Pierce Pioneer

Pierce College Athletic’s Road to Recovery

Pierce College reopens sports and practices on campus following a 2020 press release

In a press release on Dec. 13, 2021 the Northwest Athletic Conference confirmed that all sports would return to play during the Winter quarter. After competition was suspended on March 17, 2020, no NWAC programs have stepped on the field together in official contests. The Covid-19 pandemic has barred student-athletes from competing and practicing when some programs haven’t competed since fall of 2019.

During the first week of February, all Pierce College sports were up and running, beginning their safe return to play. This marks the first time that all sports have competed during the same quarter, which adds pressure to scheduling and safety measures. 

According to the NWAC’s Covid-19 Health and Safety Policies manual, each NWAC competition will conduct a four-phase plan that will ease restrictions going forward. 

The first phase or grey phase includes a mandatory shelter-in-place where student-athletes are limited to essential travel only. This travel includes work, food shopping, mandatory labs and school-related responsibilities. Coaches are not permitted to hold in-person meetings or engage in socially distant workouts for two weeks.

Once the shelter-in-place is completed, practices are able to occur in person. Full team practices are not permitted, as small team training in pods of five or six must be followed. Each pod could practice on the same field, but no contacts between each divided group are allowed. Once two weeks of this process is finished, teams will be able to resume full team practices. 

Moving into the yellow phase, teams will be allowed to resume full team practices and sports facility gyms will be allowed to open. In every phase, teams are required to wear masks at all times, including in games. Although, these protocols are subject to change as the NWAC and Pierce College follows the guidelines set by Pierce County and Washington State health officials.

Since Pierce County is in phase two of Governor Inslee’s Road Map to Recovery, Pierce College competitions are allowed to practice in full roster capacity. Other counties who remain in phase one will have to stay in small group practices until they meet three out of the four Covid-19 restrictions. 

According to the NWAC, these restrictions include a 10% decrease in biweekly cases per 100,000 people, a 10% decrease in biweekly Covid-19 hospitalizations, an ICU occupancy of less than 90%, and a test positivity rate of less than 10%.

When the NWAC enters the blue phase, all competitions are allowed to resume. Although, competitions this year will look different due to the banning of all fan attendance. This came as a measure to mediate the risk of Covid-19 exposure to NWAC student-athletes.

Before each game and practice, each player and coach is required to complete an online Health Check form to be eligible for competition. Furthermore, before each team meeting, all players and staff must have their temperature taken to ensure no symptoms of Covid-19 are shown.

Games are expected to take place on March 1 and have a window to complete all competition until June 15. This wide window allows each program to complete approximately 20 games for all sports. All games are subject to change as Covid-19 restrictions can alter the road to recovery laid out by the conference and state.

The NWAC and Pierce College sports will not be the same without fans and the support of Pierce students but there are several ways to catch every competition. All games will be streamed online through the NWAC website where all games can be viewed online. Another location for streamed games is through the NWAC Youtube channel that will broadcast all competitions.

Reflecting on the historic 2020 election

How Pierce College Sees Our Presidential Candidates

Pierce College students and professors weigh in on the many ups and downs of this year’s presidential debates

From shouting interruptions and a lost message in the first Presidential debate to snarls and civilized conversations in the Vice Presidential debate, the American people were reminded of the divisiveness that continues to polarize the nation. 

In the first debate, we saw moderator Chris Wallace struggle to maintain order between the two candidates as President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden clashed in the first presidential debate on Sep. 29. The following Vice Presidential debate featured Mike Pence and Kamala Harris, who provided more policy substance in a calm and civilized manner.

Yet the vastly different debates did not change the opinions of these Pierce College students and faculty, as America gets closer to what Donald Trump and Barack Obama deem the most important election in our lifetime.

In the first Presidential debate, Trump tallied a total of 145 interruptions while Biden totaled 67 interruptions according to a Fox News analysis. Political Science professor Chris Roberts, a current council member for the City of Shoreline, was surprised by how the president conducted himself. “The fact that he was interrupting, it didn’t resemble traditional debates in that sense,” he said. 

