Mount Hood

Western’s Model United Nations Trip

Written by: Gretchen Sims

Recently, from Feb. 23 — Feb. 25, members of Western’s Model United Nations club took part in a well-established academic tradition — the London International Model United Nations. 

Model UN is a popular activity for students interested in political science and allows participants to simulate the proceedings of an actual United Nations conference. 

Each participant is assigned a committee that replicates an actual committee in the UN. In that committee, the student represents a randomly assigned country — sometimes this can be a specific person, but this is quite rare.

Once these committees are assigned, students are given a real-world topic and are tasked with accurately representing and bolstering their country’s interests.  

Two Western MUN members were assigned to the United States on the Security Council. This was an interesting predicament for these students, as being assigned to the state from which you originate is rare and did not sit well with other participating schools. 

While Western delegates did not win an award, members did exceptionally well. The delegates were working on energy security and the energy crisis, and went against the grain. While most focused on the energy pipelines and creating a singular energy grid, the U.S. Security Council felt ignored and decided to take action. mozambique, an elected member of the Security Council, was trying to start a resolution paper — one of three circulating the General Assembly — however, it kept getting looked over and shut down. 

It was then that Russia decided to back mozambique’s paper — a big deal due to the P5, one of the five permanent members on the security council, state’s veto power.  Sharon Mann and Max Laine decided to beat Russia at their own game and back mozambique’s paper as well. This left the rest of the states in deep trouble because, with the backing of two P5 states, the previously overlooked resolution was protected by two veto powers.

Immediately, the U.S. Security Council delegates were the center of attention — with everyone suddenly begging the U.S. to work with them. However, the U.S. used its veto power to its full capacity and shut everyone down in true American style. 

However, at the end of the day, this was a huge accomplishment for Western. 

Mann, one of the two students on the Security Council, said that “All the schools that went to this conference were big-name schools internationally. Universities from France, Spain, lots from London — I think there was a delegation from Oxford there… It was big! We were one of the only American schools — I think there was one other one from New Jersey — but we were Western Oregon. At this huge conference that thousands of people went to, and it wasn’t like U of O going, or even Stanford.”

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Western makes major department deductions

Written by: Mirella Barrera-Betancourt

The Incidental Fee Committee has concluded open hearings and discussions regarding the incidental budget allocations for the 2023-24 academic year. 

On Mar. 10, the IFC released the finalized budgetary allocations for Western’s departments, as well as the student incidental fee application.

For the 2023-24 academic year, students can anticipate a flat fee of $415 per term for on-campus courses, and $210 for courses fully online/off campus — including the Salem campus — on their student bill. Students taking courses in the summer of 2024 will be charged a fee of $150, regardless of course modality. The final incidental fee decision for 2024 reflects an increase of $43 from the previous academic year.

All departments are to face a reduction in funding, with the largest of the budget reductions targeting Athletics and Student Media. 

The final budgetary reductions are: 17% to Abby’s House, 0% to Access, 17% to the Associated Students of Western Oregon University, 19% to Campus Recreation, 21% to Student Activities Board, 26% to Student Media, 18% to Creative Arts, 19% to WOLF Ride, 26% to Athletics, and 23% to Student Engagement: Leadership, Inclusion, Activities. 

The preliminary decisions for the IFC budgetary plans were released in early February, with the incidental fee charge positioned at $390 for on-campus courses, $210 for online courses, and $150 for courses taken in the summer. The majority of departments — such as Student Media, Campus Recreation, Student Engagement — saw a preliminary budget cut of 25%, and many other areas saw an increase by a range of up to 28%.

Budget requests for the fiscal year’s incidental allocations totaled at $4,367,953, while the preliminary decisions estimated a total of $3,229,883. However, available allocations totaled at $3,500,454, which guaranteed lower allocations in the final decisions.

In the finalization meeting on Friday, Mar. 10, the committee discussed student comments collected from the open forum and three open hearings. The committee observed student concern primarily in the Campus Recreation Department.

In their preliminary decision, the committee proposed a major budget cut of 26% to the Campus Recreation Department, a decision which would result in the removal of the swimming pool as an element included in the budgetary cut. However, the student body strongly opposed this preliminary decision. The committee and ASWOU have rejected the proposition.

The funds from IFC provide an avenue of opportunity for student employment. Additional student concerns stemmed regarding the impact of preliminary funding on on-campus organizations and job employment, with a large majority of the open hearings consisting of student athletes and student swimmers. 

