Posts by Esteban (Steve) Sosa

Father. Designer. Technologist. Silly Human Being.

Confused About Medicare Part B?

Medicare.govPosted on behalf of Sheryl Gordon, Employee Benefits.

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 3.08.41 PM

Qualify for Part A Medicare and you generally pay no monthly premium, but enrolling in Part B will mean you pay a monthly premium (currently $104.90). Many employees believe they have to enroll in Medicare Part B when they turn 65, or pay a penalty to enroll later and/or experience a delay in coverage. This is not correct. If you are enrolled in a group health plan based on current employment when you turn 65, you can “defer” enrolling in Part B Medicare until you retire or otherwise lose your employer plan. When you retire or your employment ends (and thus your employer group coverage), you have an 8-month Special Enrollment Period to sign up for Medicare Part B without paying a penalty.

Note: Employees enrolled in PEBB or other retiree coverage, TRICARE, or those receiving Veterans’ benefits may be required to have Part B coverage or Part B may offer additional benefits or services.

Learn more at

Cultural Competency Recommendations


Our Fifty-Year Legacy

As the college acknowledges the many achievements we have been a part of, the people who made those achievements possible, and the next fifty years as an institution of higher learning, what will our legacy reflect? Were we the first? In what areas did we advance most? Did we set the example? What could we have done differently?

One opportunity directly tied to our Strategic Planning goal of equity and diversity, also vocalized by students during recent campus events, is meeting the needs of our diverse community by focusing efforts on cultural competencies. Our students need to know that we take this challenge seriously, are committed to advancing this cause, and that we value this key issue. A demonstrated commitment to cultural competency would be a meaningful addition to our college legacy and the next fifty years ahead.

The Challenges We Face

In investigating this topic at our institution and seeking out ways in which meaningful collaboration can result in tangible results, several offices and entities were contacted (ODEI, Student Life, IP, Student Government, DSS, and GDEC). An open session was held for anyone interested in exchanging ideas, discussing key themes, and brainstorming desired outcomes. Additional functional areas throughout campus will be asked to contribute to the conversation as we continue to seek direction from the college.

A Multifaceted Model

There are no quick fixes or magic pills to address concerns regarding diversity and cultural competence. Such deep­rooted issues require a commitment that goes beyond words and includes awareness of key issues, attitudes and behaviors towards the world around us, the ability to openly exchange ideas, and identification of specific cultural competencies.

Stakeholders Needed

Collaboration across campus will ensure that this effort is inclusive, meaningful, and sustainable. Ideas should represent faculty, staff, and students and involve experts, departments, and committees.

View the Recommendations

The presentation below was given to the Board of Trustees and written as an executive summary to outline specific recommendations to begin addressing cultural competencies at Green River College. Training by itself is never the answer and to support meaningful change across campus, training must compliment existing efforts.

The Morgan Challenge: Week 4 Winners

As the entire world now knows, Green River College recently witnessed the official launch of “The Morgan 100 Grand Challenge.” Many folks across campus easily completed the task of watching two short videos regarding information technology. Below are our first round of winners across campus. Don’t forget – we are now in an entirely new week and everyone’s got a new chance to win!

Week 4: Welding Tech Faculty Dare Others!

Not only did Welding Tech Faculty complete the Morgan Challenge, they now dare others to complete as well! Way to go Welding Tech Faculty!

Are YOU ready to complete the challenge as well?

Are YOU ready to complete the challenge as well?

Week 4: Contest Winners

Congratulations to Crystal Bolt!

Congratulations to Crystal Bolt!

Congratulations to Scott Schreiber, Casper Fox, and Ben Orr!

Congratulations to Scott Schreiber, Casper Fox, and Ben Orr!

Don’t forget to check out this week’s challenge and follow the entire series as it progresses.

The Morgan Challenge: Data Security and Data Retention

This Week’s Videos

This week we move to the next two videos in our contest:  Simply click below and complete the following videos:

  1. Data Security
  2. Data Retention

New to the Morgan Challenge?

In case you haven’t heard, our very own Camella Morgan (Executive Director of Information Technology) is giving away 100 Grand (chocolate bars) to the first 10 people to complete the challenge below!

Take the Morgan Challenge - Win 100 Grand!

All faculty and staff at Green River College are eligible. If asked, simply plug in your campus credentials (username and password) to get started. Completion is auto-magically tracked and winners will be personally notified. Game on!

Behind the Scenes – Course Development Process


Working with an awesome student named Yujin on digital audio recordings.

Human Resources encompasses a large variety of training topics related to new and current employees. This includes new employee orientations, benefits overviews, mandatory topics such as nondiscrimination and child abuse reporting, supervisor essentials, and even soft skills such as communications and effective teamwork. We’re now proud to be developing our very first online course!


Sheryl and Zack give their absolute best performances while acting out scenes.

Routinely, HR provides face-to-face training and workshops to meet the needs of the campus as a whole. That is a challenging task because the needs of the campus routinely change and the needs of the individual often mean that time slots, locations, or frequency never quite fit one’s personal schedule.  We’re hoping to change that in the future to meet our audience exactly where they are at.


Claire is joined by an awesome student named Jim, who helped voice one of our characters. 

That is where online delivery, reinforced by face-to-face engagement, comes into play. By placing parts of our training and workshops online, we increase the availability and access for every single individual, regardless of where they are physically located. For student employees that means not having to skip a class in order to attend a mandatory workshop. For part-time faculty, that means not having to drive to campus in order to obtain important information. For college employees as a whole that means obtaining necessary material from the convenience of your own desk or device.


Course development is a team effort and it helped to have such great support behind our first online course.

It should be stressed that replacing face-to-face interaction is not the end goal. Improving access and increasing learner success, while refocusing our face-to-face engagement to meet learners where they are at is essentially the best of both worlds…aka blended and flipped learning modalities.

Getting back to the purpose of this article, we’ve been working on a brand new course to be delivered online. It’s understandable that no one would be excited by this news…akin to being invited to watch someone’s wedding video (not exactly the most exciting two-hour experience of your life even thought the event itself may have been fantabulous). With this in mind we’re reinventing our training material, engagement strategy, and user experience (not to mention making the course more academically sound by adding assessments). In short, we hope the course to be meaningful, memorable, and motivational…as best as possible that is given the content.


This is just a teaser for what’s coming soon and will be included in our first online course. Stay tuned!

In the coming weeks you will continue to hear more about our development and launch of this new course. We’ve worked hard to ensure that it doesn’t feel like a two-hour wedding video and hope that folks appreciate the work that went into creating it. Stay tuned for more details!


Open Enrollment Through November 30th

Posted on behalf of Sheryl Gordon, Employee Benefits.

Open Enrollment continues through November 30, and there are new plans available for 2016. If you haven’t taken the time to review your plan, now is the perfect time!


In case you need to catch up on the conversation, in our last post we detailed information on the following:

  • Register Online
  • Add Family Members
  • Stay Up to Date
  • Compare Plans
  • Re-enroll in FSA or Dependent Care Programs
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Choosing a Medical Plan

Here are some things to think about when choosing a medical plan…

The Morgan Challenge: Social Networks and Working Remotely

This Week’s Videos

This week we move to the next two videos in our contest:  Simply click below and complete the following videos:

  1. Social Networks
  2. Working Remotely

New to the Morgan Challenge?

In case you haven’t heard, our very own Camella Morgan (Executive Director of Information Technology) is giving away 100 Grand (chocolate bars) to the first 10 people to complete the challenge below!

Take the Morgan Challenge - Win 100 Grand!

All faculty and staff at Green River College are eligible. If asked, simply plug in your campus credentials (username and password) to get started. Completion is auto-magically tracked and winners will be personally notified. Game on!

The Morgan Challenge: Week 3 Winners

As the entire world now knows, Green River College recently witnessed the official launch of “The Morgan 100 Grand Challenge.” Many folks across campus easily completed the task of watching two short videos regarding information technology. Below are our first round of winners across campus. Don’t forget – we are now in an entirely new week and everyone’s got a new chance to win!

Week 3: Grand Prize Winner!

The following individual completed the entire training series! Job well done!

Congratulations to Leilani Hoglund on completing the entire series!

Congratulations to Leilani Hoglund on completing the entire series!

Week 3: Contest Winners

Congratulations to Jean Sheadel!

Congratulations to Jean Sheadel!

Congratulations to Seth Grossman!

Congratulations to Seth Grossman!

Congratulations to Rhonda Daulton!

Congratulations to Rhonda Daulton!

Congratulations to Miki Wells!

Congratulations to Miki Wells!

Congratulations to Marji Mackenzie!

Congratulations to Marji Mackenzie!

Don’t forget to check out this week’s challenge and follow the entire series as it progresses.

The Morgan Challenge: Social Engineering and Data Security

This Week’s Videos

This week we move to the next two videos in our contest:  Simply click below and complete the following videos:

  1. Social Engineering
  2. Data Security

New to the Morgan Challenge?

In case you haven’t heard, our very own Camella Morgan (Executive Director of Information Technology) is giving away 100 Grand (chocolate bars) to the first 10 people to complete the challenge below!

Take the Morgan Challenge - Win 100 Grand!

All faculty and staff at Green River College are eligible. If asked, simply plug in your campus credentials (username and password) to get started. Completion is auto-magically tracked and winners will be personally notified. Game on!

Open Enrollment Is Here!!!

Posted on behalf of Sheryl Gordon, Employee Benefits. 

Open enrollment is finally here! Whooooohooooo!


Find answers to the most often asked questions during EVERY Open Enrollment. 

  • Learn what changes you can make…
  • Learn how and where to make your changes by logging into “My Account”…
  • Find out where to attend a benefits fair…
  • Find out if there are any Webinars left…
  • Find out how to enroll or re-enroll in   Flexible Spending and/or Dependent Care Assistance…

During Open Enrollment each year you can change plans, add or remove eligible family members, waive your health coverage if you have a valid reason under PEBB rules, enroll in the Flexible Spending Program or the Dependent Care Assistance Program or (if you need to) re-attest to the spousal coverage premium surcharge.

Register Online

Unless you’re adding family members never on your account before, you will DO IT ONLINE at – If you’ve never registered before, you will need to do that first.  On your MY ACCOUNT  you will change plans, add or remove family members, re-attest if you need to (by clicking on the “my attestations” tab at the top of the page) of your “My Account.”

Add Family Members

If you’re adding eligible family members never before on your account, you will need to submit a 2016 paper enrollment form to Human Resources because you will also have to provide verification (prove they are your family members).  Find the forms under “Get a Form” in the green tabs on the PEBB WEBSITE

Stay Up to Date

There’s still one webinar left —on Monday, November 23 and lots of benefit fairs.  More information at Benefit Fairs and Webinars. Also, be sure to check out the October “For Your Benefit” newsletter. 

Compare Plans

A VERY, VERY COOL FEATURE ON THE PEBB WEBSITE is the Medical Plan Comparison Tool  You can compare the benefits of three health plans at once.

Re-enroll in FSA or Dependent Care Programs

During Open Enrollment each year you can also enroll or re-enroll (you must re-enroll every year) in the FLEXIBLE SPENDING ARRANGEMENT PROGRAM and/or DEPENDENT CARE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM  – great way to keep more of your money in your pocket.

Most Asked Question

AND, OH YES, the most often-asked question during every Open Enrollment is . . . .”If I don’t want to make any changes and I don’t need to attest to any of the surcharges, DO I NEED TO DO ANYTHING……..And the answer is “No.”

Halloween 2015 Photo Gallery!

Halloween is officially over at Green River College (although there is probably still lots of candy at front desks across campus). They day was filled with celebration, humor, friendly competition, and even a Fall Harvest thanks to the CSC Committee.


The best part about Halloween on campus was getting to see coworkers, students, and faculty dressed up in a variety of costumes. Some areas went all out and coordinated a departmental theme for the day.


Below are just some of the images taken of employees across campus. Don’t forget to check out the complete gallery.








Click to see the complete Halloween 2015 Photo Gallery on Flickr.

The Morgan Challenge: Week 2 Winners

As the entire world now knows, Green River College recently witnessed the official launch of “The Morgan 100 Grand Challenge.” Many folks across campus easily completed the task of watching two short videos regarding information technology. Below are our first round of winners across campus. Don’t forget – we are now in an entirely new week and everyone’s got a new chance to win!

Week 2: Grand Prize Winner!

The following individual was the first faculty member to complete the entire training series! Job well done!


Congratulations to John Falconer on completing the entire series!

Week 2: Contest Winners


Congratulations to Susan Evans!


Congratulations to Manila Mercurio!


Congratulations to Keith Clay!


Congratulations to Jean Carlson!


Congratulations to Karl Hoffman!


Congratulations to Annalee Dunn!

Don’t forget to check out this week’s challenge and follow the entire series as it progresses.

4th Annual First People’s Conference

Posted on behalf of the Benjamin Lealofi, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

On behalf of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Green River College, we would like to invite you to the 4th annual First People’s Conference on November 17, 2015!  This year’s theme is, “Out of the Shadows and Into the Sun.”  The event will take place in the Student Affairs & Success Center (SA) from 12:00 – 7:00 pm.  This is a great space for educators and attendees who wish to achieve: cultural exchange, community empowerment, pursuit of higher education, knowledge development and identity awareness.

First People's Conference

Click image to view full poster.

Registration cost is for dinner only and are as follows: $15 GRC students, $20 Non-GRC students and $25 Non-students.  Payments can be made online at:  For more information and to register, view the attached flyer and apply online at:

***This year’s conference is unique because the next two days are an extension of the conference at the following locations: Wednesday, November 18 will be hosted by the Evergreen State College and Thursday, November 19 hosted at the Muckleshoot reservation!  Transportation will be available for GRC students, staff and faculty.***

Please help us by spreading the word to your networks; it’s greatly appreciated!  If you have any questions, please contact the ODEI Program Coordinator, Benjamin Lealofi at (253) 833-9111 x2659 or via email at:

The Morgan Challenge: Browsing & Mobile Device Security

This Week’s Videos

This week we move to the next two videos in our contest:  Simply click below and complete the following videos:

  1. Browsing
  2. Mobile Device Security

New to the Morgan Challenge?

In case you haven’t heard, our very own Camella Morgan (Executive Director of Information Technology) is giving away 100 Grand (chocolate bars) to the first 10 people to complete the challenge below!

Take the Morgan Challenge - Win 100 Grand!

All faculty and staff at Green River College are eligible. If asked, simply plug in your campus credentials (username and password) to get started. Completion is auto-magically tracked and winners will be personally notified. Game on!

Open Enrollment Benefits Fairs at a City Near You

Posted on behalf of Sheryl Gordon, Employee Benefits.

Open Enrollment Benefits Fairs Are Coming – November 1 through November 30

benefits fair

Visit a PEBB benefits fair to pick up information and speak personally with representatives from the health plans, the PEBB Program, Department of Retirement Systems, and more.

Attend an Open Enrollment Benefit Fair  to find out more or register now for a webinar to learn more about the new, lower-cost medical plan options available in 2016. Webinars are offered through Monday, November 23!

PEBB’s annual open enrollment is your chance to:

Changes made during open enrollment are effective January 1, 2016. If you do not want to make any plan changes, you do not need to do anything.

Webinars on New Medical Plans

Posted on behalf of Sheryl Gordon, Employee Benefits.

Webinars about value-based purchasing and the new medical plans in 2016.

PEBB will host free webinars to present information and answer questions about the new medical plans for 2016.  To attend, preregister at by selecting the Webinars link.  Webinar dates and times follow.

webinarsWebinar schedule:

  • Thursday, October 22, 2015
    8 to 8:30 a.m.
    Webinar ID: 102-392-219
  • Thursday, October 29, 2015
    3 to 3:30 p.m.
    Webinar ID: 150-999-987
  • Monday, November 23, 2015
    2 to 2:30 p.m.
    Webinar ID: 152-722-787

To attend, preregister at by selecting the Webinars link.

It’s Flu Shot Time!

Posted on behalf of Health Services.

It’s that time of year again. We are well into the quarter and remember it takes a couple of weeks for the flu vaccine to give you the resistance. Planning ahead for the flu season is a good idea.

Flu Shot Time

The next visit from Seattle Visiting Nurse Association is schedule for:

  • Tuesday, November 3, 2015
    4:30pm-6:00pm in SA, St. Helens room

Don’t forget to review the Patient Consent Form and Vaccine Information Statement (VIS). Completion of the Patient Consent form prior to the clinic helps for a smooth flow and decreased wait time. Lastly, here’s some promotional items on No More Excuses: You Need a Flu Vaccine and FLU F.A.C.T.S. t o be aware of.

If you are not using your insurance coverage they take only check or cash (28.00). For more information contact Julie French.

Giving From the Heart

Posted on behalf of the Office of Campus Life.

In the past, Green River College has given heart-warming support for our Giving from the Heart program.  We’re asking you to amaze us even more this year!

Giving from the Heart

During these hard economic times, many of our student families will not be able provide a sense of joy to their families without your help. Giving from the Heart is a program that matches sponsors from the Green River community with GRC student families that are in need of gifts, or even food, for their children. The generosity of the sponsors provides a holiday celebration for the family that would not exist if it weren’t for your help.

This program can provide a very fulfilling and rewarding holiday event for offices, departments, academic divisions, Student Clubs & Organizations, neighboring businesses, and community members to participate in together.  This holiday season, instead of enjoying the presence of your friends and families at a holiday dinner or office party; let’s make a difference in the lives of families here on campus that would greatly appreciate your contribution to warm the hearts of their children during the holidays. It would be equally as rewarding to spend this season with one another planning a shopping list, shopping for your sponsored family’s gifts, and wrapping these presents.  You have the potential to make an impact in these young people’s lives this holiday season, and they will not forget it.

The first step is to identify those of you who are willing to commit to sponsoring a family so that we know how many families we can accept into the program.  If you are interested, please gather a group and email or contact the Student Life front desk at 253.833.9111 ext. 2400 to sign up as a sponsor by no later than November 2, 2015.  Please provide your preferred family size (i.e. 2 children, 4 children, etc.) so that we know what your group can handle and we will do our best to match you appropriately.

Thank you in advance for your participation in this amazing Green River tradition!

The Combined Fund Drive

Posted on behalf of Megan Evans, Local Combined Fund Drive Coordinator.

It’s that time of year again! The Combined Fund Drive (CFD) is here and will be coming to you via the HR Newsletter Coffee Break through December 31st!

WA State Combined Food Drive

Click image to view a larger version.

Giving is easy…you can donate online or you can pick up a paper form from me. They are even located online. If you fill out a pledge form, please return it to Megan Evans at MS: FOUN.

This year, you can support the Green River Community College Foundation through the Combined Fund Drive by using this Charity Code: 1481493.

The Morgan Challenge: Email Messaging & Passwords

This Week’s Videos

This week we move to the next two videos in our contest:  Simply click below and view the following videos:

  1. Email & Messaging
  2. Passwords

New to the Morgan Challenge?

In case you haven’t heard, our very own Camella Morgan (Executive Director of Information Technology) is giving away 100 Grand (chocolate bars) to the first 10 people to complete the challenge below!

Take the Morgan Challenge - Win 100 Grand!

All faculty and staff at Green River College are eligible. If asked, simply plug in your campus credentials (username and password) to get started. Completion is auto-magically tracked and winners will be personally notified. Game on!

