Quenching the Thirst for Leadership

img_4875 By: Beth Manney

In fall term I had the pleasure of being part of Emerging Leaders PSU. Our group met almost every Friday in October-November and was focused on delivering lessons on leadership skills to a talented group of students. I admit the program was not what I expected. I did a lot of leadership activities in high school: running a club centered on coping with stress and mental illness; managing/coaching our school’s Mock Trial team; leading a rebellion against the blatant disgustingness of the cafeteria food. Well, not so much that last one. Where were you, Michelle Obama?! I’d been thirsting for more leadership opportunities like a hound, so I’d thought the program would be about flexing those already-existing skills and getting funneled into a position at PSU.

Not quite. We participated in presentations and demonstrations that taught us about conflict and time management and how to improve your work environment. Honestly I had learned most of the material on my own already in a more learn-it-the-hard-way fashion. However, I did indeed learn skills that I now apply to my current workplaces, such as different ways to understand others’ strategies of communicating and performing.

There are two more levels, at least, of the Emerging Leaders program at PSU. Each level must be completed to proceed to the next. I’m sure PSU offers more opportunities for leadership-seekers to quench their thirst. If you’re interested in learning more about how to be a great leader, definitely sign up. The mentors in the program are seriously amazing, and some of them are students, too. I do believe that Emerging Leaders will help me succeed. I never cease to be awed at the fabulous programs PSU offers. Check out what’s waiting for you. Try something you haven’t as of yet. Put those feelers out there like an overcaffeinated octopus.

 

Stay Unified

screen-shot-2016-10-22-at-6-11-12-pm By: Melissa Pyle

After the results of our November 8th election I couldn’t help but ask myself, “Where do we go from here?” Immediately I was afraid; I was afraid that all the hateful things Donald Trump spoke about could become a reality. I wept at the reality that my country will be in the control of this man, someone who could so easily discriminated on so many people. I was afraid for the federal grants I receive that allow me to attend school and I got angry thinking about the possibility of them getting taken away or reduced which would not allow me to attend school. I was afraid for my rights over my own body as a woman and I got incredibly angry thinking about someone else making my reproductive choices for me. I went back and forth for a while getting angrier and more afraid until all I could do was sob. I was crying not only for myself but for all my brother’s and sister’s that felt like our lives changed that Tuesday and not for the better but for the worse. I felt helpless but then I realized, it’s going to take a lot more than one person to get me to lose sight of my values. My actions and beliefs are strongly rooted in equality, inclusion, and integrity and that will never change no matter the circumstances. As a white cis-woman I recognize my privilege and I will not hesitate to use it against hate and bigotry. I refuse to live divided and I will support those that feel the most vulnerable by our President-elect. Together we are unified and we are strengthened by our hope for a better country. In the great words of Ted Kennedy, “What divides us pales in comparison to what unites us.”

8 PSU Resources All Students Should Use Before Graduating

img_4865  By: Andrew D. Jankowski

1. SLS
Student Legal Services is an amazing service that puts students in need of legal help –for whatever reason: roommate/landlord, employer, personal safety, business advice –in touch with a legal expert. There is a 95% chance you will leave learning something about your legal rights, even in day-to-day life. 

2. The Cultural Resource Centers & Clubs
PSU’s cultural centers host a wide range of programming that’s both accessible to people wanting to expand their diversity experience, and engaging for their target audiences. La Casa Latina Student Center, the Multicultural Student Center, the Native American Student & Community Center, the Queer Resource Center, the Women’s Resource Center, the Pan-African Commons, and the Pacific Islander, Asian & Asian American Student Center are among our most visible centers for cultural exchange (with the last two opening this academic year!).

3. The Art Galleries
Full disclosure: I am the publicity coordinator for the Littman + White Galleries, two contemporary art galleries in the Smith Memorial Student Union exhibiting rising and established artists. In addition to the Littman + White Galleries, there’s also the Autzen Gallery in Neuberger Hall, the Broadway Gallery in Lincoln Hall, the Garage Projects at Station Place Garage on NW Lovejoy Court, and the Art Building’s MK Gallery, AB Lobby Gallery, and Sugar Cube Gallery.

4. University Success
University Success is a pair of study centers in the PSU on-campus housing, in the Ondine and King Albert Residence Halls. Open on Sunday and late nights, University Success offers additional help if you are struggling in a particular class.

5. The Writing Center
You can get PROFESSIONAL WRITERS to look at your papers, your resumes, your class projects, your cover letter, whatever you need!

6. The Gym
The gym/rec center has relatively new equipment, a pool and hot tub, and numerous athletic courts, along with athletic and fitness programs and classes.

7. 5th Ave Cinema
Free classic and contemporary cinema every week?! They’ve got something for the film buff and the blockbuster lover. And I heard that the seats might be new, or something? I like popcorn.

8. Victor’s
It’s magical, and my most fondly reminisced about college memory. The food’s whatever, but it’s the dining experience that you remember forever.

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments!
P.S.: Happy Halloween! 

Resources Here, Resources There, but Not Everywhere

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By Melissa Pyle

As a student at Portland State, I have often found myself impressed at the available resources on campus that support students outside of our academic needs. For example, there is the Food Pantry to combat food insecurity, the Recreation Center to support an active lifestyle, or even SHAC which provides free and low-cost services supporting health and wellness. However, recently I was appalled to find a lack of resources in a very important and necessary place, the women’s bathroom.

