Free employee tickets to OCA events

Latest benefit for SOU employees: free tickets to OCA events

Employees at Southern Oregon University recently gained another perk: free tickets to all music and theatre productions by the Oregon Center for the Arts at SOU.

OCA officials met in December and decided that free tickets to in-house shows should be extended to all SOU faculty and staff, as a benefit to employees and to encourage support for the university’s performing arts programs. An updated policy that took effect Jan. 7 allows SOU employees to receive two free tickets per production in the Mainstage Theater and Music Recital Hall, and one free ticket per production in the Black Box Theater.

SOU students also qualify for the free ticket policy, which applies to all OCA-produced theater and musical group performances. The new policy does not cover shows featuring performers from outside the university.

SOU faculty and staff, after receiving their free tickets, can still purchase as many as four tickets at $10 each for SOU plays.

All free and reduced-price tickets can be acquired from the OCA box office at 491 S. Mountain Ave., in Ashland. Faculty and staff must verify their employment status by showing their ID cards or through the SOU directory.

Before the ticket policy was updated in January, complimentary tickets were offered to all students, faculty and staff affiliated with the OCA, but not to others at SOU.

Information about all upcoming performances at OCA facilities can be found on the events website or by calling the box office at (541) 552-6348.

Danny Santos-SOU Board of Trustees

Santos reappointed to SOU Board of Trustees

(Ashland, Ore.) — Daniel Santos – a Southern Oregon University alumnus and member of the university’s Board of Trustees – was notified today by Gov. Kate Brown today that he has been reappointed for a second four-year term on the SOU board.

Santos was appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Oregon Senate.

He is a retired associate dean for the Willamette University College of Law, where he oversaw student affairs and administration. He previously served in various capacities for four Oregon governors – Neil Goldschmidt, Barbara Roberts, John Kitzhaber and Ted Kulongoski. His roles included service as Roberts’ legal counsel and Oregon Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision chair, and as a senior policy advisor for Kulongoski.

Santos earned his bachelor’s degree in criminology at SOU in 1975, then received his law degree from the Willamette University College of Law. He has remained involved in education throughout his career, serving as a founding member of Scholarships for Oregon Latinos, and in guiding roles with Willamette University’s Willamette Academy for students from underserved communities and the Leadership Council for Oregon Mentors.

He also currently serves on the boards of directors of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the Mid-Valley Literacy Council.

SOU was granted authority by the state to form its own independent Board of Trustees beginning July 1, 2015, following the legislature’s dissolution of the Oregon University System and State Board of Higher Education. SOU’s board is responsible for governance and oversight of the university.

Eleven at-large trustees serve four-year terms, and one voting position each are reserved for an SOU student, a faculty and a non-faculty staff member – each of whom serve two-year terms.

Trustees are limited to serving two consecutive full terms. The university president serves in a non-voting, ex officio capacity on the board, bringing total membership to 15.


French Dinner-reminder

SOU’s annual French Dinner nearly sold out

(Ashland, Ore.) — Those who haven’t bought tickets but are still hoping to attend the 23rd annual French Dinner of the Southern Oregon University French Club are being advised that there will likely be no tickets available at the door of the Feb. 28 event.

The five-course meal for students, employees and community members is nearly sold out – only a handful of advance tickets remain on sale at SOU’s Stevenson Union information booth. Tickets are $9 for students and university employees, and $13 for other community members.

The dinner, in the student union’s Rogue River Room, promotes French culture on campus and in the community. It is an annual project of the university’s French Club, with help from student union staff, and French and other international students. For the first time, SOU student-athletes are also helping with this year’s event.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and orders will be taken at 7 p.m. Dinner begins with soup, followed by a palate cleanser, quiche, salad and cheese, French bread, dessert and coffee or tea. Vegetarian options are available for the soup and quiche courses.

Wine donated by various Oregon wineries can be purchased at $3 per glass for those who are 21 and older.


Governor's Food Drive SOU

Governor’s Food Drive heads into home stretch at SOU

Just over a week remains in the annual Governor’s Food Drive, and SOU employees and students are encouraged to participate through food donations or payroll deductions.

