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Christian calendar makes for easier holidays… for some  November 30th, 2011

Leading into this “Holiday Season”, I start to think about how grateful I am that Christmas is observed by the school calendar. I have so much planning to do to make sure that I see all of my relatives, go to Christmas Eve service, and get all of my shopping done. All this hustle and bustle over one of my favorite holidays makes me start thinking about holidays for other religions and cultures.  I mean, should we even call this time the “Holiday Season” when there are so many people that do not celebrate any holidays during this time? Are there not many more holiday seasons for the multiple cultures and religions represented in the US? What I have realized is that many students still have to go to school and worry about homework and tests during their important cultural and religious holidays. If Christmas was not a recognized holiday it would undoubtedly bring in more stress and affect my religion’s most important holiday.

I cannot even imagine having to study for a test that would take place on Christmas day or having a project that is due on Easter, but there are people that attend OSU where this is a reality. An example for fall term is Shmini Atzeret/Simchat Torah which is October 20-21 and is supposed to be a nonworking holiday for the Jewish community. Another is Birth of Baha’u’llah on November 12 and is supposed to be a nonworking day for the Baha’i community. To learn more OSU observed holidays click here and to learn more about other religious holidays not observed by most school calendars click here. I have learned there are many holidays that take place throughout the academic year, yet our campus does not observe them as official holidays. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to ask a professor to reschedule a test or give me an extension on a project for a religious or cultural holiday. However, since I am a practicing Christian, and the academic calendar is shaped around the major Christian Holidays, this is something that I will never have to face. Therefore, I feel that I have an academic advantage as a result, which I see as unfair.

I am grateful that my holiday is observed, but how can people who observe other holidays gain access to necessary resources or be allowed the same grace as I with assignments or tests? This is where I can see that I am indeed privileged. It is so normative in the U.S. to celebrate Christmas and have “Christmas Break” off from school. Do you have privilege here as well? I am sure I am not the only one who has had this misconception. Trying to schedule a family get together, make sure I get my essential meals, and making sure that I am being successful in school would push me to the wall. Is there something that can be stated or included for students who celebrate major holidays during the school year to give them the respect that I would want?

— Kameron Beeks, Community Relations Facilitator

See the CRF website to learn more about the CRF Program and how to get involved.

Become a student of you  November 17th, 2011

Throughout my undergraduate experience, I have learned a lot about myself and my culture. Before coming to Oregon State University, I had no idea there was a “me” to explore. My identity was something I never bothered to “discover.”

Now I understand identity it is much more important than I realized. My identity is not only who I am but also what I stand for because of my values. Thinking back, I can rationalize that I never placed real importance on my identity because I did not know what it meant. Now, I can only imagine how many other first-year students did not and do not know the meaning of identity as well.

In my K-12 education, I do not remember ever learning about myself or where I came from in any class. As a young Latina, I was curious to learn more about my history. I was finally given the opportunity to learn more about my culture at OSU; it was an opportunity I was hungry to explore. I took classes that were never offered in high school such as ethics of diversity through the philosophy department, sociology, and anthropology, where I was introduced to the topic of identity. I was glad to engage the topic but did not anticipate that it would also cause much confusion and anxiety.

As a Student of Color, I hated talking about my identity because I felt I didn’t know how to identify my multiethnic identities. Not knowing my identity made me feel like I had no past; I was ignoring my ancestors.  I felt like a tree that had no roots. I also started to realize that my identity consists of what makes me unique as an individual and different from others. I started to realize how important it was when I would talk about myself. Even answering a question such as, “where are you from?” was difficult for me to answer.

The process of identifying myself made me feel closer to my family because I was honoring them by learning where we came from and where our values are rooted. It also made me realize how much I have grown and learned at OSU. As a Community Relations Facilitator, I have picked up on several helpful tools that have helped me understand my identity and how I can help others in their own process of self-discovery.

It was a challenge for me to realize I was missing pieces of myself, but I am glad I am working towards finding all of the pieces of my identity.  I know classes I took helped me to reflect on my identity and on how I would identify myself to others. I feel these courses could help many other students who wish to explore their own identities.

If you are interested in exploring this topic, I recommend that you look courses that are offered in departments such as ethnic studies, philosophy, anthropology, women studies, and sociology. I encourage you to discover the courses, workshops  and events offered by these departments. I know courses from these departments have made a difference in my life; I hope they can inspire you to explore your identities as well.

