An Ocean of Gratitude

27 02 2018


PISA Group 2

#PISACON18 group photo from Saturday February 17th 2018

Finding the words to write this letter has been difficult because there are no words to express our gratitude for what took place at the PISA Conference 2018 (PISACON18). There is a feeling that has been burning in so many of us after the conference and while we are familiar with the energy (mana), the act of feeling it is mostly unnamed. A colonial practice that is often imparted on our people is the idea of having to explain what is not fully understood or titled. This feeling that we know so many of you have; we offer that it is OK to just have the feeling and that it has more impact because we let it be, an unnamed shared energy and experience. Love, family and respect for space and time allowed us find this unique energy that only those who shared breath and space can understand. This is the power of being in relational space.

PISACON18 was widely successful considering the timeline we worked with (2 ½ months) and the amount of community support we received. This commitment made by our sponsors, staff, faculty and student leadership was a testimony of our desire to be where we always longed, together.

Together we released years of frustration in critical workshops, talanoa, safe and brave spaces. Together we embraced in our flavors, dance and music like hugs from our family. Together we supported our neighbor, cousin, classmate and teacher as everyone was accepted as an educator and contributor in our sacred space, our vasa, our ocean. (Va – space, Sa- sacred collectively make the word vasa meaning ocean in the Samoan language). In our own ocean ways, we lost our colonial boundaries and found ourselves living in the same water, together as ocean has intended.

As we create sacred spaces, we know that we are not able to do so without the support of our indigenous communities and support of Native American Student and Community Center and the Pacific Islander, Asian & Asian American Student centers.

To the financial support of the following groups:


To the many hands and helpers we say thank you to the following people, families and groups:

Johnstone Waayan Catering (J-linas)

Aunty Elsie and Uncle James Alexander

Mafutaga Tina EFKAS Portland

NASCC Student Staff

Uncle Noho Marchesi

Timoteo Porotesano

Ikaika and Allen Perreira

Fenton Lutunatuba

Aunty Sandy Tsuneyoshi

Stacie Taniguchi

Lahaina Phillip

Kevin Tugruwfaimaw

Anselmo Villanueva

Mari & Aaron Helenihi Ohana

Liane & Peter Jackson Ohana

Aunty Sheryl Bruno

Laurie Franklin

Vaeomotoka Valu

Stacy Siler

Joe Enlet

Andrea Lei I’i

Sami Lelo

Lilian Ongelungel

Robert Franklin

Trevino Brings Plenty

Justin Sipoloa



To all our presenters, our deepest appreciation:

Black Photo Collage Human Rights Poster

And finally, to our organizing team:

Reagan Le from OSU for their commitment dating back to the first PISACON. To have reagan’s knowledge on our team was vital to moving forward. Also all the long trips from Corvallis to Portland, we are in your debts. 

Robin Fifita of OSU who has one of the busiest schedules we know, but shows up strong every time. To provide on site assistance and encourage strong student participation. 

Stacey Johnston from PSU, who joined our team with a month to go and came through in big ways that we are eternally grateful for.

Kris Galago from UO for stepping in with almost no warning that this was happening and making space for her newly found students on Eugene’s campus.

Chris Young from UO for hosting our first retreat back in May of 2017 and for always checking in with us even though he is unable to attend fall events.

Roz Guerrero the NW doesn’t know how lucky we are to still have her and PISA is a much better place to have this kind of leadership available. Roz is wealth of strength and knowledge. 

Irene Niedo: to have someone good with numbers and to have years of PISA experience is priceless in our work, Irene commitment and growth with PISA is truly appreciated. 

Melva Perez, Johanna Inoke, Coco Aiten, Desmoun Thompson, Lavinia Hau, Jennifer Sipoloa & Ashley Helenihi: From the beginning to the day of PISACON18, both in spirit and the present, these students answered the call to service. So many want to benefits of PISA, few are willing to fight to make it happen and without their commitment we are unsure if this conference ever happens. We feel blessed and assured with their leadership and will continue to seek their guidance in the feature.

The future of our alliance is bright and we have a lot more work to do. In the meantime, we offer all the love an ocean can provide to all our students, staff and community members. Thank you from the depths of our heart, with an ocean of gratitude.


Updates Coming Soon

22 02 2018


After a very successful PISA Conference 2018, we are ready to take the next steps in our outreach and communications. PISA has purchased a new update to our web-site and looks to re-launch its web-site in late March.

Also, we will have an official statement about #PISACON18 by early next week. We currently have a small team and a lot of debriefing items to cover, but when we are done a statement to everyone will be released to share all the good news and feedback we got from last weekends conference.

In the meantime, we thank everyone for their participation and support. We wish all our students the best in their studies and all our sponsors and volunteers a very prosperous future.

With gratitude,


Conference Program

16 02 2018

To help keep our waste down PISA has decided to keep the program digital. We will have some printed copies for folks who do not smart phone’s, but only upon request.

PISA5 (Program)


Speaker List and bio’s

13 02 2018

Check back in tomorrow as we showcase our presenters

Coming Soon! PISACON18 Presenter Profiles and workshop descriptions.

Speaker List

Conference Schedule:

29 01 2018




Below you’ll find the conference schedule. While we are still working on which workshop scheduling, we can offer this skeleton version to help with Registration. If you have questions, please contact us at for more information.

Updated: February 12th 2018

Conference Schedule!

