Evergreen Magazine

What do you love?

what do you love? text graphic on campus

No matter how long you lived in the South Sound (and nearly half of our alumni still do), you encountered something that endeared you to Evergreen and its environs. On our 40th anniversary, we’re celebrating 40 of the best things around. Maybe some of your favorites are included.

  1. Your Favorite Faculty  Everyone has a faculty member who inspired you or changed the whole direction of your studies…and your life. Take a minute and remember him or her.
  2. Toys, Tools, Technology  Did you film a movie? Create a costume? Design your own video game? Make a “controlled” explosion? Between Media Loan, the Lab Stores, the Costume Shop, the DIS, the TV Studio (now the CCAM) and Photoland, you can get ahold of pretty much anything you need to create the craziest things you can imagine.
  3. Local Shops  Olympia’s well-supported emporiums are fiercely independent—to borrow the tagline of Last Word Books, one downtown favorite started by four Greeners. Who among us hasn’t loved and patronized such past and present institutions of community commerce as Yardbirds, Rainy Day Records, Radiance Herbs, Archibald Sisters, Traditions, Olympic Outfitters, Orca Books and too many others to name? Not only do we buy from the locals; we create them!
  4. Graduation  From the costumes to the music, the crowds pack onto Red Square for what seems like a family reunion. We trade formal ritual for creative expression, and it’s the proudest time of the year.
  5. Seminar  It’s one continuous conversation that grows into an exchange of ideas, experiences and stories with people of all ages and from all walks of life. And yes, for Greeners, “seminar” will always be a verb.
  6. Super Saturday  For 30 years Super Saturday marked the beginning of summer in Olympia and the end of the academic year at Evergreen. Part arts and crafts fair, part music festival, part community service fair and part alumni and community gathering, the college retired the event in 2009 in the face of state budget cuts. But the college continues to bring the community to campus with speakers, performances, art exhibits, and events highlighting Evergreen’s teaching and learning, including an annual Science Carnival that draws thousands of K-12 students.
  7. The Great Outdoors  Sure, you need rain gear 10 months of the year, but what other place could match the natural wonders of western Washington? From the1000-acre campus and saltwater beach to program adventures on sailboats, treks to Mt. Rainier, research projects in the Nisqually wildlife refuge, vistas of Mt. Saint Helens (before and after the eruptions), walks through the ancient rainforests of Olympic National Park or just a fun day at the ocean, the sights, sounds and scents of nature are a memorable part of almost every Evergreen experience.
  8. It's the Water  Fluid, flexible, changing and adaptively permeable. Whether your memory is of the unofficial and (largely) fabled nude beach swims or back country hiking along the Washington Coast or Puget Sound, generations of Greeners have also come to define themselves as protectors of water and contented adherents to hydrophilia.
  9. Procession of the Species  If you build it, sew it, paint it, wear it…they will come. It’s Washington state’s largest annual Earth Day celebration, “created by the community for the community to celebrate our relationships with each other and with the natural world.”
  10. Artswalk  A different kind of procession, where people crowd the downtown sidewalks discovering paintings and plays, sculptures and satirists, from hundreds of artists showing their work.
  11. Coffee  Think Seattle is the world coffee capital? Think again. Our Batdorf & Bronson gives the big guys a run (have you tried the Greener Blend?), plus we’ve got Dancing Goats, New Moon, Raven’s Brew, Caffe Vita and Olympia Coffee Roasting Co., just to name a few.
  12. Beer  Thinking Olympia? You probably think beer. It’s the water and a lot more (or a lot less, depending on your taste). While the Olympia Brewery in Tumwater closed its doors in 2003, Olympia still supports craft and microbrewery beer with Fish Brewing Company and McMenamins Spar Café. Of course, you may have tipped a beer or two elsewhere in Olympia as well.
  13. Downtown  We love the nightlife, we’ve got to boogie…The Reef is gone, but you can chow down at Quality Burrito, head over to the Eastside, Jake’s, the 4th Ave. Tavern, or the BroHo (you might be surprised that this former biker bar is now a Greener hot spot).
