Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

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CultureSEast brings community together with week of fun, sharing, education

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Get ready for more CultureSEast in the future.

The inaugural signature event at the Southeast Campus spread out across the campus for a few days in May and will be the first of many in the years to come, campus leaders said. The event featured a series of performances, lectures, panels and presentations around the idea of bringing together people’s identities, stories and communities. There were plenty of attractions like storytelling, panel discussions, public art, readings, live performances, food carts, local businesses and a story booth.

On Wednesday, May 20, Community market Day featured food, music and even a ninja demonstration.

On Wednesday, May 20, Community market Day featured food, music and even a ninja demonstration.

“CultureSEast reflects a lot about the Southeast Campus’ own robust journey into selfhood, as PCC’s fourth comprehensive campus,” said Southeast President Jessica Howard. “It explores diversity in community, intersectionality in terms of identity, and the power of story. CultureSEast is designed to bridge as well as celebrate differences, promoting learning and authentic connection. I couldn’t be prouder of the campus’ new signature event, and the considerable energy and thought that the committee put into its creation.”

CultureSEast took months in planning, visioning and brainstorming by a committee of more than two dozen students, faculty and staff to organize its 20 events. In 2014, the Southeast Campus officially converted to a full comprehensive campus where its 11,000 students can earn an associate degree without traveling to another PCC location for additional courses. To honor this new era, CultureSEast aimed to create opportunities for students and the community to learn about themselves, voice their stories and hear other’s stories and experiences.

“This is pure awesomeness,” said Southeast Dean of Student Development Miriam Friedman at the closing ceremony. “This event took collaboration, support, honesty and a lot of good humor. We want to give voice to the wide array of stories that we all carry with us. The identity we bring with us that is who we are day in day out.”

The cornerstone was the “Southeast Stories” video booth where the campus and external community could share their personal stories on video. At the closing ceremony luncheon provided by Thai Fresh, attendees were treated to a highlight v​ideo consisting of the participant’s stories.

“It was my favorite part of the week,” said student leader LiShao Chen. “It brought the community closer.”

That wasn’t all. Other attractions included midday music and cultural performances by PCC and community artists; speed culturing, where students, staff and faculty from various backgrounds engaged in a series of two-minute discussions about their cultural backgrounds; a Science, Technology, Engineering, Applied Arts and Math (STEAM) symposium with Corey Frazier, an Aerospace and Mechanical Engineer with Intel Corp.; readings by the Southeast Writing Program; an art exhibit by students who created photo images that illustrated campus diversity; and a community market in the outdoor plaza.

The event was so successful it will be an annual event for the campus.

“This has been overwhelming,” Friedman added. “This started out as a kernel of an idea a year ago where a group people got into a room and students told us we want to do something different at the Southeast Campus. We really want to recognize and celebrate the successes and the incredible diversity we have at Southeast and give voice to people’s stories,” she continued. “And we want to help people feel as if they belong here at Southeast, this is our campus and we are building it together. This event has launched us on our way.”

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About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, has been the Communications Specialist for the Office of Public Affairs at Portland Community College since November of 1999. A graduate of Portland State University, J... more »


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