What it Means to be a Resident Assistant

By Andrea James

Many of us have probably considered being a resident assistant at some point, if only briefly. But it’s hard to tell what the job will actually be like without experiencing it for yourself, so I interviewed two current RAs about their experiences. Desiree Breise, a senior majoring in early childhood education, has been an RA for two years in McReynolds, and Alexandra Smith, a senior majoring in marketing and communication, is an RA in McReynolds for the first time this year.

Alexandra Smith, a senior majoring in marketing and communication, is an RA in McReynolds for the first time this year.

How did you come to be an RA and why?

Desiree: One of the previous RAs recommended me, and I was a desk worker my freshman and sophomore year, so I already kind of had my foot in the door. When the RA asked if I wanted to apply I didn’t at first because I think, I was really nervous about the responsibilities and all of the work that comes with being an RA, but I applied. I did my interview—it was so great, I was so nervous. Then I got the job, and I’ve loved it ever since.

Alexandra: So winter quarter of last year there was kind of a scare we were going to lose one of our RAs because she was going to graduate in the middle of the year, so I heard through the grapevine our dean might be looking for an RA. I thought, “Oh, maybe that would be a thing I would want to try out.” So I thought about it, and I talked to my RA friends, and they told me more about it. I thought, “That’s kind of cool. Not really sure I want that much responsibility in my life.” Then the dean didn’t need an RA at the time because the RA stayed. But, at the end of the year, she did graduate. Then it was application time and I was like, “Do I really want to do this? Do I really want this much responsibility?” I thought about how big an opportunity it is to reach out to all kinds of girls who live in your dorm, and to get to know them, and to know they have a friend and someone who does care about them and who does check in with them—especially the younger girls. It was like, “That’s a really nice thing.” So I applied, and I dressed up, and I did my interview and I got the job.

Desiree Breise, a senior majoring in early childhood education, has been an RA for two years in McReynolds.

What are some of the challenges of being an RA?

Desiree: My biggest one is being an RA all the time because you want to be there 100 percent, but you don’t want to give all of yourself. You want to be able to help others, but also help yourself. That balance is one of the hardest things for me because I tend to give, give, give, and then I don’t have anything to give to myself. If I’m not giving anything to myself, then I’m not going to give 100 percent to the girls. That’s the biggest one, or maybe not getting as much sleep as you want. Yeah, definitely less sleep, but in the end, it’s worth it.

Alexandra: I’d definitely say coming out of your shell because I’m an introvert, so I don’t always want to talk to everyone, and that’s okay, but also as an RA you kind of have to, especially at room check. When you’re going into people’s rooms you can’t be cold to them. Also you are there to help, you are there to be a part of something. So it’s kind of hard to make that initial jump into it but after you start, it’s fine.

What are some of the advantages or perks of being an RA?

Desiree: Well, oh my goodness, community—you get to become friends with amazing people; you get to know the girls in the dorm. I look forward to going to the dorm to say hi to all the girls, to greet them, to make them feel at home. Especially the freshmen who feel like they don’t have anybody, but you’re that person for them. That’s really important and I really love that. And truthfully, I feel like I get to have a more spiritual life being an RA. My walk has been very hard. It’s been a struggle, it’s been difficult just questioning and not understanding what I want in my relationship with God, but being an RA has helped me find level ground in regard to my relationship with God.

Alexandra: We went on an RA retreat at Albion and I love Albion. That was really nice. Also just getting close to the girls. It’s getting the opportunity to talk to girls who you may never have spoken to and they would have never spoken to you otherwise.

What advice would you give to students thinking about being RAs?

Desiree: I would say pray about it and, honestly, go for it. It’s such an amazing experience to get to know different people and different stories because I think we stick to what we know and stay pretty close-minded. It’s such a wonderful thing to be open-minded and see and hear a bunch of different things that you get the opportunity to hear because you’re an RA. Be open to getting to know girls (or boys, whichever gender) and hearing their stories. It’s a full-time job; it’s 24-7. So knowing you can handle that, but do it. Do it! It’s worth it! Being an RA is great!

Alexandra: Just apply and see where it takes you. When we were at RA retreat, the deans gave these beautiful, creative testimonies about how they became deans. A lot of them didn’t think it was in the cards for them at all, but the opportunity just kind of revealed itself. It was almost like a divine intervention.

While I’ve never felt the calling to become an RA personally, it was a great experience to see what a blessing the position has been to some of my friends. If being a desk worker or an RA is something you’re interested in, reach out to your RA or dean to find out more.

