Monthly Archives: October 2012
Approximately 5,000 people turned out for Canada’s “Defend our Coast” protests against tar sands, pipelines and tankers Oct. 22, including two Linfield students.
After reading about the event and hearing of others going, sophomore Andra Kovacs and junior Amanda Maxwell drove 11 hours Oct. 21 to Victoria, British Columbia, with another student from the University of Oregon to protest against the tar sands, which is something that Kovacs feels fervently about.
“This issue is something that I feel incredibly passionate about doing whatever is in my power to stop it,” Kovacs said. “It was absolutely phenomenal to see so many people turn out for that.”
The three students first attended training Oct. 21, in which they were designated to be marshals, a job that involved crowd control and dealing with the police and media. They chose this job as to not risk getting arrested while in another country, Kovacs said.
Tar sands are a way of extracting oil that creates large deposits of oil that are damaging to the environment, Kovacs said. The extracting is happening in Canada on lands belonging to the first-nations people, which was the driving force of the protest that took place last week.
The Defend our Coast action was one of the biggest peaceful civil disobediences that Canada has ever seen, according to Kovacs.
It involved going to the legislative building in Victoria, British Columbia, and filling the lawn in front of the building with protesters, a stage and black tarps that were approximately 770 feet long. They represented the tankers that were used to transport the oil from the tar sands. Tankers are also a large threat to the environment because they take a large amount of excess energy to transport the tar sands.
“The possibility of the tankers leaking or something going wrong with them is huge,” Kovacs said.
Protesters then proceeded to write messages on the tarp, a majority of them targeting two specific legislatures believed to have a large amount of power over what’s happening with the tar sands and to be abusing this power.
After setting up the protest, those who had turned out sat in solidarity around the legislative building in front of the tarp “tanker” and listened to speakers while the day progressed.
“It was hugely successful. Everything went flawlessly,” Kovacs said. “Seeing how well organized it was was incredible—it was really inspiring.”
Although police showed up for the protest, in the end there were no arrests made. They helped the protestors block off the main street in front of the legislative building with the tarp and handed out candy throughout the event.
“It was amazing, there were no problems whatsoever,” Kovacs said. “I’ve never gotten to be a part of such a huge-scale direct action before, and being able to do that for the first time with something that I feel so passionately about. It was absolutely phenomenal.”
In addition to being involved with the tar sands protests, Kovacs is also involved on campus as the service and sustainability coordinator, director of communications and publicity for Change Corps, member of Greenfield, member of the Advisory Committee for Environment and Sustainability, and coordinator of the TAP That campaign.
Outside of Linfield, Kovacs also has recently become involved with the Sierra Student Coalition, which had helped her become more involved in environmental issues on a national level.
“It was a really unique experience to get to see environmental activism taking place internationally and getting to see that perspective too,” Kovacs said. “The empowering energy that I got from that made me so inspired, so alive and so ready to really create change here at Linfield.”
“Experience brings learning,” Michael Vande Berg said, encouraging students during a study abroad presentation Oct. 25 in Ice Auditorium.
As a speaker and trainer, Vande Berg encouraged students to acknowledge frames and spoke about how to handle ambiguity while abroad in the future in order to get the most out of their study abroad experiences.
“Simply going abroad is not a guarantee that students will gain those skills,” said Violeta Ramsay, associate professor of Modern Language-Spanish Language and Literature, via email. “They need to be fully prepared before departure. They should know how they can effectively gain those desired skills.”
Through a series of activities, Vande Berg provided students with the opportunity to prepare themselves with the necessary skills for studying abroad, including a better understanding of frames.
“[Frames are] ways that we perceive and organize the world,” Vande Berg said. “Those frames contain in them the emotional feeling, the certainty that the way that we perceive is the right way. And that conviction is very powerful.”
“Frames are not only a mental thing, but hugely emotional and behavioral,” Vande Berg said. “Coming into awareness and developing the capacity to frame shift offers us choices, it liberates us. The truth is, when we aren’t aware of this, we are locked into a way of thinking, a way of feeling, a way of acting.”
Vande Berg believes that in order to gain the most extraordinary studying abroad experience, students must know how to recognize and react by frame-shifting. He conveyed this message through three interactive activities.
“A common theme among the activities was introducing you to the experience of what we as human beings do all the time, which is frame,” Vande Berg said. “[By] introducing this as a possibility, we can frame- shift if we want to and know that this action is in our control.
