Students helping students and community


Ben Lubbers faculty instructor for Northwest Indian College and Faculty advisor for the Student Wellness and Cultural Awareness Club presents the “River of Renewal” at the Hibulb Cultural Center.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle and academic achievement with the Student Wellness and Cultural Awareness Club

 Article and photo Jeannie Briones

 TULALIP, Washington-  Students and staff at Northwest Indian College (NWIC) Tulalip site are working to raise awareness about healthy living and cultural significance. A goal that led to the formation of the Student Wellness and Cultural Awareness Club (SWCA), which is essentially a support group open to all enrolled students of NWIC.

 Members of SWCA believe that by educating fellow students and community members about the benefits of a nutritious diet, paired with keeping in tune with the Native American culture and current issues that Native Americans are facing, will benefit not only their physical and spiritual well-being, but will help in decision making about the impacts they have on the environment.

 Though newly formed, the club has already shown steady progress in their endeavor. Students have planted and cultivated a garden at the NWIC Tulalip site, and plan to share the harvest of carrots, onions, sage, corn, tomatoes, peppers, and peas with the community. Encouraging attendance at the Tulalip Health Fair so students can learn the importance of maintaining routine health care check-ups is also on the agenda, as well as participating in cultural events around Tulalip. Drum making and other culturally relevant workshops are in the planning. 

 Club members are also reaching out to high school students, teaching the importance of a good education and attending college, while working to ensure that their own fellow students are getting the educational support they need.

“The main objective of SWCA is to provide students a safe environment and opportunity to learn and be able to practice their culture and instill in them it’s okay. We want to make sure that if they need help with homework that there’s a group of people they can go to make sure they get it done,” said Stephanie Spiering, student at the NIC Tulalip site. 

 Club members are asked to research films that focus on Native American political or environmental issues and share them with the community. On November 13th, members of SWCA presented a documentary film, “River of Renewal” at theTulalip Hibulb Cultural Center.

This film examines the water and wildlife crisis in the Klamath Basin, how the communities that harvest food from the basin suffered due to a lack of water to serve the needs of irrigation and fisheries alike, and how local tribes and community members came to a common ground, recognizing that economic revival could occur only if ecological vitality were restored. How leaders from different communities can work together to seek to seek a way beyond economic stagnation, and environmental disaster is the lesson that SWCA members wanted to share with the public.

“The film represents collaboration between stake holders to solve environmental conflicts and that gives us hope for the future with limited resources to work together and make sure that salmon, water, and other natural resources are shared and that tribal fishing rights are recognized, so we have enough resources for not only for tribes, but also to commercial fisherman, and farmers” said Ben Lubber, faculty instructor for Northwest Indian College and Faculty advisor for the Student Wellness and Cultural Awareness Club.

The HibulbCultureCenterwill be showing the film choices of SWCA quarterly. Please visit for a schedule of events. Visit for more information on the “River ofRenewal” documentary.

SWCA also hosts an open mic night, held at the Tulalip Administration Building every second Friday of the month, from 7:00-9:00 p.m. Community members are invited to share in an evening of poetry, singing and comedy.

SWCA is non-profit organization accepting donations for plants, supplies for cultural projects, film events, and school supplies and all enrolled students at NWIC are encouraged to join in on the club’s bi-monthly meetings held at the Tulalip site at 1:00 p.m.  For information on the Student Wellness and Cultural Awareness Club or to make a donation, contact Ben Lubbers at 425-870-0379 or visit The Northwest Indian College Tulalip site is located at7707 36th Ave NW,Tulalip,WA98271 .


Jeannie Briones: 360-716-4188;