SOU Student Recreation Center

SOU accommodates smoke-weary public in recreation center schedule

NEWS RELEASE

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University is continuing to help community members find refuge from the area’s wildfire smoke, even during an upcoming maintenance period for the university’s Student Recreation Center.

The center’s annual closure for maintenance and training had been scheduled for 16 days next month, but has been reduced to 10 days to accommodate public use of its elevated, indoor walking and running track – a popular smoke-free haven over the past month. An average of 32 community members have used the track each evening since the university began offering free admission for two-hour windows each Sunday through Thursday. The facility’s popularity peaked at 73 users on Thursday.

The entire recreation center will be closed from Saturday through Monday of Labor Day weekend. The indoor track will resume its current public hours – from 6 to 8 p.m. daily, Sunday through Thursday – during the period between Labor Day and the maintenance closure (which will run from Monday, Sept. 10, through Wednesday, Sept. 19).

When it reopens following the closure on Thursday, Sept. 20, public hours for the indoor track will shift to 10 a.m. to noon daily, Monday through Saturday. There will be no public hours on Wednesday, Sept. 26, when the recreation center’s grand opening activities will be held.

SOU  President Linda Schott has also invited community members to use other air-conditioned facilities on campus to escape this summer’s wildfire smoke. Facilities and hours of availability are:

The Stevenson Union has a variety of spaces that 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, 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.

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SOU Smoky Ashland

SOU offers opportunities for community members to get fresh air

NEWS RELEASE

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:

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.

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SOU Commencement 2018

Recognitions to lead off SOU commencement event

NEWS RELEASE
(Ashland, Ore.) — Seven alumni of Southern Oregon University will be honored – two with special posthumous recognitions and five with annual awards – as part of Saturday’s 2018 commencement activities. All of the awards will be presented at the Pre-Commencement Alumni Breakfast on Saturday morning.

Steven Nelson, who passed away this spring, will be posthumously recognized when a President’s Medal is presented to his family. Nelson, a financial advisor and former banker, received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at SOU, and served nearly 20 years as a volunteer leader at Jefferson Public Radio and the JPR Foundation. His work contributed to JPR’s growth and expansion, restoration projects at the Cascade Theatre in Redding and the Holly Theatre in Medford, and the development of the radio station’s new home in the SOU Theater Building.

Edrik Gomez, who was a high-achieving SOU student when he died in a helicopter crash while on a firefighting crew at northern California’s Iron 44 blaze in 2008, will be honored posthumously when a Certificate of Achievement is presented to his mother. He was majoring in communication and political science, had a 3.72 grade point average and had been admitted into the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program at the time of the accident that claimed nine firefighters’ lives. Gomez, who was from Coquille, was involved in SOU’s Multicultural Center, the Latino Student Union, and the Ecology and Sustainability Center.

Recipients of this year’s annual alumni awards are Jeff Brady, for Distinguished Alumni; Amanda MacGurn, for Young Alumni; Malcus Williams and Tim Williams, for the Stan Smith Alumni Service Award; and Betsy Bishop, for Excellence in Education.

Brady, who earned his SOU bachelor’s degree in communication in 1995, is a national desk correspondent in Philadelphia, focusing on energy issues for National Public Radio. He is credited with helping to demystify an industry that can seem complicated to many listeners and to establish NPR’s Environment and Energy Collaborative for reporters at NPR member stations around the country.

MacGurn, a 2006 French language and culture graduate at SOU, taught English in Costa Rica and Chile before joining the Peace Corps and ultimately earning her master’s degree in public health from Emory University. An internship at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention led her to a full-time position in the health agency’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine. MacGurn was deployed to West Africa four times during the Ebola outbreak, and continues to work in the region where her French skills are critical.

