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.
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.
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
By: Sharon Jackson
I absolutely adore this time of year! See expression below.
Bulky sweaters. Knitted socks. Hot holiday beverages. “I could go on forever baby!”
My dad and I used to pull out several boxes of tangled strings of large light bulbs from the attic and attempt to wrestle them into a straight line.
After many hours and a few curse words, we would finally attach them ever so precisely to the outline of our home. I am certain we had the best looking house in the neighborhood.
For this reason I get a bit nostalgic on Peacock Lane: a block in Southeast Portland where each vintage Tudor home has been entirely decorated since 1920.
My mother and I would watch A Christmas Story every year [I seriously believe the movie is an accurate representation of her childhood holidays] and laugh hysterically at the leg lamp catastrophe and terrible gifts from distant relatives until we would cry.
My first holiday in Portland, I started to feel a bit homesick.
For this reason I am always present at Portland’s Annual Tree Lighting ceremony in Pioneer Square : the official start to the holiday season with the lighting of the 75-foot Douglas fir and a sing-along of all the favorite holiday carols by a family of random strangers, even in the pouring rain!
By: Sharon Jackson
Every time I hear drums beat and saxes blow and trumpets wail of classy jazzzzz – I cannot help but to tie up my worn Oxfords and pin up my hair circa 1940’s style for my heart sings ‘in the mood’ to SWING.
East Coast Swing has finally come to PSU. Swing Out is one of the newest additions to Portland State Rec clubs. [We meet every Thursday in the Rec Center room 440, 8:30 – 10PM].
I SWING dance to live in the moment and throw my cares to the wind – I will always have time to write that 10 page essay on British Romanticism later………
We SWING to lose ourselves in rhythm. We SWING to smile. We SWING together.
We also frequent swing socials on Sundays and Wednesdays that offer a complimentary beginner’s lesson and more than 2 hours of hopping dance.
What do you get ‘in the mood’ for?
By: Sharon Jackson
A year ago today I made my way to the streetcar on a very Portland rainy morning. It was packed and muggy – full of people’s breath and their steaming hot coffees. There was a tightening knot in the bottom of my stomach, that my breakfast lay precariously on. We pulled to the Market Street stop, and I stepped down cautiously in my worn brown oxford shoes and brand new dark jeans. I gently placed my hand on my head to check if my recently curled hair was still in place. I was ready, and excessively nervous, as I proceeded up the Park Blocks for the very first time. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship – at Portland State University.
Tomorrow, I will be venturing out on the same route. Streetcar to Park Blocks and to begin with old-fashioned Cramer Hall. I am still nervous, but this time I am comforted with familiarity and wisdom. I will hold on dearly to the most important things I learned last year that made me a successful Viking:
Know PSU – and the various resources available that are usually FREE such as Buddy Up and the PSU Library.
Stay organized – keep your head above water, use Google Calendar or the inexpensive PSU Handbook to stay on top of your work.
Get involved – be a part of a group; Student Organizations and REC Clubs are easy to join and keep your mind from temporary insanity.
Be bold – and open minded; expose yourself to new Events, Performances, Lectures, etc. and be outspoken in your classes – it is the only way to be well-rounded.
Take care of yourself – you only do your best when you are at your best; we are lucky to have Portland Farmer’s Market at our doorstep and a state-of-the-art Campus Rec free with tuition.
What are some other ways that make You a successful Viking?
By: Sharon Jackson
Anxiously awaiting to embark on my grand excursion to England in a few weeks, I have taken up a few temp jobs this summer. What I absolutely love about temp work is that you could call it a “paid internship.” Temp jobs are a fantastic opportunity to work, gain valuable skills, and begin potentially beneficial relationships at various businesses, non-profits, etc. in the Portland metro area – and believe me, they pay decently too. Nonetheless, there are the occasional experiences that can change your perspective of the world.
I recently spent a week at Neighborhood House, a non-profit that helps families facing hunger and homelessness by providing food, shelter, distributing grants toward rent or energy bills, and school programs for underprivileged children. It is nothing less than despairing to be enduring times like these. I know as I once lived out of my car for eight months with little work and hardly enough money for food. The people seeking assistance at the Neighborhood House should be frustrated, and rightly so. However, most people had their electricity shut off and others were there for food, but everyone held onto their hope and had a sense of humanity. These people were giving up their chairs for one another, listening for others numbers to be called for their appointments, and when they were given food or enough money to turn their electricity back on, they were extremely grateful and thanked us profusely.
What I love about temp jobs such as this one is the joy I feel for helping people in need, and the joy I feel seeing hope alive in humanity. The money is a delightful bonus, as any college student can comprehend, but it is the experiences that weigh-in the most.
By: Sharon Jackson
More power to those who are on the fearless fast track towards graduation by taking accelerated courses over the summer! But for me, I am in much need of some relaxed summer time off and re-energizing before another rewarding school year at PSU. Not all of us who are taking off these few months when the sun shines its best over the world, will be motionless. I, for instance, will be obtaining a summer “education” through my experience traveling to unseen [for me] parts of the world.
The last two weeks of August, my boyfriend and I are spending our time bouncing back and forth between the coasts of England. On my first trip across the pond, we will be visiting my boyfriend’s grandfather near London for his 90th birthday [merely conversing with him will be an English history lesson in itself]. In the seaside village of Churston Ferrers, we will explore the Churston Court Inn, a proper English pub that Sir Walter Raleigh would frequent, and we will visit the village of Haworth in the West Riding of Yorkshire, where the nineteenth-century literary family, the Brontës, resided. Nevertheless, England has a special significance for me, as it is where my father and mother met and married. I am beyond thrilled to finally be able to know something of their England.
So tell me, what sort of “educational” experience are you going to have this summer?