Thanks for reading,

Angelica Perez, Community Relations Facilitator

Multiracial in a ‘this’ or ‘that’ world  November 17th, 2011

As a Student of Color I have given much thought to the topic of racial identity. However, as a self-identified Chicano/Latino I admit I have not challenged myself to reflect on bi-racial or multi-racial identities. In high school I thought of race as what you would check on the identity box when taking the SAT’s, or any other state testing. Only recently have these identification forms allowed you to check more than one “racial box” or to state that you are multiracial. Like these forms I, too, had a binary way of thinking about race; in my mind you were either “this” or “that.”

During spring term of 2011 I decided to take a philosophy class titled “Ethics of Diversity”, which really sparked my interest in learning more about many topics around social justice.  This class talked about many issues like race, oppression, sexism, LGBT identities, etc. Towards the end of the term we began to discuss bi-racial and multi-racial identities. During this class the professor hosted a panel of students who identified as being bi-racial or multi-racial to speak on their experiences. When I got home that afternoon I saw an email from a student who was part of the panel. With his consent, I will share the email he sent to the class:


I would like to preface my statement by clarifying that it is not my intention to dismiss anyone or to attack them for their thoughts. These views come from my experiences and should not be used as a generalization for everyone.

I left the panel yesterday feeling very angry and resentful. Walking through campus, I could not pinpoint the center of my uneasy feelings, unable to locate the reason for which I was so unsettled by what happened. The issues discussed very well described what it meant to be bi- or multi-racial; but only a portion of what goes on. I felt as if the class was left with the idea that being multi-racial/ bi-racial meant being able to pick and choose which side we wanted to present: to be one, the other, or both when convenient.

It means a lot more.

  • For some it means to be both always, forced with the inability to escape duality.
  • It means not being able to pass completely for one or the other.
  • It means to be Mexican and White at all times, for better or for worse, and to understand this and accept the consequences.
  • It means to be mad at the world when you are rejected for one side, and then mad at yourself when you fail to speak up for the other.
  • It means to be told that you are both the oppressor and the oppressed.
  • It means to always be a minority, regardless of who you are with.
  • It means to be admired for your ability to seamlessly cross between two worlds, and then hated for the same reason.
  • It means to bottle up all your hurt for lack of anyone who understands you.
  • It means that when you are unable to represent both cultures fully, you are seen as culturally ignorant instead of culturally unaware.
  • It means to constantly try to acculturate to both sides and always be seen as assimilating.
  • It is like your different sides staring at each other through a two-way mirror, screaming and banging and shaking to break free and join each other in a society that keeps them separated.
  • But it also means to not only have to the power to “check” multiple boxes, but have the opportunity to embrace and express the cultures that you check.
  • It means you can speak Spanish at one home and English at the other.
  • It means you can share in the sorrows and happiness of two worlds.
  • It means you are blessed with a curse and cursed with a blessing.
  • It means you can find meaning in double the things.
  • It means you see life from many different eyes.
  • It means you can build bridges.

Thank You for your Time,

Agustin Vega-Peters

The class discussion and Agustin’s email were very insightful; it completely changed my way of viewing race. I began to reflect on the complexity of the concept of race. I was awakened to no longer see race as being “this” or “that” in an exclusionary manner. I now understood why my bi- and multiracial friends had a hard time when I asked, “what race do you relate to more?” or “which one of the two races do you identify as?” These questions assumed that they can separate their lives into imaginary compartments. I realized that my lack of awareness may have made my friends uncomfortable and my questions could have even been hurtful. Becoming more aware of this issue allowed me to think of how I can become an ally and be more inclusive to people who identify as bi-and multiracial. I actively remind myself to embrace and appreciate the whole individual for who they are and what they represent, rather than breaking down an individual into distinct characteristics that have no connection. I encourage you to reflect on your understanding of bi- and multiracial identities. How can you help create a more inclusive living environment in your residence hall for people who identify as bi- and multiracial?

If you wish to learn more about identity and other related topics, contact your Community Relations Facilitator (CRF) or participate in facilitations offered by CRFs in your residence hall.

Thank you for reading,

Miguel Arellano, Community Relations Facilitator

Lizeth–Only A Week Away  June 10th, 2010

Hello everyone!

