SOU’s SWAVE team seeks new members

The new SWAVE (Sexual Wellness Anti-Violence Educators) team at the SOU Women’s Resource Center is seeking new members, whose training will include a sexual wellness education class (UGS 299) that will be offered Spring Term.

The SWAVE team, currently made up of five student workers, is focused on educating all students on the prevention of rape culture and abuse. Its goal is to engage the SOU campus to help eliminate sexual violence.

While the Women’s Resource Center often responds to and helps those who have been abused, the SWAVE team’s purpose is more preventive. Members of the team will be taught how to lead and educate their peers on topics such as consent, bystander empowerment, rape culture and other related topics.

All students, women and men, are welcome to become members of the SWAVE team, which focuses on current culture and the levels of abuse that may exist in relationships.

UGS 299, a two-credit class that will be held on Tuesdays from 3:30 to 5:20 p.m., will offer insights into the education of peers, public speaking and how to handle resistance in the classroom. Current SWAVE team members will help teach the class.

Prospective SWAVE members will also be encouraged to volunteer with the Women’s Resource Center.

The Women’s Resource Center works closely with Planned Parenthood and the Jackson County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART). The center will work with SART on a presentation at the May conference of the Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

The WRC participates in other events throughout the year to help raise awareness, empower people and to assist those seeking help.

Story by Bryn Mosier, SOU Marketing and Communications intern

SOU lock-in event

Annual Lock-In event to draw large police presence at SOU on Friday

SOU’s Criminology and Criminal Justice students will get plenty of hands-on training, and representatives from a variety of law enforcement agencies will be on campus to present workshops when the university’s Criminology Club hosts its yearly Lock-In event on Friday.

The 18th annual event will draw on the expertise of agencies including the Ashland and Medford police departments, Oregon State Police, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Jackson County District Attorney’s Office and the federal Drug Enforcement Agency. The Lock-In will begin at 11 a.m. and wrap up at 7 p.m.

A large police presence will be visible primarily in and around Taylor Hall and the Stevenson Union. All officers, including SWAT members, will be in uniform or will visibly display their badges.

Simulation notices will be posted on the buildings, along the perimeter of the area and in each room where a simulation is held. Explorer Scouts from the Medford Police Department will be stationed near SWAT vehicles to ensure safety and answer questions from passers-by.

Officers will present workshops on topics such as felony traffic stops, active shooter scenarios, the use of drug detection dogs, defensive tactics, jail management and shoot/don’t shoot situations.

Students attending the Lock-In event will choose three stations in which to participate, and will rotate periodically from one station to another. The event provides opportunities for networking and camaraderie, along with practical training.

Those with additional questions may contact Associate Professor David Carter, chair of SOU’s Criminology and Criminal Justice Department.

Earth Week 2019

SOU’s ECOS accepting ideas for Earth Week events

Earth Week 2019 is just over 1 ½ months away, and SOU’s Ecology and Sustainability Resource Center (ECOS) has invited groups on campus to submit ideas for events they could host as part of the university’s overall observance.

Those interested in organizing and hosting events during Earth Week, April 15 to 19, should complete and submit a form on the ECOS website. Clubs and organizations should apply by March 1 to reserve time slots.

ECOS – a collaborative office and community space for sustainability and service – organizes SOU’s Earth Week observances, which have occurred for at least the past five years. The mission of ECOS is to inspire environmental, social and economic responsibility among SOU’s students.

None of this year’s Earth Week events have yet been announced, but activities in past years have included film screenings, educational fairs, workshops, how-to demonstrations, discussions, tabling and rallies.

The first Earth Day occurred on April 22, 1970, when more than 20 million Americans participated in peaceful demonstrations to inspire environmental reform.

April 22 continues to be celebrated annually as Earth Day across the U.S. and in nearly 200 other countries. However, many universities such as SOU set aside the entire week to raise awareness of environmental issues.

Those who have questions about the SOU observance may email for more information.

Story by Bryn Mosier, SOU Marketing and Communications intern

Tristen Holmes-academic all-district

SOU’s Holmes makes Academic All-District team – again

For the second straight year, SOU men’s basketball player Tristen Holmes has been named a Google Cloud Academic All-District 4 selection – nominated and voted upon by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

The honor recognizes the top student-athletes in the nation for a combination of their academic and athletic performances. Holmes, a point guard for the Raider men’s basketball team, was one of just 22 players in the NAIA to earn the distinction.

