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Be Knowledgeable. Be Orange.

Posted March 20th, 2013 by stilwelc

Submitted by Chelsea Stilwell

Oregon State University promotes the campaign slogan “Be Orange” throughout the entire OSU campus. But what exactly does it mean to “Be Orange?” Many would say that the slogan is used in reference to OSU sporting events. When I first saw those words, for instance, I immediately pictured a stadium full of OSU students all wearing orange and cheering on our football team. Now I understand that the words “Be Orange” mean so much more. “Being Orange” is developing knowledge in several different areas of study.  This is revealed by the goals of the Baccalaureate Core here at Oregon State:

“Through the Baccalaureate Core at Oregon State University, students explore knowledge in many fields across the university and learn to think critically about significant issues–locally, nationally, and globally.  Students will learn how knowledge is made in fields from science and mathematics to the arts, geography and political science.  While courses in the major provide expertise in a specific field of study, courses in the Bacc Core offer students a broad sense of what it means to be an educated person and to be well equipped for the challenges of the workplace, citizenship, and constructing a life with meaning.”

This blog will explain the importance of the “Orange” value of knowledge and how it applies to the entire OSU community and gives special meaning to earning a degree from OSU.

All higher education institutions would support the value of knowledge; it is the ultimate reason for getting an education. Oregon State upholds a specific kind of knowledge, however, that many other universities do not. We value developing knowledge in multiple fields of study, or having a diverse intellect, rather than just focusing on the requirements of our majors. What kinds of knowledge? The kinds of knowledge the Bacc Core encourages are: foundational areas of education and writing clearly and convincingly, biological and physical sciences, literature and the arts, the social sciences, the humanities, addressing contemporary issues using a multi-disciplinary approach, and complexity of structures, systems, and ideologies that sustain discrimination and the unequal distribution of power. These are all clearly explained on the OSU Bacc Core Values website as well. These types of knowledge are important because in the process of learning different areas of study, we develop new perspectives and are able to consider other points of view. This is an extremely useful skill when it comes to developing ethical arguments. This critical skill allows one to consider and challenge possible opposing arguments before they are made, which will strengthen one’s argument. It is also important to acquire different perspectives so that you are able to better understand your own values and be able to coherently explain them to others.

Having a diverse intellect allows you to be competent in many disciples and provides more opportunities. A biology major, for example, may decide to take an ethics class simply to meet their Bacc Core requirement and realize that philosophy is much more interesting to them than biology. Any of the Bacc Core courses could also provide students with possible back-up plans if they do not get the job they wanted directly after college. I, for one, am a pre-medical student and know that chances of making it to medical school are slim thus, thanks to my Bacc Core classes, I have designed a variety of back-up plans B-Z that I would also enjoy, like becoming a scuba dive instructor in Hawai’i.

The Orange value of knowledge applies not only to OSU students, but also to anyone who directly contributes or contributed to the OSU learning experience. I included the term “directly” because, for example, I do not consider people who simply contribute funding to the school and have never even been to the campus as “Being Orange.” I don’t consider these people as “Orange” because they do not know/represent the values of Being Orange if they have never even been to the campus interacting with our community. The Orange community includes students, professors, graduate students, and alumni. In that case, do custodial staff members count as being Orange? The answer to this question depends on whether they actively support and demonstrate the values of Being Orange or not. Anyone who was “Orange” once will continue to be “Orange,” as long as they continue to live by the values of being orange; knowledge being a leading component.

To have a college degree means that you have demonstrated hard work, perseverance, and gained a profounder knowledge. To have a degree from OSU, however, means that you have elected to exceed the general requirements for your major and have broadened your knowledge through new, unfamiliar classes and experiences. When I go out into the world, I want potential employers to see my résumé and think, “Wow, OSU grad, she must really strive to expand her knowledge and develop new ideas about trying new things. She obviously goes above and beyond the call of duty; she would really improve our business!” I want an Oregon State degree to put me ahead of the curve; to make people recognize my comprehensive knowledge before they even meet me. Not only do I want my degree to put me ahead in my career, but also I want to continue my skills learned in the Bacc Core classes and continually improve them. These courses are so important to me because I never would have realized the deeper existence of ethical issues if I had not taken PHL 205. Now I am able to see ethical arguments in every single decision I make, as long as I really think about it. This skill will continually benefit myself-and others-as I bring it with me in the path to becoming an intellectually diversified ethical doctor.

Oregon State challenges and inspires its students to go above and beyond their original expectations by exploring knowledge in new subjects through personal experiences. Students are encouraged to find interests they never knew they had in subjects they knew nothing about, which creates new, previously unrealized opportunities. Being Orange is to develop a deeper knowledge in many disciplines in order to gain new perspectives, and therefore be able to better uncover and explain or argue ethics.


Bacc Core Goals & Values webpage:


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