Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University is making the best of a smoky situation, taking steps to protect students and employees from the area’s unhealthy air while offering a respite for community members in several air-conditioned facilities across campus.
“We’re lucky enough to be located in what we consider in many ways to be Oregon’s most attractive region,” SOU President Linda Schott said. “This is an opportunity for us to pay back this special community. Many of our students are gone for the summer, and we have several buildings where we are happy to welcome the public for various activities.”
Community members are invited, as long as this summer’s wildfire smoke lingers, to visit the university’s Hannon Library and Stevenson Union, and even get some exercise on the indoor walking and jogging track at the new Student Recreation Center. There will be no cost for any of the activities, but visitors are asked to abide by parking regulations in SOU’s lots.
Campus facilities and hours of public availability:
- The Stevenson Union will be open to community members looking for a break from poor outdoor air quality. These spaces are available Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (SOU offers free Wi-Fi to visitors.)
- Dankook: SU Room 314.Located on the 3rd level of the student union, this space features soft chairs and couches.
- Game Room: SU Room 330.Located on the 3rd level of the Union, this space features soft furniture, video gaming, puzzles and board games.
- Elmo’s Seating: Elmo’s Dining is closed, but Einstein’s Bagels and Coffee is open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. This space on the union’s main floor features round tables, booths, and small conversation tables. There is one TV.
- Diversions (Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays only): Located on the basement level of the union, this space features tables, chairs, soft furniture and cable TV.
- The Hannon Library is open during the summer from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday; and 1 to 9 p.m. Sunday. It is closed on Saturdays.
- The Student Recreation Center has an elevated, indoor walking/running track that will be available to the public from 6 to 8 p.m. daily, Sunday through Thursday.
SOU employees have been advised to wear protective N95 or N100 face masks – which have been made available to them – if their work takes them outside. They will be encouraged to wear the masks anytime the air quality index rises above 200 at the state Department of Environmental Quality’s monitoring station at the Ashland Fire Department.
“We are very serious about helping all members of our campus community protect their health,” President Schott said.