Hi my name is Carmen López. This is my second term interning at the Office of the Dean of Student Life. I am currently working on making a video for Veteran Recourses. It has been an arduous process, but it is slowly getting there. I also help with little projects around the office.

This is my third year in Oregon State University and I am double majoring in Human Development and Family Science and Spanish. I just love how welcoming the Spanish professors have been. My favorite classes have been from the foreign languages department :).

I like to get involved on campus and I am part of Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlán (M.E.Ch.A) and the research study at the Hallie and Ford Center. I love to participate in these programs because I love the camaraderie. I participate around campus because I feel like there is so much to learn outside of the classroom. I have also been abroad to Spain to experience a new culture. I loved the food there the Spanish tortilla was delicious! I also got to travel to other parts of Spain and Paris. I would love to go back in the future and I recommend other to travel!

I’m hoping to continue working at the Office of the Dean of Student Life!






Hi there,

My name is Meleani Bates, I am an Intern at the Dean of Student Life office. This is my second term with the lovely DOSL team, and I am having a blast. I am a fourth year here at OSU studying Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies. I also work at ASOSU- the Associated Students of Oregon State University as the Executive Chief of Staff. Working with DOSL has provided me with an amazing opportunity to multiply my opportunities to serve and support the greater OSU community.

Fall term I worked closely with Kim McAloney, Student Life Programs Coordinator, and Mamta Accapadi, Dean of Student Life to develop the WS 430/530- Women of Color in the U.S course that Mamta is teaching this term. This term I am Mamta’s Teaching Assistant for the course. Last term I spent the majority of my time accumulating readings that are currently used in the course this term. Besides developing an APA formatted Bibliography, creating a reading landscape was one of my favorite activities of fall term at DOSL.

I was able to get hands on experience with forming and developing a course reading list. Kim, Mamta and I spent many days researching readings by women of color, reading and scanning our expanding library of literature. At one point, all three of us had merged our libraries together to increase our likelihood of finding remarkable and transformative readings that would tailor to the reading landscape that we began to cultivate.

As I had rapidly progressed through fall term and stumbled upon winter term, I noticed that the anticipation for the start of the Women of Color course had developed. As we are in the 7th week of winter term, I can see all of the hard work that Kim, Mamta and I have put forth come to fruition. This task first started off as a project and WS internship, and has transpired to be a passion of mine.

As a Women’s Studies and Ethnic Studies major I am aware that there are some intersections that can be made between the two disciplines. It is very important to me that there are courses that highlight, embrace and incorporate the lived experiences of women of color in the Women’s Studies pedagogy. Intersectionality theory suggests that there are various ways in which people can interact with society based on their own social location and identity. This is the framework that I live by in the classroom. It is vital that I engage fellow students in the reading, challenge them in their privileged and ethnocentric ideals and deepen the discussions in class. As an aspiring professor, this experience has been challenging and revolutionary in many ways.

This course is taught as an undergraduate and graduate course in Women’s Studies and Ethnic Studies. In the class there are many perspectives that enrich our discussions, and provoke change and affirmations. I value and appreciate difference, in the same regards that I value and appreciate collective ideologies that revolve around feminist ideals. In this class, from my perspective, there seems to be a unifying effort put forth that allows us to merge in a cohesive direction toward social justice and understanding. Can’t wait to see how the rest of the class unfolds. Stay Tuned J

This blogpost series is called Holidays and Holy Days to inform our OSU community about significant religious or spiritual observances.  If you know of a significant holiday or holy day coming up, please communicate the information to Hannah Pynn hannah.pynn@oregonstate.edu in the Dean of Student Life office.

February 13th is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.

Ash Wednesday


Ash Wednesday occurs 46 days before Easter, and the day marks the beginning of Lent which is a 40-day period (excluding 6 Sundays) of prayer and fasting in anticipation of the Easter holiday.  The practice of placing ashes on foreheads in the shape of a cross serves as a reminder of human mortality and a call to repentance during Lent.  This practice of forehead ash is common in Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, and some Baptist denominations.