Malcus Williams, who died while on a call for the Ashland Police Department in March, played football and met his wife, Ona, while a student at SOU. He became a reserve officer and then was sworn in as a full-time Ashland Police officer during the 1996 flood. He completed his degree in criminology and criminal justice in 2008, while serving as a full-time officer, and served on the department as a school resource officer, firearms instructor, patrol officer, sergeant and Citizen’s Academy diversity instructor. He also served in the community as a youth sports coach.

Tim Williams was a forward on the nationally ranked SOU basketball team of the late 1990s before earning his bachelor’s degree in criminology in 1999, then moving on to earn his law degree at the University of Oregon School of Law in 2003. He is a partner in the firm of Dwyer Williams Dretke Attorneys, has been recognized as one of the best trial lawyers in the country, has held a variety of posts in the Oregon State Bar and has advocated justice for the economically disadvantaged. He has also served on the board of directors of the Ronald McDonald House of Central Oregon, the Sparrow Clubs of Central Oregon and other nonprofit organizations.

Bishop received her undergraduate degree from Catholic University in Washington, D.C., before earning her master’s degree in teaching at SOU in 1977. She taught 10 years at Monrovia High School in California, and has taught English and theatre at Ashland High School since moving back to Ashland in 1988. She has maintained a 25-year school and business partnership with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, has been recognized with four statewide teaching awards and earned two national awards in 2016.

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Vanguard drum bugle

Elite drum and bugle corps makes SOU its “spring training” home

NEWS RELEASE
(Ashland, Ore.) — The elite Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corps has found its tempo at Southern Oregon University, drilling for long hours each day and staying in a university residence hall for its three-week “spring training” before beginning its 2018 national tour next month.

The corps – based in Santa Clara, California – is made up of 154 college-age brass players, percussionists and color guard members from throughout the U.S. and other countries. Another 40 support staff members are with the group for its stay in a block of rooms at SOU’s Greensprings Complex.

Neighbors throughout Ashland’s university area can hear snippets from the practice sessions of Vanguard’s drum and horns sections, but will have opportunities in the coming weeks to hear and see the finished product. The group will offer a free, public thank-you performance at 8 p.m. on June 7 in SOU’s Raider Stadium and will also return for Ashland’s Fourth of July Parade. It is providing clinics for the SOU music program while in town, and will offer a day-long youth clinic at Ashland High School on June 2.

The public is also welcome at the drum and bugle corps’ practice sessions on the SOU athletic fields, but photos and videos are not allowed for licensing reasons.

The Vanguard brass and color guard sections have been at SOU since May 19, and the drum corps arrived a week later. The entire group will leave June 8 to prepare for its competitive national tour – 15,000 miles and 26 performances, from June 22 to Aug. 11.

“We researched dozens of possible spring training sites all over the country and chose Ashland, Oregon, because of the culture and atmosphere,” said Shaun Gallant, the Santa Clara Vanguard Corps Director. “One thing we really strive for is these relationships to be mutually beneficial and that is what we have created with the city of Ashland.”

The Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corps has won six Drum Corps International World Class Championship titles and is the only corps to make the DCI finals every year since the competition began in 1972. More than 800 performers auditioned for this year’s Vanguard touring corps.

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Sanz SOU chimps gorillas

Social Sciences Speaker Series: Crickette Sanz on wild chimpanzees and gorillas.

NEWS RELEASE
(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University’s Social Sciences Division will host anthropologist Crickette Sanz of Washington University in St. Louis for her talk, “Comparative Studies of Chimpanzees and Gorillas in the Congo Basin,” from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 30, in Room 305 of the Hannon Library.

The talk is free and open to SOU students, staff, faculty and the public.

Sanz is co-director the Goualougo Triangle Ape Project in the Republic of Congo. The project was initiated in 1999 to enhance knowledge of chimpanzees and western lowland gorillas in the Congo Basin, and to improve their conservation status. Sanz’s research focuses on primate behavioral ecology and cognition, the evolution of sociality, ecosystem health and emerging diseases, and climate change.

