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Why I ‘Sailed through the Stars’

Kellie Doherty  By Kellie Doherty

Graduate school is busy and stressful. But don’t get me wrong, I love my book publishing program. I’ll be sad to leave next month, but sometimes I just have to do something else. PSU has no shortage of cool events for students, and last Saturday was no exception.

I decided to go to the Pacific Islander’s Club 14th Annual Lu’au called “Sailing through the Stars.” It was held at the Stott Center a block from my apartment and the entrance was free for students, so I thought, “What the heck, a lu’au sounds fun.” I’m so happy I went.

First off, the place was packed—students, kids, elderly folk—it seemed like every age range wanted to participate. The dinner had traditional food, including Kalua pork, a lovely guava juice, and even wide range of desserts. (I chose poi for my dessert, a purple paste made of taro root but tasted a little like pineapple.)

The entertainment was quite fun. They had a show with traditional music and dances all from different islands, like Hawaii, New Zealand, and Fiji, among others. (Plus there were fire dancers, and they’re just plain hot. Pun intended.)

Overall it was a great night. It made me forget my stresses for a while, and we all know that forgetting your stress, even for a moment, is important. If you’re still here next year, make sure to add this event to your ToDo. It’s one you won’t want to miss.

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Here’s How Little I Know about Portland

By Jesse Turner

We all know Portland is white. Very white. I am white. I grew up in a very white neighborhood and went to some of, if not the, whitest public schools in Portland. And for years I was told that Portland was “politely racist.” None of us are openly racist, because different races live in different worlds. There’s no opportunity to be “openly racist” as a white person because you rarely ever encounter a non-white person. I didn’t learn until I was in college that black people were not legally allowed in Oregon under the state constitution until 1926 when the clause was finally repealed.

I now work in the juvenile correctional system, which means I work with a lot of young men who claim gang affiliation. I will now tell you just how white I am and admit that the other day I googled, “gangs in Portland” because although I had heard of several gangs in conversation with the youth I work with, I knew nothing of their history, nor could I keep them all straight. I grew up in Portland, I have lived here for 21 years, and a few days ago was the first time I had ever heard of Lil’ Smurf or Kerby Blocc or vice nights. Because I live in a completely different world. Gangs have only recently become a part of my reality, and only because I work with people who are a part of them.

I also work at a residential home for formerly incarcerated young men. One of the housemates, one who is gang affiliated, was recently arrested for armed robbery and because he is 19, he will go to prison. This person is Latino and so is the man he was arrested with. Their mugshots are featured on the Oregon Live article about their arrest. And I am not exaggerating when I say that every public comment on the article is race-related, the vast majority of which are negative. The top comment is “Jeez, Maybe Trump is right….” Another person says “this is why we need Trump to build the wall.” Scroll a little further down and you read “Dreamers. They’re just here to work.” A couple people call out these racist comments and they are bombarded with comments of being too “sensitive” and needing a “safe-space,” the argument of people with no empathy.

These are internet trolls and likely not an accurate representation of the whole of Portland. But I would encourage you to question the nature of “Portland Polite” when it comes to race. Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away.

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Thoughts From the Walk-Out

IMG_2069 by Steph Holton

“We want real diversity, not a police state university.” This was the first of many chants taken up by the group of walk-out participants stationed on the Millar Library steps last Tuesday afternoon. Members of PSUSU sported shirts reading #DisarmPSU because Black Lives Matter. One speaker announced, “We are here fighting oppression.” Another claimed that “the police are a tool of capitalism used to oppress people.” Roughly 150 students joined in the cheering and chanting, and a few dozen stood on the outskirts observing but not participating.

After learning that I don’t support the Disarm PSU movement, a member of PSUSU asked if I supported protesting the way the administration instated armed campus safety officers. Like most of the other students I have spoken to, I am frustrated by the way the administration seems to ignore student opinion. However, I think it’s easy to overlook the fact that arming CPSO was not a light decision. Some things to consider:

  1. Portland State University is a completely open, public university in the heart of downtown, which experiences the daily movement of 30,000 students. For all of the unique and completely rad aspects about this environment that we students love, it carries very real safety concerns.
  2. Our armed CPSO are fully trained and sworn police officers who have a sworn obligation to keep the public and their fellow officers safe. They carry guns only for the defense of themselves and others. Using weapons is considered only in the face of a lethal threat. No officer wants to pull the trigger.
  3. Arming CPSO does not impact student diversity. Fighting institutionalized racism is a necessity, but I believe the way to do this in our own community is to create bonds of mutual respect and trust between the student body and CPSO. CPSO was not established, and does not operate, for the purpose of discrimination.

But what do you think? One could debate this matter endlessly. Gun safety is a very real issue, but it is also very complex, and it’s entirely separate from our dissatisfaction as students with the procedures of the administration.

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Senior Capstone: 1 step closer to saying peace out, PSU

portfolio2 By Amanda Katz

Hey there!

