Pepperdine is nice but this is a straight disrespect to Space Jam

Pepperdine

I’d like to start by saying Pepperdine journalism was amazing for me. It gave me a foundation, lifelong friends and taught me valuable lessons. Pepperdine’s International Programs are also legendary. London IP was by far the highlight of my college experience.

HOWEVER, this is not OK.

Pepperdine’s New Student Orientation this year was space themed, so for decorations they used “Space Jam” on signs. Initially I was really excited — wow! SPACE JAM THIS IS AWESOME I LOVE YOU ALMA MATER. But no. In this context, “Space Jam” is a space-themed dance. Far from this:

giphy (1)

TRAVESTY. SCANDAL. We must not let Michael Jordan’s Space Jam die. I grew up running around the house singing, “I Believe I Can Fly.” It doesn’t matter that I haven’t seen the movie in 10-plus years.

If you’re thinking, “Well, maybe those girls simply weren’t dressed for the occasion,” I confirmed with other students that this is indeed space-themed with no correlation to the film. Others are in space tights and one of my friends texted me: “All those in space suits are worthy of expulsion FROM THE PLANET.” Yes, apparently there are people running around in space. suits.

The logos are far too similar for this mistake to have been made. Someone knew

Screen Shot 2015-08-29 at 1.54.57 PMScreen Shot 2015-08-29 at 1.54.40 PM

What’s done is done. I just wanted to vent and get this out there — to make people aware of what is happening. Even if the 1996 cartoon sports flick wasn’t the greatest movie of all time, it was a great movie at the time for a little kid. Don’t let it die. Please.

I’ll leave you with more Pepperdine social media things. Maybe this adds context. Maybe it’s not their fault (?):

(as seen on Instagram)

IMG_4166

EmojiPrayerHands.New.0EmojiPrayerHands.New.0EmojiPrayerHands.New.0

Santa Monica is the GOAT

Life

Alysha Tsuji

I wrote the following for the student-produced 2015 Pepperdine Housing Guide. Traditionally, the articles within it haven’t made their way online, so I thought I’d share it here.

I’m going to start with the obvious: Malibu is not a college town. Malibu is the antithesis of a college town. It is isolated, it is quiet, it despises chain store establishments.

Pepperdine, as you all know, is in Malibu. I chose to live on campus for the majority of my time as a student. I spent my freshman year in Hayes House, my sophomore year abroad in the London house, my junior year in Lovernich and part of my senior year in Drescher.

I moved off campus to Santa Monica in the middle of senior year. I thought it would be horrible. The idea seemed scary at first. However, what I learned is that change happens, change is inevitable and change is awesome.

Santa Monica changed my life.

Leaving campus was like a breath of fresh air — the cleanest, freshest air. Malibu had slowly started to suffocate me. Sure, there were perks to living on campus. It’s cool to see Gerard Butler at the Starbucks down the street and to be a 10-minute walk away from classes. But moving brought me a pleasantly surprising sense of peace.

The people of Santa Monica are quirky in a charming way (especially the people at the Starbucks on Wilshire), everything is in walking distance and, if you split apartment costs, the rent is affordable (when put in direct comparison with Pepperdine housing charges). Plus, out here I can’t get expelled for having an unopened bottle of wine in my fridge.

Late Nights

The only asterisk to the overwhelmingly long list of pros is the drive. Although, it’s not as bad as it seems. I’ve yet to run into more than 20 to 30 minutes of light traffic. The one exception was Jan. 15 when men’s basketball played Gonzaga. I sat on PCH for 1.5 hours to make it to Firestone in time for tip-off, but that was an anomaly. After the game, ESPN reported that Gonzaga Coach Mark Few said about the traffic jam, “I’ve done this 26 times and I’ve never seen anything like that.”

PCH is amiable most of the time if you give it a chance.

Now you may be wondering who I’m living with, how I went about finding an apartment way out in the mysterious lands of Santa Monica in the middle of the year and whether or not I’ll have to keep my lease for 12 months.

My move happened to be unexpected, so I’m living solo in a studio (I didn’t have time to find roommates). Finding the studio simply required a strong sense of urgency and a little bit of Googling. As far as the lease, I managed to score a shortened 5-month lease for a 12-month price on a special holiday deal.

The act of suddenly shifting cities wasn’t particularly fun, though. The abrupt change of location was stressful (it involved me sleeping on an L-shaped couch for a month), but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. If you’re contemplating living situation plans for the next school year, just know that Pepperdine housing, Villa Malibu, Malibu Villa, the Stinkies and other Malibu-localized accommodations aren’t your only options.

Soak in the college experience and create bonds with your classmates, yet don’t fear stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing freedom.

If You Build It, They Will Come

Sports

Pepperdine University is not known for sports.

