’80s Night at the Rec

Being the photographer and designer for the Rec Center means a couple things. I get to know about a bunch of great events happening here early, and I get to be included in most of them. My job includes everything from photographing the events to designing most of the materials used in them and to promote them. Before my job here I would only come to work out — I would never consider taking part in the events here, until now.


One that is always fun to shoot each year is the Sound Waves Pool Party. This year’s theme was the ‘80s.


Our aquatics team converted the pool into a huge party venue with strobe lights, fog machines, live DJing and even free pizza. I am just working at these events and am not there as a participant. But what other job pays me to go capture the fun memories going on at the Rec Center? I definitely recommend that every PSU student check out one of these at least once during their time here. You’re bound to make new connections and have a good time!


You can click here to go to the Rec Center homepage and see the next few events coming up.



Torn Between Now and Then

IMG_2069 by Steph Holton

I’m a conservative liberal.

I’m a feminist who hates the word ‘feminism.’

I’m a traditionalist who believes in change.

Three years ago, I was none of these things, for the chief reason that I never thought about myself in any of these terms. But then I graduated high school, and I flew the nest. I moved from a rural town, where I graduated with the same 90 kids whom I’d gone to kindergarten with. And I, like most other children, was a product of my environment. My “beliefs,” though I hesitate to even call them that given they were rather inactive, were the product of never having left the comfort of home.

Then, becoming a student and resident of Portland State where residents and opinions are so diverse, all of my beliefs were challenged. And you know what? Many of my preconceived notions about the world have changed in the last two years. Sometimes, that fact terrifies me. I’m torn between the ideals of my hometown and the ideals I’ve come to have as a college student at PSU. Even though I’m aware that change is very much a part of becoming an adult, I worry that my Portland community won’t accept my small-town values, and I worry that my hometown will think I’ve become a “flaming liberal” (actual quote).

It’s taken me awhile to accept that I’m an individual with a view of the world shaped by my unique experience, and my opinions and values are more valid than my fears of not being accepted. I’ve even found that the more I show both sides of me, the more I connect with the people around me and the more interesting my conversations become. We all share an experience as students of PSU, but we also all have a unique background that has helped shape who we are, and that’s definitely something to be proud of and own as an individual


Back to School at 19 vs 27

img_4865  By: Andrew D. Jankowski

When I started college at 19, I thought I knew exactly how the next decade of my life would pan out. I knew in four breezy years I’d have my English degree, and I’d learn the perfect balance between being a fiction writer and being an art photographer. I knew it.

As a kindergartener, I would stare across the water from my Vancouver, Washington bedroom window at what was probably Airport Way in Portland. I am legally blind, though I didn’t know it at the time, but when I looked out at night, those warm industrial lights shone like glittering yellow diamonds under murky violet water.

Higher education is one of the easiest ways to enter a new city. I moved to Portland in September 2008, days before the government took control of my bank, Washington Mutual. That sure made making my student payments awkward, let me tell ya. But as I spent the next four years riding out Great Recessional angst, I learned about Portland, Portland State University, and myself.

I’ve had a lot of Portland adventures. I’ve learned a lot about Portland State University’s criminally under-utilized resources. I’ve changed everything about the plan I made for myself at 19. I never imagined being a college dropout for four years. I never imagined giving up on, and falling back in love with, writing or photography. I never knew I’d carve out a mildly successful freelance career between my time in school. The only thing consistent about my plan is that I’m still at Portland State University and I’m still pursuing an English degree.

Now in the second year of what I call “college, part 2,” I still can’t believe I found the courage to return to college at 27. It’s still jarring to be in class with teenagers, who were probably in junior high-or-younger when I started and ended “college, part 1,” yet I find myself more at peace in school than I did as a late teenager. But I can probably trick one of them into helping me learn SnapChat, right?

Let Selfies Serve the City.


girls go 2 college 2 get more knowledge

with Allie Clark of NW Noggin at PSU’s Party in the Park Blocks 2016



The 5 C’s of Portland

img_4878  By: Emma Eberhart

I grew up in the Southwestern portion of the United States – Arizona to be exact. As with most places, there are some quick facts and general knowledge that natives, such as myself, have come to know, and they all happen to start with the letter “c.” The 48th state is all about mining copper, producing cotton, farming cattle, growing citrus, and enjoying its hot climate. Over the past year living in Oregon, I have come up with Portland’s own 5 C’s – my own sort of way of bringing home with me but still letting Portland shine.

  1. Cycling – This is a city built for bicyclists. There are bridges, roads, and programs created for and with bicyclists in mind.
  2. Cannabis – As of this month recreational weed has been legal in Oregon for 15 months, and shops have popped up all over the city as well as advertisements for said shops.
  3. Cigarettes –In September 2015 Portland State became a smoke-free campus, but take a quick detour to the surrounding downtown areas and you’ll find a majority of people taking smoke breaks.
  4. Carts of food – This one doesn’t flow as nicely, but it has been said that you can eat at a different food cart every day for an entire year and still have options left over.
  5. Coffee – Prior to moving here I was under the impression that it rained coffee as opposed to water in Portland, and I was not all that wrong. Coffee seems to be everywhere, all the time. There are 24-hour coffee shops, artisan shops, coffee carts, and any type of combination thereof.

