Start. Stop. Continue.

By Tyler Pau, Assistant Director of Residence Life

In my time in higher education, I have had the privilege to work with a number of high caliber teams, both student staff and professional.  These teams challenged and supported each other professionally, bonded personally, provided excellent service, and regularly checked their bearings as a unit.  Through time, I have seen how important the last part of that equation is to improvement.  Timely and intentional efforts for teams to orient themselves are vital to their success.  A former supervisor introduced me to the feedback grid and I have used it as an effective way of checking how teams are doing and how they can improve.

In the feedback grid, people are reminded about the teams identity, mission, or goals and then asked what they need to start doing, stop doing, do more of, do less of, and continue doing to achieve success.  Here are the most brief guides to these questions.

Start doing:  What do we need to begin in order to be successful?  What haven’t we done yet?  What haven’t we tried?

Do more:  What are we already doing now that we need to do bigger/better/more often?

Stop doing: What are we doing now that is impeding our success?  What is keeping us from being as successful as we can be?

Do less:  What are we doing that we need to monitor and limit?

Continue doing:  What are we doing now that works and we need to keep doing to be successful?

As helpful as an exercise like this grid can be for a team and their development, it is also extremely beneficial to individuals.  It is a classic case of “what’s good for the gaggle is good for the goose”, right?   Okay, maybe that isn’t a saying but trust me, it is good for people to do this for themselves.  So, this being the close of one semester, followed by a long winter break that allows for a lot of reflection and projection, I would encourage you to do a feedback grid for yourself.

To obtain better grades, maybe you need to continue studying in groups with your peers because that works best for you.  Perhaps you need to start creating a schedule to manage your time better and make sure you begin and submit your assignments on time.

A successful varsity athlete may need to do less late nights so you can make it to practice on time and well rested.  Another idea could be to commit more time to treatment with the athletic trainers to rehabilitate or prevent reoccurring injuries.

The effective student leader might need to continue reaching out to their constituents and seeing how they can better serve and represent them.  Another could be spending more time with other leaders across campus in various roles to seek out opportunities to collaborate.

Whatever the case may be, determining where you have come from and where you are headed is paramount to your progress.  Sober review of what you have been doing, how that has worked, and what you can do to continue your improvement is good for each of us.  Anthony Burgess says “It is always good to remember where you come from and celebrate it.  To remember where you come from is part of where you’re going.”  Reflect on how this past semester has gone.  Celebrate making it through.  Consider ways that you can grow and improve.

Good luck on finals, stay warm, and have a great winter break.

Posted in 2013, Staff | Tagged | 172 Comments

An Interview With Social Justice Leader: Aja LaDuke, Ph.D.

In October, Resident Director Ayanna Bledsoe attended the National Association of Multicultural Education (NAME) conference in Oakland. This conference is a great opportunity to meet educations across the nation dedicated to making our campuses, both K-12 and higher ed, more socially just. What does that mean to leader Aja E. LaDuke, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Teacher Education  at Thelma P. Lally School of Education at The College of Saint Rose? Read here to find out! 

What does social justice mean to you?

My first point of contact with social justice, or I would be more correct to say the first point in which I “woke up” to it, was in a graduate level education course called “Literacy in the Secondary Schools.”  At this point I had been teaching for two years in a public elementary school, and had chosen the course as a step toward earning my certification as a reading specialist.  Little did I know, but this course would be much more than that and put me on another path entirely – one that guides both my life and my work as a teacher educator.  On our first day, our professor asked us to explore the question, “How are schools like prisons?” which would be a guiding question for our study throughout the semester.  The group conversations, academic reading, and individual writing responses that stemmed from that question served as my first exposure (or again, the first exposure that I was conscious of) and first engagement with examining schools from an institutional lens.  We read works like “Literacy with an Attitude’ by Patrick Finn – a book that introduced me to the works of others like Jean Anyon and Paulo Freire, and that I still have my underlined, dog-eared, post-it note covered copy of to this day to show to my students.  I use it as an example of “transformational literacy,” or in short, literacy that can change one’s life – in ways that they will when they become teachers themselves.