Helpful Adventist Terms and Facts

By Andrea James

Whether you’ve grown up in the church or coming to PUC is your first experience in an Adventist setting, there are a lot of details that can be confusing. Below is an Adventist “cheat sheet” for your referral if you find yourself in need of one.

What does “Seventh-day Adventist” mean?

Seventh-day Adventists believe the seventh day of the week (Saturday) is the Sabbath. Or more accurately, they believe Sabbath is from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday. They also believe in the advent, or the Second Coming of Jesus.

Who is Ellen White?

Most Adventists believe Ellen G. White (a.k.a. Sister White) was a prophet who experienced many visions from God. She founded the Seventh-day Adventist denomination along with her husband, James White (a.k.a. Elder White), and Joseph Bates. She was a prolific author whose writings had and continue to have a huge influence on the Church. Adventists consider her writings divinely inspired. They are not equal to the Bible by any means (Ellen White herself encouraged people to go to the Bible, check her work against it, and always use it to judge what is true), but they are used frequently in Adventist Bible studies and for general guidance.

What is the Spirit of Prophecy?

The Spirit of Prophecy is another way to refer to the writings of Ellen White, which exemplify the spiritual gift of prophecy.

What happened in 1884? What was the Great Disappointment?

According to William Miller, the Second Coming was supposed to occur around October 22, 1844. Many Adventists—including Ellen White—accepted and spread this message. However, Jesus did not come, and the event was called the Great Disappointment. There was great change in the beliefs of the early church leaders after this time.

What is the Three Angels’ Message?

The Three Angels’ Message comes from Rev. 14:6-12. The Adventist church believes the message was given to prepare the world for the Second Coming. The church believes its mission as the remnant church is to proclaim the Gospel as part of that preparation.

What is the remnant church?

Adventists believe their church is the remnant church of Biblical prophecy. According to the official statement of the Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist church, “A remnant has been called out to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. This remnant announces the arrival of the judgment hour, proclaims salvation through Christ, and heralds the approach of His second advent.”

What is the health message?

It refers to adherence to the kosher laws of Lev. 11 and vegetarianism. Adventists believe they should live according to the health message and spread it to others outside of the faith. Not all Adventists are vegetarians, nor do all Adventists adhere to the kosher laws, but it is held up as the ideal for living a healthy life and consuming a healthy diet. There is a strong connection between the health message and Ellen White’s writings about health.

What is the General Conference?

The General Conference is the governing body of the Adventist church. General Conference sessions are held every five years, where delegates elect the church’s leaders, talk about and vote on changes to the church constitution, and hear reports from the church’s 13 divisions.

What is the Great Controversy?

The Great Controversy is the war between God and Satan, which God won when Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected. Adventists believe it will be fully over when Jesus comes again, sin is eradicated completely and eternally, and the earth is made new.

What does “justification by faith” mean?

Adventists believe we are not saved by our actions but by our faith in God. We believe in Jesus and in His power to save us, forgive us, and help us. We are not justified by doing good things, but by believing in God and His grace.

For more information, you can contact the pastors on campus or search the official website of the Seventh-day Adventist church.

Hearts of Service: PUC’s Summer 2017 Mission Trip to Kenya

PUC Student Association President Megan Weems spent her summer a little differently than the average college student: she embarked on a nearly 30 hour trek to Maasai Mara, Kenya with others from the PUC family for several days to serve the community there. We asked her to talk about her inspiring experience learning about a new culture and giving back to those less fortunate in our world. Here is Megan’s story.

Our team was comprised of 15 people. We had two doctors, one nurse, one professor, and 11 other people, all who had hearts for service. We left on a Monday afternoon to embark on a long journey from small town Angwin, Calif., to the middle of the Maasai Mara in Kenya. It took one 15 and half hour flight to Dubai, a six hour flight to Nairobi, and then an eight hour safari car ride from Nairobi to the Maasai Mara, our final destination.

We arrived on a Friday, the next day we went to a Maasai Adventist church. On Sabbath afternoon and Sunday we went on a safari around the Maasai Mara, with beautiful views and plethora of animals. After resting up for the few days on the Mara and shaking off the jetlag, the team was in preparation mode for the week to come. We were separated into bush clinic teams, a Vacation Bible School team, and a painting/construction crew. Our group was small but all very driven and excited to be doing our part to help the Maasai community.

We set up five bush clinics while during our time in Maasai Mara. The bush clinics consisted of a team of doctors; Dr. Jonathan Wheeler and his wife, Dr. Julie Perry Wheeler; nurse Francis Aho; and recent PUC nursing graduate Elizabeth Shown. Each day they packed their lunches, put on their scrubs, piled into a safari truck, and drove to a surrounding village in need of medical attention. They offered basic medical checkups,eye checkups, a pharmacy, triage station, and lots of prayer for each Maasai native seen. On a typical day the bush clinic team would see as many as 70 people.

