Blair Bowmer, Music Major, CLA Ambassador

​With all of the recent changes in our country, it’s not surprising to see them affecting students on campus. Almost immediately after the presidential election, I could hear people in the library quad protesting through the window of my classroom. The next morning, I was pleased to see that people had written kind, positive, and hopeful messages in colorful chalk all over the quad. In a time when we are faced with the unknown, we feel motivated and inspired to do something to help our country move in a positive direction. We want to lessen the fear and find our own ways to make a difference. I’m proud that our campus encourages people not only to find their voice, but to find a positive one. In a time of so much hate and fear, it is important to remember that it is love that makes us human and keeps us moving forward.

​People on campus are coming together and discovering ways to take action for the betterment of our country. Events and groups are being organized so that we can speak out in these difficult times. One such event is the “Finding Hope in Dystopia Film Series.” This series is being presented by The Anarres Project for Alternative Futures, Allied Students for Another Politics!, and the Spring Creek Project. This film and discussion series aims to help bring out our radical imagination regarding possibilities for transformation in daunting times through classic dystopian movies. The event page states that “each film is presented as a starting point for discussion about the kinds of resistance, hope, and struggle that are available in the middle of despair.” The film series is already underway, but it isn’t too late to participate! Check the CLA event calendar to find out when the next showings are. This is a free event, and you can contact the Philosophy Department for more information.

By Annie Lesny, Psychology major, CLA Ambassador

The People Speak Read-In, organized by the Oregon State Women’s Center, is an enlightening event focusing on social justice issues and expression through various arts. Invited by a friend on Facebook, I was immediately intrigued as to what this event would entail. As I walked through the library quad, gazing at the beautiful Oregon sunset, I had no clue what was in store for me at The People Speak Read In. Passing by the stunning works of art that bring the Valley Library’s walls to life, I pondered on the possibilities of this inclusive event. Celebrating Martin Luther King and his beautiful life’s work, this event empowers individuals to speak and read from powerful literature focusing on social justice.

The event began with some classic soul music, exactly from the time period that Dr. King thrived. The perfect choice of ambiance allowed for open minds and open hearts, taking everyone back to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s. Offering pizza, as every good event should, the night kicked off to a great start.

The event leaders introduced themselves and their backgrounds in social justice. The themes of the night were listening, reflection, expressing, and evaluation.

We formally began by discussing Howard Zinn and his relation to the event. Zinn spent his life dedicated to the civil rights movement and equality. As a best-selling author and film-maker, he created a film called The People Speak. The People Speak features some of the world’s greatest performers. We then watched a few clips from the film. They read from first-person work (literature, songs, poems) that covered topics as broad as the war in Iraq to Christopher Columbus. The unifying theme in every piece is the intensity from an individual whose rights were compromised. In my opinion, the most notable scene was singer John Legend reading a speech given from Muhammad Ali, after he refused to be conscripted and sign up for the Vietnam War. He gave this moving speech right as he was being taken to jail. The film was the sole inspiration for this deep night. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spent his entire life fighting for equality, and this event celebrates him by sharing beautiful work that represents individuals’ narratives on inequality.

From the groundbreaking speech by Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator, to Tupac’s rap to the president, the night was filled with unifying closeness and insight. After everyone shared a work that resonated with them, we ended the night by all writing a “love letter” to ourselves. This consisted of our values, our fears, our hopes, and the person we aspire to be. In socially divided times, we all need to be present and here for one another, and stand up for all individuals. This night was a beautiful example of how the power is in the people, and each of us can make a change, indefinitely.

By Eric Callahan, English major, CLA Ambassador

The summer was an exciting time to be working in the College of Liberal Arts office. As the months went by and the days grew shorter, the move from Gilkey to the renovated Bexell Hall loomed larger. For us ambassadors, the new Bexell office was just a legend in those summer days. Without being able to see it, we could only imagine what wondrous and splendid changes the new office would bring. Fall finally arrived and that vision became a reality. The new space was huge in comparison, and its large windows and spacious design made the whole room feel bright and open. But, everything was not entirely peachy yet… Furniture had to be brought in, fixtures had to be completed, and the final touches were still missing. Notably, the large front desk was yet to be completed. This was fine, as we worked from a small table, simply happy to be in the new space and dreaming of the new desk.

The first term of the school year seemed to happen in only seven weeks to me. Everything was so busy and hectic. However, it was a good kind of busy. The kind that feels productive, with school projects that you are invested in, and classes that you don’t want to miss. And working in the new space was full of interesting challenges. Improvisations and creative solutions had to be made as we worked from our small desk. Still, that new desk sat just around the corner as a reminder that things got better, and bigger. As fall was closing and finals reared their ugly head, the new desk was finally ours. I remember moving over the computers, files, office supplies, and other items that overflowed our small desk, and then suddenly wondering what we would fill the other 80% of the desk with. Over time we managed to find the spot for everything, and no longer needed to stack folders in piles.

As the New Year and the new term began, the CLA finally felt all moved in. On the first Friday of the term, an Open House was held. The new space looked sleek, clean, professional, and was ready to be shown off. It was fun working that Friday as the Open House went on. Students and teachers alike came through our office, and it was great to see them connect and talk with each other, the advisors, and the ambassadors. Benny’s Donuts supplied some delectable donuts (I recommend the maple with sea salt donut; there’s something about sea salt on sweets that is irresistible). There were hot drinks, and other snacks as well, but the donuts stole the show and were gone very early in the open house. Even if we ordered 10,000 donuts I bet they still would have been all gone by the end of the day. The day was capped off with a reception, in which Dean Larry Rodgers spoke. President Ed Ray as well as numerous faculty and student were there. Having been through all of the renovations and technical difficulties associated with the new office, it felt great to open it to everyone and show that it was worth the wait. The new space is stylish and welcoming. I always love looking up and seeing students studying at the tables under the tall windows. It’s nice to have a space for CLA students that feels both modern and comfortable.