SOU-RCC Innovation Jam on Saturday at RCC's Tablerock campus

SOU, RCC collaborate in regional “Innovation Jam”

Participants will form teams and invent solutions to “some of the region’s most pressing problems,” including sustainability and environmentalism, in an Innovation Jam on Saturday that features SOU and RCC students, and is overseen by business leaders, innovators and educators from around Oregon.

The event, co-hosted by Invent Oregon, is a regional collegiate competition that engages entrepreneurial students in all-day brainstorming sessions. The southern Oregon event will be from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at RCC’s Table Rock Campus in White City.

Abigail Van Gelder, executive director of Invent Oregon, said students from SOU’s Design Thinking and Creative Entrepreneurship courses will bring “the multi-disciplinary communication and collaboration skills needed to launch and scale a 21st-century startup.” Students from RCC’s industrial technology program will provide “expertise in tools, technology and manufacturing,” she said.

Students will work on prototypes through the day, with a keynote address, final pitches, feedback from local mentors and advisors and networking open to the public starting at 4 p.m. Advisors will provide input, using design-thinking guidelines and techniques.

“This is the only workshop of its kind being hosted by Invent Oregon this year,” Van Gelder said. “We are working with RCC and SOU to pilot new ways to serve innovation students across the state outside of the channel of having a team that represents their university at the Invent Oregon Collegiate Challenge.

“We look forward to taking this workshop across the state to other partner schools next year.”

The SOU-RCC partnership in the Innovation Jam is the result of collaboration between Marshall Doak, director of SOU’s Small Business Development Center, and Kim Freeze, RCC’s Dean of Science, Art and Technology.

The event will include a catered breakfast and lunch for registered participants.

Event location:
RCC’s Table Rock Campus in White City, Oregon
7800 Pacific Ave, White City, OR 97503

Event Schedule:

  • 8:30am — 9:00am: Registration and Breakfast
  • 9:00am — 10:00am: Kickoff and Initial Instructions
  • 10:00am — 10:30am: Design Thinking Module
  • 10:30am — 11:30am: Problem Statement Introductions and Customer Interviews
  • 11:30am — 1:30pm: Mentor Guided Team Session
  • 12:00pm: Lunch Delivered
  • 1:30pm — 2:00pm: Pitch Design Module
  • 2:00pm — 3:00pm: Pitch Design
  • 2:30pm — 3:30pm: Pitch Coaching Session
  • 3:00pm — 4:00pm: Final Presentation Prep
  • 4:00pm — 5:30pm: Guest Speaker, Pitch for the Judges and Awards

Contact Information:     

Story by Angelina Caldera, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer

Sustainability Collective at SOU

New Sustainability Collective serves fun, sustainability and SOUPS

A new group of passionate activists is meeting weekly at SOU to create sustainability initiatives, write magazines, bond over shared interests, listen to music, and make friends over soup and banter. The Sustainability Collective gets together at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays in the Stevenson Union’s Social Justice & Equity Center.

The Sustainability Collective’s aims are to create a culture of empowerment and start projects on campus with the help of the SOU Green Fund. The collective may be a good fit for students who have an interest in connecting with campus resources, and would like to seek internship or volunteer opportunities.

The group encourages interested students to participate in its workshops – including but not limited to radical sexual liberation, foraging and disaster preparedness.

The collective will be publishing a magazine titled SOUPS (Southern Oregon University Peoples’ Sustainability). It will have a monthly edition, featuring art, poetry, essays and testimonials from Sustainability Collective attendees. SOUPS will include a list of contacts for local organizations that students may want to get in touch with, relevant upcoming events, and both local and international projects.

Finally, SOUPS magazine will include recipes for soup! The magazine will be featured at the Oregon Fringe Festival on April 26. Those interested in submitting material to the magazine should contact Liz Adkisson (, who started the group in September.

Adkisson is a sustainability major and serves as Events and Student Outreach Coordinator for the SOU Sustainability Office. She felt there was a space for students of different skills and passions to get together to discuss sustainability and create projects, and she wanted to find a way to meet people and have fun while discussing sustainability in a relaxed environment. Her vision was to create tangible change and a better quality of life for future generations.

Adkisson’s main focus is activism. She intermixed concepts of mindfulness and self-care, and has worked to encourage Sustainability Collective participants to connect with their community.

The collective encourages students to tell their friends and bring their most “grounded” selves!

Story by Angelina Caldera, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer

Professional counselors are available to students through the My SSP platform

Partnership offers SOU students real-time access to counselors

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University has begun winter term with a new partnership to provide real-time, 24-hour-per-day access to professional counselors who can support students through anything from mental health crises to everyday concerns.

