The Pains of Re-entry

As I’ve made aware by the excessively sentimental posts on social media this past week about the end of my Ecuador semester creeping up, the dreaded moment has finally arrived: I have officially left Ecuador.

The dread lies deeper than being upset in the simple fact that I have to leave an incredible country that has so deeply captured my heart. Rather, it lies in the acknowledgement that this group of eclectic students and staff will never be fully reunited again on this earth. It lies in the fact that I now must face the realities of what I left behind in the States before this semester.

Continue reading

The Problem with “Study Abroad”

It almost seems silly that I would write a blog post on what’s wrong with the idea of studying abroad when I’m doing just that at this time. However, it’s important to challenge the decisions that we make and truly understand why we decide to do things like studying abroad for a period of time.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Clothesline Project gives a voice to the voiceless

clotheslineT-shirts and socks hung high on a clothesline at Seven Palms from Oct. 14 through 18 for the Clothesline Project, a week-long event where students and faculty showed their support for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault.

The event was sponsored by the Women’s Resource Center and supported by the University Counseling Center, Campus Pastors Office and Office of Residence Life.

The Clothesline Project is designed to give a voice to men and women who have experienced the horrors of domestic violence. Survivors were encouraged to write their thoughts and experiences on a T-shirt. Other students showed support by writing encouragement on socks and hanging them as a symbolic commitment to pray for the victims and survivors in the community.

The Clothesline Project was established in 1990 in Cape Cod, Mass., when the Women’s Defense Agenda learned that 58,000 soldiers were killed during the Vietnam War, and during that time 51,000 women in the U.S. were killed by men who claimed to love them. Because women traditionally hung their clothes out to dry on a clothesline, allowing themselves time to talk with each other, the organization used the drying aid as the visual representation for their cause.

16312dl_photos-0.jpg

“[The clothesline] is symbolic in telling their story as a survivor,” said Kaley Lindquist, the 2nd year grad student and assistant of the WRC.

The T-shirts displayed various stories of fear, hurt, redemption and strength.

“What the shirt represents is giving a voice to the voiceless,” Lindquist said. “That is the purpose of the project — to give a voice to these stories that are so often unheard.”

The Clothesline Project was available for visitors throughout the whole week, with WRC staff, along with campus pastors and UCC staff available for support and information from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day. Thursday at 1 p.m., WRC staff held a communal prayer meeting with students and faculty to pray for survivors.

photo 2.JPG

One survivor of sexual assault said the event is particularly helpful on a college campus because it has the potential to “open people’s eyes to what is going on around them.”

“[Abuse] is not this whole other, scary, dark world,” said the sophomore sociology major, who wished to remain anonymous. “It’s something that’s here and is present and is in every sort of life. It can affect anybody.”

WRC graduate assistant Christal Stanley said some people who have never been affected by domestic violence do not realize how much of a problem it really is.

“I [kept] hearing the word ‘powerful’ after they read the T-shirts and the stories,” Stanley said.

Not only does the Clothesline Project provide awareness to those who are uninformed of the severity of this problem, it allows APU to step up as a community-centered student body to create unity for these survivors.

“I know there abuse survivors out there who are hurting, and it makes me want to know who they are so I can reach out to them,” the anonymous sophomore sociology major said. “Even though it’s different situations and different people, it’s something that we should be reaching out to as a community and as a student body.”

After letting the story out on a T-shirt, the next step is healing. The mission of the WRC and other supporting departments is to be available to hear the stories of those who didn’t put up shirts or feel like they have an ongoing story worth telling. The Clothesline Project was simply a steppingstone to providing a safe place for students to find healing.

“My role … is to be available in case there are women who would like to form a sexual assault survivor group,” said Dr. Elaine Walton, WRC director and a UCC psychologist. “[I want] to hear what [students] really want and then try and meet that need with the resources that we have.”

The WRC highly encourages any student, male or female, who has been affected by the devastation of sexual assault and domestic violence to come into its office, or the UCC or Campus Pastors’ offices.

“We love having our male students in our office, and we would encourage even more men to come,” Lindquist said. “These issues are not just women’s issues.”

For more information, visit the Clothesline Project website here, APU’s Clothesline Project page here, or drop by the WRC, located on East Campus across from Career Services.

Moonlight Café has grand reopening

Jeena Gould PHOTO The Moonlight Café is located in the Shire next to the recreation room.

Tuesday night marked the grand reopening of the Moonlight Café, where Shire Mods residents were invited to take a break from midterm studies to fellowship over coffee and live music. Residents filtered in and out of the café from 7:30 to 10 p.m. for quality time with their fellow neighbors and an added caffeine boost for the night.

The Moonlight Café will be open once a week, rotating days as different resident advisors are on duty. Each time the café is open there will be some sort of specific event hosted by the particular RA on duty that night.

“The events will simply be opportunities for students to relax from studies or simply hang out, socializing with a “Monday Muffins” or “Tuesday Chai” type scenario,” Shire East RD Cara Jones said.

.A schedule with more specific information will be posted on the café door.

Jones said this is not the first time that this space has been used. She explained that the Moonlight Café started in the 1970s, providing coffee and music to students, but stopped because the past RDs and RAs stopped maintaining it. This space was used for different reasons and in the 70s was later used for the Moonlight Cafe. When this ended it eventually became storage and is now being turned back into the cafe.