I am only a week away from summer and I know some of you are already enjoying the rays of the sun and relaxing without any homework or papers to write. It is still surreal to me that school is ending in a week and I will have completed my first year of college! During these past few weeks I have had so much to get done, but I also have attended some great events. First, I had the opportunity to participate in Habitat for Humanity, where we volunteered to help this program finish some tasks they had. This was a great opportunity because not only did it help me bond with my supervisors and peers, but also we helped people who needed our assistance. Another event I attended was, “Noche de gala.” This was an event to award many Latinos on their achievements throughout the year, but before they gave out awards they had traditional Mexican music and food for enjoyment. After all of these events and fun times with great people, it has now come the time to start looking for a new home. As of right now my roommates and I are looking for a place to live next year and it so hard to find an apartment, because many places will not start showing their apartments until school is out. Looking for a new place comes with so many emotions that I never thought I would have because I didn’t realize the attachment I had to my dorm and the friends/neighbors I created in the Finley Hall. Next year is going to be so different and it still hasn’t sunk in that I won’t be seeing these people everyday and I won’t be able to just walk down the hall and be able to socialize or study with them. When I leave here I will truly feel as if I am leaving something great behind, but at the same time I am excited for the new adventure with my new roommates. This year has been such a blast and the ending is bitter sweet for me because even though I can not wait until this week is over, I will not see my new friends for months and they are like my second family. Living in the dorms has helped me create this new family and I think everyone should have this experience and opportunity. Also, living in the dorms your first year gives you the comfort and knowledge of where everything is located on campus. I have had so many experiences this year I don’t know if I could pick a favorite memory to share with all of you, but I will say that one my favorites memories was going snowboarding with my friends I made through a program here on campus known as the college assistance migrant program (CAMP). Through that I found a new sport I really enjoy and became closer with my peers in CAMP. Well I hope that everyone has an awesome summer and that Oregon State becomes your school of choice!

Lizeth Ochoa

Roberto–Spring Time/Reflection Time  May 21st, 2010

(written May 14, 2010)

Hello my friends,

It’s Friday, and I’m done with the day. These weeks are passing so by fast, and even the weeks feel like days to me.  It’s almost the end of the year, and I’m very excited. Today, the weather was so nice, and it was just like a perfect day as my friend Mauricio would say. These days are so nice like to do many things outside; such as taking a walk, going out to the parks, going out with friends and having so much fun. But, unfortunately we have to measure our times wisely, and put first things first. Sometimes we have to say no to things and doing what’s most important, even if we don’t like it. For example, today I had to say no to my performance with my church band. This is really important for me, but since I have too many midterms next week, I had to say no for this time only. But well, I need to get ready for those midterms so can do well on them.

Today, many things happened to me. One of those things was that I realized that there is too much stress going on around campus. I’ve seen people who look stressed, tired etc.  I imagine that it’s because of midterms, projects, work, having a lot of things to do etc.  Especially, today when I went downstairs of my hall I found a friend of mine and I started to talk to her. I asked her about how things were going, and she said “good”, like all people would say. As I engaged more with the conversation I realized that she was stressed and she had many things to do, and big projects to get done. She even told me about how bad she felt from her last midterms which one of them she failed. In addition, she even had to drop out her math class for some reason. She says that she even cried for what she was going through. She looked sad, but I told her not worry too much and start to do what need to do.  I felt sorry for her, and I even imagine all the stress that she went through because I’ve being there too many times. I even thought that I was the only one who was too stressed, but I wasn’t the only one.

That’s why I say that here around campus there is a lot of stress going on. You know, I think that’s the true reality about studying here at college, “nothing will be easy”, but in some way we have to resist and keep moving forward, and the result will be even better. Therefore, we need patience, hard work and dedication on everything that we do.

We always will be learning new things as we go through life, and now I learning how different is to live away from home, and have to take care of myself by my own. I’m learning to put myself in other people shoes, and understanding them better. Sometimes I ask myself about “why, why do we have to go through hard stuff, in order to accomplish something.” Even though I haven’t live enough but I realized that the answer to this is that the hard stuff makes you wise every day, and we learn from our mistakes, and as a result it makes us stronger as a person. So my message today for everyone is to never give up and keep going. Remember that “your greatest weakness becomes your greatest strength.” In addition, Like Rocky Balboa says, “it doesn’t matter how hard you can hit, what matters is how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take and keep moving forward.” So, I motivate everyone who is reading this blog to keep working hard and do the best you can on your classes. Good luck!