Each will be considered for the Academic All-America team, which will be announced next month.

Holmes, an All-Cascade Conference performer from North Medford High, is an interdisciplinary studies major focusing on pre-dentistry. With a cumulative GPA of 3.84, he’s a McNair Scholar and has already been accepted to attend Oregon Health & Science University upon his graduation at SOU.

Holmes has also been one of the most productive all-around players in team history while helping the Raiders win 82 games in his four years. Among CCC players, he ranks ninth in points per game (16.6) and eighth in assists (3.5), and in conference games he was one of just two players with top-15 marks in points, rebounds and assists.

Holmes has scored at least 20 points on nine occasions this season and led the Raiders in scoring 14 times. In the process, he’s also become the only Raider ever to amass at least 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 400 assists in a career.

He recently recorded 19 points and nine rebounds to spark SOU’s 78-77 defeat of Northwest Christian in the CCC Tournament quarterfinals. He and the Raiders will play at Corban in Saturday’s semifinal round.

This story is reposted from

NEXTGENRADIO: SOU student journalist Erika Soderstrom

NEXTGENRADIO: SOU student journalist Erika Soderstrom earns NPR fellowship

As co-editor of The Siskiyou student newspaper and production assistant for Jefferson Public Radio, communication major Erika Soderstrom has emerged as one of the top student journalists at Southern Oregon University. But even Soderstrom can reinvent her journalism practice, which she did via a NextGenRadio fellowship during Fall Term of 2018.

Co-sponsored by National Public Radio and dedicated to “Finding, coaching and training public media’s next generation,” NextGenRadio completely changed the way Soderstrom views journalism.

She was selected through a competitive application process to participate in a “pop-up” digital journalism training program geared toward news reporting and audio. Organizers hope that cohorts of student journalists can walk away with the skills and knowledge necessary to produce and report their own multimedia stories.

NextGenRadio participants are paired with professional journalists/mentors. Soderstrom partnered with Ericka Cruz Guevarra, a breaking news reporter for Oregon Public Broadcasting.

“I absolutely loved working with her,” Soderstrom said.

Soderstrom and Guevarra were assigned to find a resident who was creating positive community change in the Meadowview neighborhood of Sacramento. This is the neighborhood where Stephon Clark was shot and killed by police on the evening of March 18, 2018.

“Many media outlets went in and reported on how bad the community was and then left,” Soderstrom said. “We were tasked with reconstructing that narrative.”

That’s when Soderstrom found Paul Blanco’s story. Initially, she reached out to  Blanco because he had helped Clark’s grandparents rebuild their home after the police shooting.

However, Soderstrom and Guevarra decided that his personal story was worth showcasing. Blanco had a compelling perspective to share about living and raising his biracial children in the Meadowview community for the past 20 years. In a heart-string-pulling interview, Blanco sheds light on a father’s fear for his biracial children’s lives in the current day and age.

Through this experience, Soderstrom learned that stories change all the time and that “sometimes that’s for the best.” Her experience with NextGenRadio has exposed her to extensive professional connections and resources.

“My favorite part of this experience was being able to present my story and watch the fellow mentees present their final projects as well,” Soderstrom said. “I really enjoyed the community of people I had the opportunity to work with. I also enjoyed the connections that I’ve made and continue to have.”

Story by SOU student writer Sophie Passerini, @SophiePasserini


SOU Outdoor Program offers Winter Term climbing opportunities

The SOU Outdoor Program is offering multiple climbing opportunities this winter for those who want to learn something new or experience something challenging.

The Outdoor Program is offering a chance for climbing beginners to start their learning experience on Feb. 17 at Emigrant Lake. Intermediate climbing at Rattlesnake will be offered on March 16.

The Emigrant Lake climbing trip is $24 and the Rattlesnake trip is $37, and both prices include transportation, instruction and lunch.

To sign up, log in to SOU Connect­ and fill out the form. Both trips are on weekends, to avoid school-week conflicts.

The Climbing Center in SOU’s new Student Recreation Center is also offering a series of clinics during Winter Term. Belay technique clinics are taught on Monday nights from 8 to 9:30 p.m., and are $5 each.

