campus life

OSU Dads and Moms weekends become Family Weekends

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State University Program Council has changed the name of Dads and Moms Weekend to Fall and Spring Family Weekend, respectively.

With the change in name for the weekend, the Program Council hopes to expand the reach and scope of the weekends to be more inclusive family and friend events.

“The new name really gives us the opportunity to reexamine what the weekend means for the Oregon State community, and to welcome far more than students’ parents to experience Beaver Nation,” said Curtis Orona, the Program Council’s director. “We really want to emphasize that this weekend is for everyone in the family, including younger siblings, grandparents, friends, and is even welcome to members of the community.”

The original Moms’ weekend took place in spring 1924, and was aimed at highlighting women’s opportunities on campus. The first Dads Weekend was simply called “Dad’s Day” and took place on April 14, 1934, in conjunction with homecoming. Since then the events have greatly expanded their scope and mission, and now, have shifted to a broader family focus.

This year’s Fall and Spring Family Weekends will happen Nov.18-20, and May 5-7. A welcome reception is planned for Friday of both days, beginning at 5 p.m. For more on the November event: http://sli.oregonstate.edu/osupc/family

Story By: 

Curtis Orona, Curtis.orona@oregonstate.edu  

Beaver Store supporting open textbook initiative to aid affordability

CORVALLIS, Ore. - As part of ongoing efforts to increase textbook affordability for Oregon State University students, the OSU Beaver Store is supporting OSU’s open textbook initiative by distributing free open source textbooks on its digital e-commerce platform.

The university's open textbook initiative is a collaboration between OSU Libraries, OSU Press and Open Oregon State. It provides financial, technical and editorial support for faculty members to create texts that will be freely accessible online to any student in the world.

The OSU Beaver Store’s website displays the textbooks used in each course at OSU, along with price comparisons to the online marketplace. When the required course content happens to be open source, the store now distributes or links to those free digital materials.

“We’ve created a one-stop portal for OSU students to connect to all of their course materials, be they paid or free,” said Steve Eckrich, OSU Beaver Store president and chief executive officer. “We’re providing students with every possible format to choose from, including digital, rental, and now free open source content.”

The OSU Beaver Store has been providing price-transparency to students for many years using its online price comparison tool. Its website displays the store’s prices for new, used, digital, and rental course materials, alongside the prices of online retailers and others.

“Because the OSU Beaver Store provides the largest student discount of any college store in the country, we are very price-competitive with the online marketplace,” said James Howard, OSU Beaver Store academic materials manager. “We also provide certainty that the student is getting the correct book and edition, with the option to get it more quickly in-store and have in-store returns that don’t require shipping.”

The OSU Beaver Store works closely with faculty to procure the materials they want to use for their courses. It sources a wide variety of formats and pricing options, to ensure that students have everything needed to be informed consumers.

“Adding free open source content to our digital platform is a natural extension of our commitment to textbook affordability as a student-based organization,” said Eckrich.

Media Contact: 

Melanie Williams, 541-737-0050


James Howard, 541-737-0036


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OSU names Susan Capalbo as senior vice provost for Academic Affairs

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Susan Capalbo, who heads the Department of Applied Economics at Oregon State University, has been named senior vice provost for Academic Affairs at OSU. She will begin her new duties on Oct. 1.

Capalbo replaces Brenda McComb, who will retire from this position on July 31, and who has served in a variety of leadership positions at the university.

As senior vice provost, Capalbo will support the university’s provost and executive vice president in matters related to faculty development, curricular operations, assessment and accreditation, strategic plan implementation, academic capacity planning, academic initiatives and special projects.

She also will serve on the OSU President’s Cabinet and Provost’s Council.

Among the primary responsibilities for the senior vice provost are leadership and coordination of faculty matters, including shaping faculty hiring, support and development of OSU faculty; oversight of curriculum matters, including curriculum development and review; acting as a liaison with the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission; and oversight of institutional planning and research.

“Susan Capalbo has been active in leading the development of the university’s updated strategic plan and other university-level initiatives,” said Ron Adams, interim provost and executive vice president. “Susan has an excellent track record as an educator, researcher and mentor. Her work as head of a large and complex department, and leading the strategic plan steering committee, will jump-start her into the role of senior vice provost.”

Capalbo, who has been at Oregon State since 2008, previously was on the faculty of Montana State University and the University of Maryland. Her research focuses on applied economics and policy related to sustainable agriculture and resource management.

