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Posts tagged ‘vikings’

Permanent change from temporary work

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.

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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.

A bloody good summer

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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 80th 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?

Adult Size Peer Pressure

By: Sharon Jackson

With the dawn of warmer weather and foliage, comes exceptionally friendly people and their clipboards. I cannot count on one hand how many times I have been asked, “Are you registered to vote?” on the way to Portland State. In fact, while waiting for the Max train at Pioneer Square the other morning, I heard that very question faintly in my ear; I then turned to see a petite woman with a mellow demeanor smiling and holding a sign that said – “H.E.M.P 2014, Help End Marijuana Prohibition.”

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Since I am registered to vote in the state of Oregon, I replied “Yes,” and then she asked me if I “have signed to Legalize?” “Legalize what,” I said. “Legalize cannabis in Oregon,” she proudly proclaimed. I smiled and politely declined telling her I don’t know where I stand just yet.

The train pulled up and we both got on board. She continued to ask other patrons, in the same faint voice and smile, holding her sign. Every single person that she asked nodded with delight and agreed to sign her clipboard. It reminded me of high school peer pressure to be one of the “cool kids.” A man even yelled to the entire train – “Hey! You all should sign this, it’s going to save the world!”

And this encounter is what prompted my continuous pondering of the matter – WHAT is all the hype and WHY is it that we should sign to “LEGALIZE?”

Where do you stand?

 

One with the dragon

By: Sharon Jackson

In between lectures and essays, I will always have Dragon Boat. There is nothing like being on the open water with the wind in my face while gliding with focus through the Willamette on a warm spring day. Oh, and it is a full-body workout as well. It is the beginning of a new season and I feel like a full-body bruise, but that is all worth it for the experience in the end. It is an amazing feeling when 20 paddlers, on a more than 2,000-year-old boat with a Dragon head, synchronize to maintain a rhythmic power as if nothing in the world can stop us. An even better feeling is when we place first in a race – Rose Festival here we come! But most of all it is worth the relationships that are gained and the immediate trust that continues to grow among us. We row as ONE. And only then, I am able to continue to my class – Oui, parler en française.

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You Don’t Know What You Got . . .

Student Insurance . . . plus SHAC is available, too.

Student Insurance . . . plus SHAC is available, too.

By: Theo Burke

As I graduate, besides memories and friends, I am leaving behind the awesome Portland State student health insurance. I’ve written about this before, now I’m experiencing the difference.

Since I don’t know what job is coming down the pike or what kind of health insurance it might carry, I’ve applied for individual insurance through Cover Oregon, the state exchange that sells private health plans (with federal subsidies to help pay the premiums) under the Affordable Care Act, or “ObamaCare.” The state exchange will alternatively sign you up automatically for the state’s Medicaid program (the Oregon Health Plan) if you qualify.

In the real world, I will have to think more about the deductible. A deductible is an amount you pay each year (usually $250 – $1000 or higher) before any benefits are paid by your health insurer.

At PSU, the deductible was $0.00.

My present doctors might not be covered by a new insurance company. At PSU, the Aetna provider network was vast.

I will have to worry more about whether alternative care is covered. At PSU, naturopathic doctors are treated the same as primary care doctors, and chiropractors are covered up to twelve visits per year.

Weirdly enough, when I heard from Cover Oregon recently, they put me in the Oregon Health Plan, even though I reported enough income to disqualify me from that program. Now I will have to figure out the Medicaid ”world,” which works much differently than the private insurers’ system, or else contest my placement in that program with Cover Oregon.

Students, the PSU plan won’t throw you such curve balls. You have an awesome, generous health plan, and you should take advantage of it before you graduate. As I’ve said before, you don’t know what you’ve got, until you lose it.

Call Campus Security? Maybe not.

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Another “phalanx response”, on Sunday, March 2, in Smith.

Over Christmas, as I returned to my car at 2 a.m., I was approached by four muscular campus security officers, in three patrol cars. It was a little scary.

Someone had called in a complaint about a man “trying to break into the library, wearing a hoody.”  I had returned some books to the Millar Library dropbox, and then carried the library’s delivered New York Times closer to the revolving doors as a courtesy, pausing to read some headlines first. I’m geeky like that.

After a check with dispatch that I was a bona fide student, the four officers let me on my way. I’ve since noticed this “phalanx of four” routine is common with Campus Public Safety Office (CPSO) responses:

  • HPIM2423Last week, I saw a solo CPSO officer patrolling the Broadway. Around the corner, I spotted three more campus security responding to an incident.
  • Later in the week, a young man was panhandling all of us in line for coffee in Smith. Someone apparently reported him, as later I spied one officer stationed by the coffee joint, two more interviewing him by the Information Desk, and a fourth officer by the front door on Broadway.

