Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Washington State University

Our visit to the Korean 1988 Olympic Grounds

I cannot say that I have seen a stadium more majestic or amazing than what we saw last week. The experience we had at the 1988 Olympic facilities, was nothing short of amazing. I am excited to share thoughts from Courtney Gold, a Sport Management major. Her story is touching and I hope you are moved by it and that she conveys to you how powerful of an experience this was for us. Following Courtney is a piece from Derick Margerum regarding the same venue. He mentions how we were even allowed to run on the olympic track! Enjoy this post from Courtney and Derick.

-Chris Lebens

 

After being in Korea for almost two weeks now I am slowly beginning to adjust to the culture, food and weather. Being a picky eater, I am proud to say that I have tried foods I would not have tried in the states. Besides trying new food I have had the privilege to visit places that I would have never had imagined. I have been able to see places such as the 1988 Olympic Stadium, Olympic Park, Olympic Memorial Museum, and the Korean Olympic Training Center.

On Tuesday July 1, 2014 the group made the trip out to the 1988 Olympic Stadium. Now this was something I was excited to see due to the history of Korea and their efforts to inspire their country after years of economic tragedy. After South Korea was annexed from Japan in 1910, they were left in economic ruins. The Korean people were hungry and looked upon as a hopeless country. When they were granted the 1988 Olympics in 1980, there was a sense of hope. Walking up to the stadium I tried to picture what it would be like when the stadium was being built. I then tried to feel the emotion of those who were able to actually experience the moment of the opening ceremonies. The excitement and joy of the Korean people must have gone beyond leaps and bonds. Beyond the actual emotions of the people it must have been an amazing sight to see what the country of Korea could do when given the opportunity to host the 1988 Olympics. Seeing the outside of the stadium I was impressed to see how advanced South Korea was in their architecture. It was also interesting to see the effort that was made and the money spent to make this event a success. In the states we see more focus on professional sport athletes, rather than amateur athletes. Once we were able to enter the Olympic Stadium I could not believe how big it was on the inside. Just imagining the opening ceremony and the screaming fans in the seats of the stadium is an unreal experience. Below I was able to take a step back and capture the inside of the Olympic Stadium and get the chance to go onto the track and field. Having this opportunity is one of many that I will receive on this trip that I will never be able to forget about it.

StadiumStadium1

Now moving on, July 2, 2014 was the day the group made the trip out to the Korean Olympic Training Facility. This was a moment to remember because this training facility is not open to the public. Knowing this I did my best to soak in all the amazing things I was about to see. One of the first places we went into was the athlete’s training room. I have been in gyms before, which many of us have, but nothing like the one we were about to see. It was huge, offering the best equipment to all the Korean athletes who had the opportunity to train in this facility. A few of us then saw some climbing ropes and thought we would give it a shot and see how high we could climb up.

ropesNeedless to say I personally did not do that well. It was definitely a funny experience because I realized that it was more difficult than I imagined. It gave the others and myself in the group a good laugh and something we can remember upon our return home. Most of the buildings we went into were empty because the majority of the athletes were on their break, but we than walked in on a women’s handball practice.

handballBefore walking in we were told to be quiet because there was a practice going on. I did not think we were going to see any athletes training, so seeing this was a great treat. As mentioned prior I noticed that there were some differences in the way the United States conducted sport from Korea. Korea definitely took more time, money and effort in making their amateur athletes a success in not only the Olympics, but the Asian games as well. This particular day I felt extremely special because many people will never be able to experience what I had that day. I saw actual amateur athletes in training and the facilities that made them a success. I will never forget what I was offered and could never express enough gratitude to those who made this trip to the Olympic Training Facility possible.

Just in the short week and a half that I have been in South Korea I have had the opportunity to see and do things that many could never dream of. As the days and weeks progress I will further report on the many new experiences. I am beyond grateful that I was able to go on this trip to see and experience things with the group of people that are here with me! Without them, this trip would not be the same and I would not have gained the memories I have received thus far. Go Cougs!

Now from Derick Margerum, Sport Management major.

