Explore by Bike: PSU’s Bike Resources

Bike rider on Portland bridge

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.


Bike Hub

The Bike Hub

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).

Bike Repairs

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.

Short-Term Bike Rentals

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.

Long-Term Bike Rentals

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 bikes on campus

BIKETOWN

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.

And the best part? PSU students get a FREE annual membership! This means you get 90 minutes of free ride time per day. All you need to do is sign up.

You’ll find these orange bikes on PSU’s campus in these four convenient stations:

  • Student Recreation Center
  • Engineering Building
  • Smith Memorial Student Union
  • Collaborative Life Sciences Building

Check out this interactive map of all the BIKETOWN locations around Portland.


PSU Cycling

If you’re serious about biking, consider joining the PSU Cycling team! The PSU Cycling team goes on social rides in Portland and competes with other colleges around the Pacific Northwest.


Looking for other eco-friendly and fun ways to get around the city? Check out our guide to Portland transit.

Homelessness Didn’t Stop This Future Doctor

Katrina Dejeu

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.

Katrina is graduating from Portland State University in Fall, 2019, with a bachelor’s degree in health studies: health sciences and she’s in the pre-medicine advising track.

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.

PSU students taking five or more credits are charged a Student Health Fee, which covers most medical and counseling services at SHAC. The counseling services at SHAC include individual counseling, group counseling and more. Schedule a consultation with a counselor.

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.”

Check out how financial aid can help you pay for college, so you can achieve your dream career.

Katrina working as a scribe
Katrina’s typical day as a scribe involves following a provider and charting patient information in the electronic medical record.

Upcoming Events: May 2019

May Events

This May, Portland State is encouraging students to nourish their bodies and minds. PSU is hosting events on and off campus centered on sustainability, wellness and art from diverse cultures. Here are just some of the inspiring events taking place this May. For a more comprehensive list, check out the PSU events calendar.

Noon Concert Series

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.

All Majors Career and Internship Fair

Thursday, May 2 | 11:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m. | SMSU Ballroom (3rd floor)
PSU students and alumni of all majors are invited to attend this event, which brings in over 80 employers from a variety of industries—see which ones suit your skills and interests. Take this opportunity to make progress on your job and internship search by networking with employers and making a great first impression! Learn about different career paths and ask your career questions directly to employers. This is a free event. See what you should do to prepare.

Fridays@4: Architecture Series

Every Friday | 4:00 p.m. | Shattuck Hall
Each Friday during most of the academic term, PSU School of Architecture students and faculty gather together to hear from professional designers and architects, academics, visiting artists, innovators and students in the program. This free event is open to the public and provides refreshments. See calendar for information about each event.

Be Honest! PSU Graphic Design Portfolio Showcase

Saturday, May 4 | 5:00-9:00 p.m. | Wieden + Kennedy, 244 NW 13th Ave
Be Honest is the PSU Graphic Design annual student portfolio showcase. All graphic design students who want to participate will display their work. It’s part portfolio show, part party, part open house, part alumni reunion, part scholarship ceremony and all fun! This event is free and open to the public. Learn more.

Coastal Camping

Saturday, May 4-Sunday, May 5 | weekend trip | Oregon Coast
Travel across time with PSU’s Outdoor Program through the history of the Oregon Coast on this oceanside camping trip. At Ecola State Park, take in the lush, temperate rainforest of the coast and the stellar ocean views. After a night camping in the fresh ocean air, you’ll get to explore Fort Stevens State Park, learn about the colonization of the Columbia River estuary and visit the remains of a hundred-year-old shipwreck. This trip is designed for all abilities and can be easily modified to accommodate disabilities. The trip costs $110 for Rec Center members (all PSU students pay for membership in their tuition and fees) and $190 for non-members, which pays for transportation, trip leaders, meals and all necessary equipment. Learn more and see other trips.

Pride Kickball Tournament

Tuesday, May 7 | 6:00-8:00 p.m. | Stott Field
Celebrate PSU Pride month (May) with the Queer Resource Center! Wear your pride colors and relive recess with a spirited game of kickball. Winners will receive a championship t-shirt. This event is free for Campus Rec members (all PSU students pay for membership in their tuition and fees) and $7 for guests. Register online.

Nourish Wellness Fair

Wednesday, May 8 | 12:00-2:00 p.m. | Viking Pavilion
Attend PSU’s annual Nourish Wellness Fair to learn more about wellness resources on and off campus. Receive free massages, healthy food samples, fresh produce and more. This event is free and open to the entire PSU community. Valid PSU ID required. Learn more.

