Student Affairs Team Spirit Award: Tahoma West (Spring 2021)
Quarterly, the Student Affairs Leadership Team nominates groups within the division to be recognized. One team is selected to be recognized with that quarter's "Team Spirit Award."
Tahoma West is one of the oldest traditions on our campus, and this year’s team put together the monumental 25th (!!) edition completely virtually. Granted, everyone has been doing things completely virtual this entire year, but there are some unique pieces that really made Tahoma West stand out to me.
First, submissions for Tahoma West have always been open to a wide array of people: current students, alumni, faculty and staff are all encouraged to submit their works for consideration. The editorial staff selects items for the book using a blind submission process, and over the last few years I’ve seen the great editions filled with primarily student work. This year, however, I was excited to see the names of recent alumni and staff members included among the list of contributors. I think this is commendable, that with limited options for recruitment, the students received submissions from so many sources. They book is also published at the same length as previous years, which to me speaks to the importance and value that creative writing and art have shown so many during Covid.
Second, is the camaraderie that I have witnessed among the team. For a group that has never had the chance to all meet in person, it is obvious to me that the entire Tahoma West staff is a source of support, caring and encouragement to each other. My most recent opportunity to interact with them came during the Tahoma West launch party at the end of June. The team had so much pride in the book they compiled, and were so happy to celebrate together – it was contagious!
Finally, for being a long-standing tradition, the team is still finding ways to bring new ideas into Tahoma West. This year, for the first time, the book is also being made available in eBook format! We are lucky to have the past volumes available through the UW Tacoma Library Digital Commons in pdf format for all to enjoy, but the team’s decision to also create eReader versions further extends the accessibility of the book.
In their words, “Since 1997, Tahoma West has published anthology books featuring fiction, essays, poetry, paintings, photography, and other visual art created by students and other members of Grit City's Husky community.” I am really proud of the team for continuing this tradition through a most challenging year, and commend them on the historic 25th edition!