Snow is not common in Portland, but when we do get it, it’s kind of a huge deal. There’s even a website devoted to letting everyone know if snowing or not (chances are, it’s not). Before you start freaking out about the possibility of the lightest dusting, review our guide below to stay cool and safe.
PSU Alert System
If the weather conditions get so bad that it’s dangerous to get to school, PSU will cancel classes (woo-hoo!). Make sure your preferred notification type is set up with the PSU Alert system for the quickest updates on conditions. You can get alerts to your phone or email, and updates will also be posted to Portland State’s main social media handles and the pdx.edu website. You definitely don’t want you to get to campus just to realize there’s no one else here.Keep in mind the Campus Public Safety Office stays open during closures, so you can reach out to them if you need help or have questions.
Keep an eye on the weather reports and check your pdx.edu email frequently. Even if PSU does not close, some professors may still cancel classes ahead of time. Yay! Extra time to do homework…just me? Okay, nevermind. If the campus is open but you can’t make it to class safely, contact your professor ASAP. Professors can accommodate students who miss class because of the weather. Your safety is much more important than getting to class. Now is also a great time to review PSU’s list of emergency and public safety resources, including procedures for inclement weather.
Don’t risk it. Cars can slip on even the littlest bit of ice and if you’ve never driven in snow, don’t be like me and assume it’s no big deal. Leave your car at home and take public transit instead. Be prepared for delays and crowded spaces. City buses have chains and are prepared for icy or snowy conditions. Better yet, stay home and look out the window and take in the tranquil winter wonderland while drinking a warm cup of cocoa. Check out our blog all about TriMet’s public transit options.
A man in a Darth Vader costume riding a unicycle and playing flaming bagpipes can only mean one thing: you’re in Portland. “Keep Portland Weird” is the city’s unofficial motto for good reason. It’s a town that attracts people of all kinds. The mixture of historic and new buildings, along with its proximity to Oregon’s natural beauty, make it a hotbed of inspiration. This reputation for weirdness is what drew Brian Kidd—that unicycling, bagpipe-playing, costume-wearing man known as the “Unipiper”—to Portland.
“Portland’s weird spirit comes from its culture of freedom and acceptance,” says Kidd. “People here are more likely to express themselves in their own ways and not judge others for their expression. That creates a vibrant art scene.”
When Kidd moved here twelve years ago, he never expected to become an icon for Portland. He learned to unicycle and play bagpipes while going to college at the University of Virginia. While interning after graduation in North Carolina, Kidd started combining those two creative outlets.
A couple of Kidd’s college friends, who were from Portland, kept talking about how great it was. They told him he would fit right in. “I became sick of hearing about it! But when I decided I wanted a change of scenery, it was on my shortlist of places to check out.” Kidd moved sight unseen. He had no intention of staying long term, but the city and its people changed his mind.
Kidd started showing off his Unipiper act at the Portland Saturday Market. He was quickly embraced by locals, and it wasn’t long until he went viral after posting a video of his performance online. “I think the reason I was embraced was because, in one image, you could see what Portland is all about,” says Kidd. “I was just in the right place at the right time to become the symbol of a much larger movement.”
Since that video blew up, Kidd has appeared on America’s Got Talent, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Jimmy Kimmel Live! But those appearances were nothing compared to the support he found in the City of Rose. “Getting to perform live on TV is cool and all, but the best thing I’ve experienced as the Unipiper is just being accepted by the community here.”
It’s hard to pin down exactly what makes Portland weird. “You can ask a hundred different people, you’ll get 100 different answers. Really, keeping Portland weird means preserving the things that the city built its reputation on in the first place,” says Kidd.
Finding those little things that make it unique can be hard for first-time visitors and new residents. Because of Kidd’s local-celebrity status, he gets messages on Facebook all the time from people who are planning a visit and want to know what they should do. Kidd can never answer that question because it depends on the person—and PDX has a little something for everyone.
“The true beauty of Portland reveals itself over time,” says Kidd. “It shines best when you have time to let it wash over you, when you can take time to get to know the different neighborhoods and subcultures.”
Something everyone likes is food, and there are options for every palate. There are little food trucks all around the city, serving food from all cultures.