Clearly, CPSO is prepared for any escape in any direction! Their “I-formation” is as impressive as any our football Vikings might run.

I refrained from calling CPSO on the panhandler, as I also did last week when I saw an unstable young man kicking all of the gravel out of the tree beds in front of the Broadway. I imagined an overreaction from CPSO similar to my experience.

Is all this manpower necessary to keep us safe? A greater risk is created, I suggest, if some students avoid calling security in the first place, concerned about overkill. Money would also be saved if CPSO responded with two-man teams.

What do you think?  In April, the university will have a security discussion that will include the question of arming these officers with guns. Tell the university what you think here, or add a comment to this blogpost. You can bone up on the recent task force report on campus safety here.

Vikings in the Super Bowl

By: DeLon R. Lewis

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Julius Thomas

This Sunday, Feb. 2, will mark the first time in which two players from Portland State – DeShawn Shead and Julius Thomas – face off in the Super Bowl.

Shead is a member of the Seattle Seahawks’ infamous “Legion of Boom” defensive backfield, which includes NFL Defensive Player of the Year candidates Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman. At PSU, Shead was named Most Outstanding Defensive Back three years in a row, 2008 through 2010.

Thomas, tight end for the Denver Broncos, I actually wrote a blog about Julius Thomas after the first game of the season: http://psuchronicles.com/2013/10/11/from-psu-to-the-nfl/

Whether or not you are a football fan, you should check out Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday to witness two Portland State football legends compete for the pinnacle of their careers. I am looking forward to this game to see my hometown Seattle Seahawks bring home our first Super Bowl trophy. Who do you think is going to win the Super Bowl, Shead’s Seahwaks, or Thomas’ Broncos?

Congratulations and good luck to Deshawn Shead, and Julius Thomas on their accomplishments! As always, GO VIKS!

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DeShawn Shead (right)

A live phone call — someone loves me

By: Theo Burke

"Hey, I didn't know it could TALK!"

“Hey, I didn’t know it could TALK!”

Not long ago, while working on a PSU Vanguard story, I received a return phone call, within 24 hours, from Scott Gallagher of the University Communications office. I nearly fell down from shock.

I had not received a live phone call in months from anyone other than my mother. And it seemed as though an ever-increasing amount of important people in my life had barricaded themselves behind “email walls.”

When I recently asked to meet with an editor at one of the three student media outlets I worked for, she simply refused to do it. Her supervisor had established a policy, she said, that editors could limit communications with writers to email. No meetings, live conversations, or body language required.

A professor supervising me on a huge term paper could only be reached by email and was only on campus two days per week. She had not even set up the voice mail on her office phone. But this makes her no different from most PSU profs —not a single professor in my three years here has used the office phone.

Mr. Gallagher reminded me what humans are capable of. Follow up.  Consideration. Professionalism. Simple human respect and kindness. And he understands that the old standards of professionalism still matter to do your job.

I submit to you all that we will not be able to live without live voice communication and nonverbal body language over the long run. We will not be able to abandon those and hold onto the jobs that we like, as well.

No amount of quiet, feverish tapping on our devices will replace our voices and ourselves.

A relentless secret at PSU . . .

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There is a secret held by many a Portland State student, closely guarded, but not really secret; not shameful, but not boasted of. We keep it from others, and ourselves as well.

It is the grinding, relentless poverty of the college student. Students push poverty out of their minds, taking loan after loan each term without dwelling on the ramifications, trying to hang on until graduation, concentrating on academics.

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Our university community may not fully realize how deeply many students live in the quiet perseverance of being broke and being a student. And the weird ways that poverty can manifest.

A busy student I know led a prestigious student group last year while racking up $1800 in parking fines and impoundment fees on her car. She gave up on recovering the car, and eventually purchased a different vehicle. Some students can’t afford their textbooks. I’ve visited ASPSU’s food pantry myself several times this term and in past terms.

The wolves just catch up with you. You feed the ones that must be fed, and try to ignore the howling of the others as you bear down your latest term paper. Eventually, the checkbook gets empty, the next pittance of income too far away.

That is when I have been grateful for the existence of several things:  ASPSU’s food pantry in Smith. The endless help of the Financial Aid office. Emergency loans from the Bursar’s Office. A little help from my friends in my personal life.

I would not have made it through without them.

Portland State Football Interview

I got a chance to catch up with two of my very good friends on the Portland State football team after one of their practices before they defeated University of North Dakota. These two gentlemen, junior Vincent Johnson (left) and senior Bryant Long (right), took time out to answer some questions from me. In this interview we go over everything from their respective recruiting trips to their brotherhood in Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. See these guys on the field for our last home game of the season against Sacramento State University at 1:05 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, at Jeld-Wen Field. Are there any other athletes or student leaders you would like to see in a future interview? GO VIKS!

-Way2Cold

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