Unemployment benefitsup for renewalThe year 2012 is bringing with it many different things: a presidential election, the release of The Hobbit movies, the 2012 Olympics and, according to the Mayan calendar, the end of the world. However, as exciting as all of those are, the new year could also be bringing in many changes in terms of politics and benefits. As soon as the new year begins, Congress will decide whether or not to renew unemployment benefits. According to the Oregon Employment Department, these possible cuts could cause the number of jobless Oregonians to grow exponentially. Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives recently introduced a bill that would extend federally funded unemployment benefits for another year. While Congress has not voted against passing an extension on unemployment benefits, this particular bill comes with a $45 billion price tag attached.
Breaking free of the media’s portrayal of men and womenWhen people buy products that set an idealized standard for men and women, they not only support objectification but also internalize it. We’ve all seen the advertisements. The perfect pair of jeans. The perfect bra. The perfect cologne. They portray idealized people in iconic situations in order to convince us to buy their products. This not only reinforces impossible standards for men and women to uphold but also creates an endless cycle of consumerism in order to fulfill an unobtainable goal. Advertisers spend billions of dollars every year trying to manipulate people into buying things. The problem is that they’re not just selling products, they’re selling ideas.
This year, total student loan debt in the United States finally exceeded $1 trillion. This surpasses even credit card debt, which is seen as...
PSU residential halls strive to make life more interestingThis year, total student loan debt in the United States finally exceeded $1 trillion. This surpasses even credit card debt, which is seen as one of the most negative forms of debt in America. It is estimated that the average student in America has $25,250 in student loan debt by the time he has finished his undergraduate education. By comparison, the average student loan debt in 2000 was $15,100. In 1990, it was as low as $8,200. Repayment is not a lost cause, though. This October, the White House announced changes to student loan repayment laws. The Pay As You Earn proposal, as it’s called, strives to put a cap on loan repayments based on your income. Maximum student loan repayments cannot exceed 10 percent of one’s discretionary income under this proposal, and any leftover student loan debt is forgiven after 20 years. There are restrictions to this, certainly. Private loans are not accounted for in this, nor are loans for current students graduating before 2014. PLUS loans, which parents and guardians take out on behalf of their college-aged children, are also not subject to the Pay As You Earn proposal. It is also something which one needs to apply for and present proof of income (in the form of tax documentation, etc.) every year to maintain.
PSU residential halls strive to make life more interestingHow interesting does an event about alcohol safety sound? Well, what if you were told it would involve making seasonal desserts? On Oct. 25, a large group of campus housing residents gathered in the Ondine Lobby awaiting caramel apples. After dipping their apples into a vat of caramel and enjoying the delicious treat, the students were then able to enjoy a piece of candy—if they managed to walk along a line of post-it-notes on the ground while wearing goggles that distorted their vision and made them lose their balance. The goggles simulated the effects of drunkenness. The activity was meant to show the students the disorienting feeling of what it is like to be drunk. The main reason that the students attended, however, was the promise of caramel apples. They had all seen the posters advertising caramel apples, with “learn about alcohol safety” as a side note, and took part in the alcohol safety activity as a consequence of being there for the apples. The presentation of alcohol safety through an unrelated larger event proved to be much more effective than merely hosting an event related to alcohol safety.
Portland Humanist Film Festival celebrates its second year of making people thinkMore than 500 people attended last year’s Portland Humanist Film Festival, numbers which are expected to double (possibly even triple) at this year’s event at Cinema 21 from Nov. 11–13. That sounds like a reasonable amount of people to cram into a movie theater for three days. But for an event promoting free thought as opposed to religion in a city whose goal is to stay weird, this actually seems like a low attendance. A 2008 Gallup poll ranked Portland as one of the ten least religious cities in the nation, with 47 percent of respondents claiming religion was not an important part of their daily lives. Another poll put Oregon at number one for the percentage of non-religious residents—24.6 percent.
Should Portland be home to a new patent office?In our current economic state, more government spending is generally something to avoid unless those expenditures are going to help create jobs and stimulate the economy. That’s exactly what Senator Ron Wyden wants to do. The Oregon democrat wants to set up a new patent office in Portland, a proposal that’s been met with much support. Through this patent office, Wyden hopes to create an estimated 200 to 500 jobs, which would result in a lower unemployment rate for Portland as well as the rest of the state.
Occupy movements should consider the switch to incorporated nonprofit statusOccupy Portland is having a difficult time transitioning from a movement to an organization with an ever-growing need for donation funds, like the other Occupy movements. There was a brief panic two weeks ago when two of Occupy Portland’s financial committee members moved somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000 of donation money without consulting the financial committee. Originally in a PayPal account, the money was moved to a bank account for a new nonprofit corporation they set up: Occupy Portland Incorporated.
There’s more to Portland than just downtownContrary to popular belief, Portland isn’t just a little hipster city filled to the brim with gluten-free bakeries, food carts and artsy boutiques. Just across I-205 lies a whole new world: East Portland. Separated from the rest of the city by the Willamette River, East Portland houses at least a quarter of Portland’s population. It is also regarded as the poorest part of the city.
Find ways to get more from your college lifeStarting college is a stressful time in anyone’s life. Between a different environment, a heavier workload and trying to make new social ties, sometimes an academic schedule alone is enough to send someone into a panic. But while the number one priority is succeeding in our various courses, it’s also important not to miss the amazing opportunities available. College is a time for experiencing new things, and there’s no better way to do so than in the community environment of one of PSU’s student-run groups. Across the board, all PSU student groups have lower freshman and sophomore attendance this year. Becoming part of a group early and continuing on through your education can be extremely beneficial. Not only do you earn a deeper appreciation for your given organization, but you may even find yourself working your way onto the executive board for a whole new experience in leadership.
More students should take advantage of nonprofit and career fairsJobs and internships usually require some amount of work experience, but to get the experience, one needs to first get a job or internship. It’s a Catch-22 that most students and new graduates entering the work force know all too well. In Portland’s particularly tough economy, students need all of the help they can get. In order for students to support themselves today, they need to start thinking about their careers while they are still in school. The Portland State Career Center assists people in finding work both as students here and after they graduate. In order to help as many students as possible, the Career Center hosts career fairs. The Career and Internship Fair, held on Oct. 24, and the Nonprofit Career Fair, held on Nov. 1, proved to be useful opportunities for students and graduates to network with companies and even find jobs and internships.