Meet the RAs of Andre Hall

By Carissa Paw

Andre Hall is one of seven residence halls at Pacific Union College and serves as a home for female students throughout the academic year. Andre houses around 170 residents, six of which are resident assistants. I was able to interview Sam Yin, Miranda Halversen, and Jessica Marruffo and learn more about their jobs as RAs and what advice they would give to anyone considering becoming one.

Q&A with Sam Yin

How long have you been an RA for?
I have been an RA for about a year and a couple months.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of being an RA?
The most rewarding aspect to me is being able to connect and build relationships with the residents.

How does being an RA help you become a better team player and a better communicator?         
Being an RA helps me communicate with the residents and so it helps me build better communication skills and also helps strengthen my active listening skills. Another important aspect is understanding the residents and being genuine. I believe all these are crucial to becoming a great team player.

How do you balance being an RA and a student at the same time?
It can be difficult to balance a job and school work but I consider the RA position be a good learning experience and so when I do have to do room check or talk to one of the residents I take time and focus on their situation. When I know I’m going to be doing room check, I finish all my homework and projects on time so I will have enough time to talk to the residents. Sometimes I do have to cut room check a little short and when it comes to having conversations, but the residents are understanding. I work on time management and schedule my school work to have enough time when it comes to checking the residents in at night or having important conversations.

What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking of being an RA?
My advice would be to pray about it and be willing to be genuine and understanding when it comes to connecting with residents. Sometimes there will be situations when a resident wants to open up about their problems and talk to you for hours and other times there will be residents who do not even want to talk. One has to be ready for anything. It takes up a lot of time so time management is an important skill to acquire if one does not have it yet. Another piece of advice would be to treat the RA position as not only a job but an opportunity and a great experience.

Q&A with Miranda Halverson

How long have you been an RA for?
I’ve been an RA since this past September.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of being an RA?
I think the most rewarding thing about being an RA is watching the girls on your floor slowly open up to you and to each other, and how you can really feel like you become a family. I’ve made so many friendships from being an RA already.

How does being an RA help you become a better team player and a better communicator?
Being an RA, you have other people you work with and lean on for support while you go through struggles and help girls in our dorm go through things. Becoming an RA has really shown me the importance of family, of teamwork, of allowing others to be there for you and help pick you and support you. I have been overwhelmingly blessed by the Andre team we have this year. With communication, I’ve seen myself improve by meeting different types of people on each of the floors. Each person communicates differently, and you have to adjust to them and you want to make them feel comfortable. I think it’s really helped me work on all different communication styles!

How do you balance being an RA and a student at the same time?
I think for balance, I make sure that when I’m in RA mode, I’m fully dedicated to that. I don’t let myself think about school when I’m doing room check or working so that I can be there fully for the girls. But then I also take my free time then very seriously, making sure to focus and plan out my schedule to make time for everything! I have like four planners; I love to plan things out, even though life has a way of making sure things don’t always go as I’ve planned. Still, it puts me at ease.

What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking of being an RA?
My advice would be to pray about it. Being an RA is a form of mission work, you are a leader, a sister, a spiritual mentor for so many different types of people. It takes a lot of time and work to be an RA, but it is probably one of the most rewarding things I have done.

Q&A with Jessica Marruffo

How long have you been an RA for?
This is my first year being an RA.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of being an RA?
The most rewarding aspect is being able to interact, get to know, and form relationships with the girls on my floor.

How does being an RA help you become a better team player and a better communicator?
It allows more opportunities for communication in different situations. Being an RA also puts you on a team with other RAs. We are a team and there are many situations in which we must tackle together. This gives you the opportunity to develop skills as a team player.

How do you balance being an RA and a student at the same time?
Balancing school and a job takes a lot of time management. There are some days in which we cannot fit both into a day. This is when teamwork comes into play and we are able to cover each other’s shifts.

