Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Oregon University System - Sustainable Building Plans Greenest of Green

By Dylan Rivera, The Oregonian

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To solidify Oregon's reputation as the center of all things environmentally sound, Portland may soon be home to the greenest large building in the world.

More than a dozen businesses, nonprofits and universities are working with the Oregon University System to create the Oregon Sustainability Center, a high-rise office building near Portland State University that would showcase the region's expertise in developing and designing earth-friendly buildings.

"This is like building a green stake in the ground in Portland," said Jay Kenton, vice chancellor of the Oregon University System. "We're going to do something no one else has done. It's going to brand us as a leader in many ways in doing that."

Backers intend for the building to meet the highest environmental standard devised in the world, the Living Building Challenge. An amalgam of audacious goals, the Living Building Challenge exceeds the highest standards that are gaining industry acceptance.

More than a look-at-me demonstration, the building's first purpose would be to draw visitors from the U.S. and the around the world to learn about green building practices and to find Oregon-based companies to hire.

Backers say the center would also function as a technology incubator where university researchers test new ways to make buildings with the lightest possible environmental footprint. The center would meet its own energy needs on-site with renewable power and use locally produced nontoxic building materials.

Such a monument to low impact would come at a steep price: $80 million to start. How the project would be funded, or how much it would rely on taxpayers, is not certain.

No date has been set for construction to begin.

Organizers say the building's tenants would pay the bulk of the costs. By this summer, a feasibility study will outline what it will take to make the vision reality. State energy efficiency tax credits and urban renewal money are potential sources to help meet the added costs that often come with experimental buildings.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski and Portland Mayor Sam Adams are pushing for the center and consider it part of their economic development strategies. Kulongoski included $80 million in the budget in higher education revenue bonds -- to be paid back by the businesses and nonprofits that occupy the building.

"I think this is the future," Kulongoski said last week. "More and more, as people learn about the issue of climate change, they'll realize that Portland is the center of sustainability."

With growing international attention on climate change, the American Institute of Architects has pointed to buildings as leading contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. Commercial, residential and industrial buildings account for nearly half of the nation's energy consumption.

Meanwhile, Oregon-based architects and developers have designed many celebrated earth-friendly buildings. The Portland region has the highest concentration in the U.S. of real estate professionals and buildings certified under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standard, the most recognized green building standard in commercial real estate.

The idea of a sustainability center hatched in the minds of several people over at least three years.

Sean Penrith, executive director of Earth Advantage Inc., decided three years ago that his nonprofit should be housed in an urban building that shows off the cutting edge of green design.

"The biggest thing we have to overcome is the perception that the boundaries that we need to go beyond are always impossible," Penrith said.

Penrith found Andrea Durbin, executive director of the Oregon Environmental Council, pursuing a similar concept. Last year they met with Kenton, who was also dreaming about a sustainability-focused center for academic research.

"Sustainability is kind of this emerging science," Kenton said. "Why couldn't we be the first in the country to get a national sustainability research center?"

The sustainability center could encompass 250,000 square feet, mostly for businesses and nonprofits, but also space for a half-dozen state university and city offices.

Penrith and Durbin now lead the Oregon Living Building Initiative, a consortium of mainly environmental organizations that are starting to raise money for their portion of space in the building.

The Portland Development Commission is handling the real estate side of the project. The agency has offered a three-quarters of a block tract it owns at Southwest Fourth Avenue and Montgomery Street. The site abuts the new MAX light rail line and must incorporate a long-planned extension of the Portland Streetcar through the property.

When the PDC sought developers to study the project's feasibility, with the chance of constructing it in the end, the agency received 11 proposals, from as far away as Germany. Winning was a team that included Gerding Edlen Development, Hoffman Construction and an unusual joint effort by two local architecture firms and three local engineering firms.

Jason F. McLennan, the Seattle-based chief executive of the Cascadia Region Green Building Council, dreamed up the Living Building Challenge and counts about 60 building projects that may attempt to meet it.

None are close to the scale Portland envisions.

"It's international-level leadership," McLennan said. "So let's hope they succeed." 

Oregon State's Green Energy Fee Helps Cut Emissions

The Oregonian
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A renewable energy fee approved by Oregon State University students helped the college reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent in 2007-08, the university says.

OSU's gross emissions increased by 2 percent, according to the school's sustainability office, largely because of increased natural gas consumption. Air miles flow and electricity consumption also increased slightly. But the net emissions dropped because of a green energy fee of up to $8.50 per student that the student body approved in 2007, with 71 percent of voters in favor.

The fee, one of the first in the nation, helps cover purchases of renewable energy. The emissions inventory includes energy consumption, air miles, commuting miles logged by faculty, staff and students, solid wastes taken to landfills, refrigerants used and fertilizer and animal waste used in OSU's agricultural programs.

The inventory covers the main campus, the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, the OSU-Cascades campus in Bend, extension service offices and facilities operated by the Forest Research Laboratory and Agricultural Experiment Station.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Western Oregon University Will Host Third Cesar Chavez Leadership Institute

By Justin Much, Statesman Journal
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A guy who was regarded as a failure, even described as "a piece of garbage" by a high school teacher, will be the keynote speaker Friday when Western Oregon University (WOU) hosts the daylong Cesar Chavez Leadership Institute.

