Molly Lowney


Inspired by KOIN's Front Porch Project, photographer Molly Lowney interviewed local UP houses in University Park to do a Front Porch Project of her own.

Front Porch Project

 While campus life at UP has mainly been online, a large majority of the student body has been living in off campus housing in the University Park neighborhood. From themed dinners to spending time outside, these various off campus houses have found creative ways to build their own sense of community during an isolating global pandemic. Inspired by local photographers who captured the beginning stages of the pandemic, Beacon photographer Molly Lowney set out to create UP’s own Front Porch Project. 

Molly Lowney is a photographer for The Beacon.

STAFF OPINION: Stories will save us

When I was in grade school, I spent every spare moment reading. I would have a book in one hand while shoveling cheerios into my mouth with the other (sorry Mom). I’d stubbornly read in the car while fighting off motion sickness and push the limits of my bedtime by using a dim reading light that wouldn’t let the whole house know I was up. Stories became my refuge where I could do anything, be anyone, and let my imagination run wild. 

The Beacon caught up with five student run small businesses that launched in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.Photo by Molly Lowney

Taking care of business

Nothing sparks creativity quite like boredom. When the pandemic hit nearly a year ago, cancelled jobs and summer internships left college students in a state of lockdown limbo. Instead of (or in addition to)  falling into a steady routine of Netflix and napping, college students across the country created their own jobs by launching small businesses. 

Food is a huge part of the holiday season,  but the food we eat also has many intersections with climate change and the ongoing pandemic. Listen to Molly and Jennifer's conversation with UP environmental studies professor Dr. Heather Carpenter for some food for thought.

PODCAST: What On Earth? Episode 5: Food for thought

Food is a huge part of the holiday season and with the year we’ve had so far, hearty meals are much needed. But the food we eat also has many intersections with climate change and the ongoing pandemic. From the greenhouse gas emissions to the overall agriculture industry itself, there are a lot of nuances to be understood and changes to be made. But the good news is that when it comes to our food choices, everyone has ways to make a difference in their own lives! Listen to Molly and Jennifer’s conversation with UP environmental studies professor Dr. Heather Carpenter about all of this and more!

In this episode of What on Earth? Molly and Jennifer chat with UP environmental studies students about the 2020 U.S. election.

What On Earth? Episode 4: UP students react to the 2020 election

The week of the 2020 election was incredibly stressful, but it has resulted in a victory for Joe Biden over Donald Trump which will hopefully push the U.S. towards taking action to address climate change. But while we celebrate this win, there’s still a lot to unpack and a lot of work to be done for the future we want. Today, Molly and Jennifer chat with three current environmental studies students from UP about the election and what their hopes are for the future.

Pumpkin bread is a classic crowd pleaser. Add fun mix ins like chocolate chips or nuts to spice things up!Photo Illustration by Molly Lowney

Get baked with The Beacon

Odds are you’ve probably donned a sweater, had a spiced hot beverage or even frolicked through a pumpkin patch in the past few weeks. An essential part of fall is comfort foods and baked goods that taste like the season and warm you from the inside out. Trust me when I tell you, store bought baked goods only give you a fraction of autumnal experience that home baked goods do. After scouring the internet, here are three quality tested fall baking recipes (college student friendly) that give the optimal autumnal experience. 

In this episode of What on Earth? Molly and Jennifer chat with Grist reporter Zoya Teirstein for a crash course on climate policy.

What On Earth? Episode 3: A Debrief on US Climate Policy

As the 2020 U.S. election draws closer, climate change remains one of the biggest topics that are being talked about. From the candidates’ climate policies and plans to the Supreme Court to the Green New Deal ideology, there’s a lot happening that could affect the way the U.S. acts on climate change in the near future. In this episode of What on Earth? Molly and Jennifer chat with Grist reporter Zoya Teirstein for a crash course on climate policy. Resources: - For all of your environmental-focused news needs. By calling climate change “controversial” Barrett created controversy - What Barrett’s evasive response could mean for the Republican party and climate change. How the U.S. can become a climate leader in 8 simple steps - 8 things the U.S. can start doing right now to take big action on climate change. NRDC Expert Blog - For opinion and analysis from NRDC’s science, legal, and policy experts. - Another source for climate change, energy, and environment news. Don’t forget to vote!

In Episode 2 of What on Earth? Molly and Jennifer discuss all things COVID-19. Photo illustration by Jennifer Ng.

What On Earth? Episode 2: Breaking down COVID-19 with an immunologist

In the U.S., we’re seven months into the coronavirus pandemic which has changed our lives and left us with questions we may have never thought to ask. Where do viruses come from? What does it mean to be asymptomatic? How does a vaccine get made? And what do we do to stop the spread of the virus? In today’s episode of What on Earth? Molly and Jennifer talk with Dr. Susan Murray from UP’s biology department about all things COVID-19.  Resources: New York Times Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker - Stay updated on the progress towards getting a safe and effective vaccine. Oregon Health Authority - For Oregon residents, find information on cases, testing, resources for mental health, and more.

Mattie Vanhonsebrouck started their account in 2019, and currently has 1.4 million followers. Their videos generally revolve around different stories, comedy, and creative skits.Photo Illustration by Ryan Reynolds

Going viral: UP students find fame and friendship on TikTok

At the end of June in 2019, Mattie Vanhonsebrouck received a text message from a friend saying: “Hey, I think you should get this TikTok app. You would totally get famous from it.” Vanhonsebrouck disagreed, but after arguing back and forth, they decided to try it. One month after downloading the app, Vanhonsebrouck had gone viral.