Manuel Arturo Abreu: Beneath the Music from a Farther Room

Thursday, May 9 | 5:00-7:30 p.m. | AB Lobby Gallery, Art Building
The AB Lobby Gallery presents a solo show of new work by Manuel Arturo Abreu featuring sculpture, printed matter and video work exploring the musicality of abstraction and the veil of language. This event is the opening reception, and the work will be on display until May 23. The opening reception is free and open to the public.

Pacific Islanders Club 17th Annual Lu’au

Saturday, May 11 | 4:00 p.m. | AB Lobby Gallery, Art Building
Every year, the Pacific Islanders Club hosts a lu’au, an important cultural tradition around the Pacific that has been adopted by cultures around the world. This year’s theme, “Let The Legends Be Told,” showcases the stories of the island nations represented in the club including Hawai’i, Fiji, Tahiti, Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand and Palau. You’ll eat culturally-inspired food, watch performances by members of the community and see a special appearance by Tolo Tuitele and Kaloku & Da Krew. This event is free for PSU students with proof of ID. Tickets cost $10 for faculty and staff, $12 for pre-sale and $15 at the door for the general public. Learn more.

How Race Is Made in America: Natalia Molina Lecture

Tuesday, May 14 | 5:00 p.m. | SMSU Ballroom (3rd floor)
Come listen to this lecture by Dr. Natalia Molina, who will illustrate how broad themes of race and citizenship are constructed and explore how “racial scripts” are easily applied to different peoples, places and events. Register for this free event online.

Reuse Pop-Up Swap

Thursday, May 16 | 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. | SW Montgomery between 6th Ave and Broadway
PSU Reuses is hosting this swap, where campus and community members are invited to leave something, take something or do both! Donate household goods, office supplies, clothing and non-perishable foods. There will also be a bin to collect e-waste for any broken electronics or appliances. We are not able to accommodate furniture or broken or hazardous materials such as chemicals. This is a free event.

Chamber Choir: Surprise!

Friday, May 17 | 7:30 p.m. | St. Philip Neri Catholic Church
The Portland State Chamber Choir celebrates guest tenor Paul Sperry’s 85th birthday with a concert of American premieres, new works and old favorites. The program includes the American premiere performances of “Vineta” and “Es Rakstu” by Eriks Esenvalds as well as new arrangements of music by American composers Richard Hundley, Paul Bowles and Dudley Buck. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online.

Music That Binds Us

Saturday, May 18 | 1:30-3:00 p.m. | Lincoln Recital Hall
Join us for an afternoon of music you won’t soon forget! Six local composers join forces to create this exciting one-time only concert. This performance entwines moving audio recorded stories of everyday people with beautifully composed music commissioned with each story in mind to create a powerful and thought-provoking exhibit of the human experience. This concert is full of everything it means to be human—love, loss, sadness, triumph and tribulations. This event is free and open to the public. Reserve your seat.

12th Annual Sustainability Celebration

Thursday, May 23 | 3:00-5:00 p.m. | SMSU Ballroom (3rd floor)
This once-a-year extravaganza of inspiration provides a lively overview of sustainability initiatives, projects and programs at PSU. You’ll have the opportunity to mix and mingle with the most forward-thinking students, staff and faculty on campus. This event features an awards ceremony, project showcase, live music and free food. RSVP online.

Vikings Sports

Vikings Softball and Track events are happening all month. Make sure to check out the PSU Vikings event calendar for a detailed schedule.

Freshman Year at PSU: What to Expect

Freshman Year at PSU

So, you’re thinking about going to college. Everyone talks about how different it is from high school, but it’s hard to imagine what it will actually be like. To help you know what to expect from your freshman year at Portland State, we’ve asked some current PSU students what their experience was like when they first started out.


How does being a freshman at PSU compare to being in high school?

Overwhelmingly, the PSU students we talked to said being in college is liberating. You have more freedom, both in your schoolwork and personal life. It can feel like an daunting change at first, but once you find community on campus, you’ll have a support network.

‘It felt more liberating and like I could be my own person and take care of myself. But I felt like I still had support from PSU.’

Check out PSU’s extensive list of student groups, so find one you’re interested in and join! This is a perfect way to find a like-minded community on campus. There are also many resource centers that provide students with services and safe spaces to work on homework or relax.

Check them out:

Favorite part about being a freshman at PSU?

PSU offers many resources for students to adjust to college life.

‘I loved being able to explore the endless amounts of resources at PSU, like the tutoring services and Rec Center. They helped me see everything with fresh eyes and take it all in.’

Even though college coursework can be challenging at first, you never have to feel overwhelmed. You can get help with most subjects in the Learning Center, which offers both in-person and online tutoring. If you need help with any stage in the writing process (brainstorming and understanding assignments included), visit the Writing Center. Schedule an appointment online or visit during drop-in hours to meet with a tutor.