WOU expects more than 1,400 Latino student leaders from Oregon high schools to visit Friday, marking the third consecutive year WOU has hosted the event, which is financed by a $25,000 grant from the Educational Credit Management Corporation Foundation. Participants attend workshops on leadership, community engagement and college preparation, including meetings with college and university representatives.

Poet, writer and educator Carlos Ojeda Jr. will be the keynote speaker. A child of immigrant parents from Puerto Rico, Ojeda is said to have grown up with a vague understanding of his social, economic and cultural background, and many of his high school teachers reportedly told him he wouldn't amount to anything.

Ojeda exhorts on his Web site: "Don't ever, ever let anyone tell you who you are or who you will become because it's your destiny to feel, no one else's." Ojeda said he failed classes routinely in high school before turning his life around and becoming the first person in his family to graduate from college, which he did with honors.

"America needs to understand that the success of our country lies on the success of the Latino student population: We're the largest, fastest-growing minority in this country," Ojeda said.

Friday's event is largely geared toward inspiring Latino students with that understanding. "Educational opportunities are so important in bettering our young people's future," said March Kessler, executive director of ECMC Foundation. "We are honored to continue to partner with Western Oregon University and the many community leaders who organize this important event that recognizes and strengthens Oregon's Latino student leaders."

During the past four years, the number of Latino students at WOU has increased 50 percent.

"Effectively serving and educating Latino students is a core part of Western Oregon University's mission and daily work," WOU Associate Provost David McDonald said. "Hosting the Cesar Chavez Leadership Institute is important to the community and the university and is another way for us to support outstanding students and their families."

Students Should Take Interest in New University Administration

By Alexandra Garry, edited by Carly Halvorson, University Daily Kansan
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As the search for Chancellor Robert Hemenway’s replacement continues, the departure of Provost Richard Lariviere leaves another vacant spot in the University’s administration to be filled.Administrators and student leaders said students were unlikely to feel any direct effect but should take a strong interest in new candidates for the positions.

Alex Rock, Lawrence senior and coordinator of the Dole Institute Student Advisory Committee, said students generally didn’t realize the importance of the chancellor’s and provost’s jobs because of a lack of “face-to-face contact.” But, he said, students should still pay attention to and care about the leaders of the University.

“Students take it for granted what these positions do, but the chancellor and provost dictate the culture and environment of the whole school,” Rock said.

The top administration openings mean more of the weight of running the University will fall to the six vice provosts, officials said.

Steve Warren, vice provost for research and graduate studies, said the vice provosts would feel the effects of Lariviere leaving to become president of the University of Oregon. But, Warren said, they were well-equipped to keep everything running smoothly. Warren said the increased workload would not continue to trickle down the administration.

“We’re not leaderless or rudderless just yet,” Warren said. “You can rest assured that everything will be fine. ”The chancellor search committee has set the end of June as the deadline for announcing a finalist candidate. Though the nominations are still being taken and no stand-out candidates have been selected, Drue Jennings, the chairman of the search committee, said it was on track to keep the deadline.

“No one wants the University to endure any kind of vacuum,” Jennings said.Jennings said once the chancellor search committee made their selection, the new chancellor would then pick the new provost.

Adam McGonigle, Wichita junior, student body president and member of the chancellor search committee, said students were taking a strong interest in the chancellor search and many had contacted him asking how they could make a difference.

“The administration has a tremendous impact on students — they shape the mission and the vision of the University and set the goals,” McGonigle said. McGonigle said he hoped students were also involved in the selection of the new provost and he planned to speak with Chancellor Hemenway to try to ensure that it would happen. Rock said he “would like to see a younger chancellor or provost, making more of an effort to reach out to students beyond those who are heavily involved.”

“Those students who can’t get involved because they have to work the part-time jobs to pay for school, those are the students who need to be heard even more,” Rock said. “Those are the students who need more help, and that’s something we’re going to see more of.

”Paul van Donkelaar, chairman of the president search committee at the University of Oregon, said the ability to communicate effectively with legislators and grant writers in order to better provide resources for students was a crucial quality in a good university administrator. It is also why students should care about the selection process.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Campus Profile: Western Oregon University

Western Oregon University (WOU), the oldest institution in the Oregon University system, knows how to have an impact beyond the classroom. With faculty engaged in wide-ranging scholarship, students invested in serving their community and the greater region, and a range of community-based projects and faculty-student collaborations, WOU has developed the reputation of a public-serving institution.

A cornerstone of the school's identity, approximately one-third of Western students are enrolled in the College of Education. These students are prepared to contribute to the fields of education, rehabilitation, interpretation, and health sciences, and are often in high demand throughout the state and region. WOU is also home to the nationally-renowned Teaching Research Institute, which has fostered relationships with local schools, districts, and teacher education programs to facilitate positive change to educational systems.

Similarly, the WOU office of Service Learning and Career Development, a recipient of the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the third year in a row, provides faculty with support and models to better understand and incorporate service learning into their teaching, while promoting community engagement and volunteerism among students, staff, faculty, and alumni.

