President Rahmat Shoureshi spends first day at PSU exploring campus

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Some of the news editors from the PSU Vanguard posing for a selfie with the new PSU President, Dr. Rahmat Shoureshi. Vanguard Staff/PSU Vanguard

Portland State President Dr. Rahmat Shoureshi joined three PSU student ambassadors for a tour of campus and the neighboring city on Monday, Aug. 14 to immediately kick off his new venture at PSU. Shoureshi began his first day at PSU with a planned tour, where a welcoming reception was later held outside the Academic and Student Recreation Center.

The tour began at 10:30 a.m. when Shoureshi met with student ambassadors Marwa Al Khamees, Rine Alazas, and Troy McKinlay at the PSU Bookstore. Shoureshi asked questions about the bookstore employees about student employment and current PSU merchandise.

“I feel like he’s been making a great effort to connect with the students,” Al Khamees said. “And that’s important to me because that means that he knows our stories and he knows what we really need, not what it looks like on the paper and on the checks that come into his office. So that’s important to me in a president; I want a president that listens to my story, that listens to my fellow ambassadors’ stories, and to all the other students.”

After selecting a PSU rain jacket for himself, Shoureshi continued his tour by riding the Max train to Pioneer Courthouse Square. Shoureshi conversed with local food vendors who were selling honey and lavender and met with the employees of Plum Tree Jam.

Before leaving Pioneer Square, student ambassadors offered Shoureshi some tips on Portland culture before taking him to the iconic Allow Me statue, also known as the Umbrella Man, where the four of them took a selfie.

“I think that he wants to understand our identities as a [PSU] student body,” Alazas said. “I think that being an immigrant himself, he can kind of relate. And with him wanting to hear our story, I feel more of a student and there is just more humane aspect rather than feeling like a pawn in another university.”

While returning to campus on the streetcar, student ambassadors discussed topical issues on campus which included the use of firearms by the Campus Public Safety Officers.

“I brought up Black Lives Matter and adding guns to our CPSO force,” McKinlay said. “I think that’s a misuse of funds for the university and that it should be reinvested into resource centers, marginalized communities, or just adding additional programs, adding classes that can be easily timed for students, things like that.”

“Really, the money should be spent as a university towards the students and not towards our sports programs and not towards anything else,” McKinlay continued. “It should be about supporting us as students because that’s the reason that all of this exists is to support us.”

After arriving back on campus, Shoureshi visited PSU’s Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science where professor Mark Weislogel gave a presentation on recent PSU engineering projects.

Shoureshi was informed on topics such as microgravity and the Portland State Aerospace Society NASA experiments, which recently launched into space via a SpaceX rocket.

PSU engineering students joined Weislogel in discussing an upcoming experiment involving utilizing weather balloons to observe the upcoming solar eclipse on Aug. 21.

Shoureshi concluded the tour outside ASRC at noon where a welcome reception was set to begin. Hundreds of students and staff were there to greet him and enjoy the presentation of food and music.

Vanguard news editors Alex-Jon Earl and Alanna Madden met with Shoureshi for introductions and to ask what he looked forward to the most in his upcoming year at PSU. “When people around the country talk about Portland, they talk about how great it is,” Shoureshi said. “That makes Portland State automatically great.”

Shoureshi detailed this observation by explaining how diverse yet integrated the city is with the PSU community and ended his answer by stating, “I am excited to experience PSU as the heart of Portland.”

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