FEMA vaccination center opens Wednesday

Vaccination available through new FEMA/state/county collaboration

Students, employees and other members of the SOU community will have another option for COVID-19 vaccinations beginning Wednesday, April 21, when the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) teams with state and local agencies to open the Jackson County Pilot Community Vaccination Center at the Jackson County Expo in Central Point.

The center will be one of about 500 nationwide in FEMA’s push to collaborate with state agencies and expand vaccination capabilities. It will increase capacity at the Jackson County site by about 1,000 vaccinations per day, with those doses being provided directly by the federal government – above and beyond regular state and local allocations. Jackson County Public Health is already operating out of the Expo – at 1 Peninger Road in Central Point – to accelerate the vaccination of historically underserved communities in and around the county.

“We are committed to making sure everyone who wants a vaccine can get one,” said FEMA Region 10 acting administrator Vincent J. Maykovich. “The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially hard for communities in and around Jackson County who also suffered from historic wildfires. We are excited to partner to provide equitable access to the vaccine.”

Vaccinations at the Jackson County Community Vaccination Center will be free and available to all – there are no requirements for photo ID, proof of residency or insurance coverage. Those seeking vaccinations are encouraged to register for appointments online or call 2-1-1 for information in English or Spanish. Registration is also available on-site, where masks are required and social distancing will be maintained.

The center will be open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, and from noon to 7 p.m. Friday through Tuesday.

The newly expanded Community Vaccination Center is a joint effort of FEMA; the Oregon Health Authority and state Office of Emergency Management; and the county’s Emergency Management and Health and Human Services departments. Then Expo site will include a drive-through option with the Pfizer vaccine and a walk-up option with the Moderna vaccine, and will coordinate mobile vaccination delivery.

Mobile vaccination locations and hours will be available and updated on the county’s website.

“I am so pleased Jackson County was chosen for a FEMA community vaccination center,” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said. “The site will bolster our current efforts to deliver vaccines quickly and equitably, and to meet communities where they are.

“As the state recovers from last year’s historic wildfires and continues to manage through the pandemic, my goal is to elevate the needs of the communities hardest hit – especially those that have been historically underserved – and to rebuild those communities stronger and more resilient. The CVC in Jackson County will help us achieve that goal.”

FEMA is selecting its pilot sites based on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Social Vulnerability Index” and other Census data, and input from state and local agencies.

All SOU students can sign up for vaccinations at an on-campus clinic that will be held on Tuesday, April 20. SOU’s regular and student employees, along with emeritus faculty and members of the Board of Trustees, are also eligible to receive their free COVID-19 vaccinations through the Student Health & Wellness Center.

tuition rates approved

SOU board approves lowest tuition increase in recent history

(Ashland, Ore.) — The Southern Oregon University Board of Trustees agreed today with a recommendation from the university’s Tuition Advisory Council and President Linda Schott for tuition rates in the 2021-22 academic year to increase by the lowest margin in recent memory. Tuition for resident undergraduate students will increase by just $5 per credit hour.

Undergraduates from Oregon will pay $201 per credit hour, up from $196 this year – an increase of 2.55 percent. Residents of 16 Western states and territories that are part of the Western University Exchange will pay $301.50, up from $294; and other non-resident undergraduates will pay $597, up from $580. Tuition rates for graduate students from Oregon will increase to $505 per credit hour, up from $491; non-resident graduate students will pay $610, up from $593.

“Determining the cost of tuition and fees is a key responsibility that every SOU trustee takes very seriously,” said Paul Nicholson, chair of the SOU Board of Trustees. “Thanks to the great, collaborative work of our Tuition Advisory Council, the board readily approved a recommendation from the council and the president that seeks to balance the cost of a high-quality education with access and affordability for our valued students.”

The rates approved unanimously by the Board of Trustees are based on a recommendation from SOU’s Tuition Advisory Council, which met numerous times and is made up of students, faculty and administrators. President Schott agreed with the council’s recommendations and forwarded them to the trustees for approval.

SOU remains committed to keeping higher education within the reach of all students and prospective students, and will offset the tuition increase with additional institutional aid for those who are least able to afford the additional cost. The university has also addressed student expenses for textbooks, and the room-and-board costs of those who live in residence halls.

