Monday, May 29, 2017

What's Next For The Sport of Boxing?

(Photo: Wikimedia)

“Boxing is a dying sport.” This is a statement that has been thrown around for the past two decades that seems to carry more weight as years pass. It's hard to argue because it seems the public loses more interest in the sport as the days go by.

 However, many fans, including myself, continue to watch, hoping that the sport is able to gain more momentum and give us fights and fighters that can return boxing to the cultural spotlight.

Boxing, has been around for thousands of years, with the earliest depictions of the sport coming from third millennia BC. The sport exploded in popularity in the early 1900s after it attained legitimacy and became a regulated and sanctioned sport. Boxing was only second to baseball’s popularity in the first half of 20th century, with fans coming by the thousands to watch fights in person and millions of Americans around the country gathering around their radios to listen in on the action.

The common criticism about the sport that I hear so often today is that it's barbaric, dangerous, devoid of any substance, featuring two people that are just trying to hit and dance around each other. I would say those arguments have reasonable points. Boxing isn't sunshine and rainbows, it is tough, it is brutal, and when you see former boxers today and the effects the sport has had on their health, I can see why people have a hard time wanting to watch it.

Yet, that just makes boxing all the more intriguing to me. Why do people dedicate so much to this sport? What makes it all worth it?

It was Mike Tyson that said, "The tempt for greatness is the biggest drug in the world."

Many fighters seek greatness. They look to push themselves to their physical limit in the hopes of becoming something bigger than themselves; a star, a champion, an all-time great. Fueled by dreams of a better life, many boxers start out young and put in countless hours a week to become a better fighter. The amount of focus, speed, power and intelligence required to become a world-class boxer is staggering.

George "TNT" Evans is a local boxer who spent most of his career in Albany and currently has plans to start a gym in the area. He is a man who has dedicated his life to the sport. Evans was only five years old when he first went to a boxing gym and he's been in love with the sport ever since. Fighting in 483 total bouts throughout both his amateur and professional career, Evans is as experienced as they come. At one point, he was ranked 15th in the world professionally in the Bantamweight Division.

I got a chance to sit down and talk to TNT one-on-one and get his thoughts on what boxing means to him and the impact it has on his life.

"Boxing has been my life and has taught me many valuable lessons. It can teach you how to defend yourself, it can teach you discipline, it can strengthen your self-esteem," said Evans. "Most importantly it teaches you sportsmanship and compassion. Where else can you beat up on someone, and then they beat up on you and at the end of it all you give each other a big hug? I mean where else do you find compassion such as that?"

Evans credits the decline in the popularity of boxing to the fears over concussions and brain injuries in the late 1980s and the subsequent softening of the sport in the 1990s to make the sport more safe.

"It was a brutal sport, you don't see it as brutal as it was in the '80s. In the '70s and '80s people actually hit each other, but today it's just dancing around the ring," said Evans.

If boxing is dying, then 2017 has been the defibrillator. Entertaining fights like Keith Thurman's impressive win on Danny Garcia, Anthony Joshua's TKO on Wladimir Klitschko in Wembley Stadium, and Gennady Golovkin's unanimous decision-victory over Danny Jacobs, have all kicked off the year in exciting fashion.

The Canelo Alvarez vs. Julio César Chávez Jr. fight reportedly earned over one million views on pay-per-view. To put that in perspective, that is roughly the same amount of views that the highly anticipated Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao fight earned back in 2015. Upcoming fights like Andre Ward vs Sergey Kovalev and Golovkin vs. Alvarez later this year should only prove to add to the excitement.

But just how far can these fights take boxing?

Any fuel to the fire is welcome, and as long as these super fights avoid disappointments like Mayweather vs. pretty much anyone he’s faced in the past decade, then boxing is in good shape. These fights stand out to me specifically because it’s giving the two most popular fighters in those weight classes a shot at each other in their prime. That's ultimately what boxing fans want to see. Not seven years after it should have happened like the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight.

"I think boxing will be making a comeback because of those fights coming up and because we're beginning to see a lot more talented kids come up from the amateur level," said Evans.

Boxing is so much more than a sport -- to many it is their life. It represents hard work paying off and shows that if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything. As humans, that’s something we can all relate to. That's why boxing is called the “sweet science,” because it isn't just the technique or the tangible measurables of a fighter that win out. The fighter's heart and determination to overcome the obstacles in their path ultimately prove to be the deciding factor.

