OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

outreach and engagement

OSU surpasses fundraising milestone of $1 billion

 

A copy of President Ray’s speech is available online: http://bit.ly/1dRiaHx

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University President Edward J. Ray announced today that the university’s first comprehensive campaign has surpassed its $1 billion fund-raising goal – 11 months ahead of schedule.

Ray made the announcement at his annual “State of the University” address in Portland to an audience of more than 600 business, political, civic and education leaders, alumni and friends of the university. He encouraged contributions through the remainder of the year to further deepen the university’s impact on students, the state, nation and world. Gifts to The Campaign for OSU now total $1,012,601,000.

“While this is a remarkable milestone, this campaign has never been about the big number,” Ray said. “Our generous donors are committed, as is the university, to transforming Oregon State into a top-10 land grant research university to significantly advance the health of the Earth, its people and our economy.”

Donors have brought private support for Oregon State to an all-time high, with annual totals exceeding $100 million for the last three years. More than 102,000 donors to the campaign have:

  • Created more than 600 new scholarships and fellowship funds – a 30 percent increase – with gifts for student support exceeding $170 million;
  • Contributed more than $100 million to help attract and retain leading professors and researchers, including funding for 77 of Oregon State’s 124 endowed faculty positions;
  • Supported the construction or renovation of more than two dozen campus facilities, including Austin Hall in the College of Business, the Linus Pauling Science Center, new cultural centers, and the OSU Basketball Center. Bonding support from the state was critical to many of these projects.

 

Business leaders Pat Reser, a 1960 OSU alumna; Patrick Stone, a 1974 graduate; and Jim Rudd have co-chaired the campaign since its public launch in 2007. All three have been trustees of the OSU Foundation, and Reser, board chair of Reser’s Fine Foods, also serves as chair of Oregon State’s new Board of Trustees that was appointed by Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber.

“Our donor community is growing because people are deepening their ties to Oregon State – and that helps make us a better university,” said J. Michael Goodwin, CEO and president of the OSU Foundation, the nonprofit organization charged with raising, administering and stewarding private gifts to the university.  “This broad base of support positions Oregon State well for future philanthropic support and engagement from our alumni, parents and friends.”

Donors from every state and more than 50 countries have invested in OSU as part of the campaign. Almost 40 percent of these campaign donors are first-time donors to the university. More than 1,000 donors have made campaign gifts of more than $100,000, including 177 donors who have made gifts of $1 million or more. Oregon State joins only 34 other public universities in the country to have crossed the billion-dollar mark in a fund-raising campaign.

“The campaign is about developing and energizing a community of dedicated advocates, people who share our vision of what Oregon State can accomplish,” Ray said. “These partners have changed Oregon State forever – and I believe the best is yet to come.”

In his State of the University address, Ray said Oregon needs to quit talking and start planning to meet its goal of a more educated citizenry to achieve economic and social prosperity. He cited the state’s lack of apparent focus on reaching Oregon’s “40-40-20” educational achievement goal, which calls for 40 percent of adult Oregonians to hold a bachelor’s or advanced degree, 40 percent to have an associate’s degree or a meaningful postsecondary certificate, and all adult Oregonians to hold a high school diploma or equivalent by the year 2025.

OSU has developed a plan to do its part and is committed to those goals, already demonstrating success, Ray said. But more is needed.

“Beyond Oregon State University’s own enrollment management and strategic plan, I have no idea how the state will get to 40-40-20, which could require as many as 35,000 more students annually enrolled in our four-year universities and colleges,” Ray said. “There is no statewide blueprint.”

Ray went on to describe how OSU’s enrollment grew by 1,532 students in Corvallis and online and by another 135 students at OSU-Cascades in Bend.

“Despite those gains, the net increase in enrollment among all Oregon public universities outside of Oregon State totaled 14 students,” Ray pointed out. That includes an enrollment increase at the Oregon Institute of Technology of 413 students.

OSU has been following a plan for the past two years to help the state achieve its goals. Ray said the university expects to educate 28,000 students in Corvallis, 3,000 to 5,000 students at OSU-Cascades by 2025; and grow its online enrollment to more than 7,000 students. The university also plans to educate another 500 students annually by 2025 at a new marine studies campus located in Newport.

