Help Save the PUC Forest and Have a Delicious Snack Too!

PUC is on a quest to permanently protect, preserve, and manage over 850 acres of the college’s forestland by purchasing a conservation easement. The PUC Forest Fund was created to help raise money for the easement, and faculty, staff, students, and alumni have rallied around this effort. Enter black(40)berry jam, a business endeavor started by PUC professor Chantel Blackburn and librarian Katharine Van Arsdale, along with professor Maria Rankin-Brown, and Judy Ness, a counselor at the college’s career & counseling center. The goal of black(40)berry jam is to help raise money for the PUC Forest Fund.

We asked Dr. Blackburn to answer a few questions about the business, and why PUC’s property is worth preserving.

Where did the idea to sell jam come from?

I grew up picking blackberries in the summer and making blackberry pies. As I was picking blackberries on campus this summer for my first pie of the season, I realized there were going to be quite a few available to pick as they continued to ripen. I had done fundraisers in high school selling apple pies and that was a lot of work, but freezer jam seemed like an easier way to appeal to folks who might be interested in supporting a fundraising effort for the PUC forest. I didn’t feel like I could do it on my own but ran the idea past a friend, who suggested I contact two back 40 supporters, Maria Rankin-Brown and Judy Ness, who might be able to help me get things up and running. They’ve helped support the effort financially, with berries, and with the inspiration for the name! I still needed help making the jam so I contacted Katy Van Arsdale, who graciously agreed to help transform the berries into jam and fill the jars!

Chantel Blackburn and Katy Van Arsdale making black(40)berry jam.

Where in the back 40 are you picking the blackberries?

We’ve been picking blackberries mainly around the apartments and the airport. Maria also contributed about around a gallon of berries from bushes near her home, also on PUC property.

How long does it take for you to make the jam?

I think the most time-consuming part of making jam is picking and washing the berries. Picking about 14 cups typically took me about two hours and washing them (first in a solution of white vinegar and water then rinsed and dried) took at least another hour. We’ve picked between six and seven gallons of berries. Once that was done, Katy and I spent about 1.5 hours making our “first-run” of 36 jars (4 oz each) of jam. Now we know how the process works, it shouldn’t take us long to make the rest. We have enough berries, sugar, and pectin to make at least 120 jars total.

Why did you choose to donate the profits to the PUC Forest Fund?

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, my paternal grandparents were always caring for their trees; I remember visiting during the summer in Oregon and playing with my brother and cousins for hours in the large wooded area behind their house and later exploring their 21-acre dream retirement property in Washington where they maintained their own forest and trails. I think their love of the forest modeled for me how important it is to be a steward of the land, and forests in particular, so supporting the PUC Forest Fund was a cause that really resonated with me.

Supporting the PUC Forest Fund is really intimidating due to the amount of money that needs to be raised for the conservation easement. I wanted to create an opportunity for people to feel like they could contribute even a small amount and still make a difference–and together I think we can! We’re using wild blackberries growing right here on PUC land to make our black(40)berry freezer jam. It seemed like creating a special product that was made from this natural PUC resource and could be shared with others was a perfect way to support the college’s forest conservation efforts.

What do you appreciate the most about PUC’s forest land?

For me, the PUC forest has provided a number of opportunities for me to build community and fellowship with friends while hiking the trails on Sabbath afternoons. Now that I’ve moved to a home in Veteran Heights, I appreciate the forest is basically my backyard!

How can someone buy a jar of jam?

We’re asking for a minimum cash donation of $4 for each 4 oz jar of black(40)berry jam and giving 100% to the PUC Forest Fund.

I’ve been taking reservations for jam on Facebook (e.g. Angwinville) or by email (cblackburn@puc.edu) and making arrangements to get it picked up–ideally at the College Market when I am there. I’m planning to have a table set up at the College Market on Fridays (12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.) and Sundays (11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.) until the end of August or the jam is gone, whichever comes first. If the jam isn’t gone by the end of August I’ll probably look at bringing it out again as the winter holiday season approaches.

Want to support the PUC Forest Fund but can’t make it to Angwin to get your own jar of black(40)berry jam? You can still donate at puc.edu/give.

Editor’s note: For more information about the PUC Forest Fund and the college’s progress towards purchasing the conservation easement, visit pucforest.com.

**Update 8/7 Due to the overwhelming success of black(40)berry jam, we’ve followed up with Dr. Blackburn and asked her a few more questions about the jam making process and her plans to make more jam!**

How much does it cost to make a jar of jam?

The cost for making one jar of jam, including the sugar, pectin, tag, and jar is around $1 but most of the expense is for the jar.

How did you fund the production of your first 100+ jars?

In order to ensure 100% of the proceeds could go to the PUC Forest Fund, a small group of us split the cost of producing the first 100+ jars. We looked at it like an investment; $10 invested in production costs was expected to bring in at least $40 in sales that go directly to the fund.