While boxing may be down, it sure as hell isn't out, and like the many athletes that practice the sport religiously, it's still got some fight left in it.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

"Peace Be Upon You" an Educational Play About The People of Islam

Falyn Lazarus as Sumaiya in dress rehearsal for "Peace Be Upon You"
(Photo: Angela Scott)

Linn-Benton Community College Performing Arts presents a new, informative production about the people of the Islamic faith. "Peace Be Upon You" aims to educate viewers about Islam and break stereotypes that American culture may associate with the religion.

The play "Peace Be Upon You," is the latest form of community-engaged theater, written by LBCC performing arts instructor Dan Stone, through collaborations with students of the Islamic faith. Presented in a "black box" format with seating on stage, the play runs May 18 and 19 at 7:30 p.m. and May 20 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. in the Russell Tripp Performance Center. Tickets are $10 for general admission or $7 for students and seniors.
"I have a lot of international students, a lot of them from the Middle East. I just felt with all that is happening in the news now, and even before, with all the misrepresentations about people from the Middle East, that this was a great topic," said Stone.
"Peace Be Upon You" centers around Sumaiya, a Muslim women from Iraq, played by Falyn Lazarus and Chelsea, an American woman who has a lot of misconceptions about Islam, played by Hannah Costa. It focuses on the two character's interactions as they room together in a college dorm and tells the story of how they work through their cultural and political differences.
Community-engaged theater, or theater of place, is a type of play that looks to educate an audience about a micro-community that is either misrepresented or has an important story to tell. Past plays recalled stories about veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, the latino community in Independence, Oregon, loggers and their families in the Pacific Northwest, the elderly, and more.  
Stone writes the plays with the help of members of the micro-communities in a year long process that features multiple interviews in gatherings known as story circles. The goal is to have members of the story circles pitch ideas so that Stone can get insight into what specific subject the play should explore. Stone wrote "Peace Be Upon You" with the help of several students at LBCC from the Middle East who practice Islam.  
"Often times when I write these kinds of plays I look for a common denominator within the community to write about,” said Stone. “When I interviewed people from the Middle East that live here, the common denominator amongst that group of people is: they are just like anyone else, they're human beings just like everybody else. Other than their religion they are no different than everybody else. So the idea of the play is to humanize these people that Americans typically see as completely foreign and different from them."  
Community-engaged theater is cutting-edge and LBCC's Performing Arts program is on the forefront, one of the only programs in Oregon creating these types of plays. They were recently invited to the University of Oregon to do a presentation on this innovative play writing concept. Already looking ahead to their next project, the LBCC Performing Arts program has partnered up with the Oregon Coast Aquarium to create a series of children's plays that focus on several ecosystems of Oregon.
Stone, who has written these types of plays for just over ten years, explained why he finds community-engaged theater to be important.
"Theater isn't just a form of entertainment, it's learning about who we are and who the people that live around us are."
For more information about "Peace Be Upon You" contact the LBCC box office at 541-917-4531 or email them at

At a Glance:

Dan Stone - Performing Arts Advisor at LBCC

Phone: 541-917-4566

Falyn Lazarus - Actress playing Sumaiya Hannah Costa - Actress playing Chelsea

Linn-Benton Performing Arts Center

Friday, May 12, 2017

LBCC Student Delphine Le Brun Colon Recieves NASA Internship

Delphine Le Brun Colon,
mechanical engineering student at LBCC,
was selected for the NASA Internship Program
(Photo: Elliot Pond)

Deep within the winding hallways of the Industrial A building on the Albany campus of LBCC sits a small room dedicated to LB's Space Exploration Club. In here lie both current and past projects of the group -- payloads and rockets sit atop a labyrinth of tangled wires. In a sense they serve as trophies; reminders that represent the hard work put into each project by the club.

For one of the club's most dedicated members, Delphine Le Brun Colon, they represent the rediscovery of a childhood dream.

Le Brun Colon is currently majoring in mechanical engineering at LBCC with a minor in aerospace engineering. She is the second LB Space Exploration Club member to accept a summer internship at NASA. She will be heading down to Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama to work on the RS-25 engine, the strongest rocket propulsion system in the world.