  14. Bike Shop  If you know your D-mount front derailleur from your Motion Control Compression Damper there is a good chance you learned it from Evergreen's Bike Shop, where friendly student helpers (aka saints) help you understand just how much there is to know, and ensure that you keep rolling with minimum bumps in the road.
  15. Food Co-ops  OK, we know of some Greeners who affectionately call the Olympia Food Co-op the hippie mart, but seriously there is nowhere better for (non-transmogrified, non-GMO, keep your pesticides) real food—food that is actually the food it looks like. Peace out, Sergeant Pepper! They can keep their polydimethylsiloxane and hydrogenated oils. We eat better!
  16. Undergraduate Research  From hydrogen fuel cells to the music of Phillip Glass, bacteriophages that may eliminate E.coli from the food system, or rural communities in a global perspective—come up with a good enough proposal, and you’ll be knee deep in research before you know it. And before grad school.
  17. Bus Your mobile seminar and freedom train to downtown. With a record 5.3 million trips taken in 2011, Intercity Transit takes Greeners where they need to go. No wonder it’s been named best mid-sized transit system in the U.S.
  18. Week 10  One big mentally challenging potluck, two parts panic, one part preparation, with a side of consciousness expansion.
  19. Potlucks  No one is judging your vegan carrot pumpkin seed loaf with kale-tofu spread. Really.
  20. KAOS (Kicking Ass Olympia Style)  Broadcasting from campus since January 1, 1973. A friendly daily dose of complex random phenomena and creativity, broadcast with love, thought and solidarity.
  21. Hungry?  Goop is not optional at the original Eagan’s (thanks, Big Tom!), your pizza choice can still start an argument (are you Old School or Dirty Dave’s? Vic’s or Pizza Time?), Ben Moore’s offers hot food and cool jazz, and if you want Thai? Just walk a block and you’ll find some. 
  22. Artesian Well  Are there or aren’t there Artesians? Do you think one will ever be found? If so, they’ll probably be enjoying the new minipark around Olympia’s downtown artesian well, sipping the coolest, cleanest water anywhere.
  23. The Music Scene  It started long before Kurt Cobain rented a house on Pear St. and Nirvana played gigs in K dorm. Riot Grrrls Bikini Kill and Sleater-Kinney got their start here, Carrie Brownstein ‘98 is touring with her new band Wild Flag. YouTubers loved “Chocolate Rain” by Adam Bahner '04 aka Tay Zonday; so did Weezer (check out their Pork and Beans video). Gretchen Christopher ’82, of The Fleetwoods, is still hitting the charts. Dub Narcotic's Calvin Johnson '85, Mirah '96, Real Estate's Martin Courtney ’08 and soprano Cyndia Sieden '76 are all Greeners. With K Records and Kill Rock Stars, all-ages venues, and a thriving bluegrass and folk scene, Olympia remains a destination for music lovers everywhere.
  24. The Geoduck  Our favorite bivalve is frequently noted as one of the nation’s most unusual (craziest? Most bizarre?) college mascots, and it's delicious, too! Dig Deep, Geoducks.
  25. Olympia Film Society  Since 1980, the Capitol Theater has brought us both classic and cutting edge films, from Warhol’s Frankenstein (in 3-D) to The Iron Lady, with a dose of the Muppets. The annual Olympia Film Festival has been a favorite event since 1983, a 10-day around-the-clock extravaganza of films, special performances, discussion panels and workshops. Grab your tamari spritzed popcorn and kombucha, sit back in your vintage 1924 seat, and enjoy the show!
  26. GRuB  Greeners Kim Gaffi ’97 and Blue Peetz ’95 started GRuB (Garden-Raised Bounty) to help local teens and community members get their hands in the dirt and truly connect with their food and their environment. Thirteen years later, they’re still growing healthy food, people and communities.