First of all, we don’t have football. And our men’s basketball team hasn’t appeared in the NCAA Tournament for 12 years. Our women’s team has experienced a slightly shorter eight-year NCAA Tournament drought.

We’re known for the gorgeous Pacific Ocean views, easy beach access and “hottest college students.”

IMG_0935.JPG

Pepperdine’s gym, Firestone Fieldhouse: almost always empty for a nice shoot around, seats a little over 3,000.

It’s not that we don’t have talented student-athletes — sophomore Taylor Alvarado played for the U-20 Mexican National Team this past summer and junior Marissa Chow competed in the U.S. Women’s Open — it’s just that our student body often has other commitments that take precedence over sports (or something like that).

With the exception of men’s basketball facing Gonzaga or women’s soccer charging deep into the NCAA playoffs, sporting event attendance is usually pretty dismal.

It’s not for a lack of effort on behalf of our Athletics Department. They do numerous giveaways: t-shirts, retro basketball jerseys, soccer scarves, KFC meals, burritos, sporting good store gift cards, pizza — and the free swag options have only gotten increasingly creative during my time here.

There’s even a new RipTide program where every time you go to a game you have your ID scanned, which racks up points if you register online. At the end of last year the student at the top of the leaderboard won an i-Pad.

You could say that maybe students still aren’t at games because they’d rather be at Coffee House or in class or working or tied up in Greek life.

I think it’s simple: We have no football team, our basketball teams have never consistently boasted winning records and baseball isn’t hyped.

To solve this issue, I have a proposition. Instead of pouring money into men’s basketball, why not increase the seating at our sports “arenas”? Doubling the seating space might sound completely crazy considering our current attendance rates. However, I believe that if we build it, people will come.

Perhaps I’m delusional, but if I were a top-notch athlete choosing a school I’d rather go to the one with potential for building a fan base rather than the one with no room for a massive fan base to sit.

It would take a lot of money and an even greater amount of faith, but the saying goes that risks yield rewards. No matter how many free food or Pepperdine gear promotions Athletics doles out, I don’t see anything changing anytime soon.

Larger than life facilities is what we need. The truth is that students will not rally around mediocre teams in a small school atmosphere.

800px-UDarena

Dayton University’s gym in Ohio seats double the number of the undergrad student body population.

A prime example is Dayton University. Their undergrad population is about 7,000 yet their gym can hold up to around 13,000 — nearly double the student body numbers. Last season their men’s basketball team took off on a Cinderella run into the Elite Eight.

Dayton’s campus went absolutely nuts throughout the team’s postseason success. I hope one day Pepperdine students can feel that. Our academics and location is unmatchable. We simply need to shed the small school mentality.

I also understand we have sound-sensitive, high profile Malibu residents surrounding campus. Sports trumps.

 

 

“Sports don’t matter.”

Sports

Why Sports Are Worth Caring About

SPORTS

They hit me in the gut:

The people who discount sports as silly games that adults play for loads of cash. I’ve heard people say sports aren’t important and that they’re pointless. I’ve heard people say sports are so easy to cover (“Just go to a few games and write about it — that’s it!”). And that hurts me. Personally.

Granted, sports is not life and death. In fact, I’ll admit it often is pure entertainment. Eighty-five percent of the time, sports is not hard news. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter.

1) The Story Lines

Take, for instance, the 2014 NCAA Championship game featuring No. 7-seeded UConn and No. 8-seeded Kentucky. From that sentence in itself, it’s obvious the two teams left standing at the end clawed their way to Texas. UConn’s fresh-faced, recently retired NBA-er coach, Kevin Ollie, notched a place in history as only the second coach to win an NCAA championship in a first tourney go-around. As a whole, the UConn team became the first ever No. 7-seed to win in the finals. Tales of ordinary people fighting against all odds — and winning — come alive in the sports world. They inspire generations of kids to ball it up in driveways and plaster posters of athletes on their bedroom walls. Sports matter.

Malibu High in a huddle after losing 52-13 to Grace Brethren on Nov. 8.

Malibu High in a huddle after losing 52-13 to Grace Brethren on Nov. 8.

2) The Attitude

Before starting an internship, during November and December of 2013 I held a brief stint as a freelancer for a local Malibu paper in which I mainly covered Malibu High School sports. Malibu High is a small school. Their website says the graduating senior class is just shy of 200 kids. So naturally, their sports teams play in the smaller leagues, and sometimes they struggle quite a bit. The first assignment the editor gave me was to cover the last football game of the year. The team had not won a single game. Expectations were low, however, when I got there, under the lights of the Moorpark Community College stadium, the atmosphere was electric. Parents paced the sidelines, and teammates loudly and proudly jumped around, cheering each other on. Malibu led 21-13 at one point. They lost 52-13, but they led at one point. Those boys could’ve easily been rolled over. Imagine losing game after game. Instead they barreled out swinging with a “no quit” attitude, as the coach said after the game. Sports matter.

derekthera

Hilarious meme brought to my attention by courtesy of Whitney Irick

3) #DontBeADerek

On the same night of the 2014 NCAA Championship game, a UConn RA named “Derek” sent out an email to students in his dorm that quickly flew around the Twittersphere. In it, he compares cheering for men’s UConn basketball to cheering for laundry. Additionally, he ends by saying, “Have fun, but not too much fun.” Whether or not the email was intended to be sarcastic is beside the point. The point is that sports are chock full of guts and glory. Sports are talent and heart and hard work and dedication all wrapped into games on fields and courts. If you’re blind to the impact that sports have on society, then your name might as well be Derek.

