Welcome to the

Portland State University

Village Building Convergence

The PSU VBC Planning Circle is a coalition of the following campus sustainability group
- Environmental Club (EClub)
- Sustainability Leaders Network (SLC)
- Food Action Collective (FAC)
- Sustainability Leaders Network (SLN)

                                The Coalition will begin convening in Fall, 2015 until Spring 2016, as a part of a city-wide network of placemaking sites with the Village Building Convergence.

VBC at PSU 2016 Plans:

Portland State’s Village Building Convergence will be hosted from June 7th - June 9th. We will be gathering each morning at 10:00 am at the Grazing Gardens, located on the South side of Smith Memorial Student Union (SW Harrison & Park Avenue). We will work on a variety of projects and engage in multiple activities.

Our main VBC project has been inspired by the energy, values and spirit of Nicole Sangsuree Barrett. Sangsuree significantly contributed to the Portland State sustainability community and even after her passing has continued to inspire and connect our community. Click here to learn more about Nicole and her legacy.


 Bench Building

The feature project of our event is the manifesting of a ferrocement bench in the Garzing Gardens. The bench will provide a place for students to take a deep breath and enjoy the tranquility that is provided by the Grazing Gardens. 

Our design features an organic shape, a multi-tiered planter bed, inlets for placing candles or other accessories, and is highlighted by a stained glass mosaic design that embodies the essence of Sangsuree’s song, Earth My Body. Featured on the back rest of the handmade bench will incorporate the chorus of Sangsuree’s song, Earth my body, water my blood, air my breath, fire my spirit. 

Throughout our three-day VBC event series, several additional opportunities to participate in our community gathering at PSU. Take a glance at our daily schedule below to learn more about when to stop by.

June 7th, 2016:

The first day of our event will consist of an opening circle at 10:00am. From here, a group of volunteers will begin focusing on the development of a skeleton-like structure for the bench consisting of 3/8th inch rebar and expanded metal mesh. Once the framing has been finished, we will fill the inside of the frame with urbanite and granite blocks. 
Volunteers may also wish to participate in the painting of positive affirmation signs that will be placed in the Grazing Gardens and other greenspaces around campus. Free lunch from Hotlips will be served from 1pm to 2pm. Volunteers will return to their respective tasks after lunch. We will wrap up our first successful day of VBC with a guided Yoga session led by VBC volunteers Zahir and Claire from 3:30pm to 4:30pm.


June 8th, 2016:

            On our second day of VBC, we will again congregate in an opening circle at 10:00am. The focus of today will be filling in the skeleton of the bench with cement that will be mixed on-site. Once a “peanut-butter”-like viscosity has been achieved, we will begin filling in the bench frame with trowel-fulls of cement, working from the bottom up.

Volunteers are also invited to participate in a rock painting workshop facilitated by Claire from 10am to 12pm. Lunch will again be served from 1pm to 2pm and will be followed by a tour around the PSU campus to the many different greenspaces on campus. The tour, led by Ryan and Casey, will begin in the Grazing Gardens, move west to the Smith Native Garden, then south to the Native American Student and Community Center (NASCC). After we tour the NASCC, we will walk to the Oak Savannah, then finishing the tour in the Community Orchard. Snacks will be provided during the tour! The day’s activities will cease at 4pm and will resume the following morning.


June 9th, 2016:

On our third and final day, we will begin the event with a most glorious opening circle. The bench will receive the finishing touches on this day. We will be adhering a set of premade mosaic stained glass tiles to the bench. The bench will also receive a finishing layer of grout to provide a smooth surface. Lastly, we will be filling the plant beds on the side of the bench with soil and giving a diverse array of plants a home! Lunch from Hot Lips will again be served from 1pm to 2pm.

Students with children are invited to bring their young ones to a special children’s activity from 2pm to 4pm that will provide the youthful participants with play-dough to practice their own activity of placemaking. Volunteers are welcome to participate in a closing ceremony and relish in the beauty of the work done over the past few days! Everyone is welcome to visit the Grazing Gardens in the future and immerse themselves in the healing powers of community built greenspace! Thank you!

-Further Information-
Free Lunch from Hotlips Pizza ( say what!?) for all volunteers, from 1pm to 2pm each day
A great opportunity to become more involved with student groups on campus or to just become more acquainted with your fellow students!
Feel free to email Casey McCarthy (casey23@pdx.edu) with any questions about the event!

Email: portlandstatevbc(AT)gmaildotcom
Listserv: portland-state-vbc(AT)googlegroupsdotcom

Read more about past projects below 
PSU VBC 2015