Check out the schedule below for Friday and Saturday. The schedule is subject to change


Time                 Room                       Event                                             Description

4PM-5:30PM NASCC 110 Registration
5:30pm-5:45PM NASCC 110 Presentation of Gifts to NASCC
5:45pm-7:10pm: Session 1
NASCC 110 Lilian Ongelungel Marked by Matriarchs: Women in the Pasifika Tattoo Revival
NASCC 170 Joe Enlet Pacific Islander Advocacy and Policy strategies
NASCC 180 Roz Guerrero and Kaina Barba Healing Circles
NASCC 150 Makerusa Porotesano Oppression 101
7:15pm-7:30pm NASCC 110 Dinner
7:30pm – 7:45pm NASCC Opening Remarks
7:45pm-9pm NASCC 100 Talanoa – Jes Phillip
9pm: NASCC 110 Day one closing


Time                        Room                                   Event                          Description

(doors open at 7am) 8:00 AM NASCC 110 Breakfast/ Check in Light Breakfast
8:30AM-10AM Session 1 4 sessions
NASCC 110 – Cap 170 Makerusa Porotesano Navigating PISACON18
NASCC 150 – Cap 20 Roz Guerrero Internalized racism
NASCC 170 – Cap 30 Johanna Working Title
NASCC 180 – Cap 20 Irene Nideo Personal Finance 101
10AM-10:30AM NASCC 110 Morning Tea – Sua Fa’i/Koko Laisa/Panikeke Sponsored by EFKAS Mafutaga Tina- Portland
10:30AM-12PM Session 2 4 sessions
NASCC 110 – Cap 170 Dr. Vui Asiata Toeutu Faaleava Fa’aMatai
NASCC 150 – Cap 20 Virginia Luka Quality over Quantity
NASCC 170 – Cap 30 Dr. Alma Trinidad Filipino and Identify Politics: Pacific Islander, SE Asian, and/or Latino?
NASCC 180 – Cap 20 Kaina Barba Language Revitalization
12PM-1:30PM Lunch/Talanoa with Fenton Lutunatabua  Food brought to us by J-Linas and chef Johnstone of FSM/Palau
1:30-3PM Session 3
NASCC 110 – Cap 170 Dr. Danaiel Eisen Am I local?
NASCC 150 – Cap 20 Toka Valu Art and storytelling
NASCC 170 – Cap 30 Manumalo Ala’ilima & UTOPIA PDX Intersections of LGBTQ and Pacific Islander
NASCC 180 – Cap 20 Jes Phillip  Traveling With a Purpose
3pm-4pm: NASCC 110 Afternoon Tea  Shaved Ice and hurricane popcorn
4PM-5:30PM Session 4 4 sessions
NASCC 110 – Cap 170 Fenton Lutunatabua Pacific Climate Warriors
NASCC 150 – Cap 20 Lilian Ongelungel Island Soldiers: A Glimpse of US Military Influence in Micronesia
NASCC 170 – Cap 30 Will Nu’utupu Giles First Contact: Poems of Culture and Introduction
NASCC 180 – Cap 20 Justin Sipoloa and Simeon Jacob Community Organizing
5:30PM-6:30PM Break
6:30PM-8PM NASCC 110 Dinner/Talent Show
8PM-9PM NASCC 110 Talanoa with Will Giles
9:00 PM NASCC 110 Closing Words and Thank You!

Registration for PISA ’18 Conference

19 01 2018

PISA Registration

General Registration to non-member schools are now Open. The process for registration for general students will go as followed.

  1. You must contact (e-mail) using your .edu (student) account saying you would like to register.
  2. You will receive an e-mail from PISA asking some very basic information about your participation
  3. You will have reply back to the e-mail and if you meet the requirements, you will be give a link to register.
  4. Fill out the registration and wait for a confirmation of participation (it could take up to a week for confirmation).
  5. Registration is on a first come first serve basis and there will be a wait list for students who registered after.

Wait listed students listed in order of registration and that list will be shared (your name wont be shared) on the web-site to track. More details to come.

To register you must:

  1. Be currently enrolled at a college/university with an .edu e-mail account.
  2. Attend the entire conference (Accommodation will be made after an agreement is made with PISA coordinators).
  3. Have housing and travel accommodations if you are coming in from out of town. The registration is free, but your housing and travel cost are not covered. We want to ensure our students are supported and safe during their stay in Portland. Contact if you are looking for support and we’ll see what we can find. We’ll try our best No guarantees
  4. Open enrollment is for non-membership schools only! For membership registration, click on the conference link on the main menu of this web-site to find the name of contact(s) of those who are in charge of membership registration on your campus. E-mail if you need help find your contacts.

Filling out the registration does not guarantee you a spot at the conference. We have limited space and right now there are less than 20 spots available. We apologizes for the lack of space, but due to venue and budget restrictions (and keeping the conference free for students) we had to limit the amount of participants.

Registration is open to anybody who meets these standards. Conference is open to anyone!

Speaker List!

11 01 2018

We are excited to announce our Talanoa Series line-up for the PISA conference! From FSM (Chuuk)/Portland we have former PISA leader and Community Activist/Organizer Jes Phillip. From Hawaii, we have Samoan slam poet champion and educator William Nu’utupu Giles. Then from Fiji, we have Fenton Lutunatabua, Regional Coordinator of the 350 Pacific team and Pacific Climate Warriors.

For more information on the workshops and presenters.. check back in next week!

Talanoa @ PISA Conference! (1)