Unfortunately, with student enrollment continuously decreasing, Western is expected to continue facing challenges regarding incidental budget cuts. This year, this challenge was illustrated in the decrease in available budget allocations.

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Spring into spring break

Written by: Jude Bokovoy 

Spring break is rapidly approaching. Some students have been awaiting it for months with a full itinerary of what they want to get accomplished over the week. Others are just looking forward to having a break from classes. No matter what category one falls in, here are a few ideas of what one could do during their break depending on their location and mood. 

Hometown spring break: Everyone has different feelings towards their hometown. Here are a few things to do to bring back some memories and make the most of one’s break. 

Monday — Unwind at one’s favorite coffee shop and read a good book.

Tuesday — Spend time with a family member doing a nostalgic activity.

Wednesday — Have a picnic at a lookout or park.

Thursday — Window shop through downtown to see what’s new.

Friday — Catch up with family members.

Saturday — Do an activity that one is unable to regularly do,  such as skiing or windsurfing.

Sunday — Take a drive through town to see what has changed and what has stayed the same.

Lowkey spring break: This is for those who want to spend their break taking a break. 

Monday — Call a loved one. 

Tuesday — Pack a picnic to take to a local park. 

Wednesday — Go out to breakfast with a friend. 

Thursday — Watch one’s favorite movie.

Friday — Cook oneself a nice dinner. 

Saturday — Have a self care day.

Sunday — Create a mood board.

Reset spring break: This schedule is for those who need to reset their atmosphere and headspace.

Monday — Put on a face mask, paint one’s nails and take a bubble bath.

Tuesday — Go to the library or a bookstore to find a book to read throughout the break.

Wednesday — Clean one’s space.

Thursday — Visit a coffee shop to read and sip on a delicious drink.

Friday — Bake muffins to have for breakfast.

Saturday — Paint something to hang up in one’s living space.

Sunday — Deep clean one’s place to take on spring term fully reset.

Adventurous spring break: This is for people who live around the Monmouth area that are itching to go out and explore with a companion. 

Monday — Spend the day in Lincoln City.

Tuesday — Go to an aquarium.

Wednesday — Explore the outskirts of Portland. 

Thursday — Go on a hike.

Friday — Watch the sunset at Pacific City.

Saturday — Go to the Portland or Corvallis Saturday market.

Sunday — Walk around a museum.

Vacation spring break: Some people don’t have their vacations all planned out yet, use these suggestions for some inspiration.

Monday — Try a new restaurant.

Tuesday — Look up places to explore throughout one’s stay. 

Wednesday — Take a long peaceful walk at sunrise or sunset.

Thursday — See what downtown has to offer.

Friday — Spend some time with the people one came with. 

Saturday — Rent a bike or scooter to zip around the area.

Sunday — Make a Tik Tok to commemorate one’s vacation. 

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Disney as adults

Written by: Jude Bokovoy

Everyone has a different level of appreciation for Disneyland. Some couldn’t care less about it, others are full blown “Disney adults.” This article is for those who like the idea of Disneyland and are curious about what there is to do after the childhood glamor wears off. 

One’s company — Who one decides to go with can affect what one ends up doing throughout their time at Disneyland. For instance, if one is with family, one should do things that appeal to a variety of ages and interests. The size of one’s party comes into play when getting into rides with limited seating.  Recently, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to go to Disneyland with the entire WOU cheerleading team. We were able to split off into groups and mine had eight people. This way we were able to take up entire roller coaster carriages and carts for bigger rides. This also allowed us to break into smaller groups if our interests differed at certain parts of the day. 

Rides — The only “kiddie” ride I recommend going on is “Mad Tea Party” — commonly known as the “Tea Cups.” The ride is completely outdoors, follows the theme of “Alice in Wonderland” and is the perfect place to take pictures. Other than that, the fast rides are the way to go. We started out our journey with Space Mountain, the infamous roller coaster in the dark. Another ride one cannot miss is Matterhorn Bobsleds. An angry yeti follows as one’s bobsled weaves in and out of the mountain, ready to give a jump scare. The bumpy ride filled with waterfalls, sharp turns and loud noises will give participants a smile and whiplash. Lastly, my favorite ride —that we were able to go on twice— was “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.” The realistic characters, enthusiastic employees and interactiveness left me, as a non Star Wars fan, in awe. This ride will keep one guessing as they go from location to location. I do want to keep this one a secret for those who haven’t had the chance to attend. Just know that the bigger the party the better because taking up a cart with one’s friends is much more fun than sitting with strangers on this thrilling ride. 

