Friday Letter, 11-6-15

I spent the early part of the week in Bellingham at the monthly President’s meeting. Those tend to be exhausting.  Here’s a quick glimpse of how those go:

We meet first for an “academy”. This is 3+ hours of time where we discuss a special topic.  The topic this time around was “Should the CTC system have the authority to teach BS and BA degrees?”  We discussed this at length and formed a task force to research the idea.  I am now Vice Chair of the task force.  Bellevue College is already independently pursuing this authority from the legislature.

We then move into committee meetings. I chair the Capital Committee.  My job is to oversee the state-wide process for selecting new building projects and assuring all of our minor works money is spent.  Cascadia’s project (CC-4) will be among those competing for 3 new building slots.  A total of 10 colleges can compete in this round.

I then move onto the Executive Committee. Since I am chair of Capital, it means I’m a part of Exec and I “get” to go to another meeting.  We then decide on which issues we will handle as a small group or bring to the whole group the next day.

The first day caps off with dinner and speaker. Our dinner this week included Rep Chris Reykdal, who spoke to us about how the House views community colleges.  Basically, there is no money and we have to fight for our share of the pie.

That’s the first day…about 8am to 8pm. The next day is spent at the Business Meeting.  We convene at 8am and adjourn around noon. This week each committee gave a report; there were updates about ctcLink, our legislative agenda, budget, and other areas.  This can tend to be the most tedious part of the two days.

As president, my job is not contained to just campus management and local community affairs. It includes this system-steering responsibility that helps me keep perspective on things outside of Cascadia.  Some of the other presidents were teasing me a bit calling Cascadia a “utopia”.  We have DIAs and Cavolines (things they would like to do), interest-based bargaining that works really well on our campus (it doesn’t on theirs), we don’t have to directly supervise Residence Halls, Athletics, Custodial Services, or Facilities (things which can be challenges), our enrollment is up (theirs is not), and to top it all off…

We have a cornucopia!

Have a great weekend.

Same Shots, Different Angles

by Tiffany Grosvenor and Zoe Thornton, Cascadia Students

People can’t experience creativity if they don’t connect themselves to their surroundings. People can call themselves artistic or say they completely lack in that realm: “All I can draw is stick figures.” You don’t need to be artistic to be creative. Creativity is what you make of it and how you connect yourself to your surroundings.

Sometimes all you need to do is look at the world through a different lens to find creativity in your everyday life.

photo (1-07-21 PM)








If we don’t stop and take a look at the simple things, then all we’ll have in our lives is definition, wordiness, and our lives will be lacking in simple art.









How can you be more creative? Well, one way can be to take pictures. Random pictures of your everyday life. You see a cool street sign? Take a picture. You see a pretty leaf? Take a picture. The picture can be as random as a person walking down the street or a leaf on a sidewalk. Anything can be art and can be made artistic. You can arrange things to make them look more photogenic and or just leave them in their natural state.

Take pictures and then go back to take a look at all them. That is your life in pictures—things that you have seen, captured in the moment to be remembered forever. Then you can do whatever you like with your pictures. You can choose to edit them to make them look like a completely different picture. You can show your everyday life to the world and all your friends by posting those pictures on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, or Tumblr. By posting your pictures you are putting a little bit of yourself out there for the world to see.


Cascadia Hunger Games: Primrose in the Cornucopia

No, we are not referring to Katniss Everdeen’s little sister, but rather that lovely yellow flowering plant that exists in the Cascadia Cornucopia. Like all of the other beautiful plants in the garden, the primrose is edible-leaves and petals! Adrian is back to share some fun facts about the flower, and why you might want to nibble on this plant.

Green tip: Yes, you can eat the leaves.. really!

adrian and primrose

Friday Letter, 10-23-16

Creativity…a phenomenon whereby something new and/or something valuable is formed. We use creativity to find our way out of problems, to venture into new domains, and to create wonderful things.  And, at Cascadia, creativity seems to be prevalent everywhere we look.

Take a look at the Cornucopia or the ARC. These are projects which have added so much character to the campus.  The creativity of all involved in those projects has manifested itself in very enduring ways.

Take a look at a new feature on the Integrate It blog. Courtney Putnam’s Yours Truly class is writing and posting articles to the site this quarter under the heading “Everyday Creative.”

Here is the link:

and if you scroll to the bottom, you can see there are two entries so far, “Beautiful Creations” and “Perspective.”

I delivered modeling clay to four departments this week…the Math/Writing Center, International Programs, The Center for Culture, Community and Inclusion, and the Veteran’s Resource Center. Below are the creations that came from these four departments.  Congrats to all of them.  Each department has 2 pizzas coming their way soon.  Thanks for participating.