Happy 4th of July from Seoul, South Korea! We have been in Seoul for almost ten days now and this experience has been a blast so far. What I like about Seoul is that there are always things to do whether its visiting historical sites, stadiums, and markets you name it and this city probably has it.

During the first couple weeks of the trip I got really got to see what Seoul is all about. I am somewhat of a picky eater, but coming into this trip I knew I was going to have to expand my horizons and try new food. For example, on one of the first few days eating in the cafeteria we had squid for breakfast! This shocked me because I don’t like seafood and I was sure they wouldn’t have it for breakfast, but it actually was not that bad. Squid for breakfast was just another unique food that was offered here in this culture, so I had to be prepared on what food came at me next. Many of the adventures led to us exploring the vast array of street markets that sold a variety of things from food to jewelry, and we even enjoyed some fun at Lotte world amusement park.

The main reason why I wanted to come over here was to experience the sports culture, and explore the many stadiums and facilities that Seoul has. On Tuesday we visited the Olympic Stadium site as well as the park. The Olympic Stadium was a majestic beauty right in the heart of the city. It was a little run down but it was very similar in look to the Los Angeles Coliseum, and spewed great Olympic history. Carl Lewis raced at the Olympic Stadium where he won gold in the 100 meters and long jump in 1988 (Sports Reference, 2014). We were fortunate enough to enter the stadium, and just the thought of being inside a stadium where the greatest athletes in the participated was a surreal experience. The group decided it would be awesome to run a lap around the track, and I did my best Carl Lewis imprecation when I finished. Inside the Olympic Park there is a museum adjacent to the stadium that contains historical artifacts from all the Olympics and that was really interesting. It was really awesome to go to an Olympic site for the first time to learn and experience what it was like back in the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

I have learned a lot about South Korea in the week and half we have been here. I hope to gain better insight about sport and culture in Korea, and I am excited for the upcoming opportunities in the next few weeks.

More to come!

More from Korea.

By criminal justice major Tipton Hayes

Visiting Korea, has been a great experience. I have always been a transit- and walking-to-your-destination type of person. As we started are experience it was a one and half hour drive from the airport to our new place on the other side of Seoul. It was nice to take a cab from the airport but, given the copious amount of transportation options that Seoul, has. I was looking forward to taking the rail into the university.

I love being able to walk down to the subway system and hop on a rail car and be there quickly. It has been a great experience to be on the subway and meet with Koreans. I also love that you can use the internet on a rail car. I think that is fantastic. Korean phones also have TV on them. Accessible transportation to sport venues is essential in order to provide quick entry and fast egress once the event is completed. My photos were taken at Doota mall, overlooking Dondgaemun History and Culture park. Dongdaemun subway stop is a few blocks away from these to fabulous places located in Euljiro. There are many shops in this area of town you can get anything very cheaply and even bargain the price down. This is also a site of a baseball stadium it has now been repurposed after artifacts were found. A museum is also there to show case many of the old equipment from the stadium and player memorabilia. The space was very tiny but, seemed full of items from the 1920, 30, 40 and etcetera.

Hopping from metro to train, bus, or cab has been extremely simple. One can even use their bus card for a cab fare. This to me shows to me that the systems are very intelligently integrated. I have yet to take a cab that had a fare more then $7.

Everyday our professors have planned out an event, even if we do not visit a sport facility there are many event management areas in play. We have been lucky to receive personal tours from the palaces that we visit. It takes a while to learn about the venues and I really appreciate how knowledgeable the staff are when listening to them tell us about the venue or when I ask questions.

A track athlete’s perspective of Korean olympic stadium

By WSU track athlete Indigo Williams

Today, the sport management group and I got to travel to the 1988 World Olympic Stadium. When we arrived to the stadium we were able to walk around and look at what an Olympic stadium really entailed both inside and outside. This athletics facility grabbed my attention in so many different ways that at first I was over whelmed with joy but then with a little bit of disappointment.

