The Pearl

The Pearl The Pearl Magazine is an independent monthly publication based in Aliso Viejo, at Soka University Of America.

The Pearl strives to emulate slain Wall Street Journal Reporter Daniel Pearl’s efforts to bring out the human side of every story. Following his courageous model, The Pearl opens channels of communication in an endeavor to articulately and respectfully express differing opinions. The Pearl reports on issues of concern for the campus, the local community and the globe, aiming to unify the campus toward the realization of the mission of Soka University of America. Dear Anhthu submissions: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSems7pa1-gAb-89ichXSW76_uwjmbBDNUgls6ll1VuTQCeRHA/viewform

Administration and faculty promise to work with students to meet the demands made by the Black Student Union and Student...
11/15/2019
University leadership responds to student protests and demands

Administration and faculty promise to work with students to meet the demands made by the Black Student Union and Students of Color Coalition to improve inclusion, representation, and equity on campus.

Photo by Saanika Joshi These statements precede the “Building a Community of Trust, Equity, and Inclusion Open Forum” on Friday. Most of campus will shut down in order to allow all students, …

Tomorrow, 11/14, classes between 1:30-4:30pm will be cancelled and most departments of the university will close to allo...
11/14/2019

Tomorrow, 11/14, classes between 1:30-4:30pm will be cancelled and most departments of the university will close to allow for a campus-wide forum. ALL students, staff, and faculty are encouraged to attend.

The forum will be facilitated by Mark A. Gooden, a professor and critical race theorist from Columbia University.

Context on the student fallout from recent events on campus
11/09/2019
It’s about more than the n-word

Context on the student fallout from recent events on campus

By Abbie Malabuyoc & Casey Chaffin Students at Soka University of America will be protesting the annual tradition of Soka Fest tonight in solidarity with the Black Student Union. Many still qu…

In response to several racist incidents on campus, Black Student Union is organizing a protest of Soka Festival.
11/06/2019
Black Student Union organizes protest of Soka Festival

In response to several racist incidents on campus, Black Student Union is organizing a protest of Soka Festival.

Kristen Storms, co-founder of the Black Student Union, stood in front of a packed Fishbowl the night of November 5 to announce the BSU’s next initiative: a protest of Soka Fest. Recent student unr…

A student shares a personal essay about learning English with the help of comic books and finding a love for education
05/13/2019
KA-BOOM: Breaking Language Barriers with Comic Books

A student shares a personal essay about learning English with the help of comic books and finding a love for education

By Kofi Gyamfi Sarkodie, Contributor I was born in a town called Agona. The only literate adults there at that time were the teachers who had been posted from the city to teach at schools in our to…

The African & Ethnic Studies conference is FRIDAY 5-7pm in Pauling 216. In time for the event, the student organizers of...
05/10/2019
This One’s About Us: The Push for African and Ethnic Studies at Soka

The African & Ethnic Studies conference is FRIDAY 5-7pm in Pauling 216. In time for the event, the student organizers of this event write about the rationale for the conference.

By Christelle Inema, Victoria Huynh, and Jordyn Saito On behalf of the student group leading the push for African and Ethnic Studies Within the last year, SUA’s Black Student Union has spearheaded …

"Ethnic & African Studies - here?" Student-organized panel THIS FRIDAY in Pauling 216, 5-7pm
05/08/2019

"Ethnic & African Studies - here?" Student-organized panel THIS FRIDAY in Pauling 216, 5-7pm

It's the May 2019 issue of the Pearl - a whole year in the making! Enjoy stories ranging from campus security to the hyp...
05/08/2019
The Pearl May 2019

It's the May 2019 issue of the Pearl - a whole year in the making! Enjoy stories ranging from campus security to the hyphenated-American identity to refugee resettlement, right here:

Issuu is a digital publishing platform that makes it simple to publish magazines, catalogs, newspapers, books, and more online. Easily share your publications and get them in front of Issuu’s millions of monthly readers. Title: The Pearl May 2019, Author: ThePearl, Name: The Pearl May 2019, Length...

The Pearl is here! Get your copy Tuesday @ lunch in the cafeteria!
05/06/2019

The Pearl is here! Get your copy Tuesday @ lunch in the cafeteria!