Employee Spot Recognition (and free cookies and drink!)


Join Us to Recognize Great Employees

Come join the Employee Recognition Committee and give a big thank you to nine great employees that will be receiving their spot recognition award.

  •  Date: Thursday, October 22nd
  • Time: 2 p.m.
  • Location: St. Helens, Olympus and Baker Rooms

Cookies and drink courtesy of the Foundation. If you have any questions please feel free to contact Judy Brenden at ext. 2566 or

Green River Participates in Campus Resilience Program


Delegates from Green River College traveled to the National Convention Center in Leesburg, Virginia last week for Campus Resilience Capacity Building training through CaRES and the Department of Homeland Security. The training provided an opportunity for Green River staff members to learn about how to implement CaRES training at our campuses, and provided tools for evaluation of existing campus resiliency measures.


Resiliency efforts would allow the Green River community to create plans—or playbooks—for each area of campus. These playbooks will help with recovery efforts, in the event of a natural disaster or other unforeseen occurrence. They will provide resources and step-by-step guidance to restoring operations to the key functions on campus.


Representatives from Green River College, Drexel University, Eastern Connecticut State University, Navajo Technical University, Texas A&M, Tougaloo College, University of Maryland, and University of San Francisco were in attendance at the CaRES conference. Green River is the only community college to be chosen to participate in this opportunity.


More details about the program:

“The Campus Resilience Program was created upon recommendation from the Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council, a federal advisory committee comprised of college and university presidents, academic leaders, and interagency partners charged with advising the Secretary of Homeland Security and senior leadership on matters related to homeland security and the academic community. The Council is managed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Academic Engagement.

The program is a DHS collaborative initiative that involves the Department of Education, Department of Justice, and Department of State. Within DHS, the program is sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), and the Office of Academic Engagement.”

The Morgan Challenge: Week 1 Winners

As the entire world now knows, last week witnessed the official launch of “The Morgan 100 Grand Challenge.” Many folks across campus easily completed the task of watching two short videos regarding information technology. Below are our first round of winners across campus. Don’t forget – we are now in an entirely new week and everyone’s got a new chance to win!

Week 1: Grand Prize Winner!

The following individual was the first person on campus to complete the entire training series. Job well done!

Congratulations to Jenny Park on completing the entire series!

Congratulations to Jenny Park on completing the entire series!

Week 1: Contest Winners

Congratulations to David Larsen!

Congratulations to David Larsen!

Congratulations to Wyatt Schill!

Congratulations to Wyatt Schill!

Congratulations to Niki Nelson!

Congratulations to Niki Nelson!

Congratulations to Frances Lindland!

Congratulations to Frances Lindland!

Congratulations to George Frasier!

Congratulations to George Frasier!

Don’t forget to check out this week’s challenge and follow the entire series as it progresses.

First People’s Conference – Call for Proposals

Posted on behalf of the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

We would like to invite you to submit a workshop proposal for the 4th Annual First People’s Conference, November 19, 2015, in Auburn, WA! This year’s theme is, “Out of the Shadows and Into the Sun.” This is a great space for educators and attendees who wish to achieve: cultural exchange, community empowerment, pursuit of higher education, knowledge development and identity awareness.

First Peoples ConferenceLinked below you will find information on workshop requirements and the submission process. Submit your proposal via email to If you have any questions, please contact the ODEI Program Coordinator, Benjamin Lealofi at (253) 833-9111 x2659.

CALL FOR PROPOSAL DEADLINE: Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Click to download the complete Call for Proposals packet.

The Morgan Challenge: Win 100 Grand!

The rumors are true! Camella Morgan is giving away 100 Grand (chocolate bars) to the first 10 people to complete the challenge below!

Take the Morgan Challenge - Win 100 Grand!

Simply click below and view the following videos:

  • Introduction
  • You Are the Target

All faculty and staff at Green River College are eligible. If asked, simply plug in your campus credentials (username and password) to get started. Completion is auto-magically tracked and winners will be personally notified. Game on!

CERT Training – Day 3 Adventures


Who’s ready to save lives? Me – that’s who.

In our last CERT posts we introduced Simple Triage and Rapid Treatment techniques and put additional skills to the test using live scenarios. We’re back now in our third and final post related to CERT and we mean business. It could be the difference between life and death after all. Our last adventure involves a simulated disaster including real people, abandoned buildings, and even fake blood.


That ladies and gentlemen, on our very own Timm Lovitt, is the look of extreme confidence.

Immediately upon arrival folks began volunteering for predefined roles. We needed to, as quickly as possible, establish who was in charge of the overall operation, who focused on leading the building entry team, who transported and designated survivors to coded triage zones, and who provided basic medical care and support. Chaos as it turns out, is easier to manage if your head is focused on a very specific role.

Before assessing the building, the entry team marked the exterior (a single slash mark) with date and time of entry and task force identification. In the worst possible scenario, the event that something went wrong inside and the team never made it out, others would know who was still inside.


Chernenko saving lives and keeping our survivor calm.

That same team strategically mapped the building and began their initial sweep. They looked for live wires (the potential that electricity was not turned off), fire, hanging and fallen debris, and people still in the building. When encountering survivors or victims they quickly noted whether the individual was red, yellow, or green (triage evaluation to determine if someone is breathing, aware, and/or injured) and then exited the building. Their initial task was not rescue, but focused on rapid assessment. Upon exit they also updated their initial marking with a second slash (to signify exiting), potential hazards, and total numbers of victims still inside the structure.


Yes we did! We came. We saw. We responded.

With initial assessment complete, they paved the way for medical response and transportation of survivors to predefined medical response zones (coded red and yellow tarps outside of the building). Interacting with victims however is the part of response that challenges folks the most. You have a specific role and duties to complete…while trying to calm a mother who wants you to care for her daughter, a coworker who can’t find his colleague, and (fake) blood running down body parts. Deep breath. You can do this.


I am forever changed by CERT. As proof, I welcome the first fire extinguisher to our home.

In the end we successfully responded to this disaster simulation as a cohesive team. We assessed the building, provided simple triage, transported everyone outside, and cared for all survivors that we could (not everyone made it out alive due to their injuries – not my fault).

Through this process and training I also changed. I now take disasters more seriously (by that I mean my prior knowledge was via movies like The Day After Tomorrow, 2012, and most recently San Andreas) and am confident in my ability to do more than call 9-1-1 and hope for the best (something we learned may not even be an option in the event of a real disaster). Since the training I’ve also beefed up my home preparedness through the purchase of first aid kits (one for the house and one for the vehicle), extra batteries and flashlights, fire extinguishers, and even emergency water packets. My son now thinks I’m the coolest dad on the block as well (an added bonus).

Interested in more training:

Work That Matters: Jennifer Morgan

The following article showcases a Green River College employee, the meaningful work they perform, and (more importantly) the meaning behind that work.

Jennifer Morgan

IT System Administrator
18 Years at Green River College

Employee-JenniferMorganWorking Towards College’s Mission and Values

As a Systems Administrator in the IT Department, I’m responsible for the setup and maintenance of many of the computing systems that students and employees use every day.  IT plays an important part in support of the campus community and has a role in nearly every aspect of college services.  Think about how different your job would be without email or the many software applications that you use… or the internet!  We strive to deliver technology that enables our staff and faculty to better serve our students and that enables our students to be successful.

Work That Matters

Working in higher education, I love the fact that I get to be a part of something bigger, something that impacts so many people. It’s incredibly rewarding to know that I play a part in enriching the lives of others and that I’m contributing to the education of future generations.

Specific to IT, I really enjoy the challenge. Technology is constantly evolving; there’s always something new to learn and there’s never a chance to get bored. It’s also gratifying to be able to help others strengthen their understanding of technology. It not only helps them it their roles here, but in their personal lives as well. To that end, we have implemented a new tool to help educate users on computer/internet security.

Check it out and watch for details on the “Morgan Challenge” (named for our fearless leader, Camella Morgan) in the HR newsletter.

Measurement of Success

“Success” is such a nebulous term. It means something different to everyone. For me, there are two components. The first is meeting concrete goals, accomplishing a specific milestone or achievement. The second is to leave everything that you touch a little better off than it was before you were a part of it. Whether it’s contributing to a large-scale project like ctcLink or a major service implementation… or just something small that makes someone’s day a little brighter or easier, it’s the sum of all actions that leads to success.

New Health Plan Options Coming in 2016

screenshot-PEBB-newsletterThe Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) Program will offer three new plan options in the Puget Sound area, starting January 1, 2016. These plans are designed to promote higher quality through enhanced care coordination.

More Coordinated Care

These new plans will include a broad array of providers and health systems for members to choose from within the integrated network. These providers and health systems will work together to:

• Encourage you to use a primary care network provider to be your partner in making medical decisions.
• Allow all network providers, including both physical and mental health, access to your medical records for better care coordination and efficiency.
• Avoid duplicate tests and services.
• Focus on improving your overall health.

For complete information related to this topic, be sure to view the “For Your Benefit” newsletter from the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) Program.

CERT Training – Day 2 Adventures

City of Auburn...Prepare to be Saved.

City of Auburn…Prepare to be Saved.

It’s day 2 of our CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) training! We officially survived the SMART (Simple Triage And Rapid Treatment) techniques of day 1 (no stuffed animal died on our watch) and now it’s time to put us into real scenarios. Now…it should be said that graduating from stuffed animals to live humans is one MAJOR step. Humans naturally feel, react, and can even go into shock in the middle of a disaster situation. Adding the human element (aka disaster psychology) definitely takes our training to the next level.  We can do this GRC team!

David reluctantly volunteers to get carried down the stairs.

David reluctantly volunteers to get carried down the stairs.

The first part of our morning consisted of holding, rolling, wrapping, lifting, and carrying just about every single participant up, down, and around obstacles. This may sound like an extremely simple exercise, but it tested our physical ability, team coordination, and basic interactions with “survivors” of varying degrees of personal space. Trust me…you don’t really get to know your coworkers and colleagues until you’ve carried them down a few flights of stairs.

Here we practice a variety of debris removal, heavy lifting techniques, and team-based cribbing.

Here we practice a variety of debris removal, heavy lifting techniques, and team-based cribbing.

Our next hands-on learning experience related to light search and rescue operations, with the overall goals of rescuing the greatest number in the shortest amount of time. When assessing situations (environments, buildings, electricity, etc.) the safety of those performing the search should always be considered. If it’s not safe to enter a burning building, even when you can hear potential survivors screaming for help, you simply don’t enter. Safety first.

Fire extinguisher training was one of the funnest exercises performed!

Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep (PASS). We got this.

By the time afternoon came, everyone was ready for fire extinguisher training by putting out actual fires. Did you know that fire extinguishers are designed for specific types of fires? For example, extinguishers designed for ordinary combustibles wouldn’t necessarily work in putting out a metal, cooking oil, or electrical fire. In our exercises we used carbon dioxide models that left no residue (unlike dry chemical models that leave a white powder to clean up).

It's takes a lot of work to look this prepared.

It’s takes a lot of work to look this prepared.

After a very intense, physically exhausting day carrying victims, removing debris, and putting out real fires, we were all ready to go back to our desk jobs (well almost – there’s still one more day left after all). The last and final day of training would see all of these skills put to use in a simulated disaster including real people, abandoned buildings, and lots of fake blood. Stay tuned for more details in our next blog post!

Links of Interest

CERT Training – Day 1 Adventures

Ready for CERT Training!

Ready for the next 24 hours (3 days) of CERT Training!

My first question when told I’d be participating in an upcoming CERT training was, “What’s a CERT?” As it turns out CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Team and helps prepare everyday citizens with basic disaster response skills that can be applied back to their communities and workplaces. We also get to use fire extinguishers, perform light search and rescue, and dress wounds. Sign me up!


Tim and Chernenko telling everyone about GRC and our EOC efforts.

As we began our first day (of three total days) it was immediately apparent that this was a community effort. The City of Auburn, led by the Auburn Emergency Management Department, began this initiative in 2006 and has trained close to 700 people to date. We were part of class #38 and were surrounded by concerned citizens, local volunteers, and individuals from the same communities. These very people, in case of an actual disaster, would be the ones others would look towards for support, guidance, and organization. That’s a very real and serious responsibility and one that ultimately makes for better prepared communities and workplaces throughout the city of Auburn.


Emergency…call 911. Disaster…call us (after we finish training though).

The first rule of CERT training is knowing how to distinguish between an emergency and a disaster. The short version is that an emergency is something you’d call 911 for and get immediate help. A disaster on the other is something that would overrun local resources. Essentially, you’d be on your own for multiple days without someone coming to rescue you. Immediately my thoughts turned to the number of water bottles, location of flashlights, and canned food I had in my own home. What if that disaster occurred while I was at work? Did you know that Green River College is a designated safety location in the event that Mount Rainier were to erupt?


First test: Can you remove a set of gloves without spilling a drop. Tim already failed (look at his pants).

Once everyone was briefed on the unique role CERT volunteers play, the types of disasters we were training for, and where our roles ended, we were ready for some hands-on learning activities. We learned how to safely approach victims (or survivors depending on how you look at things), conduct head-to-toe assessments, and treat a variety of burns, wounds, and fractures. This of course involved each of us spending some time on the ground playing a variety of roles.


David getting rescued on day 1. He’s lucky we were so close by.

Seeing your coworkers play the part of victim/survivor prepared us for our next role of rapid assessment. We were given a variety of stuffed animals and asked to very quickly perform simple triage and rapid treatment (START). Little did we know that these stuffed animals were to play a major role in our next few days…more on that though in our next post. Stay tuned!


No animals were hurt in the performance of our training exercise.

Links of Interest

ABC’s of Records Retention

Posted on behalf of Jessica Tichy. 


Fall quarter is around the corner. Are you trying to take advantage of the lull to catch up on archiving? Are you new to the College and have no idea where to begin? Is this topic your least favorite, as dusting is to me on the home front? Well, rest assured, you are not alone.

Truly, this topic is as simple as ABC.

  • Attitude – Have a can do philosophy! The sooner you tackle archiving, the sooner it is done.
  • Belief – Know that this task is important to the organization as a whole; both historically and from a business continuity perspective.
  • Capable – With a little encouragement and support you can do this and make sense of all the records retention guidelines; that is where I come in.

Important Links

If I can be of assistance, please contact me at ext. 3361.

I will help you dust off the cobwebs on your records retention guidelines, and if you do not already have a set of instructions handy; see the above links.


Building Captains – Upcoming Training


Building captains across campus have an important role. They serve as the go-to person in the event of a campus emergency and help ensure the general safety of people within their respective buildings. If you haven’t already…please hug your building captain.

In a combined effort to strengthen the communication, training, and cross-campus collaboration, Valley Regional Fire District will be providing extensive training on both the 18th and 20th of this month. This training will provide all Green River College Building Captains with foundational knowledge and competencies in:

  • CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation)
  • First aid
  • AED (Automated External Defibrillators)
  • Bloodborne pathogens

Meeting to plan Building Captain training. Also, Steve and Zack match outfits!

In addition to these scheduled training events, future training will follow. Work is also being done to standardize contents of emergency backpacks and create a reference book for all captains. We look forward to establishing an ongoing community amongst building captains and providing meetups on a more frequent basis. Until then, we look forward to seeing and learning from each other at our first training event on the 18th!

Dog Days of Summer – Annual Admin BBQ

Annual Admin BBQ

It’s officially summer and offices are working hard on internal projects…and planning departmental engagement events. Most recently, the admin building held their annual bbq, officially referred to as “Dog Days of Summer.” Darcy Silvest was kind enough to let us in on the event and provide some background information into this unique employee engagement lunch.

Annual Admin BBQ

Can you provide a little history about how this event began and how many years it has been going?
We started having the building summer event in 2009. The event came about as a little something to look forward to. It allows us to see and get to know each other on a different level.

Annual Admin BBQ

How are employee engagement events, such as this one, important to the department as a whole?
If folks in the AD building don’t see an announcement of the event by July, they come to me and ask if we are having our annual event. 

Annual Admin BBQ

There were many potential gourmet hot dog creations to be made at the event. Which one was your favorite and why?
Honestly, gourmet hot dogs don’t rate high on my must have list. I try to vary the menu from year to year. What will next year bring? We are toying with a Classic Soda Shop theme – poodle skirts with sweaters and white T-shirt and jeans included.

Annual Admin BBQ

Is there anyone (or a group of people) who deserve a special thanks for helping to make this event a reality?
Special thanks to all the admin building staff for participating and making the event a success. I believe everyone would give a special thanks to the chefs.

To view the complete photo gallery click the following link:

Benefits That Matter: Yoriko Sosa-Nakata

This series introduces an employee benefit and the meaning behind it, through the lives of Green River employees and their families. Created by Sheryl Gordon.

Yoriko Sosa-Nakata

Yoriko Sosa-Nakata presenting with her group in a recent IT BAS course.

What event most recently occurred in your life that got you thinking about benefits?
One of the Information Technology Bachelor of Applied Science (IT BAS) instructors, Ken Hang, shared his vision for the new program before it started. Ken’s vision to help students become full stack developers (which he calls “unicorns” since such an individual is hard to come by) helped me realize the IT BAS Program was my perfect path (I also was intrigued about becoming one of the first unicorns in the program).  :)

Personally, I have also been aware of the gap between formal educational and those skills that are self-taught through applied or creative fields. I know that I’ve transformed or evolved through work and certifications in digital media production, magazine layout, marketing campaigns, and web development. I believe that having the right knowledge (both formal and informal), combined with an official IT BAS degree, will play a major role in my personal and professional growth.

Yoriko Sosa-Nakata

Presentations were given to the cohort, program instructors, and industry guests.

What specific Green River benefit do you appreciate most?
I truly appreciate the tuition waiver benefit that state employees receive.  One of great things about enrolling at Green River was that the majority of my previous IT and web courses were accepted as part of the IT BAS program requirements. That made my life much easier, as it took prior learning and professional experience into account.

Once accepted into the program, I simply complete forms at the beginning of the quarter,  submit them to HR and my instructor to obtain signatures, and then provide the final documents to Enrollment Services. It also helps to have a supervisor who supports professional development of course.

What does that benefit mean to you and loved ones?
Well…this benefit actually enriches the life of my entire family. It means that one day we’ll be able to create our own family app (something my husband and son are excited about as they are both geeks as well). Besides getting to work on school projects though, in some cases for real-world clients brought into the classroom, the skills taught perfectly compliment the existing degrees I already have. The IT BAS degree symbolizes real-world projects, becoming a full stack developer, and the unlimited potential for creative freedom.

Yoriko Sosa-Nakata

Yoriko’s team project resulted in a working prototype of a location-based, college map application.

What tips would you provide to anyone who is thinking about using this same benefit?
I spent several years attempting to determine which degree option or college best fit my unique needs. As it happened the best college was the one I actually work for! Getting to this point, however, has been a long journey. Originally, I began my research several years ago, but was unable to find the perfect solution, which took into account prior education and technical skills, while still being flexible enough to work into a busy schedule.

I would suggest to anyone considering this benefit, the tuition waiver program, that their decision be a family decision. There are so many variables involved (from work schedule to childcare, and even getting back into the mode of pulling all-nighters if necessary) that the entire family has to be on the same page. It means becoming a student once again. It means weeknights and weekends are spent doing homework. It means my husband is probably giving my son fast food on occasion. It means missing family events or scheduling vacations around breaks in quarters. It also means I have an extensive support system, both at home and in my newfound brothers and sisters in the IT BAS cohort. This is a decision we did not take lightly and one that we are proud to have chosen at the very institution we work at. For that, we sincerely thank Green River College.

