How to Create Your Scholarship Strategy

It can seem like an impossible task to apply for scholarships. Where to start? What to write about? How to add in scholarship applications to your already packed schedule? We know you’ve got a lot going on. To make it a little less scary, we put together some tools and tips to help you get started on your scholarship applications, leaving you with plenty of time to watch Netflix get caught up on school work. Applying for scholarships is time-consuming, no doubt, but it pays off big time. Literally.

Let’s start with the basics

Scholarships are opportunities for free money you can use to pay for college. By “free” we mean it’s money you don’t have to pay back. Scholarships can come from many different sources. Creativity and confidence can go a long way when searching for opportunities.

There are many different scholarship types. Some scholarships are merit or skill-based, while some depend on how you are involved with your community, and some are based solely off financial need.It’s a good idea to apply early. Many scholarships have early application deadlines, with most opening in the fall and closing quickly for next school year. This means that scholarship applications need to be submitted nearly a year in advance of when you plan to start school. The earlier you apply the more likely you are to get more money because the pool of competitors will likely be smaller.

What do I need to submit?

For most scholarships you will likely need to complete three to four components:

Scholarship Application: This form is for your personal information, things like classes you are taking, grades, where you’re from, etc.

Responses to Essay Questions: This is your chance to introduce yourself and highlight your experiences and achievements. We went in-depth on the best ways to make your essay stand out. It can be useful to save your essays since a lot of scholarships have similar essay questions. A little bit of tweaking on a basic essay can save you a lot of time.

Letters of Recommendation: Most students submit at least two from key influential professionals in your life that can speak to your character and accomplishments and want you to succeed. Make sure to give your letter-writers plenty of notice to avoid any disasters. Got questions about asking for letters? We can help!

Interview: Sometimes (not often) scholarships request an interview with students. Treat it just like you would a job interview. Remember to be honest and confident!

How do I find scholarships?

Go Local First. Begin your scholarship search at your school. The PSU Scholarship for students applying for the fall term opens on October 1 and closes on February 1. This scholarship is exclusive to students interested in coming to PSU. We did a post about this great resource, so be sure to spend some time reading up on it.

Use Community Connections. This is an important one because organizations are more likely to give you money if they know you personally. Think about the social, athletic and professional communities that you are a member of. Talk to your family, coworkers, friends and who knows? The more you spread the word, the more likely you will get a scholarship. Do you volunteer for an organization frequently? Don’t be afraid to ask for a scholarship! The worst thing that will happen is that they say no.

Here are a few options:

Broaden your search. There are scholarships for just about anything out there. Think about your goals and dreams. What brought you to this point? How do you plan on using your degree? Think about your next big steps and then search for a national scholarship that may be specifically focused on studies in the arts, sciences or unique to you and your future endeavors. You can also make a list of anything unique or interesting facts about yourself and start with that!

Here are a few options:

Go BIG! There are national scholarship directories, too:

Get the Help you Need

Schedule an Appointment with a PSU Financial Aid Counselor. Open to all students, the Office of Financial Aid holds Scholarship Workshops every Fall term to help students create effective scholarship applications.

PSU Advising & Career Services Workshops PSU’s Advising and Career Services offers a selection of workshops aimed toward helping you choose a major and career, answering your questions about internships, preparing you for interviewing, perfecting your resume and cover letter, and more. No need to sign up in advance, just arrive in their office prior to the time the workshop is scheduled to begin.

Visit the PSU Writing Center The Writing Center aims to help writers at any stage of the writing process, from brainstorming to the final draft. When preparing for a session, reflect on what you want to focus on the most. It is helpful to bring two drafts, one for you and one for the consultant. 

Snow No!

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.

Class Cancelations

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.

Transportation

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.

Finding Your Way with WUE

Are you interested in attending college out of state but intimidated by the cost of tuition? Well, if you haven’t already heard, the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) is a phenomenal program that greatly lowers the cost of tuition for students who live in states in the western region of the United States. 

WUE tuition is 150% of in-state tuition, less than half of out-of-state tuition.  And the best part—all students are automatically considered for WUE if they apply to PSU by May 1. WUE is the ticket to get the out-of-state college experience without paying the out-of-state price.

Visit our Paying for College page to help you get an idea of what to expect for tuition.

Students from almost every WUE-participating state attend PSU. Portland State University is proud to be the only research university in Oregon that participates in the WUE program.

Visit our website to learn more about eligibility requirements.

And that’s it! You should definitely take advantage of this amazing opportunity to study out-of-state in our beautiful city!

Learn more about WUE and apply now.