Jones collaborated with Shire West RD Adam Higginbotham and the Shire RAs to take advantage of extra space and bring back the café.

“Not only is it a fun idea for an APU living area, it’s an opportunity for people to be excited about living in the Shire,” said senior theology and philosophy double major Lindsey Myers, the RA for I Court.

Residents and RAs alike had positive thoughts about the idea of a café opening in the mods.

IMG_0264.jpg

Jeena Gould PHOTO
Shire F Court RA and RARs, going by the name of “3 Shades of Gray”, entertained the crowd with light hearted music for Moonlight Cafe’s reopening.

“I’m really excited that this is opening because it gives all of us an opportunity to get together over coffee and get to know one another despite having different schedules,” said sophomore computer information systems and theater arts double major Lindsay Burton, a resident of the Shire Mods. “It’s a very good addition to the Shire.”

The Moonlight Café will continue as long as the future RDs and RAs of the Shire maintain it.

“[This space] could easily be used as a room for storage or for junk piling up,” Jones said. “But if the RD and the RAs are intentional about keeping it open, providing menus for people to come in, then hopefully it will be open past this year.”

Foam, foam and more foam

Jeena Gould PHOTO Foam was spread across Munson Chapel as APU students danced the night away.

Jeena Gould PHOTO
Foam was spread across Munson Chapel as APU students danced the night away.

Approximately 1,000 students gathered in Munson Courtyard Friday night for Americoming: Red, Foam, and Blue, this year’s Homecoming dance. Dressed in American attire, students got down and foamy with music courtesy of disc jockey Zap.

The dance’s theme, Americoming, was created to enable students to feel interconnected and relevant.

“We were thinking about what students would be able to identify with,” said junior communication studies major Tayler Lund, one of the Communiversity campus life interns. “So what better way to do that than with America? That hits home for a lot of people.”

This would have been the first time that freshmen and sophomores experienced the wonder of foamcoming, but this was not the first time that foam has been incorporated into APU Homecoming dances. After the first time two years ago, Communiversity decided that it was so successful that it should be brought back.

“It was cool having the foam this year after hearing all the upperclassmen talk about how crazy the foam was before. I wanted to see what it was all about,” sophomore psychology major Lanae Lopez said. “I thought the theme was kind of random, but it was awesome to see how people were dressing up for it.”

Junior cinematic arts major Christian Sanchez expressed his love-hate relationship with the foam at the dance in his recent Facebook status.

“Two years ago, I had my first and only near death experience that forever changed the way I saw foam,” he wrote. “That day two years ago it became my one and greatest fear. Today, I was reassured that it is still in fact my greatest freaking fear. I am a survivor.”

Sanchez’s thoughts on the terrifying factor of foam were reciprocated by many other students as they screamed and punched to get out of the middle of it, exclaiming that they were “suffocating” and “drowning.”

However, the foam was an improvement the second time around, Sanchez said.

“They changed the position of the foam machines this year, which I think was a lot better,” Sanchez said. “The placement was better, and it was never fixed on you for too long.”

Unfortunately, the dance experienced some technical difficulties concerning the DJ and the music. Students were chanting to turn up the music as they felt the volume was quite low.

The technical difficulties allowed for the most American patriotism, Lopez jokingly said.

“When the music stopped for a bit, that was just like the government shutdown,” Lopez said. “Plus, when the music stopped, people were singing the national anthem and other patriotic songs.”

 

Houses purchased by APU restricted to faculty only

this is an image

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.

this is an image

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].”

Life as a smoker at APU

Spencer Rickman PHOTO Sophomores Spencer Rickman and Andrew Dong enjoy each other’s company whilst smoking pipe tobacco.

Spencer Rickman PHOTO
Sophomores Spencer Rickman and Andrew Dong enjoy each other’s company whilst smoking pipe tobacco.

Contrary to the presumption that with a non-smoking campus comes non-smoking students, APU houses a smoking culture that is unseen to many. This is largely due to the negative connotation that smoking has throughout campus.

Some students agree that APU should continue being a non-smoking campus due to the health risks and discomfort level of other students.

“I like that people aren’t always smoking around me because I know many people that hate the smell of tobacco smoke,” said sophomore theology major Spencer Rickman, who smokes pipe tobacco.

A junior English major who wished to remain anonymous said that although smoking is a health risk, the no-smoking rule encourages people to shun smokers.

“I know people who smoke who are amazing students, but it’s a habit that they picked up in the past and have continued doing,” she said. “Smokers just tend to get a really bad reputation, and people assume the worst of you.”

The English major argued that students who smoke are excluded from the community.

“Smoking obviously has a bad reputation because it is unhealthy and addicting,” she said. “At the same time, we are a campus of love and care for one another, where we shouldn’t be judgmental. When people around me say, ‘Oh, I hate smokers,’ I don’t speak up because I don’t feel like I can.”

However, this is not the case with all smokers.

“Because not a lot of people smoke at APU, when I do find people that do smoke, it’s not a huge deal,” Rickman said. “Being a smoker hasn’t affected me that much.”