Le Brun Colon was born on the west coast of France and grew up in a small island community called I’lle dYeu. She moved around quite a bit throughout the course of her life and says the constant moving helped her understand the importance of being able to adapt. She had always dreamed of being an astronaut but admits that she buried that idea at a young age, believing it to be too unrealistic.

She eventually made her way to Oregon by way of New York City. At the time Le Brun Colon was seeking to go into Ecological Engineering, and OSU was one of three universities in the country offering an ecological engineering undergraduate program. This lead her to attend college at LBCC and on welcome day, her first year, back in 2014 she met Parker Swanson at the Space Exploration Club booth. After talking with him and seeing some of the projects the club had worked on, she knew that she had to sign up.

"Life has a funny way of bringing you back to your path if you let it," said Le Brun Colon.

In 2015, Le Brun Colon got the opportunity to work with the group on designing a payload that flew on board a NASA research rocket from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. This experience only further confirmed that she had found her true calling.

"Experiencing a rocket launch sparked something in me. I knew I wanted to work in aerospace," said Le Brun Colon.

She went on to lead the group's project in 2016, where they created an ambitious rocket-borne payload that was designed to measure polarized energy from gamma rays in space. Levi Willmeth, colleague and friend of Le Brun Colon and current project manager for the Space Exploration Club, praised her leadership ability and attitude.

"My favorite part of working with Delphine is that she is relentless, selfless, and able to step back and see the bigger picture. She identifies problems months in advance, but will also cancel her weekend plans or pull a late night build session to solve a team emergency. Delphine is an excellent team member in any capacity, either giving directions or following them. Filling both of those roles is a difficult and rare quality," said Willmeth.

Willmeth also accepted a NASA Internship for this upcoming summer and has worked closely with Le Brun Colon for three years now. The two applied for their opportunities through NASA's One Stop Shopping Initiative (OSSI), which is designed for the selection and development of high school, undergraduate, and graduate students.

"I encourage everyone to apply. There are so many opportunities offered and internships at NASA are not restricted to science and engineering type projects. they look for business majors, communication majors, etc," said Le Brun Colon.

Parker Swanson, adviser to the Space Exploration Club, is proud of both Le Brun Colon and Willmeth. He's thrilled that they received such amazing opportunities and says they are both well-deserved. He recounted the time he met Le Brun Colon at the Space Exploration Club booth in 2014 and explained that it has been his pleasure to watch her develop not only into an excellent engineer, but into an excellent manager and key member of the club.

"Delphine does everything with passion, including her engineering studies, her work with our team, several part-time jobs, and also having fun," said Swanson.

After her internship with NASA, Le Brun Colon plans to transfer to Oregon State to finish her bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. She will also perform her own research with OSU's propulsion lab and plans to attend grad school as well.

For Le Brun Colon it has been quite a journey. She talked about the invaluable experiences and people she's met along the way and praises the Space Exploration Club for giving her the hands-on experience to open up a path to a childhood dream.

"All the people I’ve met in the aerospace industry are humble and hardworking. There is something special about having to work together and trust each other to achieve something that is greater than all of us,” said Le Brun Colon. “My favorite things about the Space Exploration Club are: the fact that it is open to everyone, the invaluable hands-on experience, the incredible projects I’ve had the chance to work on, and the people I get to work with. I didn’t know anything when I started but I learned. Don’t let yourself be intimidated. Be curious instead."

At a Glance:

Delphine LeBrun Colon:
Levi Willmeth:
Parker Swanson:

LBCC Space Exploration Club


"NASA-wide system for the recruitment, application, selection and career development of high school, undergraduate, and graduate students primarily in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. Opportunities for students in other disciplines are available."

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Shins "Heartworms" Review

The Shins "Hearworms" Album Artwork

Complete artistic freedom among musicians is a rarity these days. In an industry dominated by the bottom line and driving record sales, a lot of great music gets lost in the shuffle. We've reached an age where artistic integrity takes a back seat to the demands of the consumer. This results in watered down, similar sounding mediocrity that holds the medium at a standstill.

Artists are rarely content with creating art for art's sake. One genre of music I have always considered to be an exception to this is indie rock, filling a niche for people who want to hear genuine music created by people with true passion for what they are doing. Although some indie rock bands do strike deals with larger record labels, the artists are still given a lot of freedom to do what they feel is best on their projects.