“We are absolutely committed to making an education at SOU as affordable as possible, while preparing our graduates for the regional job market and giving them tools to achieve fulfilling lives of purpose,” President Schott said. “These tuition rates will keep our university among the most affordable in Oregon.”

State legislators are not expected to make final decisions on the state budget until early July, but universities must prepare their budgets during the spring. SOU will continue to make its case for additional state funding, but must use current information to plan for the coming academic year.

The state paid for two-thirds of its universities’ operating budgets 30 years ago and tuition covered the remaining third. The ratio is now exactly opposite.


Earth Month in full bloom at SOU

Earth Month in full swing at SOU

Earth Day – first observed nationwide in 1970 to tap an emerging environmental consciousness – has blossomed 51 years later into a full-blown Earth Month at SOU with a series of events, activities and programing throughout April for the campus community and beyond.

This year’s Earth Month observance, organized by the Student Sustainability Team and hosted by the Social Justice and Equity Center (contact at ecos.sou.edu), includes a slate of more than a dozen opportunities for SOU students, employees and others to participate. Choices range from the monthlong EcoChallenge to a Bike and Hike Week (April 26-30) to an Intersectional and Inclusive Environmentalism statewide panel discussion on Earth Day itself – April 22.

Earth Week at SOU will feature public events both virtual and live, and on and off the university campus.

EcoChallenge. Everyone in the SOU community is invited to join the SOU EcoChallenge Team: take the challenge and see how a few weeks of action can add up to a lifetime of change for you and the planet. The Earth Month EcoChallenge provides tools and inspiration to turn intention into action, and gives participants a fun and social way to think about and act on proven solutions to reverse climate change. Visit earthmonth.ecochallenge.org to learn more, set up your account and join the Sustainability at Southern Oregon University team! This is a fun and sustainable way to get involved in the SOU community while at home.

AIFF screening: “2040.” SOU students and employees are invited to attend a free virtual screening of the film “2040” as part of the Ashland Independent Film Festival. Director Damon Gameau, motivated by concerns about the planet his four-year-old daughter would inherit, embarked on a global journey to meet innovators and changemakers in the areas of economics, technology, civil society, agriculture, education and sustainability. Drawing on their expertise, he sought to identify the best currently available solutions to help improve the planet’s health and that of the societies that operate within it. SOU students, faculty and staff can register to receive a one-use screening voucher to view the film from home anytime on April 16 or 17. This registration form closes April 15, so please register in advance!

Story Circle. The Southern Oregon University Student Sustainability Team invites you to join Erica Ledesma and Raul Tovar from De La Raiz Project for a free online story circle on Wednesday, April 21, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. We will be gathering online to share our experiences of Our Place, Before and After. This virtual event is open to the public and folks both near and far are invited to join!

Intersectional and Inclusive Environmentalism. Student sustainability leaders from several Oregon colleges and universities invite you to this Earth Day keynote panel and Q&A on Zoom, featuring Summer Dean aka ClimateDiva & Madison Daisy aka ClimateDaisy.

EcoQuest Adventure. From Thursday, April 22 to Sunday, April 25, take part in activities at home and outdoors that are organized by local nonprofits, businesses and agencies that usually have exhibits at Rogue Valley Earth Day. You can sign-up and track activities in an online app (coming soon) — and be entered in a raffle to earn prizes! Check back soon at roguevalleyearthday.net/ecoquest for more information.

Food Pantry Bag Battle. Want to learn creative ways to cook meals based on items from the Student Food Pantry food bags? Join the live “Battle of the Food Pantry Bags” on Zoom, where students and faculty members will compete to create the best meals on a budget. Learn about the Food Pantry, hear stories from four contestants (faculty contestants include Leslie Eldridge and Dr. Jamie Trammel from the ESP program, competing against two surprise student contestants), and vote for what you think would be your favorite meal. All audience members will be entered into drawings for multiple “door prizes” – including gift cards to ShopNKart, Creekside Pizza and a CSA produce half-share from the Farm at SOU.

Bike and Hike Week. For the last week of Earth Month, the Student Sustainability Team invites you to participate in the Bike/Hike Week social media giveaway! How does it work? Simply take a picture of yourself riding your bike or going on a hike, tag us in the post or story, use the hashtag #BikeandHikeSOU, and make sure you are following @sou_studentsustainability on Instagram. Two winners each day will be picked at random to receive Dutch Bros gift cards, and contestants can enter every day! Not on Instagram or don’t have a public IG profile? Email your photo to ecos@sou.edu. Winners will be contacted by IG direct message (or email).