If you’re not a “sports person,” I encourage you to go out and enjoy a game: baseball, volleyball, basketball, football, tennis, soccer and the list goes on. Even if you don’t know the rules, talk to some fans, read about the players, look into the stories. If you’re looking for a place to start, try this piece (if this doesn’t tug at your heart strings, I’m not sure what will).

Give sports a shot. I promise it will be worth it.

Pepperdine Happy Feet cleanses soles with purpose

Life, Pepperdine
AndrewEnslenReceipt

Senior Andrew Enslen holding up a receipt after he went shopping for supplies for the Happy Feet Clinic in August 2013. (Photo by Miles Miller)

Freezing in the pouring rain, sopping wet in a dress shirt, amongst a group of strangers in Downtown LA, senior Andrew Enslen found himself in an unfamiliar and uncomfortable situation. It was his second time volunteering with UCLA’s Program in Medical Education’s Happy Feet Clinic.

UCLA PRIME is a five-year MD and masters program. In 2008, 17 PRIME students founded the Happy Feet Clinic “to address the podiatric concerns of the Los Angeles homeless community,” according to the UCLA Happy Feet website.

On that day in February 2012, Enslen recalled how all of their tents had broken, leaving everyone exposed to the elements.

The volunteers and the homeless people “were just laughing because it sucked so bad,” Enslen said. “I had this great feeling that this is what service is all about. We’re not meant to be comfortable, we’re meant to be a little cold and it just felt so right.”

Enlsen confessed that at first the experience of washing peoples’ feet felt awkward, especially in their wet and dreary state. However, in the midst of the awkwardness, Enslen said he remembered “feeling so close to them because we were so miserable.”

In that moment,  a strong conviction came over him, sparking the inspiration for the founding of his nonprofit organization: Pepperdine Happy Feet Clinic Inc.

“I remember I had a moment where I said, ‘This is the kind of service that God asked of us,’” Enslen said. “I was like, ‘Yeah, why don’t we do that [start a nonprofit]? I have everything set up. I go to S.O.S. (Standing on Stone Ministries — a local Malibu nonprofit that feeds the homeless), I know there’s a ton of people there every single week. What is stopping us from doing that? Nothing. There’s nothing stopping us.’”

“God dropped and swapped for me”

At this point, Enslen was a sophomore juggling sports med classes while battling for a spot on the men’s tennis team.

In high school, he “won a few state championships” playing tennis, yet said he had a tough time adjusting to the high level that Pepperdine tennis competed at (that year men’s tennis made runs to the NCAA championships in singles and doubles).

Enslen knew it’d be impossible to simultaneously train with the tennis team and take on the task of founding a nonprofit.

“God just dropped and swapped for me. I prayed about it. ‘Lord is this going to take a lot of time? Should I quit tennis?’” Enslen said. “I didn’t obviously hear anything but he said, ‘Yeah I want you to do this.’”

That summer in 2012, Enslen approached then roommate, senior Trevor Cavender, and asked if Cavender had interest in helping launch Pepperdine Happy Feet Inc., which would provide podiatric care for the homeless. Similar to the UCLA Happy Feet Clinic, but with a Christian focus and centralized in Malibu.

“It was one of those things that sounds great in theory, and you’re just never sure if it’s going to fall through, especially when two people are busy with their own things,” Cavender said. “We both kept each other accountable, and we got enough support initially to inspire us to move forward.

“That’s how it got started, just in an apartment room.”

Through the 2012-13 school year, Enslen and Cavender rallied up 12-15 volunteers and held clinics during certain S.O.S. meeting dates, on Thursday nights at 6:30 p.m. at Webster Elementary School.

“They’re inside serving food and we’re outside washing and giving out clothes and medical supplies,” Enslen said. Enslen and Cavender consistently coordinated with S.O.S., and vice versa. Concerning the relationship, Cavender noted that S.O.S. “really helped us out in pushing us forward. Their participation in this shouldn’t go unnoticed.”

PepperdineHappyFeetInfograph

This year, Pepperdine Happy Feet has yet to hold a clinic due to conflicts between S.O.S. and Webster Elementary.