How did you get involved? 

I had chosen teaching as a profession for many of the reasons that others would name, for example, wanting to make a positive difference for future generations.  I had also been drawn to the idea of the evolving nature of teaching, how there would be no point at which I would reach a pinnacle and be able to say, “I’ve got this” and not find ways to improve my practice.  My logic was that society is always changing over time, so teaching changes with it and I have to keep up.  Though I was entirely wrong (ex. technology), this course and a host of other courses and experiences that followed asked a question that I now use to guide my own courses: “Though schools have the potential to be sites of powerful social change, how do they instead work to perpetuate the status quo?”  I had not thought about how schools contributed to societal “non-change.”  In exploring the ways in which schools are normed to dominant groups (i.e. White, middle class, native English speaking, etc.) through their policies, curricula, testing and other practices, I realized that my job as a teacher was not just to “help students learn” but to help many of them to exercise their right to learn, in other words, to gain access to educational opportunities in a system designed to only give them to some, not all.  This also began me on a journey of examining my own life and school experiences from an institutional lens.  I hadn’t ever thought of school as a prison before that moment because schools were set up for me to succeed.   I wasn’t supposed to see them that way, and I didn’t – until I was already in adult teaching in one.

As a teacher educator, I see it as my responsibility to make sure that new generations of teachers do not enter the field without examining schools from an institutional lens and identifying unjust practices that are embedded within them (including, but not limited to the underrepresentation of students of color in honors and AP courses, overrepresentation of students of color and bilingual students in special education programming, inconsistent disciplinary practices, emphasis on order and procedure vs. authentic learning, White/Eurocentric curricula, etc.).  We unpack widely used phrases in the education community, such as “the achievement gap” or “dropout,” through consideration of schools’ roles in the underachievement or low graduation rates of students of color and/or speakers of other languages, making “opportunity gap” and “pushout” as Michelle Fine and other scholars have purported, more appropriate choices.  Without this institutional lens, teacher candidates may enter schools to complete field experiences and see situations that reinforce deficit perspectives or stereotypes that focus on what students “don’t have” either academically, socially, financially, etc. and/or reinforce myths of meritocracy (“these students just aren’t trying hard enough).  As a class, we examine counternarratives that challenge these deficit perspectives, and see examples of teachers using social justice pedagogy, multicultural education, and culturally relevant pedagogy that to engage ALL students, regardless of cultural background.  These examples show that when an alternative is introduced – for example, a more inclusive curriculum in which students multiple perspectives of historical events or an environment in which students are not tracked by “ability” as determined by a standardized test score – that traditionally underperforming students perform.  We realistic look at the challenges associated with creating these alternatives, as well as the potential societal consequences if we do not pursue social justice education on a broader scale.  What would change if this was happening in more places and with students of all ages, instead of in small pockets and only with “older” students.  What can be accomplished if we educate students to both curricular standards and social justice  – – and avoid situations like mine in which I did not begin building my awareness until graduate school as an adult?

How can students get involved?

My first recommendation seems cliché coming from a professor and a professor of literacy education, but it is to read.  As I have mentioned, the reading piece was key to my understandings of institutional forces how they influence individual interactions.  Getting back to the idea of transformational literacy, Freire says to “read the word is to read the world,” which I have found to be true.  I see and read situations very differently than I did before my social justice “awakening,” the difference lying mostly in that I can read them from more than one perspective – one that considers privilege and oppression and the overt and subversive ways in which they operate.  I ask students to consider their own place within these systems and how their positions as oppressor and oppressed change according to context.  We talk about the power they will inherit as teachers.  Regardless of their various social identities, as a classroom teacher they will be positioned as an authority over their students.  We discuss how being an effective teacher often includes stepping out their comfort zone – which may include admitting mistakes or ignorance, and confronting the fact that mistakes and ignorance may have a negative impact even if they had a positive intent.  This also may mean leaving their comfort zone physically and spending time in communities very different from their own – particularly for educators, in the communities that your students call home.  Students quickly identify teachers who teach in their school or district, yet live somewhere else, and never spend time in their community.  Essentially, if you talk the talk, you need to also walk the walk.  Walking the walk can begin with self-examination that is needed for social justice work.  Asking yourself questions like, “How have I been socialized by family, friends, schools, or media to think about people who are different from me and how does that influence my interactions?”  Walking the walk also means building authentic cross-cultural relationships, which like any other relationship require time, active listening, and honesty.  Part of my work is to encourage students to engage in field experiences in communities with students representing different social and cultural identities than their own, and for an extended amount of time.  These experiences – on the individual level – combined with an “institutional level awareness,” set the groundwork for any social justice action.  This awareness will empower you in knowing exactly what you are up against, and the individuals in your life with whom you have these relationships will provide the most inspiration to keep fighting until change is achieved.