Moreover, the constant interruptions from both candidates disallowed the American people to hear the candidates stances going into this election. Running start student Courtney Oller believed that the two candidates acted childish by talking over each other. “The President is supposed to set an example for the country,” she said. “I’m not saying it’s just that one debate that made up my mind, but I don’t feel like either of them were showing an actual maturity to be the President for the country.” 

Likewise, Eli Haugen, who plans to work in administry and is a first time voter, compared the debate to his life at home. “I felt like that was the glimpse of my childhood,” he said. “That was like my mom trying to separate me and my siblings from arguing. After a little while, I didn’t really feel like the debate was going in a good direction and it felt very out of control fast.”

Throughout the unconventional debate, each candidate had their strong moments with Trump pressuring his stance on packing the supreme court, while Biden countered with Trump’s COVID-19 response. Professor Roberts touched on Trump’s ability to stay on message and fluster his opponents. “He really stays consistent in terms of what he always comes back to his talking points,” he said. “He always comes back to his core messages and he really doesn’t let anything distract him from that.”

For Biden’s strength during the debate, Roberts pointed to his ability to stay composed. “I think the Vice President did fairly well at presenting what he wanted to present,” he said. “Sort of a calm stable feature if he was going to become president. I think that people comparing the two really got a sense of the difference in personality between the two candidates.” 

Besides character differences between the two candidates, each has different ways of handling the economy. On one hand, Joe Biden plans to raise taxes and has thought about another economic shutdown if scientists advise him to; while on the other hand, Donald Trump plans to keep his tax cuts and keep the economy open.

Running Start student Michael Seebold, looked into both candidates’ plans for the economy and doesn’t believe in Biden’s economic policy to shut down. “I don’t agree with that, I don’t want the economy to shut down. I like what Trump is doing with the economy, like getting the manufacturing jobs and making the U.S. population dependent upon itself so we’re not outsourcing everything, and not relying on other countries for goods.”

With the policies and personalities of both candidates considered, Haugen and Seebold believed that there was no clear winner for the Presidential debate. Meanwhile Oller, who was also torn between both candidates, said that Biden won the first presidential debate due to his policies. “I kind of put it into sections for what they’re talking about,” Oller said. “For the first section definitely Biden, but I think Trump did have him in the next one. But overall, in the entire debate, I do think Biden had more respect; more overall better opinions.”

Moving forward a week later, the Vice Presidential debate served a more calm and organized structure which differed from the Presidential debate. The debate also carried a viral sensation with a fly landing on Mike Pence’s head, giving everyone watching something to unite with. 

According to Roberts, the Vice Presidential debate carried less stakes in the November election. He believed each candidate had a different purpose they were aiming for during the debate. “I think Senator Harris had the job of introducing herself to the nation; and I think that Vice President Pence had more of a goal of working to articulate and defend the President’s record.”

Oller, who believed that Kamala won the debate, noticed a difference in character between the two debates. “Even just sitting in the living room, you can feel the different attitude,” she said. “The way Kamala Harris would talk about something then Mike Pence would talk about something; even though he kept interrupting her, they were very much more mature than the president.”

Furthermore, Harris’ performance reminded Oller of a potentially bright future under her administration. “Kamala Harris has a lot of good ideas,” Oller said. “Honestly, as a woman myself, seeing another woman talk about all of these great expectations has really influenced me. That is what we need to see from a Vice President.”

Seebold believed that Mike Pence won the Vice Presidential debate, believing Pence put the American people first and focused on independent freedoms, while Kamala Harris planned to shut down the economy. “Kamala Harris was saying all of these restrictions that she is going to place because of Covid,” Seebold said. “I don’t have a problem with wearing a mask, it’s fine, it’s constricting my breathing; but actually quarantining and shutting down the economy, having to stay at home even though you don’t have it, I don’t agree with it.”

Going into this 2020 election, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and others have deemed this election the most important in our lifetime. This year’s election is projected to curtail the highest voter turnout in a century with over 80 million ballots already casted. Young voters are expected to sway the 2020 election by shattering their previous turnout records.