How did your first full weekend (August 4 and 6) of sales go?

We completely sold out! I was just floored by the overwhelming response to our effort. We sold all 118 jars of black(40)berry and raised over $550 for the PUC Forest Fund. That’s much more than our minimum projection. We are so grateful for everyone who supported the college’s conservation effort by making donations and taking home some jam.

It’s fantastic that you sold out but does that mean you’re done with the fundraiser?

I know I said we would be done if we ran out of jam before the end of the month but due to the overwhelming response on our first full weekend out, we have decided to make another 100+ jars of black(40)berry jam so we can continue raising money for the PUC Forest Fund during the month of August. We probably can’t make much more than that because the availability of berries is beginning to dwindle, and so is our time before the school year starts; I for one need to start focusing on preparing for fall classes!

Will you be using previous funds raised to produce these new jars of jam?

Absolutely not—we are committed to contributing 100% of the proceeds to the PUC Forest Fund.

However, we are hoping there might be a few people who would be willing to invest, like we did, in making the next 100+ jars of black(40)berry. In particular, we are hoping to raise $100 to help defray to cost of additional production. This $100 doesn’t directly go to the PUC Forest Fund but it makes it possible for us to raise at least four times that much in jam sales that will.

If you don’t care for jam, or maybe you’re not local and wanted a way to contribute, I hope you will consider investing a few dollars in the production of our black(40)berry wild blackberry freezer jam. If you’re interested, please email me at cblackburn@puc.edu.

5 Reasons Why Being in Nature is Good for You

An aerial shot of just a slice of PUC’s 1,600 acres.

There are countless studies about the health benefits of spending time in nature, from memory improvement to reducing stress to increasing creativity. With over 1,600 acres of land, PUC’s unique location promotes active learning, both in and outside of the classroom. Here are just five reasons why studying in an environment like PUC can be beneficial to both your physical and mental health.

It can reduce stress.

According to a 2014 study conducted in Japan, participants who walked in a forest showed significantly lower heart rates and higher heart rate variability (which indicates less stress and more relaxation) as well as reported having a better mood and less anxiety than participants who had taken a walk in an urban setting. A similar study in Finland came to the same conclusion, where participants took a walk for as little as 20 minutes and yet still exhibited positive results.

It can help prevent depression.

There are great psychological benefits to spending time in nature, one of which being that it can help prevent depression. A 2015 study conducted by Stanford University featured in The Atlantic found participants who took a 90-minute walk through nature had less obsessive and negative thoughts than participants who walked in an urban setting.

Editor’s Note: Depression and anxiety are serious issues and nature isn’t always the cure. If you are experiencing depression or anxiety, please seek professional assistance for their input on how best to proceed.

It can help increase short-term memory.

One health benefit to being in a rural setting that might be of particular interest to college students is that it has been linked to improving short-term memory, which can be helpful if you need to do some last minute cramming! In a 2008 study by the University of Michigan, participants were split into two groups following a memory test; a group that walked around an arboretum while the other walked down a busy city street. Upon their return, all participants took the test again, and those who walked among trees scored close to 20 percent better compared to the first time they took the test. The results for the group who walked on the street did not improve.

It increases creativity.

The more time you spend outdoors and away from the stresses of daily life, the greater your level of creativity, according to an article by the Huffington Post. A group of backpackers were given the Remote Associates Test, a standard test of creativity, before going on a long hike. Another group of backpackers were given the test as well, but this time it was proctored four days into their hike. These backpackers scored nearly 50 percent higher in creativity compared to the first group.

It makes you happier.

According to a study from 2014 featured in Psychology Today, there is a direct correlation between nature and happiness. Participants were asked a series of questions to measure their connectedness to things such as family, friends, country, culture, music, and nature. Researchers found the relationship between nature and happiness was highly significant.

There are endless opportunities to spend time in nature at PUC; from biology research trips in Alaska to working with the Land Trust of Napa County to clear shrubbery in a nearby forest. There are also several outdoor exercise science courses, such as canoeing, cycling, and jogging in the college’s forest property. PUC has also offered several specialized summer courses, including workshops on watercolor and biology research, at the Albion Retreat and Learning Center, the college’s field station on the Mendocino coast. Come be a PUC Pioneer and immerse yourself in God’s beautiful Creation. To talk with an enrollment counselor, email enroll@puc.edu or call (800) 862-7080, option 2.

Students enjoy a run on one of the many trails of the college’s property.

Meet Megan Weems, PUC SA President

Hailing from Medford, Ore., Megan Weems is a junior studying liberal studies and elementary education at PUC, and is next year’s incoming Student Association president. We’re looking forward to seeing her and her team’s energy and creative ideas in action.