I personally was amazed at how big the venue was, but actually very shocked by how run down the outside looked. When looking at the pictures and statues of some of the best athletes in the world, I found myself asking one question, “why does this place look like no one cares for it?” After talking with the group we were then told that this facility does not get money from the government to help with the upkeep. One would think that this facility and the people who run it would want to show pride in the athletes who brought their country fame. I think that it is sad that these athletes’ pictures are in such bad shape and some even vandalized. I guess maybe I was just thinking that these athletes should be portrayed in more of a way that shows respect and lets younger generations know who they are and what they did. As for the inside of the stadium, now that was a little bit different, the grass was well kept and even the seating looked new. I mean I even ran a lap around the track and admired what it felt like to be running on the same track as an Olympian.

After hanging around on the track and taking some photos, the group and I went over to “The Hope Factory” which is the 1988 interactive exhibition about the Olympic values. Here we were able to go through about forty different exercises that taught us about the Olympics. This was a great experience, and I really did learn more about the prejudices and simple stereotypes that are associated with the Olympics. Some of the questions that we were asked I never really thought about before, like when they asked if “by being in a wheel chair made one of the Olympians disabled?” To me I see that person not as being a disable athlete but a contestant in the Olympics. In this factory there are many different hands on activities that linked all back to one common thing, the Olympics. Our group got the privilege to ride in a 4D simulator while watching Kim Yu-Na, who is an Olympic medalist. From there we went down the museum that held all of the different artifacts and statues made of the different all time athletes in 1988. This room was filled with a piece of something from each event in Olympics it felt like. Though the main focus was on the 1988 Olympics, this building was only a small part of the Olympic history.

From The Hope Factory, we went to an amusement park called Lotte world. I feel like I have to tell you about our adventure here because I was able to go on one of the tallest free falling drops ever, well I mean it was only seventy meters high but it felt like the tallest and longest drop ever. This ride was awesome, you get on and as you are rising to the top you are doing a complete 360 degree rotation, getting what feels like a full view of Seoul. You are up there for about five seconds and then drop going about one hundred kilometers an hour. The best part about this ride was I got to gopro the entire thing. It was awesome.
All in all I got to experience being in an Olympic facility first hand and I only have one other goal, and that would be to go to a facility when there is actually a real life Olympics going on. But I am really happy that I got this opportunity and I cannot wait to share my next activity with you guys.

More From Korea

J2
Gyeongbokgung Palace
J1
Middle School Soccer Pitch

By Josh Tyler, sport management student who graduated in May

Today marks the first full week that I have been in South Korea, and holy cow this country is awesome. I have seen so many different things and experienced things unlike any other place in the world. I truly am lucky to be here, this country has shown me so many different perspectives of how people live their lives. Everything from food, leisure, transportation, sport, everything has a different way it can be done and I have only experienced a week of it and I am very excited for the 5 more weeks to come.

Throughout the first week I have experienced a lot of Korean culture. Dating back from historical times to modern day events. Something that really stuck out to me was the historic presence this country has within itself. For example, when we toured the Gyeongbokgung
Palace you could feel the history coming out of the place. From the palace itself, to the museum of all the historical clothing, food, weapons, everything was just incredible to see. I really appreciated how the country keeps the traditions alive in some parts of the country. For example, today we were able to experience a traditional martial arts show performed on a stage for people to enjoy what Taekwondo was and how it impacted the culture for Koreans. Another event was a traditional dinner where we sat down criss­cross and ate a traditional meal. That was quite the experience itself seeing how people really used to eat every meal. The food is a whole another part of Korea that has been an experience within itself. Although I was never a fan of fish or spicy foods, Korea (from what I have had thus far) has given me so much variety in picking something that can suit my liking! Oh ya don’t forget to master chopsticks, you might die if you don’t. I have grown to like the food and its different tastes, its quite good actually, also the portions are huge so you’ll never leave hungry. The culture is so much different than back home and that’s why I am really enjoying myself.