In addition to being the host campus for Oregon Campus Compact's 2008 CAPITAL Conference, opportunities for the Western community to strengthen their academic studies though service and experiential learning include: becoming a member of the WOU LeaderCorps, receiving an AmeriCorps education award through the Students In Service program, contributing in volunteer efforts in the local community on national service days, and participating in an Alternative Break trip.

During winter break, an Alternative Break team traveled through the snow to Seattle, WA. This team assisted with the Salvation Army’s Toy and Joy drive, doing everything from sorting to helping the families pick out toys. They also volunteered for the Kimball Elementary School.

And as the weather warms, Alternative Break trips are on the horizon for many Oregon schools. Here's what Western has planned:

Students will volunteer for the Food Bank of the Rockies to help fight hunger. The team will enjoy the beautiful landscapes of Colorado while giving a helping hand in their host community.

Student volunteers will provide activities for the homeless youth in the area. They will also assist a youth emergency shelter through cleaning and organizing the group facilities.

Students will be taking part of a vast array of volunteering activities in order to assist victims of Hurricane Ike through Community Collabrations International.

Students will help in three different schools for children of all ages. The team will also provide educational supplies to assist the children with their development.

Students will help in the preservation efforts of endangered sea turtles and learn about the environment and culture. The team will assist in clearing beaches for turtles to lay their eggs, moving eggs to a safe hatchery, and keeping night watch against poachers and predators.

To find out what other Oregon schools have planned for their Alternative Breaks, check out our ASB '09 GoogleMap, below!

Community Partner Profile: International Partnership for Service Learning and Leadership

The International Partnership for Service-Learning and Leadership (IPSL) is a not-for-profit educational organization serving students, colleges, universities, service agencies, and related organizations around the world by fostering programs that link volunteer service to the community and academic study.

Today, IPSL offers 9 undergraduate service-learning programs in 7 nations—programs in which nearly 3,000 students from more than 400 universities or colleges in the U.S. and 25 other nations have participated.

Additionally, beginning in 2009/10, the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies: Focus in International Service-Learning & Leadership (MAIS) program will be offered with a revised curriculum through Portland State University.

Resulting in a recent relocation to Portland, Oregon, IPSL’s relationship with PSU and the Pacific Northwest is based on sharing “similar service-learning missions… as a way to develop shared programming, research, and student services."

“Portland State University has distinguished itself as a leader in the field of service-learning and has been recognized nationally for implementing a campus-wide engagement strategy that involves students and faculty in service-learning activities. We are thrilled to announce this new partnership,” IPSL Board of Trustees Chair, Margaret Pusch, stated in Spring 2008.

The MAIS program integrates rigorous academic study with substantive volunteer service in two nations, giving students opportunities to test theoretical knowledge through hands-on, practical experience in different cultures.

IPSL furthers service-learning and fosters communities that are civically engaged, inter-culturally literate, internationally aware, and responsive to the needs of others by:

- Sponsoring international conferences;
- Conducting research on the effect of service-learning on students, educational institutions and communities;
- Offering consulting and technical assistance in all aspects of creating and maintaining service-learning programs;
- Publishing curricular and other materials related to service-learning;
- Conducting workshops & training seminars for faculty members and administrators; offers international networking and learning opportunities through membership in IPSL;
- Helping to develop partnerships between colleges/universities and service agencies, both locally and internationally.

Greenleaf Scholars Program

The Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership is pleased to announce the establishment of the Greenleaf Scholars Program.

The goals of the program are (1) to inspire a new generation of critical scholarship based on the concepts of servant leadership that were articulated by Robert K. Greenleaf; (2) to support rigorous empirical studies that offer evidence of the impact of servant leadership on the health and effectiveness of organizations and communities; and (3) to build a nurturing community of academic researchers, practitioners, and students who study and teach servant leadership. The program is administered through The National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good at the University of Michigan.

The Greenleaf Center will sponsor up to five awards each year for pre-tenured faculty, early career practitioners, and advanced graduate students who engage in research that explores servant leadership. Greenleaf Scholars will be selected by an international review committee comprised of faculty members from seven public and private universities in the United States and overseas. Each Greenleaf Scholar will receive an award of $2,500 to support outstanding research and encourage publication. Information and application forms are available at www.greenleaf.org/scholars.

All application materials for the 2009 awards must be received by the National Forum by Tuesday, April 7, 2009. Inquiries about the program or the award may be sent to: greenleafscholars@umich.edu.

Sustainability Project: Public Events at Portland State University

Sustainability—this multifaceted word is on everyone's lips, but what does it really mean?

Citizens and scholars have united to explore this question through a series of public events beginning March 3.

The Humanities Sustainability Research Project, an initiative of the Portland Center for Public Humanities at Portland State, will explore concepts of sustainability through panels, lectures and events by activists, artists and scholars in fields such as history, philosophy, literature, critical theory, and anthropology.

Activities begin with "Food Clothing Shelter," a sequence of public dialogues in March and April on the meaning and practice of sustainability in daily life.

Deadline Extended for Take Care of Oregon Days

By popular demand, the deadline to register projects for Oregon 150's Take Care of Oregon Days has been extended to Sunday, March 15.