OPINION: The cross-section of Soka's Luau performance with the commodification of Native Hawaiian culture
04/14/2019
Critical Perspectives on Soka’s Lu’au

OPINION: The cross-section of Soka's Luau performance with the commodification of Native Hawaiian culture

In its 10th anniversary this year, the Lū’au performance is one of our oldest traditions here at Soka. The club which spearheads it every year is called, “Ka Pilina Ho’olokahi,” which means …

One of our Study Abroaders writes on the political situation in Spain
04/04/2019
Three Spanish perspectives on Spain’s upcoming elections

One of our Study Abroaders writes on the political situation in Spain

By Julian Nazar, Pearl Foreign Correspondent Julian is studying abroad in Granada, Spain Mariano Rajoy, a member of the moderate-right Partido Popular (PP), was elected as Prime Minister of Spain f…

Read about Soka's conversations surrounding mental health on campus and an update about the new Breathe Club's goals
04/03/2019
Mental Health: What We Don’t Talk About

Read about Soka's conversations surrounding mental health on campus and an update about the new Breathe Club's goals

  Mental health isn’t discussed a lot on campus. I know mental health might be scary to some, but the word shouldn’t drive us away from the conversation. Mental health isn’t just about sadness…

Read about the experience of 15 Soka students who attended the National Youth Climate Strike in Laguna Beach on March 15
04/01/2019
‘Many Embodied, One in Mind’: Reflecting on the National Youth Climate Strike

Read about the experience of 15 Soka students who attended the National Youth Climate Strike in Laguna Beach on March 15

By Shelby Kohn, Climate Reality Club Committee Chair I was talking on the phone with my friend Gianna, a senior student at University of California, Irvine (UCI) when I first heard about the Natio…

The results and explanation of the 2019 Energy Challenge between the SUA residence halls, by student sustainability educ...
03/27/2019
2019 Energy Challenge: Results, Analysis, and Why This Matters

The results and explanation of the 2019 Energy Challenge between the SUA residence halls, by student sustainability educator Lauren Ng

By Lauren Ng, Sustainability Educator As an institution of higher education, our fundamental purpose is to educate students who will enter the world as changemakers for a better future. If we want …

Get into spring break with Connor Busby's review of Solange's new album When I Get Home!
03/17/2019
Review: Solange’s new album is like a warm, breezy daydream

Get into spring break with Connor Busby's review of Solange's new album When I Get Home!

By Connor Busby, Pearl Staff A plain foam mattress pad – the concept of a bed reduced to its bare bones. It is just this kind of simple cushion upon which I lay, closing my eyes and listening to So…

Check out a Pearl reviewer's thoughts on "Captain Marvel" before buying those tickets!
03/14/2019
Review: “Captain Marvel” charms, but falls short of greatness

Check out a Pearl reviewer's thoughts on "Captain Marvel" before buying those tickets!

By Skyler Wolf, Pearl Reporter Captain Marvel is undeniably placed in an awkward spot within the Marvel movie slot. Off the wave of Avengers: Infinity War— which was insanely popular among critics …

Get up to date with the state of public safety on campus. And don't forget to check out our other story on updates to sa...
03/14/2019
Two recent public-safety incidents under investigation

Get up to date with the state of public safety on campus. And don't forget to check out our other story on updates to safety procedures.

PHOTO: Soka Public Safety Director Craig Lee in his office on February 27. During this semester, two events concerning public safety have had that effect: a man accused of a lethal hit-and-run was …

Do you have a story idea for the Pearl? Share it with us! Submit through this Google Form
02/23/2019
Coverage suggestions for the Pearl

Do you have a story idea for the Pearl? Share it with us! Submit through this Google Form

Do you have an idea for a story you think the Pearl should cover? Is there a certain part of campus that doesn't receive coverage? Let us know!