Something I loved seeing being a Sport Management student was how the sporting complexes varied from the US. The university we are staying at (Seoul National University of Science and Technology) is currently constructing a field to host soccer games and has a track around it assuming for the colleges soccer and track teams. It was completely different in my eyes from a US stadium because there was not much seating and a lot of like training rooms, locker rooms for the school. It was just different where in US the goal is to get people in seats, where as it felt they were just building the best facility for the athletes. It was just really cool to see. Also, there are parks everywhere in Seoul. Basketball courts, soccer pitches (some on rooftops of malls), kid parks, even some have work out equipment in the parks themselves. That was the first time I had ever seen work out equipment in a park, really cool because its different. People also ride bikes everywhere, the city of Seoul kind of reminded me of Portland in the sense everyone rides bikes. Seoul on the other hand has 10.4 million people in the city itself (World Population, 2014), where as Oregon barely has 3 million total people (Census Burrow, 2014). The city offers so many different things and it just really is incredible how much you can do. Another thing that is really close by is a driving range for golfers. It is across the entrance to our dorm buildings. It’s cool to see how close things are for the students to be able to access and use. As I continue to experience Korea I am going to be excited to see a lot of the differences that this country has to offer in sport.

For the first week here in Korea I think I have experienced so much I am shocked with all that I have experienced and the sheer amount of things that this country has to offer. I am really excited and eager to see what else I can learn about sport and how Korean culture is around it while I am here for five more weeks. I think it is going to be very different from the United States and I can’t wait to be able to share it. This first week has been a blast and I cannot wait for more to come. #GoCougs

Sport Management Students Arrive in Korea

Untitled Untitled2By Nick Frisk, sport management student (with intro from Chris Lebens, assistant clinical professor)

Well, we have arrived. Cougs are in Korea. I can attest that the pilot was amazing for 10 hours in the air. During the 30 min decent
into
Seoul, well… lets just say he landed safely so no complaints from the Cougs. For those that don’t know, I am Chris Lebens, J.D.
Clinical
Assistant Professor in the college of education. Dr. Yong-Chae Rhee and myself are abroad with the WSU COE first study
abroad. We are
currently in Seoul and will travel every 2 weeks across the country to other universities. I cannot speak for all of our
students as to their
experience, so I have assigned them to tell us all about it. Today’s post comes from Nicholas (Nick) Frisk, a senior
in Sport Management at
WSU. Please, enjoy his story.

Annyeonghaseyo

For those of you who don’t know that is hello in South Korean. It’s very surreal to be half way around the world experiencing a new culture, a new set of ideas and seeing a new place. Though the first week has been much of experiencing the culture of Korea the group has done a little bit of exploring for sport related land marks. Seoul Tech University is a rather small university in comparison to Washington State University but it still has a decent sized sport program. In one of our first classes we took a short field trip to their soccer stadium and sport complex. Luckily for us the stadium and the entire complex was under renovation just like the Washington State football and soccer complexes. We walked around the area watched the workers and looked at the differences of the new stadium. This is what we could take away from this experience.

The most prevalent thing that caught the group’s attention was how unsecured the entire construction area was. This speaks to the difference in cultural beliefs of how citizens are expected to act. The only thing holding people back from entering the construction zone was a small red and white caution tape (see below). As everyone who has explored the Martin Stadium renovations, or even a normal construction site in the United States, knows that at the very least a large fence is put in the way to keep people out. Korean people are raised to show respect to everything from the people they interact with to the places they go and what they do there. If United States construction companies tried to use this small strip of tape to hold out community members we would have so many more construction related injuries and lawsuits. Korean people know not to go into restricted areas therefore construction companies do not have to be so careful with how protected areas are.

Also while exploring the construction area we walked past a gentleman welding part of the stadium. Normally this would not be an oddity but we noticed that he did not have any eye protection on as he was watching the welding from a few inches away. From this one can deduce that there is not a strong emphasis on personal safety in Korean construction just yet.

As far as sport related oddities and/or similarities go, we noticed a few very obvious features. The complex is set up very similarly to a high school football field. The soccer pitch was in the middle of an Olympic sized track with a lifted  cement structure to become the stadium seating on one side. This is very similar to many multiuse facilities in the United States.