"Twenty thousand excited volunteers will be looking for ways to participate in Take Care of Oregon Days in May," said Mary Oberst, Oregon's First Lady and Chair of the Board of Oregon 150. "The demand is high and we still need projects to accommodate all of them. This is a great opportunity for cities and towns, nonprofits, parks, museums, food banks and all types of organizations to get lots done to Take Care of Oregon. What a great way to commemorate statehood."

Anyone can organize a Take Care of Oregon Days project and will receive support from the coalition commissioned by Oregon 150 to organize the program. Coordinators will receive a planning guide, support from a professional program coordinator and some supplies.

A limited number of small grants of $100 are also available to pay for project expenses, on a first come, first served basis. Projects will be listed on the Take Care of Oregon Days website so that volunteers can review, select and register directly.

As added incentive, all project coordinators will be included in random drawings to win the following prizes:

• 50 Project Coordinators (or their representatives) will be selected to celebrate their success by marching in the Portland Rose Festival Starlight Parade on Saturday, May 30.
• 150 pairs of tickets will be awarded to coordinators for the special July 4 Portland Beavers game celebrating Oregon's Sesquicentennial at PGE Park in Portland.
• 150 Casio Exilim EX-Z9 digital cameras will be awarded to coordinators to document their Take Care of Oregon Days experience. Donated to Oregon 150 by Vestas, the world's leading supplier of wind turbines, the cameras are valued at $139.99 and will help coordinators share their achievements online at www.oregon150.org

To register a project before March 15th, 2009, go to www.solv.org/programs/take_care_of_oregon_days.asp 

Community Colleges and the Recession - An Unlikely Student Hits Capitol Hill

By Eric Hoover, The Chronicle of Higher Education
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Todd Sollar is a quiet man, so February 10 made his palms sweat.

He spent the day talking to strangers in a city he had never seen. Mr. Sollar, 32, came here from Centerville, Ohio, to tell his story, which begins with the recent closing of the General Motors plant where he had worked for 11 years. It continues with his decision to enroll at Sinclair Community College, in Dayton. How it ends, he is not sure.

Last week he was in the nation's capital, stuck in an uncertain present, describing his plans to earn an associate degree in engineering. A displaced worker in a crisp, black suit, he was a walking symbol of the large role that two-year colleges must play in the nation's economic recovery.

Mr. Sollar came to Washington with Steven Lee Johnson, Sinclair's president, and several representatives of the college to attend the annual legislative summit held by the Association of Community College Trustees. While in town, they visited lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Their message: Cutting higher-education money from the economic-stimulus bill was folly.

That morning, Mr. Sollar and two dozen community-college officials from Ohio packed a Senate hearing room to meet with Sen. Sherrod C. Brown, an Ohio Democrat. After a while, William Jawando, a legislative assistant in the senator's office, came to say that his boss had been called away and could not meet with them. The meeting continued, nonetheless.

Lawrence Porter, vice chairman of Sinclair's Board of Trustees, told Mr. Jawando that community colleges were different from other postsecondary institutions because they put people to work quickly.

"We are not here to ask — we are here to demand," he said. "We demand that we get our share of funds."

His words drew applause from several people, including the woman who wore a T-shirt touting Zane State College as the nation's ninth-best community college. Then it was Mr. Sollar's turn. Speaking softly, he described the hollow feeling of losing his job and knowing there were no others where he lives.

He said that being a student again was humbling. He explained how many of his former co-workers, particularly those with children, were in worse shape than he was.

"We're all discouraged," he said. Mr. Sollar's story stirred the crowd. "Every time there's a layoff, a new Todd appears," one official told Mr. Jawando. "We need to make Todd into the next Joe the Plumber!" proclaimed another.

After the meeting, Mr. Sollar shook hands with nearly a dozen people. Some patted him on the back. A photographer snapped pictures. Just before noon, Mr. Sollar looked at his watch. He had four more meetings to attend, four more chances to tell his story.

A House and a Two-Car Garage
At each stop, Mr. Sollar repeated the same details, describing Sinclair as his one-and-only way out of unemployment. As he explained over lunch, "I had this really great life, and now I'm just trying to figure out how to get back to it."

After graduating from high school in 1995, Mr. Sollar worked as a sorter and an airplane fueler at Airborne Express (which would later become DHL). Two years later, he took a job at the General Motors plant in Moraine, Ohio. Working on the assembly line, Mr. Sollar assembled fenders. He put together door rings for Chevy TrailBlazers and GMC Envoys.

Each day he stood among the plant's many robots, towering million-dollar machines that whirred as they worked. He learned how to fix them when they malfunctioned. Several times the company took his suggestions for how to speed up production, which earned him $20,000 bonuses. Sometimes in the factory's body shop, flying sparks from the robotic welders burned his hands and arms. Still, he had few complaints about the job, which came with good benefits and eventually paid him $32.50 an hour. Often he worked extra shifts for more money, sometimes forgoing his days off for months at a time. Last year he earned about $65,000.