One of indie rock's most popular bands, The Shins, once dominated the genre throughout the 2000s. Over the years, they have seen their fair share of changes. Back in 2008, front man of the group James Mercer decided to part ways with the three other founding members of the band. Stating it was an "aesthetic decision," and effectively turning the group into Mercer's solo project. With a new band accompanying him, many had concerns about the future of The Shins, but Mercer has proven he can do it on his own, the most recent example being his latest album "Heartworms."

"Heartworms" is the fifth studio album by The Shins, the follow up to "Port of Morrow" (2012), and the second album for the group on Columbia Records. It is also the first album frontman James Mercer has produced by himself since the band's 2001 debut album, "Oh, Inverted World."

"Heartworms" takes elements from past Shins albums, balancing the enigmatic lyricism of Mercer with his addictive melodies, evoking both sweet and bittersweet emotions along the way. "Heartworms" adds new elements as well. Mercer, inspired by his work with Danger Mouse in their side project, Broken Bells, uses a lot of synth sounds, as well as violins. All these pieces together make for unique sounding arrangements that lets "Heartworms" stand out in the Shin's discography.

Much like past albums from the group, "Heartworms" doesn't revolve around one central theme. Instead, each song has its own self-contained idea or question it explores.

Opening up the album is the track, "Name for You," an upbeat tune that challenges society's treatment of women and the labels people like to put on them. Inspired by and written for Mercer's three daughters, it describes the pressures and challenges women have to face on a day-to-day basis. The chorus makes a reference to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet with the repeating line "What's in a name?" which is essentially saying that whatever society labels women as, that isn't necessarily what they have to be.

"I had been thinking about femininity and what it means to be a women in society and I guess I just wanted to speak to them [Mercer's daughters] and I want them to have a life where they feel powerful and comfortable and confident," said Mercer in an interview with 7.30, an Australian news program.

"Mildenhall" focuses on Mercer's childhood and how he went from growing up in a military family in Albuquerque, New Mexico to the lead singer of an indie rock band. Carrying an older country western vibe to it, "Mildenhall" has Mercer working his lower register while a steady rhythm and relaxing acoustic guitar gently flow throughout the song. Although it differs significantly from what Mercer usually writes, it works well here and is a nice nod to the old country and folk music Mercer used to listen to with his father.

"The Fear," the closing track of Heartworms, has both a feeling of melancholy and hope sprinkled throughout. Inspired by Mercer's own life and his struggle with debilitating thoughts, the song is about anxiety and how if someone's not careful they can waste their life by worrying too much.

Other tracks on the album explore concepts like the humor of modern relationships, living life to it's fullest, and loving someone who doesn't feel the same way. Mercer's song writing is as brilliant as ever, his use of cryptic lyrics leaves a lot of the meanings to his songs up to interpretation. One listener may have a completely different view on a song than someone else.

While "Heartworms" is a solid album, it doesn't do anything particularly transcendent to the genre or even for the Shins. Sure, it's a fun, well thought out album with some cool new elements, but it doesn't quite have the same magic of past records like "Oh, Inverted World" and "Chutes too Narrow" that made the band really stand out in the early 2000s.

Though the days of  The Shins creating groundbreaking music may be over, it's still great to see something auteur driven in the year 2017. James Mercer has proven yet again that he can still craft captivating melodies and arrangements that will stick around in your head long after your first listen.

At a glance:

The Shins
Fifth studio album created by the Portland based indie rock band.
Features James Mercer and a few new band members, the album comes five years after the release of previous album "Port of Morrow."
11 Tracks || Album Length: 41:51
Rating: 4/5 Good
Download Cost: $10.99

What others said:

"Self-produced and recorded, Heartworms is the most hermetic LP James Mercer has released since 2001’s Oh, Inverted World. His gift for making fussy arrangements seem effortless remains unparalleled."
- Evan Rytlewski (Pitchfork)