Yet, Roberts argues that this election is not the most important in our history and points to the potential political realignment in 2020. “I believe that we are at the tail end of the Reagan political era,” he said. “This election is going to really determine if we are resetting a new political cycle or if the 2016 election was the beginning of the new political cycle. I think that’s why the importance in the stakes of this election seems to be higher than most previous elections.”

According to Haugen, this election will change our country’s direction and history. “There is so much that hangs on this election,” he said. “I think that there’s a lot more that’s going on behind the scenes than what some people know. Depending on the results of this election, things that are going on behind the scenes are going to come to light whether that be even more conspiracy theories or fraud voting or whatever. I think that this election is going to change the course of our American history.”

See how canceling the 2020 season has affected the baseball program

In baseball, someone who fails 70 percent of the time is considered elite. Yet failing only 70 percent of the time calls for hundreds of hours dedicating yourself to the game. For all the time spent in the batting cage, on the field, and in the gym, you typically get three at-bats to show for it.
However, imagine having no chance to show off your hard work, and the opportunity to prove yourself is taken away. During the troubled times of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Pierce College Fort Steilacoom baseball program was deprived of one thing they loved most - baseball.
On March 17, the Northwest Athletic Conference announced the cancellation of the 2020 season for all spring sports programs. Pierce College Athletic Director Duncan Stevenson remained sympathetic to the student-athletes that he worked with.
“My initial reaction to the cancelation was a sense of devastation for our student-athletes,” he said. “Not just for this lost season, and this year’s training and preparation, but for the years of time and sacrifice they and their families have invested in getting to this point.”
According to Stevenson, over the last three decades as Pierce’s athletic director, he has never experienced anything like the COVID-19 Pandemic. The feeling of devastation extended to the program’s coaches and players. Yet, the program remained optimistic as the players began to plan for their futures and the next season.
“Within a day or two of the announcement of the decision, their spirits really turned around, especially as the enormous scope of the national and global situation became more apparent,” Stevenson said.
“They quickly switched gears from being frustrated about the lost season, to making plans for spring quarter classes and looking at options for next year. I am really proud of how resilient they have been through all of this.”
As announced online by the Northwest Athletic Conference, freshman and sophomores enrolled during the 2020 season would remain the same grade athletically for the next season. This would apply to all athletes regardless of the number of games played during the spring season.
Moreover, the sophomores have a big decision to make on where they will play during the 2020 season. Stevenson realized that the baseball program will never get this season back. “For some, this will be the end of their competitive careers,” he said. “As an athlete, you want to go out on your own terms –in the arena of competition. For those that return next year or move on to play at a four-year college [or] university, this will always be their lost season; It is really heart-breaking.”
Pierce’s baseball coach, Kevin Davis, was also crushed by the cancellation of the 2020 season. He knew what this season meant to the sophomores, as he was once in their shoes after finishing his sophomore baseball season at Bellevue College.

“I feel for the sophomores who worked their whole life for this and don't have anything to show for it,” he said. “I also feel for the freshmen who got their first chance at college ball and had that taken away.”
The NWAC was not the first conference to cancel the season, according to Davis. The decision to cancel the 2020 season followed similar decisions by four-year universities in the NCAA. Tournaments such as the NCAA College Baseball World Series and NCAA Basketball were canceled ahead of the NWAC’s decision in March.
Since the spring season ended, the program’s players have kept in touch and continue to train on their own time. “They have been doing home workouts, playing catch together when they can, and we have weekly zoom sessions to goof around and keep in touch,” Davis said.
The team now endures a long offseason where they plan to start their fall season as planned. Next season, they will have the possibility to have a first-ever season with three classes of players. This would include incoming freshman, returning freshman, and third-year sophomores.
Riley Paulino, a freshman pitcher who plans to return for next season, was let down by the cancelation and empathized with his sophomore teammates. “I was very disappointed because I felt that we had a really good group of guys all pulling towards one goal,” he said. “I also felt for the sophomores because, for some, this marked the end of their careers. It hurt me to witness their last season go down like that.”
Even though the rest of the spring 2020 season was canceled, the team was able to play 12 games out of the 45-game season. Paulino, who led the team in strikeouts, said his teammates were what made the short season and preparation worth it.
“My favorite part of this last season has to be the countless hours that I have spent grinding day in and day out with this group of guys,” Paulino said. “There is nothing like having 30 guys you know would run through a wall for you. This makes us push each other harder because we truly care about the success of each other.”

