SOU celebrates Veterans Day on Friday

SOU Veterans Day events honor and celebrate service members

The Veterans Day holiday falls on a Friday this year, and Southern Oregon University will bookend the day with two events – a flag-raising ceremony to take place on Thursday, followed by festivities at Saturday’s football game.

SOU will be closed in observance of the national Veterans Day holiday on Friday, Nov. 11. It is one of nine dates celebrated on the university’s annual holiday schedule.

This year’s SOU Flag-Raising Ceremony will be from 11 to 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 10. It will take place in front of Churchill Hall, at the flag poles located near Siskiyou Boulevard and Wightman Street, and will be led by SOU President Rick Bailey, Jr., Ph.D., a U.S. Air Force veteran. The senior class of football players will be recognized and veterans will be celebrated throughout the football game on Saturday, Nov. 12.. Kickoff is at 1 p.m., and there will be free admission at both gates for all veterans and military-connected individuals with identification cards or veteran status listed on their driver’s licenses.

“Veterans Day is a day for civilians to recognize and celebrate the men and women from all of our military branches,” said Jesse S. Watson, Ph.D., the equity coordinator for SOU’s Veterans & Military Families office – formerly known as the Veterans Resource Center. “Collectively, we need to be intentional about carrying on the spirit of this holiday throughout the year to honor our military-connected community.

“Military service is an oath that each person takes along with the collective vow of each member’s support network,” Watson said. “We are working diligently here at SOU to make our campus community a place that upholds the spirit of Veterans Day, every day.”

The Veterans Day events are an opportunity for the campus community and Rogue Valley neighbors to come together to commemorate those who have chosen to serve and to lift up those loved ones that also carry the weight of service.

More information is available at sou.edu/veterans.

business after hours returns

Business After Hours for student opportunities

More than 20 local employers will be on hand to talk with students about potential internships and career possibilities when the SOU business faculty and the Accounting Students’ Association host their annual Business After Hours event from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 19, in the Stevenson Union’s Rogue River Room.

The networking event is intended as an opportunity for all interested SOU students to meet with representatives of local businesses and discuss opportunities that may be available to them. The get-together is free and will include a raffle and refreshments.

Interested students are encouraged to attend in business-casual attire, and to bring copies of their resume if they are looking for internships or jobs. The SOU Business Department faculty recommends that even those who are not yet ready to apply for jobs or internships should still attend, to practice networking skills and make valuable connections for the future.

Students who plan to attend should register ahead of time so that the organizers can print nametags.

The Business After Hours meeting is sponsored by Lithia Motors & Driveway, and Moss Adams, LLP. Other businesses and organizations that will be represented at the event include Valley Immediate Care; David Willingham – Primerica; Knife River; John Warekois CPA LLC; Dawson CPA; Nagel & Padilla LLC; Rogue Credit Union; KDP CPA, LLP; SOU Alumni Relations; Ashland Partners & Company LLP; Ashland Hills Hotel & Suites; Boise Cascade; Neuman Hotel Group; ScienceWorks Hands-on Museum; Providence Medford Medical Center; WorkSource Rogue – Oregon Employment Department; Ashland Hills Hotel; Rogue Community Health; Rogue Valley SHRM; AGT CPAs & Advisors; Functional Botanicals, LLC; SMART Reading; Liberty Tax Service; Ashland Insurance; Sister River Foods; Compass Hotel by Margaritaville; Riechensperger CPA; and Jackson County.

This year’s event will be the first since before the COVID-19 pandemic. It is the signature annual project of the Accounting Students Association, which provides support, networking opportunities and leadership experience to accounting students. The club helps prepare students for the transition from school to ther careers by establishing relationships with local businesses, hosting guest speakers and touring accounting offices. It also runs the accounting tutoring program.

Those with questions about the Business After Hours event should contact accounting faculty member and club advisor Sara Adams, at adamss3@sou.edu.

