SOU receives state grant for solar
SOU has received a $1 million grant from the State of Oregon to increase solar on campus. Read more here.
The Lithia Green Cars Momentum Fund will fund the Institute of Applied Sustainability as well as other sustainability initiatives on campus. Read more here.
SOU Landscape is proud to have purchased their first all-electric zero-turn mower, the Mean Green Rival! Designed and assembled in Ohio, this mower is the first piece of large commercial grade landscape equipment to go electric at SOU. The 22 kilowatt-hour battery allows the operator to put in an 8 hour day mowing and recharge overnight. The electric drive motors generate the equivalent of a 36 horsepower internal combustion engine.
The benefits to the environment are obvious, as this Rival replaces a 39 horsepower Kubota diesel powered mower with no loss of cutting power or capability. Our students & faculty will also enjoy another major benefit: less noise! With no internal combustion engine, the only sound produced is that of the blades turning and cutting grass, resulting in a drastic reduction in noise pollution. The next time our Landscape team is mowing near a classroom, you’re more likely to see the mower than to hear it! Pictured here is our Landscape Coordinator Jakob Bewley mowing our drought tolerant clover-mix lawn west of Britt Hall.
The SOU Landscape Department has completed an upgrade to the irrigation system at the Wightman and Quincy Street Student Apartments that includes weather-based smart controllers and high-efficiency sprinkler nozzles. The new Rachio irrigation controllers utilize real-time weather data to intelligently adjust watering according to actual plant need, rather than a set schedule day-after-day. The system will skip watering during rain and wind, and will reduce run-times based on rainfall received. These upgrades will reduce our water usage at SAFH by an estimated 650,000 gallons each year.
This term we asked Liz Adkisson, the Events and Engagement Coordinator with the Social Justice and Equity Center’s Student Sustainability Team, to tell us more about herself and life at SOU.
Tell us a little about yourself and why did you come to SOU to study?
My name is Elizabeth Adkisson (Liz) and my pronouns are she/her. My major is Environmental Science and Policy! I grew up across the hill in Klamath Falls but have lived all over the world (Saudi Arabia, Germany, Thailand, Washington DC,Portland Southern California, and Hawaii!). I came to SOU because I wanted to finally settle into a place that fit my vibe (surrounded by nature with a population of eco-conscious, free spirited, and spiritually connected individuals).
What is your position with the Student Sustainability Team and what do you do?
I am the Events and Student Engagement Coordinator. I am now helping plan events such as the Climate Justice Conference in winter quarter and the weekly Sustainability Collective – my most exciting project and the one I am most proud to bring to SOU!
Why is sustainability and the work of the SOU Student Sustainability Team important to you?
The beautiful idea of “connectedness” in sustainability attracted me from the very beginning. When I was a child I would cry about the state of the world and the suffering of animals, people, and the planet- I felt hopeless because I felt small. The Sustainability Team has really helped me turn this around because I see that other people my age are just as passionate, prepared to do the work, and super supportive of each others’ gifts and dreams. It’s truly a special group that is bent on organizing and bringing in the SOU community to create change on campus and in the Ashland community. Students are an immensely powerful voice, and I can’t wait to help make that voice big, radical, loud, and clear!
Tell us about the Sustainability Collective!
The Sustainability Collective is a space that I created to allow for students to voice their thoughts on sustainability and to find hope through art. I have seen in the past couple years that young people have become dormant and quiet due to fears about the system and our future, exhaustion from their personal lives, and confusion on what can actually be done. They feel small and therefore have shut down in many ways. However, we are far from doomed and have the chance RIGHT NOW to organize, speak up for our planet and each other, and to become grounded in hope. To me, this means coming into a physical space to share food, music, art, and ideas! I can’t wait to have more conversations around topics like sustainable food systems, psychedelics as mental health treatment, Native sovereignty, recycled fashion, and many other topics that we can develop together as we craft. Come join us and enjoy a night of “craftivism” every Wednesday from 5:30-7:00 at the Social Justice and Equity Center!
Find out more on what is happening globally to address climate change. The United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 27, is taking place in Egypt in November 2022. Read more here.
This two-day conference will feature speaker presentations, panel discussions, workshops, and keynote speakers from Southern Oregon and beyond, around the following themes: climate justice activism, action, and learning; adopting a racial equity lens – for individuals, for groups, and for action; and learning lessons about equity and resilience from the 2020 fires.
The Climate Justice Conference invites individuals, groups and organizations doing social justice and racial equity work, and environmental and climate change advocacy groups that have a strong equity focus, to submit session proposals by December 12, 2023. See the Call for Proposals document for a full description of the proposal content, speaker criteria, and session descriptions, and a link to submit.
You can reach conference organizer Jill Smedstad with questions, and use this form to get on our mailing list to stay up to date and receive announcements.