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In Times of Worship and Fear  January 27th, 2011

In light of the recent attempted bombing of Pioneer Square in Portland, and the resulting burning of a mosque in Corvallis, I question how a person makes the leap from an individual’s actions to holding a whole religion responsible and thus burning a place of worship. As I reflect on the situation, the essay “The Moral Insight” by Josiah Royce comes to mind. Read the rest of this entry »

Changes in Masculinity  January 27th, 2011

Two years ago if you asked me to define what masculinity meant I could have done it relatively easily. I would of described the usual stereotypes of being tough, don’t cry, and to be brave. Today the task of defining what masculinity means to me is much more difficult of a task. Read the rest of this entry »

Learning to Serve  January 27th, 2011

After reflecting on how I identify in the sense of social class, I have started to pay more attention to my access to wealth.  My immediate family is a low income family in a manufactured home neighborhood, aka a trailer park. My extended family, on the other hand, has an abundance of resources. I have been struggling with identifying as lower class, based on my immediate family, or upper middle class with this new consideration of my access to wealth through my extended family. Read the rest of this entry »

The End of a New Beginning  January 11th, 2011

This article marks the end of my first term as a Community Relations Facilitator for the residence halls.  Although, with the help of the RA’s great programs have been done within the residence halls, I can’t help but wonder what the rest of my year will look like. Social Justice is not something I can’t just learn or teach and then move on to the next thing in life; it is a process. Read the rest of this entry »

Working With Class  January 11th, 2011

My battle for the last couple of weeks has been around my social class. Looking back on my past, I realize that my experience growing up contains polar opposite dimensions of social class.  I grew up with a family that consisted of a mother, brother, and stepfather. All of us lived in a manufactured home park.  We seemed to barely scratch by every week.  There were a couple of times that we couldn’t afford electricity or water and would have to go to the YMCA to take a shower.  Read the rest of this entry »

CRF Reflection: You Never Know When Things Pay Off  November 18th, 2010

I have been fortunate to have accomplished a lot in school and sports receiving many honors. Yet, none compare to how I felt when a younger student, who attended church with me in the past, told me that the work I am doing as a CRF, and the change I have gone through in my life helped him come out and express his gay identity openly. My mind was absolutely blown! Obviously, I wasn’t the sole reason for this individual to come out, but just to be a part of his coming out process was incredible.

I saw him at a party and he appeared awkward towards me at first. I could tell he felt uncomfortable, but I struck up a conversation with him anyway. He told me that he saw me in the Pride Center, but didn’t know what my job was. He said he hid so that I couldn’t see him and possibly, identify him as gay. He remembered me from high school as a person that would use the word “gay” as filler in almost every sentence that came out of my mouth. He knew me as a guy who sat at the table and threw food at the one or two openly gay students in my high school. It’s no wonder why this student would be terrified of me seeing his true identity, and hide from me.

Thankfully to the staff at the Pride Center he had several conversations about what I was doing on campus and that I was transitioning into becoming an ally to the LGBT community. He was relieved to find out that I have become an ally to the LGBT community over the last two years, and was completely shocked when I gave him a huge hug after he told me about his identity. He was almost struck speechless as I began asking questions about how his life has changed since he began to express his true identity. Finally after the initial shock wore off we had one of the most amazing conversations of my life, learning about how his family has reacted and how much happier he has been.

It was funny how even though he knew I was an ally, it still took him several minutes to be completely sure that I was an accepting person. He explained to me that he heard of my transition and that if I was capable of changing from who I used to be that it gave him hope that his dad might be accepting of who he truly was. When our conversation ended, I gave him another hug and warned him that I’ll give him one every time I see him on campus. I left that conversation with an excitement I haven’t experienced in a long time.

He gave me a sense of accomplishment, that the work I do and the changes I’m making in my life actually mean something. People around me are feeling more comfortable in expressing their true identities. I feel a stronger sense of comfort from my peers as they interact with me. I cherish my job for what it has done for me and my interaction with others. I may have only made a small impact on one individual that I know of so far, but it has made a enormous impact on me.

Kevin Rodemack

Community Relations Facilitator – Westside Quad

The comments shared by the Community Relations Facilitator program are strictly the point of view from the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of UHDS. If this article has inspired a desire to dialogue, the author, or another CRF and/or any Resident Assistant, Resident Director or CoOp Director would be happy to participate. Please contact Victor Santana-Melgoza (, UHDS Multicultural Resource Coordinator, to assist in making arrangements.

Speaking Up  November 3rd, 2010

I must admit during the first few weeks on the job, I was curious to see how being the only woman and Latina would play out with the group I was working with. My curiosity developed as I had the opportunity to work with the rest of my team members and I began to realize how our attitudes and ways of thinking about issues were very different at times. Instead of letting these differences get in the way, I am learning how to make use of these differences in a positive way. Read the rest of this entry »

The Real Thanksgiving  November 2nd, 2010

When I was in elementary school, there came a time in November when teachers would break out the finger paints and dried macaroni because Thanksgiving was coming up and we needed to celebrate. Like most, I subscribed to the traditional first Thanksgiving narrative of the pilgrims and Indians sitting down to a giant feast. However, in 6th grade I learned of all the events preceding that day, and was quite surprised. Read the rest of this entry »

CRF Reflection: Not One or the Other, But Both  October 20th, 2010

Moving into the residence halls this year was a major turning point in my life.  I never would have imagined that my skin color would ever be a thought in my mind when meeting new people.  Although I have some Japanese ancestors, throughout my life, I have grown up primarily in a white family with white friends in a white neighborhood at a white dominated school. I considered myself a part of the pack.  I assumed the role of a white person.  I thought I fit in. Read the rest of this entry »

CRF Reflection: You Just Never Know  October 20th, 2010

Several times throughout my life I have had an individual or a group become angry or displeased at me for no apparent reason. Most of the times this occurred it was from an individual who held different identities than my own. When I say identities I mean social identities such as race, gender, sexual orientation, and many others. These types of occurrences used to make me very upset at the individuals because I believed they had no right to act this way towards me especially since I hadn’t done anything wrong. Read the rest of this entry »