Those wages allowed Mr. Sollar to buy a three-bedroom condominium with a two-car garage. He also had enough money to indulge his passion for cars. A few years ago, he bought a Volkswagen Jetta, which he transformed into a show car. He turned the 170-horsepower engine into a 400-horsepower beast. He spent about $70,000 modifying the bright-blue machine, which won awards at auto shows and praise from car magazines.

Last summer, however, Mr. Sollar's fortunes changed. General Motors announced that it would close the factory in 2010. Worried, he enrolled part-time at Sinclair, figuring that he could start earning credits while he continued to work. But a few weeks later, he was laid off. He worked his last shift on September 26.

In the fall, Mr. Sollar faced a difficult choice: Accept the $140,000 buyout or collect two years' worth of unemployment. To get the buyout he would have to sign a statement saying that he had quit, thus cutting all his ties with the company and forfeiting his pension and health benefits. If he declined the offer, there was no guarantee that he would ever receive all the unemployment benefits to which he was entitled.

Mr. Sollar stopped watching television to avoid hearing more bad news about the economy. He started going to the grocery store late at night, when he was less likely to run into people who would ask him about his plans. Finally, in December, he accepted the buyout, which came to $90,000 after taxes.

Two weeks later, the factory closed for good. "I knew I would never find a job like that again," he said. Especially not without a degree.

The decision to enroll at the community college had been just as tough. Before signing up for courses, he walked around the campus, wondering how he would fit in. In the parking lot, he was encouraged to see so many adults, some older than him.

This quarter Mr. Sollar is enrolled full time, taking 16 credits. He will need 118 to earn an associate degree, which should prepare him for a job at a manufacturing plant. In his robotics course, he works with the same technology that powered the robots at the factory. He has learned to program machines to perform a variety of tasks. At home, he practices his lessons on a small, mobile gadget called a Boe-Bot, which scoots around the floor.

Sometimes, Mr. Sollar becomes frustrated. Never at ease with words, he finds his English course tedious. Tests make him anxious. Meanwhile, his internal clock has gone haywire. For years he had worked night shifts, but now he goes to class during the hours when he used to sleep. "Some days," he said, "I've come home and said 'I hate this — I quit.'"

Mr. Sollar also worries about money.

A grant from Sinclair pays for part of his tuition, and federal grants for displaced workers cover the rest. But he and his fiancée are carrying mortgages on two condos that they cannot sell. Then there's the $325 monthly payment on the truck he bought in July. These days, the Jetta that Mr. Sollar rebuilt sits in his garage. He has tried to sell it for $20,000, with no luck.

'They're Insulated From It'
Financial sums that Mr. Sollar could barely fathom dominated discussions in Washington last week. The morning he visited Capitol Hill, the Senate approved an $838-billion stimulus bill, leading to an eventual compromise with the House of Representatives on a $789-billion package.

In the afternoon, Mr. Sollar met Rep. Jean Schmidt, an Ohio Republican who encouraged him to "go for the gold," before passing around her Congressional pin for each of her guests to hold. He had his photograph taken with Stephen Austria, an Ohio Republican who gave him a brief pep talk.

He learned that the office of Rep. John A. Boehner, a Republican, smells like cigarettes, and that visitors to the office of Sen. George V. Voinovich, also a Republican, can eat all the Dum Dum lollipops they want. And he learned that many people who work on Capitol Hill are much younger than he is.

"I thought everybody here would have gray hair," he said after passing a group of well-dressed staff members who looked barely old enough to drink. Mr. Sollar hoped that, in some small way, he had helped legislators and their staffs better understand the needs of older students like him.

"Some of them may not know what life is like there because they have cars with drivers," he said. "They're insulated from it." After all, Washington has little in common with Rust Belt towns.

Mr. Sollar thought of this when he bought a mint-chocolate-chip shake at a Baskin-Robbins around the corner from his hotel. At home, the Baskin-Robbins he used to go to has closed down, like many other businesses.

By the time Mr. Sollar left Washington, he was exhausted. He was ready to take off his tie, as well as the T-shirt he wore underneath his dress shirt to soak up a day's worth of nervous perspiration.

The next morning, he woke up 500 miles away. He had class at 8.         

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Profits from Oregon State University Dance Benefits The Hunger Project

By Makenzie Marineau, The Daily Barometer
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A packed Milam Auditorium sat in anticipation of OSU's first Dance Against Hunger on Friday.

OSU FeelGood and The Born to Shine Project came together to bring dancers to Corvallis from all over Oregon to support ending world hunger.   The event kicked off at 7 p.m. with an opening performance by Beejan Iranshad, a hip-hop artist from Portland.

Following the first act, another 15 performances took place, ranging in style from salsa to hip-hop. The evening featured both individual and group performances.

Co-founders of OSU's FeelGood, Carson Bee and John Pham, said they couldn't be more thrilled for the turnout at and participation in the Dance Against Hunger. They said that 100 percent of all the profit made from the event will go directly to The Hunger Project.

The Hunger Project is a global non-profit organization committed to the sustainable end of world hunger. The organization works in 13 different countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, developing strategic effective efforts to end hunger and poverty.

The millennium development goals are the Hunger Project's way of displaying its unified program of ending poverty in writing. Goal number one is to eradicate extreme hunger and poverty.