Esports event to preview new game

SOU Esports hosts community night and game preview

(Ashland, Ore.) — The Esports Hub at Southern Oregon University’s Student Recreation Center is hosting a community game night from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday to preview the unreleased alpha version of a local video game development company’s new product.

The event, a partnership with SunSpear Games of Medford, will feature the fantasy game “IMMORTAL: Gates of Pyre.” Developers from SunSpear will be on hand, along with representatives of the Cyber Center Esports Gaming Lounge in Phoenix and Funagain Games, a game store with locations in Ashland and Eugene.

There will be complimentary snacks, along with gaming equipment giveaways and a t-shirt raffle.

The Esports Hub, which features 12 top-end gaming stations, is located in the Student Recreation Center, at Wightman and Webster streets in Ashland. The facility is used for intercollegiate competitions, intramural gaming and open play for all SOU students and SRC members.

SOU is among the first institutions on the West Coast to offer both an academic program and a competitive team in Esports – a billion-dollar global enterprise. The university’s academic minor in esports management is one of just a handful that are offered nationally and its combination of programs positions students for future employment in the growing industry.

The “IMMORTAL: Gates of Pyre” video game features action among three planets surrounding the mythical “God-Star” Pyre. The SunSpear website describes it as “an action-packed battle strategy game” that puts players in the roles of god-like commanders who create alliances, command armies and conquer enemies. It has intuitive controls and enables team play.

SunSpear was formed as a collaboration of community design teams and gaming industry veterans, with the goal of building better Esports, according to the company’s LinkedIn profile. It has “co-crafted” games with other developers around the world has created its IMMORTAL game to combine “social, accessible, free-to-play design with the competitive excellence and visual clarity of Real Time Strategy genre.”

-SOU-

Raider Up: President’s podcast, episode 2

SOU's Earth Day Extravaganza will highlight Earth Month

SOU Earth Month features Earth Day Extravaganza and more

Southern Oregon University and community partners are offering an “Earth Day Extravaganza” and a packed schedule of events during the last two weeks of April in observation of Earth Month 2022. Opportunities to learn, take action and celebrate will take place both on campus and in the community April 19 through 29.

Environmental and social sustainability are among SOU’s core institutional values, and the events offered by the Social Justice and Equity Center’s Student Sustainability Team will highlight SOU’s contributions in these areas and offer opportunities to get involved in making a difference. Campus events will include a free screening of the film “Necessity 2: Climate Justice and the Thin Green Line,” the Light Up Your Bike Night Ride and Workshop, the Earth Day Extravaganza and the Arbor Day of Service. All of SOU’s events are free and open to the public.

Events hosted by community organizations include the Bear Creek Stewardship Day, Earth Day celebrations at the Ashland Food Co-op and Temple Emek Shalom, the Run Wild Ashland Color Dash and the Rogue Valley Bike Swap.

Details on the full Earth Month line-up are available online.

SOU’s Earth Day Extravaganza will be held this year from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. on April 22, in observation of the 52nd Earth Day. The Student Sustainability Team (formerly ECOS) has been hosting a similar version of the event for more than 20 years – historically, in the Stevenson Union courtyard. The Student Sustainability Team is moving the event to The Farm at SOU to help fill a void that was left when the Rogue Valley Earth Day event, traditionally held at the neighboring ScienceWorks, was discontinued.

The SOU Earth Day Extravaganza has adopted some of the more popular features of Rogue Valley Earth Day, in partnership with the event’s past organizers – including educational exhibits by more than 30 sustainability and social justice-minded organizations and businesses; the Earth Day Ecoquest, in which participants of all ages can complete activities to earning prizes; and musical performances by campus and community groups including the SOU Salsa Band, the Creek Side Strings and Elbow Room Taiko. Other additions include mini-workshops hosted by students from SOU’s Environmental Education master’s degree program, farm and art tours, lawn games, crafts and food trucks.

ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum will be extending its hours on the day of the event to 6:30 p.m., and will also offer free admission that afternoon.

Guests are asked to walk, bike, carpool or take a bus to the Earth Day Extravaganza, to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit parking congestion. Limited on-site parking is available in the ScienceWorks parking lot and overflow parking at Willow Wind Community Learning Center is also available. Guests that walk, bike, take a bus or carpool to the event can stop by the Rogue Valley Transportation District (RVTD) exhibit to receive bonus Ecoquest tokens to be used toward Ecoquest prizes.

SOU’s Earth Day Extravaganza is made possible by contributions from campus and community sponsors, including Café Mam Organic Coffee, the SOU Social Justice and Equity Center, Sustainability at SOU, the SOU Environmental Science and Policy Program, True South Solar, the Ashland Food Co-op, Southern Oregon Climate Action Now and many other partner organizations.

Please visit the Earth Day Extravaganza website for more information.

2022 OTA Fellow Whillamina Wise

SOU student selected as TRIO-SSS 2022 OTA Fellow

The Oregon TRIO Association (OTA) recently selected TRIO-SSS student Whillamina Wise of Southern Oregon University as its 2022 OTA Fellow. She participated in the Council for Opportunity in Education Policy Seminar as Oregon’s representative last week in Washington, D.C.

The OTA Fellow’s main responsibility is to encourage funding for TRIO and hear stories of how the federal Student Support Services (SSS) program has helped first-generation, low-income and other underrepresented students around the country. Whillamina and the student representatives of other states help the organization to support students in the program nationwide.

“They’ve supported me so much throughout my education, and I’m just happy to be representing them,” Whillamina said in an interview with SOU News.

TRIO is a federally funded organization that helps disadvantaged students progress through the academic pipeline from middle school through graduate school. Student Support Services is one of eight sections of the TRIO program.

The TRIO-SSS program at SOU is limited to 190 students per academic year and has served more than 1,500 since 1994. The free program offers services including academic advising, tutoring, personal education plans, career guidance, preparation for graduate programs and financial aid information.

There are 23 colleges and universities in Oregon that offer TRIO-SSS.

Whillamina is majoring in International Studies and Spanish at SOU, and participates in the university’s Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program – another of the federal TRIO program’s eight sections. She plans to enter a master’s degree or doctoral program in her field next year.

Whillamina is passionate about uplifting underrepresented communities, and one of her goals with TRIO-SSS is to help first-generation students in developing their academic careers and increasing diversity across the board. The International Studies major at SOU has helped her work as the OTA Fellow, in finding new ways to improve integration and to diversify academia.

Those who may be eligible for support from TRIO-SSS are encouraged to learn more about the program.

SOU News sat down with 2022 OTA Fellow Whillamina Wise in this podcast interview below. Listen here and subscribe to SOU News podcast with Nash Bennett on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify.

Story by Nash Bennett, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer

RVTD bus passes for SOU students

RVTD: It may be time to rethink your commute and drive less

With the increase in gas prices, many in the SOU community may be looking for ways to save some money at the pump. SOU’s partnership with RVTD, which provides a 90 percent discount with the SOU Student Term Bus Pass, compared to the regular cost of monthly bus passes, is a great option. Many students and staff have regularly used the bus as their way of getting around; since fall 2019, students and staff have recorded more than 33,000 transit trips.

In recent years, RVTD has worked to provide an improved and more convenient passenger experience. RVTD launched a free WiFi service on all RVTD buses in January, allowing passengers a chance to be better connected and more productive with their commute time. There are great new technology amenities like the Transit App, One Bus Away or the Google Trip Planner which provide passengers real-time bus information on when their bus will arrive at their bus stop and destination, making planning your bus trip easier than ever. The Umo Mobility App also makes it easy for students and staff to use their mobile phone to ride the bus.