Food — When spending the day walking around, standing in lines and having a fluctuating heart rate from thrilling rides, it’s good to be honest with one’s group when one is hungry. Chances are  there’s more than one person who needs a meal. Disney is known for their unique snacks and desserts which are great to eat, just don’t forget to have a full meal. Being hungry and not getting a balanced meal can affect one’s mood in “the happiest place on earth.” I do have to say, my favorite food item was actually during our second day in Downtown Disney. A little stand called Blue Ribbon Corn Dogs sells a creative spin on the classic. Another cheerleader and I got pickle corn dogs. It was a hotdog inside of a pickle, battered, dusted with panko, fried and served with creamy peanut butter. It sounds crazy, trust me it was, but it was actually pretty good. All the other cheerleaders that thought we were weird for getting them turned out to like them as well. They were huge, if one ends up getting one, keep in mind that it could feed up to three people as a snack. 

Overall Disneyland is a great place to go on rides, eat interesting food and take in the scenery. No matter one’s age, there will always be something to do — just try to have it thought out before entering the park. 

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Be uncomfortable; chase ones dreams

Written by: Dakota Gange

“Happiness can’t be bought.” The saying echoes and bounces off the walls of life, circling social media and often received in the form of advice from friends and family. The sentiment is supposed to be common knowledge, but why do so many of us stay in situations where we are unsatisfied?

For me, it was prioritizing financial security that kept me from striving to achieve my dreams. Financial stability was such a strong force that gave me comfortability and peace of mind. Knowing I could eat and pay the bills helped me sleep better at night. Being a restaurant manager is a stimulating career. It’s meticulous but has enough leniency for one to have a blast, all the while constantly being around others. It just wasn’t what I wanted to do in the long-term.

It can be a tangled and confusing mess to be stuck between stability and dreams. For those out there caught in the middle, perhaps it will bring some comfort knowing that I traded my comfortable decade-long, salaried career to chase my dreams through education without a stable paycheck.

Now I am reaching the summit of the mountain. I’m only 29, but these past few years have been filled with a chest full of treasured lessons.

For ten years now, I’ve been building my skills and career in the customer service industry — quickly leading to a comfortable fiscal situation. I wasn’t unhappy per se, I had a great time, but it just wasn’t that exact puzzle piece I was looking for. I always knew it wasn’t, but I still went to work every day and caught myself thinking, “Am I really going to do this for the rest of my life? I can’t do this for 80 percent of my life.” 

As comfortable as I was, the job was not without its share of unfulfillment. I had always wanted to go back to school, but it always turned into, “Okay, next fall.”  

Then the pandemic hit in March 2020, and my life was forcefully shaken up. I was laid off from my salaried position, which was exactly the push I needed. 

So I signed up for classes and immediately fell into a position of writing. Swiftly, I began taking journalism classes and writing for the school newspaper at Linn Benton, which quickly turned into a year of being the student voice editor, followed by a year of being the editor in chief. 

Here I led my Linn Benton team to place fifth in best general selection in the Associated Collegiate Press 2022 Nationals, judged by 2020 Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Green, followed by 21 first, second and third place Oregon National Press Association awards in best photos, best news and feature writing, best graphics, best review and more. 

Journalism and education led me to achieve things I never thought of. 

After being laid off for several months, I returned to work part-time. Between being editor in chief and managing The Old Spaghetti Factory part-time, it was enough to maintain financial stability.

However, when I got a call from my boss, asking me to return full-time, it was tempting to go back to that livable $60,000 salary and vacation pay. I was faced with the choice of my career or my education. I had 48 hours to decide, but I knew in a flutter of a heartbeat that I was never going back to solely managing restaurants.  

We are meant to do so much more than just pay the bills. All too often do I hear stories of unhappiness, oftentimes due to working jobs we don’t love. 

Here I am, a student, first-time mother of a toddler, extremely, fiscally uncomfortable and I couldn’t be more content. 

My happiness is found in chasing my dreams through education and what comes with that is all worth it. 

