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.


Why I Love PSU’s Weirdness Factor

Kellie Doherty By: Kellie Doherty

A portion of my hair is bright orange. That isn’t terribly big news here in Portland, especially around campus. We have some colorful characters. I’ve seen flame-red, neon green, rainbow, mermaid, galaxy, and even multicolored blocked hair. I’ve seen spiked hair a foot high, hair sheered completely off on just one side, and myriad other things.

I’m originally from Alaska. We have some rustic stylistic charms of our own, but I only saw hairstyles like these during the state fair. In Portland this is their everyday look. And I’m certainly not judging them by any means. It’s simply a different world than mine back at home.

And people don’t just experiment with hair. I’ve seen fellow students walking around in cloaks that look straight out of The Lord of the Rings, neon blue pants that look like they’re from the ’80s, and, I swear, a girl in a full-blown Pikachu outfit from Pokémon.

Again, not judging.

This is what’s great about being at PSU. You can be anyone you want to be. (Within reason. You can’t aspire to be a murderer or something.) You can transform yourself here, and the students will accept you, and may even have some serious mad respect for you. (I know I do.) It’s a great campus in that regard.

And sometimes, when I’m walking around PSU, even I get a smile from a fellow student. Yes, even I’m keeping Portland State University weird, and I’m proud of it.

How are you keeping PSU weird?


Living the Dream

By: Sharon Nellist

10258891_10101685513754293_6293913161816303566_oOne of my favorite things about Portland State University is how we are incredibly diverse. I have had the opportunity to meet so many new people from all sorts of backgrounds. I have been exposed to various cultures by those interactions right in my PSU backyard.

January 18 was no different than my past experience with diversity, except in one major way. In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK), Oregon Campus Compact, hosted over 400 students from PSU and six other local colleges and universities to come together in unity and love. Our goal was to serve and prove that we are not just dreamers, but if we believe then the DREAM will become a reality.


Coffee’d up and ready to serve!

We served 14 community sites throughout East Portland and Gresham, logged 1,428 hours of service, and made an economic impact of $32,944.

I was privileged to lead a small group of students and AmeriCorps volunteers to serve the Dharma Rain Zen Center on their 14-acre former landfill site in Northeast Portland. In those four short hours it did not matter what school we came from, or what homework we needed to do when we returned; we put ourselves aside and focused on them. We were weeding around bare fruit trees, towing wheelbarrows of mulch downhill, and trying to avoid being poked by blackberry bushes while removing them. And even though we may not see a huge impact from our service at that moment, like the bare trees, we know that the fruits of our labor will be noticed with time and more love.

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: “What are you doing for others?”

-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


At the Dharma Rain Zen Center


France flag, three dimensional render, satin texture

The Flags We Don’t See

me    By Olivia Clarke

The first I heard about the Paris attacks was Friday evening, on Facebook. At that time, the death count was much lower than it is now, and I didn’t absorb the gravity of the situation. The next morning, however, I woke up to a number of messages from friends and family members – they knew I was in France, and they wanted to make sure I was okay. I started to realize at that point that this was a big deal, and I assured everyone that I was safe, seven hours from Paris.

On Monday, my classmates and I joined the rest of the university in observing the national moment of silence at noon. The professor led an emotional class discussion about the tragedy and showed us photos of buildings around the world that were lit up in blue, white, and red as a gesture of solidarity. We watched video clips of New Yorkers and Londoners singing the “Marseillaise” in the street.

I was moved by the sentiment expressed in these photos and videos, but I was also troubled. I thought to myself, “Where’s the Syrian flag, or the Lebanese flag? Who’s singing the Iraqi national anthem?” People in other parts of the world experience these horrific events every day – terror, bombings, executions, war. It’s a constant reality, not an isolated incident. Yet we don’t show this kind of solidarity with them – likely because they aren’t white or rich like France. To us Westerners, tragedies like the one in Paris seem unbelievable; but in fact, they just give us a tiny glimpse into the horrors that so much of the world experiences so frequently. Maybe it’s time to start seeing past our own privilege, and to start being horrified by the atrocities committed against human beings who live outside of our comfortable Western sphere.

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On Ditching Cinnamon Toast Crunch for Organic Spinach

By Chelsea Ware

whole foodsMy first quarter at PSU taught me just how much of an impact healthy eating has on overall well-being. Like many students away from home for the first time, I considered frozen pizzas the base of the food pyramid. When I wasn’t at Victor’s in Ondine eating cake and burgers for lunch, I was at Starbucks setting a record for the most iced coffees consumed in 24 hours. While I didn’t gain the notorious “freshman 15,” I did notice other changes. I was constantly catching a cold, my skin looked dull and I was tired during my classes. I decided to make a change and embarked on a journey to find healthy, nutritious food items that are college budget friendly.

