2016-2017 DJS Award Project Summaries

Project Title: The Celebration of Black History & Culture Event with Dr. Terrell Strayhorn

Student Name: Shelondra Harris

Student Major/Graduation Year: Marketing Science & Communication, 2017

Semester Awarded: Fall 2016

BSU Strayhorn

Short Project Summary: $1,500 was allotted for the PLU Black Student Union’s event, The Celebration of Black History & Cultural Event. In Shelondra’s reflection, she shared: “ The Celebration of Black History & Culture event allowed PLU and the greater community to participate, learn, engage, and critically reflect on elements of Black history and culture that is applicable to today. … We were glad to have provided Black representation on campus to hopefully change the climate in terms of the lack of representation of people of color both visually and physically.” The celebration also featured keynote speaker Dr. Terrell Strayhorn, tenured, full professor in the College of Education and Human Ecology’s Department of Educational Studies at Ohio State University.

Project Title: Inside Out Queer Healthy Relationship Workshop

Student Name: Jacynda Woodman-Ross

Student Major/Graduation Year: Biology

Semester Awarded: Fall 2016

Inside Out Logo

Project Summary: $3,000 was allotted towards the Inside Out Queer Healthy Relationship Workshop facilitated by Dawn Cuthbertson (Gender Based Violence Advocate) and Jordyn Price (Inside Out Coordinator Intern). Their six psychoeducational skills classes in the spring semester in 2017 were for queer-identified student to explore topics such as anti-oppression, expectation and negotiation, accountability, boundaries, conflict and community connections.

Project Title: Menstrual Cup Project

Student Name: Rainey Aberle/Elizabeth Hamre

Student Major/Graduation Year: Earth Studies/Women and Gender Studies

Semester Awarded: Spring 2017

Menstrual Cup Event

Project Summary: $1,018.30 was allotted to purchase 68 menstrual cups both Size 1 and 2 to be distributed in the Health Center, the Center for Gender Equity and the Diversity Center. This distribution was a follow up to 28 menstrual cups (sponsored by ASPLU) given out at their “Let’s Talk About Menstrual Products” held in the Center for Gender Equity on April 25, 2017.

Project Title: Washington Higher Education Sustainability Coalition (WAHESC) 2017

Student Name: Ashley Connors

Student Major/Graduation Year: Chemistry/2017

Semester Awarded: Fall 2016


Project Summary: $600 was awarded to assist three students and one staff member to attend WAHESC. This conference was hosted at Gonzaga University with various presentations, workshops and networking opportunities around sustainability in higher education. Some takeaways for these students included topics such as misconceptions of “sustainability”, we have to operate differently as we did in the past, integration of social and environmental justice is essential, and various ways to incorporate “sustainability” in already-existing and new structures.

Project Title: Human Trafficking Documentary in the Philippines

Student Name: Cara Gillespie

Student Major/Graduation Year: Communications/2017

Semester Awarded: Fall 2016


Project Summary: $6,750 for the project “More Than A Mission: Stemming the Sex Trade in Angeles City Examining Communication Strategies in Human Trafficking through the Lens of Feminist”.  Human trafficking is a form of exploitation also known as the face of modern slavery. Many non- governmental and religious organizations have explored ways to mitigate or erase this inhumane practice, but it still endures. Student researchers, Cara Gillespie and Elise Anderson along with Professor Joanne Lisosky, uncovered an organization operating in the Philippines that
appears to have tapped into a unique strategy to hinder the spread of sex trafficking in that country. The researchers examined this unique tactic through extensive participant observation research methodology in the Philippines with the help of the DJS Award. In addition to examining this strategy through the lens of feminist theory, the researchers produced a short documentary film to share one woman’s remarkable experience and journey to rehabilitation. They shared the pilot of their documentary at the PLU Undergraduate Research Symposium in April of 2017.

Project Title: Intersectional Activism Research

Student Name: Austin Beierman

Student Major/Graduation Year: Economics & Political Science/2018

Semester Awarded: Fall 2016


Project Summary: $1,200 to do research around Intersectional Activism in Tacoma with Tono Sablan, Miranda Martens and Professor Galen Ciscell.