A Latino’s Conservation Journey. Erim Gómez will share how he has navigated college as a first-gen student and POC, and a career in conservation, all while struggling with learning disabilities. Gomez graduated from SOU with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies in 2007. He was a McNair Scholar at SOU and worked for ECOS, where he helped to establish SOU’s first Green Tag Fee to support campus sustainability initiatives. He went on to earn his doctorate in Natural Resource Sciences from Washington State University (2020) and is now assistant professor of wildlife biology at the University of Montana.

The Farm at SOU.

CSA. Sign up for the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, a mutually beneficial way for community members to support the university’s farm by investing in a share of crops at a reduced price. Members receive a weekly bag of in-season, pesticide-free produce throughout the growing season.

Volunteer Fridays. Join the Farm at SOU at 155 Walker St from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. every Friday to volunteer and learn more about sustainable agriculture.

Art submissions. The Farm is currently looking for art submissions to be displayed on-site. If you have an idea for a visual art piece that you could create, please submit it for consideration.

Farm Stand. Save the date – The Farm will offer the SOU community a farm stand stocked with high quality, pesticide-free fruits and vegetables every Thursday from 1 to 5 p.m., located at the corner of Siskiyou Boulevard and Wightman Street, from May 27 to October 7.

Earth Week with OSPIRG. SOU’s OSPIRG chapter is hosting a week’s worth of events to celebrate Earth Day. Check out their events and RSVP.

A full list of SOU Earth Week events can be found at https://sustainability.sou.edu/sou-earth-month-2021/.

SOU president to retire by end of year

SOU President Linda Schott to retire by end of 2021

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University President Linda Schott, who has positioned SOU for the future since taking office in August 2016, announced to campus today that she will retire at the end of 2021, capping a 36-year career in higher education. Schott pledged to continue putting all of her energy into serving SOU and will do her best to prepare the university for her successor.

“I intend to stay fully engaged in leading the university until a new president is hired,” President Schott said. “Our leadership team is strong, and all have indicated their willingness to continue in their roles throughout the presidential transition.”

Paul Nicholson, chair of the SOU Board of Trustees, praised the work Schott has done at SOU and said she will leave the university on firm footing.

“Linda Schott has been a force for change at SOU; her vision, energy and leadership have transformed the university in a positive way,” Nicholson said. “The board is deeply appreciative of her work and what she accomplished – all of which has laid a powerful foundation for the challenging work ahead of us.

“We also thank Dr. Schott’s husband, Tom Fuhrmark, and their family for their tremendous support during her tenure. The board wishes Dr. Schott much happiness in the next stage of her life.”

The SOU community developed a new vision, mission and strategic plan that has been integrated into the university’s daily operations during Schott’s tenure. The university also opened several new facilities during the past five years (the Student Recreation Center, Lithia Motors Pavilion, Thalden Pavilion and the Theater/JPR Building) and garnered additional state funding for the campus and its infrastructure. The university reshaped academic offerings for both traditional students and the growing number of adult learners who are returning to SOU to complete bachelor’s and/or master’s degrees. Graduation rates for SOU students increased 13 percent over seven years ending in 2019, and the percentage of graduates working in fields related to their majors has reached 68 percent – 10 percent above the national average.

Using national data to help align academic offerings with emerging workforce needs, the university also developed a menu of 18 new microcredentials – with more on the way – that enable both undergraduates and those who have already graduated to pick up extra skills.

President Schott played leading roles in the creation of the Southern Oregon Higher Education Consortium and the Southern Oregon Education Leadership Council. 

Schott came to SOU from the University of Maine at Presque Isle, where she served as president from 2012 to 2016. She previously taught at three Texas universities and held administrative positions in Michigan and Colorado. She received her bachelor’s degree in history and German from Baylor University, and her master’s degree in history and Ph.D. in history and humanities, both from Stanford University.

SOU’s Board of Trustees plan to discuss the president’s retirement and a presidential search during its regular meeting on April 16, 2021. A search committee is expected to be formed in the coming weeks to begin the process of finding Schott’s successor. Nicholson said the board will look forward to engaging the campus community during the search for SOU’s 14th president.


