Transition Whatcom

Creating classes that mimic college, but with lower cost, and within the commmunity

I was going to community college and taking out loans to do it. Not being sure what career I wanted, I am now taking a break. I have these thoughts:


Question- Why do we need to spend all this money for a college school system?

Response- there is probably good reason to not shut down the whole college system in a day because it provides a lot of stability.

Question- Is it possible to create classes that serve the same purpose and achieve similar goals as college classes, even very technical ones such as about calculus, applied electronics, or other highly specialized topics, and to do it without the support of a college campus, staff, etc?

Response- Well in some sense yes. But you have a lot of questions to answer such as: who are the teachers and their qualifications?, where will it be done?, how will standards be achieved/maintained?, and who will the students be?


Okay- Perhaps i would like to have a serious discussion on how some effort like this could happen, and what it might look like if anyone is interested.


I am currently taking organic/sustainable gardening classes at RE- Sources in preparation for being a community garden caretaker at the RE-Patch Community Garden behind the RE-Store shop. Seth and Paul have been doing an excellent job teaching these classes. This is a good example of a community based teaching method but without a lot of things an accredited college would have.


It seems that the structure of college, the standards (testing, accreditation, admission requirements) serve some purposes that community classes like I am taking perhaps do not require. So those things have been forgone in the effort to get a goal accomplished: get some people together with some knowledge, skills, and time to get a community garden set up. Although as Seth and Paul explained: the greater goal is to make this community garden a place, and a medium by which people share skills, knowledge, resources, friendship, and more. This is great and it serves a purpose, a great one.


What I want to look into is how the university/college education model might be adapted to a more community based purpose, ie; creating many of the same outcomes of college classes without the expense, and slow turning bureaucratic mechanisms.


Any thoughts?

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi Kyler

Just thought I would let you know about Whatcom Folk School, if you haven't heard about it already.  

Check it out at  

It meets some of your requests but perhaps not all.  

Looking forward to your reply.

Cindi Landreth



Thanks for sharing your thoughts!  Be sure to check out Whatcom Folk School, which I think will fill the niche you are describing here. 

Here's the discussion thread on TW:


And here's the folk school's website:


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