Sunday, December 15, 2013

What You Should Care

Dear friends,

When I was younger, I knew very little about the environmental issues. But one motivation I had to be sustainable was recycling -- an exchange of snack money for a child like me at the age of ten. At home in China, my mother kept a recycling bag behind our kitchen door. Once the bag got full, she would send me out to the street by our apartment to find the recycling man, who always sat by the street. My mission was to bring him to our place. Then he would sort out everything we had in the recycling bag, weigh all the cardboards and newspapers, count out plastic bottles and cans, and pay us accordingly. We exchanged recyclable materials for cash, which would always be transferred to my wallet. I did my part to help the planet after all. 

PLU in Fall, by Shunying Wang
After I came to the United States, I became more aware of the sustainability efforts people made around me. My co-worker back in a community college had to remind me, at least once a day, to take out the garbage I threw into the recycling bin and put it into a regular trash can. From then on, I learned to think twice before throwing things away.
Now being a PLU student after joining some sustainability activities, I have developed a better understanding of what it actually means. In a short version, being sustainable means to find a balance between the increasing human activities and the impacts they had on the nature. But in a more personally accessible level, I realized that I had to figure out why sustainability matters to me.

It matters if we take shorter (or even fewer) showers or to turn off the water when it is not being used because a number of states are predicted to face water crisis by 2016; It matters if we buy less bottle of water because about 2 million plastic bottles are being thrown away every hour; none of them can be decomposed naturally; It matters if we turn off the light as we leave a classroom because about 2 pounds of pollutants can be released each hour with the light on.

I can go on and on to talk about using fewer papers, reducing the numbers of personal vehicles, etc., but can’t you see a pattern here? All of the sustainability movements cannot be done by one individual. This can only work if we all participate, and it will all come around a full circle and finally benefit us! Just because we have not seen or experienced any major consequences that are negative, it doesn’t mean that they won’t come. 

So after you read this post, I hope you can ask yourself the same question and soon find the answer. We are short on time. The planet is short on time. 

"You have to hold yourself accountable for your actions, and that's how we're going to protect the Earth," Julia Butterfly Hill said.

Good day.

Love always,

Shunying Wang

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas at PLU

Though many students have been panicking and scrambling around to turn in papers and assignments during Dead Week...the Holiday season is here! As it gets closer to Christmas, many students have started to decorate their rooms with Christmas trees and lights, Christmas music is playing in the Market, and the holiday cheer is spreading among students who are excited for Winter Break. PLU has its own way of celebrating Christmas.

As Madeleine mentioned last week, the Scandinavian Club hosted a Swedish dinner before joining the rest of PLU for Santa Lucia. There was also a Norwegian Christmas service that happened, and there is a excellent Christmas concert every year at PLU! (I unfortunately couldn't go because the tickets were sold out very quickly, but I hope I can go next year!)

If you live on-campus in the Residence Halls, most halls have a holiday dinner! Hinderlie Hall had theirs on Monday, December 9th in Xavier (the psychology building) with tasty mac&cheese, salad, fruits, bread, and a holiday cake!

There are also many Christmas decorations that go up around campus. The admissions building has put up wreaths on several of the doors, and there is a big Christmas tree in Red Square! It looked especially nice after it snowed on Tuesday, December 10th.

Good luck to all PLU students who have finals, and I hope everyone enjoys the holidays!

Swedish Dinner in Hong Hall
Snow around the Christmas tree
Christmas sweaters! 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What is it like living on Campus?

Hi future Lutes!

It's been a while since we talked last so I hope you guys are doing alright. And Happy Dead Week by the way!

So if you are wondering what living on campus is like, make sure you check out these videos from Res Life. They are quite awesome. Watching these videos reminded me the summer before I came to PLU, I was nervous and excited at the same time and I only wish I had these videos at that time to relieve my anxiety.

Roommate video:


I apologize but somehow Blogger doesn't allow me to embed the videos straight into this post so now you have to click on each video link to view each one of them.
Once again, happy dead week and good luck on finals


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Scandinavian Club

Since I founded the Scandinavian Club in Fall 2012 it has grown and become a bigger functioning club on campus. This year I have been the club's Vice President which has been extremely fulfilling and rewarding in many ways. I have met many new people with an interest in Scandinavia and helped them meet Scandinavian students who want to swap culture experiences. Starting a new club has given me experience in leadership, event planing and management. PLU has incredibly many clubs and organizations, if you cannot find one that suits you, you could always make your own!

Here are some of the things we have done this semester!

The Scandinavian Study Abroad Panel
Wang Center and Scandinavian Club hosted "The Students of Scandinavia" panel! Six PLU students discussed their study abroad experience and answered questions about their experience in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland! Students who showed up were very interested in learning more about a potential study destination and the student panel enjoyed hearing about each others experiences. All in all a night full of laughter and good memories.

Scandinavian Club's Snow Hike
The Scandinavian Club went on a snowy adventure in cooperation with PLU's Outdoor Recreation and International Admission. We had a great time playing in the snow, building snowmen and throwing snowballs! A big thank you goes out to our tour guides for putting up with snow-crazed Scandinavians!