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.

Vaccination clinics have begun at SOU health center

COVID-19 vaccination clinics begin at SOU’s health center

SOU President Linda Schott received her first COVID-19 vaccine this morning at the Student Health & Wellness Center, setting an example for others in the campus community who choose vaccination as a means of protecting themselves and reducing the opportunity for the virus to continue its yearlong spread.

“I’m very excited to get it and really pleased that we’re able to be doing it on-campus,” President Schott said. “I hope that everybody on campus who is able will also come out and get their vaccination.”

All regular and student employees at SOU, along with emeritus faculty and members of the Board of Trustees, are eligible to receive their free COVID-19 vaccinations at the Student Health & Wellness Center beginning this week due to their status as front-line workers under Oregon Health Authority sequencing guidelines. Gov. Kate Brown announced on Tuesday that all Oregon residents over the age of 16 will become eligible for vaccinations beginning April 19, so SOU students will be able to receive their shots from the health center at that time.

Today’s 10 to 11:30 a.m. vaccine clinic was the health center’s first, and additional appointment-only clinics will be held each week, depending on demand. Those who are eligible to take part should call the SHWC at (541) 552-6678 for clinic times and appointment availability.

clinic is located at 560 Indiana Street, and those participating in the vaccine clinics should enter the building through the door facing the Cox Hall parking lot. Everyone who visits the SHWC must wear a mask.

Participants in the vaccine clinics should arrive at their assigned times and bring the following documents with them to their appointments:

In-person experiences for SOU students and employees will resume in the fall

SOU to resume in-person classes for fall term

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University President Linda Schott announced Wednesday that SOU will return to primarily in-person classes and student activities for the start of fall term in September.

The announcement came two days short of a year after President Schott informed students and employees last March that the campus would shift to remote operations due to the spreading COVID-19 pandemic.

“I have wanted to tell you for almost a year now that we are preparing to fully reopen our campus, and finally I feel confident that I can do so,” she said in a message to campus. “We are in position to begin a return to normalcy as the availability of vaccines expands to include all adults by summer.”

SOU’s plan for reopening in the fall will feature flexibility, with remote or hybrid alternatives available as needed for both academic and student support programs. The university will tailor its plans to account for the restrictions on gathering sizes and public events that are expected to remain in place statewide and for southern Oregon over the next several months.

President Schott said SOU will work closely with Jackson County Public Health and the Oregon Health Authority throughout the reopening process, and will ask students and employees to help prevent a recurrence of the pandemic.

“We also recommend that all employees and students receive COVID-19 vaccinations as soon as they are eligible, in accordance with CDC guidelines,” she said. “Vaccination is just one step in our larger effort to keep our community safe, so please be mindful of your personal safety and respect for those around you by wearing masks and avoiding close contact.”

The president told students and employees a month ago that there would be increased opportunities during this year’s spring and summer terms for hybrid classes – those with options for remote and in-person learning. She said Wednesday that the university should reach a tipping point by fall term, with most classes by then leaning toward on-campus experiences.

“We have all seen how the virus has changed course during the last year, so my optimism for what lies ahead remains cautious,” President Schott said. However, with careful actions and continued support from the state and federal governments, we are planning for the time when we will see each other, interact as normally as possible, and get back to the business of living and learning together.”


SOU will have a virtual commencement ceremony for 2021

SOU to go virtual for 2021 commencement

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University will hold this year’s commencement ceremony on a virtual platform to ensure a safe, high-quality experience for its 2021 graduates and an inclusive, flexible venue that is accessible to family members and friends.

SOU President Linda Schott announced the decision on Tuesday, more than a month before the start of spring term. It will be the university’s second consecutive year without an in-person commencement, but will be distinctly different than the 2020 event – which the university pulled together after the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a move to remote instruction for spring term and beyond.

This year’s June 12 event will include a live-streamed ceremony, Zoom parties and private, dedicated social media engagement. The university will encourage additional virtual or hybrid events by its various academic programs and departments.

“I feel very positive about this decision,” President Schott said. “Committing to this format early in the game allows us to create the best ceremony possible to recognize the achievements of a 2021 class of graduates who have overcome unprecedented obstacles to complete their degrees and prepare for successful lives of purpose.