Ray, who recently completed his 10th year as OSU president, pointed to several Oregon State University initiatives that will help boost the economy:

 

  • OSU will lead a new national effort through its College of Forestry to advance the science and technology necessary to utilize wood in the construction of taller buildings in a public-private partnership that will advance manufacturing in Oregon and boost rural economies;
  • The university launched the OSU Advantage last year – a one-stop shop for linking businesses with the students and researchers of Oregon State to accelerate new business development and spinoff companies;
  • OSU’s research enterprise continues to grow and reached $263 million in 2013 – a 70 percent increase over the last decade. Two major initiatives include the selection of Oregon State to lead the design and construction of the next generation of ocean-going research vessels for the United States, and the selection of OSU, along with partners in Alaska and Hawaii, to operate one of six national sites for unmanned aircraft systems.

Industry-sponsored research is up 60 percent in five years, Ray pointed out, and licensing agreements with industry have increased 83 percent. Since 2006, OSU has helped launched 20 startup companies, which have raised $190 million in venture capital and created hundreds of jobs.

“Economic development,” Ray said, “is part of our DNA.”

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Steve Clark, 503-502-8217

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Video that could be downloaded for B-roll is available online: http://bit.ly/1frg9Xc

Amber fossil reveals ancient reproduction in flowering plants

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A 100-million-year old piece of amber has been discovered which reveals the oldest evidence of sexual reproduction in a flowering plant – a cluster of 18 tiny flowers from the Cretaceous Period – with one of them in the process of making some new seeds for the next generation.

The perfectly-preserved scene, in a plant now extinct, is part of a portrait created in the mid-Cretaceous when flowering plants were changing the face of the Earth forever, adding beauty, biodiversity and food. It appears identical to the reproduction process that “angiosperms,” or flowering plants still use today.

Researchers from Oregon State University and Germany published their findings on the fossils in the Journal of the Botanical Institute of Texas.

The flowers themselves are in remarkable condition, as are many such plants and insects preserved for all time in amber. The flowing tree sap covered the specimens and then began the long process of turning into a fossilized, semi-precious gem. The flower cluster is one of the most complete ever found in amber and appeared at a time when many of the flowering plants were still quite small.

Even more remarkable is the microscopic image of pollen tubes growing out of two grains of pollen and penetrating the flower’s stigma, the receptive part of the female reproductive system. This sets the stage for fertilization of the egg and would begin the process of seed formation – had the reproductive act been completed.

“In Cretaceous flowers we’ve never before seen a fossil that shows the pollen tube actually entering the stigma,” said George Poinar, Jr., a professor emeritus in the Department of Integrative Biology at the OSU College of Science. “This is the beauty of amber fossils. They are preserved so rapidly after entering the resin that structures such as pollen grains and tubes can be detected with a microscope.”

The pollen of these flowers appeared to be sticky, Poinar said, suggesting it was carried by a pollinating insect, and adding further insights into the biodiversity and biology of life in this distant era. At that time much of the plant life was composed of conifers, ferns, mosses, and cycads.  During the Cretaceous, new lineages of mammals and birds were beginning to appear, along with the flowering plants. But dinosaurs still dominated the Earth.

“The evolution of flowering plants caused an enormous change in the biodiversity of life on Earth, especially in the tropics and subtropics,” Poinar said.

“New associations between these small flowering plants and various types of insects and other animal life resulted in the successful distribution and evolution of these plants through most of the world today,” he said. “It’s interesting that the mechanisms for reproduction that are still with us today had already been established some 100 million years ago.”

The fossils were discovered from amber mines in the Hukawng Valley of Myanmar, previously known as Burma. The newly-described genus and species of flower was named Micropetasos burmensis.

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George Poinar, 541-752-0917

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Oregon State releases oral history project

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has released the largest oral history project ever conducted at OSU.

The product of more than four years of work, The OSU Sesquicentennial Oral History Project consists of more than 400 hours of transcribed video and audio recordings with more than 200 alumni, faculty, staff and current students.

The collection is available online at http://scarc.library.oregonstate.edu/oh150/index.html.

The project team, which was housed in the OSU Libraries Special Collections and Archives Research Center (SCARC), traveled near and far to collect regional perspectives on OSU. In addition to many interviews captured in Corvallis, Portland and the Willamette Valley, project staff traveled to Bend and Newport as well as Pendleton, Hood River, Sutherlin and Klamath Falls to record the stories of alumni and faculty, particularly those associated with OSU’s branch campuses and Extension and Experiment Stations. The oral historians also conducted interviews in San Francisco, Denver, Houston, Washington, D.C. and Norman, Oklahoma.

