How I’m Powered by Orange

Eric Stoller is Powered by Orange

My last day at Oregon State University (OSU) is September 30th. I think it’s fitting as my first day at OSU was also in September. Six years ago I moved out to Oregon from Chicago, IL. It was a tremendous life transition. I had been working at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and the decision to leave UIC/Chicago was a big one for a young professional from the Midwest.

When I first started looking at graduate programs in higher education/student affairs I had no idea that I would end up moving to Oregon. I remember checking up on about 5 or 6 programs. I kept coming back to OSU as my first choice. Eventually, I decided to apply for the College Student Services Administration (CSSA) program at OSU. It was the only grad program that I submitted an application to. In hindsight, I probably should have applied to more than one school just in case OSU didn’t accept me. However, sometimes you have to put all of your eggs in a single basket and hope for the best. Concentrating on a single application made my process extremely focused. I was going to get into grad school at Oregon State. There wasn’t a “plan B.”

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112 degrees in Corvallis, Oregon

Too hot in oregon

It was 113 degrees when I checked the car’s temp gauge yesterday. The temperature went down to 112 when I snapped the picture. The high today is supposed to be 108 degrees. When it’s 100 degrees outside tomorrow, it’s going to feel quite chilly. I may need a sweater ;-)

Roasting in Corvallis

It’s miserably hot in Corvallis right now…I think it’s time to go to a movie (Harry Potter?)…I’ve been camped out at Borders for most of the day. I detest paying for wifi, but the Borders air conditioning is ultra cold which makes up for the spendy internet access.
It is too hot in Corvallis Oregon

First Alternative declares bag independence

First Alternative declares bag independence

On July 4, 2009, First Alternative Co-op will begin charging 5¢ for every new paper bag used at our checkout registers. This charge is an environmental initiative meant to lessen our dependence on disposable bags and encourage the use of reusable shopping bags. A survey conducted among our customers earlier this year showed overwhelming support for a bag charge.

• An owner survey will determine how the Co-op uses the proceeds from the bag charge.

• Our Beans for Bags program will not change, and customers will still receive one bean for every bag reused at checkout.

• Only the paper handled bags at the registers will be charged for, not the smaller paper bags used for produce and bulk items.

I have been using one of the Blue Co-op Bags for a couple months now. It’s even made from recycled plastic!

OSU Awards Honorary Degrees

In 1942, xenophobic U.S. officials enacted policies that resulted in the internment of over 100,000 Japanese American citizens. 42 Japanese American students at Oregon State University were forced to leave the university and sent to internment camps. Most did not ever return to OSU. On Sunday, June 15th, OSU awarded honorary degrees to every Japanese American student who was unable to complete their degree.

via the OSU Admissions Blog

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OSU Bridge to Success Program

Oregon State University

Oregon State University leaders have announced a new financial aid initiative that in its first school year, 2008-09, will enable a full 10 percent of the Oregonian students who attend OSU to do so free of charge.

The Bridge to Success Program will pool federal resources with funds from the Oregon Opportunity Grant, the Campaign for OSU and redirected institutional monies to cover all tuition and fee costs for 1,500 in-state students this fall. Additional funds will cover books and supplies for half of those students.

Awards will be based on financial need and students’ ability to show satisfactory progress toward completion of degrees, including taking 15 credits each term.

Looking forward

A theme that I have come across lately is the idea of looking forward in order to move past an issue. I feel that looking forward or forward thinking is a good thing as long as the issue at hand has been addressed. Unfortunately, a lot of times, the concept of looking forward becomes PR speak for not actually addressing the issue but going back to the status quo.

The fall term at Oregon State University provides an example of this idea of doing nothing but saying that we are looking forward type of thinking. In the fall term, OSU’s community was focused on two separate racist incidents. A student wearing blackface was featured on the front of the campus newspaper (ensuing conversations, editorials, and Facebook groups underscored a campus climate that is not bereft of racism) and a noose was hung in the yard of an OSU fraternity. Both incidents received a lot of press and generated several meetings amongst campus community members. An official statement from President Ray was issued in November.

The first half of the statement focuses on the amount of media coverage that occurred in the fall term:

In recent weeks, The Oregonian and other media have carried coverage focusing on the campus climate at OSU regarding race, recent incidents regarding racial symbols and steps the university is taking to address these matters. We have long recognized the need to address such matters here at OSU.

The last paragraph of the statement really sums up my feelings on how the fall was addressed:

I do not want us to engage in a cyclical pattern of negative events, meaningful dialogues, and then business as usual. We have committed to look at the issues students raised and to make progress. The notion that nothing changes is simply not acceptable.

And then the fall term ended. People went on winter break and poof, the racist occurrences from the fall term seemed to have been swept under the rug at the front door of the capital campaign.

Near the end of winter term, an article titled, “A University Examines Underlying Problems After Racist Incidents” was featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education on March 11th (my apologies for the lack of speediness with my post). [Full text].

The concept of looking ahead to the future rather than focusing on racist incidents is brought forth in the article:

Administrators at Oregon State, unlike their peers at many colleges, have taken the view that it would be a mistake for them to focus their energy on responding to various racist incidents. To make lasting progress in diminishing racism, they say, campus leaders must focus on promoting diversity in a forward-looking manner, between the controversies that erupt.

In what I feel is another part of the cyclical pattern of how incidents are handled at OSU, another statement was issued from the president’s office the same day as the Chronicle article was published. Statement issuing seems to occur in conjunction only when significant media coverage is present. The statement speaks of action “through ongoing dialogue, surveys, and other means to assess where we stand and what we must do to make real progress.”

I do not feel that we can look forward without addressing incidents like the ones that happened in the fall term. “Looking forward” becomes code for waiting until people are quiet again and the media has moved on to another story.

Building community

I just sent the following letter to Phi Gamma Delta, the OSU Coordinator of Greek Life, and the OSU Dean of Student Life:

Hi Guys,

I am an alum of OSU (Ed.M. in 2006) and a full-time OSU staff member in HHS.

I’ve been following the news coverage of the noose that was hanging in your yard. Recently, I read the public statement that ran in the Barometer. The online version of the paper called it a “statement,” but did not include the term “apology” like the print version. I really respect that you put out a statement as it takes courage to acknowledge something in a public forum, but I have a question regarding the wording and meaning of the statement.

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Silence as approval

DB on the idea that silence is approval.

[W]here in all of these voices is the official voice of OSU? I respect Ed Ray and believe that his commitment to diversity and social justice issues is authentic. But the silence from the President’s office is deafening. And the resultant vacuum ends up sounding like a tacit approval of those who would wear blackface, which, since it cannot be scrubbed of its racist roots, is wrong. How difficult would it be for one who is committed to social justice to say just that?

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OSU news coverage

Several Oregon media outlets have posted stories on the recent black out at Reser Stadium and the noose at the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.

Oregon State University Office of the President – Campus climate on race

Corvallis Gazette-Times – Pre-Kwanzaa event interrupts tension

The Oregonian – Racial Dialogue

Statesman Journal – Racist symbols, lame-brained students in Corvallis

The Oregonian – The color of isolation: Blacks battle insensitivity at OSU

The Oregonian – Stunts at OSU strike a nerve of bigotry

Willamette Week – Anti-Racism Protest Tomorrow at OSU

KGW – Race controversies at OSU after noose in tree

KVAL – OSU School spirit called into question

Video from KGW after the cut…

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