Sunday, October 31, 2010

MultiCultural Center "Home Away from Home"

The Emphasis on this center, located in Smith memorial student union on the 2nd floor room 228, is that "It Belongs to Students!" Jon Joiner who is the Coordinator for the Multicultural Center wants all students to know that the multicultural center belongs to them and that it is a resource that is here to serve students. It is a place to come in and study, to use computers, to come in for events, and is a social place of support for under-represented and majority students alike. Joiner reffered to the center as a students "Home Away from Home." The center offers speakers forums, peer to peer mentoring, international coffee hour, a study community, and many other great rewards.

The Multicultural center supports and promotes: student focus, social justice, a respect and embrace of differences and commonalities, and the shared value of multicultural history, traditions and customs. The vision of the Multicultural center is to prepare students to be global citizens.

Joiners message to students :
"We are committed to providing each student, regardless of class standing, the opportunity to obtain a quality multicultural education and assisting in the achievement of personal development goals.

Our entire raison d'etre is to be of service to community members of all backgrounds in a practical and effective manner and to further the cause of diversity in all areas of our campus community.

Please help us reach our goals and yours by becoming a regular user/contributor/friend of the MCC in any capacity you see fit. Whether you're looking for space to hold an event, a teach-in, help with event-planning or cosponsorship, please feel free to contact us anytime." - Jon Joiner.

The Multicultural center has a list of events that they hold and that is open to the public. For more information on the multicultural center and their events and services , please visit :

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Printmaking Lab

When I first enrolled at Portland State, I was told by multiple sources that the art department was horribly underfunded and that most of the classes were pretty bad. I had been told to try printmaking after taking a drawing class at PCC and so I signed up for the class anyway. I then saw that my sources were wrong about at least one program because the printmaking lab has new, clean, functioning, and plentiful equipment. At Portland State we have the capability of making lithographic, intaglio, relief and screen prints. I ended up being in that room for most of the year. The room itself is roomy and comfortable and easy to work in. There are several students that seem to never leave the room and the instructors are helpful and knowledgeable.

My first experience with printmaking was in high school where after a simple stamp project working with repetition and color, I began working on other projects where I basically taught myself how to print relief (carving in rubber stamp material or linoleum). My high school art teacher was, to me, very mediocre. I didn't learn much from her and found myself often frustrated with the class. When I came to PSU, the printmaking class was the one course that first caught my eye. I was sure that I wanted to take it. I quickly discovered that PSU has an amazing printmaking program and so in my first fall term here, I took relief printmaking with Valerie Wallace. I became completely enamoured with the whole process but mainly my professor and her work. I took a class from Valerie every term of last year, working my way from relief to intaglio (etching) and to silkscreening. I found her to be incredibly inspirational and knowledgeable. Her way of working with the class and individual students was unlike any art teacher I've had before. I felt compelled to make conceptually intriguing and creative artwork and she challenged my abilities as an artist while making my work and creative ideas feel validated all the while. I lived in that studio last year. I fed off of the talents of my professor and the other students.
We found out that the printmaking club is indeed in effect and running. On our way up to the studio located in Neuberger Hall, we noticed that there were club flyers lining the staircase and low and behold, we saw one for printmaking. The meeting are Tuesdays starting at 5:30, so we plan to attend and gather more detailed information about the ways in which the club has gotten together and perhaps any conflicts that they encountered in their attempts to get the club started as well as funded. The club is a way in which the print studio's resources and machinery can be utilized by students who may not be art majors or able to take a printmaking class. When we went to the studio, we found 4 or 5 students working on projects before the beginning of class and were able to confirm our thoughts about the club's start-up and continuation. We spoke to Erika who reiterated that we should talk to Valerie for more information, which we plan to do. Erika told us that Valerie is due for a baby girl, so that she plans to take some time off soon and has been coming into class more around 2:15 rather than 2.