But if Kidd had to pinpoint one thing someone visiting the area should see, it’s Multnomah Falls, about 45 minutes east of downtown. “When you travel to the Falls, you get to see that transition from the city into the natural landscape of the Columbia River Gorge. The scenery changes so drastically, and that helps you understand how nature affects the culture in Portland.”
Like all cities, Portland has been changing. The metro area has seen an influx of businesses, including many high-tech companies, earning it the nickname “Silicon Forest”. According to Kidd, this growth means many people are coming to the city for their jobs, not necessarily for that spirit of creativity. Although the new development brings with it fresh energy, it also makes it harder for new folks to realize what makes Portland great in the first place—all the weird little places fostered by its community of creatives.
Kidd thought for a long time that there should be an organization to help introduce all these newcomers, in addition to long-time residents, to the city’s weirdness and inspire them to share their creative side. He thought someone else would start one. Then he realized he would have to make it happen himself.
“I’ve built a reputation and have an audience, so I want to use that visibility to do good. I want to help foster that next Unipiper.” Kidd set out to start Weird Portland United, a non-profit dedicated to promoting and supporting creatives.
Weird Portland United
Weird Portland United hosts a monthly lecture and networking series and free community events around various PDX locales. It will also kick off the Weird Portland Hall of Fame with a gala. The non-profit will be providing Weird Community Betterment Grants for people who need a bit of money to make their creative ideas come to life. As an example, Kidd says the grant could go to purchasing billboard space for strictly weird use.
Kidd already has many “weirdos” on board, including Moshow, the internet-famous cat rapper. The mission of Weird Portland United: provide a platform where creative weirdos can share their stories and inspire others to do their part to keep Portland weird.
“I always say, be the weird you want to see in the world,” says Kidd. “Starting Weird Portland United is a culmination of my journey as the Unipiper.”
According to Kidd, Portland is that perfect environment to foster this creative expression. “The city has a reputation for letting everyone be themselves. It has everything you need to figure out who you are. Chances are, you are going to find your crowd here. I want to make sure it stays that place.”
This article originally appears in the Portland State Visitor Guide. See the full guide here or look for a copy around the city of Portland.
Being exposed to diverse perspectives and experiences is an important part of college. And students play a key role in cultivating this environment.
Eli Hess is one of these students. A liberal studies major who graduated in 2014 from Portland State, they returned as a postbaccalaureate (seeking a second bachelor’s degree). Now they’re taking classes toward a degree in social work.
As a queer and non-binary person, Eli always had advocacy on their mind. “Social justice is a big part of my world. That started to fall into place once I got involved again at PSU, with Illuminate and the Queer Resource Center.”
With the help of students like Eli and the thriving LGBTQ+ community in Portland, PSU is consistently ranked among the top 30 LGBTQ+ friendly colleges in the nation by College Choice and Campus Pride. This welcoming environment is what made Eli initially interested in PSU. It’s proximity to downtown and extensive programs were a bonus.
Growing up in Portland, Eli went to small magnet schools specializing in art. They graduated from high school a year early and had plans to take a gap year before going to college. “I got anxious about taking time away from school and applied to PSU. I liked the idea of going to a large college that’s integrated with what’s happening downtown. I would have access to a broad range of topics and ideas.”
They took classes in many areas, from music to Spanish to queer studies. PSU’s gender, sexuality and queer studies major didn’t exist at the time. But that didn’t stop Eli—they majored in liberal studies, which allowed them the flexibility to take various sexuality and queer studies classes.
A few years after graduating, Eli got a hankering to go back to college. They returned to PSU to take writing classes while volunteering at Call to Safety, a domestic and sexual violence crisis line serving the Portland area.
Eli started looking for opportunities to advocate for students on campus. They began working as a Peer Educator for Illuminate, a program through PSU’s Center for Health and Counseling (SHAC). It sheds light on the social injustices that lead to sexual and relationship violence and creates social change through prevention programming.
Illuminate holds events on campus, like Denim Day, a campaign that asks students, faculty and staff to wear denim to spread awareness about sexual violence.
The program also hosts workshops on topics like bystander intervention, anti-oppression and consent. “We even meet with the athletic teams twice per year. We tailor workshops to specifically reflect how sports culture functions within our larger social structure. It’s discussion-based, giving athletes the opportunity to talk about their narratives and listen to their peers,” says Eli.