What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking of being an RA?
I would tell them to do it! It’s a great experience which broadens perspectives and opportunities.

Worship and Bible Study Resources at PUC

By Andrea James

When we have questions about God or want to discuss the Bible with other people, it can be difficult to know where to go and who to talk to. However, there are a multitude of resources available at PUC. Of course, you can always talk to our campus chaplain Jonathan Henderson ((707) 965-7191; or any of the pastors at the PUC Church (their contact information is on the church’s website). Then there is PRSM, which stands for peer-led, relevant, small-group ministries. You can contact the student chaplain Amber Sanchez ((707) 965-7190; about joining or starting one of these groups. There are also dorm worships every week, both for your hall and your specific floor (you can go to other dorms’ and floors’ worships too). You can look at the worship calendar on the PUC Ministries website to find out what events are coming up and what groups are meeting soon.

However, you’ve probably thought of or heard of those resources before. What might not come to mind immediately is our library. We have great commentaries, biblical encyclopedias, and other research material. There’s a whole section in the library with great worship and Bible study tools, plus those in the main stacks. Some suggestions for places to start include devotionals and biographies of Christian missionaries and theologians (e.g. C. S. Lewis or J. N. Andrews). Another resource you might not think of is the library’s website where you can find links (like under “SDA Resources” in the sidebar) to online tools such as:

This is just a small selection of what’s available. There are also things like bibliographies compiled on church history, theology, etc. to help you with your research and the Adventist Archives containing everything from General Conference Committee meeting minutes dating back to 1975 to a slideshow about the Millerite movement to Adventist periodicals from around the world. This is a Christian institution of learning—research on religious topics is PUC’s specialty! And if you don’t know where to start, ask a librarian for help. They’re there for a reason.

However, studying the Bible shouldn’t feel like studying for your classes. Your relationship with God can be enriched by a deeper understanding of the Bible and theology, but there are many other ways to get to know God better or to strengthen your relationship with Him. Pray to God for guidance and do what works for you. That could involve being part of a small group, asking a pastor questions, talking with your friends, researching ancient Hebrew culture, spending time singing hymns, or a thousand other options. It could also involve combinations of activities. Your relationship with God is deeply personal and works in a way specific to you. God is your friend, not an exam for which you need to prepare. However, you come know Him better and more intimately is great and should be pursued.

Three Ways to Solve Issues with Your Roommate

By Kaleb Zenk

Where’d all the dishes come from?
Rooming with someone we don’t know particularly well can leave us at odds: stressed out, worried, and full of anxiety! We take our space seriously, and rightfully so, but it can be especially difficult when two individuals’ habits and behaviors collide.

The truth is, you will probably have more than one roommate during the course of your life, and why not learn to overcome some of those obstacles now? It is a journey of the most rewarding kind to learn how to better communicate and navigate possible issues that might arise while having a roommate.

Take on this mantra to have a better relationship with your roommate: Strategize more. Stress less.

The most critical part of being a better roommate is to communicate your feelings clearly, even if it might seem out of your comfort zone to be assertive and ask for things you need. The bottom line is half of the room is your space, too. You must speak up if something is bothering you because allowing problems to pile up can only hinder the initial jump into better communication.

Each person has a different set of idiosyncrasies or behaviors that are particular only to them. Many are not acutely aware of these behaviors, which can create a perpetual cycle of bad habits. How then would you tell your roommate what they’re doing is driving you nuts?

For one, compose yourself and have a conversation with your roommate so they can begin correcting certain behaviors they might be unaware of. Talk to your roommate before the end of the semester. Not only will the issues between you and your roommate pile up, but also finals will pile up, creating even more stress and tension.

If this doesn’t work and you are desperate to solve the issues between you and your roommate, talking to your resident assistant (RA) and asking them to mediate is advisable.

Again, one of the most important actions you can take to have a better relationship with your roommate is to communicate earlier rather than later. One way you can streamline the communication process is to start setting boundaries which keeps both you and your roommate accountable.