Supporting a Work-Life Balance


It’s just like the animal kingdom…but in my office.

Today I came back to the office and was greeted by a seemingly endless supply of stuffed animals. Yup…teddy bears, frogs, a tigger character, pound puppies, a hippo, a piglet, and a surprising collection of yellow ducks. I counted more than 50 animals in my office today. Immediately, my mind was put at ease and I couldn’t help but crack up at my coworkers and the great sense of humor they have.


The individuals pictured have been found guilty of office decoration to the 10th degree. More guilty parties will be identified.

You see, I had been gone on an extended vacation for about 2.5 weeks on a family trip to Japan. Basically, I’d been off the grid entirely and worried (throughout my vacation, on the drive to work, and before ever booting up my computer) about what I had missed while away. Did I leave all projects in a finished state? Was there anything I forgot to do before I left? What if someone needed a new training account created while I was away? How could Green River continue to operate while I was out of the office?


Keep Out! Animal Infestation!

Okay, some of those concerns are slightly exaggerated, but most of them are based on reality. We live in a world in which we are constantly connected. We have seemingly unlimited access, especially if we enable our mobile devices, to all that happens in the office. Every year employees just like me (up to 40% according to a recent study) don’t use all of their vacation days. If work can be so stressful, and employees feel so much pressure, why is that that they/we don’t take much needed or deserved breaks?

I’d be the first to admit that it’s convenient to instantly verify my schedule for the following day (which helps me determine when to leave the house, what to prep for upon arrival, and even what to wear). I sometimes have to remind myself that I shouldn’t be scanning work email nights and weekends. It’s one thing to love what I do and be so actively engaged in my work that checking in seems like fun. It’s another thing entirely to feel the continuous pressure to perform before, during, and even after scheduled hours.


One way to create a stress-free work environment.

Personally, I’ve imposed a self-restriction to limit access to all things that feel like work and focus only on that which prepares me for the next day (such as my work calendar). I simply don’t check or log in to work email once I’ve left the office. I don’t respond to social media channels (those set up through the department) after hours. If I see an interesting article that directly relates to my job duties, I consider forwarding it my work email for future reading and annotation. This system seems to work well and provides flexibility, all the while allowing me to focus on what really matters outside of the office (my family). This approach, plus the fact that I’m been out of the office for just over 2.5 weeks, means that I’m now back with a new outlook on existing challenges and a refreshed view of the world as a whole.

Work-Life Balance Tips for Supervisors

  1. Focus on final output instead of individual process. This empowers employees to ensure work is accomplished, even if it means working a different schedule than others.
  2. Create realistic, time-based, achievable goals and hold employees accountable. This ensures employees are given freedom, but also perform.
  3. Encourage a work-life balance amongst the team (vacations, flexible schedules, children’s sports games, etc.). Added flexibility keeps employees around longer.

Further Reading

Saving Money with Credit Unions

Posted on behalf of Sheryl Gordon.


At Green River College you have your choice of joining two credit unions to help you save more and take control of your money: School Employees Credit Union (SECU) and Washington State Employees Credit Union (WSECU). These credit unions are not-for-profit financial institutions offering a wide array of products and services with competitive rates, low or no fees, easy access, and a commitment to making your life easier.

Joining a credit union has many benefits, including:

  • Direct deposit or payroll deduction from your paycheck
  • Free and/or low-fee checking accounts
  • Flexible accounts to help manage savings, including money markets, certificates, and IRAs
  • Free online bill paying
  • Free online transfers between credit union and other financial institutions
  • Free ATM use for deposits and withdrawals (when using affiliated machines)
  • Low loan rates
  • Visa credit and debit cards of various types with low, variable rates and no annual fees
  • Visa gift cards
  • Free online budgeting tools
  • Scholarships
  • Superior member service via web, phone, ATM, and mail
  • Shared branches (statewide and nationwide)


FAQ’s on New Accountable Care Health Plans

By Sheryl Gordon

Health Plans

Would you like a different health plan option with lower monthly premiums, lower deductibles and NO out-of-pocket costs for services received from a primary care provider in the plan’s preferred network? Check out the new “Accountable Care Programs” being offered during open enrollment this fall…

FAQs on the New Accountable Care Health Plans in 2016

Personality Traits and the Workplace


We all want to be the best employee we can be, right? Of course we do. Each of us also brings a variety of skills to the positions we currently hold. Beyond skills though, being successful in our current and future positions at Green River requires an understanding of oneself. Don’t worry, I’m not about to ask you to hold hands with the person next to you and begin chanting. That’s for another blog post.


This post is dedicated to gaining a better understanding of one’s own personality traits. Why is this important (you ask)? Well, these traits play an important role in the way we operate, interact, and engage with those around us. An understanding of traits is important for both individual and team success. Whether we prefer to think critically before making decisions, enjoy the thrill in taking a leap of faith, or consider forming a cross-campus committee to tackle an issue…chances are your traits (even unconsciously) are driving those decisions. Other factors of course also play into decisions, such as environment, past experience, and personal goals.


Below are four possible pairs of personality traits, popularized by Myers-Briggs Type Indicator:

  • Introversion (I) or Extraversion (E)
  • Intuition (N) or Sensing (S)
  • Thinking (T) or Feeling (F)
  • Judging (J) or Perceiving (P)

Free, Online Personality Test

Enough mumbo-jumbo already. It’s time to take a quick, free online test to determine our own personality traits! Remember, this is just the first step to understanding who we are, why we do things the way we do, and what this means in the workplace.

Take the 16 Personalities test now!


On-Campus Resources

Did you know that on-campus resources are also available for anyone interested? Our own Josh Staffieri, Education & Career Planner in the Welcome Center, provides in-depth professional career assessment? While online tests, like the one above are quick and easy to take, Josh excels at personalized consultations related to industry evaluations like Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Strong Interest Inventory, and StrengthsQuest. If interested, simply contact Josh for additional details or start by viewing the linked Professional Career Assessments PDF flyer.

Lastly, thanks for your help Josh in answering our own questions related to personality traits and assessment tools! We look forward to exploring these in more detail with you, through a personalized consultation.

Benefits That Matter: Caitlin Orchard

This series introduces an employee benefit and the meaning behind it, through the lives of Green River employees and their families. Created by Sheryl Gordon.


Welcome to the family!

What event most recently occurred in your life that got you thinking about benefits?
The most recent event in my life where benefits were at the forefront of my mind was the birth of my son Noah. He was born January 22nd at Good Samaritan Hospital. It was the most precious and wonderful moment of my life.

What specific Green River benefit do you appreciate most?
Before the Community and Technical College system I was in private industry and did not have benefits. I was responsible for covering my own medical costs. I appreciate every single benefit we receive and I have had to use all of them over the past five months for maternity leave.

Tell us about your family members covered by this benefit.
My son and I are covered under my benefits. My husband has his own insurance so we are able to have double coverage for Noah. Most of the expenses were from the hospital and all of his well-baby check-ups. I love the fact my medical insurance allowed me to choose our pediatrician because Noah loves his doctor.

What does that benefit mean to you and loved ones?
In my opinion our benefits are worth their weight in gold. I have always been so thankful for our sick leave, vacation, medical and dental.  We do not know how good we have it until we need to use our benefits. Our medical insurance was a blessing because I had to have a C-section which costs more money and without that coverage we would have been in trouble. My vacation and sick time allowed me to stay home full time with Noah during his first months of life and really learn how to be a mom. Those were precious moments I did not want to miss and luckily I had the leave to cover the time. During his first week of life we were at the pediatrician’s office six times for various reasons, and thank goodness for medical benefits, because I do not know how we would have afforded the expenses. It’s amazing how much health care costs, and we are very fortunate to have these benefits. Again, worth their weight in gold.

What tips would you provide to anyone about to go through a similar life event?
I would recommend using our resources here on campus to plan out any leave you want to take. Meeting with Sheryl in HR and Shirley and Elizabeth in payroll really helped me figure out how to use my leave to maximize my time and money. This goes without saying, but planning with your supervisor is very helpful. Sarah and my team in the Welcome Center were so accommodating and supportive. Lean on other colleagues that have gone through the experience to see what they did and what worked for them. Many of the awesome ladies I work with gave me great advice and helped me plan. Once the baby comes, enjoy every single moment. :)

Leave Your Loved Ones a Road Map to Follow

By Sheryl Gordon

Road Map

There are three important documents that keep you in charge if a life-changing event happens and you can’t make decisions for yourself.

  1. A Living Will
  2. A Health-care Power of Attorney
  3. A Letter of Instruction

Even though these are legal documents, it’s not necessary for an attorney to write them. Our WA State Employee Assistance Program can help by providing resources to get you started.

Creating My Road Map

Americans with Disabilities – Basics for Managers and Employees

By Sheryl Gordon and Chernenko Wheatley

There are a number of federal and state laws that prohibit employment discrimination based on disability, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD). Covered employers must make reasonable accommodation to the known limitations of a disability of a “qualified individual with a disability,” as defined under the law. All state employees are covered under these laws; whether or not the employee is a “qualified individual with a disability” is determined in the “interactive process” that takes place between the employee, the employee’s healthcare provider, and the college.


  • It is a violation of the ADA/WA State Law to fail to provide reasonable accommodation to a qualified individual with a disability, unless to do so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the college.
  • Failure to provide reasonable accommodation to a qualified individual with a disability can result in fines, penalties or a possible lawsuit.

What is a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act?

Under the ADA, an individual with a disability is a person who:

  1. Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities that has central importance to most people’s daily lives, i.e., such as walking, seeing, breathing;
  2. Has a record of such impairment;
  3. Is regarded as having such impairment.

What is a disability under Washington State law?

The definition of disability in Washington law RCW 49.60.040 is much broader and covers a greater number of impairments and medical disorders, as well as mental and psychological conditions.

What is a reasonable accommodation?

  1. Reasonable accommodation means modification or adjustment to a job, work environment, policy, practice, or procedure that enables a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of their job. Reasonable accommodation can also take the form of leave away from the job for a period of time, such as additional leave without pay after FMLA ends, for example.
  2. Reasonable accommodation only applies to a “qualified individual with a disability” who can do the job; in ADA lingo, the employee needs to be able to do the “essential functions” of the job with or without a reasonable accommodation.
  3. Essential functions are the most important parts of the job (the core responsibilities), determined by how often they are done or how important they are.
  4. The college does not have to grant the specific accommodation the employee is asking for; we can make a different change that is, for example, less expensive or less disruptive to college business, but which accomplishes the same thing.
  5. After following the interactive process with the employee, the college can also decide that there isn’t a reasonable change they can make to the job. In that case, we will look for another vacant position that the employee is qualified to perform.
  6. In instances when the employee cannot be accommodated and there is no vacant position the employee is qualified to perform, the college may follow a process for disability separation.

What is the process for requesting a reasonable accommodation at Green River College?

  1. Generally, an employee needs to tell their employer that they need an accommodation because of a disability; however, reasonable accommodation requests don’t always mention the word “accommodation” and the individual may not specifically ask for a “work change.” Anytime an employee indicates he/she is having a problem performing a job function(s), and indicates the problem is related to a medical condition, the college will want to consider whether the employee is making an accommodation request. Supervisors and/or managers should call Human Resources with this kind of information immediately.
  2. Supervisors should never ask an employee if they have a disability or question an employee about personal medical information.
  3. Human Resources will evaluate the information and handle all aspects of the request and the process.
  4. Department managers and/or supervisors should never make (any) accommodations without notifying Human Resources, who will follow the proper accommodations process required by law.
  5. Department managers/supervisors should never keep medical records in departmental files.
  6. All managers and supervisors should acquaint themselves with Green River College’s Reasonable Accommodation Policy GA-10.

Ideas Worth Spreading…Before Summer Quarter

It’s quite on campus. Too quiet. Sure, the squirrels are frolicking and there is plenty of parking available, but something is missing. Gone are the familiar sights and sounds of students migrating to and from every building on campus. Now however, is the perfect chance to focus on yourself and get inspired before summer quarter starts!


TED is the perfect place to get inspired this summer.

TED (short for Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a platform for “ideas worth sharing.” Topics range from science to business to global issues and are provided in a variety of languages. What are you waiting for? Get inspired by:

Work That Matters: Andy Orr

The following article showcases a Green River College employee, the meaningful work they perform, and (more importantly) the meaning behind that work.

Andy Orr

IT Bachelor’s Program Manager, Software Development
7 Years at Green River College

Working Towards College’s Mission and Values

Andrew Orr

As Program Manager for Green River’s Bachelor of Applied Science in Software Development, I market and promote the program in the community, organize special events and projects, develop relationships with local technology companies, and support students from admission all the way to graduation and employment. It’s fun, exciting work, to say the least. Playing a role in the operation and success of our Bachelor’s in Software Development is tremendously fulfilling, too. A program like this improves access to a quality, technology-focused Bachelor’s degree for low-income and other underrepresented students in our community. In addition, our Bachelor’s in Software Development will help produce new generations of college grads who can fill high-demand application, mobile, and web development jobs across the region, which is great for our state economy.

Work That Matters

The intersection of technology and education is an occupational sweet spot I find both personally and professionally rewarding. My job, in particular, moves at break-neck speed, allows me to keep up with the latest technologies and trends, and gives me the opportunity to work on a wide breadth of exciting projects. IT job fairs, high school coding boot camps, web / mobile developer meetups, employment readiness workshops—the list goes on and on. There’s always something exciting happening in the Tech Program. I also get to work with a team of visionary high-performers who  encourage me to perform at my very best. Honestly, I can’t speak highly enough about our IT faculty and staff.

Measurement of Success

Zak StaabSuccess, to me, means helping students realize their full potential by creating a smooth front-to-back college experience, from entry advising and enrollment to graduation and employment. I particularly enjoy helping a Bachelor’s student land his or her first internship or job. Along those lines, you can read about one Software Development student’s journey from IT degree to full-time job below. Talk about a wonderful illustration of the exciting work that’s happening at Green River!

NOT ME – Diabetes Prevention Program

NOT ME Diabetes Prevention Program

Type 2 diabetes threatens 1 in 3 Americans, and 90 percent of these people don’t know they’re at risk. The NOT ME Prevention Program works with your health plan to help you:

  1. Know your pre-diabetes risk
  2. Find out if you have pre-diabetes
  3. Learn how to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes​

What is NOT ME?

PEBB teamed up with the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance (DPCA) to bring members the NOT ME Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). DPP focuses on pre-diabetes. At an early stage, practical, everyday steps may reverse pre-diabetes and help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle changes are the key, and this program is available at no cost to eligible PEBB members. NOT ME provides a 16-week series of hour-long group coaching sessions held by specially trained coaches. The NOT ME classes include nutrition counseling, private weekly weigh-ins, a detailed program handbook, and follow-up monthly maintenance.

How do I know if I am eligible?


Teaching Resources Online!

Posted on behalf of Julie Moore.

As you transition from spring classes into summer and fall preparations, you may be looking for teaching resources that you can access online and that can help you with things like putting together a syllabus, assignments, rubrics, designing a hybrid class, etc.

Teaching Learning Center

The Teaching and Learning Center website is up and ready for use. It houses a lot of resources – many of them from GRC faculty that are tailored for our classes and curricular policies. Feel free to use this to help you prep over the summer!

Have a great summer!

Julie Moore
English Instructor

Learn. Earn. Display. – The Potential of Digital Badging

Culture of Learning

Imagine being able to gain a new skill, knowledge, and ability whenever the need (or interest) arose. Such access would support a culture of learning across an organization that is not necessarily defined by seats, spaces, or even schedules. Any individual could embrace formal or informal learning opportunities based on personal interest or motivation. Wouldn’t that be something worth exploring?


Just a sampling of potential digital badges at Green River College.

The Best of Both Worlds

Learning today can take place at any time, at any location, and on a variety of devices. It is not limited to formal training sessions or designated professional development days. It is not confined to four walls of a classroom, but supported through both virtual and face-to-face learning environments. It is the combination of these two environments where the most potential resides.

Online learning environments take advantage of technology readily available to deliver materials and experiences to every end user on their time. Face-to-face environments support critical thinking, communication, and peer collaboration that helps foster a community of learners.


Completing a competency-based course results in the awarding of a digital badge.

What would it look like if an organization developed content for online delivery and focused on creating a rich face-to-face experience for learners? That organization would clearly define and recognize competencies and allow individuals to explore their own learning pathways.

Digital Badging Potential

Digital badges, just like printed certificates, recognize accomplishments of a particular individual. Whereas printed certificates are usually based on face-to-face interaction (a time-based model), digital badges are based solely on specific competencies achieved. Because of this difference, digital badges can easily be utilized to recognize service, volunteer hours, cultural diversity, leadership and supervision, and other non-academic achievements. Furthermore, badges could support both stacked (Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced levels) and latticed (variety of topics) credentials.


Example of a stacked approached to digital badging at Green River.

Digital badges provide and support an important motivational element that is necessary for many learners. Why would anyone sit through an optional course or professional development workshop if there was no recognition of achievement? The badges themselves provide an incentive to achieve (intrinsic motivation) and can be shared with peers via social media (extrinsic motivation).

Furthermore, digital badges establish digital credentials, which are quickly becoming a necessary part of any individual’s online presence. Did you know that LinkedIn recognizes certifications and displays links to badge ecosystems (earned competencies, issuing authority, and earner credentials)? Have you displayed your certificates earned yet?


Certifications on LinkedIn are now a part of your online identity.

Green River College Business Goals

Exploration of competency-based courses and digital badging is currently just a proposed vision to support a culture of learning at Green River College. Just a few of these courses (and badges) have been fully developed thus far. The potential however exists for a much wider implementation upon successful “proof of concept” completion.

To be truly successful through a system-wide deployment, competency-based courses and digital badging must meet specific business goals. Key business goals include:

  1. Deliver innovative eLearning experiences through clearly stated objectives, rich media integration, and assessments that encourage individuals to continue learning.
  2. Improve access to professional development opportunities that align with college’s core values through open courses.
  3. Collaborate across departments to design, develop, implement, and evaluate training initiatives that appeal to the widest audience possible.
  4. Share completed courses and established best practices with other institutions across our state.

Potential Course Topics

At Green River College there are many training initiatives that could benefit from the combination of competency-based courses and digital badging. These initiatives span new and existing employees, faculty, classified staff, exempt personnel, and even students. Potential course categories could include Human Resources, Personal Safety, Student Success, Student Leadership, Cultural Diversity, and more (see image below).

Example of a latticed approached to digital badging at Green River.

Example of a latticed approached to digital badging at Green River.

Challenges We Face

This proposal is not a quick fix for all training needs. It is also not a means to replace the need for face-to-face workshops, which would still be required for different instructional purposes. It is simply an approach to build interest and motivate individuals to complete an ever-increasing list of professional development topics. Some of the key challenges we face include:

  • Ensuring consistency in course design
  • Targeted total course run times (less than one hour)
  • Course design and development hours
  • Rich-media content creation

Thank You. Gracias.

Thank you for taking the time to read through this proposal. I look forward to officially launching some of the courses that are currently in development in collaboration with subject matter experts across campus. Lastly, I look forward to learning, earning, and displaying badges received at Green River College!