Pearl reporter Ren Aguilar discusses ways students can live more sustainably on campus
12/11/2018
Building a More Sustainable Soka, Building a More Sustainable World

Pearl reporter Ren Aguilar discusses ways students can live more sustainably on campus

(Photo by Alena Koval from Pexels) In the face of global issues like climate change, natural resource depletion, and pollution some students are wondering how to make an impact. There are currently…

Student Sustainability Educator Lauren Ng writes about how climate change impacts areas close to us
12/11/2018
Feeling the Heat: How Climate Change Hits Close to Home

Student Sustainability Educator Lauren Ng writes about how climate change impacts areas close to us

By Lauren Ng, Student Sustainability Educator Over the summer, I had the opportunity to work on campus as a Sustainability Assistant. It was a fantastic experience. I received a great deal on summ…

Pearl reporter Julian Nazar sits down with new Aliso Viejo city councilwoman Tiffany Ackley to talk about her plans for ...
12/11/2018
A Conversation with Newly-Elected City Councilwoman Tiffany Ackley

Pearl reporter Julian Nazar sits down with new Aliso Viejo city councilwoman Tiffany Ackley to talk about her plans for the city

Tiffany Ackley didn’t expect to go into politics. After receiving her law degree from the University of San Diego School of Law, she decided to become an environmental attorney. Since then, she has…

Pearl reporter Julian Nazar interviews local author Suzanne Chun about her new book, "Ties that Bind," which has a chapt...
12/11/2018
Local Author Ties it All Together in New Book

Pearl reporter Julian Nazar interviews local author Suzanne Chun about her new book, "Ties that Bind," which has a chapter that features Soka University.

Soka University featured in a chapter of Ties That Bind, by local author Suzanne Chun, the wife of Aliso Viejo city councilman and Soka Bistro frequenter Ross Chun, recently published a book Ties T…

Pearl reporter Skyler Wolf interviews the new Performing Arts Center director, Renee Bodie, about her history with the a...
12/11/2018
Art and Education, an Interview with the New Performing Arts Center Director

Pearl reporter Skyler Wolf interviews the new Performing Arts Center director, Renee Bodie, about her history with the arts and education

By Skyler Wolf Renee Bodie has recently taken the position of Director of the Performing Arts Center after Soka’s founding PAC director, David Palmer, retired last year. Bodie formerly directed th…

Pearl writer Thuy Le discusses how the core value of Soka—pursuing a peaceful culture—might contribute to a lack of enga...
12/11/2018
Rethinking the Peace Culture

Pearl writer Thuy Le discusses how the core value of Soka—pursuing a peaceful culture—might contribute to a lack of engagement in the community.

Last September, our university made significant progress by moving from the 39th to the 22nd position in the US News Ranking of the Best Liberal Art Colleges in the country. Soka also lands at #1 i…

Pearl reporter Khin Thazin sits down with two former Freedom Writers to talk about their work with the Freedom Writers F...
12/11/2018
Freedom Writers’ Journey

Pearl reporter Khin Thazin sits down with two former Freedom Writers to talk about their work with the Freedom Writers Foundation, which emphasizes overcoming adversity through education and the promotion of an inclusive pedagogy.

The Freedom Writers Foundation emphasizes overcoming adversity – whether it be social, economic and interpersonal – through education and the promotion of an inclusive pedagogy. The foundation bega…

Soka first-year Mercedes Corrales writes about her grandmother's deportation after living for 25 years in the U.S.
12/11/2018
Deported: A Story from the U.S. Immigration Crisis

Soka first-year Mercedes Corrales writes about her grandmother's deportation after living for 25 years in the U.S.

By Mercedes Corrales In January 2018, after living in the U.S. for 25 years, my grandmother Maria was deported to her home country of Mexico. Her deportation was an unexpected one. In 2005, my gr…

Here are some photos from the Pearl Journalism Forum 2017: Finding Truth in the 21st Century (11/2/2017).
11/15/2017

Here are some photos from the Pearl Journalism Forum 2017: Finding Truth in the 21st Century (11/2/2017).

Hi all!The Pearl is back with Dear Anhthu! This is a platform to ask Anhthu, SUA's counselor, anything you need advice/g...
11/05/2017
Dear Anhthu

Hi all!

The Pearl is back with Dear Anhthu! This is a platform to ask Anhthu, SUA's counselor, anything you need advice/guidance on anonymously! All questions are due by November 11th!

Here is a link to the form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSems7pa1-gAb-89ichXSW76_uwjmbBDNUgls6ll1VuTQCeRHA/viewform?usp=sf_link

Submit your anonymous question(s) to Anhthu! Your questions can pertain to mental health, personal relationships, the relationship you have with yourself, stress etc. Your question along with the response will be published in the Pearl Issues!

