A Voyage into Unknown Waters: My Semester at Sea

For the UAS Whalesong
Photo courtesy of the same

Last semester, my cafeteria served street food on the side streets of Southeast Asia. My walk to class consisted of getting sprayed by the salt water of the world’s oceans. My class lab met in a maternity hospital in Ghana. My classmates commuted from countries around the globe. During breaks, I relieved stress by mediating with monks, hiking on the Great Wall of China, and counting cheetahs in Africa. In the Spring of 2016, I traveled to Hawai’i, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Myanmar, India, Mauritius, South Africa, Ghana, Morocco, and England with Semester at Sea which were, and will continue to be, the best months of my college journey. Continue reading “A Voyage into Unknown Waters: My Semester at Sea”

In Days Gone By: Ruminations on Reading Beowulf Aloud

dylyn-petersonBY DYLYN PETERSON
Staff Writer, UAS Whalesong

So. I arrived a few minutes late to find that the door to Egan 115, the posted locale, was locked. Luckily, including me, six out of the seven who’d participate in our reading of Beowulf were already there, discussing the sadly many cinematic disasters Beowulf has found himself the subject of. If you’re unaware, he’s been subject to one of the biggest financial failures in film history (The 13th Warrior), two equally insane science fiction adaptations (the 1999 simply-titled Beowulf, and the 2008 film Outlander, where I guess he’s an alien?), and a Sci-Fi Original Film called Grendel, which…exists. I’m still fond of the 2007 version, myself, but that’s just because I’ve got a soft spot for its screenwriter, Neil Gaiman. Too bad about Angelina Jolie’s golden butt. Continue reading “In Days Gone By: Ruminations on Reading Beowulf Aloud”

For You, I Will Wear Pink Camouflage: A Poem

adelle-labrecqueBY ADELLE LaBRECQUE
Staff Writer, UAS Whalesong

Suicide survivor: my newest hated identity.

30,000 feet in the sky brought clarity to everything.

As I stared at the moon, I saw what—in hindsight—was always present.
The suspending clouds reflected vibrant, white light, unlike something I’d ever seen before.

What an incredible sight from this bird’s-eye-view
up so high…   Continue reading “For You, I Will Wear Pink Camouflage: A Poem”

Matisyahu Returns To Alaska For Juneau Concert

kasey-chen-1BY KASEY CHEN
Staff Writer, UAS Whalesong

Matisyahu, the Grammy nominated musician known for his unique, musical blend of beatboxing, reggae, and rock, performed at Centennial Hall in Juneau last Friday, September 23rd. The concert did not mark his first time in Alaska, having done a tour in 2007 that ran through Anchorage and Fairbanks. This time around, Matisyahu played an acoustic set for the sold out crowd, filled to the brim with improvised moments. Continue reading “Matisyahu Returns To Alaska For Juneau Concert”

Older on the Inside: Alaska State Museum Reopens in New Building

holly-fisher-1BY HOLLY FISHER
Staff Writer, UAS Whalesong

This past June the city of Juneau celebrated the reopening of the State Museum, which was closed on February 28, 2014 so the aging building could be replaced. The original collection that would later become the museum was established on June 6, 1900 with the purpose of collecting and cataloging the vast history of the then-territory. Though the items in the set grew rapidly, it spent 20 years moving from place to place without being on display. In 1920, it was set up in the Arctic Brotherhood Building in Juneau. However, the collection outgrew this space by the 1940’s. When the state funds could not entirely cover the costs of a new building, a temporary 1% sales tax was approved by vote of the city’s residents for the purpose of funding a permanent home for the migrant museum. It was constructed as part of the Alaska Purchase Centennial Commission, a state-wide project that constructed 40 buildings in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Alaska Purchase. The two-storied, spiral-staircase building was a beloved element of Juneau since its opening and dedication in 1968. It both displayed the history of the area and became part of it. The Juneau Folk Fest got its start there on Whittier Street, one of countless events to take place within its carved walls. On that final Friday the whole space was filled with people who had come to say good-bye to a place that had been a part of the city for almost half a century. Continue reading “Older on the Inside: Alaska State Museum Reopens in New Building”

Social Media Plays Instrumental Role in the First Presidential Debate

kasey-chen-1BY KASEY CHEN
Staff Writer, UAS Whalesong

The first presidential debate took place on Monday, September 26, and reactions were decidedly mixed.  Viewership was higher than ever before, with 80.9 million Americans tuning in, the highest numbers since the 1980 debate between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. This year more than ever, Americans chose to make their opinions heard via social media outlets including Twitter and Facebook. 17.1 million debate-related twitter interactions from 2.7 million different people was the final count this year, blowing the 2012 number of 10.3 million out of the water. Continue reading “Social Media Plays Instrumental Role in the First Presidential Debate”

A Time to Remember: Old Reliable

holly-fisher-1BY HOLLY FISHER
Staff  Writer, UAS Whalesong

The White Star Line of Boston Packets was a highly prolific and successful shipping and passenger line, but its 89 years in service are usually summed up with the name Titanic. The doomed “Ship of Dreams” has infamously gone down in history, taking her sponsoring line with her. But while she may be the focal point of recognition, what many don’t know was that she had two sister ships. The HMHS Britannic, which I mentioned briefly in my last “A Time to Remember” article, had a short but proud stint serving during World War I before a German mine sent her to the ocean floor. The third sister was the RMS Olympic whose time on the waves included longevity, hard work, and a few wild tales that made her a much storied and beloved vessel of the British Empire. Continue reading “A Time to Remember: Old Reliable”