Friday, April 14, 2017

Goat Yoga Creates Unique New Way to Do Yoga

Romeo, one of Morse's goats smiles for the camera
(Photo: Elliot Pond)
If someone were to tell you they were going to attend a goat yoga class, you would probably have a few different reactions. First, you might look at that person with the same expression you would as if they had just told you they had bought a reasonably priced condominium on Jupiter’s sixth moon of Europa. Second, you may begin to get curious about what goat yoga would actually entail.
Your imagination drifts off to a studio full of bearded billy goats atop yoga mats doing downward facing dogs and striking warrior poses. Well, imagine no more, because it’s much simpler than that.   
Goat Yoga is a brand new way to do yoga, new form of animal therapy, and innovative business owned by Lainey Morse of Albany, Oregon. Essentially, it is a guided yoga class that also happens to feature about a dozen goats that walk around and interact with the participants.
A goat might come up to you to be petted, climb on top of you, or it may just let you use it as a pillow. It provides an escape for people from all walks of life — whether they face depression, anxiety, are recovering from an illness, or if they simply want to try out a unique and fun experience.
“The pairing of goats and yoga might sound silly at first and most people generally like to question things they aren’t familiar with, but goat yoga is just another form of animal assisted therapy. You get to enjoy nature, interact with adorable goats, and get exercise. In that sense, it’s really no different from walking your dog or going horseback riding,” said Morse.
Heather Davis, a yoga instructor of seven years, came to Morse with the idea about a year ago after visiting Morse’s farm. Davis thought it would be a cool idea to combine yoga with being around Morse’s goats. Morse loved the idea and the two partnered up to create Goat Yoga and they haven’t looked back.
Don’t give up hope if the waitlist number scares you. Morse recently added two more class types of Goat Yoga. The Goat Yoga and Wine-Tasting classes, held on Saturdays and Sundays with a $50 ticket price and the Student Goat Yoga classes, held on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays with a $20 ticket price. The latter of which is targeted at any college students with a student ID interested in giving goat yoga a try. Classes are held at the Hanson Country Inn in Corvallis.
Goat Yoga has been featured in what seems like every major news publication in the United States, such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, People Magazine, CNN, and even ESPN. People near and far have taken notice and are lining up to participate in the unorthodox form of exercise. Some even travel from as far as Germany to give it a try. Because of the widespread coverage it has received, Goat Yoga boasts about a 2500-person waitlist.
“I loved the goats’ interactions, switching to a different pose and having a goat right in the way to greet you was really fun,” said John Friedman.
Friedman, a Wisconsin native who was looking for something to do in the Portland area while he was visiting, found out about Goat Yoga through The New York Times and instantly knew he had to try it. His timing turned out to be perfect; with Student Goat Yoga launching earlier in March he was able to get into a class with relative ease and he had a blast hanging out with the goats.
“Goats and yoga just go together, the sense of calm about them just makes them a perfect pairing with yoga,” said Morse.
It’s hard to argue with that sentiment considering businesses offering goat yoga continue to pop up all over the country on a weekly basis.
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, which means that many people also think goats and yoga is a great idea,” said Davis.
It’s not every day that someone can capture lightning in a bottle, but Morse and Davis seem to have done it and done it well. Morse was even able to trademark the Goat Yoga brand and she is currently looking for new ways to expand her business. She has contacted and been contacted by several businesses around the United States looking to bring goat yoga to their areas. Morse is looking forward to opening new Goat Yoga studios in Washington, Ohio, Kansas, and Georgia with possibly more on the way.
Who could’ve predicted this? There’s just no way anyone could have,” said Morse.
Morse and Davis reflected on their life-changing idea, how far they have come in such a short amount of time and if they had any inkling that an idea like doing yoga with goats would take off the way that it did.
“I had no idea, I just keep wondering who all these people are,” said Davis.
Whether they intended for Goat Yoga to turn into a life-altering business idea, one thing is for sure, Goat Yoga is here to stay and it may just be the best combination since peanut butter and jelly.
At a glance:

For more information on Goat Yoga including class times and contact info, visit their website at
Lainey Morse: Owner of Goat Yoga

Heather Davis: Instructor at Goat Yoga
Phone: 541-497-2149

Hanson County Inn:
Address: 795 SW Hanson St, Corvallis, OR 97333
Phone: 541-752-2919

The New York Times Goat Yoga Article
The Washington Post Goat Yoga Article

Friday, March 10, 2017

LBCC's Ixtlahuac & Noll Address New Roles in Student Government

SLC President
Brian Ixtlahuac
(Photo: Elliot Pond)
SLC Vice President
Justen Noll
(Photo: Elliot Pond)

Now that the LBCC SLC election is over, the two winners shared their views on their new positions.

Newly elected SLC President Brian Ixthlahuac and Vice President Justen Noll will officially take office later this year in May. They are working with the current SLC staff to transition themselves into their new positions. The two agreed to an interview where they were asked a few questions about what they plan to do now that they have been elected. They shared their ideas on what they plan to do for the student body before and after they take office, issues they noticed facing students at LBCC, and what they feel their roles will look like in their new positions.

