Tag Archives: featured

3 Seattle Podcasts With Unique Voices

By Kate Clark | Special to The Seattle Times

Anyone can talk about anything.

That’s the beauty of podcasting, says Eula Scott Bynoe. She’s one-third of “Hella Black Hella Seattle,” a new podcast creating community for people of color in Seattle.

Bynoe, Jasmine Jackson and Alaina Caldwell started “Hella Black Hella Seattle” in May because, they say, there was nothing like it, and there needed to be. They planned to take a break from the podcast (hellablackhellaseattle.com) in September, but after an overwhelmingly positive response, they decided to keep it up.

“You know this is such a cis-gender, white city,” Bynoe says. “It is that weird thing where you see people of color but you don’t see them, we walk by them but we don’t hear them, we don’t know what’s going on with them. A real big part of the show, too, is to say a lot of people are here and they are doing really amazing things that are being recognized world-round, but not necessarily in our backyard.”

Listening to “Hella Black Hella Seattle” is like dropping in on a conversation, with the trio discussing topics ranging from race to Seattle’s best happy hours, as well as interviewing at least one significant Seattleite per episode.

“We are hella black and hella Seattle, that’s what we are promoting,” Caldwell explains. “If you identify with one of those that’s awesome; if you don’t, that’s not what we are trying to do for you.”

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Battling the bots: Finding a job in the digital era

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KCTS 9’s What’s Good 206
December 6, 2016

This morning, I woke up to another email with another job rejection. It’s a regular occurrence these days, but this one I found particularly defeating. I had only applied to the job 14 hours earlier — at 6:00 p.m. the prior evening.

Did anyone read my application? My cover letter? Did anyone glance at my resume?

Probably not, unless they have staff working nights, sifting through applications. This company, like many others, likely has an electronic filtering system — an algorithm — that sorts the “unqualified” from the rest of the pack, then sends applicants a near-immediate rejection email.

The process of finding and applying for jobs has transformed in the wake of electronic filtering systems. Job-seekers scramble to cater their resumes and cover letters to these systems, carefully selecting keywords and phrases that satisfy the robots. The days of human recruiters spending hours sifting through “resume books” on college campuses to find their top candidates are over.

What Seattle can learn from the Bangalore tech boom

By Kate Clark The Seattle Globalist

Gov Museum and Construction 2.JPG
A view of construction from Bangalore’s Government Museum, South India’s second oldest museum.

If you’ve lived in Seattle over the past couple decades, you’ve watched it turn from a grungy working-class backwater into a worldwide tech capital. You’ve watched Amazon grow until it occupied its 10 million square feet of office space downtown. You’ve read national media reports claiming the company has “colonized,” or “swallowed,” or “eaten” the city. And you’ve undoubtedly witnessed some hostility between tech transplants and “true Seattleites.”

So I was intrigued when I found out I’d be spending three months in Bangalore, India (or Bengaluru as it’s formally known). The south Indian city traded the moniker “The Garden City” for “The Silicon Valley of India” when tech companies set up shop and attracted millions of migrants.

I thought, what similarities there must be; two cities on opposite sides of the globe, at the center of a worldwide tech-boom, for better or worse.

Then I actually showed up in India.

Seattle and Bangalore definitely share some issues like traffic jams, housing shortages, and a perceived loss of cultural heritage. But when it comes down to who bore the brunt of the tech-boom, India takes the cake.

From 2001 to 2011 Seattle’s population grew about eight percent; “healthy” growth for an American city. Even when Seattle was touted as the fastest growing city in the U.S. between 2012 and 2013, it only grew 2.8 percent.

Meanwhile, from 2001 to 2011, Bangalore’s population grew a staggering 47 percent, and the city became nearly twice as dense.

Both cities have experienced a lot of tech-driven growth, just on different scales. It makes sense each city would deal with the problems that come with a tech boom in different ways as well.

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Startups help farmers supply organic veggies to Bengalureans

By Kate Clark Citizen Matters 

“Why do I need to be eating a California apple?,” asks Laxminarayan Srinivasaiah, co-founder of Jivabhumi, a new platform that connects local farmers to “conscious consumers” in Bangalore.