The collection consists of more than 100 interviews with OSU alumni from every decade beginning with the 1930s; more than 100 interviews with OSU faculty, current and emeritus, representing all of OSU’s colleges; 20 interviews with OSU staff, current and retired; and 10 with current OSU students, undergraduate and graduate. A total of 111 majors, departments or thematic points of emphasis are represented within the collection.

Included among those interviewed are three OSU Presidents (Ed Ray, John Byrne and Paul Risser); numerous prominent OSU athletes (Terry Baker, Yvenson Bernard, Dale Story, Joy (Selig) Petersen and four individuals connected with the 2006 and 2007 College Baseball World Series-winning teams); and internationally known alumni, including National Geographic editor Chris Johns, groundbreaking clergywoman Katharine Jefferts-Schori, NASA astronaut Don Pettit and National Medal of Science recipient Warren Washington.

The collection also features interviews with 24 OSU distinguished professors and three individuals who served as co-chairs for the $1 billion Campaign for OSU. Also included are interviews with a retired carpenter, a greenhouse worker and union activist, an E-campus student located on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and the head of the OSU Motor Pool.

“Our ambition was to provide as full a portrait of the university and its history as we could,” said project director Chris Petersen, senior faculty research assistant in SCARC. “I’m quite certain that there are pockets of OSU that are not especially well-represented in the finished product, but my hope is that anyone associated with Oregon State will see at least a piece of themselves somewhere within the collection.”

A total of 276 interviews have been made available on the custom-built project website, each of them fully transcribed and contextualized with biographical sketches and abstracts. In total, more than 3.4 million words of transcription have been released on the site.

Some of the collection's most significant topical strengths include the advancement of women, athletics, entrepreneurship, environmental sustainability, Extension and Experiment Stations, international studies, journalism, military service, multiculturalism, oceanography and public service. OSU's land grant heritage and mission are documented throughout the project. Interviews focusing on sea grant, space grant and sun grant at OSU are included as well.

Commissioned in anticipation of OSU’s 150th anniversary in 2018, the oral history project was sponsored by the OSU Office of the Provost, University Relations and Marketing, OSU Libraries and Press, the OSU Foundation, the OSU Alumni Office and The Oregon Stater alumni magazine. All told, 38 people contributed to the creation, development and online representation of the project.

 

Media Contact: 

Sean Nealon, 541-737-0787, sean.nealon@oregonstate.edu

Source: 

Chris Petersen, 541-737-2810, chris.petersen@oregonstate.edu

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Oregon State University breaks record with $441 million in research grants

CORVALLIS, Ore. –Oregon State University crossed the $400 million threshold in grants and contracts for the first time in the fiscal year that ended June 30, including being awarded a grant to build a $122 million regional research vessel.

Oregon State received $441 million from state and federal governments, businesses and foundations for research on a wide range of projects in natural resources, health, engineering and science across the state and around the world. Federal agencies provided $315 million (71 percent), and additional funds came from state agencies, businesses and foundations.

“OSU research spurs solutions to problems and serves and involves people, communities and businesses across the state and world,” said Cynthia Sagers, OSU vice president for research. “Investment in research affects our daily lives —  the food we eat, health care, the environment — and pays back dividends in economic growth for Oregonians. Researchers are starting new businesses and assisting established companies.”

Altogether, Oregon State’s research revenues leapt 31 percent over last year’s record-breaking total of $336 million. Over the past 10 years, OSU’s research revenues have more than doubled and exceed those of Oregon’s public universities combined.

OSU research totals surged in June with a $122 million grant from the National Science Foundation for a new regional research vessel, which will be stationed at the university’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. It was the largest single grant ever received by the university.

Revenues from business and industry — including technology testing, sponsored contracts and licensing of innovations developed at the university — grew to $34 million last year, up 10 percent from the previous year.

“Our latest success is the result of hard work and strategic decisions by our faculty and partners in business, local and state government and the federal delegation,” Sagers said.

Based on past OSU research, startup companies such as Agility Robotics (animal-like robot motion), Outset Medical (at-home kidney dialysis) and Inpria (photolithography for high-performance computer chips) are attracting private investment and creating jobs. Advances in agricultural crops (winter wheat, hazelnuts, small fruits and vegetables) and forest products (cross-laminated timber panels for high-rise construction) are bolstering rural economies as well.

