New students mingle, meet over ‘New Raider Welcome’

Guest speaker Tom Krieglstein encourages students to look for new opportunities


It’s a new quarter and for many students coming in, it is their first time on a college campus. A community college does not have the same challenges and pressures that a university has, but it is still different than high school.

Sept. 14 was a day just for them. Guest speaker Tom Krieglstein helped the Running Start students and those fresh from high school break the tension. According to his website, Swift Kick, the entrepreneur, speaker, and professional travels to colleges giving presentations on “how to build a culture of connection.”

His message was not centered around the academic’s expectations. His approach used a mix of his own stories with interactive exercises to get the audience engaged. By the end of the morning, they knew things about each other that otherwise they may have felt shy about sharing.

They knew that the worst thing they ever did on a dare maybe wasn’t really as bad as they thought. They learned each one has a super power that is unique. One student shyly admitted to twirling a baton, while another has an IQ of 158.

There were two parts of the presentation that had a significant impact. The first was a video about a young man, Matt Harding, who randomly would pick a location and set up his cell phone to record as he danced. Then, he would post the video on YouTube. People would jump in and join Harding at later events.

Harding later received a job that allowed him to travel all over the globe for a year —  expenses paid — doing what he did originally. Only this time, it was people in the countries Harding was visiting that jumped into the video.

The second half of the presentation, “Take a seat, make a friend,” was a video put together by SoulPancake.

Strangers were invited to sit and talk in a large bin, containing plastic balls with questions written on them. Some of the questions mirrored the same ones the students answered.

Krieglstein encouraged students to look for opportunities. Going to college can be more than just showing up for classes and finishing assignments, he said.

“When I graduated from college, I already had a billion-dollar business going. I started by selling textbooks on Ebay that no one needed any more,” Krieglstein said.

After having them team up and create their own secret handshakes, it was time to break for lunch, catered by Lancer Hospitality.

Around the room, tables from various support teams and other groups on the campus were present.

Sitting at the Veteran’s Center table were William Cole III and Holland Cooley. Cooley, who is usually at the Puyallup campus, was here to welcome new students.

The center’s primary mission is to be a support system for students who are military veterans. Part of that support is a revised program, Vet Navigators.

“We want to be a resource of resources for veterans. Whether they need help with housing, mental health, anything for transitioning to civilian life,” Cooley said.

“Having an actual presence on campus gives better communication between vets and staff,” Cole said.

A new support group, ASPIRE, was also present. Miguel “Aki” Smith is the retention manager and Kiana Fuega is the outreach specialist.

The organization’s goal is to serve and support students on campus who are of Asian and Pacific Islander heritage.

“These groups historically are underserved and we want to expose then fill gaps in services. Language is not the only barrier, Sometimes the barrier to a successful education can come through stereotypes. For example, often the perception is that Asian students do not need preparation or assistance when coming to school,” Smith said.

“ASPIRE seeks to reach across those cultural barriers to successful academics,” Smith said. By assisting with goal-setting, personal growth, and development, they will reach, support, retain, and see their students graduate.

At the WorkSource table, Jayna Petterson had pamphlets with information on the criminal justice program and the B-tech program. She enjoys events such as this because students can get a lot of information at once.

Because she is also connected to WorkSource, she has funding connections. “Students can look here for additional, possible funding resources,” Petterson said.