A three-part Lead Climbing Clinic is being offered over three evenings – Feb. 6, 13 and 20, from 8 to 10 p.m. – for those who want to take their climbing to the next level. The cost is $10.

SOU’s Outdoor Program supports students experiencing the spirit of adventure during their time at the university. It offers student-led trips throughout the school year for the entire campus community, and rents high-quality equipment for camping, rafting, kayaking and backpacking.

The Outdoor Program is associated with Student Life, and support all adventure-based clubs on campus.

SOU Connect is often updated with new information from the Outdoor Program.

Story by Bryn Mosier, SOU Marketing and Communications intern


March 1 deadline approaches for more than 600 OSAC scholarships

(Salem, Ore.) – The Office of Student Access and Completion (OSAC) of Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission is encouraging Oregon students to apply for privately funded scholarships at by the March 1 deadline.

Oregon students may explore more than 600 privately funded scholarships and apply for as many as 40 with a single application. There is no cost to apply, but students must submit their completed OSAC scholarship applicationsand all other required materials by 5 p.m. on March 1.

SOU students may also seek help with their financial aid options at the Financial Aid Office in Britt Hall, or on the university’s financial aid website.

SOU’s Financial Aid Office is urging current and future students to complete their Southern Online Scholarship Applications (SOSA) by March 15 for financial aid during the 2019-20 academic year. Completion of the SOSA form is required for those seeking any from a pool of scholarships – both need- and merit-based, for undergraduate and graduate students, and for Oregon residents and nonresidents.

The scholarship funding available through Oregon’s HECC office is for groups including graduating high school seniors, undergraduate and graduate students at colleges or universities, GED and homeschooled students, community college and vocational school students, and single parents returning to school. Details on specific scholarships that are available through HECC can be found on the OSAC Scholarship Catalog.

Students who want to be considered for federal or state financial aid, including grants and loans, must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the Oregon Student Aid Application (ORSAA) in addition to the OSAC application. The ORSAA is Oregon’s alternative to the FAFSA for undocumented students, including students who have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status.

OSAC uses data from the FAFSA or the ORSAA to determine students’ eligibility for the Oregon Promise, the Oregon Opportunity Grant and numerous scholarships. Information from the FAFSA is also used to determine eligibility for federal aid, including the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Direct Loans and Federal Work-Study.

More information about deadlines and eligibility for the Oregon Promise and the Oregon Opportunity Grant is available at OSAC also hosts several webinars and resources for students, counselors, students, parents, and educators on financial aid opportunities.


Highway of Tears-SOU

SOU groups to screen “Highway of Tears” documentary

SOU’s Native American Student Union and the Women’s Resource Center have partnered to offer a Jan. 16 screening and discussion of the documentary film “Highway of Tears: Preventing Violence against Women.” The event will begin at 6 p.m. in Room 330 of the Stevenson Union.

The film examines the effects of generational poverty, residential schools, systemic violence and high unemployment rates on Canada’s First Nations reserves – areas that have been set aside for native people by Canadian states. More than 600 indigenous women have been murdered or reported missing in Canada since the 1960s.

“Highway of Tears” is about those who have been murdered or gone missing along a 450-mile stretch of highway in northern British Columbia. None of 18 cold-case murders going back as far as 50 years had been solved, until project E-Pana – a special division of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police – linked DNA to Portland drifter Bobby Jack Fowler in the 1974 murder of 16 year-old hitchhiker Colleen MacMillen.

Canada has declared missing and murdered indigenous women a national crisis, but the issue extends into the United States.

SOU’s Native American Student Union and Women’s Resource Center will invite those who attend the Jan. 16 event to learn and become active in addressing the international problem.

The Native American Student Union, which is open to all students, operates under the umbrella of SOU’s Multicultural Resource Center. It offers social and educational support to Native American students, raises awareness of Native American cultures and issues, and sponsors educational and cultural programs.

The Women’s Resource Center provides education and support to women and people of all genders, working to overcome oppression, sexism, hate and inequality.

SOU-Rotaract fundraising for ShelterBox

SOU’s Rotaract service club quadruples fundraising goal

(Ashland, Ore.) — Overachievement is becoming a thing for Southern Oregon University’s fledgling Rotaract Club. Most recently, the club’s student members set a fund-raising target of $1,000 for the ShelterBox disaster relief organization – and quickly quadrupled their goal.