Stay fit by visiting PSU’s Rec Center. Climb the rock wall, swim in the pool, relax in the hot tub, use fitness equipment, take classes (like yoga or Zumba) and much more. You can even explore the Pacific Northwest by going on a backpacking or kayaking trip with the Outdoor Program.

Keep your mind and body healthy by using the Center for Student Health and Counseling (SHAC). All students taking five or more credits pay a Student Health Fee, which gives them access to SHAC medical, counseling and dental services, regardless of whether they have PSU insurance. The Student Health Fee covers most medical and counseling services, including the Mind Spa, a space for relaxation through meditation, yoga, biofeedback, massage and light therapy.

Something unexpected about being a PSU student?

In high school, you rarely get to choose what classes you take. Of course, students have to take prerequisites at Portland State, but there’s so much more freedom to choose classes that interest you. The students we talked to were surprised by how much they loved their classes.

‘I didn’t expect that I would love my classes as much as I have. You get out of it what you put in, and I truly enjoy learning now.’

One of the unique things about PSU is that we have advising pathways. Similar majors are grouped together, so you can pick an area you’re interested in and stick with that advisor, even if you change majors. Your advisor can help you figure out your future career and suggest classes for you to take. Find your advisor and schedule an appointment.

Don’t be nervous about your classes. Advisors, tutors, resource center staff and your professors are here to help you succeed.

‘I didn’t expect to succeed as well as I am. It’s nice to know that passing classes isn’t as hard as I thought it’d be, especially since all professors have office hours and are willing to help students whenever they need extra assistance or clarification.’

You can find your professor’s office hours and contact information on their syllabus. If you can’t make their office hours, don’t hesitate to contact them to schedule an appointment.

What do PSU students wish they knew during freshman year?

When you’re worried about getting settled in, it can be stressful figuring out how you’ll pay for college. But there are so many opportunities at PSU and through the connections you’ll make here to find jobs and internships.

‘I wish I had known more about Handshake and other resources for finding jobs and internships.’

Handshake is an online application that helps you apply for jobs and internships at PSU and beyond. Getting a job on campus is a great way to connect with other student workers. And the best part is that on-campus jobs work with your school schedule—their first priority is helping you succeed as a student.

There are many other opportunities for you to pay for college at PSU.

‘I wish I knew more about how to get the most financial aid!’

Connect with the Financial Aid office and apply for financial aid every year. PSU also has an extensive list of scholarships. October 1 is the scholarship application deadline, so get a head start. Scholarships have different requirements, like essays and references.

Read our blog about understanding financial aid.

Major takeaway?

College is worth it! At Portland State, you’ll make lasting connections with people from diverse backgrounds. You’ll learn and grow as a student and person.

‘College is worth it, not just the academics, but the whole experience of meeting new people and gaining new experiences.’


Worried you’ll be homesick your first year? Check out our blog outlining all the PSU resources that can help ease homesickness.

Admissions Events Breakdown

Admissions Events

Every year, we host many events to welcome prospective and admitted undergraduate students to Portland State. But what do all the admissions events mean? We’ve compiled a list of all the admissions events, so you can figure out which ones you should attend.


For Prospective Students:

Campus Tours

PSU hosts guided campus tours most weekdays. Prospective students and their families will learn about the admissions process and go on tour around campus, led by one of PSU’s Student Ambassadors. Tours take about 75 minutes, and you will get to walk through the Park Blocks, tour some of our historic and renovated buildings, see the PSU Library and Viking Pavilion and check out campus housing. Sign up!

Honors Visit Days

If you are a prospective or recently admitted honors student, you can attend an Honors Visit Day, which includes an information session, campus tour and visit to the Honors Commons and Honors College housing. Register by selecting a visit labeled “HN.”


For Prospective Freshmen:

Preview Day

In the fall, high school seniors and their families are invited to this event on PSU’s campus to participate in fun activities and speak to current students, staff and faculty. You’ll get to hear about different academic departments and tour our 50 acre campus. You’ll also get to eat lunch on us at the farmers market or one of our many food cart options, which are set up along the Park Blocks. Learn more.

Bridges

High school students who are first generation and/or from ethnically diverse backgrounds are invited to this annual event, which happens in November. Students must attend as part of a school or organization. At this event, you will take part in a series of workshops and tours designed to help you make an informed decision about what career path you’re interested in and where you’ll go to college. You will learn about the admissions process, financial aid, scholarship opportunities and how to be a successful student at PSU! Learn more.