What would you say your mission statement is?

Ixtlahuac: My mission statement would be to never turn a blind eye towards someone looking for help.

Noll: I want to use my service over the next year towards helping the student body have more opportunities to be engaged.

How do you plan to apply the lessons you've learned from past experiences in student government and various extracurricular activities to SLC president and vice president?

Ixtlahuac: Communication is key to make a group event work. I am going to express an open arms attitude which will act as a way for people to communicate with ease.

Noll: How to work with people who have discernible differences from me. In a student leadership position such as SLC VP, the position requires the student leader to serve everyone. As someone who is liberal-minded when it comes to social issues, the people who I grew up with were mostly conservative-minded. Yes, I butted heads several times, but I successfully collaborated with people who had different beliefs than I do. I was able to do that because we treated each other like people, not as conservatives or liberals.

What are the biggest issues facing LBCC students that you would like to address?
Do you have a plan to fix them?

Ixtlahuac: An issue I see facing LBCC students is a lack of involvement due to the lack of advertisement. For example, today [March 8] was International Women’s Day and the DAC [Diversity Achievement Center] had a great presentation from women that marched in the Women’s March on Washington and Portland, but not a lot of people came because they were unaware of the event.

Noll: There is much to be improved upon with involvement and engagement within the student body, mainly with time limitations and division. Many students are in circumstances where they can't be involved in anything outside of their classes. I hope to fix that through outreach efforts, from SLC Q&As to art initiatives. When it comes to division, this is an issue that stems from the November election. The day after Trump won the electoral college, the campus was silent. All the liveliness in the student populous disappeared. Yes, it is not as silent now, but there are a lot of wounds remaining. What I hope I can do is lead by example through lending my ears to students' voices that need to be heard. That can help with the healing process.

What are some ideas you have to better utilize the LB Live app for the student body?

Ixtlahuac: The way I would better utilize the app would be to establish a reminder on the app or create a way that the app will save the date of an event and notify the person a day before to ensure that the student does not forget.

Noll: There is a little bit of irony to this answer, but getting in-person feedback to what students would like to see added, improved, or removed would be valuable. I know, it is a technological age. In spite of that, I want to interact and learn more from the students since that's how we (the student leaders) can definitively learn more to improve the utility of the app.

What would you like the SLC to improve while you're in office?

Ixtlahuac: I would like to see the amount of people coming into the SLC asking about SLC positions increase.

Noll: I would like to see SLC be more face-to-face with students. Over the past few weeks, I've gotten to see the amount of work the SLC is doing (answer: a large amount). Being realistic is important in terms of integrating new initiatives, but I believe that the new staff and I will be able to accomplish having more face-to-face interactions.

How do you plan to involve yourself in the student body until you take office later this year?

Ixtlahuac: I plan to attend all the SLC meeting and go around introducing myself to the LBCC staff.

Noll: I'm currently working with the current SLC staff to get the transition going early so that the current staff doesn't have as much on their shoulders during training. I'm learning more about what efforts and events are going to be carrying over. With that, it will allow me to get involvement and engagement efforts started sooner.

If anyone has any questions you can visit the SLC office at the northeastern part of the courtyard by the Hot Shot Cafe on the LBCC Albany Campus.  

At a glance:

Brian Ixtlahuac:

Justen Noll:

LBCC SLC Homepage

LBCC Current SLC Officers

"The Student Leadership Council (SLC) shall serve as the governing body of the Associated Students of Linn-Benton Community College (ASLBCC). The SLC will also serve as a liaison between the ASLBCC and the college administration, facilitating communication between the two groups as well as communication amongst the student body. The SLC shall provide opportunities for networking, social interactions, and outreach activities." -LBCC SLC Mission Statement

Friday, February 24, 2017

LBCC SLC's Presidential & Vice Presidential Candidates Take Debate Floor

LBCC SLC Homepage
(Photo: Linn-Benton Community College)
The candidates for student government squared off and promoted their ideas for LBCC's student body.

The LBCC Student Leadership Council's presidential and vice presidential candidates met at LBCC's Hot Shot cafe for a forum style debate at 3 p.m. on Feb. 21. They were asked various questions by current SLC officers on topics such as how to improve commuting services for students, how to better promote LBCC resources, and why the candidates are qualified for the positions on the SLC.

