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 it Snow |

| Let it Snow |

By: Sierra Pruitt

The snow was such a great surprise here in Portland. I mean, snow rarely happens here, and the joy that comes from people when it does snow makes me so happy. The whole city practically shut down. Stores weren’t open, transportation stopped running, and schools were closed. There is something about when a city shuts down and all you see when you’re walking are children playing in the snow, numerous pictures being shot, and people cross-country skiing on the streets.
People got excited.
People got enthusiastic.
Most importantly, people just got to relax and play.
It was a wonderful treat to experience snow here in Portland. Now, sadly, it’s time to say goodbye to the snow and hello to the next seasons ahead.

| Visual Culture |

By: Sierra Pruitt

| Visual Culture |

It’s so easy to be insecure and jealous when you live in a visual culture — being jealous of where people are, what they are doing, why they are so beautiful, and why they are popular. I am surrounded by a community of people who express themselves creatively through visual means such as photography. The culture we live in today thrives on visual stimulation.

I have fallen into the trap of comparing myself to other artists and to my friends. Because we are in a visual society, we start looking at ourselves in terms of: Am I worth being in the picture? Am I worth talking to if I don’t take good photos? Am I worth someone’s time? These are the negative thoughts that sometimes run through my mind. They’re destructive, but they’re also worth pondering.

Why should I be worried when all that matters is being who I was made to be? This has really been on my heart because it reminds me of what I should really be refocusing on and that my friend, is God. He doesn’t want me to be jealous or insecure. He wants my heart.

What are your concerns about the visual world we live in today and the effects it has on us?