Who’s going to clean the dishes on what day? Who’s going to clean the bathroom? Who’s going to replenish the paper in the printer? Who’s going to vacuum? There are a lot of responsibilities you don’t necessarily think of when it’s just your space, but now that someone is living three feet away from you, it’s time to start thinking strategically how you can accomplish all the tasks without having to remind each other.

One way you can accomplish and share some of these tasks is to create a calendar both you and your roommate can visibly see.

Undoubtedly, you and your roommate will have issues. And this is what we have to say about that: Strategize more. Stress less.

Don’t let the actions of your roommate affect your attitude and happiness elsewhere. It’s easy to take that tension outside of the room and vent about it to your friends, but most importantly, what does that say about yourself and your communication habits?

How you talk about your roommate to other people may instill a set of bad habits in yourself, which could reflect poorly on you. If you’re complaining about your roommate’s habits and behaviors instead of choosing to tackle them in a straightforward manner, others may think you can’t solve issues with them, or worse, your friends may think you’re bad mouthing them too!

Keep the annoyances of your roommate out of the conversation and focus on how you can solve them privately. Learning to talk one on one with your roommate will help you be a more positive individual and possibly learn to like your roommate! We tend to like people who listen to us and are able to effectively solve issues together. Let the strategy in your dorm room affect how you become a better overall communicator.

Tips for Managing Stress in College

By Carissa Paw

All too often, students find themselves in stressful situations. Whether it’s from overloading on credits, taking on too many jobs at once, or having multiple deadlines to meet in one week, college can be stressful. These times are when it’s most important to remember putting too much stress on yourself isn’t beneficial to your studies. If you have found yourself in these types of situations, here are some tips to prevent and deal with stress.

Utilize the syllabus
From week one, check the syllabus given to you on the first day of class and write down important dates, such as tests and quizzes. By checking your syllabus on a weekly basis, you can to look at what’s due ahead of time and won’t be surprised by that one report worth 15 percent of your grade.

Prioritize your week
If you know you have two tests, three quizzes, and a reading report due in one week, make sure to divide the work. Try to study ahead of time instead of cramming the night before. As arduous as it sounds, try to get bigger projects done as soon as you can—trust me, you’ll thank yourself later. This will eliminate stress during the week, allowing yourself those additional blissful hours of sleep.

Take a minute to breathe
When you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, take a minute to sit back and breathe. Use those sixty seconds to focus on breathing and not on the assignment due on Canvas at 11:59 p.m. After a minute, write out all the things you need to do. List them in the order they’re due and prioritize the things on top of the list first.

Find sources of help
As a class progresses, the material slowly builds upon the prior week. If you realize the material is too much to manage, don’t be afraid to talk to the professor. As a senior here at PUC, I’ve found the professors to be extremely helpful. Each professor is more than willing to meet with you and ensure you understand the material.

Take a break
Honestly, this step may seem ludicrous when facing multiple deadlines, but this tip has been the most beneficial to me. Removing yourself from a stressful situation for 5-10 minutes (or however long you prefer) can be extremely helpful in eliminating stress. You can take this break to listen to music, watch a YouTube video, or catch up on social media. By allowing yourself time to not be engrossed in studies, you can alleviate stress and improve your focus when going back to a certain task.

My Summer Working in PUC’s Nelson Memorial Library Archives

By Sierra McMillan

One dilemma for many college students is where they will work over the summer. I am a senior English major, so I wanted to have some sort of job that would be applicable to my future career plans. I asked Katy Van Arsdale, the special collections librarian here at PUC, if she needed help in the archives during the summer months and lucky for me, she did.