Viking Scholars

PSU hosts this event every May to honor high-achieving Oregon high school juniors. You must have a GPA of 3.50 or higher and be nominated by your high school counselor to attend. Nominated students and their families are invited to the Viking Scholars Reception, where they will be served dinner and celebrate their achievements. All students who attend will receive a $1,000 scholarship to be applied to their first term of full-time enrollment at PSU. Nominated students can register here.

VIP Vikings

Attendees to the Viking Scholars Reception who are also admitted to and enroll in the University Honors College will be invited to this event, which is held in August. Prospective Honors students and their families will enjoy an ice cream social and meet with current Honors students, faculty and staff. To top it off, all students who attend will be awarded an additional annual $3,000 scholarship. Qualifying students will receive an email invite.  


For Prospective Transfers:

Transfer Open House

These monthly events are for students interested in transferring to PSU. You will get to know PSU’s campus and meet with admissions and financial aid representatives. If you bring your official transcripts and apply to PSU 48 hours before attending, you’ll get an instant admission decision and have your $50 application fee deferred! See schedule.

Transfer Workshops

If you can’t make it to PSU’s campus for Transfer Open House, see if there’s a Transfer Workshop happening near you. PSU admissions counselors travel to community colleges around the Portland Metro area to answer your questions and help you with the admissions process. If you bring your official transcripts and apply to PSU 48 hours before attending, you’ll get an instant admission decision and have your $50 application fee deferred! See dates and locations.

Transfer Consultation

Admissions counselors frequently hold Transfer Consultations on community college campuses and at PSU. This is your chance to meet one-on-one with a counselor, who can answer any questions you have about becoming a PSU student. See Schedule.


For Admitted Students:

Admitted Student Reception

Admitted students are invited to celebrate their acceptance to PSU! At this event, you get to meet future peers and learn about the next steps for enrollment, financing your education, campus housing and more. These events are held at different locations around the country, including one on PSU’s campus. Sign up!

New Student Orientation

All new PSU undergraduate students are required to attend Orientation before they can register for classes. At Orientation, you’ll get to know the campus, learn about student resources and support services, register for your first term of classes and more. Before you can sign up for Orientation, you must confirm your enrollment. Sign up for Orientation!

Viking Days

PSU kicks off each school year by hosting this big celebration the week before classes start in September. The schedule of events includes a lip sync battle, SHAC block party, a drag show and more! This is the perfect opportunity to connect with fellow students and make PSU your new home. Learn more.


Make sure to take advantage of PSU’s many admissions events! They’re designed to answer your questions and welcome you to our diverse student body at PSU.

Still trying to decide where you’ll go to college? Check out our blog about National College Decision Day and tools to help you decide.


Veteran Explores Trauma in Writing and Comics

Dustin Rozier

Portland State’s urban campus is a big departure from home for many students. Growing up in a small town of about 5,000 in Georgia, Dustin Rozier never imagined he’d end up in Portland, let alone go to college.

“Where I grew up, I didn’t know anyone who went to college. No one in my family went to college, and very few graduated from high school. The idea of college didn’t seem like a feasible option,” says Dustin. And now, he’s making the most out of being a student at PSU, following his interests across many programs. He couldn’t settle on just one! Dustin is a senior finishing his bachelor’s in English and Creative Writing in fiction, with minors in French and Philosophy and a Comics Studies certificate.

Dustin’s path to PSU was not simple. Right out of high school, he enlisted in the Marine Corps. “At that time, we were at war in Iraq and Afghanistan. I thought I had this duty to serve, but it was also a way for me to get out of my small town. I left when I was 18, then spent six and a half years in the Marines.” Joining the Marines and seeing many parts of the world exposed Dustin to people from diverse backgrounds. His mind was opened to new ideas. It got him thinking about going to college.

“I had never lived in a city outside of the military. While I was on leave, I visited Portland and really liked the Pacific Northwest. I identify more with the social and political environment here. I’m vegan, for example.” Dustin initially planned on working security jobs. He knew he would get money for college from GI Bill Benefits, so he decided to take the plunge and apply to PSU.

Dustin got involved with the community of veterans at PSU by working in the Veterans Resource Center. The VRC provides a comfortable and supportive environment for veterans, including a student lounge, computer space, leadership opportunities, student employment and programs.

Students who think they qualify for benefits should connect with Veterans Services. In addition to the VRC, PSU’s Veterans Services includes the Veterans Certification office, which can help you process and certify your Veterans Affairs (VA) or Department of Defense (DoD) benefits, including the GI Bill. There are several different GI Bill programs with different eligibility under the VA Education Benefits. Keep in mind that before you can apply to use VA Education Benefits, you must apply to PSU and contact the Veterans Certification office.

