By: COLTON WALTER ’19
An ambitious first-year student gives a fresh voice to one of PLU’s unheard minorities.
There is something to be said about Paris Morwood-Franklin’s presence when she enters a room. Walking into the office of The Mast, she commands the attention of everyone in there. People stopped their work and turned around to greet her as she flashes everyone a smile.
“The Mast office feels like home,” Franklin said.
Here, she has worked as copy editor for the newspaper, written stories for print, contributed to Mast Magazine and held several other jobs while moving up in student media. Franklin is a big advocate for involvement, especially with media.
Mast Media’s radio show “The News Hour” is also hosted by Franklin. She said being on the air was a natural fit for her because she has plenty of experience with discussions. Most recently, Franklin became the new Opinion Editor of the newspaper.
“It’s great to see a first-year come in here and do so much,” Mast Editor-in-Chief Samantha Lund said, “The position deserves someone like her.”
Involvement in student media is not a new notion for Franklin. She grew up in Denver, Colo. where she worked as her high school yearbook’s editor-in-chief for two years.
Franklin said, “My favorite aspect of being the editor was editing grammar and writing my own stories.”
Working for Mast Media has been a great opportunity to meet new people through the stories she’s written, Franklin said. She calls herself an anthropology major who just happens to love journalism. Over J-Term, Franklin studied away at the Makah Reservation at Neah Bay, Wash. She said the experience helped her discover her love for anthropology, gaining an appreciation for cultures and heritage.
Though it may be easy to hear her voice on the radio or in The Mast, Franklin also represents a rather small group here at PLU: the Jewish student population.
“It’s great because I get to represent a piece of diversity here,” Franklin said. “It’s been fun having my own heritage and a language that I can learn from my ancestors.”
According to PLU’s Diversity Center, less than one percent of the student body calls themselves Jewish. While this group may seem uncounted or quiet, Franklin is content to give them a voice. Franklin said that there is always potential for discussion and learning between students. She said she enjoyed discussing vocation with fellow students, comparing Jewish and Lutheran cultures. According to PLU’s website, 22 percent of the student body is Lutheran, while no information is readily provided about Jewish students.
Rather than brush off the this part of her life, Franklin embraces what makes her unique.
“I’m not what you would call a ‘high holiday jew’ but I represent the culture far more than I represent the religious aspects of judaism,” Franklin said.
Recently, Franklin has spoken up for Judaism at PLU. In March, she represented the Jewish student body at the school’s Religious Diversity Panel. The group discussion was part of a six-week lecture series called “Let’s Talk About Religious Diversity,” led by Interim Pastor John Rosenberg. The series intended to show students and faculty how different religions exist at our school.
“Part of the reality is that PLU is a very religiously diverse place,” Rosenberg said. “My job is to acknowledge and do something constructive with that information.”
Franklin said she thinks any students assisting in diversity themed events is a good way for people to broaden their preconceived notions about religion or different ways of life. Her outlook and involvement seem to have had positive effects on PLU students.
“I’ve found that Paris is an incredibly open and interesting person, odd but in a good way,” first-year Rachel Dixon said.
It seems that many things can be learned from lending an ear to this young, promising voice. The only direction Paris Franklin appears to be moving is up.