Rebekah Hutson faced and overcame many challenges while at SPSCC. Graduating with an associate of arts this quarter, she said she started at the college unenthusiastically, feeling isolated as a black student on a mostly-white campus.
Hutson said since then, she gained a passion for making the school more diverse and became very involved with several organizations.
She now acts as coordinator for Diversity and Equity Center (DEC), co-founder and President of the African American Association, member of the Pacific Islanders Club, and she said she will stay to be the senator for diversity and equity next fall.
As one of the active organizers of many events on campus, such as Black History Month, Hutson said she has a constant goal of trying to make the campus more diverse and understanding.
Hutson started SPSCC in the fall of 2010 with sociology and music appreciation classes. She said she had just come from a bad, one-year stint at a four-year institution in New Hampshire and was not happy about returning to Washington.
“I didn’t really have a choice,” she said, “I came back here and just decided I would go to the community college until I figured out where I was going.”
Hutson said she spent her first quarter at SPSCC going straight home from her classes and not being interested at all in the school. She said some of this discomfort came from the lack of diversity she felt on campus.
“It was really hard,” Hutson said, “going into a lot of my classes and being the only person of color…and having to represent my race.”
Hutson was practically “dragged into” becoming involved, she said. “I came in [to the Student Union Building] for Service Fair and Eileen came over; we call it ‘DEC Attack.’ It’s when one of the members goes out and recruits somebody. It was really funny, because I was just walking by, and she was like, ‘You look like you could be a leader.’”
Eileen Yoshina heads the DEC as the director of diversity and equity on campus.
Over her next two years at SPSCC, Hutson did become a leader. She said she had a great experience at the college, despite her difficulties at the beginning. She has learned a lot about herself and her interactions with other peoples and their cultures, she said. Hutson encourages incoming students to get involved with an organization on campus, she said.
“It really helps you get established in the school,” Hutson said, “You get that foundation, you have people you really get to know that can help you.”
She said when she leaves SPSCC, she will miss the members from the DEC the most. “They really were my support group, and I honestly don’t think I would have made it through my two years if they weren’t here,” she said.