Like everyone else, life has shifted abruptly and dramatically for these seven photojournalists. Although The Beacon continues to work remotely amidst the coronavirus pandemic, photojournalists face new challenges as they attempt to capture images that represent the stories we continue to write. They are faced with the grief that comes from what they have lost in the transition, the frustration that comes with helplessness, and the anxiety of not knowing what will happen next.
If you scorned social media as a time-suck and a source of brain rot before shelter-in-place mandates were ordered, you may not be wrong. But that attitude towards these platforms will serve to isolate you further in a time when contact with others is much needed. So, don’t shy away from stepping away from bleak news reports and taking a break to look at Facebook. Give a like to those memes that make you laugh, leave a few comments, send posts to your friends and family that remind you of a memory or inside joke. Let people know that you’re doing okay — or if you’re not doing okay, because there will be someone who cares and wants to know. Just make sure you’re safely inside while you do so.
We have all seen it before. You walk along your merry way and see countless people with their water bottles layered in copious numbers of stickers, making the actual color of the water bottle hardly visible. Behind the sound of the tip-tapping of fingers flying, typing notes and papers on keyboards, is the image of a completely sticker-covered laptop. With all the opportunities for self-expression stickers make available to us, even refrigerators can gain opinions and personalities. The Beacon decided to talk to students about their stickers, setting out to discover the reasons why students love putting them on just about any surface and the meanings behind the ones they chose.
On Wednesday, University of Portland community members could be spotted around campus with black ashes smudged into the shape of a cross (more or less) on their foreheads. Members received these ashes at an Ash Wednesday Mass, a day to kick off the Lenten season where the application of the ashes represents the Catholic belief that people are made from dust and will return to dust. In commemoration of this day and the season of fasting, praying, and almsgiving before Easter Sunday that is Lent, The Beacon got to talk to these members about why they are celebrating the season this year.
Finally, community gardens are spaces to create a positive impact on a larger societal scale. They are especially important to residents that don’t have easy and reliable access to fresh produce from a big retailer or farm. Community gardens demonstrate that local food production is possible. When partnered with schools or instructional programs, they allow people of all ages to learn about nutrition and the food they consume, addressing health issues around food.
With the impending release of Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame” in April and “Star Wars: Episode IX” coming out at the end of the year, I’ve found myself thinking about endings. In particular, what it will mean to fans of these franchises, who have followed these characters and lived in these universes for years, to have to think about saying goodbye. But what if these epic finales don’t have to final at all?
Over fall break I participated in the Rural Immersion hosted by UP’s Moreau Center. I only had a vague idea of what to expect — I knew we were going to be talking with people about topics on immigrants, justice and learning about the Yakima Valley community. It was so much more than that. With everything I learned, the experience became a catalyst for having important conversations.