Weather the Weather

Chronicles Grav

by Shezad Khan

It’s been an insanely hot summer for Oregon so far. We had a couple of weeks with temperatures sitting steady in the mid-to-high-90s. Thankfully, weather forecasts are finally showing our daily highs sitting between the mid-70s and low-80s. This is a great relief for those of us who aren’t so keen on hot temperatures and the blistering sun. However, aside from the hot weather, we have another big problem: drought.

I can’t remember the last time we had any measurable rain. I feel like it’s been at least a month, if not longer. Sure, we may have had some sprinkling, but that’s not enough. The last time I checked, 20 of our 36 counties had officially claimed to be in drought. We desperately need some rain!

A topic like drought can be scary to think about, but there are ways to help out during these conditions. With Portland State being a sustainability-minded school, I’m surprised there hasn’t been any word from them on this issue. Visiting the campus facilities page results in no mention of Oregon’s water shortage.

Fortunately, the Oregon Department of Water has put up some helpful links on how to conserve water. They have put up PDFs on how to save water inside the home, outside the home, on farms and ranches, and within municipal systems. Check these links out to see how you can help!

STUMPED in Stumptown…

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By: Sharon Nellist

Can you imagine going into your senior year and doubt the major that you have so painstakingly been working toward the last few years? Well, I certainly can. HELP!

My most recent thoughts: I am certain of the type of job I am looking for…. But will my current major get me there? Will my major hurt my chances of getting this job? Is it worth switching majors at this point? How much longer will it take? Ahh! I have to study more for that last final exam…

My mind is full.

Thankfully! I have the summer to figure this out.

And I know that I am not the only one…

Nearly 80% of new students heading for college are undeclared. About 50% of college students that have declared a major change their major, even two or three times!

Also, Portland State has great resources to help through this “traumatic” time…

What can I do with a degree in….?
Career Workshops, Classes & Events
Exploring PSU Majors Fair

What did or would you do in this situation?

Wish me luck!

Community Justice

By: Sharon Nellist

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The ASPSU voting  period ends today at 7:00 p.m.

On April 22 the student Judicial Review Board made a decision to re-start the 2015 ASPSU Election – and we all know why.

It came to light that one of the candidates for ASPSU president, Tony Funchess, was convicted of sodomy and attempted rape.

Funchess resigned as multicultural affairs director on April 22 but stated that he would still run for president.

Members of our community were heavily opposed to his decision and started a Facebook community  called Step down, Tony and petitioned for Funchess’ resignation in the election.

The candidates this second time around came forward April 30 – and Funchess is certainly absent from the ballot. In fact, it looks entirely different.

Do you think that ASPSU leaders handled the situation properly? Do you think the changes that they have made are for better or worse?

I am still reading through the 2015 Round 2 Voting Pamphlet, but I am certain that I will be submitting my ballot tonight. Nothing will improve or change if we do not speak up and VOTE!

The Miserable but Hopeful Hiker

By Olivia Clarke

When Smepring Break rolled around, my friend and I decided to go backpacking in the Columbia Gorge. We arrived at the trailhead around noon, and from there we hiked up…and up…and up.

It was an unpleasant trip. The weather was cold and wet. Our gear got soaked. Our hands went numb. The trail was brutally steep. By the next day I was so sore I could hardly move. Despite all this misery, though, when we returned home we were laughing and exhilarated, and we hoped to go camping again soon. That’s the strange paradox of hiking: terrible discomfort, followed by a desire to repeat the experience.

I suspect this phenomenon must have something to do with nature. As a person who “enjoys” hiking, I believe that now and then I need to shiver in the mountains in order to remember my place. On the slopes and in the forests, we feel small. The vastness and the harshness of the wilderness still have the power to humble us. This is important in an age when we huddle in cities, dreading the inevitability of climate change. When I think of the environmental destruction taking place every day, I often feel hopeless and resigned. On backpacking trips, however, when I see all the trees and the wildflowers and I breathe in that crisp northwestern air, I realize how much life and power remains in our resilient wilderness. I keep returning to the trail because when I see all that’s left to save, I feel an unmistakable rush of hope.

Tuition increases, this is really happening right now…

By: Sharon Nellist

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The PSU Board of Trustees will meet tomorrow, March 12, to vote on the proposed tuition increase for the 2015-16 academic year.

