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.

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.

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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.

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At the Dharma Rain Zen Center

 

Let the Spring Light Wipe out Hate

By Chelsea Ware

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“Sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whisky bottle in the hand of (another)… There are just some kind of men who – who’re so busy worrying about the next world they’ve never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results.”

― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Spring’s warm weather is almost here! I love spring at PSU because I can expect to enjoy sunny afternoons on the grass, music by the water front, and ice cream breaks in between classes. However, there is one aspect of warmer weather at PSU that I don’t look forward too, and that is the evangelical preachers in the park blocks. As someone who spends a lot of time of campus, I’ve come to see PSU as my home and find it jarring when I hear someone screaming intolerant, homophobic, anti-Semitic and vulgar comments so brazenly. Whenever I see the preachers in action, I usually also see a group of students crowded around them shouting back. While I too get tempted to join in and argue with the preachers, I make a firm point not too. I think that the best solution to deal with people who come to campus and bellow discriminatory views is to simply ignore them. I know it’s easier said than done, but one of the main reasons people like that come here is because they enjoy having the audience. Why do you think they mainly come when it’s warm out? They know that they will have the largest audience and be the most comfortable. They simply enjoy arguing with the students and feel a sense of power from starting drama on our campus. If they were actually interested in spreading the word and teachings of Jesus Christ (which is love, by the way) they would do it rain OR shine. They would donate to the ASPSU food pantry or help pick up litter. These are not logical Christians; therefore arguing with them will accomplish nothing. This is our campus, not theirs. To take it back we simply need to rise above their hatred by smiling and enjoying the good things that spring has to offer.

Relating to a ’60s radical

By: Sharon Nellist

I was merely ONE among a sold-out crowd listening to the lovely Angela Davis speak her words of great wisdom in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Portland State University on Jan. 21, 2015.

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A year ago when I came to PSU, I never would have thought to attend such an event, simply because I never have before. I also have never thought of myself as a very accurate representative of diversity – I am a white female, how would I make a difference?

Angela Davis told me otherwise.

She spoke about changing the way we see the world by thinking beyond our assumptions – having a broader consciousness because what happens to an individual has worldly reverberations.

She helped me to realize that diversity is not the separation of identity but the coming together of every unique individual.

We are privileged at Portland State University to have an abundance of diverse resources and events to expose ourselves to in our campus community.

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Lives matter. And the only way to ensure that they matter is to educate yourself, to have a passion and a voice, and people will hear you. As Angela Davis spoke these words, she reminded me that it is my responsibility, our responsibility, simply because we are a member of humanity.

We have to act as if it were possible to change the world – Angela Davis

#PSUdiversity  – to see what people said about Angela Davis’ keynote address at PSU

Discover PSU’s Resource Centers

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PSU Queer Resource Center

By: Andreea N.

Are you familiar with Portland State University’s resource centers? They provide students with the tools, resources and support networks to better integrate into the community. They also help students excel in their studies and increase social, cultural and global awareness.

Diversity and Multicultural Student Services (DMSS)
DMSS works with students from ethnically-diverse backgrounds to guide their academic success through a student-centered inclusive environment. It offers many programs and resources, including Latino Student Services, Native American Student Services, the Diversity Scholarship Program and much more.

Disability Resource Center
PSU recognizes and respects students’ abilities, skills and talents. If you have a disability or you’re teaching a course in which a student has a disability, the resource center is here to help. Adopting a confidential and sensitive approach, the center empowers all university students through accessibility and assistance. If you’re interested in helping out, sign up to be a note taker!

Women’s Resource Center
The WRC has an interesting “her-story.” The center started out as a Women’s Faculty Club open to female faculty members and wives of professors. Now, WRC sponsors quite a few programs focused on students’ wellbeing and community development. The four programs offered include the Interpersonal Violence Program, Leadership in Action, Empowerment Project and Community Events. Click here for details on becoming a volunteer.

Queer Resource Center
QRC provides students along the sexuality and gender spectrum with a community that supports and empowers intersecting identities of LGBTQQIAAP to succeed and integrate within PSU. Through the collaboration of students, faculty and staff, the center offers Trans Resources, Gender Neutral Bathrooms, Queer Students of Color Resources and many more services. Check out the QRC community calendar for awesome PSU and local events.

Who would want to take summer classes?

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By: Mario Quintana

The majority of people wait all year for summer to arrive and perhaps even more so students.After months of class, hours of studying, and weeks of cloudy days, summer is ever so calming.For those who work and go to school, it is a relief to have less stress and responsibilities to deal with. So it may come as a surprise to many students to see other students taking summer classes. Yet, there are lots of reasons for taking summer classes.