The Goualougo Triangle research prompted the Republic of Congo to enlarge its Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park boundaries six years ago to include the Goualougo Triangle – a remote forest that is home to several communities of chimpanzees with little exposure to humans.

Sanz earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in experimental psychology from Central Washington University, and her doctorate in biological anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis.

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SOU Fringe Festival

SOU’s “boundary-breaking” Oregon Fringe Festival begins on Tuesday

NEWS RELEASE
(Ashland, Ore.) — The Oregon Fringe Festival – a distinctive blend of visual, musical and theatre arts presentations – will kick off its 2018 lineup with Gallery Openings at Southern Oregon University’s Center for the Visual Arts at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 24. The six-day arts celebration will continue with shows and exhibitions on and around the SOU campus through Sunday, April 29.

The Oregon Fringe Festival, established in 2014, is described on its website as a “boundary-breaking platform for artists creating unconventional work in unconventional spaces,” and as a “celebration of zany, alternative (art) forms.” It encourages bold content from courageous artists of all ages and in various stages of their careers.

All of the festival’s presentations are free and open to the public.
Visual arts highlights include exhibitions from current SOU students, visiting master students from the Pacific Northwest College of Art, and headlining artist Ruth Lantz.

Musical highlights include performances by current SOU students and alumni, and visiting headliners such as Grammy Award-winning Third Coast Percussion and flautist Tessa Brinckman. SOU’s Left Edge Percussion Ensemble will perform Michael Gordon’s iconic “Timber,” and the vocal octet Desiderata will premiere a new work from composer Judd Greenstein that was commissioned by the Oregon Fringe.

This year’s theatre highlights include performances from current SOU students and alumni, a headlining performance of “The Truth” by Ashland’s A Muse Zoo, a staged reading of Stephanie Neuerburg’s “Ella Enchanted” and the one-woman show “Artichoke Hearts” by Sarah Mitchell.

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SOU Democracy Project Honors

SOU Honors College hosts high school students for problem-solving

NEWS RELEASE
(Ashland, Ore.) — About 150 high school students from throughout southern Oregon will try their hand at resolving some of today’s most troubling issues when Southern Oregon University Honors College students lead their annual Democracy Project symposium on Tuesday, April 24.

The event – “Truth and Reconciliation: A Model for America?” – will prepare high school students to use the conflict-resolution model developed as South Africa emerged from apartheid in the early 1990s. The students will then attempt to settle the U.S. First Amendment issues of athletes kneeling in protest during the national anthem, the appropriateness of confederate monuments and the proliferation of “fake news.”

Tuesday’s daylong symposium will include guest speakers Ernle Young, a retired bioethicist from Stanford University who was a white South African and Methodist pastor who opposed apartheid; and Albert Munanga – originally from nearby Zambia and currently the Zambian Embassy’s honorary consul for Washington state – who serves as regional director of quality improvement for Era Living, a Seattle-area developer of retirement communities.

This year’s third annual Democracy Project symposium is being organized by SOU Honors College students Rebekah Krum and Megan Godsby. All members of the Honors College will participate in the day’s events, helping to facilitate and moderate the various presentations and activities.

The symposium will last from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Democracy Project is an ongoing effort by SOU’s Honors College to comprehensively examine international democracy. It is intended to offer emerging leaders an understanding of conflict resolution and how democracy is understood, implemented and promoted around the world.

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SOU Thalden Pavilion

SOU’s new Thalden Pavilion to be dedicated on Friday

NEWS RELEASE
(Ashland, Ore.) — SOU’s new Thalden Pavilion has lived up to its tagline – “dedicated to outrageous innovation in sustainability and the arts” – and the just-completed venue for information, education and performance will be recognized in all its audacity at 10 a.m. Friday, April 20.