Roberto–Festivalito and Mother’s day  May 13th, 2010

Hey everyone,

I imagine everyone is having hard days, and that reasonable because midterms and exams are coming up. I can only imagine the stress that students can be going through.  I say that because right now I’m facing stress.  I feel very overwhelmed for I have many things to get done. But nothing is easy in this college life; the harder the obstacle is, the greater the accomplishment will be.

Anyways, leaving all these preoccupations aside, I want to tell you about the great weekend I had, and all of the fun things I did. First on Saturday, I had the privilege to play with my band at the”festivalito” event. Me and a group of CAMP students played at this event, and some of the members of the band were Samuel Aguirre, Agustin, and Kennedy, etc. I played the keyboard; Samuel played the drums, Kennedy the electric guitar and Agustin the Electro acoustic. In addition, the day was very nice, and it couldn’t be a better day to be outside having a good time. We in the band played some Mexican songs, and little bit or rock and jazz music.  We played for about an hour, and after that we got Mexican food which was the best part of this event.  After we were done playing, the next number was an Aztec dance which was a tradition from the Aztecs and there were little kids, and adult dress with very traditional clothes which represented that beautiful culture, and they danced for about an hour or so. It was so amazing.  Attending this event was such a great experience, and it was just a perfect day to relax and learn about my culture.

After the “Festivalito” event I and the band went to return the instruments at home. First we went to Luis’s house, a friend from church, and we gave him back his brother’s drums because he let it borrow to us. Then, I don’t know how come, but we decide to stay there and just jam for a little. That was the best part of the day. We took out my favorite song, “breathe into me” by RED, and that was so amazing because I never imagined that we could take that song out, but we did. We played that song 4 or 5 times and we enjoyed jamming. Crazy but fun!

Next day on Sunday, I had the opportunity to play at church and celebrate Mother’s day.  The youth group organized a special event for the mothers, and that included a play about the how God created the woman, little kids read a poem while I played a lullaby song on the piano, me a two girls sang a special song of the mothers, and I played the keyboard and sing at the same time.

I had a lot of fun, and most importantly enjoy celebrating our moms and letting know how important they are and will be to us, and that we really care about them. That same day I called my mom and my grandma and I told them how much I loved them, and they were just really happy. I think it’s very important to tell our moms how important they are to us because they took care of us when we were little kids, and so they deserve to be loved.

This weekend wasn’t just about having fun but also about having the opportunity to learn something. Each day will be a new day with new things to learn.  Well, one last thing, I just want to motivate all the OSU students–Don’t give up this term which is almost over, it will be fine. Good luck on midterms and finals.



Roberto–Spring Term is Almost Over  April 28th, 2010

Hello Everyone,

Spring term has being the hardest term in my first year of college.  I think it’s a good thing because that means that I’m working hard and trying new things and improving myself more. I can’t believe spring term is almost over, it feels like yesterday I just started school, and now I’m almost finishing my first year of college. Time is passing by so fast that I haven’t realized.  I’m very excited to finish this year, and start a new one. Also, I’m happy because a friend of mine who is also a student at OSU, he is graduating this year with bachelor’s degree in Civil engineer. He plays the acoustic guitar at church and I play the keyboard. He is a good friend and I’m happy for him, that in few months he will be officially an engineer. I admire him, and I want to graduate too and be an example for my little brothers like him. Me and my friends from my youth band, we will celebrate a party for Mauricio, the guy who is graduating, and celebrate the Mauricio achievements. There will be a lot of things going on, and I’m excited. But now I need to think about my classes and my goals for this spring term. I want to use my time wisely and finish my priorities at school this term. This week is going to be hard for me because I have three midterms, one from chemistry, math and sociology and that means that I need to study a lot for those exams. But I’m sure that I’ll be fine because so far I have got behind in my classes. It is time to work hard, and not procrastinate, and give my best. Like I said I have a lot of studying going on, and I wish everyone a good week. I know everyone is very busy especially because of the midterms, but don’t worry too much, get relax because it all will be fine.


(Below is a picture of my church band.  I am on the bottom right.)

Lizeth–Growing through College  April 26th, 2010

Many people believe that college changes you and to a certain point I agree with them. When I first came to Oregon State I was still very immature about the way I saw certain things and thought that school was going to be all about going out and having fun, but I can say that I was very wrong. Although college has been hard work it has helped me grow and become more independent.