Visit the Veterans Services website for information about how to start getting benefits.

Dustin lives in an apartment on campus with his dog, Bear.

Like many students, Dustin wasn’t sure what major he wanted. He tried the Anthropology program and enjoyed it. But when he took College Writing (an introductory writing class), he found the right fit for him. He was always a big reader and did some writing. His professor helped him connect with the English department and suggested he meet with his advisor. PSU has Advising Pathways that groups similar majors together, so students can stay with their advisor, even if they switch majors. “I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today without the support from my advisor, Roxanne James, and the amazing faculty in the English department.” Says Dustin, “They helped me figure out what topics I was interested in and pushed me to pursue them.”

Dustin’s passions moved from wanting to help veterans through social work to helping them deal with trauma through his writing and scholarly work. “I’m interested in trauma theory and ecocriticism,” says Dustin, “like looking at how comics can display personal and environmental trauma, and how that helps people cope.” He decided to study Creative Writing and Comics Studies, in addition to English, so he could both learn about comics and write them.

He even joined the University Honors College, so he could connect with other dedicated students. Honors students work one-on-one with faculty on research projects, internships and a senior thesis.

His dreams just kept getting bigger. “When I first started, I had no idea I would even get a degree. Then it slowly formed into the idea of getting a PhD in English Literature. I decided I wanted to teach in a university.”

When Dustin found out about the Peer Mentor program, he thought it was the perfect opportunity to gain teaching experience and get more involved with PSU students. Peer Mentors are part of PSU’s unique University Studies program. University Studies is a nationally recognized approach to education that gives students an integrated learning experience, critical job skills and lifelong connections. Students choose a theme-based class and work on a project that addresses a real problem in the Portland community. Peer Mentors work with professors to design lesson plans and lead small group sessions with students outside of the main class. These group sessions help students get more individualized feedback and build community.

“I worked with one professor on a class with the theme ‘Portland,’ then another with the theme ‘The Work of Art.’” Says Dustin, “Being a Peer Mentor helped me learn how I could transfer a lot of my skills I developed in the military, like leading people, public speaking and problem solving, to the educational environment at PSU.”

When Dustin decided to apply for grad school, he knew Portland State was the only place he wanted to go. He felt supported by the faculty and staff at PSU, but he also knew he would be still be challenged in the English program. And he was accepted! Next fall, Dustin will be starting his master’s degree in English and teaching at PSU as a Graduate Assistant.

“I’m not in the same demographic as most undergrads,” says Dustin, “being a veteran and a first-generation college student. Going to PSU and living in Portland has helped me look back on my past in a different way. It helped me realize how I can use my background and interests to teach others.”

Dustin is excited he gets to stay at PSU and explore the Pacific Northwest more. When he’s not busy with classwork, Dustin is a part of the motorcycle culture in Oregon. He builds motorcycles and rides them around the state, taking in Oregon’s natural beauty.

Check out PSU’s Advising Pathways, so you can start figuring out what major is your right fit.

Dustin poses with his motorcycle against the Oregon landscape.
Dustin on a writing research trip during wildfire season in Southern Oregon.

Upcoming Events: April 2019

Cherry Blossoms

It’s officially spring, which means it’s a time for renewal. Portland State is hosting events on and off campus that challenge students to grow as active and engaged members of the community in Portland. We’ve highlighted some of the many events happening in April. For a more comprehensive list, check out the PSU events calendar.


Cherry Blossoms in Portland

Most of April | Tom McCall Waterfront Park
We may be in the city of roses, but there are other amazing flowers to view in the spring just a few blocks from campus. One of the most enchanting times of the year is when the cherry blossoms take over Portland. You can find them all over the city, but check out the prime viewing locations.

Earthquake Preparation Event

Monday, April 1 | 5:00-8:00 p.m. | Columbia Falls Conference Room, University Place Hotel
This event invites PSU students, faculty, scientists and community members to discuss the potential of the Cascadia Earthquake taking place again in the Pacific Northwest. The goal of the event is to provide credible information about how this earthquake could impact life in the region and how to prepare. This evening will include free dinner, a keynote speaker from the Oregon Department of Transportation, a panel of researchers and professionals and tables displaying student research and local company contributions. This event is free with registration. Learn more.

Jamillah James: Connective Conversations Curator Critic Tour

Tuesday, April 2 | 7:00 p.m. | Portland Art Museum Whitsell Auditorium
Jamillah James is Curator at the the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. As part of this ongoing Tour, she will deliver a lecture and lead community conversations about art and making investments in Oregon visual art institutions. This is a free lecture hosted in part by PSU’s School of Art + Design. Advanced tickets are recommended.