Upon arrival our VBS team first met with the headmaster of the Olosonin Primary school. We discovered the school had over 700 students enrolled and only eight teachers overseeing them. Each morning began with song service led by recent PUC grad Kelly Siegel and myself. Following song service, Dr. Peterson, adjunct professor of music at PUC, would give a Bible story complete with puppets and various instruments. Each day closed with an arts and crafts section which allowed each child the opportunity to create something they could take home. Towards the end of the week the children were excitingly awaiting our arrival at the beginning of each day. At the end of our weeklong program, the children showed their thanks by treating us to a traditional Maasai tribal dance, grabbing our hands and making us join in.

After spending the mornings with the children, we began painting the staff quarters of the first all girls high school in Maasai. Each afternoon we teamed up with a Maasai native, our very own Fabio Maia, the service and missions coordinator at the college, along with five other PUC students. Our crew scraped, primed, and paint the walls. Once school let out, the students would come and dance, sing, and play along as we worked. A great memory for me will always be the Maasai children teaching us Swahili songs, as we taught them English.

Our group was extremely fortunate to have amazing American native hosts. The Aho family are the owners of Mara West (accommodation) and African Missions Services. They run their own community clinic and led our bush clinics. We were blessed to be able to serve the community in the capacity we did and then come back to safe and comfortable accommodations. The Maasai Mara area is blessed to have them and we are blessed to know them.

This trip is something each of us will never forget, and it will stay with us throughout our lives. The PUC missions office strives to create lasting relationships around the world and hopes to return to Maasai Mara soon. The PUC family is expanding from Angwin to all over the world, from Brazil to Fiji and beyond. Now we have just added more beautiful souls, the people of the Maasai Mara.

The group was fortunate enough to go on a safari in the Maasai Mara. We were able to experience and see firsthand the animals of Kenya in their natural habitat. (Picture by JJ Reynolds)

Each day a part of the team went out to the primary school to lead a Vacation Bible School program. The team would sing songs, pray, put on puppet Bible stories, and make arts and crafts with and for the kids. It was a great way to really get the children involved with the members of our missions group to learn and swap stories about faith, love, and life. (Picture by JJ Reynolds)

While distributing donated water filters to community schools on the Maasai Mara, students would charge the truck to see what was happening. Each filter will provide 70,000 gallons of clean water. (Picture by JJ Reynolds)

Dr. Peterson putting a performance to the children during church service. The children were amazed and bewildered at the violin and the sounds that came from it. (Picture by Dylan Turner)

Dr. Wheeler with a patient at one of the clinics hosted with African Missions Services. Dr. Wheeler did general patient checkups while his wife Dr. Julie Perry, an ophthalmologist, did eye checkups. Praying with the patients was one thing Dr. Wheeler made sure to do. There was a translator present for every checkup. (Picture by JJ Reynolds)

Every day at the Olisonoon Primary School, all 705 students eat the same thing for lunch, a corn-based porridge. They stand in line with a cup ready to receive their daily portion. (Picture by JJ Reynolds)

This is the crew that helped in the construction site. Each day this group would prime, paint, and work hand in hand with the local construction workers to finish the new faculty housing for the only all girls high school in the area. (Picture by Esau Gonzalez)

Returning missionaries Kelly (Brazil, nine months), Cristina (Brazil, nine months), and Megan (Fiji, nine months) were the leaders of VBS. This was the end of the first day of VBS with the kids. (Picture by Dylan Turner)

What PUC Means to Me

By Andrea James

I have a confession to make: I was wrong about PUC.

For years, I was vehement in my desire to never attend an Adventist school, especially PUC. I had grown up in a sheltered bubble where almost everyone was rich, white, and Adventist. This bothered me a lot.

My mother immigrated to the U.S. with her mostly Colombian family when she was a child, while my dad’s family come from the Midwest and their ancestors come from a German colony in the Ukraine. My mother’s family raised me for all but a few years of my childhoodthough my upbringing was still mostly white, culturally speaking; I probably learned to make arepas before I learned to make pancakes, but I still can’t speak fluent Spanish and I never had a quinceañera (though that was more because of how incredibly expensive they are).

This relates to my feelings about PUC in that I was desperate to meet mixed-race people like myself and I didn’t think that would happen here. I had grown up in the Adventist world and all I had seen were white people, with occasional exceptions. I thought I would have to go to a secular school to get any kind of real diversity. I am so glad to be wrong!