Then, Eli had that lightbulb moment. “I thought to myself, ‘oh, social work. This is what I want to do.’ Social work has always been in the back of my mind since my dad got his Master of Social Work from Portland State.”
Eli is now working on their bachelor’s in social work. They hope to earn their master’s in one year through the advanced standing option.
“I trust PSU specifically for social work. It’s one of the few social work programs in the state and it’s consistently ranked as one of the best in the nation,” says Eli.
Eli’s advocacy on campus continued to grow. While working for Illuminate, Eli made connections with people in the Queer Resource Center (QRC), a resource for LGBTQ+ students that provides community spaces, hosts events and offers academic and personal support. They worked in a desk staff position for two terms before becoming the Trans Student Resource and Retention Coordinator.
“I’m working exclusively with trans students,” says Eli. “The position provides these students with the resources they need in order to thrive here. I’m a part of a team creating space for queer and trans folks to feel safe and recognized. It’s important to foster a community where they’re seen and not just reduced to one part of their identity.”
Students visiting the QRC will find a comfortable lounge area, computer workstations with free printing and an LGBTQ+ lending library, which features clearly marked sections for authors who are trans, POC and more. Students can mingle with their peers or talk with confidential advocates. The QRC hosts events throughout the year, from campuswide pride celebrations to small LGBTQ+ movie nights. See list of events.
“I really like working in education, especially from a student affairs perspective. It’s important to promote social justice in education. We must create ways for students who wouldn’t take a gender and sexuality class to learn about biases and intersectionality.”
Eli’s long-term goal is to continue working in higher education. They’re considering transitioning into the academic side after earning a doctorate.
Eli recognizes that part of social justice is reevaluating and continuing to educate oneself. “Education and community are the roots of social change. Learning is my thing. I view my community and my relationships as educational as well. We can learn so much from each other.”
Portland State offers a unique Judaic Studies program, where students learn Jewish history and Hebrew. All students, whether or not they’re Jewish, can pursue a degree in Judaic Studies. The program provides important insight into how this rich history has shaped cultures across the world.
The Judaic Studies program is interdisciplinary—classes cross into other departments, including history, English, film and world languages and literatures.
There are also many opportunities to study abroad in Israel. Students can see historically significant sites firsthand and learn while being immersed in Jewish culture. Thousands of dollars of scholarship funds are available to students interested in studying abroad in Israel.
Students in the Judaic Studies program develop excellent critical thinking and communication skills. They leave the program prepared to enter diverse fields, like non-profit management, social justice, grant writing and law. Many students also go into graduate programs, Jewish educational institutions and rabbinical studies.
PSU offers both an undergraduate major and minor in Judaic Studies. Students majoring in Judaic Studies have the opportunity to choose an area of concentration, including Israel studies, modern Jewish history and more. Students minoring in Judaic Studies complete at least 28 credits of Judaic Studies coursework. Since many of the classes are cross-listed with the history department, a minor in Judaic Studies is a great fit for students majoring in history.
Students in the Judaic Studies program have access to six dedicated scholarships, many of which are awarded to multiple students each year. The major scholarship application deadline is February 1.
Available to Judaic Studies majors:
Harold Schnitzer Family Scholarship: a $5,000 annual award for up to four years available to incoming students. Applications for this scholarship are accepted on a rolling basis.
Lorry I. Lokey Endowed Fund for Israel Scholarship: an award of between $1,000 and $5,000 to support students studying abroad in Israel.
Shleifer Scholarship: a $5,000 annual award of tuition support.
Available to both majors and minors:
Sara Glasgow Cogan Memorial Scholarship and Internship: an award that covers six credits of tuition to support students interning at a local Jewish communal or cultural organization, like the Oregon Jewish Museum or the Center for Holocaust Education.
Abigail Jacobs-Kaufman Scholarship: a $500 to $1,000 award for students with demonstrated financial need to cover tuition.
Aspen Mitzvah Fund Scholarship: a $1,000 renewable scholarship for students completing their second- and third-year modern Hebrew sequences.
The Jewish Student Union and CHAI (the Cultural & Historical Association for Israel) provide cultural and educational resources for Jewish students and the larger community.
The Judaic Studies department has a comfortable, community space for students and student groups to gather. The program has a strong relationship with the local Jewish community and hosts fascinating lectures and events throughout the year.