Field Work

I have been to Field Work, a new collaboration between the studio and social practice MFA students and the graphic design students of PSU, for two events now. The first was a project by Public Social Unversity called LOVE and the second was a presentation by Monica Haller on book workshops she facilitates working with war veterans. Both events have been interesting and the space has a lot of potential for future workshops, shows, etc. I have been talking with Justin about making it "rad". We want to work with everyone involved and create a space that attracts people to Field Work by the activities going on there.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Park Blocks

I have always been aware of how much the Park blocks seem to be a part of PSU and the academic environments. Students seating down on the benches, or on the grass, eating, studying or just chatting seem to be as much part of the PSU campus experience as any building. I went to the planning and facilities building to find out more of who takes care of the park blocks. I spoke to someone there (forgot my sources name). She explained that, although the Park blocks belong to the city of Portland; its maintenance is the responsibility of both the city of Portland and the PSU landscaping crew. From dog poop to branches on the grown, the PSU crew takes care of it. if there is a more in depth need for maintenance, PSU will call the city of Portland to take care of it (sewage and draining issues, tree disease control).

Rad Pantry

What's interesting about Plaid Pantry? These little convenience stores survive on being exactly like their siblings around the country. So is PSU's outpost on 10th and mill any different? According to Greg, the clerk I talked to, the plaid pantry at PSU is totally different then any other store he has worked at. He's done shifts at PP behind the subway on 12th and at OHSU so he seems to know what he's talking about. I talked to him as customers rotated through the store. It seems the average shopper spends about 76 seconds in the store, Greg told me this was normal during class times but sometimes lines can stretch all the way around the beer display. A regular who was buying gatorade backed this up. Another regular said he had been shopping here since the 80's. Supposedly the space was put in when the building was built in the 50's, but it wasn't a plaid pantry until about 30 years ago. Despite all this info, I was still hoping to find something that made this Plaid interesting.

Maybe there is a seedy underbelly of 24 hour connivence stores but PP turns out to be pretty tame. Greg used to work the night shift and he says not much happens other then encounters with transients with 
drug or mental health problems. Lots of students try to buy booze with their friends ID but greg says "they're not that smart" and get caught when they try to pay with their own credit card. After asking some friends if they knew anything, I learned about "Porno Wednesday." Supposedly this is the day when all the new issues come out, as my friend learned when he came in and found Greg putting price tags on hundreds of adult magazines.

12th Street Stairs

I was originally going to do the Stott Community Field, but when I was walking over there, I remembered a place I had been to around there that was a lot more interesting. So I headed over to the 12th street stairs. I'd been to them before a couple of times in my p.e. classes. On my way there I realized that getting information about the stairs would be difficult because it's not like an office building or a business, so I decided to ask people I saw along the way about the stairs. I met a woman named Georganne Pierce, who was power walking with a friend. She told me that there were 176 steps, and that the stairs were "very historic." I asked her if she knew anything about their history and she replied, "not really," and told me that a lot of runners use the stairs to train for the Portland to Coast run. She continued on that people come from all over Portland to use the stairs, which I sort of believe to be true. I wanted to get a picture of her and ask more questions but I could tell I was interrupting her workout. I then went to snap a few pictures and climb some of the steps.

PSU Library's Comic Book Collection

For my third area of interest I chose the comic book collection on the 2nd floor of the Portland State library. Comic books are sort of a hobby of mine and the PSU library has a decent sized collection for any PSU student to check out. While the collection does include some items from other publishers, most of the comics are from the Dark Horse Comics Collection. The founder of Dark Horse, Mike Richardson, was a former PSU student. Back in 2008, the PSU Library and Dark Horse comics entered into an agreement that Dark Horse would donate two copies of all its publications and products to the library and then the library would catalog the publications and make them available through its circulating collection and Special Collections unit. The circulating collection can be found on the shelves on the library and are available for check-out for all library card holders. The items can also be requested from other libraries through Summit and ILL. The Special Collections holdings are available by appointment only and not for general circulation. As of today the PSU library has nearly all of Dark Horse's backlog, from their publications, processed and available and they continue to receive new ones as they become available. Any student or PSU library card holder with an interest in comics should definitely check out the collection on the 2nd floor.


KPSU 98.1 ( is the local, non-profit radio station of Portland State University.