"It is great to be able to bring together such wonderful talent and passion for dance to benefit a good cause. It is all about doing your own thing to inspire and make an impact," Pham said. Pham is also a hip-hop teacher at Dixon Recreational Center.

OSU was represented at the event through established Oregon State dance teams. Elite Dance Team performed a couple of dances on stage to the music of popular hits like the Ting Tings' "That's Not My Name." Omega Delta Phi fraternity also joined in the awareness effort by breaking it down with stepping moves, which hold a tradition in some fraternities. Along with other local OSU student dance groups, there were numerous Portland dancers.

Dance crew iN.Gauge (pronounced "engage") drove down from Portland to help in the cause. Nicole Narong, a member of iN.Gauge and a Portland State student, was excited with how well the evening went.

"It was our first performance altogether as a crew. We took only about three weeks to prepare for the event, but we are glad we were invited by John to join in," Narong said. "Most of us are all Portland State students and after this evening we will continue to be performing at other dance competitions and events around Oregon."

Before intermission, the audience watched a video depicting what the Hunger Project is all about. The video took a look at the building of an epicenter in Africa, a place for storage of food, nurses, health centers, libraries, classrooms, bathrooms and more. After the video presentation, people gathered out in the foyer to purchase FeelGood shirts, grab free Monster Energy drinks and give donations to the Hunger Project.

Hannah Dedlow, an OSU junior, made sure the event was running smoothly.

"I got involved in the FeelGood organization on campus almost about a month ago. I really love what it stands for and how it is bringing together the love for arts and dance to help raise support and awareness for a good cause," Dedlow said.

The Born to Shine Project, another organization from OSU, helped make the event possible. The project tries to help and make a difference in local communities as well as around the world.

Born to Shine co-Founders Vishal Khemlani and Nat St. Clair came on stage to discuss how important organizations like theirs are to help make a difference in promoting an end to world hunger.

When Khemlani and St.Clair started this organization, they raised $25,000 to build a schools in Africa and China. Their idea behind the Born to Shine Project is to help make fundraising fun again. They are helping organizations raise money for humanitarian causes in a way that inspires the average college student.

"Last year, we started FeelGood to give college students a local resource to get involved in being a good global citizen. Students wanted that so we are helping give them a chance to join in an important cause," Bee said.   A few solo acts in the evening, such as Roberto Gerardo from Portland, even received a standing applause. Gerardo boogied down to hits like Michael Jackson's "Billy Jean."

Iranshad also jumped on stage and expanded some of his own beats in the microphone. The audience began to form in front of the stage and dance, eventually dancing their way on stage.

DJ Landforce was the disc jockey for the evening. He also promoted the after party at Tailgators in Corvallis where he intended to keep the party going after the event ended.

Bee and Pham both hope for more OSU students to get involved in supporting good causes, and they will be handing out grilled cheese sandwiches every Wednesday in exchange for a donation or student support in the upcoming weeks. They believe it is their generation's responsibility through partnership, not charity, to end world hunger.

"We are ending world hunger one grilled cheese at a time," Pham said.

Hands-on Programs Convey Engineering's Cool Factor

By Ray Almgren and Lars Nyengaard, EE Times
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America may soon become irrelevant in terms of global technological innovation and leadership. Our engineering talent pool is dying off, literally, and potential replacements are staying away because of a lack of interest.

The only way to prevent this catastrophe is through dramatically increased encouragement of science, technology, engineering and math education among our children. But it's not just about pumping money into our schools. It's about sharing with our young ones the fascination of how technological innovation impacts our daily lives. It's about showing them how anyone, including "cool" people, can be a scientist or engineer. We must show them that they can change their world through learning and developing new technologies.

Those of us who are engineers already understand the value of our trade and the opportunities that our education has provided us. However, outside of our circle, there's a lack of understanding of the major role engineers play in our daily lives. Why do our children get the message that it's easier to have an impact on the world if they're a flavor-of-the-day pop star or sports celebrity than if they're a scientist or engineer?

It is certainly no more difficult (or less cool) to become a world-impacting engineer than it is to get one's face on the cover of a celebrity gossip magazine. But this message simply is not getting out. So how do we attract the best and brightest minds to engineering? How do we ensure they can work and succeed in a rapidly changing global economy to help solve some of greatest challenges facing humanity?

For starters, we must inspire them by spreading awareness of programs like FIRST, the Infinity Project, Project Lead the Way and others that move learning from the traditional lecture-style, textbook-based environment to a more hands-on experience that actively involves students in their own learning process and promotes the creative thinking, teamwork and problem-solving skills essential in the 21st-century workplace. These hands-on programs help students see the real difference they can make through a career in engineering.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is changing the culture in our communities to celebrate math and science achievement in the same way we celebrate achievement in athletics. FIRST tackles this goal through robotics competitions for primary and secondary students. Each year, students in the FIRST competitions are given their own "grand challenge" and must build a robot to meet it. Students work in teams alongside professional engineering mentors and gain firsthand knowledge of how to solve problems in a finite amount of time with limited resources.

