What’s the deal with tipping?

img_4856 by Steph Holton

Unless you want to look like a jerk, you can’t not tip. But after some thought and research into the matter, I feel that our cultural compulsion to leave gratuities for services rendered is perhaps a more sinister institution than we believe.

Tipping at full-service restaurants is a standard 15%, while tipping hairdressers, tattoo artists, drivers, and innumerable others “isn’t expected but is highly appreciated.” The American consumer likes to believe that leaving a tip is an act of kindness for a job well done, but studies show that the amount of a tip rarely has anything to do with the quality of service provided and often depends on factors of race, age and sex. The practice of tipping in restaurants can create both unnecessary competition between waitstaff, and a rather large wage disparity between front and back of house workers. Psychologically, tipping is a way for consumers to assert dominance over a server, and also to flaunt social status.

The no-tipping movement is struggling, however, because it is a financially risky stance for a restaurant to take: Consumers have shown they’d rather tip than be charged a service fee. I’m not suggesting anyone stop tipping when they go out to eat or get a haircut. At this point, it’s part of our social contract. But I am suggesting we all question the tradition, because like many other institutions in our country, just because that’s the way it’s been doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the way it should be.

Smile for the Running Community

img_4856 by Steph Holton

I’m an avid runner. I have been since my high school Driver’s Ed instructor (also the cross country coach) convinced me to sign up, despite the fact that I couldn’t go more than a mile without thinking I was going to keel over right there on the course. And I definitely would not have stuck it out that first season, or the two more that I ran after that, if not for the incredible encouragement of not just my own team, but of the entire community that surrounds high school competitive running.  

When I moved to Portland, I almost immediately fell in with the Campus Rec running club, Running Around Portland, and gained several running buddies who share my enthusiasm for the sport. I’ve often lamented to them, however, that the experience of running in the city is lacking the kind of support from other runners that is so prevalent in high school. With the alive and well running culture in Portland, I’d expect there to be more “hey there’s” and “keep it ups” between passing runners on the waterfront.

I recently was running down Springwater Corridor along the east side of the Willamette, a popular route for runners and cyclists, and passed a woman taking the trail at brisk walk but clearly out to enjoy the day more than anything. As I passed, she made a point to smile at me and say “good morning,” and honestly, it made my day. Since then, I’ve made a more concerted effort to smile when I pass other runners, and usually, they smile back. It’s a small thing, but it’s already made me feel closer to the Portland pedestrian community. 

Mountains, Forests, or Shores: Just Explore

Version 2 By: Anna Sobczyk

Recently, a friend from high school invited me on short notice to camp at Glacier National Park in Montana. Despite the anxiety I felt just thinking about how much I had to get ready in only a couple days, I said yes. That decision turned into a highlight of my summer.

Since it was short notice, it was too late to reserve a campsite, so we left Idaho early in the morning to try and snag a first-come site for our stay. Amazingly, and on the Fourth of July no less, we managed to claim a spot. From there, we did several day hikes around the park to Avalanche Lake, Hidden Lake, the Highline Trail, and Logan Pass. The views were unbeatable, but my favorite part was when we saw arguably the most elusive creature other than Bigfoot—a wolverine.

My trip to Glacier National Park made me crave more adventures. As a freshman, I was still figuring out how much time I needed to devote to my classes and was always worrying about falling behind. There were several places I wanted to visit during my first year at PSU that I never did, like Crater Lake, Mount Hood, and Tamolitch Blue Pool. Now I know I could easily spare a couple weekends to explore Oregon. After all, there’s no time like when you’re young with good knees to go adventuring. If I could see a wolverine on my first trip to Glacier National Park, who knows what (or who…(Bigfoot)) I’ll see next.

Women & Apologies

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By: Sara Kirkpatrick 

Did you know women have more connectability between the left and right brain? This biological skill has naturally armed women with the ultimate advantage of engaging both sides of the brain: the analytical left and the creative right brain — amazing!

However, as this skill offers many social advantages, it also increases sensitivity to emotions and in turn creates an increased need to apologize, sometimes in situations where an apology is not necessary. This has been notably detrimental for women professionals in today’s workforce.

After viewing a YouTube video on this phenomenon in my summer Business Ethics (BA385) course, I found myself constantly falling victim to the phrase, “I’m sorry.” However, most of my alleged “infractions” for which I apologized were not infractions at all, they were merely apologies for simply going about my business in ways that were absolutely necessary. Whether it is taking a seat in class a few seconds before someone else was hoping to sit down, asking a necessary question of a colleague or peer who had the answer or carrying out other similar tasks and functions that allow me to successfully get through the day, I had subconsciously equipped myself with a canned apology waiting breathlessly to be delivered.

As women and young professionals who will soon be entering, or who are already in the workplace, we need to acknowledge this issue and eliminate our impulsive need to apologize. If we do not eliminate this subconscious affliction, it may impact our future employment opportunities. We could place ourselves at risk by not being taken seriously, or even worse, we could become overlooked by employers for an opening in a company or for a promotion to a managerial role.