Ashes were used in ancient times to express mourning or a symbol of expressing sorrow for one’s sins and faults.  Ash Wednesday is used as a ritual to remind Christians of how God created them, and how Christians depend upon the death of Jesus for reconciliation with God.  The ashes are traditionally blessed by a priest or minister and mixed with holy water or olive oil to form a paste.  The tradition of the ashes is not only a reminder of the value of reflection, penance, and prayer, but they also serve as a ritualistic connection with centuries of Christians who have participated in the practice.

In some cases, congregations gather and are given small cards with the option of writing the sins they have committed and sins committed against them on the card as a sign of their sorrow.  The cards are then collected and burned on the alter as a symbol of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice, taking the punishment and burden of sins.


  1. Attending church services
  2. Fasting
  3. Abstinence from meat (on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and every Friday during Lent)
  4. Confession/repentance of sins
  5. Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) the day before Ash Wednesday
Additional Resources






This blogpost series is called Holidays and Holy Days to inform our OSU community about significant religious or spiritual observances.  If you know of a significant holiday or holy day coming up, please communicate the information to Hannah Pynn hannah.pynn@oregonstate.edu in the Dean of Student Life office.

February 10th begins the celebration of the Lunar New Year.

Happy Lunar New Year!


Lunar or Chinese New Year is celebrated in Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese cultures. It changes dates from year to year because of the difference between the lunar calendar and the Gregorian calendar used in the United States.


The most significant of the Chinese holidays, the Lunar New Year is also the beginning of a two week celebration called “Spring Festival.”  Spring Festival originated as the product of an agrarian Chinese society, symbolizing the living cycle of the planting season.  The Chinese New Year also marks a time to honor deities and ancestorsEach Chinese New Year is represented by 12 creatures of the Chinese Zodiac, 2013 being the Year of the Snake.  Countries that celebrate this holiday include Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Philippines, and also in Chinatowns all over the world.

Each day of the Spring Festival (15 days) includes specific celebrations and traditions that vary from celebrating deities, lucky family gatherings, hope for the future, the Jade Emperor, and love.

The last day of the Spring Festival is the Lantern Festival that occurs on the first full moon of the Lunar New Year (February 24, 2013 this year).  This festival celebrates positive relationships between people, families, nature, and the higher beings, acknowledging that all of these things bring light to the year.  Thousands of colored lanterns decorate homes, businesses, and streets.  The lighted lanterns bring good fortune and families celebrate by eating glutinous rice balls and spending time together.


  1. Red envelopes full of money bring luck (for children, this is the most exciting part of the holiday)
  2. Gift exchanges among family and friends
  3. Fireworks (this tradition began as early as the Wei Dynasty (220-265 BC)
  4. Mandarin oranges – the most popular and abundant fruit during Chinese New Year – symbolizing luck or fortune
  5. Food eaten during celebrations carry symbolism – noodles (long life), sweets (colored red or black), taro cakes, bakkwa (salty-sweet dried meat), turnip cakes, dumplings (prosperity), leek (calculating), fish, Buddha’s delight (prosperity), melon seed (brings fertility)
  6. Open air markets and fairs sell flowers, toys, clothing for new years gifts and decorations
  7. Shou Sui is the New Year’s Eve family dinner when people stay up until midnight to celebrate the tradition of scaring the mythical beast called “Year” which is afraid of red color, fire, and loud sound.
Red decorations symbolize the luck of the new year!
Happy New Year!
Additional Resources





This month, I have been hosting a book club in the Pride Center on Wednesdays from 12-1 to discuss the book Faitheist by Chris Stedman.  25-year old Stedman tells the story of his journey from a family that he names “irreligious” through coming out as queer in an Evangelical Christian environment, to finally settling into his identity as an atheist humanist that engages in the interfaith movement.  As the current Assistant Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University, Stedman highlights the need for interfaith cooperation in order to establish significant change in our diverse world.

I was drawn to Faitheist for several reasons.  First, I met Chris this last summer and he is a generous, energized, gracious person.  He is an atheist that validates the importance of faith and invites relationships around him to be honest and safe.  Second, the number of Americans who identify as religiously unaffiliated is rising to be as many as 20% of the entire adult population.  How do we recognize this rising population in higher education?  Specifically within student affairs, how do we care for students and help them through this process of atheist identity development?