My main project over the duration of the summer was cleaning, digitizing, and curating an exhibit of early 20th century PUC magic lantern slides. Magic lantern slides were used to display photographs and other images from the 18th-mid-20th centuries. The PUC slides I worked with displayed a wide range of images from early PUC history—like groups of students, classroom scenes, and views of campus. At the beginning of the summer, Katy gave me a large box of these lantern slides in disintegrating wooden boxes, and it was my job to clean them and transfer the slides to proper archival storage. It took quite a bit of time to go through every slide; each which needed the dirt brushed off, excess grime cleaned with deionized water, and then they were placed in individual paper enclosures.

PUC students visit Bodega Bay sand dunes as part of Dr. Clark’s Field Nature School, summer 1934.

The next step in the process was to digitize the collection. Lantern slides are difficult to scan; the different portions—the transparent interior image and the exterior slide frame—have to be scanned separately in order for both to be viewable. On the scanned images, I used Photoshop to make both portions of the digitized version of the slides simultaneously viewable. In total, I cleaned and digitized around 450 slides. After all of the slides were scanned, I curated a small exhibit of these lantern slides for display in the library. Soon the entire digitized collection will be viewable on the Adventist Digital Library.

Landscaping and pools between Clark Hall and Irwin Hall, where the greenhouse now stands. Probably photographed in the 1930s.

Working with this collection of lantern slides and in the library archives in general over the summer was such a great experience. It gave me a taste of the type of work that archivists do and information about historical artifacts I wouldn’t have learned about in such a hands-on manner otherwise. Research for my senior thesis project has lead me to look into some online archive collections and it’s fascinating to know how these collections might have been produced and that I had a hand in putting together a similar collection for the PUC archive.

PUC student poses at the base of the Graf Hall steps, probably in the 1930s.

Get Ready for Fall 2018!

The fall is prime college application time for high school seniors. These days, the average student applies to at least nine colleges, and if you haven’t already started looking at potential schools for next fall, now’s the time–and why not start with PUC! Our online application is free and takes about 10 minutes to complete.

We’ve created a handy high school senior checklist to help you stay on track all year long. On it, you will find a breakdown of what you can be working on each month. Hopefully it will help you get things taken care of!

So, what else can you be working on? Plenty! Here’s just a few things to get you started; download the checklist for a complete inventory on what you need to do to be ready for college next fall.

Visit all the colleges you can

There’s no better way to see if a college is right for you than by visiting! We would love for you to join us on our campus. Take a tour with a student ambassador, meet with a professor in the major of your interest, and pick up some great financial tips.

Take the ACT and SAT—and leave yourself time to retake them

PUC accepts both the ACT and SAT. While they aren’t required for admission (except for admission on academic probation), tour test scores will be used for placement into math and English classes, and also for certain scholarship qualifications.

It’s a good idea to take the test several times, rather than just once, particularly if your score is close to the qualifications for a scholarship. 

Get ready to submit the FAFSA in October

Starting October 1, 2017, you can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at Submit your FAFSA as soon as possible since some aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Remember to include PUC’s school code (001258) to have your results sent to PUC, as well as to list at least one in-state college, otherwise you may be ineligible to apply for Cal Grant.

Visit to download your copy of PUC’s high school senior checklist today!

If you have any questions about applying to PUC, contact the Enrollment Services office at or (800) 862-7080, option 2. We’re here to help throughout the entire admission process, and we can’t wait to have you on campus next fall!

PUC. The Holy Hill. Home.

By Juan Hidalgo 3rd

On Sept 18, 2010, I left my sunny SoCal home and began the 8-hour trek to Pacific Union College. On June 18, 2017, I will be walking across the stage as an official graduate of this college! My time at PUC has been a compilation of the best and most challenging years of my life. As I complete my undergraduate career, here is some advice I would like to leave you as a student, prospective student, interested person, or the fourth person reading this, my mom.

