Learning About Portland’s History through SEEDS

Rubi Vergara-Grindell is the Research and Development Coordinator with SEEDS. She is a junior Spanish major. In this post she reflects on how SEEDS has facilitated her connection to the greater Portland area.

“Through SEEDS I have been able not only to engage with communities beyond Reed campus but also to learn about them. Absorbing and asking for knowledge about a place is incredibly important before being able to engage critically and respectfully in it.

This past Fall I was a leader on the SEEDS Odyssey and we got a walking tour of the Albina District from Know Your City, an organization that works to center histories and realities that have been marginalized by dominant narratives. Learning about the concrete effects of redlining and gentrification gave me a new map of the neighborhood that changed my previous framework. This informed me of both the systemic injustices that I must be cognizant of (and of the ways I can diminish my participation in them) as well as the resistance and building that has been going on for a long time and that I can intentionally support.

SEEDS has helped me see my place in Portland not in a service/consumption dichotomy but as an opportunity to listen, imagine and create in community.”

Discovering a Career Path through SEEDS

Karina Aragón is the Off-Campus Federal Work Study Coordinator with SEEDS. She is a senior psychology major graduating this May. In this post Karina reflects on the ways in which working with SEEDS has shaped her professional interests.

“I became involved with SEEDS because it is the office on campus that best captures my interests outside of the academic realm. Through working on the SEEDS staff as well as with an off-campus community partner, I have found the direction I want to take in my career path that is exciting and will fulfill me throughout the journey.

More specifically, working on the SEEDS staff as a coordinator for one of our programs, I have engaged in more self-reflection than in any other activity I’ve partaken in. I also feel that this experience has reinforced my desire to continue to hold administrative and leadership roles through which I can do my bit to effect positive change.

I have also had the wonderful opportunity to work as an Intervention Support Provider at Creative Science School, with Moira Tofanelli, a Reed alumna who is the school psychologist there. This opportunity has been a wholesome networking experience. I am working there now, for a second year. Not only is this work beneficial to the students at the school–which makes me very excited–but it also has made me want to become a school psychologist and has allowed me to find a caring mentor in Moira.”

SEEDS Odyssey Reflections (2017)

Thinking about joining a SEEDS Orientation Odyssey? Check out what past participants have to say:

“I really got a sense of Portland as a city as well as Reed as a college. It made me more aware of my surroundings that I suspect other trips would have. I feel much more comfortable in the city and prepared to live in and engage with it.”

Odyssey participants reflect in the rhododendron garden

“Portland is a far more complicated city then I had previously realized, with both strong communities and deep-seated problems, and this trip gave me some ideas about how to work with the former to solve the latter.”

“The Albina trip and the Potluck in the Park event were two key events that stood out to me as well as others. I felt like the Potluck made a lot of people feel as though they were truly contributing, and Albina opened many of our eyes to the realities of Portland. The leaders of the groups also were great people and they seemed extremely well prepared.”

Thank you from the Children’s Book Bank

“I feel that as this is an engagement trip and not a service trip, increasing our understanding and making some connections is a vital first step to a much longer process of learning and engaging.” 

“I learned that I really enjoy interacting with folks in the larger community of Portland and that there are definitely areas in the city where I’d like to become more active.”

Odyssey participants work with Wisdom of the Elders

“I got a better understanding of Portland as a whole; its history (the good and bad), the people that live in it and my role as a community member.”

“Excellent experience. I have a lot to think about.”

Odyssey trip leaders welcome new students to campus