Learn more about the NAME conference here!

Posted in 2013, Staff | 326 Comments

Getting to Know Us: AD Tyler Pau


Aloha kākou!  My name is Tyler Pau and I am new to the University of Puget Sound.  I have the esteemed privilege of serving as the Assistant Director of Residence Life.  In this capacity, I oversee all housing operations and logistics.  I also work with the Greek House Coordinators and advise the campus Theme House program.  I have lived and worked in a number of places around the country and am happy to have landed with my family in Tacoma.  Let the adventure begin!

I started my career in Residence Life as an undergraduate at Whitworth College (which is now Whitworth University) as a Resident Assistant.  Professionally, I started in 2004 as a Resident Director at Cal Poly Pomona in southern California.  I have most recently been in the northeast working as an Assistant Director of Residential Life at Assumption College in Worcester, MA.

What’s your favorite thing about Tacoma? 

There are a lot of cool things about Tacoma!  I would say that my favorite thing has been the friends and community in the area, both pre-existing and brand spanking new.  It has been fun to reconnect with some old friends I haven’t seen in a while and to start making some new acquaintances.  Having moved around the country a few times, I have learned how important a good support structure is to making a successful transition.

Where’s your favorite place to go in Tacoma? (restaurant, attraction, or otherwise)

  • Saturday Farmers Market in Proctor: I like going there for two main reasons…a) $1.50 bran muffins with agave….b) there are usually a lot of dogs there.  Since I don’t have one, it is like the next best thing.
  • Masa: This has been a popular “go to” since they have specials all day on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays.  The carne asada quesadilla is great.
  • Point Defiance Zoo: I love taking my family here.  Plus, I am kind of nerdy about animals and like that it is so close.  

Where’s your favorite spot on campus? 

I like to visit the Dean of Students Office front desk.  Paula always has good candy at her desk.  And she is fun to talk with, too.

What is your spirit animal? 

According to an online quiz I just took, it would be a wolverine.  However, if I had to choose, I would say a silverback gorilla.  Noble.  Hairy.  Awesome.  Yup, sounds like something to aspire to.  I will take that.

Where’s your hometown? 

I was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii.  O’ahu no ka ‘oi!

What type of relationship do you have with the residents in your area? 

I hope that students on campus would find me professional, approachable, fair, and genuine.  I don’t live on campus or have a specified set of residents but the nature of my position opens me to all residents.  That said, I am more than happy to have a conversation with anyone who might have questions or might have a unique situation that needs looking into.

How would you describe yourself in 3 words? 

Hmmm…three words: authentic, learner, caring.

What do you like to do in your spare time? 

In my spare time I like to be with my family, watch college sports, listen to music (especially when I can stumble onto new music), hunt down cool neck ties, explore the area, Skype with friends and family around the country, and watch documentaries.   

What’s your favorite movie? 

The Lost Boys.  Random vampire movie, before vampires were the “in” thing, all the way from 1987…Google it.  Runners Up: Braveheart, The Fifth Element, Monsters, Inc., and The Karate Kid (the original…of course).

What’s your favorite station/meal in the SUB? 

Asian…a dab of siracha on the corner of any dish I get there.  A close second is the taco salad because the shell is so good.

What’s your favorite Diversions/Opp drink? 

The Opp whips up a stellar honey vanilla chai tea (with skim milk).

