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April 2013

New documentary addresses Islamophobia in America, premieres Thursday, April 11

It was reported in 2010 that more than half of Americans had never met a Muslim. Yet hate crimes against Muslims rose 50 percent that year--the same year Florida pastor Terry Jones threatened to burn the Quran.

Pacific Lutheran University’s award-winning MediaLab production team addresses this growing tide of anti-Islamic sentiment in its new documentary: Beyond Burkas and Bombers: Anti-Muslim Sentiment in America, which will premiere April 11, at 7 p.m. at Pacific Lutheran University’s Studio Theater and online at The premiere is part of the 2013 SOAC Focus Series

Since 2011, the MediaLab documentary team has traveled around the country, from Tacoma to New York City to Washington, D.C. in an effort to break down barriers and shatter stereotypes that many North Americans may have about Muslims.

“The statistic that prompted us to pursue this topic was from a 2010 Time magazine poll that reported that 62 percent of Americans claim to have never met a Muslim. After reading that, we knew our main objective of the film needed to be the simple act of introducing the audience to a Muslim,” MediaLab student producer JuliAnne Rose said. “I think it is this personal connection that makes our film so different--it’s more than just an analysis of the issue.”

The documentary adds many unique perspectives, including interviews with Muslim comedians Dean Obeidallah and the Daily Show’s Aasif Mandvi who explore how comedy might be used as a strategy to mitigate the swelling tide of anti-Muslim sentiment.

Audience members, both in the theater and online, are encouraged to participate in this global conversation. During the event, lend your voice to the conversation on Twitter with #beyondbombers. After the documentary stay for a panel discussion that will further dissect the thoughts presented in the film. 

Seating is limited, to reserve a free seat, RSVP to KJ Inch with the number of seats needed at or

We'll be streaming live during the event. Click here to view the event

To the right, MediaLab students reflect on their personal experiences with 9/11 and anti-Muslim sentiment as well as the documentary-making experience. 

Pi Kappa Delta Hall of Fame recognizes one of PLU’s own

Kortney Scroger '14

PKDAs chair of the Communication and Theatre Department and PLU professor of more than three decades, Dr. Michael Bartanen is well known around campus. What may not be as well known are his ties to the oldest national collegiate speech and debate society, Pi Kappa Delta (PKD). His loyalty to this speech and debate fraternity was recognized at the centennial anniversary this March in St. Louis, Missouri.  

At an intimate gathering of no more than 30 PKD members, surrounded by photos and memorabilia of a long-lived, well-loved organization, Bartanen was inducted into the centennial hall of fame. With humor and humility he addressed the closest members of his PKD family, thanking them for the honor and sharing the story of his first experience with forensics.

"[After my first debate] I understood my vocation, I understood the life lessons of what we do in this activity, because for that moment, I learned about debate as a form of empowerment,” said Bartanen.

After his acceptance speech, everyone in the room began reminiscing about how Bartanen had helped them in some way during their PKD careers.  

"I wish we had a Michael in every organization and every meeting because what he has been for the organization is a true visionary,” said current PKD President, Gina Jensen.

Bartanen has been a member of PKD since his college years. In 1974 he was part of the first team ever to represent Western Washington University at a national debate tournament. For more than 40 years he has been active in PKD on virtually every level, from debate coach and Archivist/Historian to his current role as National Secretary Treasurer.

A national council established the Pi Kappa Delta Hall of Fame in 1987, Bartanen happened to be one of those council members. Now the hall of fame has 38 inductees. The hall of fame recognizes members that have contributed a great amount of time, energy and passion into the organization.

Bartanen has been very influential to PKD’s success by investing in their history, providing counsel for past presidents and much more. So much so, that for their centennial celebration he was the only inductee into the Hall of Fame. 

PKD is a fraternity that was established at Ottawa College in Ottawa, Kansas in 1913. In the past 100 years PKD has initiated more than 60,000 students and has more than 200 active chapters on college campuses across the United States.

The centennial was a major celebration for PKD and the goal of the event was not only to celebrate the past but also to celebrate the future.

“This is the 46th year I have either been in a debate or judged one and I hope to keep that streak going for a very long time,” said Bartanen.

Where are they now? Communication and Music alumni check in

From Southern California to Indiana, we are checking in with SOAC alumni from the 2011-2012 academic year who share their life experiences and advice. Below, see what Jason Saunders '11 (Music) and Alex Peterson '12 (Communication) have put their PLU education to in the last year. To check in on Art and Theatre alumni, see the March issue of SOACtivities. 

