The Evergreen State College

Alumni Spotlight Eddie Sumlin

Eddie Sumlin '07

Foundation Activity Grants Turn Ideas into Reality

From puppet theater to Native American powwows to opera, Evergreen has hosted a variety of important events, artistic events and performances over the years. Thanks to Eddie Sumlin ’07, that list now includes a prestigious regional breakdancing competition.

Eddie Sumlin '07

“I knew I wanted to graduate from Evergreen with a bang,” says Sumlin of Gig Harbor, whose social psychology focus at Evergreen led him to fruitful work with Stephanie Kozick, Kabby Mitchell and
doranne crable.

Sumlin’s bang was to organize and stage in May 2007 the Pacific Northwest regional finals of the All Nations 1v1 national tournament. An urban style of Dancing with the Stars, the competition drew 32
participants who vied for the title of Northwest champion and an
opportunity to compete at nationals. The $1,000 Activity Grant Sumlin received from the Foundation allowed him to organize the event, which included bringing in top-notch judges from New York City.

"Evergreen Students have a lot of ideas. The Foundation gives us the opportunity to dream as big as we can."

The competition attracted more of a diverse audience than Sumlin has seen at similar events, including lots of families and Evergreen students. “That’s what we wanted to happen,” says Sumlin, who chose Evergreen for his college career because he wanted an “intimate educational experience.”

“The art of break dancing exemplifies all the values that the college instills in its student body,” says Sumlin, who lives in Gig Harbor and began breakdancing in high school. “By nature, it’s a collaborative art form because it’s always been about community. Breakdancing parallels Evergreen’s commitment to interdisciplinary learning because this art form not only combines elements of African and Latin dance, but forms of ballet and gymnastics among other dance disciplines.”

Since graduation, Sumlin has been working to save money for graduate school. He also continues to work with at-risk youth through Fab-5, a Tacoma-based arts nonprofit for at-risk youth where he interned his junior year.