If you could do anything over again in college, join any different society, take any new class–would you? What would you do? 

I was truly happy with my college experience but I can think of three things I might do differently.

  • Snowboard way more
  • Learn Spanish
  • Study abroad in either New Zealand or Japan
Posted in 2013, Staff | 271 Comments

Embrace the Breath Marks

Written by James Spaan, Resident Director

A few days ago, I was talking with my friend who helped start an online company a few years ago.  During our conversation, we talked about how he and his co-founder both work essentially 19 hours a day, 7 days a week.  I mean if you do the math, they both work more or less 80% of their lives.  I asked him what I thought was a normal question, “When is your next vacation?”  His response startled me a little; “What would I do!?”

After a little discussion around the topic I came to realize that he really hadn’t stopped to relax since he graduated from college.  Even in college he was a part of numerous clubs, was double majoring in computer science and business, worked 20 hours a week in his school’s technology services department and somehow managed to travel abroad his junior year.  As I was listening to his story, I couldn’t help but admire his dedication, work ethic and accomplishments, while simultaneously I felt tired for him and wondered if he truly had a chance to appreciate his efforts.

I see this same passion and drive in the students here at Puget Sound.  I work with a student who is a student leader, a member of a fraternity, sits on a few committees, is an official for student government, all while working on their academics that are grueling and demanding.  I work with another student who is an athlete, taking three sciences courses with labs, sings and works on campus 8-10 hours a week, who hopes to graduate a semester early so they can get an internship that will hopefully translate into a full time position.  I could list the profiles of almost every student I have come in contact with here at Puget Sound and they would all be similar; driven, multi-faceted, accomplished.

However, in my conversations with these students I have also found a common couple of themes.  They are tired, feel like they don’t have enough time in the schedule to fit everything and often sacrifice taking care of themselves in order to fit everything in.  When I ask these students how they relax I often get a similar response to my friend, “I don’t have time to relax” or “I don’t really know how to.”

Reflecting back on my experiences in life, I started to think about music.  As we live our lives out, the moments and experiences that make our existence are the notes that are played.  Every time a student goes to practice, class, or work, they are adding another note to their score.  However, the most important thing I learned when I was learning to play musical instruments was to embrace the breath marks, don’t rush the moments of silence.  They are what make music.

In our day to day lives breath marks are moments of rest and they are critical to the beauty and success of our journey, not just because they prevent burn out, but because they make the moments in our lives where we are “doing” that much more important.  Taking the time to care for the self is more than preventing burn out.  It gives us time to sit and reflect upon what has been accomplished and where we are headed.

This week I would encourage you to embrace the breath marks.

Posted in 2013, Staff | Tagged | 202 Comments

Conflict = Opportunity for Growth!

Written by Matt Jarrell, Resident Director

As we anxiously count down the days until Thanksgiving break, some of us are looking forward to a home cooked meal.  Or maxing out our credit cards during black Friday.  Some students are just looking forward to some personal space away from their roommate(s).  It’s November and the honeymoon period is officially over.  At first you thought it was cute how your roommate chewed her food.  Now when you hear it, you want to blend her food for her and spoon it to her yourself.  It’s funny how that transition happens overnight, and yet, most students want to avoid conflict until it goes away.  Or someone implodes.  Whichever happens first.  Ha.

cat fight

Luckily, living in the Residence Halls at Puget Sound, our goal is for students to engage with diverse identities and perspectives and learn to advocate for their needs.  Conflict is a natural, and exciting, part of the process!  Here are some tips and tricks to conflict management:

Benefits of Conflict
Conflict is a GOOD thing!  Conflict prevents stagnation, stimulates creative problem solving, empowers change and contributes to self-assessment and skill development. Conflict is an opportunity for growth!

The Three Types of Conflict

Conflict can typically be broken into three categories: Resources, Needs or Values.  A conflict over resources is when the heart of the conflict is about something tangible.  EX: Two friends fighting over who gets to ride front seat.  A needs based conflict is when two individuals have different needs.  EX:  One person needs to go to bed while another person needs to study.  Finally, a values based conflict is when people who have different principles collide.  EX: An argument over politics where two people have different values on subjects.