“We will avoid the uncertainty that would be unavoidable with an in-person ceremony in June, and will be able to provide a lively virtual experience that will enable families and other supporters from around the world to participate.”

SOU will also build on the successes of some program-level celebrations that were held in a variety of remote formats last year, by creating a template for academic programs and departments to use in recognizing their own graduates.

SOU expects that some students and their families may still choose to be in Ashland for the June commencement weekend, and the university will work with the local business community on tourism opportunities.


Answers to common questions about COVID-19 vaccines

News you can use: Your questions about COVID-19 vaccines, answered

SOU’s Student Health and Wellness Center is getting many questions about COVID-19 shots as the nationwide vaccination program gains momentum and potential availability of the vaccine on campus grows nearer. Current answers to some of the most common and relevant questions about the vaccines are covered here, including who should receive them and what to do next. Data about the vaccines is growing daily, so these answers may evolve or change.

Do I need to get vaccinated if I’ve already had COVID?

Yes. Being infected with COVID-19 may give you some natural immunity, but researchers aren’t sure how long that protection will last. Reinfection is possible and has happened, so you could be at risk for complications from the illness or for spreading the virus to others. It is strongly recommended that people who have already had COVID-19 get vaccinated. However, if you have had COVID-19 within the last three months, you can consider delaying vaccination until 90 days after your diagnosis, since reinfection is uncommon in the first 90 days after your first infection.

Will coronavirus mutations and variants reduce the vaccine’s protection?

At this time, researchers believe that both the Pfizer and Moderna two-dose vaccines provide protection against the main COVID-19 variants that were first identified in the U.K. and South Africa.

How soon after being vaccinated will I be protected?

It takes about two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose vaccine for your immune response to peak so that you have as much protection as possible.

After I get the first dose of a two-dose vaccine, do I still need to follow safety protocols?

Yes. You are not considered fully immunized until two weeks after the second dose, so during this time you can still get COVID and pass it to others. And even after your second dose, you still need to follow safety protocols.

After the first dose of a two-dose vaccine, do I still need to get a COVID test and quarantine if I develop symptoms or if I have been in contact with someone who has COVID?

Yes. The first dose of a two-dose vaccine provides only about 50 percent protection, so you can still get and transmit COVID. If you have had only one dose of vaccine and you develop symptoms or come into contact with someone who has COVID, then you will need to quarantine and get a COVID test.

If I’ve had a dose of one vaccine and then a different one becomes available, what should I do?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) discourages people from mixing vaccines unless there is an exceptional situation, such as a significant shortage of the vaccine you received first.

After I get the second dose of a two-dose vaccine, do I still need to follow safety protocols?

Yes. Experts agree that everyone needs to continue following standard COVID precautions like wearing masks, social distancing, avoiding crowds, covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands and following CDC precautions regarding travel. This is a very effective vaccine, but about five out of every 100 people who receive it will not achieve immunity. We don’t know yet how likely it is that someone who is fully vaccinated can still get COVID without having symptoms and unwittingly infect others. Taking standard precautions helps protect you and those around you.

After my second shot, do I still need to quarantine or get a COVID test if I have been in contact with someone who has COVID or if I develop symptoms?

It depends. You are not required to quarantine or test if you meet all three of these criteria:

  • It has been at least two weeks since the second shot of a two-dose vaccine
  • It has been no more than 90 days since the second dose of vaccine
  • You have no symptoms

If you do meet all three criteria, then you do not have to quarantine or test. However, you will still need to monitor yourself for symptoms for 14 days after being exposed. If you do develop symptoms in those 14 days, then you must quarantine.

If you do not meet all three criteria, then you need to quarantine.

After I’m fully vaccinated, can I hang out with my friends and family? Can I travel?

There are no definite answers to these questions yet. As more people get vaccinated and the infection rate drops, it will become safer for small groups of vaccinated people to gather. For the moment, until vaccines are more widely available, experts recommend that people practice social distancing whenever possible, continue to wear masks and avoid large groups. Remember, it is still possible for someone who has been vaccinated to become infected and to possibly transmit the virus.

As vaccines become more widely available, travel will become less risky. However, not everyone will be vaccinated, the vaccines are not 100 percent effective and variants have developed that may be more transmissible, so air travel will continue to be riskier than other activities. The CDC regularly updates its travel recommendations, so check its website for updates.