How it works: A customer selects the chemical-free foods online, Jivabhumi works with local farmers and ships the food to local pick-up points.

The three founders of the community-supported agriculture initiative left behind corporate stability earlier this year to fully commit to their growing business, which now feeds 600 Bengalureans. Their goal is twofold: to provide healthier, chemical-free, and locally-sourced food and to support farmers.

For now, Jivabhumi is targeting the conscious consumers, or those already aware of the benefits of organic farming and who can afford such products. Over the next few years they hope to reach and become more accessible to different populations.

“The holy grail is only when food is made affordable to all consumers,” says Sreenivasa Rao, the co-founder of Jivabhumi. “We don’t believe that organic food or naturally grown food should be available only to the elite customer. Unfortunately, that is the case today. Therefore, we are very consciously pricing our products… The idea of Jivabhumi really is how do you make it a win-win situation for both farmers as well as consumers.”

“Nobody wants to be transparent in this business”

Rao explained the supply chain in India is very complex; by eliminating any middlemen, being entirely transparent, and working directly with farmers, Jivabhumi is simplifying the process and hopefully, improving the lives of farmers. Depending on the product, those in Jivabhumi’s 1300 plus farmer network get 50 to 70 percent of the profits, a stark increase to the 25 to 27 percent they say farmers typically get.

According to the National Sample Survey Office, the average income per agricultural household In India from 2012 to 2013 was Rs 6,426.

“Nobody wants to be transparent in this business because unfortunately, the kind of profits that the retailers make is unbelievable, at the expense of beating the farmers down,” Rao says. “So nobody wants to be fair; that’s where we really want to create that difference.”

By eliminating the middlemen Jivabhumi is revealing the “real” price of food.

“The normal reaction for people is ‘why does organic cost so much,’” says Anil Nachig, co-founder of Jivabhumi. “So, if you ask the question, what is the real price of food, you will realise the subsidised food, the cheap food coming in, is coming at a certain cost.” The costs being environmental or social—”squeezing” the farmer. Neither of these, Nachig explains, are sustainable, or beneficial to the local economy or ecosystem.

Supporting farmers

“In the process of making food cheap and affordable to everyone, what are we doing?” Srinivasaiah says. “The farmer is being squeezed, right?”

The negative impacts of climate change, shrinking profits, and land, has led to a sharp decrease in the number of farmers in India over the last 20 years. The Hindu reported in 2013, that about 2,000 farmers were leaving the profession every day, and that there were seven million fewer farmers in the country in 2013, than in 2001.

“No one wants to do farming,” Srinivasaiah says. “Even if he has a farm, he is coming out of the farm and coming to Bangalore. He is fine to become a…security guard, he doesn’t want to do farming because you have to depend on rains and if the rain doesn’t come, how do you feed your family? Here if you become a security guard you have an income that you can look forward to at the end of the month.”

Farmer suicides have also risen. Karnataka alone saw over 1,000 farmer deaths by suicide from April 2015 to January 2016.

While the causes of the uptick in suicides are debated, the founders of Jivabhumi say if farmers are given a fair-trade, their standard of living will improve.

“How do we make lives of the farmer better?” Rao asks. “The reason why a lot of them are moving out of this profession is simply because it is not profitable for them anymore. The reason again for that is that there is no fair-trade in the entire supply chain.”

More startups look at agriculture

Organic Mandya, an organic farmer’s society in Karnataka, caters to farmers in the Mandya district. Bengalureans can buy their organic products online, or at their store in Mandya.

Like Jivabhumi, they cut out the middlemen and started selling farmers’ organic products a year and a half ago. Today, in addition to selling food, they offer organic tourism, in hopes the question “where does your food come from,” can actually be answered by a growing population.

Co-founder Bhaskara Kempaiah says there is definitely a growing demand for organic food. Take millets for example. Once less-popular, healthy alternatives to rice, millets are now in huge demand, according to both Kempaiah and Srinivasaiah of Jivabhumi.

“Health is getting more important as people see their relatives struggling with health,” Kempaiah says. He adds that organic farming can be more economical. Chemical-free farming eliminates the need to purchase the chemicals and pesticides usually used in farming.