Noon Concert Series

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.

Bring Your Kids to Campus Day

Monday, April 8 | 8:30 a.m. | Across PSU campus
The Resource Center for Students with Children invites you and your family to this campus-wide celebration. Different departments and student clubs will host activities in locations all over campus designed to educate and entertain children. This is an opportunity for you to show your children all that PSU has to offer, and to get them excited about university life! This event is free for all students, faculty and staff. Register to reserve your spots.

Zumbathon

Thursday, April 11 | 5:30-7:30 p.m. | MAC Court, Campus Rec
Join Campus Rec and the Women’s Resource Center for this fundraiser, which occurs each year during Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Donations support the WRC’s Survivor Emergency Fund ($5 suggested donation). There will be multiple instructors leading participants through a variety of musical genres and dance styles. Come dance for five minutes or the full two hours. Open to the entire PSU community and up to three guests (Campus Rec guest fee waived for this event). Read requirements to attend event.

Silas Munro: A Proclamation in Type and Image Form

Thursday, April 11 | 7:00-9:00 p.m. | The Redd on Salmon
Bridging education and practice, Silas Munro applies design to inspire people to better themselves and improve society. His studio, poly-mode helps organizations embrace cultural diversity and increase community involvement. This free lecture is part of Portland Design Week. Register to attend.

Elevating Impact Lab: Better Cities Challenge

Thursday, April 11 – Saturday, April 13 | Various times | KMC Atrium
PSU’s Elevating Impact Lab is designed to activate PSU students into change agents. During two evenings and a day, you will work with mentors from the community, faculty and staff to experience innovation in action and grow your entrepreneurial skills. Over the course of the lab, you will build a team and develop, refine, test and pitch a business concept. The theme of this Elevating Impact Lab, Better Cities Challenge, explores opportunities for innovation and business applications in our urban environment. The Keynote is free, but the Elevating Impact Lab is $10 (not including fees). Purchase tickets online in advance. Learn more about scheduled speakers and events.

Bridgetown Boulder Bash

Friday, April 12 – Saturday, April 13 | Various times | Northwest Collegiate Climbing Circuit (NC3)
Each year, Campus Rec offers an all-skill-levels bouldering competition. This year’s Bridgetown Boulder Bash is comprised of two events: the Community Climbing Event on Friday evening and the Northwest Collegiate Climbing Competition series on Saturday. This event is open to the public, and ticket prices vary between $10 and $40 for the different events. Register online.

La Finta Giardiniera

Friday, April 19 – Sunday, April 28 | Various showings | Lincoln Performance Hall
This opera includes mistaken identities, ridiculous coincidences, lovers going mad and the brilliant music of Mozart. You’ll see talented and growing young artists of the PSU Opera Program and Orchestra. Tickets range from $15-$30 and can be purchased online.

Denim Day and SAAM Rally

Wednesday, April 24 | 10 a.m.-3:00 p.m. | Park Blocks
Denim Day is part of a national awareness campaign initially mobilized by Peace Over Violence in the late 90’s. Since then, wearing jeans on Denim Day has become a symbol of protest against sexual violence. The PSU community will wear denim and gather in the Park Blocks to rally together in resistance against sexual violence, in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). There will be free food, raffle opportunities and games. This free event is open to the community.

Vikings Sports

Vikings Basketball, Tennis and Golf are playing all month. Make sure to check out the PSU Vikings event calendar for a detailed schedule.

Nepalese Cultural Night

Women dancing at the Nepalese Cultural Night

Live music, mouthwatering food and boisterous conversation beckoned people from all walks of life to come celebrate Nepalese art and tradition at Portland State. Every winter term, the Nepalese Student Association (NSA), one of the many student organizations at PSU, hosts the Nepalese Cultural Night. NSA is made up of both international and domestic students, most of whom have Nepalese roots—all PSU students, regardless of their heritage, can join. And they foster this attitude of inclusivity at the event as well, creating a space for community members, faculty and students and their families to mingle and share their love of Nepalese culture.

This year, the Nepalese Cultural Night took place in the Smith Memorial Student Union. The event space was illuminated with vibrant colors and decorated with traditional banners. Culturally-significant, handmade Nepalese arts and crafts were displayed in an exhibition. There were copper bowls and jewelry passed down for many generations and used in wedding ceremonies. They also displayed instruments, like Nepalese singing bowls and traditional drums, for people to try. Everyone mingled while sipping on hot chai tea and watching Nepalese films play on the projector as they waited for the main events.