However two things struck us as odd at this particular track and soccer pitch. One of these was the lack of a throwing area for the track team. We speculated about where it might be or if it took place out on the soccer pitch but it is possible that we missed one option. Throwing may not be a big thing here in Korea like it is in the states. If there is one thing that is easy to notice about Korean people it is their body size. Not many Korean people are built large enough to compete against the Americas and European people in throwing events. It might not be an emphasized set of events at the national level therefore it may just be nonexistent at a relatively small university. The second thing we noticed was the soccer field was specifically painted for soccer. For being located in such a big multi-purpose area we kind of expected other lines to be painted on the field but that was not the case

We made a couple of other stops in the multipurpose area. Next to the track and soccer pitch there is a wide expanse of sand and dirt that had many different things to do. There were places to hit baseballs, take part in an unofficial soccer game, play some basketball and it even had a few tennis courts. Basketball is an interesting sport here because if there is an area of flat ground there is most likely a basketball hoop nearby. The group visited a mall the other day and just outside the mall there was a random court yard with a hoop that anyone could play a pick-up game on. Even the soccer pitch had fully functional courts at either end that anyone and everyone could access.

The last thing that really caught my attention was how easy it was to access this particular area. In a later visit to the area I was able to watch how many different people were using the facility after they removed the construction tape. They definitely were not all college students since. Young middle school and high school aged kids were playing basketball by the soccer pitch. Toddlers were playing with their parents near parallel bars. Even I was able to run on the track less than week after our original visit. The fact that a place like this was accessible to the entire community was an incredible concept to me. Very few places in the United States are accessible to the entire public so soon after construction for upgrades occur. We do not know how many official events take place there but with continuous use it would force a sport manager’s hand to keep the facility up to date more often. In the US we would rather spend money up front to keep people out of the facilities than to update them more often.

Our small little class field trip was our first experience with international sport facilities. In many ways it was not that much different from those of the United States yet the ideas surrounding its use can be very different. Soon we will be seeing large scale sporting venues that could potentially trump anything we have ever experienced, even back home. It only gets better from here, stay tuned.

FOOD
In the months leading up to this trip I had to constantly explain to friends, family and even a Subway sandwiches worker we were going to Korea and why. The most common responses were why?, oh fun!, and North or South? Well thank goodness we ended up in SOUTH Korea because it has been an amazing experience thus far.

In the first week here we have seen so many different things that there is way too much to write about. When I get overwhelmed I like to think about food because food is good. Coincidentally South Korea has some of the best food I have ever had the pleasure of eating. There are three different types of food that must be discussed to really understand what a Korean travelers diet is all about. These are Korean barbeque, street food and dorm food. All are equally intriguing, mysterious and flat out delicious. So let us explore Korean food for a while.

Since it has been and will be our most frequently dining place it is only fair that we dive into the university’s dining hall food first. South Korea is not a place where picky eaters can visit and survive. I was one of those picky eaters coming into this trip and had to learn really quickly to just go for it. One of our students summed it well by saying the dining hall is the best place to eat because it forces you try different foods instead of being able to pick and choose what you want. So far the menu has dishes such as squid, kale, a curry type dish, anchovies, bean sprouts, tofu, rice, a lot of rice and even more soup. There have been maybe one or two different dishes that I have not thoroughly enjoyed while eating at the dining hall. Being forced to open your mind to taste different things is awesome because you have to lose all inhibitions and just dive in. I have discovered a liking for kale, radishes, small squid, beans sprouts and way too much more to list out. All in all, dorm food is awesome here.