I do not typically listen to the radio outside of NPR, but recently a friend invited me to have a show, so I took the opportunity to find out more about the station. Last Wednesday, I met with John Rau, one of 13 students who regularly work at KPSU, in the basement of The Smith Memorial Student Union.

The first question I asked John was whether or not he and his co-workers listen to similar music. He answered "yes and no" that their tastes were diverse, and everyone tried to be open to most genres. On the air, he told me they try to promote local bands and independent record labels as often as possible. John has trouble naming a specific band whom they all shared a mutual interest in. His sister, Elzbeth who I also met offered Modest Mouse, but John seemed like he had wanted to think up a better example.

John seemed to really enjoy his job and was very informative for me. In his own words, his work at the station is to "serve the DJs." He works as a resource for making music available for radio shows and told me I could play The Little Mermaid soundtrack for an hour if I wanted to. I do not know if I want to do that, but he mentioned it more than once.

edit/tangent: When I was 14 or 15, I began writing regularly to a friend, Jamie from the United Kingdom. Jamie and I would exchange music, books, and brief letters back and forth and we continue to do so. Many of my close friends (including John) know Jamie as a collection of well-loved mix tapes I had copied and shared as a teenager.

I've had conversations with John and other friends about how Jamie managed to expose us all to a handful of the albums we like best.
After high-school, my friends and I quickly estranged ourselves from one another as we went about our new lives of work/school/etc. Now having moved back to Portland, I find myself interacting with familiar faces I haven't thought about in a few years. Talking with John at KPSU reminded me of the funny web of people who have stuck around, and the fundamental music that has kept me in this loop.

The Candlelight Cafe

I was first told about the Candlelight Cafe last year by an third year German student who said that he used to go there with his friends and that he was worried that it might close. I had seen it before. The bar was the first place I noticed upon my fresh arrival upon the PSU campus a year ago, staying in the University Place hotel with my parents. I have heard a little about it from passersby and know that it's an old bar, a relic of the old blues cafes that I'm sure used to be more numerous. I know they still have bands, Portland's top blues and jazz acts, that play there from time to time.

My attempt to find an interview was unsuccessful, though. This has a lot to do with the fact that I am not allowed in bars. I hung around outside for a little while to see if I could catch anyone outside, but I was met with bad luck.

So for my supply of anecdotal evidence I'm left with my conversation in a German class during last year's spring term.

by victoria flick

Queer Resource Center

I had heard of the Queer Resource Center, but only very vaguely. I looked it up and found out that it was on the 4th floor of the Smith Student Union. When I walked in, a guy named Glen, who I had known previously for being my Resident Life assistant on my floor, was volunteering at the desk. He is one of the friendliest guys I've ever met, and automatically asked if I wanted a tour. He started off my showing me the wall of pamphlets and resources, along with free condoms, lubricants etc. Then he showed me the staff offices, (none of them were in), and the lounge area. The lounge area had a wall of books to check out, a t.v., and lots of couches. I then proceeded to ask Glen how the Queer Resource Center came to be. He said that is started as just a small sort of "club", and has grown ever since. It was started by Grad students. I asked him what kind of services they offer, and he listen off a lot. Those included helping people come out to their parents/friends/etc, giving them resources if theyre dealing with domestic violence, any sorts of counseling/just someone to talk to. I asked him about other people that work there, and he said that it is mostly grad students and volunteers, but there is also full time staff. This confused me because I couldnt figure out what a full time staff member would do that the volunteers wouldnt? But I guess they just coordinate events, like some sort of party they had during Coming Out Week. I would have like to talk to a full time staff member but none were in. Glen told me he had been volunteering at the Queer Resource Center ever since he came to PSU (last year). I told Glen that I had never heard of it before, and that I felt that High School students should be told that PSU offers this, because it seems like a place that queer high school students would want to know about. He agreed and said that theyre trying to promote it more and talk to more High School students. I told him that I planned on coming back later today to take pictures and he was happy about that.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

PSU Bookstore

On my recent visit to the PSU Bookstore I talked several staff about their experiences working at the store. Many have worked there a decade or longer, since the Bookstore was in its former (now the SHAC office). They were most excited to show off the newest addition to the store, the in-house printing press.

