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Reproductive health

As a young college student with a limited income, Planned Parenthood provides the much needed security that no matter my financial state, I will always be able to afford high-quality essential health care to maintain my reproductive health.

I know countless individuals who have relied on Planned Parenthood throughout their lifetimes as their source of reproductive health care in the direst circumstances, or the most mundane checkup.

Planned Parenthood reaches far and wide to provide services to the 2.5 million patients a year who visit health centers to receive care regardless of their zip code, income, sexual orientation, race, religion, gender or country of origin.

When Republicans attack Planned Parenthood, they are devaluing the reproductive and sexual health and security of women across the country. If Planned Parenthood were to be defunded, millions of patients would be denied cancer screenings, birth control, HIV testing and much more.

It has been made clear that Washington state stands with Planned Parenthood and strongly believes that women deserve the best care possible, along with millions of people across the nation.

It is time to put an end to this scheme, that is nothing more than a blatant political attempt to attack women's health and rights. Hold your representatives accountable, and let them know that you stand with Planned Parenthood.

- Stella Harvey

As a student at Western Washington University and a Planned Parenthood patient, I know the crucial role that family planning centers play in the community. The current administration's talks of defunding Planned Parenthood is an attack on women's rights and is deeply concerning. Shutting down Planned Parenthood would deny millions of men, womxn and teens access to contraceptives, STI and cancer screenings and other preventative care. Planned Parenthood provides care to everyone regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. With the modern hook-up culture and Tinder-reality of this campus, supporting health centers like Planned Parenthood should be a priority of every student. Without Planned Parenthood, many patients would have nowhere to go as other health centers would not be able to absorb the number of patients for which Planned Parenthood cares. Every person has the right to receive affordable, quality health care and the right to protect their own body. I stand with Planned Parenthood. I fight with Planned Parenthood. Will you fight with me?

- Erin Montgomery

Last Wednesday was a huge victory for Washingtonians, especially those of us who have a uterus! On the final day of 2017 Legislative Session, the state senate passed HB 1234, a bill requiring insurance companies to reimburse patients for up to 12 months of birth control at once. The bill garnered bipartisan support. Only one legislator voted against the bill: Senator Mike Padden.

HB 1234 is a great representation of Washington’s values. We will join Oregon and California (in which similar bills were passed in 2015 and 2016, respectively) in enacting this progressive, common-sense law. We have a right to plan our families and our futures, and we have a right to protect our own bodies and our lives. With consistent use, the birth control pill has a failure rate of less than 5 percent. Consistent use is difficult for low-income women and women who live in rural areas in particular, since these factors complicate getting to the pharmacy every four weeks. By passing HB 1234, our legislature (except Mike Padden), has demonstrated that we believe in making birth control accessible for women, regardless of their income or zip code.

Please call your state senators and thank them for supporting the bill. (Unless, of course, your senator happens to be Mike Padden.) Hooray for accessible contraception!

- Ali Brenes

The sparkle behind the shine

Regarding “The sparkle behind the shine” by Julia Phillips, I was really stoked to see a piece done about a demographic here at Western we don’t hear about too much, let alone custodians employed elsewhere. It was a great glimpse and is very nice to show gratitude to those who work hard to better our campus but I wish there was more in-depth detail about the custodians. It would be really cool to get to know them through the eyes of journalism and see them get recognition they deserve. In the piece, wishes of not being overlooked were expressed. “Giving voice to the voiceless.” Would be cool to see a more in-depth follow up piece! Keep up the good work.

- Michael Nguyen

Campus unity

As Western Washington University students, we pride ourselves on our community focus and social inclusiveness. Unfortunately, our school severely lacks any sense of unity or spirit. This is most likely due to our lack of school-wide athletic programs, as well our lack of “Greek life.” Although we have voted against these initiatives fairly, we have not replaced the sense of community or unity (that those programs naturally instill) with any other form of school-wide bonding! This has led to a fracturing of the student population and a proliferation of cliques and niche groups that ultimately have little or no interaction with each other, and hence have stunted growth. Much of the Western population’s focus is indeed on strengthening ties with the surrounding community, building relationships with underprivileged and recognizing the unique strengths and qualities that everyone brings to the table. However, we often forget that our school spirit is a part of our community!

Luckily, we have options if we desire to take action. One of the most fulfilling, productive, connection-focused bonding practices is precisely what many employers and professionals also admire in aspiring students: service to our community. It organically creates a sense of purpose, worth and connection with each other. With myriad volunteer opportunities, our biggest roadblock now is the lack of outreach to Western students regarding volunteer opportunities and benefits. That is, we need to strive to create an environment where community service is held in high standards and with deep appreciation. After all, many of the facilities that we ourselves use on a daily basis were created through some form of volunteer initiative or donation proceed!

- Koven Wollrab

Food waste

I was at lunch in Viking Commons today and witnessed what they do with their leftover food.

Due to their policy of not allowing anyone to remove food from the dining hall (in a Tupperware, for example), it is wasted instead. This seems in my mind to be rather ironic, given that Aramark expressly encourages students not to waste food. I spoke briefly with one of the workers there and found that this is not an infrequent occurrence.

“It’s a large-scale enterprise,” I can hear you saying. “There’s going to be leftover food. There simply aren’t any alternatives to throwing it away.”

In 2016, there were 719 documented homeless individuals in Whatcom County. Assuming that the supply of wasted food is great enough (which I am almost certain that it is), this food could be used to feed them, rather than simply being discarded. Aramark’s practice of disposing of perfectly acceptable foodstuffs demonstrates both an extraordinary lack of responsibility to our homeless community and a breathtaking level of hypocrisy, given their sententious admonition to us, their customers, not to take more food on our plates than we can eat. Compounding this is the humiliation that on-campus students are obligated to purchase a meal plan, thereby becoming complicit in the wasteful actions of this corporation.

I’m writing to you today to ask you to write about this issue in the Western Front; I am certain that I am not the only one who notices the profligacy inherent within the day-to-day operation of Viking Commons.

A good day to you all.

- Michael Lee

Black hair politics

Interesting piece that made me think about how different Western standards/ideals of beauty differ from the rest of the world. To what degree do institutions influence our social biases? Or maybe it's too much of an individualistic question to answer. Keep up the good work!

- Michael Nguyen

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