Project Title: “These Come From Trees” Stickers

Student Name: Ben Cox

Student Major/Graduation Year: 

Semester Awarded: Spring 2017


Project Summary: $ 69.00 for 500 stickers to be put on paper towel dispensers across campus. The Grassroots Environmental Action Now (GREAN) Club distributed the “These Come From Trees” stickers on paper towel dispensers around campus. The stickers had been distributed effectively when the university suddenly changed all of the paper towel dispensers due to a supply chain problem. GREAN club thankfully had some extra stickers and made an effort to redistribute stickers as much as possible. Although there are not stickers in every break room and bathroom across campus, there is still a large percentage that do have stickers, and that number is growing still thanks to approximately a dozen members who still have stickers who continue to put them up. “Some key lessons that we learned include that people use paper towels exorbitantly and unnecessarily so, said Cox. He also said, “ We also learned about some of the challenges of trying to do grassroots level action. One such challenge is the task of measuring the impact of a project and how much time and how many resources ought to go into that.” He also learned these stickers are only accessible to those who speak English. The hope is that this relatively low cost project will have ongoing impact for the PLU community.

Project Title: The People’s Gathering

Student Name: Taylor Bozich & Ellie Lapp

Student Major/Graduation Year: 2017

Semester Awarded: Fall 2016


Project Summary: $ 5,750 to support program costs and 20 PLU students to attend The People’s Gathering: A Revolution of Consciousness. The People’s Gathering was attended by 158 professionals ( federal, state city, corporate) and 44 students. Dr. Randal Pinkett (TPG keynote speaker)  has been invited back to PLU by Dr. Chung-Shing Lee, Dean, School of Business to present in their Executive Leadership Series on October 17, 2017. Forty PLU students and 30 Foss High School students reading Dr. Pinkett’s book, Black Faces in White Places.  A book club will begin in the fall to bring PLU and Foss students together to read the book.  September, 12, 26 plus October 10 and 17. Dr. Pinkett will participate in the final session of the book club for Q & A plus celebration activity. Organizing in underway to form a student club called Knowledge Community to be the focal point of engaged conversations around race.  Club members will conduct peer training, host events and otherwise keep the conversation going and interesting.  Initial membership is open to the forty students receiving scholarship to attend The People’s Gathering: A Revolution of Consciousness conference.  Train the trainer experience is being planned for April 29 to train students in the Race the Power of an Illusion curriculum so they can offer these learning experiences to their peers around campus starting Fall 2017.  This is a very BASIC Race 101 course – as an attempt to get folks on the same page.

Project Title: The NicarAGUA Well

Student Name: Bethany Piehl

Student Major/Graduation Year: 

Semester Awarded: Spring 2017


Project Summary: $2,500.00 to support students building a well in Nicaragua. In May of 2017, a group of a dozen Lutes (10 students and 2 faculty/staff) traveled to the Leon area of Nicaragua for a clean water well project supported (in part) via DJS funding. The community of La Ceiba is a remote community and one in which most of the members work on local farms. The community had a hand dug well, but it was drying up and already contaminated. The community heard about the nonprofit, learned about the potential collaboration, and sought to partner with the nonprofit (and,thus, PLU). Upon requesting partnership with our nonprofit partner, the community began working with a community development specialist. The goal was for this too be a culturally appropriate and collaborative process that developed leadership and made the project accessible to all in the community. The digging of the well was a collaborative process between the PLU team and the community. During the time in the community, the PLU team conducted health and hygiene lessons for the community, twice per day.  The well was dedicated with the community alongside of the PLU team, with each offering appreciation and hugs for their new friends. One woman named Maria, who was the matriarch of the community, described how having a reliable source of clean water was a dream for the community, and that the community celebrated their new family (via the PLU students) as the well was now complete.

Project Title: CAVE LED Lights

Student Name: McKenna Morin

Student Major/Graduation Year: 

Semester Awarded: Spring 2017

Cave Lights

Project Summary: $7,780.00 for LED light improvements for The Cave stage. The lights in The Cave that were previously in the space were old, unsustainable, and harming to the environment. Working with Stage Services, ITech, SAB, Facilities Management, Faculty and many other groups, the old heating lamps with new LED lights and light bars. Over all a new 40 channel light board, 8 stage lights and 6 light bars were purchased and installed. The old lights were re-purposed on campus through Stage Services. The purpose of this was to make this space more socially accessible, environmentally conscious, and to leave a lasting impact on the CAVE and campus climate. PLU had a goal set in 2015 to replace old lights that used lots of energy with new ones that were more conservative. Host of the Mast Media group Late Knight Sam Ellefson, who is on stage under the lights for hours during rehearsals and the live show said,  “The first thing I noticed was the temperature. It felt about 20 degrees cooler on stage and in the space. That was how I knew the lights would not only make a visual difference but have a great environmental impact. He said. “I know so many groups in this space have heard about the DJS Award through this grant and are so thankful to them for helping a student make a difference. It just really shows how groups on campus uphold PLU’s mission.”