Jason Saunders Jason Saunders '11

Degree: BFA Music Education with Secondary Choral emphasis

What clubs, orgs, musical groups etc. were you involved in? "As a choral student, I sang in the University Chorale for a year, Choir of the West for three years, and the Men’s Chorus for two. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to serve as assistant conductor of the Men’s Chorus, and had a chance to guest conduct Choir of the West as well. I also helped found the PLU American Choral Directors Association student chapter, and served as the first president for that club. Outside of the music department, I was involved with Student Media—I was co-editor for Saxifrage 36, and worked as a web and design editor for the Mast during the 2010-2011 school year."

Where are you now? "After graduating from PLU, I worked as a substitute teacher in the Bethel School District during Spring 2012, where I frequently subbed for music teachers. I am now attending the University of Southern California and pursuing a Masters degree in Choral Music." 

What is the most valuable thing you learned from PLU?  "PLU taught me the value of critically examining and deconstructing what I see, hear, and do. My courses at PLU engendered in me a desire to discover and acknowledge the true essence of things, which has helped me become a stronger academic, a more efficient and expressive musician, and a person of integrity." 

What is a skill that you learned at PLU that has transferred to your "real world" work? "PLU provided me many opportunities to hone my craft in choral conducting in front of real ensembles—an experience afforded to few undergraduate music majors. The knowledge I gained from this has proven invaluable during my graduate studies in choral music."

What is one piece of advice you would give graduating SOAC students about the future? "Make opportunities for yourself, at PLU and afterward. Being assertive about what you want can often open the door to experiences you might not otherwise have."

Alex PetersonAlex Peterson '12

Degree: BAC: Public Relations & Advertising

What clubs, orgs, musical groups etc. were you involved in? "University Chorale - (three years), University Symphony Orchestra - Cellist, (one year, Hinderlie Residence Hall Council - President/VP for (two and a half years), ASPLU - Impact Business Director - (one year), Student Philanthropy Committee/Grad Gift - (one year), Student Conduct Review Board - Chair (one year), University Tobacco Free Committee, University Admissions and Retention Committee, Student Orientation Coordinator."

Where are you now? "I am currently working on my Master's Degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education (college administration) at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) in Indiana, PA. On admittance to my program I was also offered an assistantship as an Assistant Residence Director with IUP's Office of Residential Living, Housing, and Dining. I work at IUP's Punxsutawney campus of 300 students. IUP Punxsutawney is a unique learning experience not only because of its size, but because it is focused on enhancing the experience of our students who are predominately academically-at-risk first-years - there are no upperclassmen. I serve on four departmental committees and will chair the Graduate Student Selection, Retention, and Development committee starting this summer. Next year I will work at the Indiana campus in a single residence hall with twice the number of residents then the entire Punxsutawney campus population. To round out my education, next year I will also do a practicum in student activities and student conduct in the fall and spring, respectively."

What is the most valuable thing you learned from PLU? "The concept of 'I vs. we' thinking as it impacts all group interactions and work.

Between participating in organizations, hanging out with friends, and having class projects - PLU students work with many different groups of students. How you approach those interactions heavily impacts the quality of both the interaction and the final product. People often get stuck in 'I' thinking, considering solely one's personal needs, wants, roles, and opinions. When we work in groups, this mentality can drive a wedge between group members and slow the work process, as people only care about what 'I' must do or what 'I' want to happen. The 'we' mentality takes the personal (I) wants/needs out of the equation. The question becomes, what do 'we' need. With this focus, team members work more cohesively towards common group values and goals. Individuals may not get to do what they want, but the work/role they play in the group process will always contribute to a better product/result. 

It is hard to hold back the personal needs or desires, but by asking 'we' focused questions people can start to shift their thinking and as a result will reach greater results than they could with 'I' thinking or working alone."

What is a skill that you learned at PLU that has transferred to your "real world" work? "Two skills that have transferred to the "real world" is managing an image and persistence. In public relations we learn a lot about what we can do to represent an image of a client or organization - but the reality is that a lot of what we talk about can be applied to ourselves. Our behaviors, interactions with people, and the way we are seen impacts our personal image. We have to weigh who are the important stake holders, apologize when we make mistakes, and make sure that we are living out how we want to be branded - as others will brand us and give us an identity if we don't care for it. It is not an easy task, as image management is a skill that is developed as we travel on thin ice, make mistakes, and hit walls of failure. For this, persistence is necessary. You have to be get back on your feet, fix what is broken, and learn to move past what would otherwise hold you back. I know I am not perfect at managing my image, but because I have learned to become more persistent - I know I can improve, learn, and grow in whatever I do."