While being forced to try new things is probably the best thing to happen to a picky eater, I do have to say it is nice to choose what you really want to eat. Seoul has a large number of outdoor markets unlike anything I have ever experienced in the United States. With these outdoor markets comes the novelty of street food. As a group we make an effort to find random little markets solely for the purpose of finding that next street food gem. My first experience was this massive ice cream tube. It cannot be called a cone because literally they have a cone tube that they filled from the inside out with some of the best ice cream I have had. It was in the shape of a candy cane yet, surprisingly, tasted so much better. Then while walking around the other night three of us stopped at a little chicken shish kabob stand. It started as a snack for one, and turned into all three of us buying the chicken and not being able to stop talking about it for the next ten minutes as we found a cab back home. Our single best meal so far though happened when we split up in this massive street market and just ate whatever we found. It started with corndogs laced with french fries on the outside and smothered in sauces. Then we felt bad so we picked up some fresh fruit and some other small snack I cannot remember. Before I can tell the next part though you must understand how much walking we did that day. We easily walked fifteen to twenty miles that day with very little time relaxing. So to congratulate ourselves we finished the night with a waffle cream ice sandwich. Before you ask not it is not ‘ice cream sandwich,’ it is cream ice. They start by making the waffles in front of you then spreading this thick creamy substance (mine was cherry flavored) across one half of the waffle and putting a scoop of vanilla and chocolate ice cream on the other side. They topped it off with some chocolate chips and then folded it over into a warm, creamy, delicious sandwich. It is and probably will be the best dessert I will ever eat in my entire life. The only regret I have is eating it in about 2 minutes and not going back for a second one. I’m sure many of our readers will have been to an exotic street market or something similar to what I am talking about here but you will never understand the excitement I feel eating this food. This is my first visit to a foreign country other than Canada, so experimenting with this food is amazing to me.

The last type of food I want to discuss is Korean barbeque. This is such an interesting concept for me because there is a large stone grill placed in the middle of the table. You order meat, Kim chi, a vegetable usually, some garlic and some sauces. Now some places have these large grills or woks on the table but they cook it for you. At the barbeque place we visited the people at the table had to cook it to individuals liking which is great because not everyone can do rare meat or even well done meat. In order to eat everything we were instructed to take a large piece of lettuce put everything inside and make a wrap out of it. The great thing about this type of food is that it is all freshly made on fresh vegetables. This stuff is so good and even somewhat healthy for you. This was close to being my favorite meal, but it is a close second to street food.

Communicating Korea

Tandem to stay in touch with those in the states

By C. Brandon Chapman
College of Education

They have a packed agenda. They plan to blog. They plan to vlog. They plan to podcast. They plan to tweet.

The only question now is when they plan to sleep.

With slightly less than two weeks before College of Education professors Yong Chae Rhee and Chris Lebens take a small group of sport management students to South Korea for a six-week study abroad, the duo has outlined some of their plans for communicating back to the states.

The two main highlights include:

  • Frequent updates here on the college’s blog, EduCoug. Rhee and Lebens will both write and embed video. They’ll be taking a GoPro Hero 3+ to visually document the trip, and they’ll embed videos in the blog. There’s an off chance Lebens may run a half or full marathon with the GoPro attached.
  • They’ll be tweeting like there’s no tomorrow. They’ll be using #CougsInKorea to join people together in common discussion.

Here’s a previous WSU News article that was written about the trip: https://news.wsu.edu/2014/01/06/sport-management-offers-study-abroad-in-korea/#.U5d5gSjwnp9.

New research, outreach center responds to growing Native population


The following article about the Pacific Northwest Center for Mestizo and Indigenous Research and Outreach was published Dec. 4, 2012, and is posted with permission.

By Estelle Gwinn
Staff writer, Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Susan Banks-Joseph and Brian McNeill
Susan Banks-Joseph and Brian McNeill, founding co-directors; Lali McCubbin is interim co-director

Growing diversity at Washington State University spurred the creation of a new Mestizo and Indigenous Center at the College of Education.

“We’re located in an area where there are a number of local tribes and at the same time there’s an increasing Latino population in Washington state,” said Brian McNeill, co-director of the new center.

McNeill said he saw a regional need to address the common issues many indigenous populations face and started working to establish the center about two years ago.

“In places like Tri-Cities, Walla Walla and Franklin County the Mexican American population in schools is getting close to 70 percent,” McNeill said. “In communities like Pasco at least 50 percent are Latino. We need to start paying attention to what those demographics are.”

WSU has a responsibility to serve these populations, McNeill said, because it is a land grant university.

The center focuses on not only Native American populations but any indigenous groups, which refers to populations whose ancestors were the original inhabitants of a designated land or nation, McNeill said. The center also focuses on Latino populations, which are often part of the Mestizo experience, meaning they are forged from several different ethnic backgrounds. The center is one-of-a-kind in the Northwest region and possibly unique to the entire nation.