Fight. Flight.  Freeze
When a conflict arises, the most typical responses are to: FIGHT, FLIGHT, or FREEZE.  Some people choose to face conflict head on, while others will run to the mountains to avoid it.  Others will just freeze up or ignore what’s going on.  Which is your typical way of reacting to conflict?

What to Consider During Negotiation
When trying to develop a solution or approaching someone about a conflict, there are three general categories to consider: perceptions, emotions and communication.  Try to ask yourself the following questions: What could the other person perceive?  How does this make me feel?  How does this make the other person feel?  What is the best way to communicate with them about this conflict? key to negotiation is basic acceptance of one another.  You will get far quickly when both parties have learned to accept one another.

The key to negotiation is basic acceptance of one another.  You will get far quickly when both parties have learned to accept one another.

When in doubt, you have RAs, RCCs and GHCs to help navigate you through a conflict.  In this day in age, it’s easy to hide from conflict behind text messages or social media.  With the help of our ResLife staff, you will grow leaps and bounds in your confidence of conflict management!  I challenge you to take this opportunity to deal with any conflict you may have before you leave for Thanksgiving.  Or if all else fails, bring back a piece of pie to break the ice and have a conversation when you get back.  Pie heals all.

Posted in 2013, Staff | Tagged | 820 Comments

Gratitude: Giving Thanks and Showing Appreciation

By Tyler Pau, Assistant Director of Residence Life

Leaves are changing color…they are also falling pretty quick.  It’s getting consistently cooler, and we just did the big daylight savings clock adjustment.  We are deep into autumn, my friends.  Halloween is gone and now Thanksgiving is fast approaching.  Every year around this time I’m struck by the concept of gratitude.  Gratitude is considered to be “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”  Thinking about this ripples out and brings up other questions: How does one show gratitude?  How do you live gratefully?  What does it mean to be authentically thankful?  How do you show people your appreciation?

I recently received an email from a parent thanking our staff for some timely, professional, and caring service they received.  It was extremely refreshing.  Now, people often extend thank yous as commonplace pleasantries.  That’s important and polite.  I appreciate it.  But there is something especially impacting about someone taking time and effort to go out of their way to show appreciation and gratitude.  This parent wrote and listed off by name the people involved and thanked them each for their respective roles.  It was impressive and his thoughts were thorough.  Again, I was challenged…have I shown gratitude to those around me?

As of late I have been thinking about how to do a better job of expressing my thanks to people.  I am going to challenge myself and in turn would love to challenge our community to be more thankful.  Not because of a time of year, not just because it’s polite, but because it is important.  Here are some ideas I am going to try out to convey my appreciation to people.

  • Send a hand written thank you to someone (snail mail or campus mail).  I know…so old school.  There is something very charming and honest about something you take the time to write out by hand.  I am not saying it needs to be sealed with a wax stamp, but that could be really cool.
  • Bake/buy someone their favorite baked good.  I am not terribly bake savvy so I would be in the “buy” camp on this one.  This gesture could convey 1) some knowledge of the person and their likes and 2) caring effort to make/get something for them without them asking for it.
  • Call someone and tell them 3 reasons you are thankful for them.  Texting is great, okay?  I am pro texting except when driving or in certain meetings.  However, often it is hard to decipher tone or sentiment while reading a text.  Call them, tell them why they are awesome.
  • Make eye contact with a server and thank them.  In the hustle and bustle of life, we sometimes forget to properly acknowledge people.  The people who prepare coffee or food for you are really important people.  They provide a vital service.  Thus, they deserve to be given genuine thanks.  That includes the non-verbal piece of thanks.
  • Give someone a hug/handshake/high five.  Just more examples of non-verbal elements of showing gratitude.  These physical gestures are simple ways of saying thank you.  Make sure you know peoples comfort levels before choosing which one you give.
  • Spend some time with someone (get coffee/tea/a meal/run an errand, etc.).  Quality time with someone is really valuable.  It can convey care and a willingness to sacrifice our ever-important time for the sake of showing our appreciation.