What is one piece of advice you would give graduating SOAC students about the future? "Don't panic! Graduating from SOAC means that you have been working on not only a degree, but concrete knowledge and skills that will transfer right into the work you will do as a professional - regardless of the field. Be it professionally writing, managing a classroom full of music students, or understanding the importance of white space and using a grid - you can apply your knowledge and skills to any job anywhere. The important thing is that you have an open mind. Having an open mind will allow you to readjust your knowledge and skills so that you can apply them to new contexts you were not taught to apply them to."

Senior exhibition, Unfiltered, opens April 24 in the University Gallery

Unfiltered, the 2013 Senior Exhibition at Pacific Lutheran University will commence with an opening reception on April 24, 2013 from 5p.m. to 7p.m. The exhibit will display 23 graduating students' finest pieces.

“[Unfiltered] doesn't describe the art directly, because no two people are making their work about the same thing,” Taylor Carlisle, senior artist, said. “Every one is there, raw, authentic, unfiltered.”


Visitors will see a wide variety of media from ceramics, sculpture and painting, to photography and graphic design. There will also be plenty of opportunities to talk one on one with the artists themselves.

“Viewers should be very open-minded when coming to the gallery. There is going to be a large variety of artwork on display, with all types of themes and genres,” Krista Fredricks, head advertiser and senior artist, said. “I like to believe that art transcends boundaries. There is always some kind of artwork for each and everyone to enjoy.”

This exhibition is unique to the University Gallery in that the exhibition is student driven from the advertising and catering to installation and set up.

“Working under a deadline is one thing, we all do that. But working under a deadline and knowing that a lot of people are going to see and inspect your work completely changes the game, and you start to worry more about the message you're sending,” Carlise said. “Working with other people to put together a show we're all a part of also adds pressure, but also elevates the art we work on.”

Students are able to get as creative as they would like, so some interesting elements will be incorporated. The students plan on doing an online video of the show, as well as online still images, Craig Cornwall, faculty advisor for the show, says 

The exhibit is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (or by appointment) through May 25, 2013 at the University Gallery in Ingram Hall at Pacific Lutheran University. Admission is free and open to the public.

“I am anxious to see all the hard work that each and every student has put into his or her pieces,” Fredricks said. “I think each one of us will be very excited when everything comes together and the pieces are placed on display in the gallery.”

Peace and Conflict students shed light on Reconciliation Day

On Thursday, April 11th from 9-10pm, the MBR Amphitheater will transform into a glowing globe. As part of Reconciliation Day, students are encouraged to place a candle on a conflict or peace-building effort that is taking place in the world. Alongside peers, faculty and fellow community members, students will get the chance to informally discuss what reconciliation and peace really mean both within our community and on an international scale.

Spring 2013 Peach and Conflict GroupThe event is presented by the newly formed, student-driven organization Network for Peace and Conflict Management (NPCM). NPCM is dedicated to supporting the PLU community in pursuing conversations and practices in peace building and conflict management. While the leadership and the growing membership have various majors and minors, each is dedicated to understanding peace, engaging community and helping to manage conflict. Conflict Studies tudents Sydney Barry, Sarah Johnson, Anna McCracken, Chelsea Paulsen and Rachel Samardich currently lead the organization.

"In this already stressful and fast paced world, this event is meant to be a refreshing break to instill hope and peace about our ever-changing world," Paulsen writes.

This is the first Reconciliation Day being celebrated and is planned to become an annual event. The organization is already planning the second annual Community Dialogue Day (formally the Day of Dialogue) for the 2013-2014 academic year, Community Dialogue Day is committed to building relationships among PLU campus members and members of the greater Parkland area to assist in the facilitation of difficult conversations. NPCM has already connected with local peace and conflict practitioners to establish a system for on campus peer mediation training and for members to facilitate a range of difficult conversations. The longer-term vision for the Network is a fully operational Center.

This event and others are part of Communication and Theater week, a week of programs that provides opportunities to learn about faculty and student work; celebrate student accomplishments and provide opportunities to network with internship and employment partners. The week has a wide variety of events, all of which are free and open to the public.

Above: A group photo of NPCM Spring 2013 officers. Left to right:Anna McCracken, Rachel Samardich, Sydney Barry, Chelsea Paulsen, and Sarah Johnson.

SOAC Image Competition: Grace the covers of SOAC brochures

get famous

In summer 2012 the School of Arts and Communication made the exciting transition to one, all encompassing SOAC Events Brochure. We were excited to have all our great events housed in one place, but we struggled with how to represent the breadth of SOAC in one glance, on the cover? We thought who better to know how to do that than the SOAC student.

We want to see what you think represents the breadth of SOAC, so we’re holding the “SOAC Image Competition”. Whether it be a graphic representation, a photo, a print, or an abstract painting, we're leaving it all up to you. The winning design will grace the cover of our annual brochure and will be awarded a $100 honorarium. Submissions are due May 15. For more information and entry specifications, visit here