She has a Ph.D. in agricultural economics from the University of California-Davis, and a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in economics from the University of Rhode Island.

Story By: 

Ron Adams, 541-737-2111, ronald.lynn.adams@oregonstate.edu

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Personalized learning systems to boost education of college students

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University is beginning a new three-year, $515,000 initiative that will use interactive computer software to help improve the learning and knowledge retention of college students, especially to overcome the hurdles of highly complex mathematics and science.

The project is part of a major national program announced today by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. It will offer some alternatives to the traditional classroom concept of lecture, textbook, and “everyone moves along at the same speed” – an approach that in some courses is largely failing across the United States.

New technologies, interactive learning systems and short quizzes can help ensure a student understands the material being studied, as they move ahead. If they are confused or still struggling to learn the subject, the software system will help identify the problem, allow them to back up, go through things again, and provide additional support and knowledge until they do understand.

If a student just needs more basic information, they can get it. If they need a contextual explanation, that will be available as well.

“We’re facing a societal problem in a range of educational approaches, especially where class sizes are large and there’s less individual assistance,” said Julie Greenwood, associate dean for undergraduate studies at OSU and project manager of this new grant.

“For instance, almost all students have to take college algebra, and in some cases the failure rate can approach 50 percent. We believe that modern computer software can help address this problem, especially in math and the sciences, but also in liberal arts, social sciences and almost any field of study. We’re really optimistic this is going to be a success.”

Other collaborators in this program include Arizona State University, Colorado State University, Georgia State University, Northern Arizona University, Portland State University and the University of Mississippi.

OSU educators, Greenwood said, will help students work with existing software systems, find out which seems to work best or fit with the university’s culture and approach to learning, and which approaches are most appropriate for different disciplines.

University officials say this project, called “All Hands on Deck,” is an embrace of a new trend toward “adaptive,” or personalized learning approaches. They believe it can improve both the rate of first-year student retention and the university’s six-year graduation rate. It will initially be used in eight high-enrollment, general education courses, in such fields as mathematics, biology and psychology.

“This national grant will kick-start our efforts to move more aggressively toward personalized learning,” said David King, special assistant to the provost for learning innovation at OSU. “The initiative will also provide our faculty with insight and information on a learner-by-learner basis, and give them the opportunity to develop more individual and unique student-teacher relationships.”

OSU has been a national leader in new educational approaches and innovations, especially through its widely-recognized program of extended online education, or E-campus, and more recently through construction of a $65 million Learning Innovation Center to conduct research on new approaches to collaborative learning and education.

The most promising findings and practices emerging from this initiative will be shared among 200 public university members across the country, officials said, to better meet the general educational needs of today’s undergraduate college students.

Story By: 

Julie Greenwood, 541-737-1190


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OSU celebrates 147th commencement with record number of graduates

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State University Class of 2016 will celebrate a record-breaking number of graduates this Saturday when 6,406 of the newest members of Beaver Nation celebrate OSU’s 147th commencement.

The ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m. on June 11 in Reser Stadium on campus. No tickets are required for the event, which also will be shown on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s PLUS channel.

A total of 6,406 graduates will receive 6,723 degrees this year, according to OSU Registrar Rebecca Mathern. They will add to the ranks of Oregon State alumni, which have earned a total of 236,296 degrees over the university’s history.

Juan Felipe Herrera, a social activist and the first Mexican American to hold the position of United States Poet Laureate, will deliver the commencement address.  The son of migrant farmers in California, Herrera is the author of 30 books, including collections of poetry, prose, short stories, young adult novels and children’s books.

Some facts and figures about OSU’s Class of 2016: 

  • 295 graduates will be receiving two degrees, while 11 will be receiving three.
  • A total of 692 graduates earned degrees in distance education in 32 different degree programs.
  • OSU’s 2016 graduates come from all 36 Oregon counties, all 50 states, three U.S. territories or commonwealths, and 63 nations around the world.
  • While the average age of the class is 25, the oldest graduate is 73 years of age; the youngest is 19.
  • The graduating class includes 136 veterans of the U.S. military service.

When Magali Sánchez crosses the stage, she will be the first in her family to receive a college degree.