Fitness for Haters

blog1 (1) By: Xylia Lydgate

As the Marketing and Outreach student coordinator for Campus Rec, part of my job is encouraging students to use our facilities and programs. When talking with students at the Rec Center’s information table, I encounter many fitness haters. Oftentimes I notice it is because they have misconceptions about the programs we offer and how easy they are to join.

I’ll often highlight certain features we have such as an indoor track, an Olympic lifting platform, a swimming pool, etc. While I think these are valuable resources, I’ll encounter students who are quick to say, “I don’t like running,” “I don’t lift weights,” or “I don’t know how to swim.” In my mind, all I’m hearing is “I don’t” or “I can’t.” It blows my mind how some people can be so bitter towards recreational fitness. So how do I respond to this?

In these cases, I’ll stop myself and ask students probing questions such as, “What do you like to do for fun recreationally?” “Is there anything you’ve been wanting try?” “What aspect of fitness do you find most challenging?” I notice it’s these types of questions where they pause and take a moment to reflect on what it is that they actually enjoy doing to stay active. In most cases, they’ll be open to some of our programs such as Rock Climbing 101, SwimX, Dance-A-Thon, and many more.

Right now, I am encouraging everyone who wants to explore activities through the Rec Center to browse through our Schedule & Events page on the Campus Rec website, or view the current Fall 2016 Program Schedule.

Campus Rec is for everyone; all shapes, all sizes, all abilities. If you think you hate fitness, then you’ve come to the right place. We only have one body, so why not take care of it now?


I’m Real, But I’m Not Sure You Are

img_4875  By: Beth Manney

A couple years ago, during one of my late-night Internet quests to find a video of a flying lawnmower that suited my needs, I stumbled upon the theory of solipsism, the philosophical idea that “only one’s own mind is sure to exist.” In an existential nutshell, how can you be sure anything else other than you is real?

I’ve been pondering what I’ve dreamt up in the past six years while writing fiction, and what I have the capacity to create. I think if you keep an open mind, solipsism theory is plausible. Thinking about all that’s happened in human history, I wonder, could I think up such cruel and beautiful things? If you look at it in the right way, which I would define as being able to keep an open mind without developing a narcissistic god complex, it’s fascinating to wonder what could be and what is.

I think my generation is in existential crisis. Spend any time on most forms of social media, and you’ll find an endless stream of nihilist memes that embody our need to plant our feet firmly on the grounds of actual existence. This angst also circulates around the intrinsic human need to belong. I think that Portland State does an excellent job catering to students’ wish to fit in by offering a multitude of various resource centers and events. There are so many opportunities to get involved with things you’ve never tried before and things that are familiar. In this vast, frightening world, find a buddy to scream into the void with you.

I’d love to hear your perspective! Do you think solipsism is narcissistic? Give the ol’ noodle a whirl.


San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, middle, kneels during the national anthem before the team's NFL preseason football game against the San Diego Chargers, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) ORG XMIT: CACC105

The Kaepernick Controversy

IMG_2069 by Steph Holton

Whether you’re an avid 49ers fan, a casual NFL follower, or you’re completely oblivious to sports in general, Colin Kaepernick is now likely a familiar name. In protest to police brutality and racial inequality in the U.S., the NFL quarterback stayed seated during the national anthem at a recent pre-season game, and says he plans to continue protesting in this way throughout the season.

Unsurprisingly, backlash in the weeks since has been relentless. Accusations have been that Kaepernick’s actions are disrespectful and even illegal. Another common criticism is that the action ignores the sacrifice of veterans, but #VeteransforKaepernick has cropped up in support of his choice to sit or kneel during the anthem. On the other hand, encouragement has come from the many who say it is the quarterback’s right to exercise his freedoms in this way.

One thing is for certain – Kaepernick has sparked conversation about the nature of patriotism and right of protest. In response to the growing controversy, San Francisco Police Chief Michael Sellers said, “blanket statements disparaging the law enforcement profession are hurtful and do not help bring the country together, [however] police officers are here to protect the rights of every person, even if we disagree with their position.” Meanwhile, soccer player Megan Rapinoe, who also recently took a knee during the anthem as a nod to the San Francisco quarterback, said “Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties.”

Is this form of protest a stepping stone to change, or another act that further divides the nation? Colin Kaepernick’s decision to remain seated during the national anthem, while certainly controversial, is his right. Though while the country considers whether his actions are a disrespect to a long standing symbol of unity, the topic Kaepernick originally meant to bring to light has been largely overshadowed.