Spring 2024


This Capstone partners with Portland Playhouse and is designed to assist the production company in accounting for oppressive narratives, tropes, and experiences of its artists and community members. Critical Race Theory and Goffman’s Dramaturgical Theory will assist PSU students in critiquing production scripts to develop reports/feedback and determine best practices for providing community healing and accountability for the following production season. We will elevate the voices that are silenced. We own our stories.

Students are invited to respond to the critical need of developing a culturally responsive fundraising strategy for the Barbie’s Village tiny home project with a local nonprofit, The Future Generations Collaborative. Students will learn more about the county's ninth largest urban Native population, and the impact colonization has had on the community, specifically access to housing.

This Capstone explores visions for a just food system that empowers all community members to have equitable access to healthful, nutritious and culturally appropriate foods, information and education about food systems, and land to grow without exploitation, and with a commitment to sustainability. Students will engage directly with growing food, alongside readings, group discussions, group activities, and Capstone team project work, to investigate the concepts of sustainability, systems-thinking, food justice, and food sovereignty.

This capstone explores the history of Asian American activism both locally and nationally. Students will learn about the issues and concerns that impact Asian Americans and about the mobilizing efforts of local and national organizations activated for Asian American rights. At the heart of Asian American Studies is the tradition of scholarship and teaching in service of social change.

The Animal Empathy Project: Creating Compassion Through Art 

For this in-person capstone students will engage in communal art practice with members of a brain injury community associated with Brain Injury Connections Northwest (BIC-NW) (https://braininjuryconnectionsnw.org/) to expand their understanding of the lived experiences of brain injury survivors and the impacts of ableism as it intersects with other oppressions on brain injury communities. Additionally, students will investigate how art practiced in solidarity with brain injury communities can support well-being and serve as

HOUSING & HOMELESSNESS:  Nearly half of all PSU students have experienced food insecurity and over 15% have experienced homelessness. This Capstone considers the challenges of housing insecurity and homelessness, faced by our country and here on our campus, through a critical systems-thinking approach to complex social issues. The course is guided by our collaborators at The PSU Landing at FUMC: A new PSU community resource sheltering students through housing crisis and transitions. Capstone student projects will work to change narratives, implement creative actions, and advocate for effective housing policies. In Spring Term 2021, this class will be offered fully remotely, meeting in synchronous Zoom meetings; and a weekly one hour asynchronous Capstone Project meeting is also required.

This Capstone will partner with the Learning Gardens Laboratory (LGL), a 12-acre garden education site on Portland’s southeast side. Students work collaboratively to gather stories of community gardeners, teachers, and community partners who regularly gather at LGL to learn and farm. Capstone students will gain skills in interviewing, storytelling, and using narrative as a means for social change, in addition to learning about sustainable food systems and the impact of learning gardens. 

Meditation and Service

We will practice and grow in our understanding of mindful meditation and awareness as a foundation for personal and global healing. Meditation is a practice that encompasses a philosophy of living with a quiet mind, open heart, and in service to others. Learners will cultivate their own mindful meditation practice 6 days a week for 15-20 minutes a day. Together we will explore the connections between ancient Eastern philosophy, personal healing, and social responsibility. Service-learning with our non-profit community partners gives context to the course materials and our mindfulness practice. Equally important, it provides an opportunity to experience present moment awareness while deepening learners’ experiential understanding about the social determinants of health and their influence on individuals, communities, and society as a whole.