At the end of January, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District and Standing on Stone agreed “to conclude S.O.S.’s use of Webster Elementary School” with the final day being on or before April 3, Director of Facility Use Carey Upton wrote in an email.

S.O.S. co-founder, Hollie Packman, wrote in an email that the organization “needs” to stay in Malibu because their volunteer force is based in the city. She noted in the email on Feb. 16 that they haven’t found a new location yet, but that “the leaders at Webster, the parents and the school district have been very cooperative,” and she is confident a solution will be sought.

“The community is very supportive and cares deeply for the poor … Over the years we’ve served in Malibu, many lives have been completely turned around and we look forward to more,” Packman wrote.

“Relentlessly push forward”

Although the specific location of future Pepperdine Happy Feet clinics is uncertain at the moment, the groundwork for the nonprofit has been set. And with Enslen and Cavender prepped to graduate come April 2014, they hope someone with vigor and a heart for the homeless will step forward to fill their spots.

“We’ve been working really hard to set up for someone else. I’m very much not wanting this to end this year,” Enslen said.

Cavender commented that in order to keep Pepperdine Happy Feet up and running, it’s crucial to “expect the unexpected” and be able to “relentlessly push forward because a lot of times you run into a lot of dead ends.”

While that advice may sound daunting, Enslen has already done most of the dirty work. He set up the nonprofit as a club, wrote the bylaws and even submitted a 501c3 form to the IRS in an attempt to attain tax deductibility status.

He sent the form over winter break, and said generally the IRS takes about six months to process the paperwork.

“I was really hoping it’s not just a club at Pepperdine. If there’s someone who really has a heart for it and really wants to take it far, there’s a chance it could be one of the bigger service organizations on campus,” Enslen said. “With the things we’re setting in place, you could go beyond the ICC (Inter-Club Council) and go to big corporations to get donations for shoes. That’s what I envisioned it, but it still has to be done.”

With a full heart and an engaging presence, Enslen had no issues with a lack of volunteers during the year he organized clinics, as three-year roommate senior Kevin Enstrom can attest.

“I’ve never met anyone really able to command respect so easily. People are really wanting to be a part of it [Happy Feet],” Enstrom said.

Senior Andrew Enslen, as a Happy Feet Clinic volunteer, washing a man's feet in August 2013. (Photo courtesy of Miles Miller)

Senior Andrew Enslen, as a Happy Feet Clinic volunteer, washing a man’s feet in August 2013. (Photo by Miles Miller)

“There are other things more important”

When 22-year-old Enslen’s friends and family talked about him, one common theme consistently arose: Enslen has an uncanny sense of humility.

For instance, roommate Enstrom described Enslen as being the kind of guy who would “give the shirt off his back to anyone.” Enslen’s mother, Cheryl, said that “If someone was sitting in a lunchroom by themselves, he’d leave his friend group to go sit with that person alone.”

“He just has a heart for people,” Cheryl said.

That mindset of caring for the lesser has dictated Enslen’s postgrad plans. He’s postponing med school apps, and taking a year off from education to be a program director for a homeless ministry called The Bridge back home in Ohio. He says in addition to that, he may also spend a portion of the year working in a third-world country hospital (he’s still deciding on the exact location).

The coordinator of The Bridge, Miles Miller, who runs the day-to-day operations, grew close to Enslen over this past summer and vouched for him to join the team.

“It’s rare that you have someone so gifted but also willing to humble himself and serve the low levels of society,” 22-year-old Miller said.

The Bridge only started up in January 2013 and is looking to gain momentum as the services they offer continue to expand. In one sentence, Miller described the organization’s mission being “to reach to serve the people on the fringe of society — those who are lost and forgotten.” They offer free services such as ESL training, a thrift shop, a legal clinic and an organic garden.

Cavender provided some insight as to why Enslen would choose to spend his days with the homeless rather than apply for enrollment at prestigious medical schools. He talked about how being involved with Pepperdine Happy Feet changed his outlook.

“It’s easy, especially being a science major with our eyes set on med school, it’s easy to get wrapped up in grades. ‘I have to do well in school and study all the time’ — that became our deciding factor in college,” Cavender said. “With Happy Feet, it slapped that across the face. No, there are other things that are more important.”

Enslen has taken those “other things” and brought them to the forefront of his life, front and center; and yet he was adamant in clarifying that “there’s really nothing that separates me from anyone else besides that God helped me and got me a little motivation.”

As he faces graduation in a couple short months, Enslen leaves a piece of advice for undergraduate students in search of purpose:

“If I was telling other students something — this is the cheesiest advice in the world — it would be you just need to find something that you really want and just do it.”

Senior Andrew Enslen standing in the middle of a road in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Mark Spigos)

Senior Andrew Enslen standing in the middle of a road in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Mark Spigos)

As published on the Graphic Online Daily.