Further Exploration

Register Today for Basic Mediation Training Course

Posted on behalf of Green River Community Mediation & Peacebuilding Institute.

Register today for our Basic Mediation Training (BMT) course. Enhance your communication and conflict resolution skills, and register for our Basic Mediation Training (BMT) June 22, 23, 24 and 29 & 30 at our Kent campus.


This course helps develop the skills needed to better understand and resolve disputes and other issues for your students and others. In the BMT course you will learn how to analyze and resolve disputes in a variety of contexts focusing on work and home situations.

(If you complete the BMT – and two additional one day courses on conflict resolution – you can be designated a ‘campus mediator’ if are willing to volunteer to resolve disputes.)

Course Topics include:
Conflict Resolution Concepts, Conflict Styles, Communication Skills, Listening, Emotions, Power Imbalance, Being Aware of Our Biases, Qualities and Role of the Mediator, Mediation Process, Ethics of Mediation.

Please go to for further information – and check out the link to a testimonial about this course. Registrations can be made to Cynthia Lemberg

We look forward to welcoming you to this BMT which is scheduled early in the summer break.

Barry J. Bannister PhD
The Peace Institute at Green River

Summer Professional Development: Google Cultural Institute

Summer is (almost) upon us! Now is the perfect time to begin making summer plans for yourself or your entire familia (family). Sometimes those plans involve trips around the world, involvement in a community event, taking a class, or simply a good book on a comfy sofa.


We live in the present, look to the future, but learn eternal truths from the past.

Regardless of your individual summer plans, Google can help. They have a great resource called Google Cultural Institute, which provides diverse art collections from around the world, online historical exhibits detailing significant moments in human history, and virtual exploration of ancient world heritage sites across the globe. These can be used in the classroom as well, to support instruction by providing supplemental content for your students. Instructors can even create their own galleries specifically designed for their courses!


View collections from around the world.

The best part of course professional development resource is that Google Cultural Institute doesn’t cost a thing. Everyone has complete access 24×7. To begin, simply click on one of the previously stated categories (Art Projects, Historic Moments, or World Wonders) and find something that interests you…or perform a search for something very specific.

In my case, we’re preparing for a family trip to Japan this summer. Performing a simple search for “Japan” resulted in locations of interest, 112 Japanese virtual exhibits, and 57,364 individual artifacts. Before visiting Japan I’ll be diving deeper into topics such as the Dawn of TV Animation, Introduction to Manga, Mobile Suit Gundam, and Hiroshima. That, and brushing up on the language itself.

Google Cultural Institute

A simple search for “Japan” resulted in a variety of things to explore.

Don’t let summer pass you by without devoting yourself to at least one learning opportunity. Google makes it that much easier to return to fall quarter with a fresh perspective on the world around you. Summer plans…check!

2015 Annual Wildflower Walk

Posted on behalf of Monica Paulson Priebe, Natural Resources Faculty.


What a great opportunity to support students and enjoy nature!

The wildflower walk is designed and conducted by the Natural Resource students in the Wildflower Identification class (NATRS 184) in the spring. This walk requires that students are able to synthesize and interface their in-depth plant knowledge with the general public. This interaction creates a rewarding experience for the students and guests alike. This is the second year that we have done these walks as part of this course however, other groups on campus have also hosted wildflower or nature walks in the campus woods.


Best way to start the day ever!

The Green River campus community is blessed to have such open and accessible access to this natural area. Research has shown that regular time spent outside decreases daily stress levels, promotes a healthy lifestyle and may even help one achieve or maintain a better body weight. Learning a little bit about the forest can make a stroll in the woods seem like a walk surrounded by familiar faces.

Natural Resource students are dedicated to the facilitation of these interactions with nature with the construction of the outdoor classroom, maintenance of the trails and trees, forestry club activities including chopping firewood, and nature walks. Additionally students in our program help monitor long term research sites and are currently participating on a grant with the Biology Department, to create a local wildflower plant guide for the general public (to be sold in the Paper Tree upon completion). We encourage the campus to use the woods, get to know the flowers and watch the beautiful transition from bud break through blooming throughout the spring and summer.

These walks will continue next spring. We hope you join us!

Monica Paulson Priebe
Natural Resources Faculty


Sign us up for next year already! This was too much fun!

To view the all photos taken on the 2015 Wildflower Walk, visit our Flickr photo gallery.

HR Staff Members Hit a Home Run!

What if we said you could win free Mariner’s tickets? What if we could reduce your annual health deductible (between $250 – $350 or more) so that you would only have to pay $125 or $225 instead, or what if we could put $125 into your consumer-directed health saving account?


We now qualify for a chance to win free Mariner’s tickets! Game on!

You would say “Sign me up for that” right? I mean, you may or may not be a Mariner’s fan, but who would just throw away $125?

PEBB’s SmartHealth Program is all about getting healthier, having fun, and saving money at the same time. You start on a wellness journey with activities that are fun, challenging and social, and if you reach 2000 points by June 30, you qualify for $125 off your medical plan’s annual deductible (the amount you pay before the plan pays anything), and your name is entered to win 4 free Mariner’s game tickets (complete with buffet and free parking for two cars).


It’s raining money! We’ve each reached 2000 points and will receive $125 towards our deductible!

The deadline is June 30, 2015 (if your medical effective date started after March 31, you have a different deadline date).

HR staff members, Claire, Toya, Sheryl, Kirk, Marshall, and Steve just reached their 2000 points by doing fun activities like drinking more water, giving a coworker unexpected help, connecting their smartphone or tablet to help track Smart Health activities and visiting a Farmers’ Market to buy some fresh vegetables to serve for dinner!

Haven’t Started? Don’t Worry – You Still Have Time!

  • Step Œ1: Visit and select Get started.
  • Step 2: Complete the SmartHealth Well-being Assessment (800 points). If you don’t have internet access, you can complete the Well-being Assessment by phone. Call SmartHealth Customer Service toll-free at 1-855-750-8866 (Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Pacific Time).
  • Step 3: Join and complete activities that interest you. When you join and complete activities on SmartHealth’s website, you earn points. Earn 2,000 total points by June 30, 2015*, and you’ll qualify to receive a $125 wellness incentive in 2016.

*If your PEBB medical coverage became effective in April or May, you have a different deadline and requirements to qualify for the $125 wellness incentive in 2016. View the different requirements.

Last Honey Extraction of the Year!

Posted on behalf of the Biology Club and the GRC Honeybee Project.

Honey Extracting

Next Wednesday, June 10 at 11:00 am in Room SC 243 (subject to change, but it won’t be far), we will perform our last honey extraction of this school year (we will have more in the Fall).

We have two frames of honey from Queen Gaia II. She is the primary honey producer for us and most of the honey will have been collected by Gaia II’s workers from within a 1 mile of campus, possibly as far out as 2 miles. This is as local as honey gets.


All students, staff, administrators and faculty are invited. This is brought to you by the Biology Club and the GRC Honeybee Project.

Disability History Exhibit

Posted on behalf of Disability Support Services.


The exhibit is currently on display in Holman Library.

This past week (Monday June 1st through Friday June 5th) Green River College has had the opportunity to host the Disability History Exhibit created by Advocating Change Together, which was featured on the 2007 Road to Freedom Tour. The exhibit is making its way down to Portland Community College (PCC) and Green River College is one of fourteen (14) colleges in Washington to have the exhibit for a week as it travels down south…This is very exciting!


Over 40 feet of full color panels are on display.

The exhibit is 40 feet of full color panels depicting history that traces a timeline showing society’s attitudes and how they affect the lives of people with disabilities. The online version is at:


Content traces a timeline of society’s attitudes towards people with disabilities.

If you haven’t stopped by Holman Library and visited the exhibit located on the first floor hallway wall there is still time. The exhibit will be available until noon today, Friday June 5th. We have placed a computer station in front of the exhibit to ensure equal access for individuals with visual restrictions who can go to a link for an accessible html version of the content .


Don’t forget you can also view the panels online.

Lastly, I’d like to extend a shout-out of appreciation to all the individuals who came together to make this exhibit happen Kaela Parks at PCC; Bree Callahan at UW; Dr. Deborah Casey; Timm Lovitt; Stefanie Chapman; Heather McCurdy; Zach Lambert; Paul Metivier; Jean Carlson; and last but certainly not least Jennifer Dysart who graciously agreed to have the exhibit displayed and the amazing folks at IT and Media Services (Matt Osborn; Karl Smith; and Oleg Kanonik). Thank you all so much!


Jamie J. Hatleberg, M.Ed
Disability Support Services
Green River College

How to Attack a Dinosaur and Survive: A Competency-Based Model

Once Upon a Cave

Since the very first “How to Attack a Dinosaur and Survive” workshop was held in a cave “B” at exactly as high noon, humankind had been trained to believe that learning was restricted to the class(or cave)room. That model however, only worked for the lucky few cave dwellers who signed up for the workshop, had the availability in their schedule, and who actually fit into the confined space.

Caveman Dinosaur

Proper training can literally be the difference between life and death.

Even way back then though, that system didn’t work for all cavemen and cavewomen. What about the learner who couldn’t make it to the cave because they camped a mile away? What about the learner who had a conflict in their hunting/gathering schedule. The point of this (made-up) story is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to an education. There clearly exists a need for mastery of content and concepts that are not structured around seat time and credit hour.

Technology and the Cave Dweller

Technology has played an instrumental role in the shifting of educational models that now include face-to-face, enhanced, flipped, and online learning. That’s just the beginning though. Today, learners access instruction both in and out of formal academic settings. If one doesn’t understand the material or the delivery of that material by their instructor, they simply Google or YouTube a crash course on the subject and master it over the weekend. Mastery can be achieved at any hour of the day, at any location, via multiple learning paths, and at the pace of any individual caveman or cavewoman. Additionally, anyone can sign up for self-paced open course from entities such as the Khan Academy, Coursera, or Udemy (just to name a few).

Moving Towards a Competency-Based Cave

At Green River College we provide an endless amount of trainings and workshops for faculty, staff, and students across the institution. Some of that training is mandatory and some of it is entirely based on learner interest. Traditionally, we provide these workshops in face-to-face settings…and in doing so, limit the amount of people who can attend them. What if we looked at training in different ways? What if we designed training options that delivered meaningful content, ensured defined competencies were met, and included the flexibility for learners to choose their own time and space for mastery? That’s what competency-based learning is all about.

Welcome Page

The landing page of the Personal Safety course.

We’ve only just begun to explore this learning model at Green River. In development currently are competency-based courses on subjects such as Personal Safety Against Violence, Participatory Governance, New Employee Onboarding, Workplace Ethics, and Non-Discrimination. Once launched, these course and others like them will drastically reduce the need to reschedule or duplicate workshops every single quarter.


Each module contains required and supplemental learning materials.

Each course will begin with clearly stated learning objectives, varied instructional materials, and assessments that ensure competency is mastered. Each module within the course requires successful completion of the previous module in order to advance. If a learner wants to complete a course in a single sitting or over the span of multiple weeks, it would be entirely up to them.


Upon completion of this course a digital badge is awarded to learners.

Again, we’ve only just begin to explore competency-based learning at Green River, but look forward to the many opportunities ahead. Beginning fall quarter, you should be hearing and seeing much more of these types of courses in action. Stay tuned!

Further Exploration

2015 Distinguished Faculty Award Finalists

Posted on behalf of Green River College Foundation. 


We are pleased to announce the following seven finalists for the 2015 Green River College Foundation Distinguished Faculty Awards:

Cast Your Vote Before June 3rd

Voting is open to all employees and goes through 5 pm on Wednesday, June 3rd.  The 2015 Distinguished Faculty Recipients will be announced on Monday, June 8th and formally presented at Commencement on Friday, June 12th at Showare Center. To vote, click on Distinguished Faculty Award, where you can read about each finalist and follow the instructions for voting.

You can vote for up to three finalists. If you are logged on to the network, the system will recognize you. Once you hit submit, the system will not allow you to vote again.

If you have difficulty, contact the IT Help Desk and they can help get you logged on properly to enable you to vote. You can contact Josh Gerstman via email or at ext. 3384 with additional questions.

Faculty Awards Committee

The faculty awards review committee was comprised of Past Recipients Vik Bahl and Sidney Weldele Wallace, administrative representative Christie Gilliland, Foundation Board representative Marv Nelson, and student representatives Rick Snell and Mason Archuleta. Megan Evans and Josh Gerstman from the development office facilitated the process and Anthony White helped develop the info/voting page on the website.

P.S. Nominations are now being accepted for the 2015 Outstanding Staff Awards. Nominations are due by Thursday, June 4th.

Where Is My Vision Coverage Anyway?


Vision Care (annual exams and glasses and contacts) is part of your medical coverage. If you belong to a Group Health Plan, you can check out your vision coverage on their Eye Care Page. For a fun, new experience, try loading your photograph into their “eyeglasses tool” to see how you look in different style of frames & glasses).

If you belong to the Uniform Medical Plan, you can review eye care benefits on the Uniform Vision Page.

Employee Spotlight – Allison Warner

We’d like to take a moment and recognize the following employee for their years of service and dedication to Green River. Please take a moment to learn more about them, in their own words.

Allison Warner

What do you love about working at Green River?
The students – I am inspired each day by the students I serve. It is such a privilege to be part of their academic journey. I also love working in such a beautiful environment. The trees, trails and natural setting of our campus are breathtaking. Last year I was walking to my car near the LC after dark and a large owl flew past me and landed on a light post in the parking lot. It was an amazing moment to witness.

What does working in higher education mean to you?
Education and attainment of a college credential is like no other in its ability to unlock doors – doors that lead to increased knowledge and self-awareness, to better paying jobs, to social justice and to an overall better quality of life that can be passed down to future generations. We have a responsibility to our increasingly diverse community to offer these opportunities.

Where is one spot on campus you find relaxing?
The trails!

Of all employee benefits, which one do you appreciate most?
Tuition support

In your role, what accomplishment are you most proud of?
Advising students

What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
I worked with primates before choosing a career helping humans!

If you could swap places with any other position on campus just for one day, what position would that be?
Natural Resources faculty!

What on campus makes you smile the most?
The students

What classes on campus have you taken or would you like to take in the future?
I would like to take Humanities 224, Women and World Religions.

What advice would you give to a brand new employee?
To meet others and learn what they do in different departments. Don’t spend all of your time in your office, explore the campus!

Who is one person at Green River you’d like to thank for contributing to your success?
Jessica Gilmore

Calling All Graduating Employees!

Are you a full-time Green River College employee? Are you graduating at our (or another institution’s) commencement ceremony this summer? We’d love to recognize your achievement, give meaning to your occasional sleepless nights, and learn more about the impact that a higher education has made on the work you do for this college.

Jumping Graduate

Getting a degree is something worth celebrating!

Obtaining a degree is such an important accomplishment and an engrained part of who we are, that it should be celebrated across the institution. In short, we’re proud of you and want to hear your story. If you’re willing to share, simply contact and we’ll take care of the rest.

In the meantime, we wish you the best of luck on your finals!

One Step Closer: Safety Data Sheet (SDS) Process

Step ­by­ Step

Bart and Steve utilizing the best of both worlds (physical copies of SDS sheets and MSDSonline).

It’s official! Okay, not “official-official”…but close enough to official to write a blog post about it. Last week I outlined Safety Data Sheet (SDS) recommendations created in collaboration with the Environmental Health and Safety Committee (EHS). This week we take another baby-step towards the SDS process at Green River College.

Like all exceptional processes out there, ours must follow the basic principles of the three step rule (mainly that there only be three steps). Those steps include Adding SDS to MSDSonline, Saving PDFs to the Network Drive, and Adding SDS to Physical Binders in the Office. Below is a detailed breakdown for those who can’t wait to get started.


Bart is having the time of his life finding SDS sheets online!

Step 1: Add SDS to MSDSonline

MSDSonline is a vendor­-specific tool that provides Green River with a virtual space to store SDS. The benefits of this service include being able to view SDS across the entire institution, searching by specific locations, and auto­-updated SDS. Whereas the physical binders are limited by their location, printed version of the SDS, and sorting order, this cloud­-based solution is always up to date.


Finding SDS online is a very simple process.

Step ­by­ Step Process:

  1. Log in to M​SDSonline​ (credentials provided by Training Manager).
  2. Click on the “MSDSonline Search” tab.
  3. Type in the manufacturer, product name, or product code to begin your search.
  4. Find the correct search result and click on the check-box to the left of its name. A pop-­up window will appear to the right of the screen. If this item resides in your location, simply click on “Assign to Locations” and choose your specific location.
  5. Repeat this process as often as needed to add individual SDS to your location.

*If for any reason you are unable to find the SDS you are searching for (by product name, manufacturer, or product code), there is an option to upload your own PDF or request that MSDSonline retrieve the SDS on your behalf. These cases are rare though, because most SDS can be retrieved via a simple search. Please contact your friendly Training Manager before uploading your own PDF or initiating a vendor retrieval process (only a limited amount of these processes can be done per calendar year).

Step 2: Save PDFs to Network Drive

Once you have collected a SDS within MSDSonline, you can easily download a PDF version to the network drive.


Downloading a PDF version is just a click away!

Step ­by­ Step Process:

  1. From MSDSonline, click on the “eBinder” tab.
  2. From the “Locations” drop­-down menu, choose your location and click “Search.” The SDS for your location will be displayed below the search fields.
  3. Click on any PDF image icon you wish to download and a pop­-up window will appear. Choose download from this window and save to the directory specified above (in your corresponding folder).
  4. Repeat this process as often as needed to download SDS files.

Step 3: Add SDS to Physical Binder in Office

The last step in this process is to maintain a physical binder within your office. This is important in case the network drive or Internet temporarily goes down for any reason.

Step­ by ­Step Process:

  1. Using either the downloaded PDF or by clicking on the Acrobat image icon via MSDSonline, print the SDS sheet.
  2. Using a 3­-hole puncher, add holes to the printed SDS.
  3. Add the printed SDS to the physical SDS binder in your office area.
  4. Repeat this process for every SDS sheet you add in the future.

Free Online Writing Class!

Posted on behalf of Jean Sheadel. Thanks for sharing Jean! 

Wordsmithing, various style guides, grammar police, punctuation problems, not to mention spelling mistakes – there’s so much involved in writing, and writing correctly! Some of us have a hard time not proofing periodicals and books while we’re reading.

AP Style Highlights

Some of the many tools in my AP arsenal.

One of the best training sessions I ever attended was a writing class I took while working for the Kent School District. The class reviewed the most common writing mistakes – including grammar, punctuation and commonly misused words. The content was similar to the book, Eats, Shoots & Leaves, by Lynne Truss.

AP Style Thinking

Who wrote this stuff anyways..? Oh, that would be me.

Knowing this, I don’t think it would surprise you to know that I occasionally search the internet for training to improve my writing skills. I recently found a gem: Poynter. News University’s FREE, online class, “Cleaning Your Copy: Grammar, Style and More.” Based on the AP Style Guide, the style guide used by Green River’s marketing department, I’m finding this course to be not only a refresher, but a useful learning tool. I’m certain that this class will help me in my day-to-day writing for the website, and for proofing college-related material.

Course Website Screenshot

This $29.95 course is free of charge thanks to the support of Knight Foundation.