Project Title: NCA/George Town Research

Student Name: Olivia Cook

Student Major/Graduation Year: 

Semester Awarded: Spring 2017

Project Summary: $3,937.76 to present at a conference in Idaho and do research around Georgetown University in Washington D.C. grappling with its racist history. The researchers (Olivia Cook, Cara Gillespie, and Brooke Wolfe)were able to meet with professors involved in the reconciliation process at Georgetown and listen to their perspectives on Georgetown’s recent actions towards historical peace. During these interviews, Cara managed the filming while Brooke and Olivia facilitated the conversational portion of the interactions. Cara gained experience creating media content for research records, while Brooke and Olivia benefited from the technical responsibilities of conducting interviews. The field research process supplemented our PLU education as they transitioned from experiential learning to experiential research, which can be used as a tool for furthering their studies at the graduate level. As a result from this process they successfully filmed three interviews, immersed ourselves in Georgetown’s reconciliation process, as well as reconciliation as an overall concept. They met with Dr. Adam Rothman, Father Matthew Carnes, and Dr. Rosemary Kilkenny the Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity. These professors offered helpful, thoughtful responses to the interview questions and also offered insight during conversation and encouraged us to learn more. Upon returning to PLU, Brooke and Olivia presented the findings, including some clips from the interviews, at the School of Arts and Communication Capstone presentations. Additionally, Cara edited the interview footage. Hearing from faculty also helped these students understand Georgetown’s history and culture, such as how the university’s Jesuit roots aided the reconciliation process.

Project Title: John Scott and Theatre of the Oppressed

Student Name: Nayonni Watts

Student Major/Graduation Year: Theater/2019

Semester Awarded: Spring 2017


Project Summary: $775.00 for speaker John Scott’s workshops in February of 2018. John Scott provided three separate theater workshops for students. The first workshop exclusively for African American Students,they connected with our blackness and what it meant to them. These students learned about “Invisible Theatre” and “Forum Theatre”. “Invisible Theatre” means to challenge people to have a dialogue against injustice, by performing an unjust act in public to see what and how people will react. “Forum Theatre” is a “problem solving technique in which an unresolved scene of oppression is presented”, it gets played back multiple times until the audience stops the action and suggests what to do differently in the place of the person who is “lacking power”. In this workshop they learned that Theater of the Oppressed has the power to change laws, reacting scenes of microaggressions to practice how to deal with them, and to stay encouraged as African descent people to create for and by ourselves. The second workshop designed for People of Color Group, they discussed nonverbal and unconsciousness decisions to disrupt oppression. Next they did an exercise called “Mirroring-Movement” in which they partnered up and model themselves in how how they see themselves and then how they want to be seen as; that exercise was eye opening regarding stereotypes, identities, and how they each navigate through them. The final workshop with John Scott was the Mixed Community of Theater Students/Performance and Social Justice. There they each talked about what they wanted to do with our knowledge of Theater and how to incorporate social justice. For our final session, they all gathered in a circle and declared what they would take from the workshop and leave behind in a grand, motivational act of community.

Project Title: Prayer/Meditation Space

Student Name: Maddie Titelbaum

Student Major/Graduation Year: 2018

Semester Awarded: Spring 2017

Project Summary: $3,625.00 for Prayer/Meditation space.

Project Title: World of Difference Documentary

Student Name: Julia Grosvenor

Student Major/Graduation Year: Spring 2018

Semester Awarded: Spring 2017

Project Summary: $4,4493.00 for documentary making.

Project Title: Commuter Photo Gallery

Student Name: Jenna Little

Student Major/Graduation Year: Spring 2018

Semester Awarded: Spring 2017

Project Summary: $211.01 for photo gallery supplies. 

Project Title: Notary Event

Student Name: Angelica Martinez

Student Major/Graduation Year: Spring 2017

Semester Awarded: Spring 2017

Project Summary: $327.23 for the Notary Event to support undocumented families.