The potential 5% increase will leave resident undergraduate and graduate students paying around $330 more each year. Non-resident students will have to pick up the tab with $500 more each year.*

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Students are affected by tuition increases: fewer enroll, they graduate later based on the course load they can afford, work longer hours at demanding jobs that interfere with academic performance, and drop out because they do not have enough money and cannot get more!

PSU’s Board of Trustees claims that the potential increase is due to flat enrollment, decreased state support, increase in costs, and the previously negotiated salary increases.*

Higher education is an important part of our country’s economic advancement. Free higher education, as in other developed countries, would ultimately save money with a $15-$30 billion investment. The staggering 70% of Americans who start college and do not graduate is evidence to the billions of dollars currently wasted. The more people there are in college, because they can actually afford it, the less unemployed people there would be seeking government assistance. College graduates without debt would stimulate the economy with the money they do have. Also, an educated society reports a higher level of health and happiness. (Bob Samuels Huffington Post)

I kept my tuition loans low by attending a community college before transferring to Portland State; however, with the consistent increases, I am seriously worried that I will be unable to get the funding for graduate school.

Our Student Body President Eric Noll is raising a rallying cry against the increase to put pressure on the board. Students are encouraged to gather in front of the Millar Library from noon to 1 p.m. this Thursday. #NOSTUDENTVOICEPDX

What do you say? Hope to see you there!

*Proposed agenda for the PSU Board of Trustees Meeting March 12, 2015

Slow ride, Take it easy

By: Sharon Nellist

I admire and sympathize at the same time with those who take more than the recommended full-time classes and are involved in every other school organization and club in hopes to save a bit of money and graduate sooner than expected. Because I once was that student – and it is certainly not for everyone.

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Perhaps it is that I am a returning full-time student, in my late twenties, married, making a car payment, working several outside jobs in order to pay rent, and I’m not opposed to starting a family while trying to have the most quintessential young college experience.

What I have realized is that it is possible for everyone to have this experience, even me, but you need to know how to balance these things and maintain your sanity.

  • For me I know I need 12 credit hours, no more or less, for optimal learning
  • That suggests that I have 24 hours total of study time
  • I save money by bringing food instead of eating at delicious food carts – allows for some creativity, or lack thereof
  • My job as a nanny gives me the flexibility around my school schedule, as it is my priority
  • I budget using a spreadsheet, they are not just for old people – I can cut back on my student loans this year!
  • I am part of PSU Crew (campus rowing team), yes at 5:30 a.m. every morning, and I work for the student blog – minimal commitment allows me to focus on my involvement
  • And then, there is a whole day allotted for spending time with my husband or friends – we frequent the Saturday Market on campus

My degree may take an extra term or two to complete, but I most likely will not have a mental breakdown, my personal life will be unharmed, and I will succeed well enough to go on to Grad school and still have my perfect college experience.

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Permanent change from temporary work

By: Sharon Jackson

Anxiously awaiting to embark on my grand excursion to England in a few weeks, I have taken up a few temp jobs this summer. What I absolutely love about temp work is that you could call it a “paid internship.” Temp jobs are a fantastic opportunity to work, gain valuable skills, and begin potentially beneficial relationships at various businesses, non-profits, etc. in the Portland metro area – and believe me, they pay decently too. Nonetheless, there are the occasional experiences that can change your perspective of the world.

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I recently spent a week at Neighborhood House, a non-profit that helps families facing hunger and homelessness by providing food, shelter, distributing grants toward rent or energy bills, and school programs for underprivileged children. It is nothing less than despairing to be enduring times like these. I know as I once lived out of my car for eight months with little work and hardly enough money for food. The people seeking assistance at the Neighborhood House should be frustrated, and rightly so. However, most people had their electricity shut off and others were there for food, but everyone held onto their hope and had a sense of humanity. These people were giving up their chairs for one another, listening for others numbers to be called for their appointments, and when they were given food or enough money to turn their electricity back on, they were extremely grateful and thanked us profusely.

What I love about temp jobs such as this one is the joy I feel for helping people in need, and the joy I feel seeing hope alive in humanity. The money is a delightful bonus, as any college student can comprehend, but it is the experiences that weigh-in the most.