The university has joined a growing list of educational institutions to work with the human resources firm LifeWorks to offer counseling and other resources through the company’s My Student Support Program (My SSP). Counselors are available for on-demand, no-appointment sessions by phone or chat – either online or on the My SSP mobile app – or by appointment for ongoing, short-term counseling. My SSP will complement SOU’s existing, on-campus services for student health and wellness, and is offered at no charge for SOU students.

“We recognize that the higher education setting, even at a welcoming and supportive campus such as ours, has stress points that can be difficult to work through alone,” said Anna D’Amato, executive director of the SOU Student Health & Wellness Center. “This partnership with LifeWorks to provide the full slate of My SSP services is a tremendous value to our students and the university. Students’ overall health and wellbeing – physical, mental and emotional – is our top priority, and this new tool will help us provide important services that cannot be fully offered through our own, limited staff.”

Students can access the new services through the free My SSP app, the website ( or by phone at 1 (866) 743-7732 (or at 001 (416) 380-6578 for those outside the U.S. or Canada).

The LifeWorks counselors are specifically trained to deal with challenges often faced by students, such as adapting to new challenges, academic success, stress and worry of daily life, relationship concerns, and sadness, loneliness and uncertainty. Multilingual counselors are available for sessions in English, Spanish, French, Mandarin and Cantonese – and in other languages, if available, by appointment.

The My SSP partnership also gives SOU students access – through the app, website and telephone – to a variety of articles, videos, tools and other resources.

My SSP offers guidance for faculty or staff members, or student leaders, on how to best manage difficult student situations and on facilitating “assisted referrals” for students of concern. Those who have frontline connections with students are encouraged to let them know it’s OK to ask for help, to recommend registering on the free My SSP app, and to call in themselves for advice on engaging students of concern.

LifeWorks, a leading provider of technology-enabled HR services, was launched in 1966 as W.F. Morneau & Associates, and now serves about 24,000 client organizations in 162 countries. Its international and domestic student support programs serve more than 2 million students at a variety of colleges and universities, with a worldwide network of more than 35,000 counselors – including at least 18,000 in the U.S.


Agriculture interests stay with SOU student

SOU student maintains passion for agriculture

No two SOU students are alike in all ways, but Abigail Rademacher may be among the least typical. For starters, she is now an economics major at SOU, a medium-sized liberal arts university – and has a passion for agriculture and livestock, having transferred from a large ag school.

But Rademacher stands out even among others who share her farming/ranching interests; she took a brief break from classes this fall for a trip to Indiana, where she was awarded an FFA American Degree – an honor bestowed on fewer than 1 percent of the nation’s Future Farmers of America members.

“I thought that this might inspire other students that dedication to their passions and extracurricular activities can help to enhance their education at an undergraduate level,” she said.

Rademacher received her FFA State Degree in 2019, while a junior at Eagle Point High School, then graduated with honors – and a 3.8 GPA – a year later. The difference between the FFA State Degree and American Degree is mostly a matter of scale – the American Degree requires much higher levels of community service, investment and profits from agricultural or livestock projects. Rademacher also completed the equivalent of 360 hours secondary and post-secondary agricultural education to qualify for the national-level honor, through a combination of college-level courses while in high school and ag-specific coursework at Iowa State University prior to her transfer to SOU.

Then there’s the requirement for American Degree recipients to have invested at least $7,500 and earned at least $10,000 – and spent at least 2,500 paid and unpaid hours – in agricultural projects. Rademacher checked those boxes through a variety of FFA “Supervised Agricultural Experiences,” which are similar to 4-H projects. She completed a swine production project, showed both swine and steers, wrote an agricultural blog, worked in the garden department of a Lowes home improvement store, worked at an agricultural magazine at Iowa State, attended a Global Youth Institute conference and created a wine label for a local winery.

She completed community service and demonstrated leadership by volunteering with an Adopt a Family, Hearts with a Mission, the Maslow Project and Feed America, and at events including an agricultural dinner and auction, a cattlemen’s annual meeting and at an annual quilt show. She served as a group leader at the Global Youth Institute conference, as public relations chair and vice president of her Public Relations Student Association of America chapter and as Eagle Point High School’s Pear Blossom princess for 2020.

Rademacher landed this fall at SOU – where her grandparents and mother are alumni – after leaving Iowa for health reasons. She changed her focus from business to economics following a conversation with Bret Anderson, an associate professor and chair of SOU’s economics program.

“My goal after my bachelor’s is to pursue a Ph.D. in agricultural economics with a potential career as a policy analyst within the Department of Agriculture,” Rademacher said. “I haven’t heard of many opportunities at SOU related to ag, and would love any suggestions.”

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

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

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.”


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.