As the student government of Southern Oregon University, and as part of the Oregon Student Association, ASSOU fights for issues that matter to students. In 2014, we secured $500,000 from the Oregon Legislature to prevent some cuts to programs and faculty positions at SOU. That victory would not have been possible without the persistence and dedication of SOU students.
Prioritized for 2016-2017
- Statewide Student Power Initiative: Student power can be built in a multitude of ways. This year ASSOU has decided to focus on building student power by both registering students to vote, and attending a statewide student rally in the capitol. Registering students to vote helps force legistlators to take student issues seriously, it also helps students have a voice. Statewde rallies directly make a call for legislators to pay attention to students. ASSOU is committed to student power.
- Food Pantry: College students are largely affected by hunger issues. Currently on campus we operate a food pantry that is open to students. In the last several years the food pantry has declined in the services I can offer to students. ASSOU is committed to helping plan food drives, and working to find budget to increase the services the food pantry can offer.
- Solar Power PPA: Solar power and enviromental affairs have long been apart of ASSOU's mission. EAC uses student fees to fund green projects across campus. This year ASSOU is committed to researching it's ability to use student fees to buy solar panels and enter a power purchase agreement to create revenue to continue to fund EAC and other groups on campus.
- Communications Campaign: Currently in ASSOU the primary form of contact with the student body is through all student emails. ASSOU understand that not only do students receive far too many emails on a daily basis, but that emails are not accesible to all students. ASSOU is commited thisn year to overhauling out communcations strategies to rely more heavily on bulletin boards, social media, and person to person communication.
- Veterans Affairs: Veterans, especially veteran students, face numerous challenges. The VRO currently offers a resource center to veterans, but it is largely inadequate. Veterans are forced to share their space, and share a coordinator with the CRC. ASSOU is offering support to aid veterans in finding their own space and bringing awareness to vetarans issues.
- Fair Housing: It's all too common to see housing rental ads that say "no students" when looking for a place to live in Ashland. We know that students who are close to campus are more likely to participate in on-campus activities during the week and on weekends as well. We see this as an important part of the SOU experience, and believe that no person should be barred from taking part in the community because they live too far to justify going to campus outside of class times. Many cities across the state and nation already protect students as a class of renters--its time Ashland does the same.
- SOU Health Initiative: Physical, mental, and emotional health are vital components of a rewarding college experience. Many students feel that they do not get the full support they need for maintaining these aspects of personal health, or don't know about all of the resources that are available to them. To address this, ASSOU is bringing student groups from across campus together to promote physical, mental, and emotional health on the SOU campus as well as in the surrounding community.
- ASSOU Loves Ashland: As a continuation of Student Life's SOU Loves Ashland event, we want to continue connecting SOU students to the town and the Rogue Valley. Throughout the year, we will be hosting a number of off-campus events to encourage students to get to know the area better. Whether its getting to know local businesses or recreation opportunities, we want students to know about all of the amazing things available close by.
- Vote OR Vote: One of the most effective ways we build student power is through this campaign. During every legislative cycle, along with the Oregon Student Association, we take part in the largest nonpartisan voter registration in the state. Beyond that, we do nonpartisan voter education to ensure that students make informed choices. OSA registered over 50,000 students to vote state-wide (that's one in every forty Oregonians!) Last year we surpassed our goal of registering 2015 students to vote and came in with 2057 voter reg cards, now we're aiming for 2016 this next year!
- Survey Collection: Every two years ASSOU partners with student governments across the state through the Oregon Student Assocation to hear from students about the most pressing issues facing our community. We do this by collecting surveys in which students prioritize from a list of ten issues what they would like us to work on. The process begins on the first day of fall term classes and ends before the end of October.
The survey is available online at www.orstudents.org/survey
- Reinvestment in Higher Education: cuts in state funding are the #1 reason schools like SOU must raise tuition and make cuts. State divestment means fewer opportunities for us and for those who come after. ASSOU is leading the Oregon Opportunity Movement to demand reinvestment in public universities and our future.
- Voter registration: when students vote, legislators pay more attention to our issues. During spring term, ASSOU will help each student register to vote at their current address.
- Cultural Competency: the cultural competency campaign is a campaign to promote the environment of cultural agility across campus. With cultural agility we seek to create a more inclusive learning environment on this campus. In an inclusive environment, people from diverse backgrounds are promoted to be more themselves, this leads to a true diversity for our institution.
- Fair housing: many students face unfair discrimination when looking for housing in Ashland. To make sure students applicants are assessed on individual merits and not on stereotypes, ASSOU is working to amend the local fair housing law. We hope to make housing ads that say "no students" a thing of the past.
- Campus accessibility: students with disabilities should be able to get around campus safely. ASSOU is fighting to make the SOU facilities accessible as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
- Student fee autonomy: each student pays a fee every term that funds clubs, the Stevenson Union, the Student Health & Wellness Center, and many other programs and services. To make sure students have full control over how that money is spent, ASSOU is working to improve the fee allocation process.