Outdoor recreation strives to serve students and the rest of the PLU community through providing weekend trips, educational opportunities, integrated course curriculum and on-campus programming. Trips are available to ALL students, staff and faculty and are designed to incorporate low-budget needs. Trips are guided by trained student volunteers and you can see them around campus after a great trip! Trips may include biking, hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, snowshoeing, camping, fishing, river floating, bonfires and backpacking!

Find more info about OR here: 

Global Get-Down Performance
The Club cooperated with Hong's Norwegian wing (and other wings) to put on a performance of epic proportions, The Fox dance. :"What does the fox say!" has been on my mind ever since. The performance when smoothly for the little practice that we had and gained us many compliments afterwards. There is a video somewhere, maybe I can find a link for it!

Danish Cultural Night
Scandinavian Club hosted Danish Cultural Night in the Hong main lounge and it was a great success. Anne and Julie, two of our danish students helped us make dozens of delicious aebleskivers, which were accompanied by Danish Christmas music and movies, while the visitors discussed Christmas traditions. 

I wanted to include this comment made by one of the PLU students that attended the event! It pretty much sums up what we want to accomplish through the Scandinavian Club! Spreading Scandinavian culture to students who might not otherwise be exposed. 

Sankta Lucia Fest
The Scandinavian Cultural Center at Pacific Lutheran University presented it's traditional Sankta Lucia Fest on Dec. 6. The event was sponsored by IKEA (Lucia applicants also sang at IKEA on Dec. 7 and at two local retirement homes). The Scandinavian Club had a Swedish meatball dinner before the Fest began!
PLU Students enjoying Swedish Dinner!
For more than 60 years, one PLU student has been chosen to represent the spirit of Lucia, a female saint venerated in Sweden for bringing light and hope during the darkest month of the year. This year's celebration is led by several outstanding PLU students, one of whom will be crowned PLU’s Lucia and receive a $500 scholarship.

For this particular Lucia Fest we had four visiting students from Green River Community College join us from their European Club. Two of them were Swedish and I think they really enjoyed the Swedish songs!
Part of the group at Sankta Lucia!
Thank you!
The club would not function nearly as well without our Club President Hallie and our PR Manager Kindra! I also want to thank out faculty advisor Professor Gunn, the SCC Directer Elisabeth Ward and Professor Berguson for their help and support! They are the best and contribute so much to the club! Thank you guys so much! We are looking forward to next semester already!

Please check out our Facebook page:


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Turkey Day is not all about turkeys -- Third stop in the U.S.

One can pay back the loan of gold, but one dies forever in debt to those who are kind.”
Malayan Proverb
Dear friends,

Happy Thanksgiving. Poor turkeys. It is the time of the year when people are crazy about making those birds taste delicious. Their contribution to this celebration is great and deserves more praise. I thank the birds for being such understanding creatures. But this day is not only about eating. It is about sitting down with your family and friends, enjoying a meal together and catching up. It is about time for a power break before I head back to my one out-of-order and under-construction college life.

I am celebrating Thanksgiving with my American family for the third time, but my journey home this time is accompanied by two close friends of mine: Elin and Marianne. Two Norwegians going home with a Chinese girl to an American family. Sound fun?

From the left, Marianne, Elin
Photo: Elin Skølt
Seattle at night                                                                     Photo: Elin Skølt
We made it home late on Wednesday night. Mostly my fault. I though we could explore another route to get home by taking a train, but that didn't work out because the train was full during the holiday season. I knew better! But I didn't think about purchasing the tickets beforehand. So we ended up taking the ferry, and luckily Luke, my wonderful host brother, offered us a ride home. I have to say, the ferry ride was a good idea after all. We got to see Seattle during the night. It glowed bright like a star in the sky.

Thanksgiving dinner was great, as usual. People should always be thankful for their food. Being able to eat and have a choice of what to eat is not accessible to everyone. I am thankful for the food and for the quality time spent with both my friends and my American family. 

There is a medium-size pond in my American family's property.
Photo: Shunying Wang
I am thankful that I listened to my parents for once and went on this adventure alone to look for my future self.

From left to right, Dad Greg , Marianne, and Shunying :) 
Photo: Elin Skølt
I imagine my journey as a bus ride. Each bus stop is specially designed. I have only passed two Thanksgiving stops to give thanks to the wonderful life of mine. I am now stopping for the third time to thank all the people whom I have met along this journey, for educating me, guiding me, inspiring me, influencing me, and loving me. 

Just out of curiosity, how did you spend your Thanksgiving? Did you go Black Friday shopping like Mia Ida Karlstad did (Click here to read about her experience)? Please share with us in the comments below :) It'd be fun to read! 

Love always,

Shunying Wang

Friday, November 22, 2013

International Education Week at PLU

"I would rather die of passion than of boredom." 
--Vincent van Gogh
Dear readers,

What does International Education Week mean to you? If you are one of the international students, the word international might quickly catch your eyes at first sight like it did to mine. Kathy, an admission staff whom I sit in the same room with while I work said to me that , to recognize and celebrate different cultures and people around the world is what it means to her.

