SOU receives silver “STARS” rating for sustainability achievements

NEWS BRIEF (available online at https://goo.gl/xDT5yL)

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University has earned a silver rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education for the university’s campus-wide sustainability achievements.

SOU reported its accomplishments through the AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), which rates the efforts of colleges and universities in five categories: academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration, and innovation and leadership. Participating institutions can be recognized simply for reporting their sustainability achievements, or for rating at the organization’s bronze, silver, gold or platinum levels.

SOU’s silver STARS rating is valid for three years. It is the latest of several recent recognitions of the university’s sustainability efforts. SOU received an honorable mention earlier this year at the Presidential Climate Leadership Summit, was the nation’s first certified Bee Campus USA, has been named a Tree Campus USA for three straight years, was named a Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists and offers LEED Gold campus housing at its Raider Village complex.

AASHE is a nonprofit organization that helps colleges and universities work together to create and lead the way to a sustainable future. More than 400 institutions have participated in the STARS ratings.

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About Southern Oregon University

Southern Oregon University provides outstanding student experiences, valued degrees, and successful graduates. SOU is known for excellence in faculty, intellectual creativity and rigor, quality and innovation in connected learning programs, and the educational benefits of its unique geographic location. SOU was the first university in Oregon—and one of the first in the nation—to offset 100 percent of its energy use with clean, renewable power. It is the first university in the nation to balance 100 percent of its water consumption. Visit sou.edu.

Climate action leader to discuss solutions at SOU talk

NEWS RELEASE (online at https://goo.gl/PT3tHz)

(Ashland, Ore.) — KC Golden, a longtime leader in the U.S. climate action movement, will visit Southern Oregon University on March 9 for a talk that explores the need to turn a corner on the climate crisis and focus on solutions.

His free presentation, “Climate solutions: We have met the hero, and it is us,” will be from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Room 151 of the SOU Science Building. The talk comes as the city of Ashland works on its Climate and Energy Action Plan, and just a few weeks after SOU was one of six U.S. colleges and universities recognized with Climate Leadership Awards at the Presidential Climate Leadership Summit.

Golden will talk about the movement toward climate solutions that has begun over the past five years. The climate crisis has become real, and the cost of impacts is growing too high to ignore. He says a clean-energy revolution has been launched by the strong, citizen-driven climate movement that is challenging the status quo use of fossil fuels.

Climate change is coming to be understood as a moral watershed for our times, and Golden asks how we can drive the transition as fast and as far as is necessary.

Golden, who will speak on Jefferson Public Radio prior to his SOU presentation, is the current board chair of 350.org – a worldwide organization that seeks collaboration among activist groups to focus attention on climate change issues.  The organization’s name is derived from the goal of reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from the current level of more than 400 parts per million to fewer than 350 parts per million.

He also helped Seattle City Light become the country’s first major, carbon-free electric utility in the late 1990s. He was named one of the “Power 25” most influential people by Seattle Magazine, and was the magazine’s “Eco-Hero.”

Golden has served as the Seattle mayor’s special assistant for clean energy and climate protection initiatives and directed Washington’s Energy Policy Office as an assistant director in the state’s Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development. He was the executive director of the Northwest Energy Coalition – an alliance working for clean, affordable energy – from 1989 to 1994.

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About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University provides outstanding student experiences, valued degrees, and successful graduates. SOU is known for excellence in faculty, intellectual creativity and rigor, quality and innovation in connected learning programs, and the educational benefits of its unique geographic location. SOU was the first university in Oregon—and one of the first in the nation—to offset 100 percent of its energy use with clean, renewable power. It is the first university in the nation to balance 100 percent of its water consumption. Visit sou.edu.

SOU Students to Harvest, Reuse OSF Bricks

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MEDIA ALERT

Who: Students from SOU’s Center for Sustainability

What: Harvesting bricks from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Green Show plaza

When: 9 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12, and again on Saturday, Nov. 19

osf-courtyardWhere: Oregon Shakespeare Festival (brick plaza off Pioneer Street, between the Bowmer and Elizabethan theaters)

Why: The bricks will be reused, which is what the Center for Sustainability is all about (they’ll be used for pathways and other projects at The Farm at SOU, on Walker Street).

About Southern Oregon University

Southern Oregon University is a medium-sized campus that provides comprehensive educational opportunities with a strong focus on student success and intellectual creativity. Located in vibrant Ashland, Oregon, SOU remains committed to diversity and inclusion for all students on its environmentally sustainable campus. Connected learning programs taught by a host of exceptional faculty provide quality, innovative experiences for students. Visit sou.edu.