If someone finds another (free) training course, I’d love to know about it!

1st Commencement Achievement Program (CAPS) Diversity Graduation!

Posted on behalf of the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

Hafa adai Green River,

The Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (ODEI) cordially invites you to celebrate student success at the 1st Inaugural Commencement Achievement Program (CAP) Diversity Graduation 2014-2015!


You are invited to join this year’s CAP Diversity Graduation exercises on Tuesday, June 2 at 6:00-9:00pm in the MDA of the Lindbloom Center. The CAP Diversity Graduation provides the college’s elite diversity leaders to share their stories journeys & stories of student success at Green River.

We invite all members of the faculty, staff & administration to register with ODEI for this most historic & inspirational celebration. The CAP Diversity Graduation celebrates the spirit of Juneteenth nationally and is co-sponsored by the Black Student Union & GDEC. The CAP Diversity Graduation will feature graduating student leaders from First Nations, the Latino Student Union, Queer & Allies, the Muslim Student Association, Sisterhood, the Pacific Islander Student Union, Brotherhood, CLEO, Outreach & Service Learning, Somali Student Alliance, Running Start, HS Completion, International Programs and the Multicultural Student Congress. The graduation will feature local artists, music and cultural performances.

Please come and support your amazing CAP students as they complete a great milestone and embark a new journey. If you plan to attend please fill out the registration form at: to RSVP. Please send your confirmed response by Tuesday, May 26 by 10:00am. Additional details will be sent via email to participating students, staff and faculty.

Students are encouraged to wear their graduation gowns & traditional cultural wear for the ceremony & reception.  Staff and faculty are encouraged to wear your alma mater’s regalia at the ceremony & cultural attire for the event.

No admission tickets required, however an RSVP is required if you plan to attend or participate.  For more information, please contact Benjamin Lealofi, Program Coordinator ( Thank you!

Michael Tuncap, (Chamoru)
Director of The Office of Diversity, Equity

One Step Closer: Safety Data Sheet (SDS) Recommendations


In my first environmental safety blog post, Crash Course – MSDS 101, I provided an introduction to this wildly exciting topic. The SDS process however, goes beyond any single department on our campus and helps to protect us all. With that in mind we’re now reaching out to other departments.

A Short History Lesson

Safety Data Sheets (SDS), formerly Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), provide comprehensive information about a substance, chemical, or product on campus. SDS help the institution identify, label, store, handle, train, and protect our employees. Collecting and maintaining SDS is a requirement of hazard communication (including hazard determination, Right-to-Know access, labeling, safe handling, personal protective equipment, and more).

Poster-Eye-Protection2Environmental Health and Safety Committee (EHS)

In collaboration with the EHS Committee on our campus, very specific steps were identified to help establish clear and consistent processes across campus. Once we are able to institute these recommendations, online access will be provided for all of campus, network access would exist for backup purposes, and physical binders will be placed within buildings.

Key Recommendations

  1. Obtain and add SDS sheets to specific campus locations using the web-based tool MSDSonline.
  2. Download PDF sheets locally to the EHS networked drive.
  3. Print PDFs and place in physical binders at specific locations on campus.

If you have any questions regarding these recommendations, please feel free to contact your friendly (and awesome) Training Manager (that’s me).

Poster-Eye-ProtectionStay Tuned

This process is still being developed and modified to meet both the needs of the institution and the department. We will continue to work behind the scenes and provide updates as we meet milestones. So far, roughly 450 SDS exist within eBinder.

Fun Fact!

In the creation of this post an entire series of Simpsons workplace safety posters was stumbled upon. They are informative and entertaining if you have a few moments to spare.

Cinco De Mayo – Gracias Very Much!

Posted on behalf of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

The Latino/a Student Union would like to thank the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Student Life, and all the support from staff and students, for the success of the Undocumented and Unafraid – Cinco de Mayo celebration. The event was held on Tuesday, May 5th in the MDA from 11:30-2:30pm.

Cinco de Mayo

The event included performances, food, music, piñatas, informational booths, a keynote speaker, and raffles. The entire event the DJs were bumpin’ Latin American music. There were many booths, including a lawyer from Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and LEAP (Latino/a Educational Achievement Project).

Cinco de Mayo

Students and staff had the opportunity to receive more information about undocumented students, adversities they face, and resources available to them through the informational brochures given out. Authentic tacos, along with rice and beans were sold. There was a cultural performance from the Mexican dance group Folklorico Tonantzin. Four piñatas full of candy, were hit and broken during the event. Students were encouraged to participate and to get candy.

Cinco de MayoShirts were sold for $10. On the front they had the phrase “undocumented and unafraid” and “There is no turning back. We will win. We are winning because ours is a revolution of mind and heart – Cesar Chavez- ” on the back. Beautiful red flower crowns were also sold. The funds raised from the shirts, food, and flower crowns are to be donated for the foundation scholarship that is available to undocumented students. Luis Ortega, the keynote speaker, motivated students to get out of their comfort zone, to follow their dreams, and inspired us to become unified as a nation.

There was a great turnout. Around 100 students and staff were there, including a representative from the Kent Reporter. Staff and students also had the opportunity of choosing a sign of support and making a small mural with it. The options were “undocumented and unafraid”, “unafraid ally”, or “unafraid educator”. The participants signed them and some took pictures and uploaded them to social media. The mural made from that event is now located upstairs, across from student life.

Cinco de Mayo

This event accomplished many things. It celebrated Mexican culture. It celebrated the diversity at our school. We took this popular day to educate our community. If we love Mexican culture, traditions, and food, we must understand the struggle of the community. The funds will be able to help out students in great need.

Cinco de Mayo

I personally know how helpful a scholarship is, especially when you’re undocumented, since you can’t apply for the FAFSA. I only want to pay that forward to more students. We are excited to keep organizing this event every year. We hope to raise $1000 next year.

Karen Gamez
President of Latin@ Student Union
Peer Navigator at Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

View the photo gallery online!

Islamic Awareness Week on Campus

Posted in support of the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

Salam Campus Community,

With great honor, it is my esteemed pleasure to cordially invite you to Green River’s 2nd Annual Islamic Awareness Week from May 11-14, 2015, hosted by the Muslim Student Association.  All events throughout the week will be held in the  Lindbloom Center.  Each day contains a discussion topic pertaining to Islamic related matters and current events.  

Islamic Awareness Week

Click to view full size image.

Islamic Awareness Week:

  • Monday, May 11, 2015 – (Islam 101):  An overview of the fundamentals of the Islamic faith.  Discussion Facilitator: Imam Abdullahi of the Islamic Center of Kent.
  • Tuesday, May 12, 2015 – (Muslim Contributions): Discourse on the contributions Muslims have made in the areas of: science, mathematics, architecture, the arts and other fields.  Discussion Facilitator: Professor Dr. Turan Kayaoglu from the University of Washington Tacoma.
  • Wednesday, May 13, 2015 – (Women in Islam): An interactive workshop regarding: dominant culture, colonial influences on traditional and contemporary Muslim women, gender roles, Muslim women narratives and conceptualization.  Workshop Facilitator: Marwa Almusawi, Assistant Director of Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.  Panel discussion hosted by the Muslim Student Association.
  • Thursday, May 14, 2015 – (Banquet): Celebratory banquet including student arts and performances. The cost is $3.00 for students and $5.00 for non-students.

For more information, see the attached flyer.  For inquiring thoughts, the lantern (on the flyer) is a symbol of applying light and a reference to the concept of Noor (light); the intent of Islamic Awareness Week. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to direct them my way.

Shukran! (Thank you!)

Marwa Almusawi
Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Encouraging Future Students to Reach Higher

In 2014 a challenge was issued to all high school students. That challenge, known as the President’s North Star goal, began by asking all students to fill out the FAFSA to see if they qualified for financial aid. That effort is supported by the Reach Higher initiative. Reach Higher aims to inspire every student to pursue a higher education (whether at a professional, community college, or four-year college or university).


The coolest department getting ready for the coolest campaign!

On May 1, last Friday, the Reach Higher initiative kicked off across the nation. The Human Resources & Legal Affairs department took this cause to heart by wearing our official Green River gear and contributing to the national #ReachHigher conversation. Our social media posts were even favorited by the campaign itself (Go HR! Go Gators! Whoot! Whoot!).


Zach is the designated selfie-stick holder in our group.

While we officially apologize to everyone for closing our doors for about six minutes (give or take a selfie or two), we sincerely felt this was a cause worth supporting. While in the courtyard Kirk also accepted HR paperwork from Rob in Facilities…so it’s more like we took our offices to you…if you happened to be in the courtyard at this time, like Rob.


Human Resources is committed to supporting students #ReachHigher (and taking great selfies). :)

If you’d like to learn more about this cause or even contribute during next year’s campaign, simply visit the Reach Higher website. Let’s help make Green River a destination of choice for our local high school students! Besides, any reason to wear college gear and snap a team photo in the process is a good reason to get out of the office.


Happy College Signing Day! Human Resources encourages all students to #ReachHigher

Spring (and SmartHealth) Is In the Air!

There’s nothing like late spring in Washington


The weather is perfect, the mountains are calling, the water is sparkling. It’s a great time to be outdoors, to enjoy locally grown foods, and be grateful that we live in such a beautiful, wondrous place. And SmartHealth has four new challenges to help you do just that—all while making your well-being a priority AND working towards shaving $125 off your annual medical deductible.  When you reach 2,000 total points by June 30, 2015 you’ll qualify.


Those points really do add up fast!

Here’s how easy it is…

  • Hold a Walking Meeting: Just say no to the conference room! Take a stroll to talk shop and enjoy the beautiful weather at the same time. (200 points)
  • Indoor No More: Get out in the sunshine to enjoy an hour of outdoor exercise at least once a week. (up to 500 points)
  • Plant a Garden: There’s nothing like fresh fruits and vegetables you grow yourself. Unleash you inner farmer and you’ll soon enjoy the bounty! (300 points)
  • Mindful Mondays: Every Monday, take at least two five-minute breaks to stop, look, listen, and reflect. (up to 500 points).

Visit and join a warm weather challenge now!

Employee Spotlight – Marisela Fleites-Lear

This week we take a moment to recognize a recent accomplishment of one of our very own faculty, Dr. Marisela Fleites-Lear.

Marisela Fleites-Lear

Can you tell us about your recent accomplishment and the how the process began?
I have been doing research for a while on the underground movement of Independent Libraries in Cuba and its literary price and I presented a paper at the 2010 conference “Imagining America” that was held at the University of Washington. Out of the panel came the idea to put together a volume edited by Julie Shayne dealing with academic activism and the difficulties of doing research about sensitive issues related to Human Rights and social justice in different countries and political environments. The book Taking Risks. Feminist Activism and Research in the Americas is the result of the re-writing and re-working the contributions to that panel and we were very lucky to have Margaret Randall writing the Foreword. She is a very noted scholar on both feminism and Cuban studies. Our library has purchased the book and it is available for our GRC community.

How would you describe the process of getting published?
Getting published is both exhilarating and very hard work. It is a very rewarding experience, particularly when you publish in peer reviewed publications, since it means a committee of your peers looked at your work and thought that it was interesting.

Marisela Fleites-Lear

Why is writing personally important and necessary to your profession?
I see writing essays, presenting at conferences and publishing as part of my teaching and preparation to be a better instructor, mentor and a better example for my students. Writing and presenting at academic conferences forces us to be updated about the scholarship of the subjects we teach; allows us to establish connections with colleagues from other institutions (many of which receive our students); and to think and re-think issues we teach about in different ways. It also levels the playing field with the students: we are asking them to constantly write academic essays. If I am doing the same, while teaching and taking care of family and trying to take care of all aspects of my life, I am demanding from them the same thing I am demanding from myself. Sometimes people don’t realize that teaching is not just the time we spend in the classroom or grading papers: teaching is part of a life style of constant learning and studying to be able to convey updated information to our students. We don’t stop working when we finish a lesson plan or when we get out of the classroom. Reading, studying, writing is part of our teaching and work. That is hard to put into numbers but it definitely improves the quality of our work and the prestige of our institution.

What are some of your own favorite books?
I love to read and I am constantly trying new authors and genres. I particularly like to read historical novels, and in general works of fiction that reflect on complex social and psychological issues. Amongst my favorite books are The General in His Labyrinth and The Autumn of the Patriarch, both by Gabriel Garcia Márquez; The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Dominican author Junot Díaz; The Kingdom of this World, by Alejo Carpentier; Here’s to You, Jesusa, by Mexican Elena Poniatowska; The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver; The Youngest Doll, by Rosario Ferré; Senselessness by Horacio Castellanos; The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss and many more.

Marisela Fleites-Lear

Do you have any other writings (journals and book articles) that others may be interested in learning more about? 

“Cuban Transgressions: Ofelia Rodriguez Acosta and the independent lesbian woman/nation.” (Currently under revision by the Journal of Literature and Linguistics of the University of Costa Rica.) 

“Reinventando a Tina Modotti desde la escritura massmediática: La mujer infinita de José Ignacio Valenzuela.”   Hispanic Journal 35. 2 (2014). 131-146.

“Violencia y papas fritas: Cuba en la oscuridad en Posesas de la Habana de Teresa Dovalpage.” Romance Notes 53.3 (2013). 353-365.

“Navigating the Cuban Ideological Divide: Research on the Independent Libraries Movement,” in Taking Risks: Feminist Stories of Social Justice Research in the Americas, ed Julie Shayne.SUNY Press; Praxis: Theory in Action series.

“Mirrors in the Kitchen: The New Cuban Woman Cooks Revolutionarily.” Food Culture and Society. Volume 15, Issue 2, June 2012.

Stress in the Workplace Activity

Stress in Workplace

Fact: Cookies, snacks, and short presentation all help reduce stress.

Workplace stress is a common part of interacting with customers. In our case customers include our colleagues, vendors, students, parents, and even community members.

The key is how we handle stress under pressure. We need to be able to maintain our composure while serving our wide variety/range of customers. Using established best practices and techniques, we can deescalate others people’s emotions and focus on the facts to work towards a resolution.

Stress in Workplace

Participants getting into character (stressed employee, neutral third party, and upset customer).

The Financial Aid department interacts frequently with students and family members who have concerns regarding their financial aid. In some cases the conversations become emotionally charged and responding in a calm and effective manner is the key to transitioning towards the next step. Most recently this department took advantage of a collaborative group workshop, where they learned techniques to handle stress in the workplace.

Stress in Workplace

Using simple techniques, the situation was quickly deescalated.

Common Techniques Include:

  • Acknowledge person’s emotion and describe impact
  • Invite person to share thoughts and feelings
  • Determine whether continuing conversation is appropriate
  • Listen to understand
  • Probe to uncover underlying issues
  • Help the person move on
  • Tag a team member
  • Avoid internalizing emotions
  • Reach for fish in tackle box (personal method used by Financial Aid staff member)
Stress in Workplace

The happiest (and stress-free) department at Green River!

If any department is curious about beginning this same conversation or collaborative group activity, feel free to contact

Cinco De Mayo Celebration

Posted on behalf of Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.


Click to view full-size poster.

Undocumented and Unafraid

With the support of our Office of Diversity, Latino Student Union and many of our Latino Community Partners, Sea Mar, St. Vincent De Paul El Centro Redondo and El Centro de la Raza, R&G Remodeling and Pro-Painting, LLC, and MaryKay Representative Brenda Lopez, this year Green River Students are offering a special Cinco de Mayo Event. The event is titled “Undocumented and Unafraid” and it will focus on providing awareness of the experience these students face, and the support available to them.

Special thanks to our Foundation Office, who has assisted in the delivery and request of monetary donations to help support our Latinos Unidos Scholarship. It is early on in the process, and we have already received donations! Thank you to those who have donated.

The event will take place on May 5th in the Kennelly Commons area in the courtyard from 11:30 to 2:30pm. Please come show your support!

T-shirts for sale!

T-shirts for sale!

Liliana Godinez
Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Progression and Completion Advisor

Portability of Life Insurance


Did you know that if you leave Green River College you can stay enrolled in 100%, 75%, 50%, or 25% of the total amount of your Basic and Supplemental Life Insurance coverage under the portability provision until you reach age 70 by “porting” – without providing Evidence of Insurability?

You can apply to continue your terminated Basic and Supplemental Life Insurance until age 70 if certain conditions are met. You may elect to decrease your coverage continued under the Portability provision; however, you will not be eligible to increase it.

You must apply to continue your coverage under the portability provision within 31 days (60 days if you are retiring) of the date your insurance terminates.

Learn More:

Employee Spotlight – Denise Bennatts

We’d like to take a moment and recognize the following employee for their years of service and dedication to Green River. Please take a moment to learn more about them, in their own words.

Denise Bennatts

What do you love about working at Green River?
I love the people contact. I work with students, staff and faculty and I enjoy the mix.

What does working in higher education mean to you?
I have worked in higher education for more than 35 years. Everyone deserves an education and Green River has many opportunities to help educate our community.

Where is one spot on campus you find relaxing?
Green River has beautiful walking trails through the woods. It is a wonderful and relaxing experience.

Of all employee benefits, which one do you appreciate most?
The WA state space-available waivers for college classes. It’s a great deal for staff to earn a degree or build their job skills.

In your role, what accomplishment are you most proud of?
Our motto is “Think Student, Then Decide!” and I am very proud to say we live this motto every day in my office.

What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
I am an animal lover. Especially cats!

If you could swap places with any other position on campus just for one day, what position would that be?
I know the positions I would not want…Deb Casey, Derek Brandes, Dr. Ely…too much stress! I have to say, I love my position as registrar. It is the perfect position assisting students and faculty alike.

What on campus makes you smile the most?
Students! Also, our bookstore contains some pretty neat stuff for students and staff.

What classes on campus have you taken or would you like to take in the future?
I received my AA degree from Green River many ions ago.

What advice would you give to a brand new employee?
Green River offers many opportunities for students and staff. Take advantage of the opportunities! Go to workshops, join committees, get involved.

Who is one person at Green River you’d like to thank for contributing to your success?
Dick Barclay and Mike McIntyre. Two great men very dedicated to community college.

Presentations Are Boring

No matter how excited you are about your area of expertise, no matter how fascinated you may be by the work you are doing, and no matter what is happening within your department…it’s pretty safe to assume that no one else is as excited as you are. Put simply, presentations are boring. “Death by PowerPoint” is actually #7 on the top list of workplace injuries.

Presentations are boring

See, it’s a fact.

Let’s backtrack for a moment though and clarify what I’m trying to say. Content, no matter how meaningful, is never enough. But…content is king, right? Actually, your audience, their motivation, and creating a unique experience is actually king. It’s about making your content memorable and motivational for the people in the audience. Just because you’ve spent the past month gathering data and filling your presentation with endless information, doesn’t mean anyone will actually remember it.

That’s why instructors vary their method of delivery. Instead of simply relaying information every single class, they’re lecturing, presenting, asking questions, sharing life experiences, encouraging peer-to-peer interaction, creating group projects, and trying to get students to soak up the information in ways that they (the students) can actually relate to. If you think back to the best class you’ve ever taken, it’s usually because of a great instructor (not just the meaningful content).

So…we can at least half-way agree that presentations are boring. Knowing this I was a little worried (okay, a lot worried) that I would fall flat on my face and fail to connect with the audience. I was told that I’d have 5 minutes to talk about social media. Social Media. Yup…boring. Who cares about social media anyways? Not me.