We asked Megan a few questions about her experiences at PUC and her hopes for this upcoming year.

What are your plans for this coming school year?

Oh! Where do I even begin?! This next school year is the year for changes. My SA team and I have so many ideas/events/plans we want to implement. We envision everything already great about PUC but multiplied by 100. My team and I plan to be extremely intentional about making the students happy and encouraging PUC pride! We want to make PUC a place where fun is had, quality relationships are built, and bonds are made that will last a lifetime. #PUCFAM

What are you looking forward to the most with SA?

Family. The family in which we create within the team, that will then trickle out into to Senate, clubs, and EVERYONE.  🙂

What made you decide to run for SA president?

Truly, God put me in the right spot, at the right time. I ran for SA president because I wanted to do something a little out of my comfort zone and put myself out there. I want to be the change so, I can therefore make a change. I am so proud to be a Pioneer and I wanted to be in a position where I can facilitate change to make PUC a place everyone wants to be.

What is your favorite thing about PUC?

The people of course! We are beyond blessed here on this hill with some of the most compassionate, brilliant, and beautiful minds. I feel extremely blessed to be a part of this college community.

Why did you decide to attend PUC?

If we are being honest, PUC was not in my original plan. In fact, I was at Walla Walla University my freshman year, but something didn’t fit for me there. I was pulled by God (and my sister) to enroll at PUC and I found my niche here. I appreciate the experience I had at WWU but here at PUC is where my heart and home are.

So far, what has been your favorite class at PUC?

Any class by Tom Lee or Jim Roy. (Shout out to the department of education, woot woot!)

What was the last book you read?

“Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell.

What are some of your hobbies?

Singing, sewing, cooking, socializing, swimming, chilling, learning new things, doing anything exciting and new.

What advice would you give incoming freshmen?

GET INVOLVED and STAY INVOLVED.

How can students keep up-to-date with SA events and activities?

The PUC SA Facebook page, as well as our SA website. Stay tuned for more info!

 

PUC in Pictures: Spring 2017 Edition

With the close of another wonderful year here at PUC, we are taking a moment to reflect back on some of the many great moments and memories of spring quarter.

Remember—You can follow PUC on Instagram (@PUCNow) and browse through some of our hashtags for a closer look at student life at PUC. #PUCNow and #MyPUCReason are great places to start!

Congrats to Madeline Chung who was named 2016-17 Presidential Scholar Athlete of the Year! 💪🏼#pucpioneers

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Tonight was the Senior Thesis Exhibition and we couldn't be more proud of our talented students! #GreatWork 📸: @pucart

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A different point of view.

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💚💛 #Repost @mvpdelarmente ・・・ I absolutely loved my four years here. PUC is my HOME.

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Hats off to you! 🎓

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We also encourage you to reach out to one of our enrollment counselors if you have questions about PUC. Email enroll@puc.edu or call (800) 862-7080, option 2 for more information.

Casual Kindness at PUC

By Andrea James

One of the first things I noticed as a freshman at PUC was the casual everyday kindness students showed toward each other. Everywhere I went, people held open doors for each other and picked up papers others had dropped. I’ve experienced acts of varying magnitude from buying a stranger lunch to letting someone know their tag is sticking out of their shirt collar. Regardless of how big or small, these random acts of kindness can make a big difference in someone’s day or even life. The casual kindness I witness every day is one of my favorite things about PUC. In these small acts and fleeting moments, I see true Christian behavior and the expression of true Christian love toward one’s neighbor.

In this time when we are bombarded everyday with how horribly human beings can treat each other and how selfishly they can act, watching someone be kind to a stranger for no reason and with no expectation of reward is like cool aloe vera on a severe sunburn. This campus is by no means perfect, but it has often seemed to me an oasis in a harsh, biting desert.

There are other places, I’m sure, where random acts of kindness are as common if not more so, and certainly people everywhere occasionally do nice things for each other. I don’t mean to claim PUC is solely unique in this regard, I merely wish to acknowledge and celebrate this aspect of our community in the hopes this behavior will become yet more prevalent and widespread both at PUC and wherever our students go throughout their lives.

If you want to start being kind in your everyday life but don’t know how, here are some suggestions:

  • Compliment someone (though only if the sentiment is genuine).
  • Do something simple such as basic origami when you’re bored in class and give the results to whoever’s sitting nearby.
  • Buy an extra cookie when you go to the caf and give it away.
  • Hold the door open for the person behind you.
  • If there’s a class you’ve particularly enjoyed or learned a lot from, tell the teacher.
  • If you have the money to spare, buy a drink at the Grind for your roommate, teacher, or friend.
  • Pray for God to bring people into your life or opportunities for kindness to your attention.
  • Just look around, keep an eye out as you go about your day. Maybe someone dropped a pen or has a leaf caught in their hair—there are opportunities all around you.

