photo of (co)founder and present coordinator Makerusa Porotesano

PISA founder and current coordinator Makerusa Porotesano M.Ed. return to Portland in 2016 after leaving Oregon in 2010.

PISA Oregon started in 2007; formed out of Portland State University when student leaders looked to improve relationships and representation between Pacific Islander Student Groups. In short time PSU connected with Oregon State’s Polynesian Cultural Club and representatives from the University of Portland. For its first year PISA made great strides and created a lot of momentum.

In 2008, the founder of PISA left to Hawaii and PISA went on a brief break. However in early 2009,  Makerusa Porotesano decided to postpone his masters to fulfill the dreams of PISA. Then in 2009-2010 PISA has extended its membership to Eastern Oregon, University of Oregon, Portland Community College, Mt. Hood Community College, Portland State, Oregon State and University of Portland.

On January 15th and 16th of 2010, PISA held their first Conference at Portland Community College (Sylvania Campus). It was a successful event, where students from all over the state were able to gather and meet. The Conference covered topics such as health, culture, and music. Soteria Moli was the President of PISA in 2010

On February 25th and 26th of 2011, PISA celebrated our second annual Conference at the University of Portland.  We celebrated with music, at food from familiar and new cultures and made friends from all over the Northwest.  The Conference held workshops that covered stereotypes, cultural conflict, significance of tattoos, economy, and more.  We were also fortunate enough to show two documentaries, “Unnatural Causes” and “Living Pono”. Fipe Havea was the President of PISA in 2011.

PISA 2015- 2017

PISA Group Shot

PISA Students in 2017 at Portland State’s PIAAA Student Center

After a brief break, PISA returned to host two forums with the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon in 2015 & 2016. After another break and a restructure of leadership and mission, PISA is now ready to host its first event in two years (PISA Conference 2018).

In an internal evaluation of our student leaders and campus climates, PISA is now transitioning from a student led organization (for 3-4 years) to a student centered leadership program. We are looking to recruit our first cohort this March 2018. After the PISA conference in February of 2018, we will announce applications for the first our first leadership cohort.

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PISA Staff Support from OSU, UO, Clark, & PSU

The future of PISA is bright and growing. We are now fiscally sponsored by the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon and the Samoan Pacific Development Corporation. As we continue to grow we hope you’ll help us develop new and exciting ways to provide critical knowledge, dynamic leadership and relationship building for our Student of Oceania.

Future goals include:

  • Create Stipend positions for student leaders to contribute to our conference and advocacy campaigns.
  • Supporting the development of a secondary education branch and conference
  • Creating a MOU with Colleges/Universities to support and recognize PISA’s work with their Pacific Islander communities.
  • Recruit more schools to participate.

2018-2019:

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PISACON18 at Portland State University

In 2018 PISACON18 took place at Portland State University, which marked the first time that PISA held a student focused conference in over 7 years. PISA had held community forums and collective gatherings, but this was the first time it had returned to the conference format.

Over 120 people participated over the two day conference and helped PISA create a vision to move the group into the student led direction. With a new plan in place, PISA is starting its fundraising efforts to support student stipends and a possible coordinator (paid) in the next three years.

This year, PISACON19 is the first ever PISA conference to leave the state of Oregon as the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. (March 1st & 2nd) is set to host at the Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center.

Stay tuned as we announce the location of next years conference.. which we hope to announce at the end of PISACON19