Lutes Take Back The Night

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70 students marched, yelled and brandished signs to raise awareness of sexual assault. Led by Yadira Avendano and Marisol Espinosa, the group rallied for an hour around campus.

This piece was originally published through The Mast and at mastmedia.plu.edu
Around 70 students, staff and faculty met in Red Square for Take Back the Night, an annual rally to raise awareness of sexual assaultm on April 21.

     “We here at PLU [Pacific Lutheran University] want to be heard loud tonight. It’s an opportunity for survivors, for friends, for allies, to stand up and take back what’s theirs,” said Jennifer Childres, the women’s basketball coach, who emceed the event with Harstad’s Resident Director Melissa Williams. “This night is about our empowerment.”

Melissa Williams (left) and Jennifer Childres (right) shared stories as they emceed the event.

     The group marched its way around the campus for about an hour, yelling chants of solidarity at full volume, led by cheerleaders junior Yadira Avendano and sophomore Marisol Espinosa: “I wish I may! I wish I might! Free our lives! Take back the night!” “Wherever we go, however we dress, no means no and yes means yes!”

     Before they marched, survivors and allies shared stories and anecdotes of sexual assault. Vice President of Student Life Joanna Royce-Davis shared her story.

      “I belong to a group of student-first educators who’ve experienced sexual assault. Somehow, we have a hard time naming it,” Royce-Davis spoke to the crowd. “The group recognizes that our stories open the doors to action, along with the stories of our students and our communities. We begin to disclose, to remove the protective covers, to shine the light.”

      Not only sexual assault survivors spoke in front of the crowd, but also allies. Assistant Professor of Religion Seth Dowland addressed the crowd as an ally, bystander and supporter.

     Finally, Associated Students of Pacific Lutheran University President Ellie Lapp spoke. She addressed the question of “If these acts of violence haven’t affected you, why should you care?”

     “My answer […] always has been ‘Actually, I have been. We all have’ This space is full of people who have had experiences where their gender, sexuality, race, class, ability or other aspects of their identity have been used against them, used to maintain systems of power and oppression,” Lapp said. “These acts of aggression don’t have to be grand or severe.”

      After all the speakers, the attendees started off around campus to the tune of “Respect! Equality! That’s the way it’s gotta be!”

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Nate Hansen on working at OMM

IMG_0602-copy1-620x264“Its great to see your friends all the time. I live off-campus, so I don’t get to interact with students on-campus as much anymore, especially first-years and sophomores,” Nate Hansen, a senior this year, said. “You can see what gets them going and have those conversations you don’t often get to have.

Nate Hansen’s extroverted personality makes working at Old Main Market a breeze.

“I’ve had a couple on-campus jobs, I’ve been an RA, I’ve worked in the music hall as an usher and I’ve been a note-taker, but this has been one of my favorite on-campus jobs by far.”

Nate found his vocation as an Economics major with a Women’s and Gender Studies minor.

“I’m a feminist economist,” he said. He thinks the way the two disciplines intersect is very important to the world right now.

“A lot of the issues that face our world right now are deeply rooted in economic inequalities and some of those are deeply rooted in gender issues,” Hansen said. “I think the interplay of the two disciplines is really interesting, especially in developing countries.”

Focusing back on his job, I asked Hansen which drink he absolutely hates making for people.

“No! I love it when people order anything!” he responded, loud enough for his boss to hear from the other side of the market.

Besides his classes and on-campus work, Hansen also competes for PLU’s Track and Field team. He runs the 200 meter and said he’s “trying” to be a sprinter.

With all this on his plate, Hanson had to learn the hard lesson of time management.

“That’s something I learned in my first year. It’s something you’ll have to learn. Being a student-athlete and holding a job on campus teaches you a lot of skills you can use in your life outside of college.”

Hansen also took time in our interview to reflect on his years here at PLU.

“It’s crazy how the time flies, next thing you know you’re a senior, you wonder ‘what did I do that was meaningful to me and to other people?’”

I asked him why he loves his major, and he told me he loves the way others are inspired by Economics.

“Other than loving the subject material –  when you meet people in your discipline that are really excited about what they do, it makes it so much more easy and a lot more fun, and that’s what I found in the Economics department. Get in contact with the professors. They’re more than willing to help you. Everyone’s really nice in the departments and it’s a great choice,” he said, not forgetting to add: “Pick it over science.”

Mollie Parce on Philosophy & Opera

mollie-620x264Note: This piece was originally published in Mast Magazine, Pacific Lutheran University’s monthly student magazine.

J-Term is a time of transition for Lutes and junior Mollie Parce is no exception. Her last two J-Terms were dominated by Pacific Lutheran University’s annual opera performances. This year, the opera class was held during the fall, freeing up Mollie’s January to fulfill her Philosophy credit by taking Ethics and the Good Life with Professor Mike Rings.

“I feel like [Ethics and the Good Life] makes me question my own opinions and views, which is weird because I am really passionate about what I believe in,” Parce said. GURs, or general university requirements, such as the philosophy course Parce is taking, offer a unique opportunity to gain perspective.

“I usually am pretty stubborn about my opinions,  I can talk to other people about it but usually don’t change my mind,” she said. “This class makes me see things from a different point of view.”

“It makes me use a different type of thinking,” Parce continued. “Opera is more of a habitual thing and I can pick up the material a lot faster because it’s what I’m good at. But when I have a different class it challenges me a bit more. Last year I did both a J-Term class and opera and it was awful just because I had a hard timemasksbalancing both. This year I’m having an easier time in my GUR because it’s really the only thing I have to focus on.”

Comparing this year’s opera to the last two she’s performed in, Parce preferred performing during January. Last year, the opera class performed “Alcina” by Handel. The year before that, they performed an adaptation of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

“I thought it would be better during the fall because we had more time, but I think J-Term is a better setting for it. It’s intensive, and you do it for five hours a day, every single day, Monday through Friday. It’s harder because you have to memorize your music quicker, but I think it’s better because it keeps you more focused on that specific thing because it’s your J-Term class.”

“During the regular semester you have all these other classes going on, so it doesn’t feel like as much of a priority as it really should be, especially for people who are vocal performance majors.”

It takes a special kind of crazy to become a music major, especially with a focus in vocal performance. It’s a lot of hard work and dedication to produce those kinds of results. The results they produce speak for themselves, though. All that great music follows naturally from the amount of work they’ll put in to honing their craft.

“It’s a cliche, but you are your biggest critic. It’s hard because your body is your instrument, so when you get sick or you’re tired you can feel it and hear it in your voice. Even if you’re fatigued from carrying boxes all day you can feel it in your voice.”

“I question it almost every day; ‘is this the right major for me?’ The difference is it’s me saying that and not my vocal teacher or a professor.”