The food drive, which runs through February, draws donations from state government and public university employees throughout Oregon to support the Oregon Food Bank Network. However, all food donated at SOU goes directly to the university’s Student Food Pantry, which provides food and other basic necessities to students who are in need.

Individual students and employees have stepped up to participate in the Governor’s Food Drive, as have various university departments and programs. SOU’s Oregon Center for the Arts sponsored a benefit concert, “Feed the Body and Soul,” which raised more than $200 in cash donations and 200 pounds of items for the food drive last week.

All SOU employees have been provided red collection bags, which they can fill with donated items and then return to barrels located in buildings throughout campus. A reward of coffee and snacks will be provided by SOU Dining and A’viands to employees from the building that collects the most food.

Employees’ monetary donations can be made by signing up for monthly or one-time payroll deductions, and submitting the completed form to Michele Barlow in Human Resources. Those donations support food assistance programs at ACCESS, Jackson County’s community action agency.

All employees who sign up for payroll deductions are entered into drawings for various prizes.

Ashland Chamber board-several members not pictured

Ashland Chamber goes to bat for SOU

(Ashland, Ore.) — The Ashland Chamber of Commerce acknowledged an integral relationship between the business community and Southern Oregon University when the chamber’s Board of Directors voted unanimously today to urge adequate state funding for SOU.

Board members approved a letter of support that asks Governor Kate Brown and members of the Oregon Legislature for funding sufficient to maintain current service levels at Oregon’s seven public universities and keep tuition increases at manageable levels. The resolution explains the crucial role of higher education in preparing a qualified workforce to drive the region’s economy.

“The Ashland Chamber of Commerce, currently representing over seven hundred businesses and organizations, has been deeply connected, supportive and involved as a strong community partner of Southern Oregon University for over a century,” said a first draft of the letter that was provided following the meeting by Sandra Slattery, the Chamber’s executive director.

The letter pointed out that SOU is Ashland’s largest employer, its faculty help to educate future business and community leaders, and decreased state funding will ultimately lead to a loss in state revenue as fewer students enroll, graduate and land well-paying jobs. The Chamber “encourages legislative financial support for the future of Oregon through increased funding for higher education,” the letter said.

SOU President Linda Schott was invited to address the Chamber of Commerce board, and said after the meeting that the group’s endorsement will be helpful in ongoing conversations with lawmakers.

“It is very encouraging for us to get this kind of support from Ashland’s business leaders,” the president said. “It recognizes that SOU is truly part our community’s fabric, and that our university plays a crucial role in the region’s economic well-being.”

Governor Brown has included $736.9 million per year for the public universities in her recommended budget – the same amount that was approved for the current biennium, which ends June 30. But funding at that level doesn’t account for increased costs to the universities that are beyond their control – including the PERS retirement system, employee health plans and statewide collective bargaining agreements.

The universities need $857 million in funding from the state to maintain current academic and student support programs, and to keep annual tuition increases at or below 5 percent.

As recently as 1990, state support for higher education in Oregon accounted for more than two-thirds of attendance costs and tuition covered most of the remainder. State support has since decreased to the point the proportion has flip-flopped: students and their families now bear about two-thirds of the cost through higher tuition rates, and the state’s share accounts for about a third.

The declining state support has occurred despite federal research that shows workers age 25 and older who have bachelor’s degrees earn an average of $61,400 per year, compared to $36,800 for their counterparts with only high school diplomas. Those with bachelor’s degrees also pay an average of $14,500 per year in taxes, compared to $7,600 for those with a high school education.


Polar Plunge is back on Saturday

Polar Plunge: SOU team to participate in Saturday’s Special Olympics fundraiser

SOU students, staff and faculty have the opportunity to brave icy waters and support local Special Olympics Oregon athletes with intellectual disabilities during the 2019 Polar Plunge event on Saturday, Feb. 16, at Medford’s Jackson Aquatic Center.

The Southern Oregon Polar Plunge will begin at 10:30 a.m. with a costume contest for the participants. The opening ceremonies are scheduled for 11 a.m., followed by the plunge – or plunges.

An SOU team, along with many other local supporters, will participate and support local special needs athletes.

