In 2018 Pacific Lutheran University unveiled two new podcast series, “Because We’re Lutheran” and “Diversity Center Alums,” designed to share interesting, engaging and informative conversations about Lutheran higher education and Diversity & Inclusion on campus.
Because We’re Lutheran
Hosted by university pastor the Rev. Jen Rude, “Because We’re Lutheran” explores the ins and outs of Lutheranism and the principles of Lutheran higher education — what that concept means, what it looks like and how it impacts students, staff and faculty at PLU. Each half-hour episode features guests from the campus community, and focuses on big topics as seen and experienced through the lens of PLU’s faith community.
“The PLU student body is about 15 percent Lutheran, which means we have a diversity of faith traditions and perspectives on campus,” Rude said. So in the podcast’s inaugural episode, Rude and two non-Lutheran PLU graduates, Matthew Salzano ’18 and Alaa Alshaibani ’17, discuss faith formation, spiritual journeys and what a Lutheran higher education experience looks like from a different faith tradition.
In its second episode, the podcast examines what teaching in the Lutheran tradition means from the perspective of PLU Lutheran Studies chair Marit Trelstad.
“I grew up Lutheran and questions about meaning were always important to me,” said Trelstad. “I teach in the Christian theological tradition and Lutheran studies, but I have Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Christian students, secular students who are all in the classroom, and we use that same material to say, ’Here’s one way someone has approached it, what about you?’”
+ Rude sits down with two students, Emily Shane ’19 and Alex Lund ’18 to discuss faith formation while growing up Lutheran and how their own faith paths and search for vocation have changed as PLU students.
+ Acting President Allan Belton and Provost Joanna Gregson talk about the university’s Lutheran identity, as well as their own spiritual backgrounds.
Listen to the episodes
Diversity Center Alumni
Pacific Lutheran University’s Diversity Center community members past and present team up for a special podcast series. Angie Hambrick, PLU’s Assistant Vice President of Diversity, Justice and Sustainability, hosts the podcast as it explores important topics such as race in America, inclusion, systematic oppression and ally-ship.
“When we say dCenter Alums, it encompasses a large spectrum of alums who’ve come through PLU,” Hambrick said. “Either folks who were part of the center when they were students, or if they weren’t students when the Diversity Center was formed, they still have this connection to the mission and values of the Diversity Center — which include perspective taking, critical reflection, diversity, inclusion, equity and thinking about the lives of minoritized people.
“What we wanted to do (with this podcast) was to make sure that we centered the voices of our alumni.”
In the first episode, Hambrick leads a roundtable conversation with Diversity Center alumni Maurice Eckstein ’11 and Nicole Jordan ’15 to discuss this past year’s Common Reading book, “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
PLU’s Common Reading program, founded in 2007, is an opportunity for incoming students to engage in an enriching academic experience with the campus community — a chance to immediately establish a connection with their peers and learn strategies for academic success.
“Between the World and Me,” drawn from an autobiographical account of the author’s youth, is written in the form of a raw, emotional, poignant letter to his teenage son and depicts the feelings, symbolism and violent realities of being black in America. All first-year students, faculty and staff are encouraged to read the book as part of that campus-wide Common Reading experience.
The conversation between Hambrick, Eckstein and Jordan, split into two podcasts for easy consumption, examines the text and bring a rich, lively analysis to bear grounded in the trio’s own personal experiences and expertise.
+ In the podcast’s third episode, Hambrick talks with noted Trinidadian author Earl Lovelace,
PLU English professor Barbara Temple-Thurston and dCenter alum Shelondra Harris ’17 about the university’s Trinidad and Tobago exchange program.
The conversation covers PLU’s 25-year history with the twin-island republic, Harris’ experiences when she took part in the program and the Diversity Center’s alumni trip there coming up in July 2019.