Entertainment

Dance Performance Nepalese Cultural NightMusic Performance Nepalese Cultural Night

Throughout the night, different performers showed off their culture. Music varied from traditional Nepalese music to karaoke songs from popular movies. Dancers floated across the stage in sparkling, cultural garments.

Halfway through the night, students in NSA and their family members filled the stage to lead a performance of Deusi Re. This traditional song is sung during Tihar, the festival of light. In Nepal, folks go to homes around their community to sing Deusi Re and dance. These households give the performers food and money in exchange for blessings.

Food

Food at Nepalese Cultural NightPlate of Food at Nepalese Cultural Night

To top off an already amazing night of entertainment—free food! The catered food included chicken makhani, vegetable khoorma, mixed vegetable pakoras, basmati rice, nan and hot chai tea. The mingling continued, but slowed down, as everyone savored their dinner.


The event gave everyone a taste of Nepalese culture and perfectly exemplified the Nepalese tradition of hospitality. So, if you weren’t able to join in the festivities and get to know the community, check out the Nepalese Cultural Night next year, or join the Nepalese Student Association.

Nabin Dhimal, a NSA member who helped organize the event, was recently featured on our blog. Read about his experience immigrating to the U.S. from Nepal and becoming a PSU student.

Photos in this blog by Nabin Dhimal Photography

Top 5 Reasons to Live On Campus at Portland State

Campus Housing

We know the last thing you need to worry about when you come to Portland State University for your first term is where you’ll live. You already have to deal with college applications, financial aid and scholarships essays. Not to mention jobs, chores, assignments and… you know, life.

So we’ve made it easy. Simply apply for housing by the priority deadline, May 1, and you’ll have easy access to all the beauty and excitement downtown Portland has to offer.

Here are five reasons why living on campus is a rewarding and irreplaceable experience.


1. Get better grades

National research shows that students who live on campus have higher GPAs and are more likely to graduate on time than their off-campus peers.

Living on campus also means access to a ton of academic support. Academic coaching, Resident Academic Mentors and an after hours in-hall academic support center are all available to help you succeed.

2. Forge lifelong friendships

Living with your peers is an amazing way to meet new people who share your passions. You can even choose to live on floors with your Freshman Inquiry classmates. Part of PSU’s unique University Studies program, Freshman Inquiry (FRINQ) classes are a theme-based, interdisciplinary approach to education that foster close cohorts of students.

Applying to the Honors College? There are Honors-only housing, so you can be part of that dedicated, close-knit community. Are you an international student? You can live with other international students who will relate to your experience. Are you a transfer student? Well, you can live with other transfer and upperclass students as well. PSU strives to house students with people in their community.

PSU’s diverse student body means you will encounter students from all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.

3. Be healthy and happy

PSU has a ton of awesome (and free) ways you can relax and stay stress free on campus. You can see a movie in the 5th Avenue Cinema, a student run cinema that plays films you wouldn’t normally get to see on the big screen—and there’s free popcorn!

Stay fit and have fun at Campus Rec. You can take a dip in the on-campus pool or hot tub, climb the rock climbing wall, attend a Zumba class and much more.

Through Student Health and Counseling (SHAC), you can also get accessible, on-campus mental and physical health services from a team of dedicated professionals. The counseling services are free for all students taking five or more credits. You can even use the Mind Spa, a space where you can meditate, do yoga, play biofeedback games, relax in a massage chair and use the light therapy alcove.

4. Stay safe

Public safety officers patrol our neighborhoods 24/7, keeping our campus community safe. Our buildings require special access, only granted to building residents. You can even use one of the call boxes throughout campus or call Campus Dispatch directly if you would like a safe walk home late at night.

Since you’ll already be on campus, you can get to class without driving in stressful rush-hour traffic. To top it off, you have easy access to all of Portland’s public transit options.

5. Save money

Living on campus means no credit checks, no worrying about paying utilities, no landlord disputes and no hassle about complicated contracts and fine print. And of course, it’s cheaper than living anywhere else downtown. Not to mention that payment plans are also available.

There are so many on-campus housing options, which range from vintage flair to modern chic. So stop worrying about where you’ll live and focus instead on what’s important: which food cart has the best gyros.


If you’re worried about moving to campus as a first year student, check out our blog all about easing homesickness—it lays out even more resources to make your transition to living on campus easy and enjoyable.

Apply for on-campus housing!

Get to Know the PSU Library

It’s safe to say that students have become accustomed to looking to the internet for everything. Need to research for an assignment? Wikipedia and Google Scholar are just a click away, right from the comfort of your home. But you shouldn’t overlook the PSU Library. It’s a powerful resource for students, which can be utilized both in person and online. Since there are so many resources, it can be hard to figure out where to start. Let us walk you through it.