Focus of Presenation

The real meaning behind the new Human Resources identity.

And so, I struggled to brainstorm, write up sticky note storyboards, and develop a working outline. I knew I had great information on all of our social media platforms. I had key analytics that demonstrated engagement and an increase in readership over time. I had background information into the effort and production that happened behind the scenes. Even knowing I had all of this information I still struggled to find my message. Who cares about numbers, clicks, views, and endless social media buzzwords. Nobody.

I then began to craft a message that told a story. I shared a vision. I spoke to what my audience valued and connected my content to those values. Once I was able to do that it became very apparent what I should ditch and what I should focus on. Below is the final result.

If anyone else struggles with presentations, believes that most presentations are boring, and seeks to become a better presenter, below are some great resources. They help me unlearn from time to time and focus on what is most important.

Presentation Resources

Presentation Resources

Just two of the many books I have go back to for presentations.

Lastly, I don’t have any inspiring tips for overcoming stage fright. Before every single course I have ever taught and before delivering any presentation my heart is beating a hundred miles an hour. Gulp.

Nervous on stage? Who, me?

Nervous on stage? Who, me?

Basic Mediation Training Course this June

Posted on behalf of Green River Community Mediation & Peacebuilding Institute.


Register today for our Basic Mediation Training (BMT) course.

If you are interested in enhancing your communication and conflict resolution skills, Basic Mediation Training (BMT) helps develop the skills needed to better resolve disputes and other issues for your students and others.

This coming June 22, 23, 24 and 29 & 30 a Basic Mediation Training (BMT) course will be held at our Kent campus. Completion of the BMT earns you 4 CEUs.

In the BMT course you will learn how to analyze and resolve disputes in a variety of contexts focusing on work and home situations.

(Completion of this course is a pre-requisite for a practicum which prepares graduates for certification as mediation practitioners.) Fee (after May): $695.00 CEUs: 4.0

Topics include: Conflict Resolution Concepts, Mediation Process, Qualities and Role of Mediator, Mediation Process, Communication Skills, Listening, Emotions, Power Imbalance, Conflict Styles, Being Aware of Our Biases, Ethics of Mediation.

Successful BMT graduates who complete a practicum and are willing to volunteer as mediators on school or college campuses, can be designated a ‘campus mediator’.

We limit the number of participants to ensure a high quality learning experience for all. Click on this link for more information.

Registrations can be made to Cynthia Lemberg
Course information is available from Rich Elfers

Register by 1 May and save with the Early Bird rate of $595.

I look forward to welcoming you to the BMT and to our Institute at Kent.

Barry J. Bannister PhD, Director
Green River Community Mediation & Peacebuilding Institute

Employee Spotlight – Jeff Perlot

We’d like to take a moment and recognize the following employee for their years of service and dedication to Green River. Please take a moment to learn more about them, in their own words.

Profiel Pic 2What do you love about working at Green River?
I get to work each day knowing that I have a purpose and that my work improves the lives of our students.

What does working in higher education mean to you?
It means giving students the professional and personal skills to reach their potential. I like helping people reach their potential in just about any area of their lives.

Where is one spot on campus you find relaxing?
My office. Has a great view of trees and sky. I also enjoy my clean, uncluttered space (which earns me mocking from fellow faculty who like to keep their offices more “cozy” for lack of a better word).  :)

Of all employee benefits, which one do you appreciate most?
Reasonably priced health care is awesome.

In your role, what accomplishment are you most proud of?
More than tripling enrollments in a program that was truly struggling.
Helping build and launch a bachelor’s degree in marketing and entrepreneurship.

What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
Most people don’t know anything about me, which is fairly intentional on my part.

If you could swap places with any other position on campus just for one day, what position would that be?
Derek, because he apparently has access to a cloning machine. Which seems cool.

What on campus makes you smile the most?
Sunshine and green trees. And Josh Gerstman.

What classes on campus have you taken or would you like to take in the future?
Would love to take archery because I need it for my ninja training.

What advice would you give to a brand new employee?
Meet as many people across campus as possible, as soon as possible. Helps in so many ways.

Who is one person at Green River you’d like to thank for contributing to your success?
Can’t choose one. Leslie Moore gave me my start at Green River. Sidney Weldele-Wallace (and our former dean Krista Fox) provided guidance and leadership when I transitioned to a faculty role. Working here the last 10 years has been such a blessing to me and my family in so many ways – I’ll always be indebted to Leslie, Sidney, and Krista for making it possible.

Health Benefit Options for Children Nearing Age 26

Adult Children

If your child is nearing age 26 and losing his/her coverage under your own plan here at the college, is COBRA the only alternative if they don’t qualify for coverage at their own employer?

COBRA is extended through PEBB to eligible family members when they lose coverage under your plan. It allows the family member to continue the coverage they had for a while (usually up to 18 months), but COBRA is expensive, with rates generally starting at over $500 per month for a single subscriber.

You may want to compare rates for plans offered through the Washington Health Plan Finder. The Washington Health Plan Finder is the online health insurance marketplace in the state of Washington, created in accordance with the Affordable Care Act. The marketplace operates a web site and a call center (1-855-923-4633) and is a resource for individuals and families to enroll in health insurance plans, and also provides eligible enrollees with access to tax credits. Although the standard Open Enrollment period has closed, losing coverage of your own may qualify you for a “Special Open Enrollment Event” if you act within a certain time period, usually 60 days.

Be healthy!

Easily Create Your Own Training Guides


Example training guide for the HR newsletter development process.

I was recently meeting with a colleague (thank you Jean Sheadel) and we discussed the transfer of knowledge…or the lack thereof. One great thing about higher education is that folks tend to stick around for a very (very, very) long time. One not so great thing is that all the knowledge they accumulate throughout their career, often times spanning multiple positions at an institution, may go along with them once they leave. That means that others are left to reinvent the process or attempt to try to make sense of partially documented procedures.

Think about your own onboarding process. Were you completely trained in all areas of the job or were there times you felt like you were making it up as you went along? Can an institution really stand to lose such valuable experience, knowledge, and procedures every time a staff member leaves?


Just some of the many features of SnagIt by TechSmith.

Jean was kind enough to show me her method of documentation. Besides describing specific steps for a given task, she also includes annotated screenshots as well. By adding visuals to her documents she ensures that anyone viewing them will be able to further understand the process through images, text, and even callouts. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all stepped into new roles with fully developed manuals, user guides, and quick starts? Wouldn’t that make the job easier for those after us as well? Glad you asked such thought-provoking questions.

Wordpress Screenshot

An annotated image, created from this very blog post.

If you’re curious about experimenting with image annotation, you’ve got a few options. First, already installed on campus PCs is a program (found under All Programs > Accessories) called Snipping Tool. Next, there are lots of FREE extensions to add onto web browsers (I’d suggest the web extension Nimbus Screenshot for starters). Campus PCs already come installed with Chrome and Firefox, enabling you to add such extensions immediately. Start by opening up one of these browsers and hopping over to their extensions sites:

Another options once you’ve mastered the free tools (or outgrown them) is SnagIt by Techsmith. This application provides more advanced features and offers an educational discount (currently $29.95).

What are you waiting for? Go ahead and get screenshooting! Okay, that’s not actually a word…but it sounds cool. Thanks again Jean for sharing your process and Jeremy for your comment below.

Pacific Islander Heritage Days

Alii! Talofa! Bula! Yokwe! Malo’elelei! Mogethin! Iaorana! Kia’ora! Aloha! Hafa Adai! Ka’oha! Raan Anim! Hello to all!

Pacific Islander Heritage Days

As many of you may or may not know, April is recognized as Pacific Islander Heritage Month.  To celebrate, you are cordially invited to the First Peoples (also known as First Nations) at Green River’s event, “Pacific Islander Heritage Days.”  On Thursday, April 30th, First Nations will be presenting an Island Fashion Show from 12:00-1:30 pm and an Island Culture Showcase from 6:00-8:30 pm; both events will be located in the LC’s MDA.

The Island Fashion Show will consist of participants modeling cultural and traditional wear from various indigenous and Pacific Island countries.

The Island Culture Showcase will involve performances from various: high schools, colleges/universities, and renown organizations in the PNW, and members from the Green River and South King County community.  Performers identify Pacific Islander struggles and success through numerous acts: beautiful singing, dancing, acting, spoken word, poetry, and more!  There will be: great company, free food and overall a fun-filled experience!

Come out and learn more about the Pacific Island cultures!  Did I mention these events were FREE?  You don’t want to miss out!  For questions or further information, please contact Kasanita Vaea.

Until next time, keep stylin’…ISLAND STYLE!

Benjamin Lealofi
Program Coordinator
Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Upcoming Arbinger Workshop: Resolving Conflict

Resolving Conflict

No one likes conflict, whether it is a brief negative encounter, repeated fighting or an ongoing feud.  Learn to analyze and understand why we are in conflict with others and what steps we can take to improve relationships with family members, coworkers or others in our social life or business environments. Participants will learn new ways of interacting with others, particularly those whose attitudes and behavior they wish to influence.  This course is open to the college community and to the public. It is offered by the Green River Community Mediation & Peacebuilding Institute to assist our communities to better analyze and resolve conflict.

Resolving Conflict
Fee $240.00
CEUs: 1.6
Date: April 10 & 24

Visit our website for more information and to stay informed on future events!

Training Consultations…Made Easy…er

My business card officially states Training Manager as my job title. When I get asked what I do on campus though, folks usually associate me as…”the HR newsletter guy.” While I am proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish within HR in regards to communication, engagement, and all-around AWESOMENESS…my roles and responsibilities span training initiatives and needs across the entire institution. That…is a daunting task.

Training Manager

Everything you ever needed to know about Steve Sosa.

I very quickly came the realization that there are way too many training and development needs across the institution to tackle in one quarter (much less one academic year). Although I can’t address every single need immediately, I am able to add them to a queue, so to speak. Currently I am serving guest 437. Please stay in line. Your call is important to me.

Participatory Governance

Jean and I mastering the selfie and finishing a consultation on Participatory Governance at Green River.

In the midst of making significant progress on just a few training initiatives (mandatory and compliance related needs are the first priority on campus), I am also working to simplify the consultation process as a whole. If you happen to be a fan of teaching and learning, eLearning, or instructional design, you’ll appreciate anything that makes design and development easier. Consultations shouldn’t feel like getting a tooth pulled, right?

Online Course Templates

The first of many consultation and course design templates to come your way.

And so, I’m proud to announce the first in a series of many templates coming our way. Dear world, I present Online Course Outline Template and Unit of Instruction Template. These were born out of the instructional design need to clearly analyze and design training solutions (in geekspeak, part of the ADDIE process). In teaching and learning terms that would be mapping the curriculum. During the consultation, these templates help clearly articulate:

  • Learning objectives (both course and module)
  • Content identification (text, presentation, screencasts, video)
  • Course progression (fully available versus competency-based)
  • Engagement methods
  • Assessment methods

So, why is all of this important to Green River College? Well, first…we only have one Training Manager who can’t address all needs immediately. If we wait, on a project to project completion basis, we’d be waiting until 2029. The reality though is that everyone has different schedules, priorities, flexibility, and physical locations. Solutions to training initiatives must include an online component. It’s about leveraging the power of technology to include, engage, and motivate employees in their own spaces, at their own times, and on their own devices. It’s also about keeping my own sanity in the process.

Stay tuned for the next training consultation template!

Canvas Module Example

Keep an eye out for Green River’s newest course on the Meaning of Life!

Thinking About Retirement?

Fun Retirement

As an eligible retiree, you can apply for medical and dental coverage through the PEBB Program for yourself and your eligible family members.  You have 60 days to complete an application to enroll in or defer PEBB retiree coverage after your employment or COBRA coverage ends. How do you enroll? Follow this three-step timeline:

Step 1: Contact the Social Security Administration

About ninety days before your active employment or COBRA ends, contact the Nearest Social Security Office to enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B if you or any family members you wish to cover are entitled to Medicare.

Step 2: Request a retiree enrollment packet

Sixty days before your active employment or COBRA ends request a retiree enrollment packet. Call 1-800-200-1004 or 360-725-0440 in the Olympia area. PEBB will send you a Retiree Enrollment Guide including applications and information).

Step 3: Return you completed retiree application

Within sixty days after your active employment or COBRA coverage ends return your completed retiree application and any applicable forms to the PEBB Program at P.O. Box 42684, Olympia, WA 98504-2684.

If you or any covered dependents are entitled to Medicare, you must enroll in Part A and Part B and remain enrolled to keep your PEBB coverage.

Building Bridges Technology Conference

Building Bridges Technology Conference

Building Bridges Technology Conference

One of the first professional development opportunities I became aware of, when starting at Green River this past November, was the Building Bridges Technology Conference. This conference was of particular interest to me because it combined the teaching and learning side of training with the technology of eLearning and encouragement to collaborate across the institution. It perfectly aligned with training initiatives at Green River (such as VAWA, Participatory Governance, SafeColleges, MSDSOnline, HR mandatory training, and onboarding of new employees. And so, I was off to Spokane.


I’m off to Spokane! Only 3,972 miles to go!

The great news of a road trip across the State of Washington, is that I have family in Moses Lake. Granted, there were a few rest/candy/gas/coffee/bathroom breaks along the way, but getting a chance to surprise my own mother with a bag of goodies from her favorite store was priceless.

Moses Lake

Green River, meet my mother. Mom…Green River.

The great thing about conferences now-a-days is that they usually have a companion app, the ability to view profiles, and links to download presentations. This makes planning your personalized schedule an informed decision. Even better, I was able to do all my planning before I even arrived and had a mobile link to view complete details throughout the entire event.


At a technology conference all attendees must carry around 3.5 connected devices. It’s like the law or something.

A great thing about local, Pacific Northwest, conferences is that the connections you make are with people at other institutions that you will continue to engage with. In my case I had the chance to meet up with former colleagues and compare teaching and learning practices to gauge progress at my own institution. As it turns out, we’re just as far…or behind…as everyone else is.


Awesome former coworkers from Edmonds Community College. You rock Tim, Tina, and Eva!

The event overall was perfect for someone like me (interested in teaching and learning, eLearning, and training initiatives across campus). By the time next year’s conference rolls around, Green River will have at least two training initiatives worthy of presenting on. Stay tuned for that in future posts though. For now, feel free to check out all of my conference notes and key takeaways via the link below. If you’ve attended a conference yourself and have notes or great resources, holler at me to collaborate and share those across campus!


The great wall of Washington…near Wild Horse Monument.

My last photos have nothing to do with the conference. I admit I got sidetracked by how beautiful our state is. Be sure to check out Wild Horses Monument for yourself! A special thank you also goes out to Jennifer Warden on campus for getting me hip to travel regulations within the state. Note to self…photo-op and other distractions do not count towards mileage claims.


See how beautiful our state is!

Employee Spotlight – Julie Moore

We’d like to take a moment and recognize the following employee for their years of service and dedication to Green River. Please take a moment to learn more about them, in their own words.

Julie-Moore-webWhat do you love about working at Green River?
I love the opportunity to continue to grow and learn. My position as English Instructor continually allows me to teach new and innovative classes, take on new aspects of leadership, and collaborate with a variety of others on campus.

What does working in higher education mean to you?
Working in higher education — and especially community college — to me means opportunity. It is the opportunity to learn what you are capable of, grow in new ways, try new things, and get access to places within the professional and social spheres that might not have been available before. I like to think that we are giving this opportunity to students as well as exercising it ourselves.

Where is one spot on campus you find relaxing?
My office on a quiet afternoon after 4 when most of the bustle of morning classes is over. I also love the trails.

Of all employee benefits, which one do you appreciate most?
I suppose the matching benefits for retirement, but health insurance is great, too!

In your role, what accomplishment are you most proud of?
Collaborating with others to bring about innovation and to try new things that are aimed at helping improve student success.

What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
Dare I tell? :)

If you could swap places with any other position on campus just for one day, what position would that be?
President of the College.

What on campus makes you smile the most?
When a student who has been struggling gets a concept. I also love the trees and landscape of our college.

What classes on campus have you taken or would you like to take in the future?
I’d love to take some art classes — photography and ceramics especially.

What advice would you give to a brand new employee?
Be courageous and tenacious. Listen and learn but also be brave enough to voice your own opinions. Look for allies and partners who support you and share your vision. Believe in yourself and in the goodness of those around you.

Who is one person at Green River you’d like to thank for contributing to your success?
Marcie Sims. She has tempered me when my temper flared, taught me when I needed to learn, listened to me when I needed to be heard, and always challenged me to keep reaching to be my best self so I could better serve those around me.

SmartHealth Challenge Accepted!


A personal challenge issued by the Governor!

It all started with this postcard in the mail. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not exactly a health nut. I like value meals. I like refilling my soda before leaving Costco. I like sour cream on my tacos. I also…have yet to explore all walking trails across campus. That being said, I do like anything that clearly states I can earn $125! Sign me up! Governor (as in the WA State Governor’s SmartHealth Challenge), you’re on!


None of these snacks are officially endorsed by SmartHealth, but all can be found in my desk.

With visions of a $125 incentive applied towards my health coverage deductible for 2016, I logged into the SmartHealth website for the very first time. Registration was no problem at all. Choosing a username however…that was challenging because you want to pick something that sounds cool…but not dated (something like steve2015 would only work for another 9 months after all). “EstebanIsSteve” can now officially be found on the SmartHealth site.

The actual task at hand, completing the Well-being Assessment, took about fifteen minutes. I was a little curious why I was being asked about my career, quality of life, optimism, and blood sugar level (Does anyone really know their blood sugar level?). Whoop! Completing the assessment just earned me 800 points towards that $125 deductible!


79%! That’s it! Perhaps I should have studied before taking the test.

My momentary excitement however shifted towards another feeling. I may have just earned 800 points, but my assessment revealed an overall wellness score of only 79%. That would eat away at any overachiever, right? Am I really just average? Gulp. As it turns out I excelled in “Life Meaning”, “Knowing Yourself”, and “Capacity for Change”, but received lower marks in “Physical”, “Sleep”, and “Nutrition.” Okay…I guess that actually makes sense. I’ve perhaps known this all along. The difference though, is that I had an official result in front of me…in black and white…from the Governor…stating I am below average in several areas of well-being. Let’s just say that being confronted with the truth hurts a tiny bit. Thank you Governor.


That 7 hours I just slept? That banana I had for breakfast? Yup. Those count towards actual points.

No seriously, thank you Governor. Everyone needs a truth sandwich every now and then. I know I don’t work out enough. I know there are beautiful trails on campus I should be exploring. I know I should not be supersizing my value meal. The good news is that this site also has lots of support, resources, and “Topics” to improve one’s well-being. Every topic you add to your program adds to your overall goal of reaching that $125 deductible. I’ve already added a few topics (Sleep Well, Healthy Start, and Track Your Activity) and am on track to a better me.


I just a few clicks I automagically connected my exercise app of choice to SmartHealth.

On a serious note, this process also made me aware of the fact that I really don’t know basic information…about myself. I felt the click of shame every time I had to choose, “I don’t know”,  as an answer. Blood glucose? Cholesterol? Blood pressure? Weight? I don’t know. Am I supposed to know this information? Now, I’m actually thinking of scheduling a doctor’s visit…you know, those things you normally do only when you feel like you’re dying? It’s like I’m actually thinking about my health in a proactive way instead of responding to a situation as it occurs. There is hope for me yet…and an incentive for $125!