One of a kind

“There’s no question this is a unique center. There’s no other center we can identify in the U.S. that’s focused on Mestizo and indigenous populations,” said Mike Trevisan, associate dean for research and external funding at WSU’s College of Education. “There’s a variety of Mestizo populations in Washington who go unnoticed and unsupported. Hopefully this center will shed light on that and find ways to encourage support for these people.”

McNeill said the center is different from any others because it brings several groups together and addresses their common needs. He said many native populations do not consider Mexican American populations to be indigenous even though they have many of the same social concerns.

“From an educational standpoint it’s important to know what those commonalities are and break down some barriers, even amongst our own people,” he said.

An example of those common concerns is academic success and access to higher education, which center researchers are looking into now.

A 2008 study by WSU’s Clearinghouse on Native Teaching and Learning looked at the educational achievement gap among Native Americans. The study was commissioned by the Washington state Legislature and researchers are now following up on the Legislature’s progress.

Another study at the center reaches out to leaders in local Native American tribes and Latino communities, something that was not receiving enough attention prior to the creation of this center, McNeill said.

Finding solutions, together

“We want to ask them what they think our research agenda should be and what they see as the priorities,” he said. “That way we have the communities we serve setting the agenda for what they think is important.”

From the interviews conducted so far, McNeill has noticed that many groups want to be partners in research and help come to solutions as opposed to being the subject of research just for the sake of finding out something new about them.

Trevisan said the new center is a good fit, since diversity is a priority area for the college’s research profile.

“We are about educating people and doing community work,” he said. “As a consequence we are in a position of responsibility to promote these ideas and make known the needs within the region in particular.”

Published Dec. 4, 2012 and posted with permission

Murals capture Chicano/Latino heritage

Children with Freedom School mural
Pauline Sameshima’s mural, now at Lighty Hall, and the kids who colored it.

Labor leader Cesar Chavez and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta played historic roles in the protection of farm workers’ rights. To folks at Washington State University who planned this month’s Freedom School, that made them the perfect heroes to highlight Chicano/Latino heritage.

WSU College of Education folks in Pullman played major roles in the Freedom School event. Clinical Assistant Professor Paul Mencke was among the planners.

Associate Professor Pauline Sameshima contributed her original art, as did WSU undergraduate David Padilla. Both designed murals featuring Chavez and Huerta, and a group of young Picassos associated with our college pitched in to help color them.

David Padilla mural
David Padilla’s mural on display in Cleveland Hall

The kids pictured above are, from left:  Sachiko Price, daughter of faculty members Paula Groves Price and Cedric Price;  Skyla and Evanee, children of graduate student Manee Moua; Daniel Mendez-Liaina, son of  advisor/instructor Veronica Mendez-Liaina; Rory McBeath, son of graduate student Francene Watson; and Paul Jr. and Carter, sons of  Paul Mencke.

You can read about the project in the WSU News article, Murals from WSU Freedom School on display.

Did you know? According to the 2010 census, 50.5 million people or 16 percent of the population are of Hispanic or Latino origin. That’s a significant increase from the 2000 Census, which registered the Hispanic population at 35.3 million or 13 percent of the total U.S. population.

 

A handmade gift, a lifetime experience

Yukako Hayashi and A.G. Rud

When  Yukako Hayashi was a university senior in Japan, she took the test to become a teacher. It was a career she had imagined since childhood. She failed the test.

After spending a year as an office worker, she tried again. And passed.

After a decade as a primary school teacher, Yukako still has a strong zeal for education. And it has brought her to Washington State University.

She is in Pullman as part of the annual exchange between the WSU College of Education and the Nishinomiya School District. A Japanese teacher comes to Pullman to study for two months in the fall; an American teacher with ties to the college (currently Mari Stair) works in Japan.

When she’s not soaking up Cougar culture at WSU, Yukako will spend most of her time perfecting her English-language skills. She began her English studies when she was in middle school. These days, English lessons for Japanese students start in fifth grade.

“Students like the English activities,” says Yukako, who now supervises her district’s Study and Research Division, International Section.