Every student or participant who takes the icy “plunge” must raise $50 in support of the Special Olympics Oregon – half of which goes to local programs for Special Olympics athletes in Jackson, Josephine and Klamath counties. The money helps to provide training, equipment, uniforms, wellness programs and experiences of a lifetime for the athletes.

Organizers recommend plunging with a team of family, friends, co-workers or members of local organizations. SOU will be represented by an Oregon Center for the Arts team organized by student captain Jared Brown. Those who aren’t up for a plunge can still participate by pledging as little as $5 to the SOU team.

More information about the plunge is available on the event website, or by calling (541) 841-6875 or emailing Polar Plunge event manager Kim Andresen – who doubles as division manager for SOU’s Oregon Center for the Arts – at

The Southern Oregon Polar Plunge is the only pool-based plunge event in Oregon. It is a unique opportunity for individuals, organizations and businesses to help support local Special Olympics  athletes.

Every participant in the plunge will receive a commemorative t-shirt, hot soup and the opportunity to meet the Special Olympics athletes that will benefit from their plunges.

Story by Bryn Mosier, SOU Marketing and Communications intern

tall cop substance abuse prevention

“Tall Cop” presents substance abuse awareness training at SOU

A police officer-turned-substance abuse awareness speaker presented a fairly imposing message during a recent workshop for SOU faculty and staff, and community members from various agencies.

Jermaine GallowayJermaine Galloway — a 6-foot-9 former Division I basketball player – presented his “Tall Cop Says Stop” training to help attendees recognize signs of drug and alcohol abuse.

The program, “High in Plain Sight,” was sponsored by SOU’s Student Health and Wellness Center and was held Jan. 31 in the Stevenson Union Arena. It focused on methods used to conceal alcohol and drug use, games and tendencies at youth parties, non-traditional alcoholic beverages such as fortified energy drinks and “alcopops,” and trends associated with a variety of drugs.

A total of 128 people attended the free SOU event, including faculty or staff from Campus Public Safety, Housing, the Student Health and Wellness Center, Student Support and Intervention, Disability Services, the Student Recreation Center and the Psychology and Criminology and Criminal Justice departments.

There were also Ashland and Medford police officers, parole and probation officers, child welfare caseworkers, CASA volunteers, Juvenile Justice officers and staff from the Maslow Project, Hearts With a Mission, the Medford School District, La Clinica, the Jackson County Citizen Review Board, Jackson County Mental Health and the U.S. Veterans Administration.

The Student Health and Wellness Center organizers said the responses from attendees were positive.

“Everything was well organized (and) the speaker was outstanding,” one commenter said.

“It was so informative and educational,” another said. “I am so happy you were able to bring him to campus.”

Galloway – a former Boise, Idaho police officer – has received various awards and recognitions for his alcohol and drug awareness work. His website said Galloway’s training sessions have reached more than 105,000 people.

Consortium institutions discuss transfers-SOU

Consortium of southern Oregon colleges and universities to strengthen transfer agreements

(Ashland, Ore.) — Delegations from each of the institutions that make up the new Southern Oregon Higher Education Consortium will meet this month to discuss the seamless transfer of credits from colleges to universities and other matters of shared interest. The consortium members are Klamath Community College, Oregon Institute of Technology, Rogue Community College and Southern Oregon University.

The Feb. 25 event, 5:15 to 7:30 p.m. in the Rogue River Room of SOU’s Stevenson Union, will be an expanded version of the annual “Articulation Retreat” that counterparts from SOU and RCC have held for the past several years. This year’s version will include groups from Oregon Tech and KCC.

“We believe this event provides a wonderful opportunity for our SOHEC colleagues to build on what already is an enormously successful collaboration,” said SOU Provost Sue Walsh and RCC Vice President for Instructional Services Leo Hirner in their joint invitation to colleagues at the other institutions.

The consortium, a first-of-its-kind alliance of Oregon colleges and universities, is aimed at streamlining students’ educational pathways and addressing southern Oregon’s specific workforce needs. The ongoing collaborative effort took root with the four institutions’ presidents following a joint lunch meeting a year ago, and was announced in late November with signing events in both Klamath Falls and Medford.

SOHEC is considered a pioneering step toward preparing students and workforce members in the region for a rapidly changing future. It has been endorsed by state officials including the governor and the chair of Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission.

