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Students raise money for hurricane relief and AIDS programs

Realizing they can make a difference, students worked this fall to raise money for victims of Hurricane Katrina and for AIDS relief.

The Associated Students of Pacific Lutheran University raised more than $6,000 for hurricane relief, which was matched by anonymous donors. Donations will be split between the American Red Cross and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s disaster relief fund.

The university also welcomed two students who were displaced from colleges that were damaged by the hurricane.

In September, more than 250 PLU students, faculty and staff took part in the Pierce County AIDS Walk.

“There was a lot of energy and a lot of PLU pride,” said Erik Husa ’07, who works in the development department of the Pierce County AIDS Foundation and was a walk coordinator.

Husa and ASPLU president Willie Painter ’06, along with other student leaders on campus, recruited walkers. The PLU teams raised more than $3,000 to fund programs and services for those affected by HIV/AIDS.

The walk coincided with other AIDS awareness events on campus, including Global AIDS Week, with activities designed to encourage action against the AIDS epidemic.



Audiences treated to outstanding writers and artists

Acclaimed performers and speakers visited PLU this fall, covering topics ranging from gender equity to the arts.

Among them were internationally known pianist Andreas Klein, who was an artist in residence for a week. He rehearsed and performed the Ravel G Major concerto with the University Symphony Orchestra, offered a master class for students and local piano teachers and spoke about his vocational path.

Virginia Valian, a nationally known expert in gender equity, discussed the reasons behind women’s lack of progress in many professions at “Why So Slow? The Advancement of Women in Math, Science, Business and Academia.”

Claudia Stevens, a leading performance artist, playwright and composer, as well as a thinker and speaker about the Holocaust, presented “An Evening with Madame F” depicting the performance of music in Nazi concentration camps. Charles Kimball, an expert in world religions, lectured about when religion becomes evil.

Ande Somby, a native Saami, and the musical trio Vajas shared their culture at two Scandinavian events. Somby, professor of law at the University of Tromsø, Norway, talked about the current legal situation for 50,000 Saami now living in the Arctic climate of northern Scandinavia. He addressed cultural rights, rights to land and water, and new institutions. The Norwegian musical trio Vajas, of which Somby is a member, also performed.

The English department also hosted several readings by acclaimed writers, including essayist Peter Bacho.



Science major wins National Institutes of Health scholarship

PLU senior Patrina Pellett, of Sitka, Alaska, was one of 12 outstanding young scientists to receive a significant National Institutes of Health scholarship.

The NIH Undergraduate Scholarship for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds provides funding to students committed to careers in biomedical, behavioral or social science health-related research. The scholarship awards up to $20,000 per academic year for tuition and educational and living expenses.

Each recipient also participates in a 10-week paid summer laboratory research internship. After graduation, recipients continue their paid research training at NIH in Bethesda, Md., working one year for each year of scholarship support.

Pellett ’06, who is majoring in biology and chemistry, graduates in May and will do her internship this summer, continuing into the work program next fall.

“The facilities there are amazing,” said Pellett, who is thinking about researching signal transduction, which studies cells, at NIH and plans to be a chemist. “The idea of getting to work at a place where you have every resource at your fingertips is incredible.”

PLU professor of chemistry Craig Fryhle will work with Pellett as a faculty mentor and advisor in the scholarship program.



Federal grant will allow Women’s Center to start new programs

A nearly $200,000 federal grant will allow PLU to create comprehensive education and training programs aimed at preventing violence against women.

“We’re creating a project that empowers our whole community to be more involved,” said Bobbi Hughes, director of the Women’s Center. “It’s no more of a problem here than anywhere else, but at the same time, it’s an issue that isn’t usually talked about or very visible.”

The two-year grant creates two new part-time positions to coordinate advocacy and training programs, including a Men Against Violence program. It will more formally connect the campus with community agencies such as the YMCA and the Sexual Assault Center of Pierce County.



Graduation will move to Tacoma Dome to allow greater attendance

To allow for a much larger audience at the grand spring commencement ceremony, PLU will move graduation to the Tacoma Dome starting in May 2006. The traditions of this important milestone in the lives of PLU graduates and the university will continue in the new venue.

“We’re working very hard to preserve the elements of the ceremony that make PLU commencement so special to our graduates and their families,” Registrar Kristin Plaehn said. “This move will make commencement much more accessible and comfortable for everyone who looks forward to this important day.”

The move means tickets will not be required, and graduates can invite as many family and friends as they want to celebrate their accomplishments in person. In the past, each graduate received a small number of tickets. The dome will accommodate an audience of 6,000, more than twice what Olson Auditorium can seat. It is easily accessible to people with disabilities.

With more than 600 students earning graduate and undergraduate degrees in the past few May ceremonies and ever-growing classes, graduation has simply outgrown Olson Auditorium. For many years, Olson has been filled to capacity well before the ceremony starts, sending many families and friends to two overflow locations airing the ceremony on closed circuit TV. Even those have run out of seats.

Having more space also will allow August graduates to choose to participate in either the traditional May ceremony or December commencement, which will continue to be held on campus. There will no longer be a need for a separate summer ceremony.

Commencement will continue to include traditions such as vocal performances, the faculty procession, University banners and the University Mace. Also, the university will expand the opportunities for graduates and their families to enjoy campus on commencement weekend, including the worship service and brunch before the ceremony.



Challenge Program gets $40,000 grant to help students succeed

A $40,000 grant from the Education Assistance Foundation will help fund PLU’s Challenge Program, which gives students who show academic promise a chance to attend college.

The Challenge Program serves up to 30 students per year who are conditionally admitted to the university and who show potential for academic success but are not currently qualified. Students are granted admission to the university on condition of their successful completion of both the summer and fall components of the program.

The Summer Challenge is an intense, six-week, live-in program with a heavy academic load, support and activities designed to develop a sense of community and participation in the life of the university. Challenge students complete seven or nine credits offered by faculty experienced in working with students of concern. Supplemental instruction, individual tutoring, and mentoring are provided by peer coaches who live in the residence hall with the Challenge students.

The Fall Challenge is an intermediate step between the highly structured summer component and the regular workload students will experience beginning in the spring of their freshman year.

 

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© Scene 2005  •  Pacific Lutheran University  •  Winter 2005

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