In an get-acquainted meeting at Cleveland Hall, Yukako presented Dean A.G. Rud with flower art she created. In return, she got a crimson and gray scarf with a Cougar emblem. She’ll be in Eastern Washington through Oct. 22. She told the dean she had been to the United States before, including a visit to the San Francisco area for a two-week student exchange while she was in college.

The dean replied that he’d be making his first trip to Japan in November, as part of a delegation celebrating the 25th anniversary of the WSU-Nishinomiya relationship. He said:  “It’s a big deal!”

 

Experience in Ecuador redefines ‘need’ for father and daughter


Guest post by Nick Sewell, academic coordinator in the Washington State University College of Education Office of Graduate Studies.

This summer, I found myself in a South American mountainside village, washing the dusty feet of peasants. It’s a story that began nine years ago when, after listening to a woman at our Pullman church share about her overseas medical trip, my eight-year-old daughter Danielle said she wanted to go Ecuador and help people someday.

Danielle and I realized that dream together in June.

Nick and Danielle Sewell with Ecuadorian girl
Nick and Danielle Sewell with Pamela, an Ecuadoran girl

Pullman nurse practitioner Nancy Gregory has gone to Ecuador seven times in the last nine years for a short-term medical mission she calls Ecuador Medical.  Each time she takes a team down, the scope of the mission grows.  Now she works with local political leaders and ministries to determine which villages will receive care.  Her trips have won the attention and support of the Ecuadorian military, which for the last several years has assisted in transporting supplies and setting up the clinic at each location. This year, we set up a medical clinic and pharmacy, washed feet and fitted patients with new shoes and socks, participated in ministry to children, and offered prayer for the needy.

There were about 30 of us on the trip: two doctors, two nurse practitioners, four nurses, a lab technician, three pharmacists, and a whole team of amazing people.  We set up the clinic in four locations and saw more than 900 patients in the medical clinic and pharmacy.

Lessons in medicine and social strata

Given her interest in the medical profession and plans to pursue study to become a doctor, Danielle decided to do the trip this year for her senior project in high school.  Not only was she able to shadow and assist medical care professionals on three different days, she also learned such things as how to take blood pressure, clean out ears, and use a stethoscope.

Several of the villages we went to were very poor.  We brought bread with us to one village after realizing that many of the children come to school without breakfast and have nothing to eat until they arrive home in the afternoon.  Though we were able to get the children to smile when we played with them, we seldom saw adult villagers smile. Perhaps that was because of the hard lives they lead, their hard labor in the fields, and their meager living conditions.

The Quechua are indigenous people, and the lowest class of society. They have struggled to receive services, and there are still many isolated areas in need of medical care, education, training and spiritual support.  Two years ago a retired U.S.Army colonel came as part of the team. He led the socks and shoes ministry. The Ecuadorian soldiers watched as he knelt down and washed the feet of children, men and women. That act broke through cultural barriers. The soldiers, including the commanding officer, became part of the team, washing feet and fitting shoes. Since then, the soldiers have become an integral part of the mission team.

“Long-term changes come slowly,” Nancy told us. “Our work continues to open doors for the Ecuadorians to continue helping their own people.”

Planning Sept. 5 presentation

The highland region we went to in Ecuador was beautiful and the Quechua people seemed grateful that we came and served them.  Just seeing the smiles on the children’s faces when we gave them a pair of shoes was worth it all! This was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. The experience was eye-opening.  My definition of “needs” was redefined.  Food is a need, a newer smart phone is not.

This was my first humanitarian trip, but it won’t be my last.

With airfare, food, housing, and the $1,000 worth of medical supplies that Danielle and I were responsible for providing, the trip cost us about $5,000.  Fortunately, a number of the College of Education staff and faculty helped sponsor us, and that helped a ton.

I was humbled and honored to represent the friends who graciously gave.  Our lives were enriched and we hope to have had a meaningful impact on the lives of those we visited.  I plan to do a presentation at noon, Sept. 5, in Cleveland Hall Room 160A at WSU for anyone who wants to learn more about what we did and see photos of our visit to Ecuador.