June is Pride month in Portland and around the world. The community is coming together to celebrate LGBTQ+ representation and continue the fight for equality.
2019 is an especially important year to share your Pride or stand up as an ally of the LGBTQ+ community—it marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, a pivotal moment in the LGBTQ+ rights movement in America.
Portland State takes its responsibility to support LGBTQ+ students seriously. PSU is consistently ranked among the top 30 LGBTQ+ friendly colleges, earning it a five-star rating in the Campus Pride Index. The PSU community celebrates Pride on campus in May, leading up to the larger celebration happening all around the Rose City in June.
This is the first year PSU students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends are gathering together to walk in the Portland Pride Parade, an event which invites people across the LGBTQ+ spectrum and allies to come together to promote visibility, equality and inclusivity. Although tickets to walk with PSU are sold out, you can still cheer them on in the parade. The PSU Alumni Association and Queer Resource Center also host a pre-Pride happy hour on Thursday, June 13, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Rogue Hall. People registered to walk and others in the PSU community are invited to meet and get to know each other before the parade.
The Portland Pride Parade kicks off Saturday, June 15 with a Pride festival along Portland’s Waterfront Park. There will be booths displaying LGBTQ+ community organizations and businesses. Live music and drag performances will happen throughout the weekend. And of course, there will also be lots of delicious food. The parade begins Sunday, June 16 in the North Park Blocks, just a few blocks away from PSU’s campus. PSU registered marchers will gather and begin the mile-long parade route with around 8,000 other people. They will make their way past approximately 45,000 celebrating spectators, ending in the Waterfront Park. Portlanders turn up in droves, making it the second largest parade in Portland.
This is just one of the small ways the PSU community shows support for the LGBTQ+ folks around Portland. PSU students can utilize the Queer Resource Center, which offers LGBTQ+ resources and programming. The QRC hosts many Pride events throughout the academic year, like Pride Splash Mobs in the Campus Rec pool. The PSU Alumni Association has an LGBTQ Alumni Network for those who want to stay connected after graduation.
Here’s just a small sampling of the many Pride events happening around Portland:
OUTwright Theatre Festival: Thursday, June 13 through Sunday, June 30. Attend plays and readings that show how art can comment on and change society.
Big Gay Boat Ride: Sunday, June 16. Hop on a boat to cruise the Willamette and watch drag performances by local queens.
When most people picture the typical college student, they think of someone fresh out of high school, living in a dorm and working a part-time job. But for many students, the journey to earning a college degree isn’t that straightforward. Sometimes, the path takes many years, and it’s never too late to go to college.
For Bridie Cawthorne, her path to earning her degree was complex. Now 38 years old, she’s about to graduate from PSU with her bachelor’s degree in biology, with a focus in molecular and cellular biology. And what’s next for Bridie? She plans on earning her Ph.D. and doing industry research.
Becoming a doctor was not her plan right out of high school. In fact, Bridie never graduated from high school. “Studying was hard for me. I was a terrible student when I was young.”
Bridie was born and raised in Portland, but she ended up moving a few times and working odd jobs. After volunteering for a veterinary hospital, she landed a job at an emergency veterinary clinic. She finally moved back to Portland and continued working as a veterinary technician.
“I spent 15 years doing that,” says Bridie, “and I felt like I had hit my glass ceiling. I was burnt out. I loved that job, but I couldn’t emotionally handle caring for sick animals anymore.”
A friend of Bridie’s was thinking about going back to school, and she encouraged her to do the same.
“I struggled like many other older students with the decision to go to college, especially because I didn’t graduate from high school. Not graduating is a hurdle many people think they can’t overcome and go back to school. Anyone can do it, and it’s totally worth it!”
Bridie started taking classes at Portland Community College. She originally went back to school for nursing. That changed when she took a cell biology class.
“That class made me feel like things made sense. My professor’s lectures were amazing, and I felt supported in my learning process.”
She began doing research in the lab through BUILD EXITO, an undergraduate research training program that supports students on their pathway to become scientific researchers. Students at PSU and partnering community colleges and universities, like Portland Community College, get hands-on research experience at every stage of their undergraduate education. Students are matched with faculty advisors and peer mentors, participate in enrichment workshops and receive financial benefits, including monthly stipends and/or tuition remission. The goal of the program is to attract more diverse people into the biomedical and social sciences.
