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SOU Resilience

Open forums introduce SOU’s Campus-Community Resilience Assessment

NEWS RELEASE
(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University will hold a pair of open forums to introduce a Campus-Community Resilience Assessment that will be conducted over the next few months to determine the local area’s ability to absorb or adapt to ongoing climate changes.

The forums, which are free and open to the public, will be from 5 to 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 26, and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 27. The same information will be shared at both sessions, which will be in the Rogue River Room of SOU’s Stevenson Union.

SOU’s Sustainability Office is taking on the resilience assessment as part of the university’s Climate Commitment to the Climate Leadership Network, which is made up of more than 600 U.S. colleges and universities. SOU was one of just six institutions to be recognized at the Climate Leadership Network’s summit last year.

Member institutions in the network each commit to take action on climate issues and prepare students to solve current and future challenges. Members may make a “Carbon Commitment” to work toward carbon neutrality, a “Resilience Commitment” to focus on climate adaptation or – as SOU has done – a “Climate Commitment” to do both.

The Resilience Assessment is a response by SOU to the reality of climate change and the urgent need for action. It will provide a baseline of current efforts on campus and in the community to address changes in the climate, identify vulnerabilities and develop initial indicators of resilience.

The assessment will draw input from five small working groups that will each focus on a specific topic: social equity and governance, health and wellness, ecosystem services, infrastructure and the economy. Nominations are still being accepted from those who would like to serve on the groups. Anyone who is interested may contact the university’s Sustainability Office at (541) 552-8139 or sustainability@sou.edu, or by attending one of the upcoming forums.

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SOU receives silver “STARS” rating for sustainability achievements


NEWS BRIEF (available online at https://goo.gl/xDT5yL)
(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University has earned a silver rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education for the university’s campus-wide sustainability achievements.
SOU reported its accomplishments through the AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), which rates the efforts of colleges and universities in five categories: academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration, and innovation and leadership. Participating institutions can be recognized simply for reporting their sustainability achievements, or for rating at the organization’s bronze, silver, gold or platinum levels.
SOU’s silver STARS rating is valid for three years. It is the latest of several recent recognitions of the university’s sustainability efforts. SOU received an honorable mention earlier this year at the Presidential Climate Leadership Summit, was the nation’s first certified Bee Campus USA, has been named a Tree Campus USA for three straight years, was named a Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists and offers LEED Gold campus housing at its Raider Village complex.
AASHE is a nonprofit organization that helps colleges and universities work together to create and lead the way to a sustainable future. More than 400 institutions have participated in the STARS ratings.
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About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University provides outstanding student experiences, valued degrees, and successful graduates. SOU is known for excellence in faculty, intellectual creativity and rigor, quality and innovation in connected learning programs, and the educational benefits of its unique geographic location. SOU was the first university in Oregon—and one of the first in the nation—to offset 100 percent of its energy use with clean, renewable power. It is the first university in the nation to balance 100 percent of its water consumption. Visit sou.edu.

Climate action leader to discuss solutions at SOU talk


NEWS RELEASE (online at https://goo.gl/PT3tHz)
(Ashland, Ore.) — KC Golden, a longtime leader in the U.S. climate action movement, will visit Southern Oregon University on March 9 for a talk that explores the need to turn a corner on the climate crisis and focus on solutions.
His free presentation, “Climate solutions: We have met the hero, and it is us,” will be from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Room 151 of the SOU Science Building. The talk comes as the city of Ashland works on its Climate and Energy Action Plan, and just a few weeks after SOU was one of six U.S. colleges and universities recognized with Climate Leadership Awards at the Presidential Climate Leadership Summit.
Golden will talk about the movement toward climate solutions that has begun over the past five years. The climate crisis has become real, and the cost of impacts is growing too high to ignore. He says a clean-energy revolution has been launched by the strong, citizen-driven climate movement that is challenging the status quo use of fossil fuels.
Climate change is coming to be understood as a moral watershed for our times, and Golden asks how we can drive the transition as fast and as far as is necessary.
Golden, who will speak on Jefferson Public Radio prior to his SOU presentation, is the current board chair of 350.org – a worldwide organization that seeks collaboration among activist groups to focus attention on climate change issues.  The organization’s name is derived from the goal of reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from the current level of more than 400 parts per million to fewer than 350 parts per million.
He also helped Seattle City Light become the country’s first major, carbon-free electric utility in the late 1990s. He was named one of the “Power 25” most influential people by Seattle Magazine, and was the magazine’s “Eco-Hero.”
Golden has served as the Seattle mayor’s special assistant for clean energy and climate protection initiatives and directed Washington’s Energy Policy Office as an assistant director in the state’s Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development. He was the executive director of the Northwest Energy Coalition – an alliance working for clean, affordable energy – from 1989 to 1994.
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About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University provides outstanding student experiences, valued degrees, and successful graduates. SOU is known for excellence in faculty, intellectual creativity and rigor, quality and innovation in connected learning programs, and the educational benefits of its unique geographic location. SOU was the first university in Oregon—and one of the first in the nation—to offset 100 percent of its energy use with clean, renewable power. It is the first university in the nation to balance 100 percent of its water consumption. Visit sou.edu.

SOU Students to Harvest, Reuse OSF Bricks


MEDIA ALERT
Who: Students from SOU’s Center for Sustainability
What: Harvesting bricks from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Green Show plaza
When: 9 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12, and again on Saturday, Nov. 19
osf-courtyardWhere: Oregon Shakespeare Festival (brick plaza off Pioneer Street, between the Bowmer and Elizabethan theaters)
Why: The bricks will be reused, which is what the Center for Sustainability is all about (they’ll be used for pathways and other projects at The Farm at SOU, on Walker Street).
About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University is a medium-sized campus that provides comprehensive educational opportunities with a strong focus on student success and intellectual creativity. Located in vibrant Ashland, Oregon, SOU remains committed to diversity and inclusion for all students on its environmentally sustainable campus. Connected learning programs taught by a host of exceptional faculty provide quality, innovative experiences for students. Visit sou.edu.