Musings on Honor

This year I will be a member of an Orientation Week panel regarding the Honor Principle. The Honor Principle is a loosely defined concept that governs our community. While we do not have any established definitions, my personal interpretation is that only actions which do not cause harm to the community are acceptable. The goal of the panel is to give incoming students a bit of a primer on what Honor is and how it operates within our community. Discussion is a key component of the Honor Principle, and this panel aims to begin the long conversation that students will engage in during their time here at Reed.

The other day the panelists and members of Honor Council had a meeting to discuss our particular topics and get feedback from other panelists. My topic is Honor and Community Engagement and Involvement. It was really great to have an opportunity to get together and discuss our conceptions of the Honor Principle and how it plays out in our daily lives. Professor of Classics and Humanities Ellen Millender was present for the conversation, and it was truly enlightening to discuss our interpretations with her. Ellen has been at Reed for many years and has served as chair of Honor Council in the past, so this is a subject very near and dear to her heart.

With a community as small as ours, it is great to have such a discussion oriented way of governing our community. The Honor Principle applies to all aspects of our lives at Reed; it does not stop when you leave the classroom. If you find yourself on campus, take a moment to ask one of us about our conception of the Honor Principle. Or email one of the interns at We would all love to share our experiences and thoughts on Honor with you!

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The Weather Machine

I know I have mentioned this before, but Portland is fortunate enough to have a huge, WORKING, weather machine in the center of Downtown Portland, that smokes, sings, and predicts the weather every day at noon. (Feel free to check out the Wikipedia page on it, I find it very fascinating).

Ever since learning about the weather machine this spring, I had been stoked to find it (and hopefully see it in action). Eventually I ventured down to Pioneer Square and trekked around the block to find it. I spent a whole 15 minutes trying to find that beloved weather machine, but ended up leaving, dejected and disappointed.

As it turns out, I wasn’t looking high enough! This last time I was downtown, I once again went searching Pioneer Square, and found that blessed weather machine in mere seconds! I still have yet to see it play, but I’ve at least gotten to see the uber cool machine.

Me, finally having found the Weather Machine (behind me)

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Try Tri-Met

Like many students from California, I have my car with me most of the time that I am in Portland. This has proven quite useful through most of my time here, but it definitely isn’t a necessity. In some cases, I even choose to use public transit to get around town.

Recently, a friend from high school was staying on the west side of town so I went to meet her downtown a good amount. The first time I met up with her, I drove downtown and had to find parking. I quickly realized that it was simpler to take the bus, and it cost about as much as a parking spot downtown.

Public transit in Portland is operated by Tri-Met, which serves the tri-county metropolitan area (thus the name). All light rail trains and most busses converge downtown before branching back out across the metro. Once you get downtown, it is pretty easy to get anywhere you need to be in the city. From Reed there are a number of bus lines that will take you downtown or up to the Hawthorne district and beyond. For $2.50 you get unlimited transfers for 2 hours, and a day pass is only $5. Reed students and staff can also get discounted monthly passes from the business office.

Overall, I think Tri-Met is a great resource here in Portland. If you don’t have a car, don’t fear! Portland remains accessible by public transit, and it also allows you to see the great views the city has to offer!

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Summer Checklist Edition: Multnomah Falls

At 620 feet, Multnomah Falls, in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is the second-highest year-round waterfall in the United States. Luckily for me, it’s also only thirty miles from Portland.

926nkyjUSw11Ef1reHyKIehLWxdyMDUZ7nCW0j4DrdblV0sjy1po7xxkSoNj1xn4cE1Bqg=w1576-h830Multnomah Falls is on pretty much every must-see list for Portland. So, during a visit from my significant other’s parents, we all trekked out to the falls and hiked to the tippy top (Above: us at the tippy top, though you can’t quite tell). I’m not a very experienced hiker, but the trail was easy and the views were fantastic.

See above: me, perched on a rock near the mouth of the falls. (I even dipped my feet in the water that feeds the falls.) (I might have tasted the water, too.)

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The Dogs Days are (Not Quite) Over

One of the things that I really love about the Reed community is that individuals help support each other all the time in various ways. I think this orientation to help others in the community is really fostered because of Reed’s Honor Principle.

Musings aside, sometimes this allows really fun opportunities to land in your lap! For me, that has come in the form of taking care of someone else’s dog for part of the summer. His name is Lloyd, and he is a mutt whose breed cannot be quite pinned down. Some of his interests are running on the Great Lawn, getting into staring contests with birds, and the occasional belly-rub. Meet Lloyd:

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Lunchtime Musings

One thing about transitioning to adulthood that they never tell you: you gotta cook all your own food. I’m beginning to build that skill now, as I’ve moved off campus and into a house with a kitchen– and often, I miss the dining hall. So if any applicants (or incoming freshmen!) out there are nervous about on-campus food, take a gander at one of my average lunches from Commons Dining Hall this year:

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The above stir-fried tofu, broccoli and cabbage in pineapple sauce over brown rice may not look remarkable to you. But you would be wrong.