P.S. If anyone out there received a score of over 79% please don’t share with me. I already feel self-conscious enough for one week.

Green River College Green Day!

Was there any better way to celebrate Green River College and St. Patrick’s Day, then by going green for Green River? Of course not! Join the Human Resources team as we helped spread joy, cheer, and…chocolate. Go GRC Green Day 2015!

HR Green Team

The official HR Green Team getting ready to surprise campus!

It’s not too late (for next year that is)! If you haven’t already purchased your official green gear, head on over to the Paper Tree Bookstore and snag anything with the Green River logo on it! Then wear it on GRC Green Day 2016 (aka St. Patrick’s Day) and get ready to strike a pose with the HR leprechauns.

Wearing Green

Yes, this totally counts even though green is part of her uniform.

Wearing Green

We flagged down Theresa from across the courtyard when we spotted her in green!

Walking around campus, searching for anyone wearing green, we quickly ran into friendly faces of Green River employees. It really was nice seeing folks in their environment and getting out of our own offices for a quick break.

Wearing Green

We even found folks who wanted to try on our beards!

Wearing Green

The excitement of seeing HR…or free chocolate, can barely be contained!

Pinching for Luck

As it turns out, it really is good luck to pinch a leprechaun…although not a recommended practice by HR.

During our little adventure we encountered many employees across campus. Some instantly wanted to be a part of the silliness, some were willing to trade a chocolate for a quick photo, and some only agreed if they could actually pinch the HR leprechaun.

GRC Green Day

Camella gives the guys a run for their money, in competition for best beard of the day!

GRC Green Day

The greenest department on campus!

But wait…of course, there’s more!

Is Your Doctor In or Out of Network?

Did you know there’s a quick way to verify if your doctor (or dentist) is “in” or “out” of network? 


You can check to see if a doctor is a preferred provider or in-network provider by going to the PEBB website and clicking on Find a Provider. Here you can also find a dental provider that works in the plan you selected. Under some plans (Group Health Classic, for example), unless you see one of their providers, the plan won’t pay. Under the Uniform Classic plan, for another example, you can see any provider you choose; however, it’s much more cost effective to make sure the provider is “preferred” under the plan because if not, that provider can choose to bill you for what would have been the “provider write off” if he/she had been a preferred provider. This can result in you being responsible for large out-of-pocket medical costs.

Coffee Break & Emergency Preparedness Training

What better way to get an update on campus emergency preparedness, then to share a cup of coffee with Timm Lovitt, Interim Dean of Student Success and Retention. A side note is that Timm is openly willing to exchange a cup of coffee for future favors down the road. While I may have just committed to something I can’t even imagine yet…it sure was a great cup of coffee.

Coffee Stand

The best coffee stand on campus!

What brought Timm and I together, besides love of coffee of course, was a training initiative he is leading the charge on. Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training is something that has never existed on our campus. Timm is very optimistic and eager to establish the “best CERT program there is.” He’s researched CERT at local and national levels, made recommendations to the campus Emergency Operations Committee (EOC), and initiated contact with the City of Auburn’s CERT program. The desired outcome will be our own CERT program, working with and supporting the campus EOC. Because these volunteers will be trained in many different avenues related to emergency response, the campus as a whole would be better prepared in dealing with emergent situations.

Coffee Break

Timm in deep thought as I ask CERT-related questions.

After Timm explained all that he was doing related to CERT, he also mentioned (so quickly in fact that I almost missed it) that he was the Director of Veteran Services as well as the Interim Dean of Student Success. Because I’m so new to Green River and this was my first time meeting Timm, I had now idea about his military background. As it turns out he spent five years in the Army (Go Army!) and says it helped him prepare to react to stressful situations and lead others to succeed. I then jokingly asked if working at Green River classified as a stressful situation…but Timm didn’t laugh.  ;)

Veterans Services

I even got a tour of the Veterans Services Office and met a vet who was in the process of transferring to a University.

Below is the actual message Timm created to collaborate and communicate awareness of upcoming CERT training. Stay tuned for more great CERT-related updates through our official college channels.

Over the past couple of months we’ve received a lot of inquiries from students, staff, and faculty about wanting to get involved in the college’s disaster response plan. Many individuals have expressed an interest in helping the campus remain resilient, especially during times of critical need. We have been overwhelmed by the sense of community and volunteerism and admire everyone who has stepped forward to ask “what can I do to help?” In response to your requests, here is one way that you might be able to be involved:

The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is looking to build a pool of certified disaster preparedness volunteers. These volunteers may serve in various roles and capacities, when professional responders are not immediately available, and will regularly interact with a designated college point-of-contact (Timm Lovitt, Interim Dean of Student Success and Retention). Some of the roles could include fire safety, light search and rescue, and/or team organization.

If you are interested in volunteering we encourage you to seek out an official training program. One program that is local is the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). CERT is a federal program that educates people about disaster preparedness. The program includes instruction on basic disaster response, fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations. Participants will receive a certification at the end of their course.

The City of Auburn’s Emergency Management Office offers several CERT courses each year. These classes are free of charge, but do require prior registration (space is limited). To register for this program please visit the City of Auburn’s Emergency Management Training webpage.

2015 CERT Offerings:

  • March 2nd to 25th (9:00 am to Noon every Monday and Wednesday)
  • April 2nd to May 9th (6:30 to 9:30 pm every Thursday)
  • August 18th to 20th (8:00 am to 5:00 pm, three full days)
  • October 6th to November 14th (6:30 to 9:30 pm every Tuesday)

Thank you for your time and interest!

Timm Lovitt,
Interim Dean of Student Success and Retention

2014 FSA and DCAP (Flex Plans) Deadline

Piggy Bank

Employees enrolled in the Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA) in 2014 have a grace period to incur expenses until March 15, 2015. Employees may submit claims to Flex-Plan Services (FPS) for reimbursement of 2014 funds no later than March 31, 2015. Funds that are not claimed by March 31, 2015 will be forfeited.

Employees enrolled in the Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP) in 2014 have until March 31, 2015 to submit claims for expenses incurred through December 31, 2014. Funds that are not claimed by March 31, 2015 will be forfeited.

To Take a Sick Day…or Not to Take a Sick Day

The following is a quick recap of my adventures in believing I could handle it all…while being sick.


Yes, it is possible to go through an entire bottle of DayQuil in a few days.

My son had just finished being taken to urgent care for an asthma and coughing related concern. Through the span of about a week he had gone through sniffling, sneezing, coughing, achy head, losing his voice, and difficulty breathing. As if that weren’t enough, my wife shared some of the same symptoms. Pretty soon these symptoms came my way and…I ignored them.

Sick Son

This little guy is patient zero.

Looking back, I’m not sure why I ignored them though. Perhaps I simply wasn’t in the right frame of mind to begin to even recognize them in myself. Perhaps I was focused on taking care of others who had been sick at home. Perhaps I was preoccupied by all that needed to be done in the office and didn’t have time to be distracted by something as trivial as being sick.

Back in the day, I grew up on a farm in Eastern Washington (in case you haven’t seen my childhood photograph on our staff page), there was no such thing a sick day. Things simply needed to get done. I guess I’m equal parts stubborn,  motivated to contribute to the whole, and driven to deliver on what is expected, not matter what.


While medicine is important…so is a 2-for-1 special on candy.

And then it hit me. Not only did I get sick but I didn’t get better over the course of a week-and-a-half. I was coughing uncontrollably, my throat hurt, and I must have bought five boxes of Kleenex (for the bedroom, the living room, the car, the office, etc.). On top of all of that, I lost my voice. Thinking of only myself, I could have chugged right along. However, it was the looks around the office that got me thinking. It was sitting in meetings and watching others inch slowly away from my chair. It was coughing more than a few times during my first presentation to the Board of Trustees.


Just me in the doctor’s office. I actually asked but the doctor didn’t want to take a selfie with me.

Perhaps not in the right order, I completed all necessary things in the office, scheduled a doctor’s appointment, and took a sick day. As it turns out I wasn’t dying (although I felt like it) and was given a 10-day supply of antibiotics. In the end I believe I took 2.5 days of sick leave and felt sick around 7 days in total. The moral of this story is that everyone has their own work ethic. Everyone must also answer to a supervisor who sets expectations for what must be completed in any given week. Luckily for me, my supervisor was completely supportive of the time I felt necessary to be out of the office, simply asking if there was anything that needed to be picked up by other staff members while I was out.

At the Doctor's Office

Only 358 people ahead of me…

If you find yourself in the same predicament as I did, I would suggest touching base with your supervisor to quickly discuss how you are feeling, the workload that should be adjusted while you are out, and finally determining if professional help (seeing a doctor) might be a next step. Your coworkers will also thank you for not spreading additional germs in the office environment.


A 10-day supply of antibiotics. Now I just need to wake up every 4 hours.

WA State Employees Day – Oakland Athletics vs. Seattle Mariners

WA State Employees Annual Mariners Day

The Seattle Mariners have designated Saturday, May 9, 2015 as Washington State Employees Day and are recognizing the outstanding performance and dedication of state employees by offering discounted tickets on hold through May 1.

View the Official Flyer

Have Questions?

Call (206) 346-4001

Employee Spotlight – Tom Evans Krause

We’d like to take a moment and recognize the following employee for their years of service and dedication to Green River. Please take a moment to learn more about them, in their own words.

Tom KIOAWhat do you love about working at Green River?
I enjoy directly working with students at KGRG-FM and KGRG-1.

What does working in higher education mean to you?
During my professional broadcasting career, I enjoyed molding young talent and helping them reach their goals. Working in Higher Ed for the past 20+ years has allowed me, in partnership with our adjunct instructors, to instruct, train, and coach students from Day One. Our students have the freedom to try new things and sample a variety of radio experiences – much more so than they would in a professional environment. We preach that learning is a lifetime proposition, and the community will benefit from well-rounded, innovative, new talent, who will develop compelling content as the next generation of broadcasters.

Where is one spot on campus you find relaxing?
My office.

Of all employee benefits, which one do you appreciate most?
The retirement plan.


In your role, what accomplishment are you most proud of?
Student successes. Several hundred of our students have collected or are collecting a paycheck in radio broadcasting or a related field. This includes students working at virtually every major radio station in the Seattle-Tacoma market as well as in some of the largest markets in the U.S. such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix, and more.

What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
I was inducted into the Men’s Senior Baseball League National Hall of Fame in 2012.

If you could swap places with any other position on campus just for one day, what position would that be?

What on campus makes you smile the most?
My students – sometimes they even make me laugh out loud. Radio broadcasting is show business, and we have many talented students who can entertain.

What classes on campus have you taken or would you like to take in the future?

What advice would you give to a brand new employee?
Show up – not just physically, but in every way – 90% of success is “showing up.”

Who is one person at Green River you’d like to thank for contributing to your success?
There are a number of people to thank, but I would especially recognize former Director of Public Information John Ramsey for his support and collaboration in building the Broadcasting Program over the 18 years we worked together.


Presenting to the Board of Trustees on Marketing and Communications


Just some of the many additions to the new HR website.

There’s something different about Human Resources at Green River. You may have noticed our newsletter and other efforts to openly communication and engage with the campus as a whole. This week, in collaboration with Marketing and Communications, we presented to the Board of Trustees!

HR Social Media

Did you know about our new WordPress blog and Twitter feed?

Allison Friedly, the Executive Director of College Relations, led the presentation and discussed the overall strategic communication plan. She focused on key principles, alignment with the college’s strategic plan, our wide range of audiences, strategies and initiatives, and the need for accountability in all marketing efforts. HR then provided background information on our goals of expanding recruitment efforts, establishing a meaningful and memorable connection, and showcasing employees across the institution.

Allison and Steve

The world’s best presenters – MarCom and HR!

As we continued the presentation we answered trustee questions and provided insight into future plans and collaborative efforts. We communicated our belief that our employees really are our most valuable resource and that the response we’ve received from recent efforts has been overwhelmingly positive.  One of the best questions asked related to analytics and tracking the effectiveness of all communication efforts.

Board of Trustees

Just part of our captive audience!

As we ended the presentation we emphasized the importance of collaboration in any marketing effort at the institution. One of our very first steps in HR was touching base with MarCom and reviewing all branding, web, and social media policies to ensure HR efforts aligned with the institution as a whole. As more and more departments commit to expanding their marketing and communication, this collaboration will also be the key to their success. MarCom is currently developing a more robust support system and we can’t wait to continue this partnership.

Successful Presentation

Yes! We rocked this presentation!

2 Days of Procurement and Contract Management

Marshall and Steve

Two days of training? Piece of cake.

“HR plays an important role in training requirements at the state level. You should attend both the WA-State Purchasing and Procurement 101 and Contract Management 101 training workshops.”

When Patty Sikora, Director of Purchasing, first recommended I participate, I wasn’t quite sure what I was being signed up for. Thankfully, she walked me through important state training mandates and the impact they have on a local level. Specifically for my position as Training Manager, I needed to understand what folks were expected to complete, the process for completion, and the learning management system (LMS) supporting these courses.

Training Attendees

It’s a full house of higher education purchasing and contract folks!

If you’ve never heard of these required training courses, then you’re probably not interacting with purchasing, procurement, or contract management on a daily basis. The short version is that designated folks across campus do deal with this type of work routinely and must adhere to strict requirements. Still doesn’t make sense? That’s okay. Just be thankful that there are folks across campus who have to worry about all the legalities of purchasing your favorite pens, post-it notes, reams of paper…and that brand new building that is being constructed.

Full House

Personally, although I have been issued a p-card for another institution, I never fathomed all of the legal requirements that occurred behind the scenes. I didn’t realize that the difference of one dollar (from something costing $9,999 versus $10,000) could have such drastic impacts on the process. I didn’t comprehend the collaboration required for complicated purchases such as site-wide licenses or IT contracts or the seemingly simple purchases such as an iPad app.

Marshall Texting

Marshall swears his texting is work related.

The training Patty suggested I sign up for was actually the first higher education face-to-face training offered. If I wasn’t able to attend this two-day training, another option would have been online webinars and assessments. Because this was specifically dedicated to higher education and because so many Green River employees participated, I thought this would be my best bet. Besides, attending training with people you know is always funner, right?

Free food!

Did I mention that food was provided!

In the end I survived two days of non-stop purchasing, procurement, and contract management modules. Because I got to attend with fellow employees, received lunch and snacks in the process, and got hip to the training required at the state level, I can’t really complain. I have a HUGE newfound respect for anyone who orders post-it notes now. Seriously. Give those folks a hug. Right now.

Tricky Test Questions

I’m not sure if this is Marshall’s sheet or mine, but there were lots of tricky questions out there!

Finally, I’d like say “gracias” to all the folks who helped make this happen and all the supervisors who allowed their support staff to be a part of this unique opportunity. Special thanks to Patty Sikora, Crystal Bolt, and Carla Kane for pointing me in the right direction, presenting me with my name tag, and answering specific questions I had relating to Green River purchasing. Thanks to Linda Flanigan and our IT support staff for ensuring I had an Internet connection the entire time. Thanks Pam Dally, Michael Berry, and all the Kent Station folks who hosted the event.

Employee Spotlight – Zach and Heather Lambert

We’d like to take a moment and recognize the following employee(s) for their years of service and dedication to Green River. Please take a moment to learn more about them, in their own words.

Zach and Heather Lambert

What is one of the first memories you have of each other?
According to Heather: Zach and I have been together since high school, it will be 20 years on Feb 14th. Zach and I first met each other in Middle School on a band trip to Canada. I knew who he was but we didn’t really start talking to each other until my senior year, his junior year. Zach and I sat next to each other in Physics and he would talk to me about one of my friends that he liked. We ended up becoming really good friends and over Christmas break (1994) he asked me to go to the movies. Two months later on Valentine’s Day, he sent me a rose to my classroom asking me to be his girlfriend.

According to Zach: We met in High school. We started dating over winter break of my junior year, her senior year. I remember telling my swim coach at the end of practice that I was going to ask her out. He said “Heather the cheerleader, she’ll never go out with you.” I don’t recall our first date you’ll have to ask her.

What five words would you use to describe your partner?
Heather: Friendly, caring, supportive, handsome, funny.

Zach: Kind, Loving, Thoughtful, Organized, Persistent.

Zach and Heather Lambert

What is your favorite thing about your partner?
Heather: Zach is so much fun and he is a great father. He is always there when I need him and I love that he thanks me every night for cooking dinner and tells me how good it was even if it was just a can of soup.

Zach: She is my best friend and a wonderful mother.

How often do you get to have lunch together and who gets to choose where you go?
Heather: We eat lunch together every day on the run. Our daughter is in the Montessori preschool on campus. During our lunch break, we run her to daycare at the bottom of the hill.  If we are lucky, we go to subway.

Zach: Our daughter attends the Montessori pre-school here so we use our lunch to take her back to daycare. If we do go out it’s only on the one day she has off and it’s usually at Subway.

What about your partner makes you laugh?
Heather: When Zach finds a new hobby, he takes it very serious. I just go along with it and support him because it’s all he (we) will talk about for months.

Zach: She can never get the words right to songs. Also when we were younger she believed me when I told her the orange balls on power lines were filled with peanut butter.

Where is the most romantic spot on campus?
Heather: During the summer when we don’t have to run kids around at lunch, we like to walk the trails.

Zach: Hmmm…sounds like a loaded question.

Zach and Heather Lambert

What is the best part of working at the same institution?
Heather: I love seeing him at work, I know he is always around when I need him, we have the same holidays off, we can carpool and I always seem forget my debit card at home so I know I can call him for money.

Zach: Being able to take a break and see my wife, especially if I’m having a stressful day. Also we are both able to spend time with our daughter at lunch. Carpooling is nice too!

What is one question everyone asks you when you tell them that you work at the same place?
Heather: Don’t you get sick of him? I don’t. Zach and I like to be together. Before we got married, we worked in the same office. The dean at the time was a little worried but she later told us we were a great team.   Zach and I work really hard at keeping work and family life separate.

Zach: Don’t you get tired of being around her all day? I don’t, but I have one rule…no talking about work on the drive home.

If you could take one class at Green River, what would that class be?
Heather: Spanish classes.

According to Zach: Not sure, but we did take a knitting class together and that was fun.

Long Term Disability Defined


PEBB – What is LTD Insurance and how can I enroll?

PEBB provides long-term disability (LTD) insurance to eligible members through the Standard Insurance Company to eligible state employees. PEBB’s full employee benefits package includes the basic LTD insurance at no cost to you; it provides 60% of the first $400 of your pre-disabililty income, reduced by any deductible income, and benefits start after 90 days.

You can build on your basic by enrolling in the Optional LTD coverage. If you are outside of the “initial 31-day eligibility” (most likely your initial hire date as a PEBB eligible employee), you will need to provide evidence of insurability, depending on what coverage you apply for and when. Optional LTD provides: 60% of your pre-disability earnings (up to $10K) and any benefits paid under the basic plan.

Learn More About LTD

Crash Course – MSDS 101

Meeting with Terry

I’m about to give Terry an surprise inspection! Not really. We have an appointment.

