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On Courage and the Humble Compost Pail

By Olivia Clarke

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If I stick my head out of my apartment window, I can see that the ground is littered with discarded food: two whole onions, yellow peppers, decomposing noodles. Someone above me has been tossing this stuff out of the window all year. Each time we notice new scraps, my roommate and I look vaguely upward and shake our fists: “How irresponsible!”

Next to that kitchen window sits my new compost pail. Like many students who live on campus, I returned from a final exam last term to find it sitting on my counter, shiny and expectant. It has a convenient handle, and an eye-catching label with instructions that read, “In: coffee grounds, soiled napkins, veggie scraps. Out: liquids, Styrofoam, all plastics.” The pail is straightforward and easy to use. And the thing is, I know that Food Tosser above me has one too. Yet he or she continues to chuck food into the dirt.

But maybe that’s what makes the compost pail so special. The folks at the Campus Sustainability Office know what they’re up against when they try to encourage change: old habits, laziness, lack of understanding. They know plenty of students think composting is gross, and would much sooner throw their scraps in the garbage – or out the window – and forget about them. Nonetheless, here are these compost pails. Stationed in each housing unit on West Campus, they remind me of brave little soldiers, perpetuating Portland’s relentless environmental spirit in the face of all obstacles.

Is it awkward when all the foodcart people know you?

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By: Zaira Carranza

On the PSU campus there is a food cart for every kind of food you can think of: Thai, Mexican, Mediterranean, Arabic, American and the list goes on. When I am sad I can just go to the nearest food cart and my frown will be turned upside down. When I walk out of the library, I can smell food. The hardest decision is deciding where to eat, because everything is delicious. Needless to say, I have gained 10 pounds my first term of college.

Some of the foodcart owners know my name. Even when they are not working they recognize me on the street. Like many students, I have two jobs and am a full-time student. Basically I’m always hungry and don’t have time to cook. Don’t you think there should be a section in the FAFSA for estimating how much money you will spend on food? It’s where my money goes.

QUIT!

By: Shezad Khan

A lot of us have had jobs we don’t like, and a lot of you currently have a job that you don’t like. My only advice is for you to quit.

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It may sound a bit irrational, but quitting my previous job was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Unlike most people, I quit my job before I found a new one. But honestly, it was still worth it. I was in a position where I would absolutely dread going to work every day. I couldn’t stand it. I was fed up with having an unrewarding job. I did more work than most of my coworkers and received no recognition, I was sick of the drama caused by people twice my age, and dealing with some of the worst customers.

I worked for my previous employer for just over three years and my only regret about quitting is that I didn’t do it sooner. I found a new job just a few weeks after I left my old one and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. I now work in a place where a huge focus is teamwork. My coworkers and my managers are all awesome, and we’re always recognized for doing good work – I’ve even received three Starbucks gift cards!

Initially, it was my counselor who pushed me to quit my job. She made me realize how unhappy I was there, how much I hated getting off at midnight and having to be up early for school, and how much I hated dealing with the people I had to deal with. If you find yourself in a similar situation where you can’t stand your clientele, your coworkers, or your manager anymore, consider quitting. The thought might be a bit nerve-wracking, but there’s a good chance you’ll be happier somewhere else.

Trust me when I say it’s just not worth it when your job makes you miserable and makes you feel drained physically, mentally, and even emotionally. There’s a better opportunity for you out there. Go for it.

Relating to a ’60s radical

By: Sharon Nellist

I was merely ONE among a sold-out crowd listening to the lovely Angela Davis speak her words of great wisdom in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Portland State University on Jan. 21, 2015.

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A year ago when I came to PSU, I never would have thought to attend such an event, simply because I never have before. I also have never thought of myself as a very accurate representative of diversity – I am a white female, how would I make a difference?

Angela Davis told me otherwise.

She spoke about changing the way we see the world by thinking beyond our assumptions – having a broader consciousness because what happens to an individual has worldly reverberations.

She helped me to realize that diversity is not the separation of identity but the coming together of every unique individual.

We are privileged at Portland State University to have an abundance of diverse resources and events to expose ourselves to in our campus community.

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Lives matter. And the only way to ensure that they matter is to educate yourself, to have a passion and a voice, and people will hear you. As Angela Davis spoke these words, she reminded me that it is my responsibility, our responsibility, simply because we are a member of humanity.