I was told to expect fried food, pizza, and a dismal salad bar. I expected popcorn chicken and fish sticks (neither of which are any help to me; I don’t eat meat). As someone with a dietary restriction, and one who tries (sometimes) (sort of) to eat healthy, I was not looking forward to dining hall living.

But! Our caterer, Bon Appetit, specializes in catering to dietary restrictions (a gluten free area! a vegan dessert table!) as well as delicious, sustainable, affordable food. Favorite meals this year (besides that picture above) include: arancini drizzled in tomato sauce, house-made falafel, massaman curry, portobello burgers, and jambalaya. And, for bonus points: They compost all their food scraps.

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First Cup (and second, and third…)

This past year, I had a little tradition that I keep with myself.

Almost every Sunday, I would head off campus to a neighborhood coffee shop to eat pastries and do work (but mostly eat pastries).

While living in the dorms, I got off campus a fair amount, to go vintage shopping in the Hawthorne neighborhood or grab dinner downtown. But I particularly like my little Sunday jaunts to this favorite coffee spot. It’s called First Cup, see below:

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My favorites there are the toddy (really just a fancy iced coffee), the bagels (fresh every day) and the vegan marionberry hand pies.

I, like many Reedies, frequent so often that I have a punch card:

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Other neighborhood favorites of mine include Bai Mint (fantastic Thai food), Red Fox Vintage, Laughing Planet (Mexican-fusion burritos and bowls), and the public library.

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Becoming a Data Point

I walk into Eliot Circle at exactly 2:28pm for my 2:30 appointment. I sit down on the stairs to Eliot Hall, and wait to be greeted and brought upstairs to where I will participate in a linguistics research study, transforming my life experiences, my charming personality, and my fantastic wit into what will eventually become a data point.

As home base for many professors, Reed consistently has a variety of research studies, surveys and experiments being run both over the school year and the summer. Students usually get the opportunity to participate in these with the promise of some goodies (usually some candy, chocolates, or a clementine in their mailstop) or are compensated with cold hard cash.

Over my last three years here at Reed, I’ve participated in somewhere between ten to sixty different student, faculty, or institutional research projects. Somewhere, my responses and reactions to different stimuli have been recorded, analyzed and synthesized into a workable hypothesis, with confidence intervals and standard deviations. Although Kant may object to being used ‘as a means to an end,’ I truly think that being able to contribute whether (passively or actively) to the search for scientific truths is a commendable, enjoyable, and worthwhile venture. Cheers to the lab rats!

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Chemistry and a Show?

#ThrowbackThursday! I wrote this blog post eons ago, but in case any readers are wondering what lectures on an average Wednesday are like, quench your curiosity:

Exceptional professors aren’t so exceptional at Reed (we seem to be chock full of them for some weird reason…), but the Chemistry faculty have surprised me, as a student who never expected to have her interest piqued by moosey creatures.*

But Arther Glasfeld, Chem 102′s prof tends to bring the excitement to lecture. Always in the form of jokes and stories, but sometimes even in the form of demonstrations. The first day of lecture he crushed an aluminum can without touching it (thanks, ideal gas law!); a couple weeks ago, he caused two balloons to explode by gently heating them (thanks, temperature sensitive reactions!); today, he made platinum glow on and off all lecture long (thanks, reaction catalyzers!).

Hats off to you, Arthur, for making me gasp, laugh, and learn (a lot!) in lecture this year.

*apparently, what chemists call molecules. They’re weird people, scientists.

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Reed Houses

Moving off campus, students generally have three options: 1) Renting a room somewhere near campus, 2) getting an apartment, 3) moving into a house with some friends. But at Reed there is also the option of moving into a Reed House. These houses have been occupied by Reed students for several generations, often carrying a name and a personality of their own. Some houses are known to be full of activists, others may be filled with artists, and many of them are just large groups of friends. They are also usually furnished, which makes them a great spot for students just moving from the dorms to an off campus location.

During my freshman year, Oregon Public Broadcasting aired an hour long documentary on Reed, celebrating the centennial of the College. Through this documentary, I learned that the tradition of Reed Houses dates back to the 1950′s, with Beat poet Gary Snyder ’51 being one of the many students to move off campus and establish Reed Houses during that period.

This summer I moved into a house known as the Holgate House. It is located right next to a Walgreens, up the street from Trader Joe’s, and a short bike ride from campus and some night life. The house itself came complete with a kitchen set, bed frames, some text books, and a bucket of one of the previous tenant’s dreadlocks.

All in all, there are not many bad housing options at Reed. For those students who choose to move off campus, there is plenty of fairly affordable housing in the surrounding areas, and Reed Houses are always an option for those who like to share in a bit of a legacy.

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