The second oldest of seven siblings, Sánchez spent her teen years picking strawberries alongside her family in Woodburn. While pursuing her degree in ethnic studies with a minor in Spanish, Sánchez also managed to devote much of her time to social justice work. She volunteered in leadership roles, including Greek life, campus-community relations, Latinx organizations, as well as many other cultural and community groups. After some international travel, she hopes to pursue a master’s program in ethnic studies.

Christopher McFarland began life in foster care, and ended up on the streets of Los Angeles as a homeless teen. He found himself addicted to drugs, and eventually landed in prison. But following a rough start, McFarland came to OSU, where he first received a bachelor’s degree in public health in 2013.

Throughout his academic career, he has worked with vulnerable populations in Benton County, and this June, he will receive a master’s degree in public health. He plans on continuing to work with the Benton County Health Department and work with at-risk adolescents.

A tragedy turned Marcia Vasquez’ life upside down, but also led her to pursue a doctorate.

In 1996, Vasquez was a master’s student at OSU with a 10-year-old son, Pablo, when her second son, Rodrigo, was born. After graduation she became a faculty member at the University of Talca in Chile, where she survived a major earthquake in 2010, which temporarily shut down the university. But shortly following the quake, Rodrigo was killed in a bicycle accident. The event spurred her to pursue something positive after his death, so she returned to OSU to pursue a doctorate in wood science, and dedicated the effort to Rodrigo.

As a child from Vadodara, India, Parth Khimsaria spent about 10 to 12 hours a day studying during high school and with academic coaches to get into a good engineering school. His path led him to Oregon State University where he was a part of the International Cultural Service Program with a partial scholarship, where he has spent the last five years working on his two undergraduate degrees – manufacturing engineering and industrial engineering, and a minor in business and entrepreneurship. 

During his undergrad journey, he has done two internships at Blount International and Lam Research Corporation, has participated in a number of student engineer organizations, has been an ambassador for the College of Engineering, and has been an undergraduate research and teaching assistant. He has also helped build the International Peer Mentoring Program. After graduation, he will be joining Lam Research Corporation as a manufacturing engineer.

Mathern said OSU expects about 3,974 students to attend commencement. Oregon State is one of only a few universities of its size to hand out actual diplomas to students as they graduate.

Story By: 

Steve Clark, 541-737-3808; steve.clark@oregonstate.edu

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Parth Khimsaria


New housing option available for students recovering from drug/alcohol addiction

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University students recovering from drug and/or alcohol addiction will find even more support this coming school year as the university opens a new housing option specifically for those in recovery in fall, 2016.

Scholarships will also be available for some students to help offset the costs of on-campus living, making the housing accessible to a broader group of students, including older students who might otherwise choose to live off campus.

The Recovery Living and Learning Community, located in the former cooperative Dixon Lodge, will be focused specifically on creating a supportive, close-knit and substance-free environment for students in recovery. It is being offered in conjunction with the Collegiate Recovery Community, which currently serves students in recovery through Student Health Services. The CRC provides private spaces, support and funding for events on and off campus, and gives students a chance to socialize in a sober environment.

This is the first housing community of its kind at a college or university in Oregon, according to Jennifer Viña, director of marketing and communication with University Housing and Dining Services. It will include dual-occupancy rooms, a community kitchen and programming space.

Providing a sense of community and connecting students with others in recovery is a crucial component to staying clean and sober.

“The students in recovery have a tight bond,” a participant of the current CRC said. “We look out for each other, we are available for our friends in recovery 24/7, no matter what.”

The recovery community provides students with the same kind of social and professional activities offered in other residence halls, but with an underlying emphasis on “recovery-first,” according to John Ruyak, alcohol, drug and recovery Specialist for Student Health Services.

“We are committed to creating a recovery supportive home for all students,” Ruyak said. “Through a unified community, we seek to strengthen students’ sobriety and support their success as academics, leaders, and community members within the CRC and at Oregon State University.”

The new Recovery Living and Learning Community has been made possible by the donation of OSU alumnus Tom Skoro and his wife Joan.

Space is still available for fall, 2016. Contact recovery@oregonstate.edu for more information or visit http://studenthealth.oregonstate.edu/recovery.

Story By: 

John Ruyak, 541-737-1184; john.ruyak@oregonstate.edu

OSU Press books named finalists for Oregon Book Awards

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Three books published by the Oregon State University Press have been named finalists for the 29th annual Oregon Book Awards, which will be announced April 11 at the Portland Armory’s Gerding Theater.