Riding the bus offers many benefits like saving money in gas and parking costs and can also help reduce your carbon footprint. If you are interested in getting a discounted SOU Term Bus Pass, visit https://inside.sou.edu/sc/bus-passes.html for details on SOU faculty/staff passes, and students can visit www.tinyurl.com/soubuspass.

Interested in carpooling?
RVTD and SOU also provide easy ways to find or post a carpool so you can share the cost of the ride. Get There Oregon is the statewide online ride-matching tool built to help you connect with others going your way for school, work, or shopping. If you use your @sou.edu email address to create your Get There account you can search for carpools with others in the SOU community using the SOU Raider Rideshare Network. To sign-up visit: GetThereOregon.edu

Need a bike? Check out the 2022 Rogue Valley Bike Swap
The Bike Swap is back this year and will be held on Saturday, April 30, offering a great opportunity to find a “new” set of wheels.

Buy, sell, or DONATE a bike, parts, or accessories at the festive revival of this long-running annual event. Test ride an e-bike, register your bike with the Ashland PD, and learn about bike events and advocacy efforts in your community. A portion of each sale will go to fund youth bike education programs in local public schools. For more information, visit rvtd.org/bikeswap.

From the Student Sustainability Team of SOU’s Social Justice and Equity Center

SOU Rotaract Club raises $10k

SOU Rotaract Club raises $10,000 for ShelterBox

The SOU Rotaract Club has now raised $10,000 in a three-year fund-raising commitment to ShelterBox, a charity that works in international disaster relief by providing families with shelter and other supplies.

Students from the club did multiple fundraisers, including selling Christmas decorations, hosting an Easter egg hunt and volunteering at local events. It is part of a three-year commitment made by the club to raise money for ShelterBox.

ShelterBox was established in 2000, and has since provided disaster relief in 97 different countries. The organization, an official partner organization of Rotary International, offers relief to displaced families who have lost their homes due to natural disasters. Families are given shelter boxes that each contain a large tent “house,” water purification kit, blankets and other equipment.

SOU’s current chapter of Rotaract – an entry-level version of Rotary International, geared toward young adults – was formed less than five years ago, and now has a steady core of active members and several others who have been interested in specific club projects. Rotaract chapters must take on both local projects and “world service” projects each year.

SOU’s Rotaract Club went all in on ShelterBox, resulting in a huge fundraising landmark. They’re not done yet though, with plans to continue fundraising for ShelterBox and increase student engagement during the 2022-23 academic year.

Students looking for a great way to get involved with their community and gain leadership skills in a fun environment can contact SOU’s Rotaract Club to learn about membership opportunities. More information is available on the club’s Twitter page or its website.

SOU News sat down with the club’s president, Teal Hamner, to discuss the club and the ShelterBox fundraising in this podcast interview below.

Story and photos by Nash Bennett, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer

Bella McCord Winchester and other SOU students resumed international experiences this year

SOU students get back to international experiences after COVID pause

International experiences have resumed this year for many Southern Oregon University students, following a pandemic-related pause that limited travel for most SOU programs.

Outdoor Adventure Leadership programs led the way in summer 2021, with eight students traveling to Ecuador, and nine to Mexico and Belize, as part of OAL’s signature international expedition experiences. Another 12 students traveled to a total of nine countries during fall term 2021, by way of study abroad and exchange programs offered through SOU’s Office of International Programs.

International programs offer students experiential education, in which every moment inside and outside the classroom can be a chance to dig deeper into language, culture and society. International travel is also a crash course in planning and preparation – even more so during COVID. For those students who navigated visa delays, vaccination and testing requirements for flights, and arrival quarantines, the payoff was worth it.

International Studies major Alia Sager wanted to improve her French language skills abroad, but getting there tookAlia Sager's international experiences were in France flexibility when her initial program location closed, and when French visas took extra long to be processed.

“My advice for other students studying abroad in the COVID era is not to get discouraged,” Sager said. “There were many days where I didn’t know if the trip would be possible or not.  Plan for the best!  Even if things seem unlikely, in my case it all pulled together right before and I was able to go.”

