Homecoming floats constructed in half the time as usual

Pi Beta Phi deviated from its original plan for Float to instead highlight its philanthropy. Photo courtesy Pi Beta Phi. By Vivian Roach | Staff Writer. This …
Pi Beta Phi deviated from its original plan for Float to instead highlight its philanthropy. Photo courtesy Pi Beta Phi.

By Vivian Roach | Staff Writer

This year’s Homecoming float participants will be showing their work at McLane Stadium for a pep rally on Friday night where the audience can get an up-close look.

“McLane on Friday night will be the big event, the Homecoming event,” Frisco senior Ashley Madden, parade chairperson, said.

Kappa Alpha Order with Alpha Phi, Phi Kappa Chi with Kappa Alpha Theta and Pi Beta Phi will present their floats for judging on Thursday and will be awarded in front of everyone on Friday.

“It’s kind of like after a normal parade they get parked in front of Tidwell to be able to walk over and look at. That’s the general idea,” Madden said. “We’re hoping to draw more of a crowd this year because they’re more front and center, so people can see the work that has gone into them. There will also be a video shown during the prep rally about the work that went into the floats.”

Madden said groups usually work eight weeks on floats, but this year they only had about four weeks to finish.

“They lost originally two weeks when we came back to school, when no organizations could meet and then they also lost an additional week when Baylor extended that,” Madden said. “And so that was the official build time, but I feel like they lost a lot of time over the summer. In normal years, they submit their themes and their designs in the summer. Then, they get approved, and they can start ordering materials and start on the first day of school, but because everything was so up in the air over the summer, it got pushed back.”

Celina senior Ben Whisman, float coordinator, said his expectations in the beginning also changed over time. There were plans for 13 floats from organization chairs, he said, and only three floats remain now.

Portland, Ore. senior Kate Pitcher, float chair for Pi Beta Phi, said they decided to stick with plans for a float because it has been the only activity chapter members are allowed to do together.

“We felt like it would just be unifying for our organization and fun and to be able to take advantage of that opportunity to see each other in person,” Pitcher said.

No float design rules or requirements have changed except for determining the float class, Whisman said. Floats are organized into classes, depending on how much money each group plans to spend. They are judged by class and a grand champion is awarded across all classes usually. This year is a little different.

“They do not have to designate a class standing until they finalize everything and then go, we spent this much money, so we will be in this class,” Whisman said. “That’s completely fine with me. I think we’re going to have one in each category, but that might change to where they all end up in one class. No matter what, I think all of them are still going to be fantastic because I’m still blown away with the amount of time that they’ve had yet the level that they’ve done.”

Pitcher said they stuck with a simpler theme and promoted their philanthropy this year. In doing so, she said that Pi Beta Phi was able to donate $3,000 to their philanthropy with the leftover float budget and plans on donating the 2,000 books used in the float display to elementary school kids.

“Originally, we had picked a theme with the fraternity that we paired with, but when they dropped out, we didn’t feel like we had the building capabilities to continue with that theme,” Pitcher said. “And so because it is kind of a weird year with COVID, we decided to make our float theme our philanthropy, which is ‘Read, Lead, Achieve.’ So chapter members actually donated books to our book displays on the float, and the main feature on our float is a giant rainbow made out of books.”

Baylor alumni won’t be able to see these floats in person though. The pep rally was approved as an in-person event, but to meet social distancing guidelines and safety requirements, only students are allowed to attend in person. Up to 1,000 students will be allowed in each event location at McLane: the stadium, alumni tailgate area and student tailgate area, Madden said.

Seniors look beyond commencement

They are building a liquefier to condense hydrogen gas into liquid form, because transporting liquid hydrogen is much safer and easier than gas. Wallace interned with Planetary Resources, an asteroid mining company, which launched his passion for space engineering. He applied knowledge from …

WSU soon-to-be graduates look into careers in finance, research and space engineering

Former+orientation+counselor%2C+Pi+Beta+Phi+member+and+ASWSU+senator+struggled+to+find+a+balance+between+academic+and+extracurricular+activities.

Former orientation counselor, Pi Beta Phi member and ASWSU senator struggled to find a balance between academic and extracurricular activities.

Former orientation counselor, Pi Beta Phi member and ASWSU senator struggled to find a balance between academic and extracurricular activities.

RYAN PUGH | The Daily Evergreen

RYAN PUGH | The Daily Evergreen

Former orientation counselor, Pi Beta Phi member and ASWSU senator struggled to find a balance between academic and extracurricular activities.