“You’ve heard that people who are intercultural are really good at tolerating ambiguity,” Vande Berg said. “What [these activities] did was present us with ambiguity. The way we act in situations of ambiguity tells us a lot about who we are.”
Having an understanding of frames will lead to a more rewarding study abroad experience, Vande Berg emphasized.
During his presentation, he provided a lot of information to audience members but there were a few main points he hoped students took away from the 90-minute presentation.
“At least an increased awareness that we as human beings frame, that’s the first thing,” he said. “The second thing, the idea that frame- shifting is possible and in [one’s] control.”
Sophomore Cody Purchase, who plans to study abroad in Japan next fall, felt that he had especially benefited from the presentation. He has previously been to Japan, Jordan and Costa Rica. He was able to reflect on his past experiences while considering the new information Vande Berg presented.
“The presentation was awesome,” Purchase said. “It gave me ways to recognize my own behavior and better it, as well as things to consider. It organized all the things I had felt before into a concept I can remember and hope to utilize.
“In Japan, I had noticed a sort of polite restraint or lack of opening up among many of the people I met,” Purchase said. “It was not impolite but it did make me a little hesitant, making me wonder if I had perhaps said something offensive or there had been a miscommunication of sorts. I eventually found out it is just a cultural norm. As more time went by, I was able to talk about more in-depth things and we became friendlier together. At first they were simply honoring me as their guest, but later on, as I wanted it to happen, I became more of a part of the family.”
Purchase understands the importance of frame-shifting from his own firsthand experiences and encourages his fellow students to take note on Vande Berg’s expertise.
“One important point of this presentation was the power of the human brain,” he said. “Not only can it pick up on such minute differences and apply them to its own “frame” of life, but it can also (with time, patience and practice) become a more globally-minded brain, one able to shift more lucidly from frame to frame in the context of different cultures. Once you are able to truly accept a culture in this way, you will learn more than you would ever be able to by seeing the temples, ancient ruins [and so on].”
At the end of the night, students like Purchase were glad they attended the presentation.
Vande Berg trained students in such a way that would help them have the most fun and best learning experience possible while abroad.
“[With the ability to frame-shift] you will come as close as you can get to actually being an embodiment of the culture,” Purchase said. “Maybe even be able to feel the culture from within, rather than just seeing it from the outside.”
For students like Luis Figueroa-Mota, who works full-time to support a family, earning a bachelor’s degree is not only important to him but possible thanks to Linfield’s Adult Degree Program online.
Rising in popularity for students in similar situations to Figueroa’s, Linfield’s online program experienced a 12 percent increase in enrollment this fall.
One reason Linfield’s program is so popular is because the school offers the “real” Linfield degree, whether students take courses on-campus or online. There is no distinction between the two methods of education or quality of the degree, said Janet Gifford, associate director of the Adult Degree Program.
In fact, one out of four Linfield students completes their education through the Adult Degree Program, Gifford added.
“The benefits of online learning are up to the individual student to evaluate for themselves. In my case, online classes are maybe even better because I am able to do the research and the learning without distraction,” Figueroa said via email.
Figueroa is majoring in marketing, the newest major in the Adult Degree Program.
The program offers bachelor’s degrees in management, marketing, accounting, nursing, international business, and social and behavioral sciences. It also offers two post-baccalaureate certificates in accounting and human resource management.
Gifford said that enrollment increases are taking place in the majors that are related to family-wage jobs in those fields.
The increase in online learning is becoming a national trend.
“Adults know they need a college degree in order to get ahead,” Gifford said. “Students come into the program already knowing what they want to major in. They are more career-focused.”
The average age for students going through the Adult Degree Program is 38. The majority of these students already have jobs and family obligations, Gifford said.
Apart from offering the same quality of degrees to online students, Linfield also offers each student his or her own academic adviser. This adviser helps in mapping out the best approach in pursuing a degree, Gifford said.
“Linfield has taken the best of what it is known for and provides the same services to students online,” Gifford said. “Advisers take the time and attention to support students.”
Students also have access to e-tutoring, library services and career services.
Some students even go abroad. For instance, more students working toward their Registered Nurse degrees are doing clinicals internationally, in places like Africa, Central America and Asia.
Typically, students take about eight credits per semester, participate in a January Term course, which runs for five weeks, and continue classes through the Summer Term.
“Most students think of their education as 12 months a year,” Gifford said. “The students who choose Linfield’s program want to excel. They have a higher level of expectations for the courses.”