Feel free to adapt any of these ideas or suggest your ideas in the comments section.

I know these are bold steps but give it a try.  Even if it is just one, give it a whirl.  Aesop said “Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.”  Let us be a community full of daring and noble people who know how to be thankful.  One that is conscious of how fortunate we are, and one that is wise enough to acknowledge the people that make it so.

THANK YOU for reading this.

Posted in 2013, Staff | 294 Comments

What’re you going to do TODAY?!

Written by Kimberly Webber, Resident Programming Assistant for Todd/Phibbs


Watch this video!

Are you going to spend today worrying, studying, relaxing, talking to loved ones, joking around, procrastinating or doing a multitude of other activities? Now that midterms have come and gone and we are ½ of the way through the semester and ¼ of the way into the school year, it’s time to reflect a little bit. But how long will you dwell on the things done wrong or try to react to the things done right when the reality is you have TODAY to do something different?

There are one thousand perspectives to this video and I believe we all become subject to different ones at different times. For examples, in the same week I: found how to run my TODAY more efficiently, having no regrets in the process; and I accepted that I would run my TODAY with a clear head, a full heart and many laughs:

When I was studying for my midterms I had a few freak-out nights. That night I spent in Thompson until 2 in the morning trying to reteach myself International Marketing strategies from a study guide that I clearly should have prepared days earlier. But of course it seems clear now. Next semester, I will prepare my study guide sooner. 5 days before my exam, you will find me fully utilizing that TODAY.

When I had friends visiting from Whitman the weekend before midterms week, I spent about ½ my Saturday worrying about how I would get all my essays and studying done. Gone, wasted, useless. Once my friends arrived, I didn’t look at a clock, I didn’t pick up a textbook or print out a study guide. I was present. I may not have been very “productive”, but I ran that TODAY. I dictated how it would go and loved it.

This is just some food for thought as midterms are over (or ½ the semester for those of you without midterm exams and papers) and you have a “fresh start” to: the same classes you’ve been laboring in and enjoying learning from for the past seven weeks; the numerous clubs you’ve been squeezing into your schedules instead of squeezing out their full potential; the relationships new and old you’d like to maintain.


TODAY: On Saturday of fall break I put all thoughts of school work and responsibility aside and enjoyed the beautiful Fall day with RA Megan Baunsgard

Jim Rohn (1930-2009) was an entrepreneur and business philosopher who said: “Either you run the day or the day runs you” – keep that in mind as you step out on your next endeavor. What will you do TODAY?

Posted in 2013, Students | Tagged | 146 Comments

What I Learned on Jury Duty

Written by Jenni Chadick, Assistant Director of Residence Life

This past month, I was on jury duty for the first time. While at some times inconvenient, I found it a fascinating look at our criminal justice system, one that prompted many reflections on the role of conduct in higher education. In Residence Life, part of upholding our mission to provide safe and inclusive housing is addressing violations of our integrity code. This is what we refer to as conduct – enforcing university policy. These are the laws of a college campus. Laws that keep our community safe, encourage student learning, promote positive community building, and keep us in line with both state and federal policy. Some of these laws are universally understood as good ideas – i.e. not bringing weapons into our halls. Other laws some students often have spirited debates with hearing officers about – the legal drinking age and recent changes in Washington state marijuana laws come to mind. In the work I do, I have many fruitful and meaningful conversations with students about our campus policies. What I learned on jury duty is that it seems this open dialogue is much more a privilege than I realized.

“The Law as I Give It.” The first instructions we were given before beginning our deliberation as a jury was a reminder of what we had sworn an oath to uphold – we would make our judgment of guilt or innocence based on the law as provided by the judge presiding on the case. What this meant is that we were not to bias our opinions by researching any legal components of the case – from legal definitions of “reasonable doubt” to “assault with a deadly weapon.”  These definitions were provided by the court, and that was what we had to guide us. This stood in stark contrast to our conduct policy of open dialogue, and giving students an opportunity to explain how they understand university policy. As a hearing officer, I of course have my own idea of the purpose and intent of our alcohol policy. This does not stop me from welcoming a well articulated dialogue with a student that shows thoughtfulness and critical thinking about their understanding of our policy. This discourse is important to student development and is something I hope helps them to better understand the purpose of the very laws I was helping to enforce as a juror. It was a humbling experience to realize this is not how our courts work, and that this is intentional. Remaining unbiased is the key to a democratic jury of peers, and it shows the importance of learning those critical thinking skills before sitting in the juror box.