I'd have to say, the fact that International Education Week exists in this country warms my heart. I understand it as people here willing to embracing cultural differences. It definitely creates a positive climate for diversity.

On November 13, international students and students who have studied away hosted tables that represented various countries’ highlighted cultures in Hong hall’s lounge room during International Education Week.

Besides Mongolia, there were 11 other countries that were also tabling during the display.

Photo: Vu Dao

Photo: Vu Dao

Moving from one corner of the room, the crowds strolled through a variety of interactive activities, past Japan’s table, which demonstrated calligraphy art by writing people’s names in Japanese, past France’s table where a mini French place matching game was available to play, past Vietnam’s table where traditional outfits from different regions were ready for tryout, past the table of Thailand where one learned to write Thai, to the next corner of the room where Norway had set a table for waffle and cheese tasting.

Photo: Vu Dao

Photo: Vu Dao

Photo: Vu Dao

And the display continued. It went on to Mexico, America, Trinidad & Tobago, China, Germany, and Dominica (read more...)

On Nov 15, our annual International Visit Day held by PLU's International Admission office welcomed and hosted international students from 4 local community colleges -- Piece College, Highline Community College, Tacoma Community College, and Olympic Colleg. We provided a chance for any students to learn more about PLU.

The day was rainy as usual, but the students seemed to enjoy the campus tour and all the activities we facilitated. As someone who was in charge of the event, I lost my voice on that important day, embarrassed, for some lame reason, such as talking too much the previous day. Not being able to speak wasn't something I had expected, but thankfully, I had a handful of amazing coworkers and volunteers. Special thanks to Hiro, Heather, Chritian, Kari, Henry, Simba, Ella, Madeleine, Vu, Red, and David who helped putting this event together. The night moved through quickly and smoothly with all your hard work. 

As our closing activity, we took the students to see our annual talent show, Global Getdown, that celebrates diversity every year. The performers were stunning, and the crowds were huge! Special thanks to our guests who decided to perform and be part of our celebration: Mei Wen, Amadou S. Jallow, Masayuki Takahashi & Yuki Oikawa, and Yuanshan Jiang.
Yuanshan Jiang is experienced in playing Piano.
Photo: Vicky Murray

Amadou S. Jallow gave a funny speech about cultural differences.
Photo: Vicky Murray

Masayuki Takahashi & Yuki Oikawa performed Michael Jackson's "Thriller"
Photo: Vicky Murray

Mei Wen sang a lovely Chinese Song.
Photo: Vicky Murray
Dance Team
Photo: Vicky Murray

Photo: Vicky Murray

MC Lauren Alana Mendez
Photo: Vicky Murray

"Celebrate", by Olivia Ash
Photo: Vicky Murray
Photo: Vicky Murray

"After Rain", sang by Chinese students
Photo: Vicky Murray

David Nguyen Leon
Photo: Vicky Murray

"What Does the Fox say?"
Photo: Vicky Murray
If you missed our Visit Day this year, we hope to see you in our next year's Spring Visit Day, or Fall Visit Day. It will be a memorable experience. Pinky promise! 

Stay tuned and take care!

Love always,


Friday, November 15, 2013

4 Ways to Successfully Study for Classes

Hi there! For this blog entry, I would like to talk about 4 things that have helped me study well for my classes.

1. Take advantage of your professor's office hours- All professors have a designated office hours where they are available to answer questions and help you understand the class materials if necessary. I've met up with several of my professors for my harder classes, and they have always been helpful.

2. Read ahead for class- Reading ahead for class really helps. Personally, it helps me try to understand the material before the professor lectures about it in class, and I can also get questions together for class incase I didn't understand specific concepts.

3. Find a study buddy- I was having a hard time understanding the material for my psychology stats class, and just reading the material for class and trying to understand it by myself did not help. When I found another student who wanted to study outside of class together, it was easier for us to focus and help each other out with concepts we didn't understand.

4. Write notes in class- Listening and reading concepts for class helps to a certain degree, but when you write notes, it helps you remember the material even better. Have a notebook for each class  so that you can use your notes to study for quizzes and exams when you need to do so!

These things have helped me over the last two years. I hope this is helpful for you too!


Sunday, November 3, 2013


Photo by Madeleine (@brekkemo)

Hashtags have come to PLU! If you are a social media mogul such as myself you should check out these hashtags! They can help you get a better picture of what life as a lute really is like! #Lutelife #PLUintl #PLUcampus #pacificlutheranuniversity #PLUcampus #golutes #plulutes and many 
many more!!

The photos that are tagged with PLU tags often show up around on the campus screens! It is really fun to see everyone's pictures! You should follow us on Twitter (@PLUIntlStudents) and Instagram! Check out the following Instagram accounts!


Here are some great Instagram shots of PLU this fall!

Photo by Madeleine (@brekkemo)
Photo by Madeleine (@brekkemo)
Photo by Madeleine (@brekkemo)