  27. Salmon Runs  The first time you saw salmon spawn? Maybe during your time in Olympia—from the 4th Ave. bridge, Tumwater Falls, along the McLane Creek Nature Trail or the Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail. There’s a certain thrill to seeing a moving blanket of undulating color beneath the glassy surface or a spectacular leap to clear a rapid or falls. It’s no wonder that salmon are an icon of the Pacific Northwest.
  28. Farmers Market  A creative, vibrant gathering space that supports the local community. Olympia's market provides space for Greener-owned organic farmers to sell fruits and veggies, flowers and honey. Grab your Curry In A Hurry, find a spot on the benches and enjoy the music. Or sample some super fresh fruit and stock up on tie-dyed socks.
  29. Organic Farm  Since 1972, hope has grown at Evergreen’s organic farm, where students and community members explore ways to feed the planet without compromising on ethics or the environment. The great agricultural experiment (that recently featured a Sarah Palin scarecrow) includes community gardens, compost and Biodiesel facilities, greenhouses and more, and this year added the new Sustainable Agriculture Lab building.
  30. Drums on Red Square  Nothing welcomes the inexorable return of spring like an Evergreen drum circle, reminiscent both of the hammering of the last winter rains or the feel-good waves of a summer sunlight flash mob rushing the happy centers of the soul. Whether glad or anxious, in the mood for frenetic or easy drumming, one is welcomed and challenged to simply enter the circle.
  31. Hilltop  Home to Evergreen’s Tacoma Program, “The Hill” is an urban community rich in diversity and often maligned in the media. It hosts many cultures, languages, restaurants, churches, views and people of all classes and incomes. Today, it is experiencing renewed development and vitalization, in part because of the Tacoma program’s presence and commitment to the community.
  32. Flora, Fauna, Fungi  Are you a dendrologist? Mycologist? Pomologist? Malacologist? Phytochemist? Zoologist? Ichthyologist? Here you can be one or all of them.
  33. Myths  You heard it through the grapevine, right? Or witnessed it firsthand, so you can testify? Those shadowy Evergreen legends just won’t go away. Like the one about Happy Land, located in the bowels of the CAB: a place to escape, a shrine brimming with art, experiments, sundry memorials and paraphernalia. Bob the Orb? A humungous metal sphere that floats mysteriously through the campus woods. And the poltergeists roaming our hallowed halls, which—haven’t you heard?—were originally designed as a prison instead of an institution of higher learning. Would we lie to you?
  34. The Other Residence Halls  It was the house on your block with five or more Greeners living there at any given time. It was where you could find the best potlucks, the coolest local music, and a couch to crash on when you needed it. The locations may change, but Greener houses are always home.
  35. Mud Bay Run  One of the most grueling 500-meter dashes on earth, this ritual graduation race across Mud Bay at low tide is a mere two hours before the big ceremony. Duct-tape your shoes so you don’t lose them!
  36. Capitol  Whether you’ve interned or advocated for a cause there, run a state agency or been elected to represent your district, Evergreen’s “capitol” location is a big part of the Evergreen experience.
  37. Bigelow House  The oldest standing home in Olympia was built in the late 1850s by Daniel and Ann Bigelow. Activists of their day, they were strong proponents of public education, rights for people of color, women’s suffrage and temperance.
  38. Murals  Star Wars and superheroes, orcas and geoducks, a tribute to peace in Palestine—our city and campus murals tell the story of who we are, who we were, and who we hope to become. This is what happens when both professional and amateur artists have safe space to express themselves.
  39. Soccer  Since the ‘80s, varsity sports have been a part of campus life, and it all started with soccer. From pickup games in the early days to 2004, when our teamswere nationally ranked, and the men reached the third round of the NAIA National Championships, we have gravitated towards the “other” football. Be sure to catch former Geoduck Joey Gjertsen ’05 in his third year with Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes.
  40. Longhouse Education & Cultural Center  For more than a decade, the mission of the "House of Welcome" has been to promote indigenous arts and cultures. With Evergreen’s focus on the liberal arts, we define ourselves through our connections to the great thinkers, and through traditions, finding value, creativity, and innovation in the gifts of many disciplines, relevant to the past, to our present, and to our collective future.