Raiders Engaged

A monthly newsletter featuring civic engagement opportunities and highlights of SOU community connections!

April 2018
Three students helping with construction
SOU students Adam Thomas, Sabrina Taylor, and Coleen Wheeler assist with construction of Habitat for Humanity homes in Denver, Colorado. Together with their team of 10 students and one staff advisor, they spent their spring break serving and learning about housing security with the Raider Alternative Breaks program.

In This Issue

  • From the Editors
  • Engaged Campus Highlights
  • Volunteer Opportunities

From the Editors

Happy April, readers! Spring is here and so is the fourth issue of Raiders Engaged. As always, we will share and celebrate the many ways in which SOU students, employees, and alumni are engaging and contributing to their communities. Have ideas of volunteer opportunities or groups or individuals you think we should highlight? Throughout the newsletter there are links to submission forms to submit your ideas. Let's start this month and shine like the sun with our community!

Yours in service,
Asela L. Kemper - Campus and Community Engagement Specialist/AmeriCorps VISTA
Jill Smedstad - Environmental and Community Engagement Coordinator

Engaged Campus Highlights

Highlighting students, employees, and community organizations doing amazing work to serve their community. 

Students in Service Spotlight: Genesis Beas

Student Genesis Beas has had nothing but a positive experience volunteering with Southern Oregon University's Minority and Outreach Programs as a tutor in the Bulldogs-to-Raiders, Hornets-to-Raiders, and Pirates-to-Raiders programs. Beas has tutored middle school students on subjects such as math and science and helped high school students learn how to apply for scholarships. For Beas, tutoring students taught her to be more patient and think outside of the box to help students, especially those who speak Spanish as their first language. Other volunteering opportunities Beas participated in are volunteering with the Polynesian Education Conference, Cesar Chavez Conference, and activities with Latin Student Union.

Beas is one of SOU's many Diversity Scholars. Diversity Scholars are recipients of a fee remission scholarship awarded to students whose ethnic and cultural backgrounds and/or experiences contribute to the University’s diversity. Diversity Scholars are required to do 20 hours of community service per term while managing their GPA. Beas credits the scholarship’s advisor and Multicultural Resource Center (MRC) coordinator Marvin Woodard for providing great support to her in her efforts to serve her community and engage in campus opportunities. Beas was recommended by a friend who worked at the MRC to apply for the scholarship. In her scholarship essay, Beas described her time as a member of the Black Student Union learning about issues to promote diversity on campus. The scholarship allows Beas to balance her schedule with volunteering and academics.

To learn more about Diversity Scholarship and what they do, contact Marvin Woodard at or visit the SOSA website at
Spreading Universal Education With Educate Chombo!

SOU's Education Department has come together to spread awareness of community and education abroad through the Educate Chombo Committee. The Educate Chombo Committee is a small organization whose goal is to build a library/learning center in the rural village of Chombo, Malawi. The project began in 2015 when international student Mercy Kangunga, who was receiving her Masters of Education at SOU, presented her Masters thesis highlighting the lack of education for girls in rural Malawi. Based on Kangunga’s idea, Dr. Megan Farnsworth helped her begin Educate Chombo, a committee to raise awareness and funds for girls’ education in the village of Chombo, Malawi.
Last December, four members of the organization traveled to Chombo village and worked on various activities. The members brought needles and thread to help women sew a book bag and menstrual pads while teaching English through the activity of sewing. They also bought the women a sewing machine there, and are helping to create economic opportunities in sewing. 

In Ashland, the organization hosts annual fundraising dinners with Malawian food and informative discussions about the project. They are currently planning a book fair at Barnes & Noble Bookstore on May 19th and a fundraising event at Cafe 116 on June 4  to showcase life in Malawi. Farnsworth is also working with Rogue Valley community members and students in her courses on writing their own stories, in children’s literature form, focusing on resiliency and an individual’s strength. Students and community members are welcome to volunteer and attend their meetings or donate books; they currently accept non-fiction, autobiographies, and vocational skills. 

When it comes to raising awareness of Educate Chombo and education in general, Farnsworth wants to let SOU and community members know about the importance of community in building resilience, as well as challenge people to open their minds about different ways to learn.      

For more information on Educate Chombo, contact Megan Farnsworth at

JCFC: Chopping Wood for Good

Jackson County Fuel Committee (JCFC) is a longstanding community partner that consistently engages SOU student groups in service to help low-income community members in the Rogue Valley. JCFC's volunteer opportunities give students practical work that builds on and goes beyond what they learn on campus. Student volunteers can work directly with foresters to cut wood and learn how to use natural resources sustainable. For example, last weekend students with the National Society of Collegiate Scholars volunteered to chop wood at JCFC's Ashland woodlot to produce renewable energy and distribute it free-of-charge to low-income residents who struggle to keep the heat on. Over the years JCFC has engaged with a large number of other student clubs and organizations including OSPIRG, ASSOU, SOU ROTC, and ECOS.