We have to act as if it were possible to change the world – Angela Davis

#PSUdiversity  – to see what people said about Angela Davis’ keynote address at PSU

Like Books? Visit Write to Publish!

There’s something about rain that makes me want to curl up with a piping hot mug of coffee and a good book. Granted, I’m rather bookish and it doesn’t take much, but Portland is a literary heaven of sorts. Not only does our city have THE perfect atmosphere, Portland is home to a phenomenal array of bookstores, publishers, and literary events where I can learn more about the industry I love and mingle with other bibliophiles.

I plan on doing just that at the end of this month at Write to Publish, a one-day conference for writers, artists, and other industry professionals that aims to demystify the publishing process. It’s happening right here on campus, and presents the perfect opportunity for me (and you!) to geek out over books with the amazing people who create them. Hosted by Ooligan Press, the conference’s six panels range in subject matter from funding your creative project to graphic novels. There’s an impressive lineup of panelists, and Shelf Awareness Editor-in-Chief John Mutter will be delivering the keynote speech.

The best part? Students can enjoy the benefit of highly discounted admission. College student tickets are only $35, while general admission is $100. Don’t have time to attend the full conference? You can purchase a ticket for a single panel, or just stop by and peruse the free book fair. So dust off that manuscript, purchase your ticket, and mark your calendar. I hope to see you there at #w2p15!


Write to Publish logoWhat: Write to Publish 2015

When: January 31, 2015, 9:00AM–5:30PM

Where: Smith Memorial Student Union

Resources for Managing Stress at PSU

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By: Chelsea Ware

It’s only the second week into the term, so why are we all so stressed out already? From team projects, jobs, and internship applications, it can be hard to manage everything and remain sane. But no need to pull out your hair while on your way to grab your 5th Starbucks coffee because I have listed some tips and on-campus resources for battling stress.

1. Visit SHAC: In addition to counseling, SHAC has many services that can help during hectic times. Their Mind Spa allows students to relax and rejuvenate at no charge. Services include light therapy, meditation, yoga, biofeedback, or a massage. In addition, SHAC now offers low cost acupuncture. http://www.pdx.edu/shac/mind-spa

2. Break a Sweat: Working out has been a proven way to relieve stress and promote overall well-being. The PSU Rec Center offers an easy way for us to do this by providing weight and cardio machines, a track, a swimming pool and classes. It’s free to get in with your student I.D card. http://www.pdx.edu/recreation/home

For those of you who prefer to work out outside, there are many clubs that offer an outdoor setting. I personally love the PSU Running Club because it’s a great way to meet other students and enjoy some of the trails located near downtown Portland. My favorite is the Springwater Corridor near OMSI, offering 20 miles of lush trees and some pretty scenic views of the Willamette River.

3. Go to Campus Events: During midterms and finals, PSU often posts flyers with anxiety-relieving events such as ice cream socials and therapy dog sessions. While it can be easy to say no, I personally think that spending time with dogs is a great way give one’s mind a break from all of the chaos that comes with school and life. And trust me, the dogs are really cute!

4. Enjoy Your Food: Most Americans eat too fast. Eating slowly and mindfully enhances the pleasure of the dining experience. In addition, a recent Japanese study involving 1,700 young women concluded that eating more slowly resulted in feeling full sooner, and thus eating fewer calories at mealtime. To master the art of slow eating, put on some music or sit somewhere that gives you a view of the park blocks. Your stomach will thank you!

What are your tips for managing stress? Please add them in the comments section below!

Two jobs, 14 credits and no time

By: Marilynn Sandoval

Time, it seems to be one of those things you never have enough of – especially if you’re a full-time, out-of-state student with two jobs, like me.clock

College is definitely not cheap. I am taking 14 credits this term, and for an undergraduate Oregon resident, tuition is on average $2,030. For an out-of-state student, tuition is on average $6,860. That’s more than $4,800 of a difference I have to somehow pay. Thank you, financial aid!

Yes, I realize that I could have chosen a school closer to my hometown to save money. However, I wanted to explore different places, and I fell in love with Portland. It also doesn’t help that living in Portland is somewhat expensive.

So what is my solution to this problem? Work two different jobs before and after classes. That doesn’t really leave me with a whole lot of time to study and to just stop, breathe and relax. However, I am thankful one of my jobs is right on campus and I work with a staff that understands. They emphasize how important school is and want us to succeed.

I know I am not alone in feeling the struggle of working two or more jobs to help pay for school and other expenses. What are your tips for balancing your time between work and school?

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