Since it began in 2013, the Oregon State University Advantage program has provided market analysis and support services to more than 70 local technology businesses and start-up companies. 

Other major grants last year included:

  • Up to $40 million by the U.S. Department of Energy for testing systems for ocean wave energy technologies;
  • $9 million for a next-generation approach to chemical manufacturing known as RAPID, in partnership with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory;
  • $6.5 million from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to make artificial-intelligence systems more trustworthy;
  • A combined $1.15 million in state, federal and foundation funding for a state-of-the-art instrument known as an X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy system. The XPS system brings world-class capabilities to the Pacific Northwest to address challenges in surface chemistry. Partners included the Murdock Charitable Trust, the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI), the Oregon Built Environment and Sustainable Technologies Center and the National Science Foundation.

 “Whether it’s with the fishing and seafood industries on our coast, federal labs working on energy and the environment or local governments concerned about jobs and education, partnerships with business, government and other research organizations are absolutely vital to our work,” said Sagers. “We care about these relationships, the benefits they bring to our communities and the educational opportunities they create for our students.”

Research has long been a hallmark of graduate education, and undergraduate students are increasingly participating in research projects in all fields, from the sciences to engineering, health and liberal arts. OSU provided undergraduates with more than $1 million last year to support projects conducted under the mentorship of faculty members.

“Research is fundamental to President Ray’s Student Success Initiative,” said Sagers. “Studies show time and again that students who participate in research tend to stay in school, connect with their peers and find meaningful work after they graduate. Research is a key part of the educational process.”

Federal agencies represent the lion’s share of investment in OSU research. That investment has more than doubled in the last five years. The National Science Foundation provided the largest share of funding, followed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Energy. 

-30-

Project summaries and FY17 research totals for OSU colleges are posted online:

College of Agricultural Sciences: http://agsci.oregonstate.edu/our-best/research-awards-2016-17

College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences: http://ceoas.oregonstate.edu/research/map/

College of Education: http://education.oregonstate.edu/research-and-outreach

College of Engineering:  http://engineering.oregonstate.edu/fy17-research-funding-highlights

College of Forestry: http://www.forestry.oregonstate.edu/college-forestry-continues-advance-research-efforts#

College of Liberal Arts: http://liberalarts.oregonstate.edu/cla-research/2017-research-summary

College of Pharmacy: http://pharmacy.oregonstate.edu/grant_information

College of Public Health and Human Sciences: http://health.oregonstate.edu/research/funding-highlights 

College of Science: http://impact.oregonstate.edu/2017/08/research-funding-continues-upward-trajectory/

College of Veterinary Medicine: http://vetmed.oregonstate.edu/research-highlights

Video b-roll is available with comments by Cindy Sagers, vice president of research, at https://youtu.be/pkGD-lhVTwo.

 

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Cynthia Sagers, vice president for research, cynthia.sagers@oregonstate.edu, 541-737-0664

    

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Summer Veterinary Experience targets high-achieving, underrepresented students

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Two dozen high-achieving high school students from underrepresented populations, including many from low-income families, will spend a week on Oregon State University’s Corvallis campus in mid-August to get a hands-on look at the veterinary profession.

The annual Summer Veterinary Experience feeds the students’ interest in animals while also trying to make the profession more diverse.

“Our faculty work hard to provide interesting, real-world classes that will engage the interest of these talented young people,” says Susan Tornquist, dean of OSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “Many past participants came to the program with a vague interest in veterinary medicine, among other fields, but they left with a passion for the profession.”

The selected students, 20 of whom are from Oregon high schools, will work with student mentors from the College of Veterinary Medicine and also take a variety of classes, including equine acupuncture, small animal rehabilitation, and surgery skills. In addition they will work on a research project designed to develop teamwork and leadership during their time on campus, Aug. 13-18.

This is the first year out-of-state applications were accepted, and this year’s students have a mean grade point average of 3.69.

“This program gives many of these students a glimpse into college life they may not have had otherwise,” says Summer Veterinary Experience admissions coordinator Tess Collins. “Our goal is to provide a realistic understanding of the field of veterinary medicine, and to get participants excited about higher education, even if they decide veterinary medicine isn’t for them.”

