Getting involved: brains and crows for all

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The Portland State Vikings, one of the many sports teams at Portland State University. Stella Crabtree/Vanguard Archives

A big life changer for many students is the experience they have at college. A big part of that experience is interacting with others. As it turns out, there are many places on campus where you can find people who share similar interests to yours. Below are a couple great places to start figuring out how to get involved at PSU this year.

Clubs, not like crude bats, but you know, groups of people with similar interests

Neuroscience Club at Portland State University
There are clubs for all kinds of things. If you like neuroscience, you should go hang out with the Neuroscience Club; their Facebook and Twitter handle is awesome: pdxbrains. PDX BRAAAAINSSS!!!

Beware: they may end up being zombies who really like eating brains, but chances are good they just really like neuroscience. They have pretty regular meetings and if that’s your thing, follow them on Facebook and go to an event. 

Portland State University Student Union: PSUSU

They are exactly what they say they are. A collection of students who advocate for the needs of students on campus and argue that, together, student voices are louder than they are separately—you know, a union. They were pretty upset by the recent increase in tuition and made their voices heard loud and clear a few months ago at the Board of Trustees meeting immediately after the increase was approved, within a few minutes. 

Black Cultural Affairs Board: BCAB

The mission of the Black Cultural Affairs Board is to provide Portland State University with knowledge of the Black, or African American experience,” BCAB’s Facebook page reads. “Our goal is to educate our members with information about Black history globally and in Portland, OR. It is also our duty to provide a safe, inclusive atmosphere for the communication of social justice issues. Finally, we seek to be a political voice for the concerns of our community.” 

Student Government

We’ve talked about it before, but our student government does a lot at PSU. The Associated Students of Portland State University control very large budgets used for sports and club funding. ASPSU not only lobbies the school administration but also the state on students’ behalf. Stop by their office in room 117 of Smith Memorial Student Union to see what they have going on.

Student Media

If you like media and want to create it, check out Student Media. The PSU Vanguard is a weekly paper that has opportunities for writers to express their opinions on subjects and for students to go observe events and report back on their findings—mildly paid voyeurism. PSU also has a radio station that needs DJ’s. Yeah, we even have a TV station. That TV station produced a mini-documentary on crows at PSU. Crows, cah cah cah.

Your student email account—the Virtual Viking

The Virtual Viking is a newsletter that talks about various goings on at PSU and will be sent to your student email on Sundays during Fall, Winter, and Spring terms. The newsletter often has announcements about various interesting events happening on campus, so click on the email. Something interesting might be in there.

People who like being active: the Rec Center

The Academic Student and Recreation Center is active activity central. It is free for students and you can bring a plus one for 30 bucks a month. There are tons of Rec Center clubs: badminton, cricket, Latina Dance Club, ice hockey, dodge ball, disc golf, bouldering, baseball and running, whatever your athletic jam is, there is a club for it, and if not, maybe you should start one. The Rec Center has a gym, pool, full running track, and even offers exercise classes like P90X (If you squint your eyes it looks like PDX), zumba and yoga. Seriously, I can’t believe I didn’t go there once last year, it’s awesome. They even have opportunities for seriously outdoorsy camping and kayaking type activities. Check them out. 

Viking sports teams

We do have competitive sports teams, and they do compete. Check out their schedule and pick up some spirit swag so no one can question whether you support Victor E. Viking or not. Green and white y’all. 

There are tons of opportunities to get involved on campus

Talk to people. Even if you’re an introvert, a good way to interact with humans easily may be to go see a movie at the 5th Avenue Cinema (free with student ID and you get Free popcorn. The ‘f’ is capitalized because free is important). After the film, casually mention to other attendees after the show that you liked the thing that happened to the people. Conversation sparked; if that spark becomes a fire, roast some marshmallows on it, if not try something similar. Wander around and see a lot of the interesting things scattered about campus, like the non-functional potentially pizza oven between Neuberger and SMSU, the various art galleries, or even go roll at the bowling alley in the SMSU basement that sets its own score.

You don’t have to leave campus to do a lot of fun things. You don’t even have to leave to shop, thanks to the Green Zebra and the not-during-winter but aside from winter Wednesday and Saturday Farmers Market in the Park Blocks. Check out bulletin boards around campus, go see lectures and presentations about things that sound vaguely interesting. Go to the library and pick a weird book to look at for a couple hours.

Keep an eye out for club fairs where you can chat with a bunch of different clubs to see if anything interesting is out there with your name on it. Worst case scenario, you can always go on a field trip to Washington Park to smell some roses or contemplate life while looking at the raked patterns in the sand and stone garden at the newly renovated Japanese Garden.

I know, this list is a lot to take in, so follow my lead and watch some Netflix while writing a list in your bullet journal about what activities to check out on campus this year.

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