The devil is in the details. It’s true in our conduct system, and it’s true in the U.S. criminal justice system.  The details are important, and matter. The specific words police and witnesses use to describe an incident, the way each juror recalls witness testimony, the legal definition of a charge. These are all what our jury spent hours deliberating on, and making judgments as to a person’s guilt. There are not opportunities for the defendant to explain what he/she meant, or to provide context to our deliberations. We listened for eight days, and it took four days for us to discuss our understanding of what we heard. And we all heard different things, took away different meanings, and had to make sense of this without any further input from witnesses, the judge, or lawyers. And of the four counts we had to decide on, we could only come to consensus on one. Which leads me to the most important thing I learned.

Effective communication is key. How the defendant and the plaintiff communicated with each other as “roommates” (a married couple). How the witnesses and law enforcement communicated with each other at the scene. How the lawyers articulated their case. How the individuals involved advocated for themselves during the incident and in the courtroom. And even how we communicated with each others as jurors. We were a group of reasonable adults, a group that enjoyed lunches together and learning about each other’s life outside of deliberations. (There are even plans for a wine tasting for some of us.) But that doesn’t mean things went smoothly once deliberations got underway. It got heated. It got difficult to hear each other out. And it got personal, when it shouldn’t have. And I left with a renewed sense of why in Residence Life one of the most important things we aim to teach students is how to effectively communicate. I believe that if some of these communication issues could have been resolved the case may not have reached the courts, or at the very least we could have reached a verdict on all four counts. The length of the case, and the details we waded through, cost us as tax-payers a great deal. What a difference it would make if we learned to communicate effectively with others who have different opinions than our own.

jury duty

Lesson #4 – even the Pierce County courts give out recognition certificates!

 Jury duty was a long and exhausting experience, and in the end it was a very worthwhile experience. Next time your summons card comes in the mail, I urge you to do your civic duty, and if you get called to a jury, take lots of notes!

Posted in 2013 | 304 Comments

In Response to the Work/Life Balance: A Student Perspective

Written by Kimberly Webber, Resident Programming Assistant in Todd/Phibbs

It’s precisely that—a balance, which is why I identify with the Cyclers who are constantly readjusting. Residence Life is one of the most hectic, rewarding, fun, overwhelming, and worthwhile paths I’ve ever taken. From being Programmer of A/L’s RHA to being the T/P RPA and RA on the third floor, I have had no regrets. I can say that honestly, because I have had the wonderful opportunity of growing with every mistake made, every hour of sleep missed, and every tear shed.

Residence Life is one of those pathways that can grow and expand in ways you couldn’t imagine. It can offer great rewards one day, and cheat you for time the next. It can bring forth troublemakers and paper work as well as genuine friendships, confidantes, and uplifting relationships. As much as you plan, brainstorm, and prepare on the dawn of entering your Residence Life career, there’s no way you can prepare for what lies ahead. This is why it is so lucrative.

Unfortunately this means it can affect those you’re trying to support by breaking down the foundation on which you stand. With my floor partner, I am an RA to 54 freshman residents. From week one of classes to week four, I have seen them grow, learn, adopt new values, encounter tests (both academic and those life likes to throw in), embrace opportunities, try new things, discover new passions, and experience life away from home for the first time. From week one to week four I have seen myself act a motherly figure, a friend, a support system, a listener; I have seen myself encounter new situations and fail, encounter new situations and succeed, learn about myself and learn about others, confide in new people, support my friends in new ways, adjust my plans for the better and for the worse.