JCFC is a free and voluntary unincorporated membership association of forestry, timber and mill workers, low-income seasonal workers, students, teachers, clergy, local merchants and other concerned community residents. JCFC Education Director Noelle O’Dell says that the organization works to resolve problems in the Rogue Valley by organizing access to basic resources such as utilities, firewood and weatherization, while working to change government policies that put profits ahead of people. The Jackson County Fuel Committee continues to impact their communities in the Rogue Valley area! 

For more information about JCFC and to be part of a community organized in service, visit their official website at! If you’re interested in getting involved, reach out to Noelle or Bill by email at or by phone at (541) 488-2905.
Know of a student group, SOU employee, or community organization that Raiders Engaged should highlight?
Submit Here!

Volunteer Opportunities

Want to get involved? Volunteering looks great on a resume!
We have a diverse group of organizations on and off campus that need volunteers. Check out their upcoming and ongoing volunteer opportunities 
Upcoming Opportunities


Southern Oregon Arts and Research (SOAR) is looking for volunteers to help run their upcoming conference smoothly!During SOAR Week (May 14-18) they need volunteers to staff SOAR Headquarters and moderate presentations. SOAR Headquarters will have shifts available Monday through Frida y of SOAR Week, 9 am to 4 pm. Moderators will be needed Tuesday through Thursday of SOAR Week, throughout the day.
All volunteers will get free conference swag and snacks!Applicants will be contacted closer to SOAR Week to set up schedules.

To become a SOAR volunteer, please fill out our application here! For more information, visit their website or contact them by email at or by phone at 541-552-6816
Oregon Fringe Festival (OFF)

Oregon Fringe Festival is back and is looking for volunteers for their week-long festival from April 24th to April 29th!

The Oregon Fringe Festival (OFF) is a boundary-breaking platform for artists creating unconventional work in unconventional spaces. A celebration of zany, alternative forms, OFF is an opportunity for artists to experiment with forms not found in the traditional gallery and theatre spaces. OFF aims to connect students and the community through the contemporary arts. By providing a platform for the expression of self, they work to create an inclusive space for education and nourishing open perspectives.

If you are interested in signing up, contact volunteer coordinator Ben Gradel by email at or festival curator Jared Brown at

To learn more about OFF, visit their website at

Off-Campus Opportunities

Good Shepherd Volunteer 
Good Shepherd Volunteers is seeking recent college grads for year-long opportunities serving women, adolescents and children suffering from violence, poverty, and neglect. They serve in a variety of social service agencies in New York City, New Jersey, and Los Angeles as well as internationally in Thailand. Volunteers live in community with each other, receive a small stipend, assistance with college loan forbearance, and health insurance. Together volunteers practice our 4 tenets: social justice, community, spirituality, and simplicity. 

Good Shepherd volunteers work side-by-side with experienced social workers, counselors, and educators, gaining tremendous foundation for their future careers. The program currently have positions available serving in a high school for at risk youth, at a domestic violence shelter, juvenile justice facilities, youth development, care for patients with HIV/AIDS, and nonprofit management.

If you’re looking to put your desire for social change into action, grow as a person, and connect to the Good Shepherd community, apply today at

You can also reach out to Diane Conroy at 


All Hands and Hearts 
All Hands and Hearts is a volunteer-powered disaster relief organization working around the world to help communities affected by natural disasters. They are currently looking for a position as Disaster Relief Volunteer!
Volunteering with All Hands and Hearts, they provide accommodation and meals. Additionally, if you are able to volunteer for two weeks or more, they can provide round-trip airfare to their programs in Texas, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

Don't miss out on the chance to work hard for a good cause. Spots are filling up quickly, so apply today!
To learn more about All Hands and Hearts and their organization, visit their website at
You can also contact Jules Schemmer by email at or by phone at (774) 503-0064.

ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum
ScienceWorks is holding their new exhibition, Pterosaurs: Ancient Rulers of the Sky! They are looking for volunteers like you to help ensure these events are a success for the museum, VIP guests, members, media, and the general public as the exhibit opens in just a few short weeks! Here are the dates for volunteering slots.
  • Thursday, April 26th - VIP Preview (At least 8 volunteers are needed from 6:00pm - 9:30pm)
  • Friday, April 27th - Member & Media Preview (At least 20 volunteers are needed from 6:00pm - 9:30pm)
  • Saturday, April 28th - Grand Opening (11 volunteers are needed from 9:45am - 2:00pm and from 1:30pm - 5:30pm)
  • Sunday, April 29th (11 volunteers are needed from 9:45am - 2:00pm and from 1:30pm - 5:30pm)
  • Saturday, May 5th (11 volunteers are needed from 9:45am - 2:00pm and from 1:30pm - 5:30pm)
  • Sunday, May 6th - First Sunday (11 volunteers are needed from 9:45am - 2:00pm and from 1:30pm - 5:30pm)
Sign up today by logging to their volunteer form or Volunteer Coordinator Erin Endress by email at
Want your volunteer opportunity featured in our newsletter?
Submit Here!
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