The Bookstore is one of only 3 institutions testing the top secret new piece of equipment. (University of Kansas and Arizona State are the other two.) This white cabinet actually holds the machinery for a small, self contained printing press. The prototype is so secret that I was told I could not photograph or even look inside.

What's different about this printer? It can print your textbooks on demand, presents significant cost and environmental savings from traditional textbook printing and, most interestingly, provides new opportunities for small run, local publishing. In other words, you can send them a PDF and they will print your book.

To complete the printing process books are assembled with equipment that alignes the pages and adheres the cover.

The Handy Jog taps paper back and forth quickly so it aligns before binding.

The binding glue heats up for 45 minutes, to a temperature of 180 degree Celsius, before it is hot enough to use. These rollers apply the glue to the spine of the book before the cover is attached.

This roll of plastic film is used to laminate the book cover.

For more information, email .

Experiences with PSU’s Disability Resource Center

            This is a facility that offers specialized resources to people with different types of disabilities.  I approached this office with the intent to better understand how to assist persons with vision deficiencies in the classroom.  This office is located in the building called Smith. 

            So, I walked in to the office with my head phones plugged into my ears and pulled them out just to ask the receptionist if I could meet with a person who could offer generalized information on how to assist the vision deficient.  Her response was panicked, and a conversation about confidentially ensued, though she directly asked me the names of any specific students whom I was assisting.  It was then apparent that I had to divert the focus of our conversation to her in order to get the information that I wanted.  There seemed to be some sort of diplomatic language that I was not aware of.  As soon as I switched my tone and focused on the interest of learning more about the generalized disorder and how to be conscious of others she felt comfortable ushering me to someone else for information.  But, only after insisting that if I am helping an individual that I come back with them and set up a meeting to discuss the logistics of my aide and internship. I thought it to be strange that a program created for people and their special needs could be so impersonal and diplomatic.

At, any rate the next person whom I spoke with was much more grounded in reality and revealed more understanding in his language.  And as we spoke I took a series of notes, which I will write verbatim.

DRC…Confidentiality…online how to

 Be natural

 -generalized discussion for the needs of somebody w/ disabilities

 -avoid mention of safety

 -what I want to share and their obstacles

 -offer elbows if asked -don’t assume-

 -don’t be afraid of talking about seeing

 -no monologue

 -Be normal

 -DRC established in 80’s…30 yrs.

 -Provides accommodations – specialized

-Rehabilitation counseling

 -Disability art

-Kathryn Miller-low vision-PNCA

 -Mark Woolly Gallery, “Somewhat Secret Place”

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Green Greenhouses

I was initially looking to get in to see the PSU Herbarium, but when I went to meet with Professor Mitch Cruzan, the key to the herbarium was not available. Instead he graciously took me on a tour of the PSU Research Greenhouses located south of the Stott Center.

Professor Cruzan was full of information about the greenhouses. They are strictly for research purposes, and are used by Biology, Physics and other departments. There are other greenhouses for teaching purposes - one is located on the third floor of Science Building 2.

The most important fact about them is that they are the only LEED-Silver (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified greenhouses anywhere. There are many factors that allowed the greenhouses to be granted this certification, some occurring on the site prior to construction, some related to the materials used in construction, and some related to the efficiency of systems used in the greenhouses.

Inside, the building is divided into a head greenhouse and four independent greenhouse 'bays'. The head greenhouse contains an office space, low-flow toilet and shower (to promote commuting by bicycle). The head greenhouse also contains the main systems, which can be remotely controlled. These systems sense the occupancy of the building and control light and heat accordingly. The systems also automatically control shades which cover the ceilings to control light during the day and to conserve heat at night. The panels are not made of glass, but of a polycarbonate material that is more insulating.

Water for the plants is cooled as needed by running it through these cooling coils.

There will eventually be 6 more bays added to the greenhouse, for a total of 11,000 square feet of research greenhouse facility.