Yes, there is such a thing as a work/life balance and currently, I’m still figuring mine out. But for every assignment I didn’t finish, and every hour of sleep I haven’t gotten, I have been made wiser and stronger. Admittedly, I still have a LONG way to go in “maturing” and “understanding” and becoming an “adult” (these terms are in quotes because who ever actually matures, understands or is a full-time adult?!), but I’ve made more strides in these areas in the past 5 weeks than I have in any other circumstances or periods of time in my life. If the way I’m managing my activities, schoolwork, ResLife work and social life are wrong…I don’t want to find a way to be right.

I reiterate again and again: Balance is good… but the process you take to FIND your balance helps define who you are. And I wouldn’t be the same RA/BLPer/Greek Lifer/ResLife Assistant I am without these past 4 weeks of a learning curve and my wonderful Staff Team and residents (who, by the way, happen to consist more of genuine relationships than trouble-makers, thank goodness!).  #LoggerResLife

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The Art of Work/Life Balance: Don’t Choke. Bite Off What You Can Chew.

Written by Matt Jarrell, Resident Director 

While every student is different, there are some easy clues that make it easy to identify a Logger.  Is it the maroon hoodie and Frisbee in hand?  Or maybe the iconic brown Diversions coffee cup with the black sleeve?  Sure, those are all great guesses.  But the Logger clues I’m referring to involve a planner and speed walking from class to club meeting and then chapter followed by a late night study session.  Loggers are busier than they ever have been, bouncing from one activity to the next.  The challenge that comes with being the over achieving Puget Sound student is the delicate art of balancing work and life.

Work/life balance is about creating a pattern that works for you in your situation.  The habits you create now as a student will stick with you as you enter the work force and well into your adulthood.  The question to ask is, how can you be most effective so you can take care of the many things that matter, including yourself?  The Center for Creative Leadership researchers have identify five categories, or patterns, of behaviors:

Integrators blend work with personal tasks and commitments throughout the day. Their work life interrupts home life and vice versa. They move from business calls to running personal errands to taking care of someone; managing tasks anytime from anywhere. An example of this style is someone who takes a long lunch break to exercise, but then offsets it by working from home that night.

Separators keep work and personal tasks and commitments separated with a boundary between the two. They tend to work during “business hours” and from a work location. Work stuff stays at work and home stuff stays at home. This is the more traditional style of working where someone would never take work with them on weekends or vacations.

Work Firsters put their work schedule first and protect work time. They let work activities interrupt family time, but do not let family matters interrupt work. An example of this style is a parent who answers e-mails and makes work calls at sports events, family dinners and vacations — but rarely makes personal calls at work.

Family/Friend Firsters put their friends and family schedule first. They allow work to be interrupted by the needs of their loved ones, but protect their family/friend time from work interruptions. An example of this style is a parent who rearranges work to care for a sick child or elderly relative — but rarely gives up family time for work.

Cyclers switch back and forth between periods of integrating family and work followed by periods of intentionally separating them. An example of this style is a person who travels often or who has seasonal or project-driven work. Others may cycle around school schedules or other personal circumstances.

Now that you’ve learned a bit more of different trending work/life balance strategies, I ask you to be reflective and answer the following questions:

(1) Which behaviors do you find yourself identifying with?  Are you proud of these choices?
(2) Do you feel like you have a positive work/life balance?
(3) How do you prioritize things?  What do you value?
(4) What is something you can change in the next week that will keep you productive, but give you an opportunity to take care of yourself?

The best advice an advisor gave me as a student is that, instead of biting off more than we can chew…take one really really good bite and chew it thoroughly.  He was a great advisor, not only because he knew how much I love to eat so I would understand his analogy, but he kept reminding me that I can’t take care of others unless I take care of myself first.  This is college, you should be enjoying it, not drowning in books and highlighters.  Work/life balance isn’t easy, and it’s constantly changing as your responsibilities and values change as well.  But the sooner you start practicing healthy habits, the happier you will be!

Hannum, K. (2013, 07). 5 ways we do the work/life juggle. Retrieved from

Posted in 2013, Staff | Tagged | 199 Comments