember why I was so desperate to leave in the first place: Vancouver is a ghost town. Our university is no better. It seems like every day at Evergreen there was something going on: collaborative art projects at red square, anarchist symposiums on the future of American labor, wild crafting orkshops and the list goes on. We not only had a campus garden, but students could reserve their own spot. Every spring greeners turn out by the hundreds wearing monkey suits, tutus and homemade masks for the procession of the species.

The clubs here are sparse. There is no theater to speak of. The talent in the arts is wanting, at best. The only students who seem to be involved in campus are club leaders and student government paid to be at the events where wild-eyed and desperate they try to get students engaged: “Have some pizza,” “Sign our petition,” “Take this flyer,” “There’s free candy,” “PLEASE.” I feel like I am being hustled by starving vampires every time I set foot into a campus event.

I went up to visit my friends in Olympia about a month ago. We went to workshops on dumpster diving, radical mycology and protest safety. Later we went to a house party. They had a keg, an actual keg of beer. Punk bands played in the basement. Do students even have house parties here? Is any single person on campus even in a punk band? The next day we played a massive game of Humans vs. Zombies tag on campus (being hung over, zombies was the obvious choice).

When I came back here to a dead-eyed campus on Monday I actually wept.

Am I missing something? Is there a goth rock band that plays secret shows on the rooftop after hours? Are there pagan rites carried out at midnight at the fountain? Do students gather in the wee hours to star-gaze at the amphitheater? Does anyone even use the amphitheater? Or is it just something for the rich people to sniff at when they jog through campus?

Greener Reader In Mourning

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Dear Greener Reader In Mourning,

Evergreen does have a lot going on but so does Washington State University Vancouver. I think what you see as a ghost town is really a vibrant campus and town that you haven’t found your niche in yet. I do agree that sometimes it looks like there are ghosts walking the campus but really its just students who have not gotten their morning coffee yet.

I was curious when you said that clubs are sparse here, and I did a little investigation. I found that Evergreen has 54 active registered student organizations on campus. Then I checked WSU Vancouver’s OrgSync and found that there are 55 organizations listed there. With 55 organizations, I am sure you can find one that you would like to get involved in. The involvement fair, which happens within the first few weeks of the term, is a great opportunity to meet club leaders and see if a club might be a good fit for you. You can also create an account on OrgSync and look at the club profiles there.

Have you thought about starting your own club? I am sure there are other punk band enthusiasts on campus and based on the number of Walking Dead fans I know, I think a zombie club could be a good possibility. Be observant of what your classmates are talking about before class and listening to before class (do not stalk or eavesdrop though) and you might be pleasantly surprised. One of my favorite shows is Grimm and I never would have found out I had classmates who also like that show if I didn’t make small talk with them before class.

If you don’t want to start a club, you could give your event suggestion to an organization like the Student Activities Board or Intramurals that may have the time and resources to put on zombie vs. human tag or a stargazing night. Start by visiting the Office of Student Involvement in the Firstenburg Student Center.

As far as campus events go I would encourage you to give the organization sponsoring the event another try. Many hours of work go into planning events and when you thought they were acting like a vampire trying to get you to come into the event, it may be that the person in charge of marketing the event didn’t advertise it in all the places they promised they would. The person leading the event might be concerned that no one will show up or that the food didn’t show up on time. Event planners want events to go well, and when they don’t it’s understandable for them to get anxious and worried and start to look desperate. The amphitheater is used in the beginning of fall term for events like campus movie nights, but outdoor venues do lose their appeal when it is cold and rainy outside – which here seems to be most of the school year. The campus events calendar is a good place to look for lectures and workshops put on by university departments that may be of interest to you check it out at events.vancouver.wsu.edu/.

Olympia is great but I know in time you will find Vancouver is a wonderful place to be too.

Yours, Truly

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