Lobbying for a Cause

edit 12By Jesse Turner

On Tuesday the 28th, I joined Planned Parenthood, with whom I intern with their Teen Council program (a peer-to-peer sexual health education program) and five other organizations as a part of the Reproductive Health Equity Coalition to lobby state senators and representatives to pass House Bill 2232 which requires coverage for reproductive health services, procedures, medications, and devices for all Oregonians, insured and uninsured, documented or not. Planned Parenthood was a part of the Reproductive Health equity coalition so the Teen Council program got to join over 100 individuals who acted as citizen lobbyist for reproductive justice. We were split up by our districts and had pre-arranged meetings with our state senators and representatives. My senator was unavailable, but my representative, Janelle Bynum, was able to meet with us.

In preparation for Lobby Day, we had been told to think of why this bill is personally important to us. We would likely have five or six other individuals with us in the meeting so we would not have long to express to our representatives why we wanted their support. My district is fairly large, so I figured I would not have to speak much, if at all. That morning, I found my legislative captain, the person who had been trained for this event and was familiar with lobbying, and she asked me if I was ready to walk to the Capitol Building as our meeting time was coming up. I asked if we should wait for the rest of the group members. She said, “I think you’re the only one!” To my surprise, I was the only constituent from my district, and thus had the entire fifteen minutes to speak to Janelle Bynum, a woman I really admire and voted for.

I expressed to her why, as a young LGBTQ woman who works multiple jobs but still cannot afford all of the reproductive and health care services she would like, this bill is incredibly important to me. It wasn’t a particularly heart-wrenching narrative, but she listened to me and share her own support and concerns about the bill. I left her office feeling confident that she would support the bill, and excited that I was able to participate in my local government for something I cared about.

Stress My New BFF

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By: Sara Kirkpatrick 

As college students, we struggle with stress on a daily basis, from weekly assignments, to midterms to final exams. Stress has become the annoying classmate sitting next to us in lectures, constantly demanding recognition and by default, holding us accountable for everything we could have done differently or better.

 
I have always been submissive to stress’s ability to not only overpower me physically, but to also drain me emotionally. With winter term finals just around the corner, I have decided to redirect my attitude about stress, and instead of avoiding it, I am embracing and befriending it.

Identifying stress as my new BFF not only gives me complete control over my stress reactions, but research has shown that stress actually works in our favor by strengthening our relationships with oxytocin also known as the “cuddle hormone” or the “love hormone,” because it is released when people snuggle up or Body Image 2.pngbond socially. Even playing with a pet, such as my cat Miko can cause an oxytocin surge. This concept of befriending stress was introduced to me through my SBA Organizational Behavior course, which highlighted an inspirational TED talk by Kelly McGonigal.

As students, I think we have a deeper responsibility to find ways to manage stress, which is why learning how to befriend stress not only teaches us to stop and listen to the messages our bodies and mind are sending, but gives us the skills needed to become smart, decision-making professionals. These are the soft skills future employers will be looking for!

Want to make stress your BFF? Check out the TED talk here.

Food for Thought

By Emma Eberhart

The cliche college student is one who is constantly busy, caffeine fueled, and swimming in homework. However, it should also be added that college students are also hungry. Yes, they are hungry for knowledge, but also for food. A growing trend among college campuses is student hunger, and it is likely to continue as tuition increases with no end in site.

A lot of universities, all over this nation, have resources available for students who are in need, and Portland State is no exception. Here at PSU we have both a food pantry and a fresh fruit and vegetable program known as “Harvest Share” that is available to students, staff, and faculty in need. The food pantry is located in the basement of Smith Memorial Student Union, open from 12-2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Harvest Share is a program in partnership with the Oregon Food Bank that occurs the second Monday of every month at noon and generally goes until 1:30 p.m. It happens rain or shine, outside of Shattuck Hall on the PSU campus, and the line tends to start around an hour prior or so. Both programs are made possible by the Committee for Improving Student Food Security.

These resources exist for those in need, but continue because of those who volunteer their time and energy to make them happen. The Harvest Share is always in need of volunteers, and as a bonus you get first pick of the crop! Below I’ve put the link to their page where you can sign up for volunteering and learn more about the program.

Harvest Share Info and Volunteering: https://www.pdx.edu/student-access-center/harvest-share

 

The Ultimate Way To Get Involved

Version 2 By: Anna Sobczyk

Get involved is a phrase every college student has heard. As an incoming freshman, I didn’t put much thought into getting involved because I wasn’t entirely sure of the benefits. On top of my doubts, the sheer number of student organizations to choose from was overwhelming. But as I settled into Portland, I realized I lacked the competitive outlet I’d had back home with running track and knew I needed something to fill that void.