“The Rotaract Club made over 300 origami 16-point stars to raise money for ShelterBox,” said club secretary Hannah Howard, explaining that members asked potential donors to pay what they could afford as a holiday-season contribution.

“We canvassed in front of Safeway, Market of Choice and at several Rotary Club meetings, making over $4,000 for ShelterBox,” Howard said. “To put this in perspective, it could fund four shelter boxes. We were so thrilled with the amount, and beyond grateful to all the club members who made it happen.”

Here’s another bit of perspective: Previous attempts have been made at SOU to organize a campus chapter of Rotaract – an entry-level version of Rotary International, geared toward young adults. Those efforts largely involved students in their final year at SOU and ultimately fizzled when the seniors graduated, but Howard and a handful of other current students have established a robust club in just over a year. It now has 15 to 20 active members, freshman through senior, and more than 60 who have shown interest in specific club projects.

The club’s other student officers are Lizzy Blackwell, president; Jackie Blanchette, vice president; Max Ostendorf, treasurer; and Christina Richardson and Sarah Grulikowski, immediate past co-presidents.

“I have been the Rotaract Club of SOU faculty advisor for a little over a year, and feel very lucky to work with such wonderful students,” said Melissa Anderson, campus engagement librarian at SOU’s Hannon Library.

Rotaract chapters must take on one local project and one “world service” project each year. The SOU club orchestrated a successful “Caroling for Cans” food drive for this year’s local project, then crushed its fundraising goal for ShelterBox – an official partner organization of Rotary International that takes relief efforts to people whose lives have been upended by natural disasters or conflict. They presented their ShelterBox pitch at five Rotary meetings in Ashland and Medford.

“The students are overwhelmed by the generosity they have witnessed, and empowered by the skills and confidence they have gained through this endeavor,” said former SOU President Elisabeth Zinser, the Rotaract club’s liaison to its sponsor, the Rotary Club of Ashland. “It is truly their project – they chose it, designed it, studied it and executed it.”

ShelterBox provides relief to people displaced by disasters throughout the world, delivering shelter boxes that each contain a large tent “house,” water purification kit, blankets and other equipment that will enable a family to survive. The charity was founded in 2000 in the United Kingdom, and has responded to events including the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Anderson, the Rotaract club’s faculty advisor, said support and guidance from the Rotary Club of Ashland and its sister organization, the Lithia Springs Rotary Club, have been critical to the student club’s success. But she credits the resourcefulness and enthusiasm of Rotaract members for accomplishing the club’s goals.

“The amazing job our SOU students did raising money for this very worthwhile organization – during finals, no less – is really going to make a difference in the world,” Anderson said. “The students have put the Rotary motto, ‘Service Above Self,’ into action – which is very fitting, since the Rotaract name itself stands for ‘Rotary in Action.’”


SOU-ECOS-student positions

ECOS offers student positions for Winter Term

SOU’s Ecology and Sustainability Resource Center (ECOS) has openings for a variety of volunteer, intern and work-study student positions for Winter Term.

Students applying for any of the positions are asked to commit to between five and 10 hours per week of work.

Options for Winter Term include an Earth Week planning member, a Dish Loan Program member, a Transportation Options Bike coordinator, Real Food Challenge Calculator and ECOS Community Garden apprentice.

Some of the ECOS internships can be for credit and others are paid opportunities for students eligible for Federal Work Study funding.

A short application must be filled out by Dec. 5 to be considered for the Winter Term positions. Questions can be emailed to

The ECOS mission is to inspire students and help them to become environmentally, socially and economically responsible. ECOS accomplishes this through collaborative partnerships, innovative initiatives and educational programming.

The goals of some ECOS members are to focus on educating for sustainability and social justice, while others want to inspire active citizenship. ECOS also seeks to develop student leadership potential and advocate for the adoption of sustainable institutional and individual practices.

Some of the organization’s student-led initiatives include the ECOS Resource Center, the Real Food Challenge and the ECOS Community Garden. Events such as Zero Waste Week are also sponsored or organized by ECOS.

Story by Bryn Mosier, SOU Marketing and Communications intern