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Be you. Be Orange

Posted December 15th, 2013 by neumayrb

Submitted by Barret Neumayr

If you take a look around the Oregon State University campus, you can see how often the phrase “be well. be orange” is used. There is no specific definition to what being orange actually means. It could be used in a variety of ways, I believe the school’s definition is that of the strategic plan. The strategic plan has a set of core values, they believe these values are fundamental to our success. There are five core values on the strategic plan; accountability, diversity, integrity, respect, and social responsibility. Each of these values could mean a variety of things, although they all have one thing in common and that is being orange.

I think being orange means following the Oregon State strategic plan. I would say I don’t really have a true definition of being orange. It is not something you do, but something you are. I do believe that as students of this University we should treat everyone with respect and integrity. Being orange is much more than that. It is the ability to do what is right, no matter what the scenario. Being orange is having the courage to do what you believe is right. Being orange is being yourself and not following a crowd just to fit it. Being orange is going after your goals, but not pushing people out of your way to do so. Being orange is not being number one to everyone else, but being number one to yourself.

From a day to day basis a key example of being orange is going out of your way to help someone. If you see a person struggling to carry their groceries out to their car, we should help them. It doesn’t need to be some big event to help someone, but just little things. This would follow the social responsibility of the action plan. I think we all have a responsibility to help others that are obviously struggling with something. Sometimes it may be harder to really see if someone is having a hard time with something or someone who is being bullied. This is why Oregon State needs to have students take courses that help students spot this situations. If we are able to seek out those in need of help we will be able to engage with those people and really try to help them. Some people don’t always need help with physical issues like carrying out their groceries to the car, some people just need to talk to someone. That’s where being orange comes in, if we can show compassion to others just by taking a minute and listen to their problems we can help them find a solution. This can improve their life and of course improve yours. Those little acts of kindness add up, they make yourself feel better as well as the people around us.

We can take being orange into our careers as well as everything else. I will use my field of study construction engineering management for example. There are many ethical decisions that we must make in this field. A major problem in the industry is bid shopping. Bid shopping is when an owner allows a contractor to see another contractors bid in hope for that contractor to bid lower than that so they can get a lower price for their project. This is against all the laws and codes about the bidding competition for jobs. Now, when I am in a situation like that I need to be orange. I need to make the decision to do the right thing. If I work for the company that is doing the bid shopping then I should tell them that I do not agree with what they are doing and will not continue to work for them if they continue this unethical practice. If I was working for the contractor then I should not give them a lower bid, but in fact inform other contractors what they are doing. Allowing the other contractors to make a decision if they want to continue working with them. I make the right decision, even though it could cost me my job. It is my responsibility just like how Mill said that we should seek pleasure, but not at the cost of others pain.

Besides the social responsibilities and accountabilities, being orange also brings together a community. We all have a particular characteristic that brings us all together, no matter what are major or passion is. Of course, that characteristic is being a student at Oregon State and being orange. Along with any community there is citizenship to that community. We all have rights and duties to ourselves, our school, and our community. As we go through our education, we are constantly getting moral values and ethics drilled into our head. At some points I tend to find it repetitive, but it is better to drill it into our heads now, then to have to learn it the hard way in the future. If we can’t show the core values of the strategic plan on ourselves, there is no way we can use them in our community. Everything starts with yourself, you can’t be respectful to someone else if you can’t even respect yourself. That is what being orange means, being able to have personal integrity, self-respect, and self-accountability and then being able to take those values and use them out in the community.

If we take accountability, diversity, integrity, respect, and social responsibility and mix them with courage, compassion and ethic spotting, we get the true definition of being orange. We could go through hundreds of examples of what being orange is, but at the end of the day being orange is all about just making the right decision. If you know you can help someone, no matter what the problem or situation is, help them. It is being respectful to everyone, no matter who they are. It is having the courage to step up and do what you believe is right, even if everyone else disagrees with you. Every person that graduates from Oregon State will have their own passions, their own career path, and their own life, but at the end of the day, no matter what they do, we will always “be orange”.

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