As an individual who identifies as religious, I recognize that there are certain privileges that I have in our society that “the nones” do not.  In our government, it is the common practice for people to swear into office by placing their hands on a holy book.  In movies and media, it is often a religious individual who sagely gives wise advice to a hero or provides a safe place for refuge.  For many people who identify as atheist, going through the identity development process is incredibly painful and difficult within their social structures.  Atheist student identity development has been paralleled to the marginalization that the LGB community experiences, feeling they are an invisible minority group that often has to hide their identity to protect themselves.

Fatheist prompts conversations of how the religious and the unaffiliated can engage in meaningful relationships through the collaborative action of community service, finding common ground in their desire to express their values through helping others.  As I continue to develop as a student affairs professional, I want to know how to come alongside students who do not share my identities.  I believe that the Faitheist book club is both a place of personal growth for me, as well as a caveat for beginning interfaith conversations on campus that recognize “interfaith” as an inclusive word for all spiritual, humanist, scientific, and religious identities.

Chris Stedman is coming to campus on February 20th to talk about his book and the interfaith youth movement.  Join us in The Valley Library Rotunda on Wednesday, Feb 20th from 6-8pm.  Click here to read a bit more about the event and to find out more about the Faitheist book club.

– Hannah Pynn
Graduate Assistant, Office of the Dean of Student Life
College Student Services Administration Masters Program


Hello fellow Beavers!  My name is Marigold Setsuko Holmes and I am excited to be serving as an Intern for the College Student Service Administration (CSSA) Campus Days 2013 in the Dean of Student Life’s Office.

A bit about myself.  I am Japanese on my mother’s side and a mix of European origins on my father’s side, with roots in Missouri (though I’ve actually never lived there).  But mostly, I identify as a Navy Brat.  My father was in the Navy and I spent most of my childhood on Navy Bases in Japan.  After graduating Nile C. Kinnick High School on Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan, I moved to Seattle to pursue an undergraduate degree at the University of Washington (go Huskies!)

As an undergrad, I got really involved with Residence Life, serving on the Residence Hall Student Association as Hall Rep then National Communications Coordinator for two years.  My senior year, I served as Director of the PACURH Region on the National Board of Residence Halls Student Association.  These experiences paved the way for my passion in Student Affairs.  When I wasn’t busy being involved in the halls, I volunteered with Circle K, played soccer, sang for the University singers and of course, I studied a lot too. I was (and still am) interested in so many things – I dabbled a bit in Architecture, did a lot of experiments in Chemistry courses, enjoyed solving problems in Math, but eventually settled on English as a major, specializing in British Lit (Chaucer and Shakespeare are some men from my past).

When I graduated from the UW, I was fortunate to be hired as an Academic Advisor at my Alma matter.  I advised undeclared majors for two years, before moving to the Economics Department to advise undergraduates Econ majors, all the while collecting more purple and gold in my wardrobe.  Just as my wardrobe was nearing explosion, I was given an opportunity to work in Japan with the Japan-U.S. Educational Commission (Fulbright Program Japan).  I had never heard of this organization or what they did, but was intrigued by an opportunity to live and work in Japan.  When I think about it now, it must have been fate. When I showed up to the interview, my future boss turned out to be a fellow Husky and we hit it off right away.  But more over, I was struck by the Fulbright philosophy and the role that this flagship international exchange program has played in promoting world peace through educational exchange.

I loved every minute of my 16 years (!) with the Commission, but all good things must come to an end, and with a drive to further my skills as a student affairs professional, I moved to Corvallis in September to pursue a Master’s Degree in CSSA.  The first quarter was quite challenging, especially since it had been nearly 20 years since I was last a student.  But I have learned so much and am enjoying every minute of this journey.  I feel very lucky.  Not too many people get to take two years off, to do what they want!

As you may have already guessed from the path that I have chosen in life, I am very passionate about education, especial educational and cultural exchanges and the promotion of mutual understanding among peoples of the world.  After completing my Master’s Degree,

I hope to return to international education.  But in the mean time, I am looking forward to absorbing as much knowledge as I can through the wonderful experiences that the OSU community has to offer.  I am really excited about my internship with the Dean of Student Life’s Office.  I am already learning so much, and best of all, I get to do what I love most, work with people (prospective CSSA candidates, OSU professionals, and fellow students).  It will be a very busy two weeks until Campus Days, but with my fellow CSSAers, I hope to make it the best Campus Days ever, so that every candidate will want to come to OSU, and even more people will apply to the program next year!