Will getting vaccinated cause me to test positive for COVID?

No. None of the vaccines that are currently approved or that are being tested in the U.S. can cause you to test positive on a viral test. These are the standard tests used to see whether you currently have COVID-19 infection.

It is possible that you would test positive on an antibody (blood) test, but those tests are used only to see whether you have ever been previously infected with COVID-19.

How long will vaccine immunity last? Will booster doses or annual vaccines be needed in the future?

Researchers aren’t sure how long immunity from the vaccine will last and whether a booster dose will be needed.

SOU will skip shortened football season

SOU opts out of spring football season

(Ashland, Ore.) – The Southern Oregon University football team will forgo the shortened spring football season and look toward the fall, SOU Director of Athletics Matt Sayre informed Frontier Conference officials on Friday, Feb. 12.

“We don’t make this decision lightly, and know there will be some disappointed Raiders,” Sayre said. “But the goal is a quality, high-level playing experience, and we feel much better about our ability to provide that six months from now.”

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced earlier in the week that the Oregon Health Authority would revise guidelines that had halted full-contact sports in the state during the pandemic, but the timeline for a return to regular activity remains uncertain. The first contest on SOU’s four-game Frontier schedule – which was reduced from the standard 10-game slate after being postponed in the fall – was set for March 20.

“We feel we are not prepared for the rigors and intensity of a college football season, largely because our players haven’t tackled, blocked or had contact of any kind in 450 days,” Sayre said. “It’s only fair to make this decision now for our Frontier Conference partners to be able to reschedule and adjust travel plans, and for our student-athletes to have a definitive direction.

“We’ve had conversations with colleagues at Portland State University, University of Montana and other regional institutions about their decisions to opt out of competition this spring and gained good insight into the value of a clear direction with an emphasis on the fall of 2021.”

SOU will plan to conduct a regular spring practice schedule. Each of the team’s seniors will have the option of returning in the fall.

“It’s an extremely difficult decision and heartbreaking for our seniors who are looking at options for after college, but it is the decision that’s in the best interest of our program,” said Raiders head coach Charlie Hall. “We can prepare our team in a traditional manner and be ready for the fall.”

This story is reposted from souraiders.com.

New storage facility checks the solar and recycling boxes

New SOU storage facility is doubly green

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University has completed a new storage facility at Raider Stadium that addresses sustainability on two fronts – it includes the university’s ninth array of solar panels, and the structure itself was created from recycled shipping containers.

The new facility, which will be used for storage of Athletic Department equipment and supplies, is SOU’s second net-positive building – the renewable energy it produces is greater than what it consumes. The first was SOU’s Student Recreation Storage Building, built in 2018 with solar installed in 2019.

“SOU is wholly committed to the pursuit of sustainability in both construction and day-to-day operations,” said Rebecca Walker, the university’s sustainability and recycling manager. “This project demonstrates that when we think differently and creatively, sustainability can make both financial and environmental sense.

The new storage facility’s solar panel installation was paid for by a fund that is fed in part by other energy savings projects on campus. The fund receives money from sources including energy savings incentives and credits from the university’s natural gas company, recycling receipts and other sustainability-related income sources.

The building itself – located behind the stadium’s east bleachers – is made from six recycled railroad shipping containers. The university repurposed three containers that we already on campus and purchased another three for $10,500 from Oregon Cargo Containers of Grants Pass.  The solar panels, installed by True South Solar of Ashland, will produce 49.68 kilowatts of electricity – enough to power about five typical homes.

“Athletics was in need of safe and adequate storage,” said SOU Athletic Director Matt Sayre. “What was designed for that purpose by the SOU Facilities Management and Planning Department and architect Matt Small – using rail boxcars and a plan to collect solar energy from the roof of that structure – is an asset Raiders can be proud of.”

The new project pushes SOU’s total solar energy generation capability to more than 430 kilowatts. The university has a total of seven other solar arrays on six buildings on the Ashland campus and one at the Higher Education Center in Medford.

Output from SOU’s solar facilities is typically fed back into the electrical grid and credited to SOU’s accounts, reducing the university’s utility bills.

SOU’s first solar installation was a 24-panel, 6-kilowatt array that was placed on Hannon Library in 2000 and it still generating electricity at 70 to 80 percent efficiency.