Once I was finally convinced/decided to attend PUC, I was shocked to see and experience what the PUC community was actually like. PUC has been an immense blessing to me. For the first time, I’ve gotten to meet to people from all sorts of socioeconomic levels, cultures, backgrounds, etc. Having grown up going to schools full of rich white kids with whom I could only ever half-identify, I have immensely enjoyed being able to relate to other mixed-race people and listen to their experiences and stories. This is exactly what I was hoping for when I started college.

Of course, I wanted not only to interact with people like me but also with people nothing like me at all. I will never get bored learning about all the things I share and don’t share with the various people I meet, and I doubt I will ever stop being surprised by what I discover. I have immensely enjoyed expanding my understanding of others and correcting my significant ignorance about many subjects and issues. I hope to constantly grow and learn more with the help of my professors, classes, and friends here at PUC. And, of course, through my life once I graduate.

Starting the School Year with a Week of Welcome

Wednesday, September 20 brought the close of summer break as freshmen, along with their families, swarmed the seven residence halls turning empty rooms into their home away from home for the next nine months.

After New Student and Family Orientations were completed, the freshmen were whisked away for the FUSION retreat, which is a time where they can get to know each other in a casual setting off-campus.

The official Week of Welcome began on Monday with the start of classes AND the Welcome Back Party in the Campus Mall, where students could socialize with each other and rush campus clubs. The rest of the week was packed full of classes with fun activities mixed in, like a water balloon fight and color blast on the grass, Midnight Madness, Opening Convocation, vespers, and a visit from a food truck before a viewing of “Guardians of the Galaxy 2.”

Faculty, staff, and current students donned blue Student Association tees and helped the incoming freshmen and their families unload their cars and set up their dorm rooms on the first day of Orientation. Pictured: PUC President Bob Cushman, SA President Megan Weems, and CFO Brandon Parker who all lent a hand that afternoon.

The Tyner family helping their daughter move into her dorm room.

The PUC praise band leading out in group worship during FUSION.

Starting the school year off with a splash of color after a fun water balloon fight.

The woman’s volleyball team being introduced to the school during the annual Midnight Madness.

President Bob Cushman addresses the campus for the first time during Opening Convocation, the first Colloquy service of the year. He spoke of the need for love and unity, perfectly echoing the SA theme for the year, which is family.

The first week was so much fun it can only mean more wonderful things are in store for the rest of the year!

Insert caption about colors of the wind* #WOW #pucsa #WeekofWelcome #pucnow

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Don’t Be Stuck in Your Dorm Room

PUC has always promoted an active lifestyle and healthy living, and there are plenty of ways for students to stay active on campus. The gymnasium, officially known as the Pacific Auditorium but more endearingly called “The Covered Wagon,” is always full of students participating in a variety of activities. For students who enjoy the great outdoors, PUC owns over 30 miles of hiking and biking trails, and there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun.

The fitness center and weight room, climbing wall, and pool are used for both classes and independent recreation.

If being outside is more your thing, there are also outdoor sand volleyball courts, tennis courts, a track, and and multiple baseball and flag football fields.

From hiking and biking in the college’s back 40 property to the popular intramurals program, there’s something for every student at PUC.

If you’re interested in attending PUC, you can talk with an enrollment counselor in the enrollment services office about the application process and any questions you have about the college. Email enroll@puc.edu or call (800) 862-7080, option 2 to be connected with a counselor today.

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.org.

**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.

**Update 8/29 Dr. Blackburn provided our office with an exciting update regarding the final sales of black(40)berry jam that we wanted to share with our readers.**

Now that the black(40)berry fundraiser is wrapping up I thought I’d pass along some of our final numbers/facts:

  • 240 jars of black(40)berry wild blackberry freezer jam were sold
  • 2 celebratory blackberry strudels were consumed (a slice was given for any donation on our last day)
  • 8 days at the College Market
  • $93 raised to help fund the cost of the 120 additional jars we made after the first full weekend in August sellout
  • $1,500 raised for the PUC Forest Fund

Many thanks to everyone in the community and beyond who joined us in this effort to preserve our forest!

There is a recycling receptacle just outside the main entrance for the College Market where used black(40)berry jars (empty & rinsed) can be left. We’ve had 4 jars returned so far for reuse/recycling and hoping for more!

Editor’s note: For more information about the PUC Forest Fund and the college’s progress towards purchasing the conservation easement, visit pucforest.org. If you feel compelled to donate, visit puc.edu/give.