P.S.  My purple and gold wardrobe is slowly morphing to orange and black.  Go Beaves!

This blogpost series is called Holidays and Holy Days to inform our OSU community about significant religious or spiritual observances.  If you know of a significant holiday or holy day coming up, please communicate the information to Hannah Pynn hannah.pynn@oregonstate.edu in the Dean of Student Life office.

December 8, 2012 celebrates the Buddhist holiday of Bodhi Day.

Happy Bodhi Day!
Happy Bodhi Day! 


The Buddhist holiday Bodhi day celebrates the day that the historic Buddha, Siddartha Gautauma, achieved enlightenment through meditation.  Bodhi is the word for enlightenment in Sanskrit.


Traditions vary in describing the events of how and when Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment, but it is general belief that he went through this process while sitting under a Bodhi tree and became the “Awakened One.”  Buddha’s enlightenment has been the central article of the Buddhist faith for 2,500 years.  Around the year 596 BCE, Siddhartha Gautama abandoned his privileged, royal life to search for Dharma (the truth).  For six years, Siddartha Gautama realized that meditation was the way to achieve truth.  After 49 days of unbroken meditation, he discovered the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path, which are the basic elements of all Buddhist practices.

The Bodhi Tree still grows near the banks of the Falgu River and has been surrounded by a temple for over 2,200 years.  This site is the most sacred site of pilgrimage for Buddhists.


  1. Day-long meditation, prayer and study
  2. 30 days, beginning with Bodhi day, Buddhists bring a ficus or sacred fit tree to their house
  3. Decorating with ornaments that represent the Three Jewels: the Buddha, the Dharma (the way of truth), and the Sangha (the community of those seeking enlightenment)
  4. Eating a morning meal of milk and rice, which the Buddha ate to end his fast after his Enlightenment
  5. Light candles for 30 days to represent Buddha’s enlightenment
  6. Decorate with fig leaves or origami fig leaves that represent a heart shape
Additional Resources




This blogpost series is called Holidays and Holy Days to inform our OSU community about significant religious or spiritual observances.  If you know of a significant holiday or holy day coming up, please communicate the information to Hannah Pynn hannah.pynn@oregonstate.edu in the Dean of Student Life office.

This Wednesday celebrates the holiday of Guru Nanak Gurpurab.

Happy Gurupurab!
Happy Gurupurab!


The Sikh holiday Guru Nanak Gurpurab Diwali (also called Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s Prakash Utsav) celebrates the birth anniversary of the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak who was born in 1469 in what is now present day Pakistan.  Sikh’s holidays revolve around the anniversaries of the 10 Sikh Gurus and the dates change every year according to the traditional Indian calendar.  Guru Nanak Gurpurab begins on 28 November, 2012. 

Guru Nanak is regarded as the founder of Sikhism and celebrating his birthday is a time for festivals and prayers among Sikhs.


Guru Nanak is remembered in the Sikh sacred scriptures and is famous for saying, “There is neither Hindu nor Mussulman (Muslim) so whose path shall I follow? I shall follow God’s path. God is neither Hindu nor Mussulman and the path which I follow is God’s.”  This is a fundamental belief of Sikhs, that there is a supreme God that manifests in all major religions.

Guru Nanak’s teaching is understood to be practiced in three ways:

  • Vaṇḍ Chakkō:  Sharing with others, helping those with less who are in need
  • Kirat Karō:  Earning/making a living honestly, without exploitation or fraud
  • Naam Japna:  Chanting the Holy Name and thus remembering God at all times (ceaseless devotion to God)
In 1499, Guru Nanak was moved by seeing suffering in the world and set out to spread a message of peace and compassion.  Guru Nanak is famous for his five journeys across Asia, spreading his Divine message.



  1. Singing hymns
  2. A huge procession, beginning at Gurdwara Nankana Sahib, Pakistan, the birthplace of Guru Nanak
  3. Swordsmanship and various martial arts to demonstrate mock battles
  4. Flags and flowers are displayed
  5. Early morning Katha, exposition of Sikh scriptures
  6. A community lunch that welcomes all, regardless of caste
  7. Demonstrations in the spirit of seva (service) and bhakti (devotion)
  8. Sunset prayer sessions that last into the late night until 1:20am, the actual time of Guru Nanak’s birth
Happy Gurpurab!
Additional Resources

Due to the political unrest in Pakistan, there is some tension about permitting Sikh’s entry to their traditional place of celebration for this holiday.