“10 to 15,000 rupees of input, if there is a disaster it’s all lost,” he says. “With rain, they may end up losing all that money.”

It can, however, take three to five years for the soil previously doused in pesticides to replenish, according to Srinivasaiah. That means there may be a period where farmers are producing a smaller than normal crop. The hope is the increase in payment farmers get by selling chemical-free food facilitates their ability to produce a smaller crop.

Subeesh S is working on an enterprise that will similarly support farmers. His concept, “The Family Farmer,’” also removes the middlemen, ensures farmers get a better cut of the profits, and that the food is chemical-free.

Subeesh says if farmers have a direct and personal relationship with the consumer, the consumer will get a better product and the farmer a better deal.

“We all have a family doctor, whenever a problem comes he is the first consultant,” Subeesh says. “He…[knows] all the history of the patient, similarly we…[should have] a farmer, a family farmer.”

“Live to eat or eat to live?”

All of these companies exist in part because of their passion to improve the lives of farmers, but they also want to see a healthier population in Bengaluru.

‘Everything boils down to the food on your plate,” Sreenivasa Rao says. The question is…about the food choices you are making. Live to eat or eat to live?”


Black Dot: A new startup epicenter for Black entrepreneurs

recent report about the state of Black women in tech entrepreneurship found that only 0.2 percent of all U.S. venture capital deals from 2012 to 2014 went to Black women, despite the fact that they founded 1.5 million businesses and are the quickest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the nation. Black women founders also received just $36,000 on average in funding, while the average failed startup raised $41 million.

This massive gap highlights the need for culturally-focused startup hubs like Black Dot, a new resource center for Black entrepreneurs in Seattle’s Central District.

Black Dot co-founders K. Wyking Garrett, Aramis Hamer, Monica Washington, and Mujale Chisebukaseek to change these statistics. They strive to get more youth in the Central District interested in entrepreneurship while providing Black entrepreneurs with the necessary resources to successfully start or maintain their businesses via panels, networking events, and the option to use Black Dot as a co-working space.

“We look forward to kind of being like a greenhouse for economic sustainability in this community — we are a seed,” Garrett said. “The dot is a seed.”

The idea for Black Dot came about after the founders attended a Startup Weekend event called Hack the Central District. At the hackathon, Hamer and Washington created the idea for Heart Haven, which, similar to Black Dot, would provide the space for artists to connect and create. At the same time, Garrett createdAfricatown, a website and app that serves as a mechanism of discovery of the Central District.

After the event, they realized the community needed more than just one weekend a year to create and innovate new ideas. Working with David Harris, a startup advocate for Seattle’s Office of Economic Development, the entrepreneurs agreed that there should be a place that would provide a way for artists and innovators of all kinds to meet and develop ideas that benefit everyone in their community.

Thus, Black Dot was born.

Keeping the spirit of innovation alive

One key aspect of Black Dot is its physical location at the heart of the Central District on 23rd and Union. The corner has held historical importance for decades as a center for the African American community, but now a bevy of construction projects line the streets and existing businesses in the area have been struggling to stay open.

“It’s ground zero of gentrification,” Garrett noted.

Garrett has lived in the Central District his entire life and worries about the future of the neighborhood. The pattern of gentrification around Seattle has set a discouraging precedent, he said.

“You see buildings going up and you don’t see businesses that reflect the Black community that has been here for over 130 years,” Garrett said.

There is a long history of innovation born within the Central District community. It’s a place where people like Quincy Jones and Jimi Hendrix started their careers.

Garrett wants that spirit of innovation to remain alive and well in the neighborhood, despite all the changes. He said that the “legacy of resilience is why Black people are still here.”

“We wanted to make sure we connected and tapped that energy so this community can have a future in Seattle and not be totally displaced by the changes in the economic environment that is disenfranchising so many,” he explained.

Before opening Black Dot’s doors, Hamer set up a chalkboard mural on the corner of 23rd and Union and asked people to answer three questions: What they think of this corner, what they feel on this corner, and what they dream of this corner becoming.

A common answer for the third question: A mecca for successful Black businesses.

