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Posted March 20th, 2013 by whitleys

To “Be Orange.” What does it mean? Well, lets simply break down the phrase to the definition of the words. To “Be,” as defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary, means to “exist.” So lets rephrase this slogan and turn it into “Exist Orange.” This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Jack London, “The function of man is to live, not exist.” What am I trying to point out? Well, the phrase “be” is simply existing, to be something means that you just are that something, no effort needed. I think “being orange”should take more of an effort, almost to “live” Orange. The aura of Orange shouldn’t be something that someone is, but something someone strives for. To “Live Orange” takes a conscious effort, it takes applying mindfulness in everyday actions. For the sake of how I define “Orange” I will define “being” as “living.”

So then, Orange… what does that mean? One might appreciate that it is frankly asking us to get Dorito Chip tans, eat carrots and drink orange juice all day, but I think there is a more significant depth in the word “Orange” that applies to Oregon State University. Who exactly is apart of Oregon State University? I think that would be anyone and everyone even partially involved with Oregon State University. I think that would include fans, students, alumni, staff and faculty, sponsors, future students, and anyone who represents Oregon State University.

So now we have a huge number of people “living orange.” That fact in itself illustrates one of the values around being orange. This value is a sense of unitedness. A huge number of people, even if they barely know each other, all have at least one thing in common, they are apart of Oregon State University. They are apart of this community regardless or not if the want to be. It’s not about people fulfilling a certain characteristic that Oregon State wants, but rather what other people, not involved in this community, see. As members of Oregon State University, it is our responsibility to represent what we want to be known for. It’s a good idea that we all should agree on what to be known for and that’s where we choose to be apart of the community in the first place. I think we can all agree that the first value would be being “United,” the definition of which I take to mean “everyone involved, affected and taken to achieve.” Having everyone in the community involved, affected and taken to achieve by this value thus proves the relevance and importance of this value.

Being united implies another value. This value is something an individual has to choose to do. There is, however, a certain but subtle agreement one makes when they join the community in the sense that they agree to uphold this value; engagement. In order to be united, you need to try to be united, which is in this case, being engaged. Engagement is the kind of value that is lived as opposed to simply existing with. Engagement is the kind of thing that you choose to do or give to a community. What does being engaged look like? It’s an extra step outside of one’s normal routine to give something of themselves to the greater community. When I say “greater community” I mean a cause bigger than themselves, which is in this case Oregon State University. Personally I think it would be fantastic if the majority of the community were engaged in the community, and I don’t just mean physically involved in the matters of Oregon State University. I mean mentally too. If everyone engaged their minds then people wouldn’t see engagement as required but rather, desired. Those who engage their minds more gain more from simply experiences. An engaged mind is thoughtful and mindful. It thinks outside the curriculum and extends beyond the syllabus. It recognizes ability, and attempts to become better than that. Automatically engaged minds are excellent students, and it’s not because they care or over obsess about success, but because they allow themselves to wonder, question and understand the ideas a world has to offer and in so doing, develop an intense interest and desire to find more information about any given topic.

So now we have united and engaged minds at Oregon State University. This creates an excellent image of students and teachers dressed in drapes and sprawled across the marble steps of the Memorial Union, much like Raphael’s painting “the School of Athens.” There is more, however, to this school specifically than simply being an environment to nurture minds. Oregon State University is the kind of community that studies, researches, and thinks, but then they take action. That reveals my last value; action. This then circles back around to my first statement; that “Being Orange” is a form of “Living Orange.” To take action means to take knowledge and understanding gained from engaging minds and develops a plan to create, move, or do something according to those properties gained. These plans to create, move or do is what I call “living” in relationship to the phrase “Live Orange” or rather, “Be Orange.” Creating, moving or doing things is the part of Oregon State University a retiree or alumnus takes with them when they leave. It’s what shows up in a resume, in an expression, or in an idea. Action is taking from Oregon State University what it offers and applying it in their everyday life. That is Living Orange.

The hard part of my take on Oregon State’s values is the issue if getting people to be engaged. How do you teach individuals to engage their minds willingly? How can you guarantee that the involvement of the individuals in a community is good involvement? How can you make sure that everyone who attends this school wants to be engaged? Licensed teachers aren’t the only ones who teach. A community, I would argue, teaches more than an individual person holding a degree in a specific topic. Communities nurture their members. If we want good citizens, we have to be good citizens. If we want someone to walk off campus representing Oregon State University with a good value and moral system, then we have to have good value and moral systems ourselves. Only then we might be able to build a good environment.


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One Response to “LIVING & BEING ORANGE”

  1. bulloccl Says:

    I am glad that you are able to feel a sense of connection while you are here at OSU. I really think that the amount of extra work that our teachers put in really pays off. I think that our communal contribution will not go unnoticed.

    Is there other parts of school that you think could be improved on?

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