The program offers scholarships, including housing and meals, to students who meet established criteria. The application cycle will be open again in March 2018. For more information, visit http://vetmed.oregonstate.edu/osu-summer-veterinary-experience.

Media Contact: 

Steve Lundeberg, 541-737-4039

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Summer Veterinary Experience

OSU veterinary students to treat neglected animals in Nicaragua

CORVALLIS, Ore – A group of veterinary students from Oregon State University will travel to Nicaragua this summer to conduct six days of free clinics on a rural island that has no regular veterinary care.

The contingent, members of the OSU chapter of the International Veterinary Students’ Association, will pay their own way to spend the first week of August on Ometepe Island, home to an estimated 10,000 people and 50,000 animals.

The clinics include physical exams, deworming, vaccinations, spays, neuters and public health education. 

The Ometepe residents rely on pigs, cows, donkeys, horses and chickens for food, transport and work. In addition, there is a large population of stray dogs and cats that can spread disease.

OSU students, under the supervision of volunteer veterinarians, spay and neuter hundreds of dogs and cats on Ometepe every summer. This is the 10th year of the program, and it’s made a difference, said Sue Tornquist, the Lois Bates Acheson Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and a longtime volunteer on the trip. 

“We now see many dogs that come to the clinic and only need preventive care, since so many have been spayed and neutered already,” she said.

In addition to funding their own travel costs, students raise money to purchase veterinary supplies such as vaccines, needles, syringes, gauze and sutures. The total averages about $1,500 per student.

Anyone interested in helping to support the students can “adopt” a Nicaraguan animal for $20.

“In exchange, you will receive a photo and story about the animal that was in our care, including a description of the type of care provided for the animal,” said Kristin Wineinger, co-chair of Oregon State’s IVSA chapter.

For more information or to donate, visit http://stuorgs.oregonstate.edu/ivsa/donate.

Media Contact: 

Lyn Smith-Gloria, 541-737-3844

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Treating a cow in 2016

OSU’s new online college student services administration master’s degree rooted in social justice

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University is offering a new online master of education degree in college student services administration with a focus on social justice.

The 54-credit program is offered through the OSU College of Liberal Arts and delivered online by Oregon State Ecampus, the university’s nationally ranked online education division. 

At a time when issues of social justice and equity are on the rise nationally, higher education professionals need to be equipped with the knowledge and tools to successfully navigate sensitive issues on the front lines, experts say, and this novel new program addresses those needs.

Courses set a framework for master’s students to deliver equitable and accessible student services programs, promote learning and facilitate community development. Program graduates will be prepared to lead the response to emerging campus issues, such as concerns about micro-aggression in the classroom or freedom of speech on campus.

The program is ideal for anyone with an undergraduate degree who is starting, advancing or transferring to a career in student services and wants to create a positive and enriching collegiate student experience, officials say.

“Part of the core responsibility of people in student services is to deal with the life condition of the student that comes to them,” said Larry Roper, an OSU professor and program coordinator in the College of Liberal Arts. “And for us, a justice frame means that we respond to that student in a culturally respectful way that honors who they are and is not limited by our ability to understand.”

The college student services administration Ecampus online program features the same curriculum as OSU’s successful on-campus CSSA program, which has been a national leader for 50 years. All classes are taught online by OSU faculty who are experienced student services professionals and are passionate about creating equitable and successful environments.

Using a student-centered approach, classes focus on students’ wide-ranging experiences and backgrounds to guide the learning process. Real-world scenarios are used to connect the theory to the practice.

“We’re acknowledging that our students are bringing life experiences with them that can add greatly to the success of the course,” Roper said. “It allows students to apply the academic experiences to practical experiences, which is what provides them the most powerful tool for career entry and advancement.”

Graduates will be prepared to work in a variety of postsecondary education settings, including student affairs, student support services, student government and activities, residence life programs, career services and general student advising and academic support.

“The last three graduating CSSA on-campus classes at OSU have had a 100 percent hire rate in related areas,” Roper said. “We have graduates working all over the world, and our long history of providing educational excellence speaks for itself.”

Students can apply and be admitted any term beginning this fall. More information is available online.

Media Contact: 

Heather Doherty, 541-737-3297, heather.doherty@oregonstate.edu

Source: 

Larry Roper, 541-737-2759, larry.roper@oregonstate.edu

OSU to host events celebrating hands-on learning and maker culture April 14-15

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University will host The Co., a  two-day event celebrating hands-on learning and maker culture, April 14-15 on the Corvallis campus.