A scenario some of us may be familiar with involves going to the bathroom and immediately being notified of an unexpected monthly visitor. Generally, I would pop a few quarters into a conveniently placed metal machine and graciously grab my supplies and then go about my day stress free. Unfortunately, when this happened to me I was in the Smith Memorial Student Union and instead of finding the trusted “tampon machine” there was just a sign. The sign, pictured above, read, “Feminine hygiene products are available for purchase from the University Market on the first floor of Smith Memorial Student Union and after hours at the Plaid Pantry.” PSU is better than this and should be supporting menstruation more inclusively and not suggesting they walk to an alternative location to purchase the supplies they need. I reached out to the Executive Administrative Coordinator of Finance & Administration who manages Facilities and Maintenance in Smith Memorial Student Union for a comment and they expressed, “we have just started to research best practices and create a campus standard around hygiene products in restrooms.”

As a cis-gendered woman, I know that menstruation is just a fact of life. I, along with many others with a uterus, experience a menstrual cycle, it is not gross, it is not shameful, it is natural and healthy. Providing menstrual supplies in all of the bathrooms around campus would be tangible representation of the supportive resources that PSU provides. PSU Camions of Care is a student club that is filling this gap. They not only provide menstrual supplies to low-income and/or homeless students, they also advocate for menstrual focused institutional change. Would you join me in supporting PSU Camions of Care and their November campaign, “No Shame November” and sign a petition in support of the administration providing menstrual supplies in all the bathrooms around campus? Let me know in the comments section if you are interested in being a part of this movement.

Love from Afar

If my past self was able to peer into a scrying mirror like some sort of five-foot-two orange-haired Albus Dumbledore, I don’t think I would have ever foreseen being in a long-distance relationship. At least I can be confident about that, I would say, so assuredly. Nope, went my entire molecular structure a couple months later.

I can honestly say my partner, riding shotgun in the vehicle of life, is the only one I’d ever be able to do this with. My Ohio counterpart and I have been dating for almost a year and four months, and been friends for longer. We are so alike, but have our differences where it counts, and we balance each other out. One of the biggest things that brought us together is Portland State. About a couple months into our friendship, it was time for my college quest and I had my eyes set on only PSU. As I told Jakob more and more about the school, he grew as fascinated as I was—we share a lot of the same values about sustainability, nature, and giving back. PSU was like the answer to everything we’d been searching for. It became part of the dream of being together—I was set to move to Portland in September 2016, and he’d follow a year after. It’s been hard finding students that can relate to my situation, especially since I’m only going part time this year.

Once Jakob is at PSU I know we will both find things to get involved in together and activities we can wholeheartedly support the other in. I’m so happy our shared love for this amazing university has brought us even closer together in anticipation for our future. Watch out, world, we’re ready to gross you out with our sappy love.

Need some tips on maintaining a great and healthy LDR? Hit me up!

Holding on to summer’s downward facing dog

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By: Sara Kirkpatrick 

The fall leaves have officially fallen, and my summer tan-lines have slowly faded, but I am still determined to cling on to what’s left of my summer break activities. Gone are the days of karaoke Sundays, watching movie marathons, or attending an outdoor yoga class with my adorable French Bulldog (pictured on the right). Now, the majority of my days are yoga-dieselfilled with study sessions and research papers, with no chance of catching up on the latest paranormal romance novel.  Nonetheless, I am steadfast in my resolve to find a way to integrate at least one of my summer activities into my hectic fall term schedule.

Say hello to hot yoga – a style of yoga performed in hot and humid conditions, typically referred to as Bikram yoga. Hot yoga seemed like the perfect solution to my fleeting summer fun, since I can practice it early mornings at 5:30 a.m. without schedule conflicts. Over the last month, yoga has created a space for my body and mind to take a break from social and academic pressures. This healthy new-found habit of mine has not only alleviated stress, but more importantly it has improved my overall concentration.

An interesting study by The International Journal of Yoga showed that students who devoted seven weeks of regular practice doing poses, breathing, and meditation significantly reduced their stress levels. As a result, their academic performance increased. Amazing!

I highly recommend to all of you, my fellow PSU colleagues, to consider adding yoga into your fall schedule. Note, as students we receive free yoga classes through the Campus Rec Center! Check out the calendar  for more details.

How to Talk to the Adults in Your Life About Tough Topics

edit 12  By Jesse Turner

I recently celebrated my sister’s birthday with much of my immediate and extended family. I have a very conservative family and given the current election, conservative political and social ideas are often a topic of conversation. It took roughly twenty minutes before Colin Kaepernick was brought up, and not in a positive way. As someone who is well-versed in ideological family conflicts, I am here to give you advice on talking to the older adults in your life about frightening new ideas like gender roles, feminism, and protesting.

I know you care about the adults in your life and you want to protect them from harmful, scary new ideas. But as the times change, so must the people. If you don’t talk to your parents about tough topics, they’ll seek the information elsewhere. Who do you want your parents talking to? Glenn Beck? Bill O’Reilly? I didn’t think so.

Always start by giving your parents the facts. Asking someone for their preferred gender pronouns when you meet them won’t hurt you. The United States will not burst into flames just because Colin Kaepernick exercised his constitutional right to kneel.  And no, Grandfather, the downfall of the American family did not begin because women were given the right to vote.

Next, address the many startling images the adults in your life may be seeing on television or on the internet. Tell them it’s really not OK to share that racist meme. Be sure to remain attentive and make sure they know you’re listening to their concerns. You may hear some of the following questions: “I don’t mind people being gay, but why do I have to see it all the time?” or “Why doesn’t Christopher Columbus get any respect anymore?” and the classic, “This is my country, why do I have to press 1 for English?” Now, you may want to respond to these questions with anger, but remember, they’re learning and you’re there to help them learn.

Do your part, and make talking with the conservative adults in your life a regular part of your day.