During my first term I learned that college was going to be hard work and it was not going to be like in high school where if you did something wrong it would not matter, because here you learn that if you don’t do something there is nothing you can do that is going to make the professors change their mind, unless it is a valid excuse.  For example if you miss a midterm or final because you slept in your professors will not give you another time where you can make it up, it will go in as a zero and affect your grade tremendously.  Also, when you come to college there is thousands of people who you share campus with. We are all different people who have different traditions, language, beliefs, and personalities and you have to be respectful and learn to appreciate the diversity OSU is representing.

Now going into my third term I am much more opened to people, I am responsible for my own actions and don’t blame what I have not done or have done on other people, I am not angry when things don’t go my way, and am much more independent. I do not want to make any of you nervous to come to college because I think this is a one in a lifetime opportunity that not everyone gets to have. OSU teaches you to mature as an adult and without being here learning to think for myself and going through new experiences I would not be the person I am today. With this new confidence I have gained the skills to meet people on campus who have helped me feel more connected to campus.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week and they choose their college to be Oregon State University.


Roberto–Finals Week  March 23rd, 2010

Finals week

Hello everyone, I imagine all of you are having their finals this
week. I being trying to study and getting ready for my Finals. I have
two Finals this week, one from Math, and the other one from Chemistry.
After we are done with this week, we are having spring break. That’s a
great thing because I really needed. At last I’m going back to
Hillsboro, and visit my family. I really miss them, especially my
little brother Uriel who is just 8 years old. I used to call him “my
little hommie.”  He likes to play soccer a lot, and now that I’m coming
back we are going to play soccer together. Also, I’m excited because
I’m going to practice with my church band from Hillsboro. We have many
songs undone since I left, and now we are going to finish them.
Last Friday, I did my first blood drive donation at the CAMP blood
drive held by the CAMP program. I remember I was really scared,
especially of the needle. I thought that it was going to hurt a lot,
but it wasn’t. It didn’t hurt at all, and after I donate I didn’t feel
tired or something, instead I felt really normal. Unfortunately, a
couple hours after I started to feel little bit tired, and hungry. The
best thing about the blood drive is that I realized that I did it for
a good cause, for I saved three lives. That same day I went to a church
prayer that started from 9:00 pm to 2:00 am in the morning. I played
the piano that day at the church. I thought that I wasn’t going to be
able to stay the all activity since I donate blood and I felt really
tired, but actually I did stay for all the activity and I really enjoyed it.
The next day on Saturday, I had a practice with the church band here
at Corvallis, and we practice the songs that we are going to play next
Friday in our first youth service at Church, and we hope that a lot of
youth people come to church. I’m really excited about that.
Today is Monday, and I barely woke up. I’m going to
continue studying for those finals and do well on them. I wish
everyone a good luck on their finals, and remember get a good sleep. I
hope all of you have a nice spring break.


Roberto–Soul Food Cafe experience  March 3rd, 2010

I had a pretty busy week this time. I had two midterms already, one from chemistry and the other one from Math. I feel like I did well on those midterms, hopefully. You know sometimes we feel like we did 100% well on the exams, and at the end we get lower compared to what we expected. Like I said, I had a pretty busy weekend but it was good because I can say that really did something and not just being bored doing anything.

I want to talk about my experience at the Soul Food Café. My experience can be described in only one word, and that is amazing.  I went to the Soul food Café event after my CAMP class which ended at 6:00 pm. When I got out from the class, I was rushing to get the McNary dining. I was really tired and hungry that day, and I just wanted to get there to grab some food to eat. When I got there I was really surprised. As I was getting inside McNary I got the sense that that environment was so moving. I wanted to walk all around and see what was going on. I heard good music going on, people were walking around, and other people were eating, laughing and having a good time.  As I was getting in, I realized that a jazz band was playing live, and that got even more excited. I got really keyed up when I heard the keyboard solo as the band was playing. You know I love to play the piano, and seeing someone who plays the keyboard made feel really energized. That was one of my favorite parts of such event. Also, the food was great, and I loved those pieces of the meat, and the fried bananas. Many people were walking around McNary, and the environment was perfect as for someone who just wanted to have a good time, and forget about the stress from our classes, midterms, and just to have a good time, and get relaxed.