Meet The Unipiper

The Unipiper near the Portland sign

This Icon Keeps Portland Weird

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.”

Finding Portland

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.” 

Portland Picks

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.

Inside PSU’s Judaic Studies Program

Judaic Studies students studying talking in the Park Blocks

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.

Degree Options

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.

Scholarships

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.

Get Involved

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.

See how you can join PSU’s Judaic Studies program.

Returning Student’s Winding Journey to PSU

Bridie Cawthorne

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!”

It’s a common misconception that students need to have a high school diploma or GED to get into a four-year college. PSU has a few options for students with non-standard high school backgrounds, including enrolling as a non-degree student or transferring from a community college.

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.”

See if PSU’s biology program is the right fit for your journey.

Bridie working in the molecular/cellular lab.

Summer Job-Finding Tips for Students

Student looks for summer job

It’s officially summer in Portland. Residents of the Rose City are trading their raincoats for shorts and swimsuits. It’s the perfect time to enjoy all that Oregon’s outdoors have to offer, including hiking the Gorge, attending music festivals and hosting backyard barbecues.

Summer is the perfect opportunity to gain valuable experience at a job or internship. You can build new skills, expand your career network and add to your resume. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your summer.

Figure Out Your Goals

Knowing your goals before you start the job hunt will help you save time and get the most out of your work experience. Do you need to earn extra money? Want to develop a specific skill? Hope to explore a career you have interest in? You should use this information to prioritize what jobs you apply for. Don’t waste your time applying for jobs you know aren’t a good fit.

Don’t be afraid to ask professionals in your field for an informational interview. On top of building your network, these interviews can help you see if that industry or career path is what you want to do after graduating.

Use PSU Career Services

To start your search, visit Career Services, a resource that helps PSU students and alumni achieve their career goals. Check out Handshake, PSU’s database of job postings and internships. Career Services also hosts career workshops and fairs throughout the year. This is your go-to place to get help with your resume, cover letters and more.

Spread the Word

Connect with friends, family and professors about your job search and explain what you’re looking for. Ask for their advice and see if they can put you in touch people in your desired industry. Other students are also a great resource, since they may know who is hiring both on and off campus.

Be Prepared

Research the employers you’re interested in and the people who work there. This can easily be done with a quick Google or LinkedIn search—you may learn you already have connections! Incorporate relevant information from the job posting and your research into your resume and cover letter. Show them why you’re the perfect fit for their company.

Should you be granted an interview, be prepared to answer questions about your skills and why you’re interested in that particular position. Ask a mentor or friend to do a mock interview, so you can practice your answers and get used to the interview environment. Try to make it as close to the real thing as possible.

When you go to the interview, make sure you arrive early, turn off your cell phone and show enthusiasm for the position. Get the names of your interviewers. Follow-up the interview with a thank you note—this little touch can help you make a memorable impression. Pro tip: Bring a thank you card with you to the interview and fill it out before you leave the office.

In a competitive job market, a career-related summer job or internship can make the difference in obtaining a full-time position. It is also a great way to make contacts and show employers your interest in their field after graduation.

Take Summer Classes

We know, taking classes is often the last thing students want to do over the summer, but the PSU Summer Session is the perfect opportunity to launch your career after you graduate. PSU offers over 1,300 online and on-campus summer courses ranging from 1 week to 12 weeks. Taking classes over the summer can help you explore new subjects, learn about your desired field and graduate sooner.

So while you’re enjoying Oregon’s beautiful summer weather, make sure you’re setting yourself up for success in your future career!

Already thinking ahead to when you return to school? Check out our blog about why you should get an on-campus job.

Upcoming Events: June 2019

Upcoming Events June 2019

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.

Archeology Roadshow

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.

Global Rhythms VIII

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.

New Play Festival

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.

PSU Vocal Collective with Nancy King

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.

Senior Send-off

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.

Kyogen! Dance! Drums!

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.

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.

Chuck It for Charity

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.

School of Film Spring Showcase

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.

Honor Day Graduation Celebration

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.

Family Friendly Commencement

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.

Free Food Market

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.

Lavender Graduation

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.

Multicultural Graduation

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.

Commencement Ceremonies

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.

Many departments and programs at Portland State hold their own events to celebrate students and their communities. See the full calendar of these graduation celebrations.

Plan a Visit to the PSU Writing Center

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.

The best way to meet with a consultant is to schedule an appointment online. Appointments can be either a half-hour or an hour long.

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.

Don’t hesitate to visit the Writing Center!

Learn more and schedule an appointment.

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.