Hunter Bungert/ Photo Illustration

Cody Russell, a sophomore shortstop who is continuing his playing career at Washington State University, is only one of a few sophomores who knows where they are playing next season. According to Russell, he received the news of the canceled season during a meeting with this team.
“At first I was really shocked,” Russell said. “I didn’t really think it was true. It probably took me a week for it to click in; I’m not going to be completing my sophomore season up here.”
Since Russell has a sense of direction to work towards, he started his off-season early in preparations for his jump to division one baseball. But with no facilities and teams to practice with, it has been difficult to train for the next step in his career.
“It’s tough; we don't really have gyms right now,” he said. “So, we've got a little setup in our garage; my brother and I are lifting almost every day, hitting at the cages, playing long toss, and running. Just all the normal things that you can try and do without having a school gym or whatever we had before this whole thing happened.”
Additionally, Russell will be joining his brother at WSU, who is a freshman. He looks forward to the opportunity to play at the highest level with his brother. “I’m playing with my brother, what else could I really ask for?” he said. “It’s D1 baseball with your brother; It’s kind of a dream come true for both of us. I’m pumped, I can’t wait to get down there, get rolling and get with the team.”
With his junior college career at an end, Russell embarked on what he will remember most about playing for Pierce. “The grind, the attitude, and the culture that coach Davis built around the team was the coolest thing,” he said. “It was crazy how last year it was two different teams. This year it was like we were brothers, everyone was so close, hung out almost every day; everyone had classes with each other. The energy that the team brought was so different, I think that would have taken us a lot farther than last year.”
According to Russell, the majority of sophomores remain unsure about the next step in their baseball journey. Yet, the team continues to express optimism in the pursuit to play baseball for a four-year university. Only time will tell where they will end up and how the program rebounds from a canceled season.
With no way of making up the canceled season, the program endures a long off season to improve individually. COVID-19 guidelines make it hard to train as a team and each player’s commitment will be tested in preparation for the fall season. Even with a pandemic limiting the access to facilities and players, it won’t stop the program from striving to challenge themselves everyday. The program's sense of resilience will push them through quarantine and prepare for another season as a Pierce College Raider.

Pierce faculty persist through the online transition

Jezreel Proo Staff illustrator

Math professor Judy Petkovsek endured her first quarter of online classes at Pierce College. 

Petkovsek taught one online class in previous quarters at Tacoma Community College, which gave her familiarity with online courses. However, in preparation for the spring quarter, she remained concerned for the students who believed that math could only be learned in a classroom. “My biggest fear was teaching online to students who didn’t want to take online courses,” Petkovsek said.

In April, all Pierce College classes moved online. The spring quarter of 2020 marked the first time that many teachers experienced online classes, which required faculty to adapt to a mandatory virtual environment. With Canvas, teachers could reach students through an established platform that allowed for a smooth transition online.

Petkovsek is one of many professors at Pierce College who had to adjust to teaching students virtually, rather than in person. With online classes being mandatory, the amount of productivity and self-motivation of students may be in question.

“I was teaching students who signed up for online classes, and they knew what they were getting into; they knew they had to be self-motivated, and they knew they had to work hard at this on their own.”

Petkovsek noticed a small drop in the productivity amongst her students, however, but more so in the likeness and reason for taking her class. For her Math and Society class, she witnessed a drop in productivity due to the sense that this would be her student’s only math class taken while at Pierce.

On the other hand, her Precalculus II students’ productivity either stayed the same as previous grounded classes or rose. Petkovsek mentions that these students are going into the STEM field, which requires a higher level of mathematics. “They seemed really motivated and very self-driven,” Petkovsek said. “I gave them a little bit of support, and they go and take it very far.”

English professor Kayla Pohl taught English 101 for the first time online this quarter. According to Pohl, she had experience with teaching online classes in the past, but worried for the students who may not have the resources to transition to online. 