The dedication ceremony will serve as an introduction of the visually stunning structure, which was made possible through the generosity of Barry and Kathryn Thalden of Ashland. Speakers at the event – at The Farm at SOU, on north Walker Avenue – will include SOU President Linda Schott, the Thaldens and Ashland architect Chris Brown of Arkitek Design and Architecture.

Performers from the SOU Music Program will provide entertainment.

The Thaldens and SOU saw the pavilion as a facility at The Farm that would bring together the university, local schools, the city, the business community and local theaters for various events and opportunities.

Donations from the Thaldens have covered the project’s design and construction costs, and their enthusiasm for the concept led them to commission Brown’s architectural firm to bring their vision to reality. Barry Thalden is a retired architect who designed casinos throughout the West, and Kathryn Thalden is a landscape architect who had her own firm in Kansas City before becoming a Unity minister and founding the Unity Church of Las Vegas.

Since moving to Ashland six years ago, their generosity has led to the flower basket program in downtown Ashland and murals outside the Ashland Emergency Food Bank and on Calle Guanajuato on the Ashland Plaza. They have recently commissioned an Ashland-themed mural to be painted in Ashland’s Mexican sister city of Guanajuato.

The Farm is a student-led agricultural and learning center at SOU. The 3 ½-acre property on Walker Street in Ashland serves as an organic farm for the production of healthy, sustainable food for the SOU community. It is also a center for sustainability and a hub for education, student and faculty research, and community outreach to the Rogue Valley.

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sou luau hawaii club

SOU’s Hawai’i club offers annual lu’au and performance

NEWS RELEASE
(Ashland, Ore.) — The 22nd annual lu’au and hō’ike (feast and performance) by Southern Oregon University’s Hawai’i club will be an event with a purpose. This year’s celebration has a theme of Hoʻolaha Ana I Naʻokoʻa Me Ke Aloha – spreading diversity with love.

The lu’au will be from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 22, at The Hawk dining facility off Wightman Street in Ashland, and the hō’ike will begin at 4:30 p.m. at SOU’s Music Recital Hall.

The meal will be $12.25 per person and the dance presentation will be $10 per person, and both are open to the public. Students who have paid for SOU meal plans will be able to use their cards to “swipe in” to the lu’au.

The two-part program is presented each spring by the Ho’opa’a Hawai’i Student Union – one of five multicultural student clubs and organizations that are part of SOU’s Multicultural Resource Center. The Hawai’i club works to educate and inform students and community members about Polynesian culture while helping first-year members of the club in their transitions to life on the mainland.

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SOU Latino Youth Chavez

SOU’s Latino Youth Leadership Conference addresses equity, racism, barriers

NEWS RELEASE
(Ashland, Ore.) — More than 350 Latino youth from Jackson, Josephine, Klamath and Lane county high schools will meet on the Southern Oregon University campus on Friday, March 9, for the seventh annual César E. Chávez Leadership Conference.

The event – which this year will feature Hispanic civil rights advocate Luis Avila as keynote speaker – celebrates the heritage of César E. Chávez and teaches young people to carry on Chávez’ legacy of leadership.

This year’s conference will include 22 workshops in the areas of leadership, college and career, culture, identity and arts, and life skills. The workshops are intended to inspire Latino youth to become leaders and work for social justice, and to empower them to pursue higher education.

The event is particularly relevant in a year when immigration and racial issues are at the forefront of national conversations. Students at the conference will learn how to ensure that their voices are heard.

Avila, an advisor with 270 Strategies, most recently served as the national program director at Stand for Children – a nonprofit grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to improving public school education.

While at Stand for Children, Avila worked with immigrant parents to mobilize thousands of voters and protect funding for their children’s schools. He was awarded the agency’s National Leadership Award for his work supporting, coaching and developing organizers around the country.

Avila serves on the executive board at the National Council of La Raza, the largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S., and is on the board of TNTP – an organization focused on ending educational inequality.

A record number of high schools and participants are expected at this year’s event. Students are nominated to attend by teachers and counselors at their high schools.

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