When I turned my ears to Annie Bany’s “Barefoot & Young,” I knew her voice sounded similar to Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott, and someone we’ve been hearing a lot about lately, Taylor Swift. Barefoot & Young, Bany’s debut album, was independently released in August 2011.
Bany, an Oregon native, wrote and co-wrote every track on the album, as songwriting comes naturally for her.
Growing up in Wilsonville, Ore., she wrote stories and songs and soon developed a love for music after receiving her first guitar. Performing has always been her passion. Bany’s spark of imagination and creation has led to the debut of her first studio album.
According to Bany’s website, Barefoot & Young is “alternative country-pop.” Immediately as the opening track, “Sweet Escape,” started playing, my mind went to Taylor Swift. Much like Swift, it’s difficult to identify Bany as a country artist, or one-genre artist for that matter. Her songs are here and there, and you become unsure of what kind of songs you’re listening to. Is it country infused with pop? Maybe it’s alternative with some hints of country and pop? Or is it pop with sprinkles of country and rock? Nonetheless, Barefoot & Young contains a little bit of everything, which could be ear- pleasing or off-putting for listeners.
Barefoot & Young contains themes regarding Bany’s experiences with life, love, and hope for the future. Bany writes about the ability to overcome challenges in tracks, such as “Leap” and “Through the Storm,” and she writes about the understanding of love and heartbreak in “Here We Go Again” and “Too Far.” “I know this night won’t last forever, is this the last we’ll have together?” Bany hauntingly asks in “Let Me Down Easy.” Though the title track, “Barefoot & Young,” is underwhelming, the production strengthens the lighthearted mood of the song.
But could Bay be the next up-and-coming country-pop star? She has potential, but there’s a missing spark. The album contains lyrics that have more style over substance. With more heart, soul, honesty and personal experiences, Bany could go far in the music industry.
With the help of her producer and friend, Rob Shrock, Barefoot & Young has a variety of songs. While Bany does sound best with country, only time and experience will reward her growth with a great second album.
Tune into KSLC 90.3 FM to hear Annie Bany’s Barefoot & Young. You can also listen online at www.linfield.edu/kslcfm or stream the station on iTunes.
Assistant music director
In middle school and high school, students are taught about abuse in health classes. The classes usually seemed to make it sound like one would know without a doubt that they were being abused. But is this enough information for students when they get out of school?
I don’t think it is. What about emotional abuse? I personally don’t remember hearing much about it in school. To discover if I was in an unhealthy relationship, I did some research. What I found had been happening but went almost unnoticed. The things people say and do that are considered emotional abuse happen slowly and start out small.
Of course I knew it was possible, but I had always envisioned it as not so subtle, and I would know when my partner was being abusive and be able to do something about it. Health class made it sound much easier than it is.
Some people feel that emotional abuse is not as bad as physical abuse. Whether it is or is not isn’t as important as the fact that it is still abuse. Unlike physical abuse, there are no easy signs, such as bruises that can be photographed and documented. Emotional abuse is internal. Its effects can manifest physically, like weight loss, but they can also be within the person’s personality or mental health. Becoming depressed, withdrawing from friends or change in self-esteem are common for people being abused.
Emotional abuse is an attempt to gain control over another person or to feel powerful, just like any other form of abuse. It is verbal but it can also be financial control or jealousy.
When the abuser takes control over someone else’s money, it is a way for them to control what the other person is able to do and to prevent them from being financially stable enough to leave.
Jealousy is a way for them to make their partner feel guilty for hanging out with friends or going places without them. It gives the abuser the image of the victim and the abused the image of the careless partner.
There are lists of abusive tendencies online at different organizations’ websites. Above most lists is a statement saying that if you answer “yes” to anything listed, you might be in an unhealthy relationship. The lists include things, such as your partner threatens you, your family, or your pets, and your partner puts you down or constantly wants to know where you are and who you’re with.
Henderson House is McMinnville’s abuse center. The organization’s website has a list, and the building is not located far from campus. It is a good outside resource for students.
Many of the signs listed on these websites are what someone would know as abuse, but the problem, and the area I think education in school needs to improve on, is how hard it can be to spot, how slow it can happen and how easy it is to excuse someone you care about.
This type of abuse may not happen right away or quickly. By starting out small, the abuser is able to get away with more as time goes on. Familiarize yourself with the signs, and take time to evaluate your relationships.