“When you just switch everyone to online, the issue is that there are already so many inequities among Pierce college students,” she said. “There are racial inequities and financial inequities, so you have some students that just don’t have the resources to be able to do online learning.”

Virtual streaming platforms such as Zoom played a vital role in the ability to speak with students in real-time. The use of the service was not required by Pierce College, as teachers had the opportunity to host asynchronous or synchronous classes. This gave more flexibility with class schedules and allowed students to complete schoolwork outside the designated class hour.

To better serve these inequities and adapt to a virtual platform, Pohl had to change her curriculum by conforming to daily lesson plans. “Every quarter, I change a little bit based on feedback from students,” she said. “But this quarter especially was about cutting down anything unnecessary or anything that just doesn’t work well in an online format.”

Changing the format of her lesson plan meant less time to teach topics that would have required longer than a small fraction of class time. “Research says that you have to keep videos as short as possible, no more than like five or ten minutes,” she said. “I mean eventually you’re going to get down to trying to deliver content in a Tik Tok format. How am I going to translate Rhetorical Theory to a quick five-minute conversation? Not easy.”

Pohl devoted time to discussions and group activities in grounded classes, but online classes have made it harder to replicate that in an online environment. According to Pohl, an asynchronous classroom is best for an online format, where people with jobs or other outside devotions have more flexibility in the classroom. 

Yet, this quarter, she and Petkovsek noticed a small decrease in student productivity. Despite some of the difficulties professors face, many remain optimistic and determined to see this quarter through.

To help ensure productivity and connections with her students, Petkovsek used Zoom to record lectures in real-time and required weekly attendance phone calls. Petkovsek saw weekly phone calls as an opportunity to connect with students and solve any difficulties with the class. 

“I check in with them once a week for what obstacles they’re having, that week or any struggles they’re having for the week,” she said. “I check in on their grades and, if I see a grade that is low or if they missed our homework assignment, I talk to them about it.”

Likewise, Pohl also contacted her students, who may have been falling behind. “I can’t get in contact with those students like I normally could,” she said. “I’ve been emailing and messaging in Canvas as much as possible to try to reach out to these students and tell them; it’s okay if you miss an assignment, turn it in late, just don’t stop; try to keep going.”

Along with communicating outside of class, allowing students to access daily Zoom recordings at any time of the day gave Petkovsek’s students more flexibility. The Zoom meetings could be watched multiple times a day, unlike a grounded classroom. According to Petkovsek, classroom interactions were still important, even though it is more difficult in a Zoom meeting. 

“I tried to make it as much of a classroom experience as possible before class starts,” she said. “I try to do small talk, like, ‘How was your weekend? What’s going on?’ I get students to kind of get to know each other, and I get to know my students.”

According to Petkovsek, using Zoom for the first time online at Pierce, brought forth difficulties with the storage and memory of the recorded videos. Many teachers experienced challenges with the limits to a non-professional Zoom account that restricted meetings to 40 minutes long. But with help from Pierce College’s E-Learning Center, the transition was smoother. “It’s been nice because we’ve gotten a lot of those bumps and bruises kind of work through so that didn’t happen the next quarter; it all kind of goes a little smoother.”

During either a grounded or online class, asynchronous or synchronous, Pohl pointed to the reason she enjoys teaching English at Pierce. “Just coaching students so they can say the things they want to say and participate in the communities that they want to participate in.”

With a quarter of online classes coming to a close, Pierce College faculty adjusted to a virtual environment on short notice. They gave students the ability to succeed at home and worked diligently to connect with students outside of class. Going forward, Pierce has an improved understanding of online courses and prepares for possibly two more quarters of social distancing. 

“Tiger King”: A Must Watch

Ty Phay / Staff Illustrator

From gay, country singing, drug-addicts, to cultish tiger housing societies, the Netflix docuseries “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness,” shocked the world with its captivating look into the lives of the American big cat community. The most-watched Netflix show since March 20, gave a glimpse into the animal rights controversy that many Americans didn’t know existed. 