The nominees include “Field Guide to Oregon Rivers,” by Tim Palmer of Port Orford, in general nonfiction; “Children and Other Wild Animals,” by Brian Doyle of Portland, and “Morning Light: Wild Flowers, Night Skies and Other Ordinary Joys of Oregon Country Life,” by Barbara Drake of Yamhill – both in the creative nonfiction category.

Another book with OSU ties also was nominated. David Biespiel, a poetry and English instructor at Oregon State, is a finalist in the general nonfiction category for his book, “A Long High Whistle.”

“The amazing slate of finalists this year is a testament to Oregon’s rich and vibrant literary community,” said Tom Booth, associate director of the OSU Press.

The Oregon Book Awards and Fellowships honor the state’s finest accomplishments by Oregon writers who work in genres of fiction, drama, literary nonfiction, poetry, graphic literature and literature for young readers.

Ticket information for the award ceremony is available at brownpapertickets.com.


Story By: 

Marty Brown, 541-737-3866, marty.brown@oregonstate.edu

OSU adds new vaccination requirements to keep campus population healthy

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University is launching a new immunization policy to decrease the likelihood that students will contract a serious illness while attending school.

OSU already requires students coming to campus to be immunized against measles, mumps and rubella, and get the meningococcal quadrivalent vaccine. Beginning spring term 2016, incoming students will also be required to be immunized for varicella (chickenpox), Tdap (tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis) and hepatitis B.

Current students who entered the university prior to spring term will not be required to show proof of these immunizations, and Ecampus students who do not physically attend OSU are exempt from the requirement. However, most domestic students have likely already received these common immunizations.

OSU health officials also recommend, but are not requiring, vaccination with the meningococcal type B vaccine, especially for students under age 25 who live in residence halls, fraternities or sororities. This is the strain of bacteria that caused a meningitis outbreak during winter, 2015, at the University of Oregon, and which causes about 38 percent of the cases in Oregon.

Students can get the two-dose meningococcal type B vaccine at Student Health Services at a cost of $145 per dose, and should check with their insurance companies to see whether or not it is covered. The Centers for Disease Control guidance on the meningococcal B vaccine, to date, has not resulted in broad insurance coverage, which is why this is not included as part of the required immunizations.

“There’s been an increasing conversation about how to best care for students through immunizations,” said Student Health Services Executive Director Jenny Haubenreiser.

The conversation was spurred, university officials say, both by recent infectious disease outbreaks on other campuses and requirements for OSU freshmen to live on campus. Health officials say that keeping students healthy also decreases the risk that a serious illness might derail their academic plans.

“When I speak to parents, I say that anything we can do to protect a student from an infectious disease will help keep them in school,” Haubenreiser said. “Catching pertussis, for example, could knock a student out for several weeks and reduce their ability to complete that term of school. We want to keep students on track.”

All of the required immunizations are provided by Student Health Services and covered by insurance, if given by an in-network provider. There are a limited number of international students whose healthcare costs are covered by their sponsoring countries, resulting in out-of-pocket costs for some-on-campus services. However, Student Health Services staff said they are seeking solutions for these students to minimize impacts and ensure they are able to comply with the immunization policy.

As with previous immunization requirements, students can sign a waiver stating that for philosophical or other reasons, they do not want to be immunized.  However, they will have to participate in an educational session at Student Health Services before they can sign the form to waive the immunization requirement. Typically, only a small portion of students opt out of immunization, currently fewer than 250 at OSU.

Connie Hume-Rodman, director of Clinical Services at Student Health Services, said that being a healthy community is part of the university’s strategic plan. However, people often don’t notice when disease prevention is working, because only outbreaks of serious illness capture public attention.

“Public health is the champion we don’t see,” she said.

For more information on immunization requirements: http://studenthealth.oregonstate.edu/general/policies-and-guidelines/immunizations-tb-screening-and-health-history/domestic-student

Story By: 

Jenny Haubenreiser, 541-737 7576; jenny.haubenreiser@oregonstate.edu

OSU holds 34th annual celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Oregon State University’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr., celebration will be held Jan. 11-22 with the theme “Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere.”

This 34-year-old celebration is one of the longest continuous events in the state celebrating the civil rights leader. The events at OSU are open to the public and most are free.