Apply for a Student Job At the IT Helpdesk

For the UAS Whalesong

We hope everyone is settling into the school year and getting control of your classes. Now that you’re all pros at school, some of you may be looking into employment opportunities.
Having a student job on campus is a great way to make some money and not travel far from home. Continue reading “Apply for a Student Job At the IT Helpdesk”

The Perfectly Acceptable Seven

dylyn-petersonBY DYLYN PETERSON
Staff Writer, UAS Whalesong

Perhaps the greatest of all the plot tropes (from the website TV Tropes) is The Magnificent Seven Samurai, having turned out some of the best episodes of shows like Samurai Jack and Firefly, and, of course, owing its name to two cinematic classics: Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (which I’ve seen [it’s great]), and The Magnificent Seven (1960) (which I haven’t seen). It’s a simple, but classic plot: a small village, unable to defend itself against an appropriately large group of invaders, pools its resources to hire a dream team of old-fashioned badasses (although sometimes this might just be one really great dude, as in Samurai Jack). These guys train them to fight in a short period of time, about half of the team dies, and the village is ultimately saved. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it is. Continue reading “The Perfectly Acceptable Seven”

UAS In Brief

MPA Professor Presents Research at International Arctic FROST in Austria

UAS MPA program professor Dr. Jim Powell served as a mentor to early scholars at the recent Arctic-FROST Annual Meeting in Vienna, Austria.  Dr. Powell presented a paper on his research on community adaptive capacity in Kenai and Juneau, Alaska.  The Arctic-FROST Project is a NSF-funded international interdisciplinary collaborative network that links together environmental and social scientists, local educators, and community members from all circumpolar countries to enable and mobilize research on sustainable Arctic development. It is specifically aimed at improving the health, human development and wellbeing of Arctic communities while conserving ecosystem structures, functions and resources under changing climate conditions. The theme of the Annual Meeting and Early Career Scholars Workshop is Arctic Sustainability in the Global Context.  Dr. Powell also presented a video he produced on local subsistence harvesters and their observations of climate change in SE Alaska.

Sitka Winter Fellows Program

The UAS Sitka Winter Fellows program is starting up. This program was developed by Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, and is run in conjunction with the Sitka Fine Arts Camp.  It brings individuals who have recently graduated from their baccalaureate programs to act as tutors and run activities for students, much like AmeriCorps.  This year there are two people from Yale, one from Cornell, and one from Harvard.

Twitchell Receives Sealaska Heritage Institute Judson L. Brown Leadership Award

Sealaska Heritage Institute chose Lance Twitchell, UAS Assistant Professor of Alaska Native Languages, to receive the 2016 Judson L. Brown Leadership Award of $5,000.  Twitchell, whose Tlingit name is X’unei, has led a high-profile effort in the last several years to revitalize Alaska Native languages.  At UAS he has pushed to develop Haida and Tsimshian language classes, creating systemic changes in the university, our communities and organizations. In his first two years at UAS, attendance in Alaska Native language classes rose by 150 percent. He also was a key member of a team that secured passage of House Bill 216, which made Alaska one of two states in the United States to officially recognize its indigenous languages (the other is Hawaii).   This award is named after Tlingit elder Judson Brown of Haines, who was the first Alaska Native elder to be elected mayor in a town with a majority of whites.  The award comes from an endowment that was sets up by Brown’s nephew Chris McNeil and wife Mary.  In a recent press release, Rosita Worl, president of the Sealaska Heritage Institute noted, “For the first time in many, many years we are witnessing the existence of bilingual children who speak their Native language along with English.”

Geophysics Professor Researches LeConte Glacier in Petersburg

Dr. Jason Amundson, UAS Assistant Professor of Geophysics, has teamed up with four other researchers to for an impact study of the LeConte Glacier near Petersburg, focused on understanding the interaction of tidewater glaciers with the ocean, and the ocean with the glacier.  The results of the study are expected to help predict rising sea level and changes to global ocean circulation.  The 2-year fieldwork portion began in March, and will include six trips to the glacier with the next one in October.

Connecting the Dots: Harnessing Hope into Action

17 UAS students gathered on Sunday, September 18, 2016 for the first UAS Early Adopters Green Dot training. UAS was one of 50 colleges and universities around the world to participate in a day of training called Connecting the Dots: Harnessing Hope Into Action. Five students from the Sitka Campus joined 12 Juneau students for activities and engaging conversation on changing campus and classroom norms around power-based personal violence. Students spent time identifying signs of violence, learning about how to acknowledge and move past barriers, and brainstorming ways to engage others in small but important acts of intervention and outreach (Green Dots) to prevent dating and domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking (Red Dots) from happening. After six hours of training, students said they wish they had more time together. Green Dot is an evidence-based program focusing on reducing power-based personal violence on our campuses and in our communities. “UAS is implementing Green Dot as our Title IX primary prevention strategy,” said Lori Klein, Title IX Coordinator. “In addition to our early student adopters, over 65 UAS staff on the Sitka and Ketchikan campuses have received Green Dot training.” UAS will offer additional staff and faculty training this fall. The next student bystander training is scheduled for February 2017.  What’s your Green Dot? #uasgreendot #livethegreendot.