According to the documentary, twice as many tigers live in U.S. captivity than in their natural habitats. Big cat owners across the nation claimed they existed for the conservation and awareness of the animals, but directors Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin allowed viewers to judge the owner’s intentions.

With viewpoints from all sides of big cats captivity, ranging from caretakers to protesters, the directors captured the conflict between good and evil. This conflict drove the story of the docuseries, and added to the dramatized angle fit for national streaming. The docuseries seemed to stray from the focus of spreading awareness for big cats and focused on the characters that drive the controversy.

The protagonist and former big cat zoo owner Joseph Maldonado-Passage, better known as “Joe Exotic,” provided much of the surreal entertainment throughout the seven-part series. Wildlife park owner Bhagavan “Doc” Antle best described Exotic as, “A completely insane, gay, gun-toting, drug-addict fanatic.” Exotic was the perfect defining character and face of the documentary with his eccentric lifestyle and fiery personality. 

The second large scale animal owner and breeder is best known as “Doc Antle.” The director of Myrtle Beach Safari and Rare Species Fund seemed to bring together cultish intentions with the operation of his wildlife park. His act of polygamy with his park staff added to the surreal nature of the characters in the docuseries. 

In contrast, for these two big cat animal owners, animal activists have devoted their efforts to the abolishment of exotic animal parks. Animal activist and Big Cat Rescue owner Carole Baskin acted as the antagonist to the main character of Exotic. Through her opposition and controversies, mainly over the disappearance of her husband, the directors added her story to blow up the documentary. 

“Tiger King,” may not be for people of all ages due to the use of profanity, guns, and crude language, but the story told is unlike anything the world has seen. The show left its audience laughing at one minute, gasping the next, and finally shaking their head all in one episode. The seven episodes acted as the perfect getaway during the current Covid-19 pandemic that left the world stuck at home. 

The docuseries blew the mind of people around the world gaining popularity across social media. From celebrity photoshops, to Tik Tok videos, and memes, the show was popularized by people of all backgrounds. 

Directors Goode and Chaiklin masterfully put together a juicy and eye-opening docuseries showing the controversy and blinded nature of self-proclaimed animal activists. The endless energy of the back and forth banter led the characters in the series to distance themselves from the conservation of big cats in the wild. Visitors of America’s big cat parks benefit every day from the striking features of an 800-pound tiger, but it’s the animals that ultimately pay the price.

Bienvenido, Latin Student Union!

Myra Fehling / Staff Illustration
A map of Latin America.

A look into Fort Stelacoom’s recently ratified Latin Student Union

The ratification of Pierce College’s Latin American club became official during a Fort Steilacoom government meeting on Feb. 26. Four students represented the new Latin Student Union, filling the audience with laughter and enlightened energy. The enlightened energy carried over two weeks later to the inaugural Latin Student Union meeting. Attendance was low, but the meeting attendees brainstormed future ideas for the club, introduced themselves and brought a Latin flair into the room. 

At the student government meeting on Feb. 26, President Jessica Edmonds said that students of color at Pierce are underrepresented academically, and with the addition of the Latin Student Union, now have more opportunities to have their voices heard.

 “I’m Latin American, and I’m very proud of that heritage,” she said. “I feel that Latin American students in an academic setting are really underrepresented, as well as African Americans, or black students. I also feel that they’re underrepresented or any minority groups for that matter.”

Given that Pierce College is a two-year school, club leadership and members change regularly compared to four-year universities. According to Edmonds, there was a Latin Student Union two years ago, but due to a lack of returning members, the club ended at the Fort Steilacoom campus. 

Latin Student Union President Bryan Santiago-Reyes, who represented the club at the Student Government meeting, said that he plans to keep the club afloat for years to come. “I will honestly try my best; I can’t promise for sure that everything will carry on,” he said. “I am trying to recruit as many people as I can every quarter, keep it going, and [do] some activities so that people are involved in it.” Santiago-Reyes is a freshman at Pierce and will ensure that the club has returning leadership for the fall 2020 academic school year. 