Former FIRST participant Kathryn Lowe recalls how the program inspired her: "I learned that engineering used the same creativity I used in the arts and applies it through science. When I first saw the device that I had designed and built in action in the competition, I was so proud. I figured, 'If this is what engineering is all about, I should seriously consider it as a career path.' That year, I was accepted at the University of Portland School of Engineering for mechanical engineering. As I learned through FIRST, engineering skill is not enough if you don't have the funds and organization to back it up. . . . a business minor will help my future career by allowing me to understand not only engineering, but also the business behind engineering companies."

Recently, Brandeis University's Center for Youth and Communities conducted an independent, retrospective survey of FIRST Robotics Competition participants and compared the results with those for a group of non-FIRST students with similar backgrounds and academic experiences, including math and science. The study found that when compared with their peers, FIRST students are more than three times as likely to major specifically in engineering, significantly more likely to expect to achieve a postgraduate degree, more than twice as likely to expect to pursue a career in science and technology, and more than twice as likely to volunteer in their communities. This is proof that these programs are resonating with today's technology-hungry generation.

So what are you doing to address the engineering crisis? Today's engineers can be the voice of change for tomorrow's students. We challenge you to ask your school about implementing one of these programs in its math or science curriculum. Volunteer with your local FIRST team, or volunteer in the classroom to help teachers implement project-based curricula. Talk with your colleagues about the best way to educate engineers.

We also highly recommend that you personally mentor a student so a new generation will see firsthand how engineering really does help change our world on every level.

Because if that's not cool, we don't know what is.

Eco-activists Using Grant Money to Improve Watersheds

By Joe Fitzgibbon, The Oregonian
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Bruce Beattie keeps one eye on the murky waters of the Columbia Slough as he helps Marjorie Kavanagh ease from the slippery wooden dock into her yellow kayak. "There's been a lot of rain and snow lately; so this will be a good time for us to look for cottonwoods and other debris that's fallen or been thrown into the water," Beattie says before dropping into his own red watercraft. "We've found nearly everything you can imagine out here, from a bicycle to a beer keg."

The pair, well-outfitted in rain gear and toting recycle bins, are members of Eyes on the Slough, volunteers who patrol sections of the 18-mile waterway that meanders from the Fairview area to Kelley Point Park. Each month, they scour the slough, picking up trash, reporting illegal dump sites, tracking wildlife and monitoring water temperatures and conditions.

Eyes on the Slough is one of 167 public-directed Community Watershed Stewardship Projects, that are funded by the city to restore degraded parks, school grounds, waterways and open spaces.

"They started off mostly as feel-good projects," says Barry Messer, assistant professor of urban studies at Portland State University, who has been monitoring the program and involving his graduate students since its inception in 1994. "But now they are beginning to reach a critical mass and have an impact on air and water quality."

To that end, the city is doubling its grant allocations from $5,000 to $10,000 and making $96,000 available for new and continuing watershed projects this spring.

"We're seeing far more complicated and involved proposals than when we started," Jennifer Devlin, program coordinator with the Bureau of Environmental Services, says. "We want to assist as many groups as we can who want to make dramatic changes in the watershed."

The deadline for submitting a plan is Friday, April 3.

During the past 15 years, the city's environmental agency has teamed up with PSU and AmeriCorps Northwest Service Academy and given out more than $700,000 in grants, along with technical assistance and expertise, to churches, businesses, community organizations and neighborhood groups.

Ed Kerns, a Lents community activist, tops the charts with seven grants, which, he says, he and a loyal core of volunteers used to plant tens of thousands of trees along the Springwater Corridor. An unexpected benefit was the creation of a new generation of young environmentalists.   "We've had over 100 kids working in the dirt, most who had never planted anything before," Kerns says. "I saw their sense of satisfaction — their sense of ownership — and now know that my passion for saving the environment has been multiplied with them."

Other city projects have varied from backyard habitat-restoration projects and schoolyard bioswales to eco-roofs and classes in pesticide education.

Steve Stevens and a dozen St. Francis of Assisi church volunteers in Southeast Portland used a grant to divert thousands of gallons of storm-water runoff from the roofs of the church and a former school building into drywells and out of the city's sewer system.

"We were even able to use a little of the money to hire several homeless from our soup kitchen to help out," Stevens says. "By some measures it may seem like a small project, but you added this to all the churches in the city and you'd have a big, big number."

Carl Axelsen, who grew up near Multnomah Village and coordinates the Tryon Creek Watershed Council, calls the $10,000 his organization will be spending as good for the environment and local economy. For months, residents and watershed mentors have toiled to remove invasive species, plant wildlife-friendly shrubs and trees and to meet with other Southwest residents to help them create backyard ecosystems.

"The area is becoming more and more attractive for wildlife and people," Axelsen says. "A pleasant surprise has been to watch neighbors and homeowners working together to make the area more livable."

As Beattie and Kavanagh fished out a rubber glove and a couple of beer cans from the slough, they laughed in disbelief.

"Makes you wonder what else will float up one of these days," Kavanagh says.

Southern Oregon University in Midst of Comprehensive Sustainability Plan - Students Tackle Water-savings from the Ground Up

By Julie French, Ashland Daily Tidings
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After piecing together sustainability efforts over the past several years, Southern Oregon University is putting a new comprehensive plan into place that includes partnering with several outside groups to make sustainability a core university value and become one of the most sustainable schools in the nation.