Every little thing truly does count. Putting just a bit more love and kindness into the world is so easy and takes so little time, but can turn someone’s day around or give them some small bit of comfort or emotional boost. So PUC community, thank you for the kindness you have shown me and please continue to be kind every day to whomever you may meet.

Pioneers Profile: Alexis Lyers

Meet Alexis Lyers, a senior who hails from Upper Marlboro, Md., and plays on the Pioneers women’s basketball team as a guard. We asked her to share about her experiences at PUC this past year, on and off the court.

What’s your major?

I am a communication major.

What’s your favorite class at PUC?

My favorite class at PUC is interpersonal communication. You get to learn so many interesting things about relationship and how people interact with each other on a daily basis. It’s super interesting!

Who is your favorite teacher at PUC?

I would have to say just about all the professors in the department of communication. I can’t choose one but they are all so great and so helpful not only in the classroom but also outside of it.

What made you decide to play for the Pioneers?

I’ve been playing basketball since I was 5-years-old. I’m originally from Maryland and one day I just decided I wanted to travel to the west coast and play basketball. At the time I wasn’t sure where, but after some research and lots of prayers I found PUC and loved the environment and my teammates.

What’s the best thing about being on the team?

I think the best thing about being on the team are my teammates and building relationships while playing a sport you love. I have so much fun with my teammates; we absolutely love each other on and off the court. It’s really amazing to connect with people on a personal level from all different parts of the country and all different walks of life.

Is it hard to balance being a student and an athlete?

Balancing school and being an athlete is extremely hard. You have a commitment to both to do well in school and perform well on the court and that’s not including practices, missing classes due to games, and homework.

What’s something you learned about yourself while playing this year?

This year I learned I can be a really good leader and role model on and off the court. I’m usually a person who runs away from the leader role and just hangs in the background, but I found out how good of a leader I am through my teammates. I also learned leading transpires off the court, when my teammates come to me for life advice or just someone to talk to.

What’s your favorite memory from this season?

My favorite memory from this year was coming back from being down 12 points to beat La Sierra University on senior night in front of my family and friends. I just remember my teammates all rushing to me after the game because we were all so happy.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I see myself working for an NFL or NBA team doing public relations or marketing work.

Alexis with her Cal Pac award.

Playing Intramurals at PUC

By Andrew Mahinay

Being active is an integral part of PUC. Most notably is the intramurals program, coordinated by Dr. Robert Paulson, which has over 800 games per school year.

The sports range from co-ed to date night in sports such as volleyball, basketball, frisbee, and many others. I myself have had the opportunity to participate in intramurals for three sports, making new friends and long lasting memories. Intramurals is a place you can push yourself to the physical limits, or if you are like most people, intramurals can be a place to get exercise while having fun.

PUC’s exercise science majors referee each intramural game, which means you are bound to see a familiar face. Hernan Granados, the head dean of Newton Hall, continuously helps ref games, ensuring fairness is exhibited on the playing grounds.

The entire gym is reserved for intramural games like basketball or volleyball, which means gameplay will not be interrupted or cut short. Each intramural game lasts an average of one hour and is a great way to take a break from studying.

In order to make a team, one must sign up on RecRadio’s page on Facebook. Sign up by finding other students and friends to compose a team. Once you recruit the required amount of players, create a team name on RecRadio, and you are now ready to participate in intramurals. A schedule of the teams you will be playing will be posted on RecRadio Facebook page so keep an eye out for that.

To differentiate teams, PUC’s intramural program provides free jerseys. If you want to get involved in an intramural team, there is a required fee of $5, which goes to pay the referees. If you know you will be even more active in intramurals, RecRadio offers a special deal where you can pay $30 to buy your own special jerseys, which showcases you are eligible to play in all sports without having to pay the $5 initiation fee. In other words, you will not have to pay to play in an intramural game again.

Intramurals tends to start in the evening, around 6-8 p.m., depending on the sport. Each night, Dr. Paulson makes it his goal to snap silly and amazing photos of live intramural game play. These photos can be found on the RecRadio’s Facebook page and to some people, like myself, these photos are the true highlights of participating.

The teams with the highest win-to-lose ratio move on to what is known as playoffs. During playoffs, teams compete with each other to get to the number one spot. Because of this aspect, Intramurals can get competitive. The team that wins first place lands a group picture on the RecRadio Facebook page, along with a game-winning shirt, which represents they defied all odds in beating all teams. With the competitive aspect aside, intramurals is all about having fun.

Intramurals is designed for all students whether you’re agile and quick or determined and committed, or just out there to have fun. There are no requirements. I highly recommend you join intramurals when you’re at PUC to create long lasting memories alongside your friends.

This years’ women’s soccer champions.