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Be Accountable. Be Orange

Posted March 20th, 2013 by jenkijon

By Jonathan Jenkins

Within a college community a new incoming student is introduced to many thoughts and cultural themes relating to the college itself. At Oregon State University one of the themes is, “Being Orange.” What does it mean to “Being Orange?” In this paper I hope to present my understanding of what “Being Orange” is, what I hope to take away from my experience, and what the University thinks of, “Being Orange.”

Coming to Oregon State University I was introduced to the idea of being part of the Orange Community. At that time, “Being Orange” was being included in a club of some sort, meeting new friends in my classes, and understanding what the campus had to offer. Manly a event of feeling included. Since then I hadn’t given it much thought to what “Being Orange” actually meant to me. Looking at it now, it expresses the skills I have learned through my time here at Oregon State University. One of these includes accountability.

First off I would like to address what accountability is. The act of Being Accountable is a person, organization, or institute who is responsible for the actions or decisions made towards a person or thing and are held liable for the well being of that person or thing. For a individual to be accountable they must be disciplined, confident, and exercise moral imagination. Along with these traits it requires trust from other individuals. Collectively the group of trusting individuals have confidence in a person to make a sound decision in their absence. Qualities like these are what I want my experience at Oregon State University to give me.

The next question to ask is what distinguishes accountability say for someone who wasn’t, “Orange” to someone who is? It’s a simple answer, a individuals personal development within this skill. This means someone who does attend Oregon State University may have developed skills such as accountability more or less then someone who wasn’t, “Orange.” As stated earlier I think the idea of, “Being Orange” is centered around the act where a individual acquires specific skills during a experience. This takes the special element out of, “Being Orange” that the University promotes. The term, “Be Orange” to me is just a slogan, a motivational quote or a title of a experience. The real development lies with the individual and how they challenge themselves with the opportunities around them.

In class we were asked what we wanted our degrees to mean in terms of the Universities slogan, “Being Orange.” I started thinking about the idea and what it collectively should mean to a student. I then realized how odd of an idea it was to have a slogan or a institute define who you are and what your degree means. From an employers eyes, or for that matter anyone other then yourself, it doesn’t mean anything other then you had jumped through some hoops for a piece of paper. The morals, values and character traits that define your abilities are not defined by a slogan, but by you. You and how you have challenged yourself are what defines the degree outside of Oregon State University.

So do I think the Universities slogan of “Be _____. Be Orange” is beneficial to the individuals, both students and staff? No, because two and a half years since I came to the community it has not aided or simulated my personal development. Along side of that, what I think the slogan means does not only pertain to the, “OSU experience” but relies on the drive a person has to further themselves both on a professional and personal level. By that I mean a person has to be trying to get something out of their daily activities, searches for opportunities within the community, investing in others, and is open to hear others opinions about a matter. This is what I think, “Being Orange” means and is what will define your degree as you move away from the college years, pursuing a career. What defines your degree is who you are as a person.

All that being said, Oregon State University does have many opportunities on and around campus that can stimulate a students development. One that has helped me develop myself on a professional and personal level is my job at the Department of Rec Sport, otherwise known as Dixon. In the year and a half I have been there I have cultivated skills that have played a roll in my classes and will carry into my career. It has also taught me life skills I find valuable. In this ongoing experience, “Being Orange” does not mean anything to me. I can fit values and characteristics under it, but when I am summarizing my experience at Oregon State University, I am discussing how I grew through the opportunities around me. You could say this is, “Being Orange” but that’s just because the opportunities were at Oregon Stat University.

In my findings the University and me have different opinions about what, “Be _____. Be Orange” means for the community. In slogans like this I think it is important to look at what audience or community the slogans targeted for? In my definition of what, “Being Orange” means I target the students, staff, faculty, and surrounding community on a personal level who learn from each other. From the University’s stand point, I believe they are targeting potential incoming students and individuals who are involved with sporting events. One example of this would be the re-branding that happened a few weeks ago. In reading several articles I wanted to find out why they changed the logo and what audience they were attempting to please. According to John Rizzardini, the Associate Athletic Director, in a article titled, Oregon State and Nike: A Long-Lasting Relationship, Oregon State University changed its logo on this thought, “We had to ask ourselves, ‘What does Oregon State University need to advance the Athletic Brand? What will help us recruit prospective students and student athletes?” The focus was not the student body as a whole paying tuition, but individuals who are involved with sporting events, future students and the fans. Only once in the article is it stated that the focus of the change was to represent the University as a whole and provide something everyone could relate to. I guess that is why they only got input from athletes and athletic staff members for the changes. Changing the logo is something that effected everyone on campus. It is the image of the school and the school is made up of the students and staff. For a small portion of the population to make a decision that effects the group as a whole sounds strange to me. If in fact the goal was to bring unity within the community, I would have expected to see the individuals who were making the changes to seek input from the Oregon State University community as a whole.

Slogans like, “Be _____. Be Orange” or “We Are Beaver Nation” are only motivational quotes geared towards individuals who are outside of the campus community and want to join so they can feel included in something bigger, or to individuals who come for the social sporting events. Instead slogans like these should be geared towards the personal development of the students who attend the University. They should carry meaning and purpose that will stay with a individual for the rest of their life. If mentoring was the focus of the quotes and campaigns, then the idea that a person who attends Oregon State University, through a domino effect, could change the world would be attainable. But for now with the way the University is geared towards business vs. personal development it is left in the individuals hands to wake up and realize how to seize opportunities around them. This will then stimulate them to develop skills such as accountability through the opportunities at Oregon State University.



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