This blog post contains everything you ever wanted to know about MSDS, but were afraid to ask. Actually, this is my first introduction to MSDS and I couldn’t have asked for a better collaborator and instructor than Terry Stanford, our very own Capital Projects Documentation Manager.

MSDS with Terry

Terry wrote the books on MSDS. Not really, but he does oversee all of the Facilities MSDS books.

First things first. MSDS stands for Material Safety Data Sheets and you can find out all about the history here, thanks to our friends at Wikipedia. The short version is that MSDS provides workers with safety information in working with chemicals on our campus. It’s part of a requirement (it’s the law folks), from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), that all employees have access to emergency data.

MSDS Sheets

Terry oversees all of the physical MSDS books within facilities and is currently making huge efforts moves to put that information online, available for all employees, through MSDSonline. In fact, he’s recently added over 300 of these documents (via MSDSonline searches and by scanning local copies) specifically for his department. By his estimates that only covers about 35% of the chemicals and products contained within facilities and he’s working hard to see that percentage rise.

Lots of MSDS sheets to go!

Just some of the many, many products that must be accounted for within MSDS.

Eventually, all of the documents and procedures within the facilities MSDS books, as well as products not yet in the system, will be contained in the online tool. Getting to that point will provide unlimited access for all employees, ensure transparency across departments, and allow consolidated reporting if we are ever audited.

This is just the beginning though. As Terry works to get me up to speed on best practices within his own department and as I learn the capabilities of the online system, we hope to work with other departments to utilize this same tool.

Adventures in Olympia – State LMS

The adventure begins with an invite to attend both the Training Mangers and the LMS Administrators collaborative meetings in Olympia. Since Olympia is like five hours away (really one hour) I first had to prep my phone with the right learning materials. 

Audible is great for long trips.

First, did you know that the state has an LMS? Second, what’s an LMS? This week we visit our counterparts at the state level to learn more about our learning management system…not to be confused with Canvas, our instructional LMS.

Confused? Me too (sort of, but not really).

The adventure begins with an invite to attend both the Training Mangers and the LMS Administrators collaborative meetings in Olympia. Since Olympia is like five hours away (really one hour) I first had to prep my smartphone with the right learning materials. Last week I discussed the benefits of Arbinger training and that is just one of the many audiobooks loaded on my device. In case you’re wondering, Audible is an Amazon app that has over 150,000 book titles and offers a 30-day trial that includes one free download (I did not get paid to say that). The trip was made a little easier by listening to “Make It Stick” by Peter Brown.

Okay, back to business.

Arrived at L&I Building

Arrived at the very impressive L&I building…in the rain.

As it turns out, the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services (often referred to as DES) has a statewide contract for all “agencies” to utilize a single LMS. Thank you state of Washington. This allows for training data to easily migrate across agencies and ensure a smooth transition as employees move across state agency jobs.

From the first am meeting for Training Managers I learned all about state contracts, procurement, purchases, ethics, and a variety of other training offered through the LMS. The state is attempting to provide such training via face-to-face workshops, online webinars, and completely online self-paced courses. You may have already heard about the state LMS because of procurement and contracts training initiatives to be completed by this summer.

Most exciting day ever!

Quick break during this jam-packed day…

From the afternoon session I learned all about batch uploads, vendor interaction, and troubleshooting efforts. What was really great to see from this group was the collaborative effort to address and solve existing issues.

LMS Admin Agenda

As I complete my own procurement and contracts training very shortly, and go through the administrator training to help manage this system for our institution, I plan to communicate any forward progress we make. This process will be challenging overall as it deals with state and local efforts, large training initiatives, compliance, and evolving technology systems. Stay tuned for more details!

Best day ever!

Best day ever!

Medical and Dental Plan Verification

PEBB Login Screen

PEBB – How can I find out which medical plan or which dental plan I enrolled in?

That information is always at your fingertips by logging into your My Account feature on the PEBB website. Here you can see which plans you are enrolled in and which family members, if any, you elected to cover. We won’t know who your dentist or doctor is, but you can Contact your Plan to find out the names of the providers you’ve seen in the past, claims history, etc.

Employee Spotlight – Josh Gerstman

We’d like to take a moment and recognize the following employee for their years of service and dedication to Green River. Please take a moment to learn more about them, in their own words.


What do you love about working at Green River?
Working with a broad range of people, including co-workers, students, and community members and the diverse experiences and opportunities available on campus and in the community. I love working in a multifaceted organization with many moving parts and the opportunity to be involved in a variety of projects and efforts.

What does working in higher education mean to you?
Working in Higher Ed means we are providing amazing opportunities to members of our local community and students from around the globe to advance their lives through education. I love the ideal that we will meet a student where they are at, whether that is basic skills, high school completion, career and technical education, advanced academic topics, or even a single course to get ahead in a job. I have worked at Green River for just over 15 years and lived in our service area. I am frequently meeting people who share a Green River story, either about themselves or a family member. And yet I also frequently have the opportunity to clear up myths or assumptions about the college and open people’s eyes to the amazing opportunities available here.

Where is one spot on campus you find relaxing?
Walk out on the nature trails, less than a ½ mile from the parking lot is the Mt. Rainer Overlook. One clear day, you have one of the most spectacular views of Mt. Rainier. Even better, are the remaining 200 acres of trails, from easy walking to getting a true alpine feel, access to the Green River, and amazing forest. (alternatives include the water-wall and stone sphere, and the new waterfall by the AD Bldg.)

Of all employee benefits, which one do you appreciate most?
The opportunity to work in an educational environment with frequent learning opportunities, such as lectures, workshops, speaker series, concerts, cultural events, and activities like the Engineering student trebuchet pumpkin launch or walking across campus and AJ Narayan having telescopes or special glasses available to view an eclipse. You don’t find opportunities like most work environments.

In your role, what accomplishment are you most proud of?
Hearing from alumni and past scholarship recipients and learning of the cool things they are doing professionally and in life. To see that the students we have been working so hard to help are now leading amazing lives and impacting others. To go to my son’s scout meeting and see three parent leaders are former scholarship recipients from my time at Green River. Also, to continue to see the Water-wall and stone sphere be a center peace of campus 10 years after we worked to raise the funds, spread the vision, and help make the Kennelly Commons rebuilding project happen.

What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
In addition to frequent public speaking on behalf of the college or on campus, that I enjoy storytelling and would like to participate in actual storytelling workshops or opportunities such as the Moth Radio hour on NPR. Even better would be a forum for storytelling on campus, with the chance to listen to others stories and share my own.

If you could swap places with any other position on campus just for one day, what position would that be?
For one day, would love to swap with Tom Trindl’s grounds crew, have the chance to run some machinery and have a hand in shaping one of the outdoor spaces and have a spot on campus I could walk by every day and know I had a hand in making. Alternatively, would love to guest lecture in a class and interact with students in a direct academic capacity.

What on campus makes you smile the most?
Watching new students interact with the water-wall and stone sphere sculpture and enjoying sunny days on the Kennnelly Commons or other gathering spots. These are areas we worked hard to make possible to provide students the opportunity to gather and spend time on campus and help set Green River apart from other CTC campuses.

What classes on campus have you taken or would you like to take in the future?
I haven’t enrolled in any quarter long classes but I love to take advantage of faculty lectures, staff brown bags and workshops, and student presentations such as the recent First Peoples Conference or Who Are We Sessions.

What advice would you give to a brand new employee?
Enjoy the beautiful campus and natural environment. Get out and walk the campus, view the art in the building, and talk to the people. Introduce yourself to co-workers, listen to their stories and favorite aspects of the college. If you see a student or prospective student trying to find a building or walking with trepidation, stop and ask if they need help. Learn the campus and where things are so you can help direct people, but even if you don’t know, help the student ask or stop in an office and ask how to find the location or service the student is looking for.

Who is one person at Green River you’d like to thank for contributing to your success?
Green River is about so much more than one person, but the first person I’d thank is Clark Townsend. Clark was the founding executive director of the Green River Community College Foundation. Clark was a role model for community engagement, innovative and visionary thinking, and laying the groundwork for the foundation, for which we benefit from today. Fortunately I was able to spend a lot of time with Clark in the years prior to his passing and was able to thank him in that time. I would also thank the faculty and long time faculty and staff who have taken the time to share the early stories of Green River.

Arbinger Adventures at Kent Campus

My first trip to Kent Campus!

My first trip to Kent Campus!

What better reason to visit the Kent Campus, than to participate in an Arbinger Institute from our very own Mediation Center. Arbinger training is just one of the many professional development opportunities available through this great resource! I even downloaded the audiobook “Leadership & Self-Deception” to mentally prepare to be a part of this training.

I present Dr. Barry Bannister (our fearless leader).

I present Dr. Barry Bannister (our fearless leader).

Throughout the day (this is actually a multi-day workshop), I found myself taking notes as fast as I could write them down. I appreciated how Arbinger focuses on the way we interact with others and our role in helping those around us. It posed great self-reflective questions, such as:

  • How am I a problem for others?
  • How can I be more helpful to others?
  • How can I help things go right?
Being surrounded by other Green River employees made the event a blast.

Being surrounded by other Green River employees made the event a blast.

The focus of the training is meant for workplace application and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in improving their professional life. However, the training applies to all personal interactions and I found myself utilizing the principles covered with my own family members as well. I would definitely suggest this workshop (and others) provided through the Mediation Center. For complete details on all of their offerings, simply contact Dr. Barry Bannister or visit

Just one of the many reasons to visit Kent Campus!

Just one of the many reasons to visit Kent Campus!

In case you have never been to the Kent Campus, you’re missing out! There are many, many reasons (besides Barry and the Mediation Center) to drop by. I can’t wait until the next professional development workshop!

Tutorial – Adding Photo to Your Outlook Profile

Have you noticed that some employees display a photo in Outlook? This is just one way you can personalize your inbox and establish a connection with others, even before you meet them. This quick step-by-step guide will walk you through the process.

Step 1: Log Into Outlook Web Access

For some reason the profile photo (otherwise known as an avatar) does not allow you customize it directly in Outlook. That means you’ll need to open up a web browser and log directly in Outlook Web Access (OWA) for your Green River account.

Step 2: Click on Avatar Image


Next, you’ll simply need to click on the avatar thumbnail on the top-right of your OWA window.

Step 3: Click on Change Link


We’re almost there! Click on the “Change” link to continue.

Step 4: Click on Folder Icon


This new popup window allows you to upload your own photograph. To begin, click on the blue and white folder icon (highlighted above). You’ll then browse your computer to find the desired image. Once you choose your image, simply click the “Save” button to continue.

Step 5 – Open Outlook (not Outlook Web Access)


This is the final step. You’ll now need to open the Outlook application from your computer. It will take a moment or two to download your new avatar from OWA. While this is happening go ahead and compose a new message to yourself. Send the message and you’ll see your new image displaying just like in OWA.

Congratulations! You’ve just personalized your inbox in just five steps! Now go brag to all your coworkers and show them how easy it was.


Employee Spotlight – Alan Carter

We’d like to take a moment and recognize the following employee for their years of service and dedication to Green River. Please take a moment to learn more about them, in their own words.

Alan CarterWhat do you love about working at Green River?
I love working with all of the great people that work at Green River College. I really like our motto of Think Student, Then Decide.

What does working in higher education mean to you?
Learning and education is very important to me. I love to help people learn IT, and get prepared for a rewarding career in the field.

Where is one spot on campus you find relaxing?
To relax on campus, I love to take a hike on our extensive trail system.

Of all employee benefits, which one do you appreciate most?
Our health care benefits.

In your role, what accomplishment are you most proud of?
Launching the first Bachelor of Applied Science degree at Green River College.

What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
Most people don’t know that I love to read science fiction.

If you could swap places with any other position on campus just for one day, what position would that be?
If it were just for one day, and I could pick the day, I would swap positions with Dr. Ely for Commencement. That has to be the most fulfilling part of our job – seeing the students succeed.

What on campus makes you smile the most?
Watching students working together on projects!

What classes on campus have you taken or would you like to take in the future?
I have taken a Fly Fishing class from continuing education.

What advice would you give to a brand new employee?
Think Student, Then Decide!

Who is one person at Green River you’d like to thank for contributing to your success?
I would like to thank Jeff McCauley for mentoring me and helping me to grow as a teacher and a leader.

Free Microsoft IT Academy for Employees!

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Did you know that all Green River employees are eligible for free participation in the Microsoft IT Academy?

The Washington State Library’s Microsoft IT Academy provides the people of Washington free access to over 400 online courses and learning resources through their local public , community college, or tribal libraries; courses are available in 20 languages. Funded by the state Legislature and administered by the Washington State Library (a division of the Office of the Secretary of State), courses range from basic technology skills/digital literacy to Microsoft Office and topics supporting IT professionals.

Access the Microsoft IT Academy from your Green River computer or through your local library* and start taking courses in just a few minutes!

Get Started Today

  1. Visit Microsoft IT Academy Online
  2. Enter or Create Live Account Username and Password
  3. Get Started!

Special Open Enrollment Events

The annual open enrollment period is now over. However, certain live events can trigger special enrollment opportunities.

Did you know that certain events let you make changes to your plans or allow you to enroll a dependent (Outside of the annual Open Enrollment in November)?

Certain events like marriage, birth, adoption, or if an employee or dependent loses other coverage under an employer-based group plan, or a change in employment status may allow you to change PEBB medical or dental plans, add or waive coverage for yourself or dependents or add or remove a dependent from coverage. You will need to complete a new Enrollment/Change form and provide “proof of the event” as well as request the change within 60 days of the special open enrollment event. Learn about Special Open Enrollment Events.

Employee Spotlight – Marcie Sims

We’d like to take a moment and recognize the following employee for their years of service and dedication to Green River. Please take a moment to learn more about them, in their own words.

Marcie SimsWhat do you love about working at Green River?
The people: I love the students and working with my amazing colleagues.

What does working in higher education mean to you?
As someone who started my own higher education / college journey at a community college, it felt right and important to me to come back to teaching in a community college and follow my passion.

Where is one spot on campus you find relaxing?
The trails alongside campus are a relaxing place to walk (if it is not pouring outside).

Of all employee benefits, which one do you appreciate most?
I appreciate my medical and retirement benefits that will help both me and my children in the future.

In your role, what accomplishment are you most proud of?
As a long-time tenured faculty member at GRCC I am most proud of the hundreds of students over the years who I have watched get the spark that education, a study of literature, and working on critical thinking and verbal and written communication has brought them.  They shine with these new tools and move forward to a better future.

What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
One thing most people don’t know about is my hobby of stand-up paddle boarding.

If you could swap places with any other position on campus just for one day, what position would that be?
I would swap with the head of the cafeteria so I could create a fun speciality menu for the day: I am a foodie.

What on campus makes you smile the most?
My crazy English Division department meetings make me smile.

What classes on campus have you taken or would you like to take in the future?
I have taken two photography classes, one Chinese class from a visiting Chinese professor, and I would like to take ceramics.

What advice would you give to a brand new employee?
Make time in your busy day to get to know the people on campus and spend some time with them.

Who is one person at Green River you’d like to thank for contributing to your success?
I would like to thank Hank Galmish, who was there when I was hired, served on my tenure committee, and remained an intellectual and teaching mentor for me my entire career–even now though he retired this last ​summer!

Social Security 101 Workshop

Back by popular demand and in conjunction with Workforce Education, Human Resources is sponsoring our second free workshop on Social Security. Everyone can come (including family members and students). However, each person attending must be registered to reserve space. For example, if bringing your spouse, you must also register them.

Social Security 101 Workshop – Everything You Wanted To Know

A FREE Workshop by the Social Security Administration

  • Retirement Benefits and Eligibility Requirements
  • What Early Retirement Does To Your Benefits
  • How do you qualify for Disability, Survivor, and Spouse Benefits
  • How to use your my Social Security Online Account and other Online Services
  • What is the future of Social Security
  • Understand How to Get the Most From Your Benefit

Please Note – You should create your my Social Security account before attending the class and printout your Social Security Statement. Go to

Guest Speaker

Kirk Larson is the Western Washington Public Affairs Specialist for the Social Security Administration. He has worked with the agency for over 20 years in both technical and supervisory roles. Kirk has presented Social Security information in both the Seattle and San Francisco Regions. He has had several articles published, and has appeared on TV and radio shows to discuss Social Security issues.

Register Now

When: Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Time: 2:30 P.M. – 4 P.M.

Register for this event!

Employee Spotlight – Bob Kickner

We’d like to take a moment and recognize the following employee for their years of service and dedication to Green River. Please take a moment to learn more about them, in their own words.


What do you love about working at Green River?
The opportunity to share my passion for learning, physical activity, competition, and service on a daily basis.

What does working in higher education mean to you?   
Higher Education is about sacrifice, growth, and personal improvement.  Higher education is not a right or a requirement to living a good life.  Those that take the step to invest in themselves through the sacrifice of time and resources to learn how to communicate, think critically, and solve problems are advancing our communities one person at a time.

Where is one spot on campus you find relaxing?
The gymnasium.

Of all employee benefits, which one do you appreciate most?

In your role, what accomplishment are you most proud of?
Serving over 800 students over the past ten years as an academic advisor and as a shaper of extracurricular activities and athletic opportunities.

What is one thing most people don’t know about you? 
I appreciate the skills needed for music, art and drama as much as I do athletics.  I have a deep respect for the work necessary to be skilled enough to perform anything at a high level.

If you could swap places with any other position on campus just for one day, what position would that be?
Landscaper.  You control the outcome, receive immediate feedback, and work with nature (who doesn’t talk back).

What on campus makes you smile the most?
Watching the new student life building going up and knowing how big of an impact it will make to the campus.

What classes on campus have you taken or would you like to take in the future? 
The Economics of Sport, Sport Psychology 202, Intro to Kinesiology and Lab, Care and Prevention of Athletic Related Injuries would all be great classes to take

What advice would you give to a brand new employee? 
Don’t take your work home with you, find a positive in each day, and give yourself three years to decide if you really enjoy your work.

Who is one person at Green River you’d like to thank for contributing to your success?
Bart Dowd for giving me the keys to the kingdom.


Holiday Candy Bars!

What better way to celebrate the holiday season than with…more chocolate? Join the HR adventure as we spread joy and cheer around campus this holiday season.


We started by brainstorming creative ways in which we could engage remaining faculty, staff, and students. Did you know that renting real reindeer costs a fortune? Out of our own pockets we designed and purchased boxes of candy bars as an alternative. Chocolate always makes people smile, right?


Of course, dressing the part didn’t hurt either. HR staff got into the spirit by sporting Santa and reindeer hats.



The result was smiling faces across campus. We surprised a few folks, cracked up others, and found friendly faces wherever we went.



Thanks to all the faculty, staff, and students who laughed along with us, posed for silly photos, and helped spread joy and cheer this holiday season.



To view the entire gallery, simply click on the link below.

Click to view the complete gallery on Flickr!

Happy Holidays Green River!

Pumpkin Carving Contest Winners!

After much consideration (from a total of three entries across campus) the Information Technology Department was declared the official winner of our 2014 Pumpkin Carving Contest!


The HR Department (really, our three strongest staff members) carried a variety of juice, coffee, doughnuts, and bagels to the winning team’s staff meeting on December 15th.


When asked what tips they wish to offer up to next year’s contestants, the IT Department refused to comment, citing “Intellectual Property.” Clearly, this is a team not to be taken lightly in preparation for next year’s contest. Game on!