We would like to thank everyone who came to The Pearl Journalism Forum yesterday! We had a great time discussing relevan...
11/02/2017

We would like to thank everyone who came to The Pearl Journalism Forum yesterday!

We had a great time discussing relevant issues in journalism with our five panelists Shirley Jahad, Jihii Jolly, Hector Becerra, Jamie Altman, and Andre Mouchard.

10/26/2017

From our October 2003 edition, titled "Know Thyself": "After a long process of coming out, I'm comfortable saying the words 'I am gay'. And that's such an accomplishment in itself.”

10/25/2017

From the FIRST ever publication by the Pearl (March 2002): "If you're reading this right now, this is your newspaper any time that you want it to be. Our reports of campus happenings can't uncover the challenges and decisions, learning and thought, beauty and frustration of this place -- at least not any better than you, yourself, can [...] We're doing this because the campus needs another bullhorn-- a communal one, to be passed around for the seers to say, jokers to joke, and poets to play."

10/23/2017

Titled "Worried About not Fitting in at Soka?" (Spring 2002) [addressed to the incoming Class of 2006] "Do you think you might enjoy drinking in your dorm room even though you are underage? Don't worry. There will be many other students grumbling about about the alcohol policy along with you." Looks like the pioneering spirit of the first class was about more than we knew 😏😏

10/22/2017

When administration monitored the Pearl: (December 2002). "Last week I was told by a member of the administration that the aim of the Pearl is not to publish truth, but our own political agenda. This is only partially true. We do have a political agenda, as we are interested in the politics of SUA and have a vision of how this place could be. But each writer of the Pearl has a different political agenda! [...] My relationship to SUA is similar to a romantic relationship with a man. Usually I love him, sometimes I hate him, and after about three months we start having problems [...] the writer is always interpreting the information he is gathering [...] I have also heard the writers of the Pearl referred to as 'trouble makers'. It is not our intention though, to 'make' troubles. We simply want to write it down if there are some."

10/21/2017

😭😭😭 From the Spring 2010 publication, titled The “American Cousin": Study Abroad Kansai. “I was born in Okinawa, Japan, and I lived there for 8 years. My mother is Okinawan. On paper, my decision to study Japanese does appear to be a cop-out, a strategy for an easy grade, and I don’t blame other students for assuming that about me. […] [my] reasons for choosing Japanese […] I wanted to be able to speak with my family. […] I speak [spoke] the worst kind of childish-Japanese and English mix. […] my mother speaks little English, and I have only been able to communicate shallow feelings to them [my family]. I want them to know the depths of my thoughts […] I was comfortable and happy. But when I told this same thing to one of my SUA senpai (upperclassmen), he called me a liar. A liar? His comment disturbed me. It disturbed me because deep inside my soul, I knew that, in some ways, he was right. […] every day, I am reminded of how American I am, how foreign I am, how not Japanese I am. […] I feel insecure when people look at me because I’m not sure whether it’s a regular person of a gaijin (foreigner) that they’re seeing.”

10/18/2017

For those who say that SUA is changing, the new students don't care about this or that, etc., well, DUH!!! From the November 2008 edition of the Pearl: “A bigger Lions Roar turnout and other recruitment activities point only toward a growing student body, in both size and diversity. And amid this growth, I sense an increasingly hazy picture of the SUA “poster-child”, or the “ideal” Soka student. […] We are repeatedly reminded by our seniors, our staff and our faculty that there is no typical or ideal Soka student. We all came here for different reasons and contribute to this school in our own unique ways. [..] We have allowed a stereotype to develop. [...] In my opinion, the bubble isn’t a step away from reality but a magnification of it – a magnification of the same interactions that occur on a much larger scale in the so-called “real-world”. […] I think those students who chose SUA for different reasons – such as its location, financial aid, or athetic programs – help our university grow in an entirely new and important way.[…] Whether we are happy at SUA or not is a choice about being present and actively engaging each other in any sort of stimulating discussion, regardless of where it is positive, or fits into a stereotype of what SUA students ‘should’ be discussing. […] [the ideal should be] a willingness to listen and a willingness to speak about anything and everything.”

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