A video of Sikh pilgrims to celebrate in 2011







Hello everyone!  My name is Anissa Teslow Cheek and I’m an intern in the office of Dean of Student Life for the fall term.

This is my last term as an undergraduate here at Oregon State University and I’m excited to be graduating at the end of this term.  I will be receiving my degree in speech communications and hope to attend graduate school to continue my passion of learning how people communicate their cultural identities.  My goal is to receive my MAIS at Oregon State Univeristy and to do that I have started my application process.

As an intern, this term I have been working on a video project that was started this past summer by two interns.  If you read, Maria Garcia’s post you will already be familiar with the video project.  For those that do not know, the video project was created to help students learn more about services on campus in a visually engaging format.  Each video has a student host or hosts that describe the services available and are captioned.  If you are interested in viewing the previously made videos you can at http://oregonstate.edu/deanofstudents/home/ or on the Dean of Student Life’s YouTube page at http://www.youtube.com/user/StudentLifeOSU?feature=watch.  In order for next term’s interns to seamlessly create more videos, I’ve been working on a how-to-guide that details the process from start to finish.

When I’m not working on internship projects or finishing up schoolwork you can find me hanging out with my partner Jason and our three cats.  Fear not, however, I am not a crazy cat lady, just a cat mom.  I would love to get a dog but it just hasn’t worked out yet. Meet my kids, Charlie, Jinx, & Belvedere.



I also enjoy hanging out with my brother-in-law, Tim and my sister-in-law, Kat who just transferred to OSU this term.  If I’m not spending time with family I love to hang out with my best friend, Kim, when our schedules align.  If we aren’t causing trouble, we enjoy watching Chopped on Food Network, chatting, creating or at least trying to create crafts, and overall just enjoying each others company.

I hope that this fall term has been a good one for you all and that you aren’t overly stressed with final projects and papers.  Good luck with wrapping up the term and then enjoying your winter break!


This blogpost series is called Holidays and Holy Days to inform our OSU community about significant religious or spiritual observances.  If you know of a significant holiday or holy day coming up, please communicate the information to Hannah Pynn hannah.pynn@oregonstate.edu in the Dean of Student Life office.

This week celebrates the holiday of Diwali.

Happy Diwali!


The Indian festival Diwali (also called Divali and Deepavali) is translated into the Sanskrit definition of “row of lamps” and is often referred to as the Festival of Lights.  Diwali, the five-day festival celebrated on one of the darkest night of the year, celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, and is one of the most important festivals of the year.  An official holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore and Fiji, Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains around the world.  Diwali begins on 13 November. 

Diwali marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year, commemorating spiritual peace, familial relationships, and hoping for good things to come in the next year.


Diwali is celebrated by Hindu’s as the return of the Lord Rama from a 14 year exile.  In celebration of his return, people light small lamps to light his way home after he defeated the evil of Ravana and his armies.

Janism observes Diwali as the attainment of nirvana by Lord Mahavira, a spiritual leader who valued meditation, the respect of all living things, and giving up earthly comforts for the sake of spiritual peace.

Sikhs also celebrate Diwali as the mark of Chhorh Divis, when their sixth guru Guru Hargobind Ji, released 52 Hindi kings from prison.

The spiritual significance of Diwali asserts the Hindu philosophy of good over evil, that humans have “the awareness of the inner light” that brings joy and peace.


  1. Lighting innumerable small lamps, candles, and lights
  2. Visiting family
  3. Fireworks
  4. Wearing new clothes
  5. Exchanging special sweets with neighbors
  6. Going to the temples as a family
  7. Decorating homes with flowers, colored sand, and lots of lights
Additional Resources

President Obama is the first president to officially observe the holiday of Diwali.  Take a look at his Presidential address wishing people a Happy Diwali.  Presidential Happy Diwali

This is a short animated video that illustrates the story of Lord Rama and his victory of light over darkness.  Lord Rama – Defeat of good over evil

National Geographic shows footage of beautiful sights in India during Diwali celebrations.

National Geographic Diwali