I’m considering taking summer classes this year to graduate sooner rather than later. Fortunately I have the finances to take the classes if things work out. In doing so, I can save time and money by graduating earlier. Yet, there are uncertainties that come about by rushing things. What are my options after graduating? Am I considering grad school or will I join the workforce? Do I have a plan for both options?

In the end, I suppose I’m ready to finish my undergraduate degree and to move on. This is my  fifth year at PSU and taking another year is not appealing to me. It almost seems that my path to adulthood has been stagnated for numerous and personal reasons. While summer is a great time for the majority of people, it does not exempt them from their work and responsibilities. So would you take summer classes if you could?

Isn’t there an easy button for life?

By: Mario Quintana

The-Feel-Of-Everybody-Graduating-College-Is-Husky-RelatbleIt’s only been recently that I have given much thought on what may follow after I graduate. I find it hard to believe that four years ago I stepped onto this campus and thought it would seem forever before I found myself at commencement. I like many students, had my share of difficulties along the way, times of procrastination, and uncertainties about my major.

Every time I head over to the Diversity and Multicultural Student Services, I see new and young faces. Gone are the students I met when we were freshmen. I reminisce with my adviser on how not long ago I was one of the new, young, and few first generation students. Now, I am at a crossroads in my life.

Many questions and scenarios come to my mind. Should I, upon graduating, immediately seek a job? Or should I pursue my master’s or hope to create something for myself? It is often said that graduates should seek a job that they love to do or that has meaning to them. However, while it is a comforting idea I don’t believe it to be realistic. Yet, the idea of simply working to make money is dull itself.

But I ask myself, how many people have the privilege to work? How many others have meaning to their jobs or let alone their life? These questions may seem naive and repetitive, but it is often through contemplation that we can find ourselves. Perhaps then I should find work for the sake of working and on my free time create meaning to my life and myself.

Learning from my mistakes

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I attended Portland State 2010-2011. I became a brother of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, president of the Black Cultural Affairs Board, student leader in the LSAMP program and was very involved with Multicultural Affairs. All these activities on top of studying computer science and paying out-of-state tuition overwhelmed me. I said “yes” to far too many commitments. I was on a $30,000 search for what I wanted to do with my life.

Sequentially, before I let the weight of my challenges become a burden, I felt that a return to my home town of Kent, WA would allow me time to soul search and gain confidence to find my way in this world  and save some money as well. One thing I did not give up on was remaining a student. Over the 2011 winter break, I enrolled at Highline Community College in Des Moines, WA. Little did I know my life would change forever.
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Relationships drifting away

Life changes quite a bit when you go through college. It is exhilarating to experience new things, but along with these new things, you have to let go of what used to be.

I have realized I’m no longer friends or connected with most of my high school friends. I will always remember hearing at my high school graduation that you will stay acquainted with only 15 percent or less of your friends after you enter college, or “real-life.” I just remember how ridiculous that sounded. Was I really going to lose 85 percent of the friends I grew up with? I could not wrap my mind around that.
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River rafting in Estacada

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The last three weeks have been torture for me trying to get back on my feet. I am slowly moving again and creating a structure for my life. My friends, family, school advisers and work teammates are supporting me though out this tough time. Last weekend, I made no plans nor did I want to do anything.

However, a friend encouraged me to go with him on a trip. He assured me that this trip would put things into perspective and bring me back to reality. There was nothing to lose, so I took his offer. So we started packing what appeared to be camping gear and had one more thing to obtain: dry suits.

I was not aware that the Outdoor program at PSU rented out gear. Being a student, I was able to get two dry suits for $50, a bargain when they are worth up to $300 a piece. Early the next day, we were off to Estacada in gloomy and rainy weather.  We arrived to a scene of people, kayaks, rafts, dry suits, wet suits and gear along the river.

We immediately parked on the side of the road, dressed down to a T-shirt and shorts, put on our dry suits, helmet, and life vests and we were off to find his friends. Upon finding them, without hesitation we got a raft, carried down to the river, and got in to raft downstream.

My heart pumped and my senses were on full alert. All I could think of was not to fall out of the raft into the river. The water was freezing hence the dry suits we had to keep us not only warm but alive. The rapids were strong and I tried to literally bury my feet into the wedges of the raft and held on to my paddle for life.

Downstream, we hit stronger rapids, being pushed from side to side, the water pouring down on us, as we tried to maneuver through without falling out or flipping over. Everyone around me was unnerved.  I was hoping I would not fall out. After what seemed an eternity of freezing water and near heart attacks, we rafted and finished in calm and safe waters. This trip was much needed for me even if it distracted me from the world of depression that I was in and still am in.