Millar Library

The PSU Library, also called the Branford Price Millar Library (Millar for short), is that building with the curved windows overlooking a big tree and the Park Blocks. The rumors are true—the 1989 addition to the building was made to surround the ancient Copper Beech tree, rather than replace it. The historic tree and surrounding library symbolize PSU’s dedication to environmental awareness and preservation of the Pacific Northwest’s beauty.

During the term, the library is open from 7:30 a.m.-Midnight, with shorter hours on the weekend. Hours vary for different resources and for holidays, so check out their website for more information.

What You’ll Find

Resource Floor Breakdown
Circulation Desk 1 Your go-to place to check out anything you might need: books, study room keys, laptops, chargers, headphones and Course Reserves (short term loans of textbooks or other materials for class).
Study Rooms Basement,
3, 4 and 5
Every PSU student gets up to 15 hours of study room time per week. There are lots of study rooms to choose from, with different sizes and equipment. Reserve a study room online.
Computer Labs 1 and 2 Across both labs, you’ll find over 100 computers, both Macs and PCs. There are also printers you can use from lab computers or online from your personal computer. Make sure to have your student ID handy when you go to print.
Reference Desk 2 Need help finding a book or starting your research? Ask a librarian at the Reference Desk. They’re available to answer your questions.
Learning Center 2 Here you can meet with tutors and get help with almost any subject you could need, including academic coaching. They even offer some tutoring online. Check out their tutor schedule.
Writing Center Outpost 2 You’ll find Writing Center tutors at this outpost, right near the Learning Center. They’re open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-noon and take drop-ins. If you need more extensive help or can’t make those hours, visit the main Writing Center in Cramer Hall 188.
3D Printer 2 PSU students can print projects using the library’s 3D printer for only 15 cents per gram. You can use the printer for class or just for fun, printing other people’s designs or creating your own!
Bradford’s Bean 1 Can’t get through your study session without a pick-me-up? This little coffee bar serves Peet’s Coffee and variety of sandwiches, healthy snacks and pastries.
Quiet Floors Basement, 4 and 5 Here you’ll find study cubicles and chairs, all designed to give students a quiet and comfortable place. Remember… Shhhh…

Librarians

The library employs a large staff of librarians who specialize in any subject you can imagine. Get in contact with your subject librarian for specialized help. You can meet with librarians in person or chat with them online.

Books and Collections

Explore the many shelves of books at your leisure. Need to find something specific? Check out the PSU Library Catalog, which you can do on your own computer or by using one of the dedicated Research Kiosks throughout the library.

What if you find a book that isn’t available in the PSU Library? You have access to books from Summit and Interlibrary Loan. Summit is an alliance between 39 colleges and universities in Oregon, Washington and Idaho that makes their collections available to students in participating schools. You can request a book from Summit through the Library Catalog, and a school that has it will send it to the PSU Library for you to pick it up. Books only take about 5 days to arrive. If Summit doesn’t have the materials you need, you can request them from Interlibrary Loan. However, getting books this way takes longer and is less reliable than through Summit.

The PSU Library has a number of Special Collections and Archives, featuring everything from African American History in Oregon to rare Medieval manuscripts. PSU even has a complete Dark Horse Comics Collection! You can read and check out the comics from the browsing collection located on the third, fourth and fifth floors facing the curved windows. Learn more about the Dark Horse Comics Collection in our blog about comics at PSU and in Portland.

Students in Special Collections
Students looking at rare books in the PSU Library Special Collections.

Online

The PSU Library online resources can be accessed from your home computer or on campus. The library website is the first place you should go when you need to do research for class.

Ask a Librarian

You can chat with a librarian 24/7 using Ask a Librarian. Just open up a chat and send them any questions you have about finding a source, using the library services and more.  

Databases

Have you ever used Google Scholar, found an awesome source, then realized you needed to pay to read it? That’s why you should use the databases through the PSU Library. PSU pays all those fees for you to access articles and materials online, but you have to go through the website to take advantage of it.

Subject Guides

If you don’t know where to start your research, or you want more information about a subject you’re studying in class, check out the Subject and Course Guides. The librarians who specialize in these topics put together special guides with a bunch of useful resources. They make it as easy as possible for you to get the resources you need, like relevant databases, industry journals and more.

PDXScholar

Ever wanted to find work published by PSU students and faculty? PDXScholar is a database that provides access to all the articles and research put out by people at PSU, including studies, dissertations and theses, university archives, journals and open access textbooks.


Go explore the library in person and online, so you know everything you have access to as a PSU student!​