Through BUILD EXITO, Bridie was paired with faculty advisors who teach at Portland State, Dr. Mike Bartlett and Dr. Jeff Singer. “Without their help and the support from BUILD EXITO, I wouldn’t have made it into the lab. I got so much guidance.”
When Bridie started college, she was afraid she’d still be a terrible student. But she excelled and made it on the Dean’s List, an award that recognizes academic achievement. She earned her Associate of Science in two years at Portland Community College.
Transferring to Portland State was the perfect next step because she could continue with the BUILD EXITO program and keep working with her advisors. “All my professors and advisors have made themselves available, which helped shape my academic experience at PSU. They helped me get jobs and figure out what classes would be a good fit for me. Every student at PSU should take advantage of the faculty and staff who are there to help them succeed.”
Bridie does “wet lab” bench work in the molecular/cellular lab, which includes cloning and maintaining cell cultures, among other tasks. The research looks at proteins that play a role in regulating the cell cycle.
Because of all her hands-on lab experience, she knew working in a lab was the career she wanted. “PSU helped open doors for me. Getting to work in a real lab added so much value to my education. I took what I learned in my classes and was able to apply them to a lab environment,” says Bridie.
In her senior year, Bridie served as a classroom learning assistant. A few classes a term, she facilitated discussion in Principles of Biology, 200-level general biology classes. She helped students understand how to interpret peer-reviewed research.
At the end of 2018, Bridie went to the American Society of Cell Biology conference, which was held in San Diego. BUILD EXITO covered her travel funds. At the conference, Bridie presented a poster, showing professionals in the scientific community her research.
She faced some personal hardships along her path. “I had two miscarriages while I was a student. I was struggling with grief,” says Bridie. “I saw a therapist through SHAC. There can be a lot of stigmas associated with miscarriages, but I was able to get the help I needed.” Students taking more than five credits pay a Student Health fee, which covers most services through PSU’s Center for Student Health and Counseling (SHAC).
Bridie has a little more winding path to travel—she’s currently six months pregnant with her first child. After graduating from PSU, Bridie plans on taking a year off to focus on her husband and baby. Then, she hopes to get a Ph.D. in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at OHSU.
“When I first started taking college classes, I was self-conscious because I was the oldest person in the classroom. But I realized it doesn’t matter what age you are when you go to school. I was welcomed by a diverse group of students at Portland State. I feel supported here.”
The school year is coming to a close at Portland State, which means we’re celebrating all our graduating students. Across campus, PSU students are welcoming summer with inspiring film, music and theater performances throughout the start of the month. Take advantage of these events before campus winds down. For a more comprehensive list, check out the PSU events calendar.
Saturday, June 1 | 10:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m. | Walk of the Heroines, by Hoffman Hall Join the anthropology department for a celebration of the region and Oregon’s heritage. Explore the archaeology of daily life with 40 exhibits and hands-on activities organized by PSU students, faculty, alumni and dozens of community partners. This event is free and open to the public. See more information about the activities.
Saturday, June 1-Sunday, June 2 | various showings | Lincoln Performance Hall People love to sing, and they love to sing together—this has been true in every culture since the dawn of humankind. In Global Rhythms PDX, the choir is a vehicle to explore the widest possible range of sounds and styles for the human voice. Tickets are $15 for the general public and $7 for students from any school. Purchase tickets online.
Saturday, June 1-Sunday, June 2 | various showings | Boiler Room Studio This is the final week of the School of Music and Theater’s showcase of new dramatic works, which are written, performed and directed by PSU students! Tickets range from $6 to $15 and can be purchased online.
Monday, June 3 | 7:00 p.m. | Lincoln Performance Hall Portland’s beloved jazz singer Nancy King joins the PSU Vocal Collective for their final concert of the year. The PSU Vocal Collective is a 14-voice ensemble and rhythm section, presenting unique arrangements of jazz and other contemporary music styles. The concert will also feature selections by the Advanced Vocal Combo. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $5 for seniors and students and free for PSU students. Get tickets online.
Tuesday, June 4 | 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. | Park Blocks in front of the Simon Benson House Come celebrate the Class of 2019 with FREE PIZZA. The first 200 graduating seniors will receive a special gift from the PSU Alumni Association. There will also be a decorating station with supplies for students to decorate their grad caps for the 2019 grad cap contest. All students are welcome to attend. Learn more.