VC ClayC4CCI ClayIP ClayMWC CLay

Next Friday is Halloween and I’m trying to be somewhat creative with my costume while using my shaved head as a cornerstone to the outfit. I’ll be delivering Top Pot Cascadia Donuts next Friday as well.  Just a token creative moment.

Thanks to the efforts of Dianne Fruit and The Center, Los Días de los Muertos (Days of the Dead, a holiday honoring the dead celebrated in much of the Spanish-speaking world) was a part of our week with several of Dianne’s students creating nearly 170 sugar skulls that were available for decoration. Creativity at its peak.

Over and over we see the results of our creative work and one of the things I enjoy most is working in an environment where creativity is valued. These few examples are just ones that came across my desk this week in some form.  I know there are dozens of other examples and I’m happy to highlight them along the way if you give me a heads up.

Have a great (and creative) weekend.

A new gardener, chocolate cake decor, and Cornucopia beauty!

Today we welcome Zach Bateman to Cascadia’s Cornucopia blog series. Zach has worked with the grounds crew off and on since 2010, and is excited to talk with us about his favorites in the edible food forest. If you’ve been taking a fancy to the edible garden, then you may have noticed a pretty purple and yellow flower popping up in one of the patches. The viola, while pretty to look at, is also a great medicinal flower and has been used for years as an antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic agent.

So, where do chocolate cakes fit into this? I’ll let Zach share his favorite way to prepare the viola!

Green tip: violas are sometimes annual or perennial, so please leave some for others so that it may grow and return year after year for all to enjoy! And, thank you to the secret planter to shared this gem with the Cornucopia!

zach and viola

Magic in Cascadia’s Cornucopia!

Tyson Kemper is back with us today to talk about the wonders that take place in the Cornucopia. All of the green beauty is a wonder… all of the edible plants is a wonder… all of the sustainability is a wonder… yet, Tyson is referring to the plants that mysteriously appear, and the gardeners were not responsible for planting said seeds. Our gardeners take serious care of any plants that pop-up in the food forest, like the two types of parsley discovered in the Cornucopia recently. Typically, you might think of this relative-to-the-celery as a garnish to your dish, but did you know that “rock celery” is highly nutritious?! #whoknew

Green tip: Watch the video below to learn how to harvest this biennial plant, and discover other fun facts about the parsley!


tyson and parsley

Hello, Sunshine!

As we approach the Fall weather, we can still find rays of hope stemming from Cascadia’s Cornucopia. Tyson Kemper is back with us today to talk about the tall, bright plant known as helianthus, or more commonly to us as the sunflower. Did you know that sunflowers offer more than a pretty view? They are a nutritious snack, as well!  Learn how to harvest the bounty of seeds that each individual sunflower contains.

Green tip: when the center of the sunflower (the seeds) turns black, and the petals begin to look disheveled, you know the seeds are ready. Pick a flower and enjoy!

tyson and sunflowers

Yarrow… pretty AND practical

Now, how many of you saw the title and immediately had to search for the definition of yarrow? Anyone? Anyone? Okay, maybe it was just me, but thankfully I have one of our campus plant experts, and his wealth of plant knowledge to set me on the right path. Adrian joins us today not only to tell us about this versatile flower, but to show us how to properly harvest and dry flower clusters. If you watch the video in its entirety, you might even see how yarrow brings out the excitement in passers-by. [Everyone wants to be a star.]

Green tip: you can harvest yarrow by the individual cluster or the entire plant. In order to maintain a sustainable Cornucopia, we ask that you limit your harvesting to leave plenty for everyone.


Adrian and Yarrow


The BLS wants to know…is a sustainability career on your green horizon?

$46,000 to $166,000 …. these are the median salaries the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports to be found in the sustainability field.  Sounds good to me! But what exactly would you be doing all day?

Ready to get started?  There are still four three spaces left in the fall cohort of Cascadia’s Bachelor of Applied Science in Sustainable Practices degree.  But you need to apply today. The orientation field trip takes places on Friday, September 18 and you don’t want to miss it!

There is also still space in fall Environmental Technology and Sustainable Practices classes. This two year program is an ideal way to start your sustainability career.

Contact Jodie Galvan for more information at

Lend me your ear… of corn…

That’s right, folks, corn-on-the-cob is sprouting in Cascadia’s Cornucopia, and Tyson Kemper is with us again to demonstrate the proper harvesting techniques. While our garden might not produce quite the amount of corn that one could see covering Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, or Illinois, our small but mighty corn crop isn’t doing too badly! In fact, I may have been the recipient of the corn harvested in this clip. It was very, very tasty. So, check out the cornball below (just kidding, Tyson!), and take one home for dinner tonight. Remember, the more we know, the more sustainable the garden will grow.

Green Tip: the younger the corn (greater mix of white and yellow kernels) the tastier the corn!


Tyson and Corn