My favorite place to shop is Whole Foods Market. With the nickname “whole paycheck” many don’t see them as being economical. However, I disagree. While they do have some pretty expensive items, they also have a wide array of name brand products that are comparable or less expensive than the same items at other grocery stores. For instance, their 365 roasted red pepper pasta sauce for $2 is amazing. In addition, the knowledgeable and friendly staff is great when it comes to finding low priced items. Whenever I go in, the employees at the butcher counter tell me what is on sale and give me recipes on how to use it. As a result, I’ve never had a problem eating right and staying within my financial plan at Whole Foods.

The Safeway near campus has made many recent improvements to offer healthy eating options. They have expanded their organic produce section and added a larger assortment of nutritious staple items such as brown rice, organic granola, and whole grain bread. With a club card, Safeway makes it convenient and affordable for students to make healthier choices.

The Farmers Market is also a great resource for wholesome eating. For those like me who live on campus, the one in the park blocks on Saturday mornings is a fantastic place to purchasing fresh produce. Strolling by the various booths trying samples and socializing is a fun way to spend the morning, and I love knowing that my purchases benefit the local community.

Learning to cook in bulk with quality ingredients has had a huge positive impact on my health. I have a stronger immune system and I feel much more energetic during the day, and I’m sure that if you try it, you will see a difference too. For quick nutritious recipes, I recommend checking out Feel free to post your tips for overcoming bad eating habits below!


Like Books? Visit Write to Publish!

There’s something about rain that makes me want to curl up with a piping hot mug of coffee and a good book. Granted, I’m rather bookish and it doesn’t take much, but Portland is a literary heaven of sorts. Not only does our city have THE perfect atmosphere, Portland is home to a phenomenal array of bookstores, publishers, and literary events where I can learn more about the industry I love and mingle with other bibliophiles.

I plan on doing just that at the end of this month at Write to Publish, a one-day conference for writers, artists, and other industry professionals that aims to demystify the publishing process. It’s happening right here on campus, and presents the perfect opportunity for me (and you!) to geek out over books with the amazing people who create them. Hosted by Ooligan Press, the conference’s six panels range in subject matter from funding your creative project to graphic novels. There’s an impressive lineup of panelists, and Shelf Awareness Editor-in-Chief John Mutter will be delivering the keynote speech.

The best part? Students can enjoy the benefit of highly discounted admission. College student tickets are only $35, while general admission is $100. Don’t have time to attend the full conference? You can purchase a ticket for a single panel, or just stop by and peruse the free book fair. So dust off that manuscript, purchase your ticket, and mark your calendar. I hope to see you there at #w2p15!

Write to Publish logoWhat: Write to Publish 2015

When: January 31, 2015, 9:00AM–5:30PM

Where: Smith Memorial Student Union

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Resources for Managing Stress at PSU


By: Chelsea Ware

It’s only the second week into the term, so why are we all so stressed out already? From team projects, jobs, and internship applications, it can be hard to manage everything and remain sane. But no need to pull out your hair while on your way to grab your 5th Starbucks coffee because I have listed some tips and on-campus resources for battling stress.

1. Visit SHAC: In addition to counseling, SHAC has many services that can help during hectic times. Their Mind Spa allows students to relax and rejuvenate at no charge. Services include light therapy, meditation, yoga, biofeedback, or a massage. In addition, SHAC now offers low cost acupuncture.

2. Break a Sweat: Working out has been a proven way to relieve stress and promote overall well-being. The PSU Rec Center offers an easy way for us to do this by providing weight and cardio machines, a track, a swimming pool and classes. It’s free to get in with your student I.D card.

For those of you who prefer to work out outside, there are many clubs that offer an outdoor setting. I personally love the PSU Running Club because it’s a great way to meet other students and enjoy some of the trails located near downtown Portland. My favorite is the Springwater Corridor near OMSI, offering 20 miles of lush trees and some pretty scenic views of the Willamette River.

3. Go to Campus Events: During midterms and finals, PSU often posts flyers with anxiety-relieving events such as ice cream socials and therapy dog sessions. While it can be easy to say no, I personally think that spending time with dogs is a great way give one’s mind a break from all of the chaos that comes with school and life. And trust me, the dogs are really cute!

4. Enjoy Your Food: Most Americans eat too fast. Eating slowly and mindfully enhances the pleasure of the dining experience. In addition, a recent Japanese study involving 1,700 young women concluded that eating more slowly resulted in feeling full sooner, and thus eating fewer calories at mealtime. To master the art of slow eating, put on some music or sit somewhere that gives you a view of the park blocks. Your stomach will thank you!

What are your tips for managing stress? Please add them in the comments section below!