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Campus Updates

Trashing the trash cans!

We are saying goodbye to individual trash cans across campus. SOU has a centralized waste management system where we have outside and inside locations for mixed recycling, glass and landfill trash.  The recycling is taken to our recycling center where it is further sorted and helps the university divert as much waste from landfill as possible, saving money and benefiting the environment. Studies have demonstrated that getting rid of individual trash cans is good for reducing costs as well as the environment and is a small, but critical, step for any building or office to achieve sustainability credentials. Follow the link here for more information. 

Tree Campus USA

We are excited to announce that Southern Oregon University has received 2019 Tree Campus USA Recognition. Tree Campus USA, an Arbor Day Foundation program, honors colleges and universities and their leaders for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation.

Bee Club is back!

Bee Club is back! The Farm will be hosting meetings at The Farm at SOU the second and fourth Friday of every month at 3:00 pm.

The Farm

The Farm team is pleased to welcome Dr. Vincent Smith back as the Director of The Farm at Southern Oregon University. Vincent was key to the farm’s inception and we have him to thank for many of the wonderful projects and components of The Farm’s past and present.

Did you know?

SOU is now recycling marker pens, pens, and mechanical pencils!

If you have any pens, mechanical pencils or markers to recycle, please bring them to the Student Sustainability Center at #310 in the Stevenson Union where we have a recycling container set up for them. We are now collecting pens, mechanical pencils, and marker pens and sending them to be processed to make new products. It is important to divert as much waste as possible from landfills and displace the use of virgin material. This helps SOU to achieve its sustainability goals.

Dish Loan Program!


Student Sustainability Center’s Dish Loan Program

The Dish Loan program is a FREE alternative for SOU students and employees to borrow plates, bowls, cups, mugs and utensils for their on-campus events. This not only deters disposable dishware/cutlery from landfills but is an awesome step towards Zero Waste meetings and events! 

All you have to do is click on this link and fill out a check-out form. For any questions or other inquiries, email us at


Straws on Demand

From January 1st 2020, food and beverage providers in Oregon have been prohibited from providing single-use straws to any customer unless the customer has requested one. SOU Dining is participating in the voluntary Straw on Demand Pilot Program and will only provide a straw upon request. Single-use straws are in the top ten items that are found in the oceans, sea life, and beaches. By reducing straw consumption, we are saving the ocean sea life. For people with disabilities, straws should always be available. To read more on Senate Bill 90 follow this link here.

Sustainability Spotlight

Tai Afrae

Tai is a psychology major and gender sexuality and women's studies minor. She is an intern for transportation options and is the new Dish Loan Coordinator at the Student Sustainability Center. Some environmental issues Tai is passionate about is ways to have less (or zero) waste lifestyle and educating both herself and others on different transportation options here in Southern Oregon.

Angela Saab

Angela is majoring in Communication with a focus on Social Media and Public Engagement, and a minor in Emerging Media and Digital Arts. She is a communications intern  and volunteers at the Community Garden for the Student Sustainability Center. One environmental issue she is passionate about is water pollution because she came from the main island of the Philippines and has seen the strain and issues first-hand.

Michael Parker

Cardboard: Mis-Using Packaging

This is Michael Parker’s first term at SOU working as an Assistant Professor in Sculpture for Oregon Center for the Arts. Parker started off the term with a creative cardboard project. The project idea is for students to take found cardboard and make a non-representative sculpture that is larger than themselves in only 2 weeks. The cardboard comes from the SOU Recycling center as well as boxes from Parker’s move. Parker explains how cardboard is this simple material, yet it is material that has turned into units that has changed our world.

Linking this project with sustainability, Parker explains how using this material that has been taken out of the waste stream gives the students an opportunity to think and question about what kind of world we live in; to articulate complex contradictions. Students are gaining a personal understanding by taking the cardboard out of its intended use and giving it this “higher purpose.”

Although the cardboard will eventually be put back into the waste stream, Parker wanted the students to give the cardboard love and create a story with it. Sometimes wasted materials do not have to be about where they are ending up, but rather, be a thought experiment.

arch du triumph 2016
This is a cardboard sculpture created by Parker located in Port of Los Angeles.

Events and Opportunities

Governor's Food Drive

It's here! All through February, SOU participates in the Governor’s State Employee Food Drive, an event that helps alleviate hunger right here on campus.  All food donations during the month of February will go to the Student Food Pantry, and any monetary donations will help to support ACCESS: a local food assistance program.  Red food bags will be delivered to every employee on campus. The bags can be filled with non-perishable food items and returned anytime this month to collection barrels located in each building. Employees may also sign up for monthly or one-time payroll deductions and submit the form to Michele Barlow in Human Resources.  

If there are any questions on how to become more involved, feel free to contact

ACCESS Day of Service

Join the Student Sustainability Center for SOU's winter term day of service at ACCESS community network in Medford on February 29! Volunteers will assist in packaging food that will be distributed to those in need, helping to address the hunger needs in our valley during the coldest part of the year.

The entire SOU community is invited to contribute - students, employees, alumni, and friends/family! Lunch and transportation are provided to all volunteers!

Registration closes Thursday, February 27, or when all spots are filled. Space is limited so please click here to sign up!




Dr. John Francis
February 20th, 6:00pm
1250 Siskiyou Blvd
SU Rogue River Room

Environmental Justice Talk #2
February 25th 12:00-1:30pm
SU Arena

Environmental Science
& Policy Seminars

Thursday's 12:30-1:30pm
Science Rm 066

Garden Compost Workshop
March 7th 12:00-2:30pm
Corner of Mountain & Henry st.
Behind commuter lot 36
Sign up through here

Volunteer Fridays
The Farm at SOU
155 Walker Street
Every Friday 1:30-4:00pm

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