Tuesday, June 4 | 7:00 p.m. | Lincoln Performance Hall At this event, PSU students and Japanese guest actor Shingeyama Ippei will perform five short comic kyôgen plays. One of the plays is the first staging of an original play written by a PSU undergraduate. All are hilarious farces, which are full of surprises, hyperbole and physical slapstick. The PSU Taiko Ensemble joins the show for rousing, up-tempo drumming. Tickets range from $5 to $12. Learn more and purchase tickets.
Every Thursday | 12:00-1:00 p.m. | Lincoln Recital Hall This weekly concert series is hosted by the PSU School of Music. At these events, students, faculty and guest artists will perform various instruments and music genres. The concerts are always free and open to the public. View their performance calendar.
Thursday, June 6-Sunday, June 15 | 5:00 p.m. | various location on PSU campus Each spring, students moving out of residence halls dispose of many usable items. Instead of sending them to the landfill, students have the opportunity to donate them to charity! Collection bins in select residence halls will be available for non-perishable food, clothing, home goods and other items. Donated items will be redistributed on campus via Pop-Up Swaps, through the PSU Reuse Room, and to local charities. Learn more.
Friday, June 7 | 3:30 p.m. | Lincoln Hall This showcase features the work of students graduating from PSU’s School of Film. The event includes a portfolio show, followed by a reception, student showcase and award presentation. The student showcase features a faculty-curated selection of student work produced during the academic year. This event is free and open to the public. Learn more.
Friday, June 7 | 5:00-8:30 p.m. | Native American Student and Community Center This is an annual commencement ceremony where the Native American Student and Community Center recognizes graduating PSU Native American, Alaskan Native and Pacific Islander students. Learn more.
Saturday, June 8 | 1:30-5:00 p.m. | Smith Memorial Student Union The Resource Center for Students with Children hosts this free event to celebrate the accomplishments of students who have triumphed in pursuing their degree at PSU while raising children. Children are invited to join their parents and cross the stage to receive a family diploma. In addition to the ceremony, the event will start with a family bash including a bouncy house, games, arts and crafts, refreshments and more. Learn more.
Monday, June 10 | 12:00 p.m. | Park Blocks in front of Shattuck Hall Every second Monday of the month, the Free Food Market provides fresh fruits, vegetables and other food items to PSU students and the greater community. This partnership between the Committee for Improving Student Food Security and the Oregon Food Bank is an effort to increase student access to healthy food options and to reduce food insecurity. This event is free and open to the public. Here’s how it works.
Wednesday, June 12 | 6:00-8:00 p.m. | Smith Memorial Student Union The Queer Resource Center hosts this event to honor the graduates of their community in an intimate setting. The ceremony includes dinner and acknowledgements of each participating graduate. This event will include a catered dinner, ceremony and reception to follow. All Gender Restrooms are available onsite. Learn more and register to attend.
Friday, June 14 | 6:00 p.m. | Smith Memorial Student Union This is an annual Cultural Resource Centers ceremony that honors diversity and celebrates cultural traditions by creating a student-centered inclusive space to celebrate the graduation of multicultural students. The ceremony includes student speakers, a keynote speaker and a post-ceremony dessert mixer. Learn more.
Friday, June 14-Sunday, June 16 | various times | Viking Pavilion and Moda Center PSU students will gather together to celebrate the culmination of their hard work. Decked out in regalia, students will walk across the stage to be conferred their degrees. Graduates are encouraged to invite family and friends, but they must reserve tickets. The different colleges at PSU have dedicated ceremonies throughout the weekend at either the Viking Pavilion or Moda Center. See ceremony schedule.
Writing is something all college students will have to do for most of their classes. That’s why PSU has a Writing Center, which is designed to help students at any writing level, and at any stage in the writing process.
How do you know if you should go to the Writing Center? Well, everyone should go! Whether you’re struggling with grammar, don’t know how to write a particular assignment for a class or want feedback on a scholarship essay, the Writing Center can help.
One unique thing about PSU’s Writing Center is that all consultants have earned or are working toward their Master’s in Writing or English, and many also teach writing classes. There’s even an ESL specialist and dedicated graduate student drop-in hours.
Here’s what you should do to get the most out of your visit.