Joseph Orosco, director of Oregon State’s Peace Studies Program, will kick off the celebration with a presentation and workshop on Monday, Jan. 11, from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Memorial Union Horizon Room. The presentation is titled “Places of Injustice” and will focus on the question of places at OSU named after historical figures with ties to slavery and racism. Orosco is an associate professor of philosophy in the School of History, Philosophy and Religion, and studies social justice, political philosophy and Latin American philosophy.

That evening, a multi-faith prayer service will be held in the Memorial Union, Room 208, from 5-6 p.m.

A number of lectures, workshops and other events will be held throughout the two-week celebration. A full schedule is available online at http://oregonstate.edu/oei/mlk-events

Some highlights include:

  • Jan. 14, 1-2:30 p.m.: Untold Stories: Histories of Students of Color. A guided tour begins on the Memorial Union steps and follows the histories of students of color who have made positive changes to the OSU campus.
  • Jan. 16, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.: Martin Luther King Jr., Day of Service. The annual day of service offers 8-12 individual service projects.  Registration required. For more information and to register for a project, visit: http://sli.oregonstate.edu/mlk
  • Jan. 19, noon-1:30 p.m.: Making the Unknown Known: Exploring Implicit Bias in Everyday Life, in the Memorial Union, Room 206. This workshop will explore attitudes or stereotypes that influence perceptions, judgements, and behaviors in an unconscious manner.
  • Jan. 21, 7-9 p.m.: Speaking Justice: An annual night of spoken word poetry, in the Memorial Union lounge. The two-part event includes a community performance section that allows 6-8 performers the space to share their voice, and a contracted performance focused on social justice issues such as environmental, gender, racial, and queer justice.

Oregon State’s Peace Breakfast takes place Jan. 18, 8:30-10:30 a.m., in the Memorial Union Ballroom. The keynote speaker will be Jeff Chang, executive director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University. The event also will feature the presentation of the Phyllis S. Lee & Frances Dancy Hooks Coalition Builder Awards.

Tickets will be available at the door, but organizers advise patrons to buy tickets in advance from the Memorial Union Information Desk, as the event regularly sells out. The cost is $10 for general admission and $5 for students; children ages 5-and-under will be admitted free.

These events are organized each year by a group of OSU community members convened by the Office of Equity and Inclusion.

Story By: 

Binh Le, 541-737-4384; binh.le@oregonstate.edu

OSU participation in SNAP to help improve student food access

Oregon State University has become one of the few college campuses in the nation to participate in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

SNAP participants will now be able to purchase food staples at Cascadia Market in the International Living-Learning Center on the OSU campus, using their Oregon Trail cards.

The new program is just one way the university is combating the issue of food insecurity among college students, which is a growing national problem. An OSU research study in 2014 found that 59 percent of students at a nearby Oregon university were food insecure at some point during the previous year, meaning they lacked the ability to acquire nutritionally adequate and safe foods.

While exact numbers of OSU students facing food insecurity is not available, utilization of the OSU Emergency Food Pantry (2,974 served from June 2014-July 2015); the supplemental Meal Bux plan (2,182 students used June 2014-July 2015); and help sought from the Human Services Resource Center indicate that many students need help to meet their food needs.

 Students may be eligible for SNAP based on their income levels, and if they also meet other requirements, including working at least 20 hours a week, having dependent children, or taking part in a state or federally financed work-study program. A complete list of requirements is listed online at http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/students

University Housing and Dining Services Nutritionist Tara Sanders said that it’s taken several years for Cascadia Market to become SNAP eligible, due to stringent requirements on what types and quantities of staple foods such as meats, dairy and vegetables a shop must sell in order to qualify. There were also technological difficulties with sales hardware that made using SNAP too difficult for clerks and customers.

“We wanted to make sure it was an easy process and that folks who used Oregon Trail cards didn’t stand out when making purchases,” Sanders said. “We want it to be a comfortable and respectful experience for customers.

University officials were notified in August 2015 that they met the federal requirements for SNAP, and the system was established and tested with help from volunteer students who were SNAP eligible. Officials said they hope Cascadia Market will become a model for other locations on campus. 

“We know anecdotally that some students come to campus with so many obligations that they have no food budget,” Sanders said. “We have the OSU Food Pantry and the Meal Bux program, but SNAP is another way to help students have access to nutritious food on campus.”

Story By: 

Tara Sanders, 541-737-3915; tara.sanders@oregonstate.edu