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Celebrating women through novel and film

Written by:Mirella Barrera-Betancourt

March is Women’s History Month — a time dedicated to the celebration of the contributions, triumphs and progress of women throughout history. To celebrate, here is a list of recommendations for movies and novels featuring many of the beloved and strong female characters of generations.


“Hidden Figures” (2016) — The story of the three genius African-American mathematicians who turned the tides of the space race. The movie was inspired by the New York Times bestseller novel of the same title.

“Lady Bird” (2017) — “Lady Bird” follows the life of a spontaneous high school senior, as she navigates a tremulous relationship with her equally ardent and strong willed mother. 

“Wonder Woman” (2017) — A remarkable movie detailing the consequences and loss faced by war, through the eyes of the Amazonian warrior, Wonder Woman.

“The Woman King” (2022) — Based on a true story, “The Woman King” tells the story of the tribe of female warriors, Agojie.

“Frida” (2002) — “Frida” details the real story of iconic and surrealist Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo.

“Crazy Rich Asians” (2018) — Based on the worldwide bestselling novel by Kevin Kwan, the movie centers around Rachel Ru — a native New Yorker — as she navigates the relationship between her and her long-time boyfriend’s East Asian family.

“Jackie” (2016) — A movie that tells the tragic story of the United States’ First Lady, Jackie Kennedy, after the death of her husband.

“Legally Blond” (2001) — Based on the novel of the same name by Amanda Brown, this film journeys through Elle Woods’ life, the sorority girl and aspiring lawyer at Harvard Law School.


“Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott — A coming-of-age story following the lives of four sisters, Amy, Beth, Jo and Meg as they learn about love, strength and womanhood.

“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas — A young woman grapples with identity, racism and discrimination after witnessing the fatal shooting of a childhood friend at the hands of police.

“The Radium Girls” by Kate Moore — A novel detailing the incredible yet tragic true story of the “Radium Girls,” the female factory workers who contracted radiation poisoning as a result of corporate greed.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood — “The Handmaid’s Tale” details the story of a woman forced to live as a concubine in a futuristic world struggling with a fertility crisis.

“The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue” by Victoria E. Schwab — This fiction novel details the story of a young woman who makes a deal with the “devil,” which begins her endless journey through time.

“I’m Glad My Mom Died” by Jennette McCurdy — The debut memoir by Jennete McCurdy, as she details her struggles as a former child actress, demonstrating resilience and strength through mentality.

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Kyra Marcotte shows how art gives a second chance

Written by: Gretchen Sims

The featured senior artist for the month of March is Kyra Marcotte. “Revive,” the exhibit in the Werner University Center, is the result of a renewal of passion in Marcotte, as an aspiring teacher turned artist explores their turmoil and joy in a post-pandemic world. 

Q: What does art mean to you?

A: “To me, art is self-expression, in a way that you don’t have to conform to society’s rules and expectations. Even though you can go to school and study the principles of design and composition (which are still very important), you can break free from them and explore infinite ideas and realities. And to me that is really beautiful, especially in a world that has so much pressure and expectations thrown on you from an early age.”

Q: What first got you interested in art?

A: “I never thought I wanted to be an art major or do anything in art. But my love for art was actually first sparked in middle school, when I met my best friend Precious. They always carried a sketchbook with them everywhere and they inspired me to do that as well. I didn’t realize until college that I wanted to pursue a career in the arts, but they were the one to spark that passion in me.”

Q: What would you like others to take from your art?

A: “The main takeaway I want people to get from my art is the healing and therapeutic power of art. During the pandemic, creating these pieces helped keep me sane, and helped me process what was going on around me. I went from feeling lost and hopeless to seeing a bright future ahead of me. I used art to create a new life for myself.”

Q: What inspires you?

A: “I take a lot of inspiration from existing media around me. I love finding found images/videos and creating something new. Two of the videos in my show were made using found footage, that I edited together to create a new meaning. Same with the magazine collages. I love how taking multiple images/videos from different sources and putting them together can create something more interesting with more depth, but yet is also slightly jarring. I hope when people see these collages I created, they question what the deeper meaning is created by putting them together.” 

Q: What is your “why”? (what makes you the artist you are today)

A: “Self expression is extremely important to me. And my artwork is my favorite way to express who I am as a person and communicate that to the people around me. Through art, I can communicate myself through bright colors and interesting textures, and that brings me joy that is hard to match.”

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