Rather than falling victim to this rising issue, let’s embrace it! I encourage all of my PSU female peers to insert the #SorryNotSorry trend into their daily thoughts, interactions, and lifestyle. Let’s use it as a way to empower and solidify our future roles within the workplace of today!

Tuition Cash for Clothes

By Emma Eberhart

Portland State students are facing a 5% or more increase in tution, and this is at least the third year in a row that we’ve seen tuition raised at the university. Most students already have a hard enough time paying tuition as it is and are likely to struggle further with this most recent increase.

In order to help pay for school in the fall, I’ve been trying every which way to earn money – my most successful venture has been cleaning out my closet. Since the majority of my work experience has been in retail and thrifting is a favorite pastime, I have accumulated quite the wardrobe. Keeping only the pieces I absolutely love and wear frequently and parting with the rest, I have been able to cut down on clutter and earn some extra cash.

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By making accounts on apps like Depop and Mercari and just posting my clothes on social media, I have had pretty good luck getting the most for my clothes! Both Depop
and Mercari let you upload pictures of your stuff, describe them, price them, and then let the other members all over the world shop from your closet! The picture to the right is what my page on Depop looks

 

like – super straightforward and easy to setup. It’s really simple and all are protected for safe selling and buying. These apps take only 10% of what you sell your items for. There are, of course, other options that are near campus where you can sell your gently used clothes. Stores like Crossroads and Buffalo Exchange will pay you for your things. However, they take a much larger percentage – close to 70%.

I’m definitely not looking forward to paying more for college, but if the tuition hike has done anything for me it’s decluttered my apartment.

#WalkToTheBeat

blog1 (1) By: Xylia Lydgate

It feels good to be a part of a cause that is greater than yourself. On Saturday, May 20, I joined with hundreds of Portlanders as we walked together to raise awareness for heart disease and stroke. Although I do not personally have any close relatives who have battled with heart related illness, it was empowering to walk for such a large cause with millions of supporters nationwide. Participants wore signs honoring those who have passed as they marched around the Portland International Raceway.

At the beginning of the race, our team gathered before the start line where we could explore the vendors, win free swag, make signs, and more. As soon as 9 a.m. rolled around, the first wave of walkers began the course; our team followed shortly afterwards. Volunteers near every mile marker cheered us on. Even a rap DJ boosted our energy as we approached the finish line.

Overall, I believe the positive energy and spirit of the cause was transferred to the hearts of the walkers and their loved ones. This walk reminded me that we are all in this together. We are only born with one heart. As living and breathing human beings, any one of us could be susceptible to heart disease or sudden stroke. Events like these speak to the value of life.

Completing this walk has allowed me to take a step back and remember that there are other vital events happening around us aside from school and work. Especially as a busy student, it is easy to lose sight of our surroundings and other crucial life events. If you haven’t already, I would highly recommend searching for a local walk for charity near your city.

http://www.active.com/charitable

http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/running/tips/get-fit-for-a-cause/

https://www.verywell.com/walk-finder-events-by-state-3435354

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Race: An Open Letter to American Elementary Schools

img_4856 by Steph Holton

Almost everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten, to paraphrase Robert Fulghum. Kindergarten was when I learned to share, play fair, and to wonder unapologetically. But there was one lesson I didn’t learn until I was 18 years old and starting a degree in anthropology here at Portland State – a lesson that, three years later, I’m still upset I didn’t learn earlier.

The lesson was this: Race is not a biological reality.

Today, we’re lucky enough to not only have an impressive archaeological record containing fossils of our ancestors reaching back millions of years, but also to have the capability to sequence entire human genomes. These databases of knowledge support the model of human evolution beginning with humans in Africa 200,000 years ago and migrating into Europe around 60,000 years ago. Change in skin pigmentation was a result of the increasingly limited UV radiation those migrants were exposed to, and was merely a surface-level change – both phenotypically and genotypically. Because it was an adaptation to different environments, loss of pigmentation occurred at varying levels.

This history of early man means two big things for modern man: 1) The range in human skin color we see today only started evolving in the last fourth of our history! 2) There’s no biological way to validate racial categories, because human variation exists on a spectrum, with no places to draw distinct divisions between populations.

Race is very much a social reality. In no way do I intend to take away from its cultural significance. But it is a much too common misconception that there is more than a social justification for dividing humanity into discrete units. We need to celebrate the remarkable phenotypic and cultural diversity among us. But, now more than ever, we should also be taking Robert Fulghum’s advice to “hold hands and stick together” – by recognizing and teaching that we’re more alike than different.

A couple of great TED Talks on this topic are Nina Jablonski’s “Skin color is an illusion” and Spencer Wells’ “A family tree for humanity.”