The presidential candidates consisted of:

  •  Ariel Zapien, a biological science major and former co-chair member of a Portland Community College multicultural organization.
  • Brian Ixthlahuac, who is studying political sciences and has worked in student government for three years including a year where he was a co-class president at Corvallis High School.
  • Connor Hibbs, currently interested in biological studies and a former senior patrol leader of Troop 2 of Boy Scouts of America in Corvallis.

Justen Noll is the only vice presidential candidate, he is majoring in business management and was the creator of a film club in high school that organized a multitude of extracurricular events for students such as open mics and film premieres.

The debate led off with a general question of what each of the candidates would do to advocate for the student body.

"I want to immerse myself within the student body and ask the people how they are doing and what they would do different. I want to ask them face to face on what their thoughts are and look for things to change," said Ixthlahuac.

"One of my ideas would be to start a group where we can support each other as students. I think it's important to support each other's opinions and encourage more students to participate more in student body events," said Zapien.

"I plan to represent students on key issues like tuition costs, study group availability in the learning center and library to encourage students to be all they can be," said Hibbs.

"The main goal I have is to have more accessible opportunities to students to be engaged and involved with their college. This would include having more prominent visual representations of what the SLC is up to," said Noll.

Another question was asked on the issues the candidates see facing students at LBCC.

"An issue I see facing the students of LBCC would be the lack of resource information. I went through the entire fall term not knowing that we could get a free subscription to Microsoft Office, I thought I would have to buy it on my own. So I want to focus on promoting resources possibly on LBCC Live to let students know what they have available," said Ixthlahuac.

"A lot of things I see is that students are not being able to voice their opinions. Like how they feel in class with their teachers, they don't feel comfortable going to the dean or express how they feel to teachers. Students need to feel comfortable voicing their opinions on things like diversity, their goals, grades and how they are doing. I feel those are all important pieces to what will help them succeed in school," said Zapien.

"I expect presidents to lead us as a team, I believe teamwork empowers," said Hibbs.

"The biggest one I see is time limitation, it really limits what students are able to do outside of classes. Whether they have jobs, families to look after, have trouble commuting, etc. We need to build off of a lot of the stuff we already have like LB Live that has immediate connectivity to the student body so adding additional opportunites would be helpful to them," said Noll.

One of the questions addressed commuting as a common issue facing students at LBCC. The candidates were asked how they would create a better a commuting environment at LBCC.

"One thing I would do was to know when the buses arrive,  setting up something on LB Live to notify students if the buses are having any problems or if it's facing delays. That way students aren't stressed about if they are going to get to class," said Ixthlahuac.

"Promoting the rides that are on the LBCC app outside of the app because not everyone has access to a smart phone or tablet. We could also maybe have some volunteers give rides to students throughout the community. Making sure we put a plan in place to make it safe for students as well," said Zapien.

"A ride share and carpool exchange of information could be better set up online. I know LB already has a system in place for ride share and carpool information, but I didn't really see a lot of participants. Advertising the carpool information on LBCC on things like th LB Live could help introduce commuting availability for everyone," said Hibbs.

"I think having an electronic posting, on LB Live or on the school's website would be helpful. Having a posting to show what times the buses are coming, I think the other candidates have great ideas as well and we could bring our ideas together to figure out a solution," said Noll.

An email will be sent out to entire student body containing the voting guide and profiles of the four candidates at 5 p.m. on Feb. 24. Voting will close at midnight on Feb. 26 and the election's results will be posted at 5 p.m. on Feb. 27.

At a glance:

Ariel Zapien: Presidential Candidate

Brian Ixthlahuac: Presidential Candidate
Connor Hibbs: Presidential Candidate
Justen Noll: Vice Presidential Candidate

Eric Slyter: Current SLC President
Kevin Pena: Current SLC Vice President

"The Student Leadership Council (SLC) shall serve as the governing body of the Associated Students of Linn-Benton Community College (ASLBCC). The SLC will also serve as a liaison between the ASLBCC and the college administration, facilitating communication between the two groups as well as communication amongst the student body. The SLC shall provide opportunities for networking, social interactions, and outreach activities" -SLC Bylaws Mission Statement

LBCC SLC Homepage

SLC Current Officers Page
SLC Bylaws

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