The Feb. 25 Articulation Retreat will be an opportunity for information-sharing by staff members from the SOHEC institutions’ enrollment services, admissions, academic advising, curriculum and other support services offices. The goal of the event is to improve and expand transfer programs and other cooperative agreements among the schools, to make it easier, faster and more affordable for students to transition from one degree program to the next.

Representatives of media outlets will be welcome to report on the evening’s discussions.



Governor’s Food Drive will help SOU students in need

The annual Governor’s Food Drive is up and running through February at SOU, and those who contribute can make a real difference for students with unreliable access to food and other community members in need.

All food collected in campaign at SOU will be donated to the university’s Student Food Pantry, and monetary donations will support food assistance programs at ACCESS – the region’s community action agency.

“Our donations of food or pledges of monetary support can make a very real impact on hunger – not on the other side of the world, or in another part of the country, but right here on our campus,” SOU President Linda Schott said in announcing the food drive last month.

Recent studies have shown that as many as half of all U.S. college students have unreliable access to nutritious food. The Governor’s Food Drive draws donations from state government and public university employees throughout Oregon to support the Oregon Food Bank Network – but SOU has arranged for its food donations to go directly to its Student Food Pantry.

The Food Pantry provides SOU students who are in need with as many as 10 items of nonperishable food or hygiene supplies each week.

Red collection bags are expected to be delivered soon by campus mail to all SOU employees. The bags can be filled with non-perishable food items and returned anytime this month to collection barrels located in each building. SOU Dining and A’viands will offer a prize of coffee and snacks to employees from the building that collects the most pounds of donated food.

Employees may also sign up for monthly or one-time payroll deductions and submit the form to Michele Barlow in Human Resources. Each dollar donated is considered the equivalent of four pounds of donated food.

All employees who sign up for a payroll deduction, regardless of the amount, will be entered into a drawing for various prizes.

Other events associated with the food drive include a free concert, featuring student and faculty musical groups, presented by SOU’s Oregon Center for the Arts. Admission to the “Feed Body and Soul” concert – at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 12, in the Music Recital Hall – will be two cans of food or a cash donation at the door.

SOU Athletics will collect nonperishable food donations at the women’s and men’s basketball games on Feb. 15 against College of Idaho and Feb. 16 against Eastern Oregon University. Tip-offs will be at 5:30 p.m. each day for the women’s games and 7:30 p.m. for the men’s games.


Magazine names Ashland among best locales to work as filmmaker

For the sixth year in a row, MovieMaker Magazine has named the scenic town of Ashland in its annual ranking of the best places to live and work as a filmmaker in the United States.

This year, Ashland placed sixth in the magazine’s Small Cities and Towns category, competing well against larger markets including New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.

The magazine chose Ashland due to its picturesque filming locations, such as Lithia Park and Mt. Ashland, and because of the increase in moviemakers and actors moving to the area. Film students in the region can also take advantage of the Digital Cinema curriculum in the Communication program at Southern Oregon University.

“Because Ashland is a small, connected community, our students get tremendous benefits by learning filmmaking here,” said Digital Cinema professor Andrew Gay. “Filmmakers in the region enthusiastically support our student population with internships and PA gigs, helping them build skills that transfer to sets in larger markets such as Portland and Los Angeles.”

Gary Lundgren produced the coming-of-age film “Calvin Marshall” in the Rogue Valley in 2009, and has always seen Ashland as a welcoming community for filmmakers.

“When we made ‘Calvin Marshall’ in 2007, we employed quite a few first-timers and promoted people within their departments,” Lundgren told MovieMaker magazine. “A lot of those people are still friends of ours and have careers in bigger markets now, like Portland or Atlanta.”

Lundgren tries to contribute to Ashland’s positive and welcoming vibe by hiring a few first-timers whenever he’s assembling a crew for one of his films, such as his latest project, “Phoenix, Oregon,” a comedy about two friends who open a bowling alley and pizzeria.

MovieMaker magazine is geared toward the art and business of filmmaking, and claims to be the world’s most widely read independent film magazine. It was founded in 1993 in Seattle, but is now headquartered in Burbank, California.

Story by SOU student writer Sophie Passerini