Step 1: Decide what you want to get out of your session.
When you go into your session, your consultant will ask you what you want to get out of it and will tailor their feedback accordingly. Make sure you have a few specific questions or issues in mind.
Have a tricky essay assignment and don’t know where to start? They can help you brainstorm and write an outline. Finished your paper but think you didn’t use commas correctly? Let your consultant know, and they can point out recurring issues and show you how to fix them.
Step 2: Schedule an appointment or visit drop-in hours.
If scheduling an appointment won’t work for you, stop in during drop-in hours. Remember to show up early to sign in because drop-in hours fill up fast. The Writing Center (located in 188 Cramer Hall) holds drop-in hours Monday through Friday from 12 to 2 pm.
You can also stop by the Writing Center Outpost on the second floor of the PSU Library. Outpost hours are from 9 am to 12 pm.
Step 3: Come prepared.
Print out two copies of your paper, so both you and your consultant can easily read it. Make sure to also bring in your assignment sheet. Time is limited, so if your paper is long, have a couple of sections you want to focus on, in addition to some specific questions.
Step 4: Become a better writer!
Remember that Writing Center consultants will not “fix” your paper for you. They won’t copy edit your writing, but will point out things you can improve and give you the tools and advice to do it yourself. This means you shouldn’t bring in an assignment an hour before it’s due—you won’t have enough time to work on it before turning it in.
Once you leave your session, revise your work! Consultants even suggest you bring in the same assignment multiple times throughout the writing process. That way, you can really see your growth.
No matter your skill level, it can be helpful to get feedback on your writing, especially if it is from someone experienced.
May is National Bike Month, so get out there on two wheels and explore PSU and Portland, one of the best places on Earth for cycling. It consistently has one of the highest bike commuting rates in the country. Portlanders love to cruise the city’s 350+ miles of bike paths. PSU has even been awarded platinum status by the League of American Bicyclists—the highest bike-friendly ranking a university can receive.
To celebrate National Bike Month, PSU hosts the annual Bike Challenge, a friendly competition and series of events throughout May. The Bike Challenge encourages new and experienced riders to hop on their bikes. The different PSU departments compete against each other to see who can get the most students and staff to ride throughout the month.
You don’t even need your own bike to get started. Just take advantage of PSU’s many bike resources for students.
Have you been putting off getting that flat tire fixed? Want to get some new gear? Don’t have a bike, but want to rent one? PSU’s Bike Hub has you covered. The Bike Hub is a student-run bike resource for the PSU community. It’s located in the Academic and Student Resource Center (the same building as Campus Rec).
If you want to fix up your own bike using PSU’s Bike Hub, it’s free! The Bike Hub is a do-it-yourself environment where experts can instruct you and provide you with the resources and tools to keep your bike running smoothly.
The Bike Hub also hosts workshops and events geared toward teaching new bikers how to maintain their systems. Every Friday the Bike Hub hosts the Flat Fix Clinic, where you can bring in your wheels and learn how to change flat bike tires—free patch kits are included for all attendees. Check out the Bike Hub workshop schedule.
DIY not your thing? The Bike Hub has trained staff who can repair your bike for you. And their prices are much cheaper than other shops in town. See services and costs.
All you need to do to utilize the Bike Hub repair services is become a member! Membership is FREE to current PSU students, staff and faculty.
If you don’t have your own, you can rent a bike for a day, a weekend or a full week through the Bike Hub. They offer bikes for different needs, including a comfortable cruiser, a fast bike that can handle both on and off-road rides and an electric bike that will do the hard work for you. Check out bikes and prices.
Through VikeBike, you can rent a bike for just $45 per term for up to three academic terms! VikeBike even has a need-based program that provides bikes to qualifying students for FREE. The VikeBike program is designed to break down the cost barrier to cycling. They refurbish abandoned bikes on campus and rent them out to students. On top of a fully-refurbished bike, you’ll get a Bike Hub membership, indoor bike garage pass, a helmet that’s yours to keep and more. Sign up!
BIKETOWN is Portland’s bike sharing system, which has 1,000 bikes and 100 hubs around the city. The bright orange bikes are great for everything from quick trips to Powell’s to just getting around campus easily.