“Having us here is actually the perfect manifestation of what the people who are present in this community want to see in this space,” Hamer said. “So it just feels good all the way around, knowing that Black Dot is here.”

‘Everybody Wins’

Moving forward, Black Dot will work to grow their membership pool and continue connecting and educating entrepreneurs. They will be hosting more events in the space like startup bootcamps and invite successful entrepreneurs in a variety of industries to come speak.

Programming Black Dot is supported by partners including Hack Nation, Umoja PEACE Center, Africatown, Black Community Impact Alliance, Seattle U, OED, Google, Add3, Madrona Venture Labs, Tech Stars, PACE and more. Much of their furniture was donated from WeWork and Lucid Lounge. Their business model is centered around a monthly fee paid by members, which come from a variety of industries and include techies and artists alike.

Garrett said the goal is to connect entrepreneurs of all types so that “everybody wins.”

“Black Dot and spaces like this are absolutely critical to the city’s goals around shared prosperity, social justice, and equitable development,” Garrett said. “Creating a world class city should be reflective of the world that we live in and we think that the work here helps us get to that place.”

Black Dot: A new startup epicenter for Black entrepreneurs in Seattle’s Central District

5 tips for first-time female angel investors

BY on February 4, 2016 at 5:35 pm

Katherine Hague wants more women investing in startups.

The Female Funders founder stopped by Seattle’s Columbia City Club on Thursday morning for the final stop of her eight-city Female Funders breakfast series. She was joined by fellow female angel investors Gillian Muessig, co-founder of Moz; Outlines Venture Group Anne Kennedy; and Seattle Angel Fund Managing Member Susan Preston.

The group shared advice for female investors looking to make their first angel investment. Hague, who runs an online resource for both experienced and aspiring angel investors at Female Funders, wants 1,000 more women making angel investments by the end of 2016.

“Only 3 percent of deal-making venture capitalists are women, and this number has led to an even more troubling statistic — that only 2.7 percent of venture capitalist funding goes to female CEOs,” she noted today.

Hague raised cash from angels for her first company, an e-commerce platform for hardware startups called ShopLocket. She sold that company at just 23 years old and was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in 2014. She then launched Female Funders and Angel School, a boot camp for investors or entrepreneurs, to get more women interested in these fields.

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Colonel, alumna, and author wins Distinguished Alumni Veteran Award

By Kate Clark
By Kate Clark

After serving 27 years in the U.S. Military, Colonel Margarethe Cammermeyer made a brave decision: She came out.

“I had that a-ha moment, that epiphany, and I disclosed to the investigator, when I was seeking a top-secret clearance, that I was a lesbian,” said Cammermeyer, UW alumna and author of the memoir, “Serving in Silence.” “I was absolutely devastated when I was discharged for my honest statement. Like many of you, I had always believed that the military took care of its own.”

But Cammermeyer’s story doesn’t end there. She fought her discharge in the U.S. federal court, which eventually ruled in her favor, stating she was denied equal opportunity under the Fifth Amendment.

“Even in the face of injustice, she kept fighting for her right to serve,” UW Tacoma Chancellor Mark Pagano said just before presenting Cammermeyer with the Distinguished Alumni Veteran Award at the Veteran’s Day ceremony on Wednesday morning. “Her story inspires the next generation to work for a world of good.”

Cammermeyer attended the UW for her master’s and her doctorate, graduating in 1976 and again in 1991 from the School of Nursing. She entered the Army as a nurse in 1963 after graduating from the University of Maryland, and in 1967 began serving at the 24th Evacuation Hospital in Long Binh, Vietnam. In 1968, she became pregnant with her first of four sons and was asked to leave the military.

“Women were not allowed to have dependants under the age of 16, and none of us knew how to give birth to a 16-year-old,” Cammermeyer said.

Four years later, the policy changed and she returned to the military. In 1988 she became the Chief Nurse of the Washington State National Guard. It was in 1989 that she made the decision to come out.

“The military made me a warrior for social justice, and allowed me to live my truth,” Cammermeyer said.

