It’s Okay to Not Know What’s Next

Over the last couple of years, I have consistently been asked these two questions: “why this major?” and “what do you plan to do with it in the future?” I then respond with an, “I’m not sure yet… still trying to figure it out,” knowing that my answer wasn’t satisfying to both the person asking and to myself.

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Antes De Salir

If there were two words to accurately convey the thoughts running through my mind now, it would be these: cold feet.

For those of you that don’t know, I will be departing for Quito, Ecuador tomorrow, where I will be studying Spanish, intercultural communication, and other various subjects for the duration of the fall semester. This program entails the exploration of the highest capital city in the world (Quito sits at almost 10,000 ft elevation), the Amazon jungle, the Galápagos Islands, among other extraordinary locations. I will be living with 19 other students from other universities across the country, staying in both apartments and home-stays.

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There and back again: Study abroad programs expand to New Zealand

For the first time ever, Azusa Pacific is introducing a summer study abroad option for communication studies and journalism students in New Zealand through a partnership with Christian nonprofit HCJB Global.

From May 16 to June 6, students will explore Auckland, among other destinations, through the partnership with HCJB’s Wandering Sheep Productions.

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Rivalry stays strong despite affiliation

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Senior forward Tyler Monroe dunks past seven-foot Biola forward Mike Kurtz in a loss that showed plenty of offensive production for the Cougars, but not nearly enough defense.
Photo by Kimberly Smith

Disappointed Azusa Pacific students, family and alum left the Felix Event Center Saturday after the men’s basketball team fell to Biola 83-78. This was the first time that the two rivals met as non-conference opponents in Azusa.

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Houses purchased by APU restricted to faculty only

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APU has agreed to allow only faculty to use its recently purchased 12 homes in Rosedale after significant protests from the community against using the homes as alternate housing options for students.

APU originally purchased the town homes this year due to their value, proximity to campus and potential to house faculty, staff, graduate students, visiting scholars and ministers as well as some undergraduate students, according to Mark Dickerson, APU’s senior vice president and general counsel.

But Rosedale residents spoke out and created a petition in June against APU students occupying the homes because of complaints based primarily on the actions of students who do not live in school-owned homes, Dickerson said. Other common complaints are about APU students who do not live in Rosedale but use the community’s swimming pools and other facilities.

Bowing to the pressure from Rosedale residents, APU has agreed to allow only its faculty, not students, to use the units, and also to rent to other families unaffiliated with APU.Rosedale is not zoned for commercial use, so APU is not allowed to only rent to its own faculty and students. The school has also agreed not to offer new leases to students who currently occupy the homes.

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ManLin-Kitty Huang, a Rosedale resident, expressed last year in an online thread between Rosedale residents her concerns over the prospect of potential university housing in Rosedale. The thread discussed the idea of creating a petition to not allow APU to use the Rosedale homes as a dorm option.

“Just to clarify, I am sorry if I offend APU alumni,” Huang wrote. “I don’t have problems with APU. … I am concerned because home owners signed the paper that the owner cannot transfer and/or rent the house after moving in the first year.”

However, not all Rosedale residents think the possibility of APU students living in their community is negative.

The complaints that have been reported are not valid enough to altogether reject Azusa Pacific students from the community, said senior business marketing major Katherine Barton, a Rosedale resident.

“I think APU and Rosedale both benefit one another, and it has been a huge blessing getting to live in Rosedale,” Barton said. “It’s been great getting to know our neighbors and getting to love on them.”

Barton expressed her desire for the APU community in Rosedale to proceed on a positive note with the continuation of the already-existing barbeques and pool days.

Despite the fact that the university no longer can use these Rosedale homes as student housing because of the petition, it is important to APU that students remember to be respectful of neighboring communities in Azusa.

“Student Life has tried to remind students of the importance of being good neighbors and representing APU well,” Dickerson said.

LGBTQ web series Closet Space takes off

Jeena Gould PHOTO Senior Daniel Robison stars as Jake, a gay high school student experiencing the process of “coming out.”

Jordyn Sun PHOTO
Senior Daniel Robison stars as Jake, a gay high school student experiencing the process of “coming out.”

Several APU students are partnering with others in the Los Angeles area to launch an original Web series called “Closet Space” that will focus on LGBTQ youth and their experiences coming out. The anticipated release date for online viewing of the pilot episode at closetspace.tv and on YouTube is Oct. 11, which is also National Coming Out Day.

“Closet Space” is the story of two 17-year-old high school students, Jake and Tara, who come from very different backgrounds. Jake questions his sexuality in a highly conservative Christian household, while Tara is a nonreligious, newly “out” lesbian. This 10-episode series will follow both of their stories and examine how race, gender and religion intersect with sexuality.

“It portrays how Tara, who is coming out in the first episode, lives her life and develops her identity, while Jake lives his life and refuses to develop his identity,” said Daniel Robison, senior sociology and theater double major and co-creator of “Closet Space.” “It’s their stories intersecting, becoming one story.”

Robison also is one of the two writers of the show, as well as the lead actor who plays the character Jake. He collaborated with APU graduate Karisa Quick, the other writer, to create the series.

According to Robison’s biography on the “Closet Space” online site, he came up with the idea a few years after he and Quick came out to each other.

“There he realized that most of the pain and psychological trauma he endured could have been prevented if he had found even a few resources to help him navigate through that lonely and terrifying time; some sort of degausser that could bring peace of mind amidst a red state of chaos,” the bio states.