That something soon became Ultimate Frisbee (also called Ulitmate Disc). I’m not sure what drew me over to the Ultimate info table during a Viking Week event—outside of PE class, I barely touched a Frisbee—but I’m forever grateful I made the stop. Joining Ultimate has proved to be one of the best decisions I made this year.

In an Ultimate Frisbee game, seven players from each team take the field. On offense, there are typically three handlers (the players primarily responsible for throwing the disc) and four cutters (the players running around to get open for a throw from a handler). The handlers and cutters work the disc downfield against the defenders to hopefully score a point in the end-zone. Overall, it’s sort of like soccer, except you’re throwing and catching a disc instead of kicking a ball. From my first practice where I learned these Ultimate basics, I was hooked on the sport’s fast pace and intensity.

The practices and tournaments give me something to look forward to outside of classes and homework. Best of all, I gained an entire team’s worth of friends who made the transition into college easier simply by being there. My time on the PSU Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team has been a tremendous growing and learning experience. The memories I have of team dinners, sideline cheers, and coming out victorious against tough opponents are irreplaceable.

Now I have a new understanding and respect for what being involved does for a person. Especially as a freshman, becoming involved was a critical step for me to take to make new friends, find a support group, and establish Portland as my home away from home. Ultimate Frisbee filled my need for a competitive outlet, and also something I didn’t even realize I’d been looking for—a sense of belonging.

Time of the Season

 

img_4856 by Steph Holton

“It’s the time of the season

When love runs high”

-The Zombies, 1968

Just like The Zombies sang back in ’68, it’s the time of the season. More specifically, it’s the time for heart-shaped candies, heart-shaped balloons, heart-shaped cards… well, the pattern presents itself. If you’re anything like me, at least once in your life you’ve expressed disdain for the oh-so-Hallmark nature of the day and all the lovey-doveyness it’s meant to build.

No matter where your opinions lie on Valentine’s Day, I think we can at least agree that it’s supposed to be about love. Whether or not you plan to celebrate the day this year, I have a proposition for you. There’s been so much hate and divisiveness in our country recently that maybe we need a day all about love – even if it’s cheesy and sentimental and sugar-laden. Hell, we need more than a day. For starters, though, I’m proposing that we all focus on who and what we love this February, and make a commitment to being vocal about it! (Perfect way to start – Leslie Knope—inspired Galentine’s Day brunch with your ladies!)

Unfortunately, hate can be extremely (and effortlessly) loud. But I think love can drown it out. At the Jan. 21 Women’s March I saw signs over and over again reading “Love Trumps Hate.” The sentiment rings true, we just can’t be passive about it anymore.

Image above: the crowd assembled in love and solidarity on Portland’s west waterfront for the Jan. 21 Women’s March.

Want to Live Longer?

blog1 (1) By: Xylia Lydgate

With a busy lifestyle, it’s easy to fall prey to a sedentary lifestyle. While there are countless factors that contribute to the increased risk of health-related issues, one factor that is often overlooked is cardiorespiratory fitness. This is something I notice in myself when I go weeks or even months with minimal physical activity.

I’ve observed that when I try to get back into an exercise regime after a long absence, I will have a more difficult time catching my breath, my muscles will feel more fatigued, I will feel less mentally motivated—and I’m only 21 years old! Although I’d like to blame this on my full school and work schedule, I know it is inexcusable to not exercise.

One of my favorite videos on the benefits of exercise is called “23 ½ hours: What is the best thing we can do for our health?” by Dr. Mike Evans. He presents a unique case backed with scientific research of how just 30 minutes of physical activity a day can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure and increase longevity. In fact, he shares several studies indicating “low fitness” to be the strongest predictor of death.

While this all sounds like common sense, we may find it awkward to fit in as little as 30 minutes of activity each day. Although level of intensity and length of time contribute to additional benefits, your 30 minutes of activity doesn’t need to be anything strenuous to reap significant health benefits. Exercise can also be done in three sessions of 10 minutes for equal benefit. At Campus Rec, we offer over twenty different 30-minute workout ideas including weights, agility, TRX, cardio, rock climbing and swimming. These can be accessed online or in-person throughout each floor of the gym.

In a society where there is a strong presence of advertisements for over-the-counter medications and where literature on health is often funded and influenced by large drug companies, it is easy to see why many Americans turn to medicine as a quick remedy for all their health issues. However, research shows that exercise is one of the best medicines. As Dr. Evans put it, do your best to limit your sitting and sleeping to just 23 ½ hours a day.

Today is the day to commit to an active lifestyle.