Since retiring from the military with full privileges in 1997, she has continued to fight for various causes, including gay, lesbian, and transgender rights. She hosted an Internet talk show, opened an adult family home, and even ran for Congress. She also fought, alongside many others, for Congress to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

“When you experience injustice, whether in the military or in civilian life, take the opportunity, be willing to take a chance, and stand up to change the status quo, so there really will be liberty and justice for all,” Cammermeyer said.

Before Cammermeyer addressed the crowd gathered alongside veterans, families, and the UW’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corp cadre at the flagpole adjacent to Red Square, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., shared her thoughts on veteran care in the United States.

She emphasized the importance of high-quality health care to help address “the invisible wounds of war,” job-training programs, transitional services, and educational opportunities.

“These aren’t going above and beyond,” Murray said. “That is the bare minimum of what our country should be doing.”

She praised the UW’s care for veterans across its three campuses. With over 1,800 students on Seattle, Tacoma, and Bothell campuses who have served in the armed forces, the UW has over 30 programs that assist veterans.

UW Bothell Chancellor Wolf Yeigh mentioned a few of these programs. The College of Arts and Sciences has an integrated social sciences bachelor’s degree completion program that has attracted military spouses, veterans, and some active duty members. The UW School of Nursing is contributing to pain management research at Madigan Army Medical Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord. And the UW School of Public Health has contributed to research of depression in seniors, helping elderly veterans in King County.

“Our words of gratitude alone are not enough to honor our veterans,” Yeigh said. “As a university we are committed to doing all we can to support those who have bravely served our country.”

The UW Seattle’s new Office of Student Veteran Life, which Yeigh also applauded, will open in December. It will provide access to counselors, mentors, and career help.

A veterans social at UW Tacoma on Thursday will mark the end of Veterans Appreciation Week at the UW.

Reach News Editor Kate Clark at news@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @KateClarkUW

Student veterans campaign for free tickets to ‘Salute to Veterans’ football game

By Kate Clark
By Kate Clark

When the Husky United Military Veterans (HUMV) heard UW Athletics was giving complimentary tickets for its “Salute to Veterans” football game Saturday, Nov. 7, to members of the UW’s Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC), they were angry.

Not because students in ROTC don’t deserve tickets to the game, which falls just four days before Veteran’s Day on Nov. 11, but because HUMV had been requesting free tickets from the athletic department for months to no avail.

Initially, athletics rejected HUMV’s request for free tickets, offering them a discount code instead. It wasn’t until campaigning on social media and writing a letter to UW president Ana Mari Cauce that HUMV was given 100 tickets to distribute among veterans across the UW’s three campuses. They also received 100 companion tickets priced at a discounted $35.

The RSO has distributed all but two of the tickets, which they are saving for student veterans who didn’t hear about the special in time to sign up for the free tickets.

HUMV began their campaign in mid-summer. Once fall came they were still waiting for a positive response from athletics, so they decided to move their campaign to social media. Using hashtags like #Boundless and #UWIServed, several student veterans called out athletics on their hypocrisy.

UW senior and veteran Joanna Kresge posted the following on her Twitter account: “@UWAthletics & @amcauce Apparently your student vets don’t count as Veterans on Veteran’s Day. Take care of your own house first. #uwiserved.”

The social media campaign was successful in the end, according to HUMV president Jack Ferguson, with one tweet being retweeted by Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Ferguson said athletics may have just not been taking their group seriously because they are “just an RSO.” Making noise on social media and drawing negative attention to the UW wasn’t Ferguson’s method of choice.

Associate Athletic director Carter Henderson said that because the “Salute to Veterans” programming is part of a new initiative, student veterans were accidentally omitted.

“Once we learned that there was a group of military veterans here on campus, the Husky Ticket Office was more than happy to offer them tickets,” Henderson said in an email.

But representatives from HUMV, including Ferguson, said they tried for five months to capture the attention of the athletics department and don’t buy that athletics didn’t know there was a group of veterans attending the UW.

According to a report conducted by the UW’s Office of External Affairs in 2014, there are approximately 1,800 student veterans across the Seattle, Tacoma, and Bothell campuses. The report also states that of the 6,000 military personnel projected to have left Washington State military bases in 2014, 40 percent were planning to attend college.