Professor Cruzan also talked about a seed bank that will be coming to PSU, and the existing aquaculture facility in Science Building 2. There are so many interesting things to be found in the Science buildings!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Helen Gordon Child Development Center


The other day while walking to class I saw a group of young children being lead by teachers around campus. I had never even thought about the possibility of a childcare center at PSU, but after thinking more about it its a totally good idea and of COURSE they would have one...
Anyways, after seeing this I looked up childcare at PSU and found the Helen Gordon Development Center. I visited there and saw a lady on the phone. She said to hold on a second while she wrapped up her call but then was very eager to talk to me. She told me that the center was mainly for the children of faculty working at PSU and the children of PSU students. I asked if you werent affiliated with PSU if your children could go there and she said that there was a very long waiting list. The term "development center" instead of "preschool/daycare" made me think that it would be more than just a daycare, so I asked her about that. She said it was mostly childcare, but that occasionally classes like Speech and hearing or psychology classes would observe the children (...?). I later asked her if they accept student teachers and she seemed very eager to recruit me. She said that they are currently full but that she would start accepting winter term applications in November, and gave me both the forms to be a student teacher and a volunteer. The slightly tedious background checks included on those forms made me question the "observation of children" from classes...Id like to talk to her more about that. But, she gave me her card and said that I could call her with any further questions.
Something I forgot to mention in class is that I was hoping to maybe talk to parents of children taking them to daycare, and ask them questions too...but while I visited I didnt see any children or parents.

Womens Resource Center

I realized that I have been aware of the Womens Resource Center but had never actually been inside. Its current location is in the basement of the Montgomery Building tucked behind the Simon Benson House. It has a quaint and cozy courtyard which is covered with vining plants. Down a short flight of stairs the Womens Resource Center is a very warm and comfortable space with tons of couches, a reading library, small fridge, and space to prepare coffee and lunch.

The lady at the front desk said the space is open to anyone to come and relax, or take a mid day nap on one of the couches, come there to eat lunch and use the fridge to store food if you put your name on it. When I was there there were several people casually lounging around, chatting, reading, or napping. She told me that originally the WRC was located in the what is now in the Green Space next to Food For Thought. Now they moved to the bigger space and are doing remodeling of the back offices to make better use of the space.

I was really interested in the WRC because it is kind of a hidden place on campus because it is tucked out of the normal pathways people might take going to and from classes. But it seems as though the people who make use of the WRC are probably there often.

When I was there I hung out for a while, but only spoke with the lady at the front desk and talked about the history of the WRC. I talked with one girl who was there signing up to audition for the Vagina Monologues. She said she didnt hang out much in the WRC but had wanted to perform a piece for the Vagina Monologues for a long time and was excited but nervous to get the chance to audition. I would like to go back and focus more on the people who hang out in the WRC and get a sense of them.


It is not that this place is particular 'interesting', it is that it's necessary for students. I always find it a bit intrusive when I call to make an appointment, and there is a voice at the other end of the phone that asks me questions and information that I know if extremely private, but the fact that sometimes I feel the person asking is a teenager adds a whole new level of anxiety to my "SHAC experience".
So I went in there to try to find out more about it, I spoke to Katy, who was one of the receptionists ( they usually have between 3 and 4 on a daily basis).
Katy told me that she had been working there for about 2 years and that that was the clinics location for the past 4 or 5 years. Katy said that it had been previously located "at a basement somewhere".
The Center for Student Health and Counseling houses provides de following services to PSU students:
Student Health Services
Counseling and Psychological Services
Testing Services
Dental Service
Health Promotion and Education

Music Score Library

When given this assignment, I really had no where in mind on campus that I wanted to show people. However, since the Lincoln building had just finished construction and opened to students this term, I decided that I would begin my search there since I had never been inside of it and it looked like an interesting building. I learned that they had moved the music school into there and I found a lot of interesting things I never knew existed at our school, such as brand new practice studios and multiple rehearsal spaces and auditoriums. I still couldn't find anything that I knew I wanted to show our class, so I found a student in the building and asked him if there was anything interesting in the building that I should know about. He was a music student and directed me to multiple places I had never heard of that he knew about, most notably the music score library. He told me it was in a tucked away corner of the Miller Library, and that he's never seen anyone else in it before. I eventually found it in the very back of the music section of the library. It was just as described-- quiet, densely filled and virtually empty. When I came in there were two freshman music students who had been recommended that they check out the room by their FRINC teacher. It was their first time in the room and they were very excited about it and directed me to an entire section of Bach scores. Since they didn't know anything else about the room, I went to the library's directory and asked them if they knew anything about it, and was told that the scores had been purchased by a fraction of the Miller Grant designated for music. The director also told me that our school has the approximately the same size music score collection as the Multnomah County Library does and that their library is considered very large for a public library. I was also told to contact Kristin Kern, who supposedly purchased the majority of the library, but when I called her office all I got was a voice recording that hadn't been updated since last spring.