Last summer the two writers brainstormed to create an art piece that would illustrate the struggle that they had each endured in their coming-out processes.

“We weren’t sure if it was going to be anything, but [Karisa and I] both knew we were passionate about writing, and I knew I was passionate about acting,” Robison said. “We wanted to explore some sort of project where we could [portray] people who have gone through [the coming-out process].”

Chanelle Tyson, a New York University graduate, is the director while Ashley McCormick, an APU graduate, is the producer. Robison met Tyson and McCormick through a mutual friend at Azusa Pacific. Upon learning about the project, they agreed to contribute.

The most difficult challenge has been finding the resources to put the project together, according to Robison.

The production team currently is funding “Closet Space” with donations and their own paychecks. Once the pilot episode premieres, they will release a kick-starter page online. Full details will be on the website at closetspace.tv.

“We’ve changed words into a complete story with picture and humor and heart,” Robison said. “A lot of times, people have ideas that they try out but give up on. [However], we’ve tried and are doing it, and it’s about to take off.”

The majority of the characters in the show are played by actors from casting websites like LA Casting, CAZT.com, and casting agencies in Los Angeles; however, some of the actors are friends of the creators, or the co-creator Robison himself. He identifies well with what the character Jake is experiencing.

“Some parts of the show are literally reflections of my high school experience and part of my college experience,” Robison said. “We’re worlds apart now in difference, but I was very close to him in the past.”

Robison said Closet Space’s mission statement does not portray any sort of agenda. The goal is not to be biased toward the LGBTQ, Christian or secular communities, he said.

“The main idea about ‘Closet Space’ is to portray truth as [honestly] as possible,” he said. “You can definitely make up your own mind when you see it. There’s no spin on it. We’re just telling our story.”

According to Quick, the series was created to reach out to people who are in similar situations as Jake and Tara.

“[The difficulty of] finding yourself when nobody wants you to be yourself is a major theme and is something that a lot of people face,” Quick said. “[It’s] not even just LGBTQ people, but everyone has to go through that in some way.”

Senior sociology major Jordyn Sun is a photographer for ‘Closet Space’ and said she hopes it will resonate with LGBTQ people within Christian communities who have felt hurt by Christian institutions and the Church.

“I just hope that people will watch it and get a good laugh out of it [while knowing] that they’re not alone,” said Sun, who identifies as lesbian.

“Closet Space” also aims to help heterosexual viewers understand what people go through when they are gay, particularly when they are also Christian, Robison said.

“We’re not trying to change [anyone’s] mind, but we want [people] to understand where everyone is coming from,” Robison said. “I think we portray all sides of what people come from pretty well.”

So far, responses to the show have been positive, largely due to the fact that the viewers who have seen the pilot episode are friends and family of the production team and cast. Based on over 600 likes that the effort’s Facebook page already has, Quick is expecting the show to be a success in the future. If the pilot is as popular as expected, a screening at APU with a Q&A; session is a possibility.

The production team hopes to create a second season if funding continues to grow.

“The story’s not over yet; there’s only so much you can do with 10 episodes, and we have so much more to tell,” Quick said. “We really do want to continue on and keep [creating more episodes].”

There and back again: Study abroad programs expand to New Zealand

Christian Sanchez GRAPHIC Communication studies and journalism students can now study in New Zealand.

Christian Sanchez GRAPHIC
Communication studies and journalism students can now study in New Zealand.

For the first time ever, Azusa Pacific is introducing a summer study abroad option for communication studies and journalism students in New Zealand through a partnership with Christian nonprofit HCJB Global.

From May 16 to June 6, students will explore Auckland, among other destinations, through the partnership with HCJB’s Wandering Sheep Productions.

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Meal zones a thing of the past

Kayla Landrum PHOTO Students can now get as much Mexicali as they want, without having to wait in between meal zones.

Kayla Landrum PHOTO
Students can now get as much Mexicali as they want, without having to wait in between meal zones.

Azusa Pacific University Hospitality Services announced that it has officially removed meal zones from the meal plan policy.

This has been a popular request of APU students over the last couple of years and Hospitality Services decided it was time to adopt the change.

“As we looked at it and re-evaluated it, it was a decision that we decided was positive and would be something that the students really wanted,” said Hospitality Services Business Manager Jonathan Teague.

Hospitality Services had created the meal zone policy as a way to ensure that students were not abusing a meal plan that was bought specifically for one person.

Complaints typically revolved around the issue that students said they were not able to eat more food than what was given in one meal. Furthermore, they added it was inconvenient to work around the various meal zones.

“It was just way too difficult to keep track of when meal zones began and ended,” sophomore nursing major Megan Telfer said. “It’s much more convenient now that we don’t have to worry about them.”

Hospitality Services officials said as they examined the situation and asked students what they wanted, meal plan abuse became less a concern to the office than it had been in the past.

“The freedom of spending [meals] more freely is more important than making sure that students’ meal plans weren’t being abused by other people,” Teague said.

According to Hospitality Services, APU can expect this to be a long-term change with primarily positive outcomes.

“It just gives every student that freedom,” Teague said. “They may only need to use it once or twice a semester, but we want to make available the freedom to be able to eat whenever students want.”

Junior marketing major and Hospitality Services marketing intern Kandice Quintana described the change as a relief for students with large appetites.

“The no meal zones will help those students who are always hungry,” Quintana said.