“After fighting two wars in a decade you know there are going to be vets,” Ferguson said.

Former HUMV president Jordan Houghton attributes the decision to give tickets to ROTC and not to student veterans to a lack of understanding of what a veteran is.

A veteran is a person who has served in the armed forces. While there are veterans in the ROTC program, many of them are not veterans.

“ROTC has some vets and it’s awesome, but you can’t throw them tickets and say you did your job,” Houghton said. “You can’t say it’s a salute to service game if you aren’t incorporating the student veterans.”

The athletics department also partnered with the Veteran Tickets Foundation, or vet tix, which donates tickets to events to currently serving military, veterans and their families, and immediate family of troops killed in action.

Henderson said these organizations, ROTC and vet tix, were selected because the UW identified the same organizations to provide free tickets to as did the peer institutions after which they modeled the promotion.

Despite the omission, Ferguson emphasized how happy he is HUMV was able to receive tickets to the game in the end.

“I think [athletics] did the right thing,” Ferguson said. “The club doesn’t hold any ill will toward them.”

As for future “Salute to Veterans” football games, members of HUMV are optimistic. Houghton said he thinks it will be better, more consistent, and less of a tug-of-war. Next year, he expects UW athletics to grant HUMV even more complimentary tickets to disperse among the student veteran population and hopes they provide services for the children of veterans during the game.

“We are excited; no more extreme tactics,” Houghton said. “You get to see your team, and you get a salute to your services, it’s a win-win.”

The game Saturday will include programming during and after the game, as well as recognition of the distinguished veteran award recipient. There will also be a tri-campus veteran tailgate prior to kick-off.

Reach News Editor Kate Clark at news@dailyuw.comTwitter: @KateClarkUW

Architecture students lead discussion on Ballard’s homeless encampment

Glue sticks, scissors, tissue paper, yarn, and hundreds of small foam blocks were strewn across 11 tables in the UW’s Gould Hall Court on Tuesday night.

What appeared to be 50 adults doing arts and crafts was actually attempts to create a model of a viable homeless encampment.

Hosted by the UW department of architecture, the three-hour event resulted in 11 very different ideas of what the encampment, specifically the city-designated soon-to-be encampment on 2826 NW Market St. in Ballard, could be.

This particular encampment will house 52 residents, likely in 96-square-foot houses. The site is not large. Currently, it’s a medium-sized patch of grass tucked between a bar and a parking lot. This made fitting the 50 small blocks of foam in the designated space, each representing one person’s temporary home, very difficult.

Sharon Sutton, professor of architecture and urban design, hosted the event along with five of her students. She said there were no right or wrong answers; they were just there to brainstorm.

“It’s about getting people together who have different perspectives on the issue and starting a conversation,” Sutton said.

Many of the attendees were current and former Ballard residents, two were potential residents of the encampment, and others were in the architecture or construction business.

Prior to building actual models, participants broke into groups led by conversation facilitators, most of whom were authorities in the field of architecture or urban planning, and discussed the various expectations they had of the residents of the encampments, neighbors, and of city officials.

Each group was then assigned a more specific conversation topic. These included connectivity, safety, landscape, beauty, social service, and construction.

Freelance architect and conversation facilitator Dave Machemer discussed construction with his group. He said permanence and sustainability are essential, “as opposed to ‘hey, stay here for a month then get out.’”

Other encampments in Seattle include Nickelsville, located at 1010 S. Dearborn St., and Tent City 3, which is currently located at Bryn Mawr United Methodist Church.

The rising number of homeless individuals in the Seattle area led Mayor Ed Murray to select three new encampment sites in late June, hoping to be up and running this year. The other two new sites are in Interbay and the Industrial District. Together the three sites will host 200 people.

The sites must be 25 feet from residential lots, a half-mile or less from a bus stop, one mile from another encampment, and at least 5,000 square feet.

Another conversation facilitator, writer and brand strategist Sean O’Connor, said while these sites must be somewhat divided from its neighbors, there’s no need to create unwelcoming borders.

“We need a working space for the residents to create a community for each other, learn from each other,” O’Connor said. “But not being completely fenced in from neighbors like a demilitarized zone.”