This is part of the huge collection of Bach that the library has. There were probably double this that I couldn't get into the frame.

Lovejoy Fountain

The Putting Green

Alright, here is the wonderful putting green, where students can come relax and enjoy a moment away from the busy campus lifestyle without ever leaving . The area offers a reclusive outdoor setting that I have yet to find anywhere else on campus.
My experiences enjoying this lovely setting have almost always been with other art students, but not only art students. This small space seems to be known by a select group of students from many different academic departments who feel the need to escape the view of prying eyes and bask in the wealth that is the putting green's serenity and privacy all for the simple purpose of mental rest and (in my case) artistic inspiration.

Commissioned Art @ Library

This site specific art work is located at the entrance of the Millar Library. Despite its very imposing presence, many student seem to pass by in a hurry and not even notice that it is there. Not much information is available about it other than what Nathan, an employee at the circulation desk explained to me, that it has been there since early 1980s and that it represents at salmon. according to the plaque on the wall it was created by Geoffrey D. Pagen and funded by Oregon Arts Commissions ( 1% for the Arts).
Here is a statement from the artist that might help us better appreciate his work:
"There is quite obviously an affinity for Abstract Expressionism and the desire for simple geometric shapes in my work. The influence of nature and geology are prevalent. Complex textures, patterns of uncertain origin, and the identity of clay are my main concerns. Yet these simple compositions become departure points for an extraordinary range of surface treatments, from the austere to the indulgent. My commissioned projects for the public and private sector truly span a global context, having created over 75 site specific and sensitive projects throughout the United States and abroad. During a commissioned project, I bring a high standard of creative problem solving to each project, and understand that a fulfillment of sound strategy and solid objectives are the keys to a successful work of Art." -Geoffrey D. Pagen

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Museum of Vertebrate Biology

I first got a hint of some major skeletal presence when I walked by Science Building 2 the other day. When you look up at the second floor window, a large whale skeleton is looking out at you. Apparently this is just a baby whale.

I met with Professor Luis Ruedas who teaches classes on Mammalogy and other subjects and is in charge of the Museum. He said that he is 'one among equals' in taking over directorship of the museum. He said that the collection is stored in different rooms at the moment due to construction in the building. There are thousands of specimens. I asked him if he prepares any of the articulations - no, he doesn't. But he has provided smaller specimens to the collection.

We headed down to the basement to where the collection is stored. The room was full of cases with sliding drawers, with skulls stacked above and below. Professor Ruedas noted that the collection is an animal version of an herbarium or library, with its own system of classification. He said there are many, many specimens that still need to be classified. I asked if he has lines of graduate students ready to prepare the specimens. He said no, "No one is interested in that anymore. It's basically just me that's does it [prepares the specimens]." I asked if there is another way to get the information that the specimens provide, and he said no, there is no other way to get the information. In fact, while we were talking, he was gathering specimens, presumably to take out to a class.

Professor Ruedas pointed out an elephant skull, and then mentioned that there is a 30' whale "buried at the beach" that PSU professors will go back to one day to dig up. He said this is a method they will use to get the bones cleaned off - just leave it in the ground for five years or so. He described another method that can be used for smaller specimens - first take off as much fur and flesh as possible. Then give the bones to flesh-eating beetle larvae to have them clean off the rest of the flesh. Then the bones can be boiled.

Once the construction in Science Building 2 is completed, the specimen collection will be brought up to a room on the second floor. Then people who want to study or view the specimens can see them by appointment. The larger articulations are available for anyone to view in the second floor lounge area.