“SEA Through the Eyes of an Artist” will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. April 14 at Furman Hall. The fourth-annual Corvallis Maker Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 15 in the Memorial Union Ballroom and the Student Experience Center Plaza. Both events are free and open to the public.

“Maker” culture is a popular movement honoring craftsmanship and technology and the sharing of knowledge, skills and resources. The Co. event offers the OSU community and the public an opportunity to collaborate, innovate and create. The event also provides a forum for teaching the value of hands-on learning in classrooms from kindergarten through college.

“SEA Through the Eyes of an Artist” is a new event this year, hosted by the College of Education in conjunction with The Co. and SPARK, OSU’s year-long celebration of the arts and science. All events are free and open to the public. The schedule is:

  • 9:30 a.m. to noon: Activities for K-12 students including a Muddy Creek project demonstration; SMILE (Science and Math Investigative Learning Experiences);  StreamWebs; Art at Sea; and Storytime with Judy Li. Furman Hall.
  • 1-2 p.m.: Keynote speaker, Brownwyn Bevan of the University of Washington College of Education, who will deliver an interactive keynote presentation on makerspace research in the Learning Innovation Center, Room 100.
  • 2-5 p.m.: Activities for the OSU community, including an earthquake/tsunami activity station; an “interpret your research” competition for graduate students to demonstrate their dissertation or capstone projects through music, dance, painting or other art forms; and happy hour with Bevan. Furman Hall.
  • 5-9 p.m.: Activities for families and the community, including a COSIA activity station. Furman Hall.

Other activities include an arts and science geocaching quest throughout the OSU campus; panels to inspire women and girls to enter STEM fields, presented by the campus groups Women in Science and Women in Engineering; and a show focused on arts and science presented by the Corvallis Public Library. A full schedule of events is available online: http://www.corvallismakerfair.org/the-co-2017/sea-through-the-eyes-of-an-artist/.

At Saturday’s Maker Fair, attendees can talk to experts in the arts, crafts, technology, and sciences and leave with unique souvenirs such as Michael Boonstra’s laser-etched cedar selfies.

Visitors can also tie flies with OSU Fly Fishing, experience virtual reality gaming with Solid Fuel Studios, help build a Mars lander based on the actual Viking design plans with the Viking Mars Mission Preservation and Education Team, learn basic programming concepts with the OSU Open Source Lab, find out about the process of creating pigments with the Mobile Color Lab and more.

The Co. is organized by a team of OSU faculty, staff, and students and professionals from the Corvallis area. Sponsors and partners for the 2017 event include HP, Corvallis-Benton County Public Library, OSU College of Education, OSU College of Forestry, OSU Division of Outreach and Engagement, OSU College of Liberal Arts, OSU Libraries and Press, and SPARK.

Registration information, a complete schedule, exhibitor list and additional details about the events are available on the event website, www.corvallismakerfair.org.

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Charles Robinson, 541-737-6535, charles.robinson@oregonstate.edu

Healthy recipes and effective social marketing campaign improve eating habits

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Food Hero social marketing campaign is an effective way to help low-income families eat more nutritious meals through fast, tasty, affordable and healthy recipes, two new research studies from Oregon State University have found.

Food Hero was launched by the OSU Extension Service in 2009 in an effort to encourage healthy eating among low-income Oregonians. The initiative includes several components, such as a website, www.foodhero.org, with information in both English and Spanish; Food Hero recipe taste-tasting events in schools and communities across Oregon; and a library of healthy recipes that have all been taste-tested and many approved by children.

“The success of the program is by far exceeding the scope of what we envisioned when we started,” said Melinda Manore, a professor of nutrition in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU and co-author of the studies. “Getting people to change their diet and eating behavior, especially when they do not have much money, is very difficult, and this program is helping to do that.”

The social marketing program is led by Lauren Tobey of Extension Family and Community Health at OSU, and Tobey is lead author of the studies. Food Hero is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education, or SNAP-Ed. SNAP-Ed focuses on obesity prevention within low-income households.

One of the new studies, published in the journal Nutrients, explores how Food Hero was developed and tested. The goal of the program is to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among those eligible for SNAP benefits in Oregon, with a particular focus on low-income mothers.

