Photo by McKenna Morin

Brooke Thames; Mast Magazine Editor & Mast Editor in Chief;

Growing up, I was encouraged to be certain. When my mother asked me a question, she didn’t want to hear what I thought. She wanted to hear what I knew. “Don’t think. Know,” she’d always say. My mom never liked uncertainty and encouraged me to be knowledgeable about my life and its influences. Those words still apply to my life today.

As a young adult college student voting in her first election, I’m continually asking myself about how much I know — whether it’s politics, social issues or simply how to pay my credit card bill. As a young adult college student, I continually find the answer is, “Not as much as I think I do.” However, there are a few things of which I’m certain: this moment in history is one of strife, but also one of faith.

We are living in a time riddled with conflict, where differences splinter and divide strangers and friends alike. Politics has become a screaming match instead of an exercise in active listening and collaboration.

Even though the world we live in shakes with tension, it’s a world of hope, potential and promise. This moment in history bursts with eager, young individuals determined to make a difference. It sings with the creativity, inspiration and innovation of our generation. It rejoices when when we find ways to foster community and work together in a fractured world.

These are the things I know. I know because I’ve heard them, read them and experienced them myself. I listened to Muslim students Alaa Alshaibani and Fatoumatta Conteh share their experiences with ignorance and prejudice regarding their faith, and heard their appeal for more religious intersectionality on campus. I read how senior Arika Matoba became a business owner, launching her own fashion line out of the desire to be a creator. I experienced the warmth of North Pacific Coffee Company — a gem in the Parkland community — as they’ve continued to grow as a haven for local residents.

This edition of Mast Magazine is filled with things I’ve come to know. They are things you will know now, too. You’ll know how Muslim students experience campus, how a theatre major became a fashion designer and how a local coffee shop aims to create a safe and inspiring space for all. The main thing you’ll know is that the world is a complicated place, but a little coffee and a lot of faith can go a long way.

Photo by Rizelle Rosales

Rizelle Rosales; Mast Magazine Co-Editor; rosalera@plu.ed

When people ask where I live, I usually respond with a simple “Tacoma” or even “south of Seattle,” as I’m sure many other students do. I think anyone who lives in the Puget Sound struggles to some extent to place themselves in relation to Seattle. Especially after a semester abroad, saying “an hour south of Seattle” became redundant. See? You’re already sick of reading it.

After writing for this issue, I’m proud to say I’m from Parkland. This humble corner of unincorporated Pierce County has found a way to resonate with me time and time again. I love Parkland the way I love the reading chair in my Canadian grandmother’s house – it’s not mine, but it holds me well. Old, comfortable, lived-in – and sometimes smells like my favorite soup.

Doing research about Parkland has led me to incredible people, unforgettable conversation and cherished places that are crucial to the community.  I’ve flipped through yellowed pages of decades-old publications in the archives and talked to small business owners about where they like to eat. I’ve talked to people who have lived in Parkland for two months, people who have lived here for their whole lives.

Our campus has a large presence in this neighborhood, and some would say Parkland is PLU. However, there are little levels, layers and elements that like to hide themselves and linger in the afterthought, in the out-of-focus background of a PLU brochure. Though they may hide, they will never run – if you approach with open arms and, more importantly, an open mind ◼︎

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