Ethnic Student Association (ESA)
The Ethnic Student Association always has something going on, as well as opportunities for YOU to get involved! Click on the tabs below to check out the events and activities we take part in every quarter, and sign up above for our weekly e-newsletters to stay up-to-date on ESA happenings in the near future.
Elections of Officers
Are you looking for opportunities to improve your leadership skills? Every fall the ESA assigns officer positions for the coming year! This is a great chance to get more involved in the campus community, gain leadership experience, and have a great time!
- Ethnic Student Center Retreat (Camp Casey)
Each fall Western Washington University’s Ethnic Student Center holds their annual retreat at Camp Casey, and guess what? WE’RE INVITED!! Come join us for some great times in a beautiful setting. This is a wonderful opportunity to get to know WWU’s students. If you’re planning on transferring to WWU, this is also a great chance to network with the amazing staff and faculty members that can help you through the transfer process!
Club T-shirt Designs
Fall Quarter is the time of year when we create the design for the ESA club t-shirts. It changes every year, and if graphic design is one of your interests, this is a great way to get involved! These t-shirts become the face of our club for the entire academic year, and we wear them to all of our events. Submit your design ideas, and the club will vote on the one they like the best!
- Migrant Youth Leadership Conference
In partnership with the Migrant Educational Regional Office (MERO) and the State Education for Migrant Youth Office (SEMY), the Migrant Youth Leadership Conference annually offers 100 youth in grades 8-12 with migrant backgrounds the opportunity to build leadership skills, overcome barriers, create action plans, and learn more about higher education. The ESA has been privileged to present at this conference for the past few years. To learn more, or to get involved, check with the ESA in November.
- MLK Human Right Conference
Organized by the Whatcom Human Right Task Force, this conference is held annually on WCC’s campus, and is free to the community. Every year brings a different theme, inspiring new speakers, workshops and more in depth discussions that bring together extraordinary educators, students, resources, and community members dedicated to promoting diversity and equality in our communities. Historically, the ESA has both attended and presented at this conference. In addition to the amazing learning opportunity that the MLK Human Rights Conference provides, it is also a place where you can network with other students, educators, activists, and remarkable community members. Check with the Ethnic Student Association in January to get updated on what the conference will be presenting that year!
- Students of Color Conference
This yearly conference is geared specifically for Washington state community college students, and is the only of its kind in the United States. Almost every commmunity college in Washington sends a group of students and advisors to experience this event every year. The goal of the conference is to support Washington state students to become more active proponents of thier own education and life choices, expanding the opportunities and possibilities for students to become agents of change. Not only does this event provide a safe space for students of color and allies to express thier feelings and concerns about race, but it also challenges students to change thier way of thinking about themselves and others. Groundbreaking social activists facilitate workshops, and serve as keynote speakers who share thier insights and experiences to inspire students to carry on the message of activism and social justice. This is an AMAZING event that will change your life, and WCC sends a group every year. It takes place every spring, so stay tuned for the opportunity to apply!
- Power of One Conference
This NASPA LGBTQA leadership conference invites students to learn about intersecting identities while promoting social justice. It is aimed to create a respectful, open, and widely accessible environment in which participants will be challenged to apply the things they learn into their lives after they leave the conference.
Whatcom Community College sponsors a number of students to attend, but space is limited so check out the Multicultural Academic Support Center for more information.
- Skagit Valley Latino Education Conference
For the past few years, the ESA has presented at this conference which is aimed at Latino middle school and high school students. It is meant to help students connect with their own personal story and look forward to going to college and becoming community leaders. If you are interested in building your leadership skills, and taking part in presenting a workshop at this conference, look for more information about this event around May.
- Women of Color Empowerment Dinner
The Women of Color Empowerment Dinner serves to unify and create dialogue amongst students, staff, faculty, and community members willing to learn from the collective pressures of race and ethnic relations that women of color face with each experience. Contributing to diversity on campus, the dinner provides an opportunity for the community to share their voices in a supportive atmosphere. This powerful event focuses on the struggles, triumphs, and experiences of women of color and their allies and celebrates the professional accomplishments and personal successes of women of color throughout our community.