The campaign’s strategy includes providing clearly focused messages, writing in plain language, being positive and realistic with the messaging, and offering simple tools for action that include an explanation of what to do and how to do it. The campaign has been effective in part because educators stayed focused on their target audience, the researchers said.

The other study, published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, examines Food Hero’s recipe project in more depth. The recipes used in the Food Hero campaign are formulated to be healthy, tasty and kid-friendly. To date, the Food Hero recipes have been accessed millions of times via the website and social media sites such as Pinterest.

“All of the recipes are simple to make and cost-effective for families on tight budgets,” Tobey said. “Many families can’t afford to have a recipe fail or try an untested recipe the family may not end up liking.”

The recipes also are being tested with children who complete surveys or participate in a vote. If at least 70 percent of participating children say they “like the taste” of a recipe, it is considered “kid-approved.” The program has collected more than 20,000 assessments from kids who have tried Food Hero recipes at school or at community events. About 36 percent of the tested recipes have received the “kid-approved” rating to date.

“When our nutrition educators say to the children, ‘Would you like to try this for us and tell us what you think?’ it empowers them,” Manore said. “It also is a way to expose kids to foods they may not have tried before.”

Parents and caregivers are also surveyed after their children participate in tasting exercises. Of those who completed surveys, 79 percent said their child talked about what they had learned in school about healthy eating; 69 percent reported that their child asked for specific recipes; and 72 percent reported making at least one Food Hero recipe, the research showed.

As Food Hero’s tips, tools and recipes get shared in person, online, through the media and via social media, the program’s reach also expands beyond the initial audience, the researchers said. Recipes from the program are now being used around the world, and in 2015, the recipes on the Food Hero website received more than 290,000 page views.

Anyone interested can also subscribe to Food Hero Monthly, an electronic magazine that includes recipes and tips. To sign up, visit https://foodhero.org/monthly-magazine.

In addition to their collaborations with Oregon partners such as the Department of Human Services, Department of Education and Oregon Health Authority, Food Hero program leaders are sharing materials and ideas with public health and SNAP-Ed programs in other states.

“Since 95 percent of the Food Hero recipes contain fruits and/or vegetables, people who try the recipes are helping us meet the primary goal of the campaign, which is to encourage more fruit and vegetable consumption, especially among low-income families,” Tobey said.

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Melinda Manore, 541-737-8701, Melinda.manore@oregonstate.edu; Lauren Tobey, 541-737-1017, lauren.tobey@oregonstate.edu

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Magical fruit salad

Magical Fruit Salad

Southwestern stuffed potatoes

Southwestern Stuffed Potatoes

Entrants sought for healthy tailgate recipe contest; 5k fun run at OSU

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Recipes are now being sought for the 2016 GridIron Chef healthy tailgate recipe contest sponsored by the Moore Family Center for Whole Grain Foods, Nutrition and Preventive Health and the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University.

Contestants are encouraged to enter a favorite original recipe for a healthy snack, appetizer or other tailgate food in the annual contest. Entrants do not need to submit a prepared dish, only the recipe. The contest is open to anyone interested in participating, including alumni, students, staff, faculty and community members. The deadline is Oct. 24.

The top five recipes will be chosen by food experts and showcased at the College Tailgate and 5K GridIron Challenge fun run held Saturday, Nov. 19, at the Women’s Building, 160 S.W. 26th St., Corvallis. For additional information and recipe contest submission guidelines, visit http://bit.ly/2dTkszg.

The finalists’ recipes also will have a nutrition analysis performed by the Moore Family Center and will be included on the Moore Family Center and College of Public Health and Human Sciences websites. Prizes will include Bob’s Red Mill prize packages, Beavers football tickets and gift cards.

The tailgate event will include food, drinks, adult beverages and samples of the finalists’ recipes. The winning recipe also will be available to taste outside Reser Stadium before that day’s football game.

Registration also is underway for the 5k GridIron Challenge fun run. The run, which starts at 9:45 a.m., includes football skills challenge stations. A 1k fun run for children will also be held at 9:30 a.m.

Entry is $35, or $30 for OSU faculty, staff, students and alumni, or $15 for children under 18, and includes admission to the GridIron Chef tailgate event, which begins at 10:15 a.m. For more information or to register, visit http://bit.ly/2dLmHEl. Proceeds from the run benefit OSU’s KidSpirit and Faculty Staff Fitness programs.

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