The Ballard location caused an uproar of disapproval among many Seattleites, mainly Ballard residents and business owners. Several attendees of the community meetings held to discuss the encampment space said they felt their voices weren’t heard in the selection process.

On the other hand, many advocates for the homeless said it was the age-old ‘not in my backyard’ philosophy that spurred the upheaval.

“I think people find they’re a lot less scared of these encampments than they thought they would be,” Machemer said.

The event concluded with a debrief. Sutton asked participants what they learned and whether or not they would attend a similar workshop if she were to host again.

“I heard a lot of ideas I hadn’t thought about, so we’re off to a great start,” she said.

Reach News Editor Kate Clark at news@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @KateClarkUW

Tent City Collective shows locations for UW-hosted Tent City 3

If you read the mission statements of any given school or department at the UW, you’ll find several similar phrases and keywords. Public service, health,

leadership, innovation, and support will appear throughout.

Nancy Amidei, senior lecturer in the School of Social Work, pointed out just how precisely these statements align with the decision to invite Tent City 3 (TC3), the longest established homeless encampment in King County, to the UW campus.

“If anyone tells you it wouldn’t be consistent to what the UW is all about, challenge them to look up the mission statement to whatever school they’re enrolled in,” Amidei said.

Amidei and a group of students known as the Tent City Collective want to bring TC3 to the UW campus. Although this is not a new idea, and students have been lobbying for years to host the encampment, Monday night was the first time a tour of proposed locations was given.

Red Square, archery field, Rainier Vista, the law building lawn, and the field in front of the HUB are the collective’s five suggestions. These locations were chosen based on their accessibility to public services, water, and power.

Some have indeed argued the UW campus is not a fit location for a homeless encampment. Former UW president Mark Emmert said back in 2009 hosting TC3 would “complicate the business of

the university.”

Interim President Ana Mari Cauce has not commented publicly on the proposal.

TC3 relocates every 90 days and is structured like a small city with specific rules and regulations to promote safety and security. TC3 has been hosted by both Seattle University, who in 2005 became the first university to host a homeless encampment, and Seattle Pacific University, whose president has declared his commitment toward integrating homelessness into SPU’s curriculum and continuing to host TC3. SPU most recently hosted TC3 during winter quarter 2015.

Karen Snedker, associate professor of sociology at SPU, who was largely involved in bringing TC3 to her campus, spoke to attendees of the walking tour. She emphasized while it was students who demanded SPU host TC3, it was also students who were uncomfortable with

it initially.

So she hosted eight educational forums and taught the course, Homelessness in America, prior to TC3’s arrival.

“People were really ready to be neighbors,” Snedker said.

When TC3 completed their 90-day stay Snedker conducted a survey in which 90 percent of student respondents said SPU should host TC3 again.

Rine Hart, a resident of TC3 since 2011, said he, like other residents, keeps his promises and follows the code of conduct assigned.

When Hart first moved here in 2011, he stayed at the United Gospel Mission, a homeless shelter in the Seattle area. He said he’ll never go back.

“They only recognize you as a number,” Hart said. “At tent city you have a name.”

Another TC3 resident, Steve Tierney, who has lived in TC3 less than a week, echoed similar feelings of admiration toward the encampment.

“On the streets you can’t trust anyone,” Tierney said. “Everyone expects something from you. Tent city doesn’t do that. I finally have structure there, somewhere I can actually go at the end of the day.”

A petition on change.org has been circulating the web calling for the UW to host Tent City 3. It had 147 supporters as of Monday evening, not including the several hand-written signatures organizers received during the tour.

Other student groups have advocated to host TC3 in the past, such as the ASUW student senate, the faculty senate, and the graduate and professional student senate, who each passed resolutions in favor of hosting.

Nitasha Sharma, a UW student and Tent City Collective organizer, said they will continue giving educational interviews to teach the community about Tent City 3. Soon, they will begin reaching out to administration.

“This issue is an epidemic in Seattle and we need to address it,” Sharma said.

Reach News Editor Kate Clark at news@dailyuw.comTwitter: @KateClarkUW