The school outlined a strategic plan last fall with the help of Dick Wanderscheid, director of electric utilities for Ashland. In addition to the city, SOU also plans to work with the Bonneville Power Administration, the Oregon Department of Energy and the Oregon University System, among others, to meet its goals.

SOU assigned Larry Blake, formerly the associate vice president for facilities management, to serve as the full-time director of campus planning and sustainability to lead efforts to reduce resource consumption and greenhouse gas production across campus operations, search for and employ innovative green technologies and revise curriculum to offer training in sustainable industries. The program is designed as a pilot whose results — both the effectiveness of new technology and changed behavior of faculty and students — can be studied by the academic side of the university and potentially replicated around the Northwest.

The strategic plan also outlines goals such as boosting energy and water efficiency, promoting alternative transportation, increasing recycling and green purchasing, adding green design for new buildings, exploring sustainable food production and encouraging more sustainable lifestyle choices among students and staff. Green efforts can also be used to recruit environmentally-minded students, according to the plan.

The school has already taken steps such as installing solar panels on the library roof, adding more classes with a focus on sustainability and offsetting all greenhouse gas emissions by purchasing Green Tags from the Bonneville Environmental Foundation which fund development of alternative energies.

The university is also compiling a greenhouse gas inventory to pass along to the university system chancellor's office and is analyzing its water usage and preparing to install automated irrigation systems so lawns can be watered at night when less water is lost to evaporation, he said.

The next big step in the process is an audit by Bonneville to determine what resources the university currently uses, including electricity and natural gas, Blake said.

"We're hoping the energy audit will provide more direction," he said.

By partnering with Bonneville, the university will also be able to take advantage of their expertise and try new technologies that so far have not been used on college campuses, he said.

Wanderscheid is helping to facilitate the relationship between the university and Bonneville as part of ongoing efforts to conserve throughout the city, he said.

"We've done lots of things with the university over the years," he said, naming examples such as lighting retrofits, water-saving measures in housing facilities and recycling initiatives. "We've worked with them for many, many years, but this is more of a comprehensive refocusing on the university that has never happened on a large scale like this."

Even projects that aren't directly related to electricity are still beneficial to the city, he said. Encouraging students to take alternate modes of transportation, for example, will help with congestion and parking throughout the city.

"Trying to make the university more sustainable in all of the things that they and their students and faculty do, it's much bigger than just the city, and it's much bigger than energy conservation," he said. "It's the whole gamut, but the city can benefit by helping them."

SOU Students Tackle Water-savings from the Ground Up

By John Darling, The Mail Tribune
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With students taking the lead in research and planning, Southern Oregon University is starting a project to replace lawns with drought-tolerant and native plants that require 50 to 75 percent less water.

"Way too much water is being applied and there's excessive runoff," said SOU's new landscape supervisor, Kathi Sheehan. "We have to be cognizant of native soil and plants in this semi-arid region."

The plan, a capstone project of five seniors in Environmental Studies, was presented to the SOU Sustainability Council a few weeks ago. The council's chairman, Jon Eldridge, vice president for student affairs, said the strategy will go forward.

"It's great when students take the lead in research to make changes on campus that make for a smaller environmental footprint," Eldridge said.   SOU already has some xeriscaping (areas that use very little water) by Hannon Library, Central Hall and the Science Building, but the ongoing student project will plant in front of Cascade Hall, with hopes of steadily expanding as new generations of students take it on, said professor Eric Dittmer of Environmental Sciences.

SOU sits on a slope and releases much runoff water that contains chemicals, which ends up in North Mountain Park and Bear Creek, where it exacerbates water-temperature problems in the stream, said Dittmer.

Xeriscaping and reduced watering results in less-compacted soil, less runoff, and more water percolating through the ground to Bear Creek, said Environmental Studies senior Braxton Reed, demonstrating the proposed xeriscaping plot by Cascade Hall. The area is too steep for easy mowing or relaxation.

Eldridge said the heavily watered campus is not using, wasting or spending a lot of money on city water, because it gets almost all of its water from Talent Irrigation Ditch.

"It's there for us, whether we use it or not," he added, but "our grounds folks are eager to work with students to xeriscape and reduce our consumption."

Sheehan, who has degrees in environmental landscaping, said she's launching a project to measure and more appropriately meter water use based on humidity and temperature, and to augment grass with xeriscaping that is sensitive to the environment.

The expanses of SOU's lawn serve a positive function, she noted, because it keeps down dust, cools the campus and allows evapotranspiration through plants into the clouds.

The landscapers will install native plants and some from the Mediterranean region, which is much like the Rogue Valley, said Reed. Interpretive signs will be placed to educate students and encourage student work in real-world projects.

When the current project is finished, Reed said he's got another one in mind. SOU has a lot of groundwater and streams that got buried during campus building years, and he'd like to see those brought back to daylight and used.

Dittmer said a big, grassy quad is a positive recruitment tool for new students, but he'd like to see it eventually filled with a solar array that tracks the sun all day.