Going to college can be especially challenging for first-generation college students, and even more difficult for students from low-income or single-parent homes. Katrina Dejeu didn’t let those challenges deter her from achieving her ultimate goal—becoming an intensive care unit doctor.
She has always been interested in healthcare. Since she was young, she thought she would go into nursing. Even though money was tight, she knew going to college was the first step to achieving her goals. She applied to PSU because it was close to home and more affordable than other universities. And she knew PSU offered resources to help her be a successful college student. “TRIO is one of the main reasons I decided to go to PSU. I got an email from TRIO, and they suggested I take the Summer Bridge class. It helped me adjust to college and learn about PSU’s resources.”
TRIO is a program that helps students overcome class, social and cultural barriers to higher education. TRIO students are first-generation, low-income and/or from culturally diverse backgrounds. They get an advisor, who works with them throughout their time at PSU. TRIO hosts workshops to set students up for success. They even provide TRIO students a computer lab and resource rentals, including books, laptops and calculators. Katrina even became a Peer Outreach Mentor for TRIO when she was a junior.
Katrina started at PSU in the pre-nursing track. Her classes were going well, but she faced some challenges during her freshman year that made her worried she’d have to quit college. She is the second oldest of four children, and her mom is a single parent. Katrina works so she can help support her family and pay rent. Due to difficult personal circumstances, Katrina and her family became homeless.
“We didn’t have any immediate family we could rely on. We stayed at motels with whatever money we had, and sometimes we stayed in our cars. When you’re homeless, you don’t want to do anything. I remember working a job and going to school, but I had no motivation to do anything else. It was scary. The stress made me not want to go to school anymore.”
The first person Katrina went to for help was her TRIO advisor, Linda Liu. “I just cried to her,” says Katrina, “and she listened and referred me to other PSU resources that could help. She even helped me write emails to my professors explaining what was going on and how they could help work around my situation.”
Katrina reached out to PSU’s Center for Student Health and Counseling (SHAC). “Being homeless was a stressful time for me, and I just needed someone to talk to. It was comforting talking to a counselor because they don’t pass judgment.” SHAC even connected Katrina with resources in the Portland community that could help her family find shelter. “We were able to find an apartment because of the resources I was given,” says Katrina.
Katrina overcame that stressful time and even got scholarships and grants to help her pay for college, including the Ignite Scholarship. Ignite is a program that supports pre-health students so they can reach their healthcare career goals. The Ignite Scholarship is a one-time $5,000 award for pre-health students. As part of the scholarship, these students serve as Ignite Mentors, where they connect with incoming pre-health students and help them develop strategies for dealing personal and academic issues. “I really like mentoring others. It’s rewarding to meet students from all walks of life and help them achieve their goals.”
Her healthcare knowledge and leadership experience came in handy when she started volunteering and working in the healthcare field. She gives back by volunteering as a lab assistant at Outside In, a clinic dedicated to providing medical services to homeless youth and other marginalized people. At Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), Katrina works as a student lab assistant for a stem cell research lab. Katrina’s TRIO advisor helped her get a job as a scribe for Adventist Health in the emergency department; she assists physicians by taking notes and completing medical documentation.
It was the thrill of working as a scribe that made Katrina think that becoming a doctor might be a better fit. She learned in her PSU classes that her interest in analyzing lab results and making decisions about patient treatments aligned with doctors. But becoming a doctor felt out of reach. “I thought because my family is low-income and my mom is a single parent that I wouldn’t be able to afford to go to medical school, and it takes many years to complete.”
All she needed was a little push to start her down her dream path. “My supervising doctor at Adventist told me he saw me as more of a doctor than a nurse, because my personality would be best in a leadership role,” says Katrina. “I was surprised to hear that, and it made me believe I could actually become a doctor. I kept talking to my mom about it, and one day she told me, ‘Just do it!’ That convinced me. I wouldn’t let my fears of not being able to afford medical school or being a good enough student get in my way.”
During her junior year, she officially switched to the pre-medicine advising track after talking with her pre-health advisor. Katrina and her advisor looked over the classes she needed and discussed when she should apply for medical school.
After she graduates, Katrina plans to get her doctor of medicine in internal medicine. She wants to get a critical care fellowship, so she can work in an ICU. “I like the adrenaline rush of working in the ICU. Those doctors have to perform under pressure. I want to be able to save people’s lives in emergency situations. That would be such a great honor for me.”