Be a “Yes” Man/Woman
In my time at PUC I have had the great opportunity of getting to know a variety of different people as well as hold a variety of different student leadership positions. This school presented me with an abundance of opportunities to get involved with student life and develop my leadership skills. When I first came here, I didn’t know how to get involved or if I really wanted to. Little by little, professors and fellow students began to ask me if I wanted to help with different events and/or hold different leadership positions. Hesitantly, I said yes and have never looked back. Each opportunity pushed me to get out of my introvert shell to the point where anyone reading this who has come to know me in my time at PUC will be surprised to know I classify myself as an introvert. Say “Yes.” Go and get involved. Whether becoming an officer for one of the many clubs we have on campus, getting a job in a department, or even running for an elected position in Student Association or Senate, you will thank yourself later.

Break Bread with Friends
The fact we are located in one of the culinary capitals of the world means there are plenty of great places, besides the Dining Commons, to ease your “hAngriness” or your “hAttitude”. You can build your own sandwich at Guigni’s Deli, slurp a delicious milk shake from Gott’s Roadside, or share a margherita pizza from Tra Vigne. BUT, being that most of us are on a college student budget, this means you also get to make trips to Safeway and cook your own meals with friends once in awhile. Sometimes this means ramen in your room at 3 a.m., on the floor, while your roommate is up playing WOW (World of Warcraft) and sometimes you channel your inner Gordon Ramsey and make a whole potluck for your friends on Sabbath afternoon. Whatever it may be, I know some of the best memories I have at PUC are mixing ingredients, over a stove and around a table, sharing a meal with my friends.

Family is the Most Important Thing
If college is your first time away from home, you may experience one of two things. First, this may be the happiest time of your life as you are now a full-fledged adult and have finally realized you never needed your mom and dad anyway and they were only holding you back from your true potential as an independent, self-sufficient human being. OR, and this is the category I fell into, you may feel a little sad, maybe even a little alone. This is probably not due to the fact you are actually alone, but more so that you miss your parents or whomever you left back home. Let me assure you, there is nothing wrong with this, and yes, you can still be an adult and be homesick.

Hands down my favorite part of my experience here at PUC has been what I discovered when I felt most alone on this hill. You see, up here we have something I can’t fully explain to you, you simply have to experience it on your own. We call it “The PUC Family.” This family took me from Grainger Hall 209, crying on my first birthday away from home, to countless occasions of laughing until I cried. During my time here, the family has been through a lot of great times and a few very difficult times. We have laughed together, struggled through finals together, and mourned the loss of dear family members together. People often say we are kind of “stuck” up here on this hill, but let me tell you, being “stuck” has been one of the biggest blessings of my life. At PUC I have made family members who will last me a lifetime. I have met people who I can be real with, people I can cry with, people whom I love. So if you are nervous about leaving home, don’t worry, you’re coming to another one.

Juan will be graduating with degrees in psychology, Spanish, and nursing.

Trust God’s Timing and His Plan
There are times in your academic career, and in life in general, when you are going to be unsure. You are going to doubt yourself, you are going to stress, and you might want to switch your major from biology and pre-med to basket weaving with an emphasis in Ultimate Frisbee. That’s OK. You probably also will experience some form of failure. That’s OK too. I have found PUC has given me a good balance of success and “gut checks.” What I mean by that is, for all the good times I have had, there were less desirable times I also thank God for. I thank God because though things didn’t always go my way, though I didn’t always get the grade I wanted, and though I doubted myself and Him many times, I am stronger because of it.

There you have it, my “two cents” on a world-class experience at Pacific Union College. If you are a current student, enjoy it while it lasts, the end comes faster than expected. If you are a potential student, get ready for a life-changing experience academically and to be part of a new family. If you are neither, but simply an interested reader, I say “cheerio” and I hope you enjoyed. If you are my mom and are crying while reading this, I say “I love you and thank you and Dad for giving me the experience of a lifetime.”

Juan Hidalgo 3rd  
At-Large Senator     
Chief Student Ambassador
Senior Class President

It’s tradition at PUC for seniors to ring the historic Healdsburg Bell when they’ve finished their last final. Congratulations Juan!