She spent the semester in Lyon, France through study abroad partner provider USAC, in the company of students from around the world.

“The one language we had in common was French,” Sager said. “I realized just how challenging the term would be … because I had to push myself out of my comfort zone so far on a daily basis I came back a completely different person who feels more confident and secure in who I am and what I have to offer.”

SOU Education Abroad advisor Ariel Bloomer, who helps students explore program options and provides guidance during the application and pre-departure process, said that students who step outside their comfort zone tend to “step into the growth zone.”

“Everyone’s comfort zone is different, though, which is why our study away program portfolio includes such a broad range of options,” Bloomer said.

The National Student Exchange program offers opportunities within the U.S. and Canada, while SOU direct exchanges and study abroad partner providers offer options around the world.

“These experiences can also help demonstrate to employers a range of desired skills, including cultural agility, adaptability, creative problem-solving, language and ability to navigate through new processes around visas and travel,” Bloomer said.

Isaac Wilson enjoyed international experiences in FinlandBusiness major Isaac Wilson’s highlights in Finland came from a trip into the Arctic Circle, where he met reindeer, rode snowmobiles and saw the magnificent lights of the Aurora Borealis.

“Studying abroad is an opportunity to mature as a person and a way to become more independent as a person coming into adulthood,” said Wilson, who is pursuing one of the unique year-long exchange options for business majors that results in a dual degree from his European host university after graduation.

“I was incredibly fortunate to be able to study in Korea during COVID,” said Communication major Sophie Haney, who spent the fall in Gwangju, South Korea.

“I would encourage anyone who wants to study abroad right now to find a way to do it safely because it was truly a life-changing experience,” Haney said. “I think the most important thing is to understand the safety procedures of whatever country you want to visit and make sure you are following them, because then you’ll be able to fully enjoy whatever opportunities are there.”

Exchange partner university Chonnam National University in South Korea was unable to hold in-person classes during the semester due to COVID, which was initially a disappointment for Emerging Media and Digital Arts major Ezra Farner, who also studied in Gwangju this fall.

Sophie Haney and Ezra Farner had many international experiences in South Korea“My advice to students traveling in COVID is to make the most of the opportunities you have and to not dwell too much on the things you can’t control,” Farner said. “I was hoping to be able to have in-person classes when I traveled abroad and that ended up not being the case – but the advantage of that was being able to travel to other cities and take classes from various places around the country!”

Senior Communication major Bella McCord recalled the re-opening of British theatre as one of the highlights of her semester on exchange with the University of Winchester.

“I saw four shows throughout my four months away and it was so fulfilling to be able to enjoy theatre again when COVID had taken it away for so long,” McCord said. “Plus, they were all favorites I had never seen live, or shows I had never seen before but I had been waiting for the opportunity to see for years (Wicked!).”

This year’s intrepid crop of student travelers emphasized safety and risk-mitigation as key to a successful time abroad.

“If you get sick while abroad it does feel like you’re wasting what precious little time you have. Wear your mask in public places even if others aren’t, and book the correct kind of COVID tests before entering and exiting,” she said, because countries specify which of the many types of tests are acceptable.

Business major Kyle Hart, studying for the year at University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, said to “make sure thatKyle Hart's international experiences took him to Nottingham you are fully vaccinated and take care of yourself … but there is a lot more joy and things to learn than fear when you go abroad.”

Sophie Haney added that South Korea “had really strict quarantine procedures when we first got there and more limited public gathering options than the U.S., but it meant that we felt safe traveling within the country and taking advantage of the fun events and opportunities.”

Students wanting to explore options for travel for summer or during academic year 2022-23 should contact the Office of International Programs to set up an appointment to speak with an Education Abroad advisor, explore the OIP page on Inside SOU to browse available programs and talk with their academic advisor(s) about studying away for their major or minor.

Story by Ariel Bloomer, SOU Education Abroad advisor