- Unlike most other clubs on campus, the Ethnic Student Association continues to meet every week over summer quarter. We like to let loose a bit in the summer months, and our activities change every year, so stop by a meeting to find out what we’ve got planned!
- Gender Odyssey
Gender Odyssey is an international conference focused on the needs and interests of transgender and gender non-conforming people. Packed with thought-provoking workshops, discussion groups, social events and entertainment, this one-of-a-kind annual gathering attracts people from all over the world for an uplifting weekend of skill sharing and community in Seattle, USA at the Washington State Convention Center. This conference is open to all. Anyone may attend regardless of gender identity or gender expression, so if this sounds like something you'd like to experience check back to this website in the spring. Gender Odyssey takes place every August.
- Farewell to the Students Moving On
Over the school years strong friendships are formed, and its always painful to say goodbye to the extraordinary people who have become a part of our family as they move on with thier educational and professional goals. However, we always plan a fun celebration to acknowledge everyone’s hard work over the past school year, and to have one last ESA family celebration with our WCC graduates. We always do something different and welcome activity ideas. Let us know how you'd like to celebrate!
- Brothers and Sisters of Whatcom County (BASOW)
In addition to other clubs on campus, the Ethnic Student Association also works to promote connections with community groups and organizations. Brothers and Sisters of Whatcom, or BASOW, is made up of community members of color who support each other and promote diversity within Whatcom County. The group meets every month, and is reguarly attended by our members. If you'd like to check out a BASOW meeting in the near future, you can sign up at an ESA meeting, or contact Krysta Walia.
- End-of-Quarter Celebration
At the end of every quarter, the ESA takes some time to celebrate and have some fun! In the past we've had a canoeing party on Lake Whatcom, a massive bowling extravaganza, a movie night, and a BBQ to name a few. We plan something new every quarter, so check out an ESA meeting to find out whats happening at the end of this quarter!
- Identity Development Workshops
One of the ESA’s most popular community outreach activities are our Identity Development Workshops. We are asked to present at conferences and events all over the state. These workshops are also a great way for our club to fundraise, as we are occasionally paid for presenting. Here’s a description of our signature “I Am From” Workshop:
As we each have our individual experiences in life, it’s important to understand who we are, where we come from, and why we’re here. This workshop is intended to explore these aspects of ourselves and each other by affirming and validating one another’s experiences and promoting equity. Through this workshop we can find ways to relate to each other and celebrate our differences. We can take that mindset out with us into the world and do our part to fulfill MLK’s dream by empowering ourselves and our communities.
Participants create “I Am From” poems that are an expression of who they are, and where they come from. They can be written in any language, style, etc. As long as they represent you! After the poems have been written, participants mix paints to match the color of their skin and make a handprint on their individual canvas that they can write their poem around. There is also a large communal piece of paper where everyone can put their handprints, and a line or two from their poem. This creates a larger “We Are From” piece of artwork. We encourage those who want to share their poems with the group to do so, and if the feeling strikes them, maybe talk about how their experience with the workshop has made them feel.
- Club Fairs and Bake Sales
The Ethnic Student Association is a very active club, and we always jump on the chance to connect with the campus community. Club Fairs happen every quarter, and they help us to reach out to other students, and get them excited about what we’re doing as a group. Bake sales provide the same opportunity, as well as prospective fundraising for club activities. These events are fantastic ways to get to know your fellow students, and reach out to the community about the issues and topics that you’re passionate about! If you’d like to help out at a club fair or bake sale, just sign up at an ESA meeting, or contact Krysta Walia.
Every month, we take some time during a meeting to celebrate the birthdays of our ESA family members! Come on by and tuck into some birthday cake and goodies!!
Betsy Hasegawa, Ed.D.
Interim Director of Multicultural Academic Support Services
Cascade Hall 117
Trinity Banks: Co-President
Moise Payne: Co-Presdient
Donna Thorn: Historian
Taylor Brooke: Budget Authority
Johannes Malebana: Public Relations
Lakhwinder Randhawa: Public Relations
Ashley Leverett: Public Relations
“I, too, sing America.
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.
I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"
They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--
I, too, am America.”