Long time, no blog!

I had taken a break from blogging for a while to focus on my major, but now I’m back and better than ever.

This summer is looking to be a good one. I’m in the middle of applying for summer internships, I’m getting some really cool opportunities at work, and I’m taking my senior capstone. I’m going to be doing the GirlPower! Capstone with Sally Eck, it seems like a great way to give back and I get to work with some awesome young ladies in the process!

It’ll be so nice to take the time to get my capstone done. You see, I’m at the end of my fourth year with only 21 credits left: six for my capstone, three for an internship, and the other 12 will finish out my degree. PSU has such a wide variety of summer capstones available over the summer, making it easy to pick something you’re interested in. Also, it is extremely convenient that courses are available at a range of times and days. If it wasn’t for the option to take summer classes like my capstone, either my last term at Portland State would be extremely stressful, or I’d have to wait till winter term to graduate.

I’m ready to be done with school and start working, and being able to take summer classes is allowing me to achieve my goals at my rate and on my timeline. What are your plans for summer?

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Coffee is to students, as textbooks are to classes.

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By: Sara Kirkpatrick 

Our lives as college students are widely known for take-out meals, 10-page papers, all-nighters, epic parties, alcohol and, without a doubt, coffee — which must be served in mammoth-sized coffee cups!

Here are Three reasons why every Portland State University college student must supplement their current academic curriculum with a coffee regiment:

1. As the saying might go, “when in Portland, brew as the portlanders brew.”  As a #PSUStudent we are now identifiable as #Portlanders. According to a Men’s Health study, Portland, Oregon is ranked within the top four cities in the U.S. known for its coffee obsession.

2. When the dreaded college “dead-week apocalypse” strikes, students survive by just the smell of coffee alone. This survival strategy has been proven effective by a research study at Seoul National University, which examined the brains of sleep deprived rats who were diagnosed with high stress; it was discovered that those that were exposed to coffee aromas experienced changes in brain proteins tied to that stress.

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PSU COFFEE ENTHUSIAST SINCE 2013

3. There is just NO time to go to the gym when you’re a full-time student. So what if we skipped zumba and instead binged-watched all seasons of Grimm. Did you know coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in the American diet?  Those antioxidants keep our bodies healthy and decrease visits to the PSU SHAC.

From one coffee enthusiast to another, I believe that whoever said, “there are not enough hours in a day,” wasn’t roasting the right blend. What are your reasons for being an avid college coffee drinker? Post them in the comments below!

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Why I’m Annoyed by the Alumni Countdown

Kellie Doherty By Kellie Doherty

There is a sign on the alumni building on campus that went up on March 5 declaring “100 Days Until You Are An Alumni.” It’s been steadily counting down since then. I get it. It’s supposed to portray the happiness and excitement of graduation. It’s supposed to get the students pumped about being alumni of this fabulous university. It’s supposed to be encouraging.

Well, guess what?

For me—a graduate student in Book Publishing planning on graduating this spring—this countdown annoys the heck out of me. And quite frankly, it stresses me out. Why? It’s a constant reminder that I have 100 days, or 85 days, or 52 days to get all my crap in order. To find a job. To (maybe) find a new apartment. To (maybe) move to a new city. It’s a constant reminder that I have less and less time to get my final grad projects in. A constant reminder that May 20—my thesis defense date, the one that decides whether I pass or fail this program—is getting closer.

And that’s freaking stressful! With all the other ToDo lists in my life, all the other deadlines (self-imposed or otherwise), all the other stresses, I don’t need this one.

But…maybe I need to look at it differently. Maybe this looming countdown can be…a count-up to my new life instead. My next adventure. That’s a better way of thinking about it. For now, anyway. Don’t ask me on June 12.

What do you think of the countdown?

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Education Abroad

10373989_844446705612551_3373063601715068845_nIn a few short weeks, I will be embarking on my very first international educational experience at the University of Salamanca, Spain. I am all too excited for this wonderful opportunity, and one of the key tasks to accomplish before I leave is study about the area in which I will spend a little over a month in.

Let’s take moment to appreciate Salamanca, Spain and its fun facts. Did you know:

  • Salamanca is best known as being a University city; more than 36.000 people, which is nearly 20 percent of the population, are students and a great part of the inhabitants are either directly or indirectly related to the university.
  • The University of Salamanca is one of the most important universities in Spain, dating back to 1218 which makes it the third oldest university in Europe.
  • Spain is home to the world´s largest tomato fight: La Tomatina, celebrated every year in the city of Valencia.
  • The University of Salamanca is one of the important architectural feats in the city. The university building was built by the Emperor Alfonso IX in the year 1218. It is also Spain’s oldest university and has about 36,000 students.

This will be a life changing experience that will affect my perspective and outlook on life. Take the trip with me through each blog post, and explore this beautiful country with me!