Bellevue native prepares for future in finance

ASWSU senator, Pi Beta Phi sorority member and orientation counselor are just a few of the titles senior Courtney Crouch has held in her time at WSU.

“It’s been absolutely amazing,” Crouch said. “I kind of never want to leave here.”

A Bellevue native, Crouch began her college career at Gonzaga University. But after her first semester, she felt she needed more of a challenge at a bigger school.

“[I] wanted to meet new people,” she said, “but also see people I knew and feel a part of a community.”

She decided to come to WSU because it was in her home state, and everyone she talked to that went here told her they loved it.

Crouch came to love it too and got involved right away. In fact, she said she got a little too involved her first year, and it began to hurt her grades.

“[I] kind of overdid it,” she said.

Despite this, Crouch was determined to stay at WSU. She said finding a balance was a challenge, but she wanted to stay and grow, and has now found her stride.

Crouch joined her sorority in fall of 2014 and was also an orientation counselor last summer. Following in the footsteps of her older brother Adam Crouch, who served as ASWSU president in the 2015-2016 school year, she joined the student government and enjoys her role in the organization.

“It’s always really fun, because Senate is not just a job,” she said. “It’s like a family.”

An economic sciences major, Crouch is still not sure what she wants to do. She said she would like to move to Yakima to get away from the gloom of the West Side and find a job in finance.

Crouch’s little and best friend, Kendall Hanson, said she sees her doing something she is passionate about. She described Crouch as hardworking, dedicated and funny.

“If you’re her friend, it’s a good place to be,” Hanson said. “She’s just a great person and she cares a lot.”

Hopeful space engineer inspired by father’s career

Tucked within the twists and turns of the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Building is a small office where Gregory Wallace prepares for the world of space engineering.

RYAN PUGH | The Daily Evergreen

Senior mechanical engineering major Gregory Wallace has interned with Planetary Resources, an asteroid mining company, to find his passion for space.

He said the vast expanse of space doesn’t intimidate him, but intrigues him. His interest in how the physical world works drives him to learn about anything that he can get his hands on.

“I’m curious about how things work,” Wallace said.

Growing up in Renton, his dad taught him how things are put together. This inspired Wallace to become a mechanical engineer, like his dad. Joining the Innovation for Sustainable Energy club at WSU gave him insight into potential careers within this field.

ISE is working to create a refueling station for hydrogen-powered cars. They are building a liquefier to condense hydrogen gas into liquid form, because transporting liquid hydrogen is much safer and easier than gas.

Wallace interned with Planetary Resources, an asteroid mining company, which launched his passion for space engineering. He applied knowledge from class to his internship and gained real-world experience.

“I wish I would have been involved in space engineering earlier,” he said.

After his internship, he joined Cougs in Space, a group of students building a cube satellite that will be launched into space a few years from now. NASA is funding the launch, alleviating a major financial burden for the team and allowing money to go toward equipment. Wallace is the structures team lead, dealing with the mechanical aspects of the cube satellite.

As a senior nearing graduation, Wallace would like to continue in space engineering and add a personal interest of his — cryogenics, the study of how material behaves at very low temperatures.

Graduate student to study overseas

WSU Vancouver student Amanda Thiel has been passionate about plants since her undergraduate years.

Courtesy Amanda Thiel

Amanda Thiel traveled to Guatemala to research ethnobotany, or how people use plants in religion.

Nearing graduation with a master’s in cultural anthropology, Thiel has traveled overseas for her research and educated elementary school children about botany.

Thiel went to rural Guatemala in the summer of 2016 to research ethnobotany, the study of how people use plants in their region. During her two-month stay, she interviewed Q’eqchi’ Maya villagers about the type of plants growing in their gardens, and used the information she gathered for her thesis.

She formed an outreach program last year by gathering a group of her colleagues to educate elementary students at Franklin Elementary School about anthropology. Many students at this age are not familiar with anthropology, Thiel said, and it was important for her to teach them about diversity and similarities in each culture.

Thiel and her colleagues plan to continue this outreach program not only in Washington, but also in Oregon.

Thiel, who is also a single mother, said both WSU Pullman and WSU Vancouver, which she transferred to last semester, have been a positive experience and helpful with childcare.

Jo Bonner, office assistant for the department of anthropology in Pullman, said Thiel is a “down-to-earth ray of sunshine with a generous spirit.” She is positive and hardworking in school, Bonner added.

After graduation, Thiel plans to continue her education at WSU Vancouver, where she will receive her doctorate in cultural anthropology and travel overseas again to conduct more research. Her goal is to someday become a professor and teach students about anthropology.

“Do what you love,” she said, “but also be realistic.”