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Bellevue College
Bellevue, WA
April 23, 2013     Bellevue College
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April 23, 2013

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April 23, 2013 The Watchdog &gt;\> ARTS & FEATURES 8 Autism Navigators Program hosts video game tournament and silent auction Erin Hoffman News Editor It takes a lot to students to come to school on a Saturday, but on April 13, more than 300 students. family and members packed the Bellevue College cafeteria. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Autism Spectrum Navigators program in association with the Disability Resource Center put their Second Annual Autism Awareness Video Game Tournament to raise funds and awareness. While no one was there to study, the hundreds attendees learned a lot about the Autism Spectrum through speakers, student panels and Mario Kart. The ASN program is a student success initiative that helps students on the autism spectrum by "It's something the students on the spectnma can relate to," said Vanessa Zhou, a navigation assistant, "and it's something they have fun doing. In terms of reaching out to youth, it's a really excellent way to get people involved and draw i interest." The ASN's strategy off--literally. admission was free, the price of entry for the tournament was ;10 and there was a silent uction where people could bid on gift baskets that were donated from members of the community. Altogether, the event raised $8,000 for the ASN program, $2,000 more than last year. The funds raised from the event will go directly towards the ASN which isn't self- yet, according to Photo courtesy of Shiloh Gentry Gjolmesli, because "a lot working one-on-one with them to facilitate student- teacher interaction, self- advocacy, self-regulation, study skills and social communication skills. Currently, the program serves around 50 students, all of whom are paired with a peer mentor, called a navigation assistant, who Above: Participants enjoying a game of Mario Kart. they meet with once a week. This innovative program required an innovative fundraising event, which is where the idea for the video game tournament started. Instead of doing a more traditional fundraiser, like a bake sale or a car wash, Disability Resource Center Director Susan Gjolmesli decided to take a less boring route. "Most autistic people are really into video games," said Gjolmesli, and once the idea was presented, "everyone went ballistic over it." Dancers 00ors concert of the supports our students in the program need aren't totally covered by the legal accommodations within the DRC program." Primarily, their goal is to raise money for more Navigation Assistants. The event didn't just benefit the ASN program; attendees also walked away Above: The Eastside Moving Company strikes a pose. Emry Dinman Staff Reporter single dancer in attendance At 7:30 p.m, on May 2-4, Bellevue College will open its theatre doors, presenting the 2013 production of Eastside Moving Company, a collaborative dance concert produced under the artistic directorship of Betty Platt, a dance instructor at Bellevue College. The performance will be held in Bellevue College's Carlson Theatre, bringing together distinguished choreographers from the dancing community and students from Bellevue College. BC has several dance concerts a year, such as last quarter's "So You Know You Can Dance," an audition-less show where students created their own choreography and there were no requirements beyond attending one of BC's dance classes. This show is different. The choreographers are all professional, and every is hand-picked. The choreographers in question are: Karl Lee Florentine, who specializes in hip- hop, Wade Madsen, a teacher at the esteemed Cornish College + of the Arts, Christina McNeil and Amy O'Neil, who are both specialists in Jazz and Contemporary Dance, and Adam Parson, resident teacher at the Edge Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles, and The Dance Department in Italy. The dancers are all students at BC who passed auditions on the first day fall quarter, and attended the Dance Ensemble classes from fall quarter to spring quarter. Secondary auditions were held primarily during winter quarter, where the above- mentioned choreographers selected the dancers they found most fitting for their pieces. Though last year's show was themed around World Dance, this year the Courtesy of Betty Platt only theme is dance, and there are several modern varieties being represented. "There are all kinds of dance that people can show their best qualities in," says Betty Platt, artistic director for the production, adding that it is easier on the choreographers to allow them to practice what they specialize in, and allows dancers to perform to their own strengths. "It's arranged to be, instead _of a team that's competing, [more] of an artistic approach, emphasizing the art form of dance." This show is an opportunity for aspiring dancers to showcase and perfect skills onstage, which is where any professional dancer will ultimately find themselves. For aspiring dancers, hobbyists and onlookers alike, this is an opportunity to see what the results of professional collaboration look like. with a better understanding of the autism spectrum. There were presentations on preparing for college as an autistic person, the psychology of video games and parenting autistic children. Additionally, there Was a student panel hosted by students in the ASN program, who answered audience questions about their college experience. This portion of the event was paramount for all involved, as educating others about autism and dispelling stereotypes is a major goal for the program. "People need to understand that we need difference," said Gjolmesli. "You can't force a square peg into a round hole... Don't try to change me to think like you because that's not possible. I have my own stuff that unless you could somehow my osmosis slip into my body and experience, you're never going to get. And that's how it is for people on the spectrtma." Although the video game tournament is the only fundraiser for the program, the Autism Navigators Program and the DRC work year- round to help educate the campus about people with disabilities. For instance, the DRC has run training sessions for the Advising Center, the Associated Student Government and other Student Programs leadership, the Faculty Commons, and the English Language Institute. Sara Gardner, a DRC program specialist, created a program to support people on the autism spectrum through online and hybrid" classes by teaching them how to use CANVAS before classes began. Gardner also frequently sends out emails to the campus with educational articles and blogs dedicated to understanding autism. The tournament was sponsored by the DRC, the ASG, the Inn Eastside, the Library Media Center, Multicultural Services, the Office of Equity and Pluralism, Student Programs, the Leadership Institute and Student Programs. iiiiiiiiiiiiUiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii:iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii.+ <1 you can earn your " bachelor's from Eastern campus. Eastern Washington University offers five baelor's degree programs. 425.564.51 O0