During the Student Government meeting, Edmonds said that the returning club is an opportunity for students who may struggle with language barriers, and receive the resources needed to succeed at Pierce College. She pointed to an example of a Latino family’s struggle with Hurricane Maria, and how the Latin Student Union could help the family transition to Pierce College. “For instance, a family from Puerto Rico disclosed with us that they were displaced from the hurricane,” she said. “It was very difficult to tap into resources, scholarships, and things like that for their family.” 

Charlie Reyes-Garcia, Latin Student Union member also was displaced from Hurricane Maria and moved here due to a lack of economic opportunities. Reyes-Garcia said that the transition didn’t necessarily come from a struggle of living arrangements, but instead a lack of opportunity. “Mostly Leaving my family and relatives behind, it wasn’t much of a struggle because it was more like a decision,” he said. “My parents actually encouraged me to come here and search for a new opportunity. Other than that, it wasn’t a huge struggle, but more of an emotional one.”

The Pierce Student Government president endured her first few weeks with a busy schedule and abrupt change through the transition from vice president to president. With former president Charles Serna resigning at the end of January, Edmonds filled the role and continued her work with the multicultural fair on Feb. 25.

The topic of minority representation led the conversation for the Student Government meeting, with the ratification of the Latin Student Union and the recap of February’s multicultural fair. Edmonds said the event was an opportunity for students of color to come together and express their differences.“I’ve heard students on campus talk for years about that representative piece,” she said. “That was my opportunity to come in [and] collaborate with students, get students involved, and show the voice[s] that’s here at Pierce.”

Pierce student Raul Maza-Sanchez, who attended the first Latin Student Union meeting, said that the club will provide resources to Latino students who lack representation at Pierce. “There’s barely any clubs or resources that we can access, so I think this is a great way for [resources] to grow.” The expanded opportunities for Latino students started with last month’s multicultural fair.

Edmonds announced her appreciation for those who attended the fair and pointed to the empowerment that the event gave to minorities. “Yesterday was a really powerful statement that we as students gave here at Pierce,” she said. “Our turnout was in the hundreds, tons of people felt empowered. They were represented in a light that they haven’t been given here yet. Us as an office really came together, helped everyone, supported each other, were open to feedback; everything was just powerful.”

The previous fair set the tone for the ratification of the Latin Student Union. Santiago-Reyes, who attended the multicultural fair, said help from Edmonds to establish the club was a direct result of the fair.

“It was related to the multicultural fair,” he said. “We wanted to get a group of Latin students, and I have a lot of Puerto Rican friends here. We kind of bound[ed] together and Jessica helped us establish what to do, ‘cause I’m a little bit new here. It’s my first time doing a club; I didn’t really know that much of what I was doing, and she helped out.”

Now that the club is up and running, Santiago-Reyes wants to offer a place for Pierce students to share their Latin culture and learn about each other. Edmonds said that clubs at Pierce should also include those outside of the featured culture. “I think any cultural clubs on this campus should promote that that’s open to not only people of that culture but for people outside of that culture,” she said. “So, if someone wants to come and learn, they are more than welcome to.”

On March 11, the Latin Student Union hosted its first meeting in room 205 of the Olympic building. Club president Santiago-Reyes introduced himself and announced planned events for the club. Those who attended also introduced themselves and helped brainstorm future events and gatherings of the club.

Some future events or activities included member dinners, movie nights, dance parties, and regular meetings in the Olympic building. The most predominant event mentioned, La Conferencia at Highline College, was originally planned to take place on April 18. According to Santiago-Reyes, the event would have hosted Latino students from around the Puget sound, as it presented transfer opportunities for students attending a community college.

 According to Santiago-Reyes, the Covid-19 pandemic forced Highline College to cancel the event. La Conferencia would have been the first event attended by the club since its ratification. Since all Pierce College locations are closed, the club suspended all meetings until the campus has opened and the nationwide ban on large gatherings has been lifted. 

Latin Student Union member, Abel Valadez-Carvajal said that going forward, the club plans to create an organized structure that features more members. “We’re just trying to figure out the certain structure and invite more members, and get it going in the right direction.” According to Santiago-Reyes, more structure will ensure that the club continues throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. However, until the pandemic scales down, the club remains on hold.

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