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Be Bold. Be Orange

Posted December 16th, 2013 by walkerja

Submitted by Jason Walker

As I enter Beaver Nation, the cones in my eyes are flooded with exuberant orange. Flags, posters, and billboards all display the attention grabbing color that unites us as a community. Many influential citizens have received their educational foundation here at OSU including Nobel Prize winning Linus Pauling, Gordon Bell Prize winning Phillip Emeagwali, and Douglas Engelbart who invented the computer mouse. All of the following dedicated their lives to improve the quality of life for the people of the world. The orange from the community of OSU seeped into the veins and arteries of these icons and circulated a shared quality. Being orange, is being bold.

Oregon State University is dedicated to improving the quality of life. This institution is here to help mold educated individuals who have the potential to positively affect society. Revolutionary thinking is encouraged in all departments. We pride ourselves on finding new ways to become a more sustainable species. Meanwhile, the Public Health department is researching new ways to combat obesity and other epidemics. Simultaneously, the Philosophy department is busy evaluating our habits and actions as a whole while assessing the ethics that need reform. OSU is constantly seeking new and efficient options instead of becoming complacent with society’s development.

Innovation requires boldness. You must be willing to take risks and put yourself out there. You must be bold enough to pursue your ambitions despite what people may think. Being orange is being bold.

Be Bold: Set high goals for yourself, and strive to reach them

Be Bold: Stand up for what you believe in, despite society’s views

Be Bold: Question existing norms

Be Bold: Be yourself

Be Bold: Separate yourself from the rest through excellence; do not fear success

Be Bold: Strive to reach your full potential

The following is a personal antidote of how I am striving to fulfill my responsibility to Oregon State University by being bold:


I think that it is unethical to remain idle in the face of an immoral action or event. It seems that we as a society value acceptance over our own moral code. We have all been in those situations in which a friend, or even a stranger makes an unethical remark or gesture towards someone else while we remain silent. For example; an associate of mine often makes very discriminatory remarks about Asians. He’ll usually make these comments among a crowd of peers who all respond with laughter or confirmation. I myself am guilty of condoning this action by not speaking out against it. The problem is that any form of racism is completely against my moral code. So why in the face of overt racism do I not practice my beliefs?

I know for a fact that I am not alone in this. This same concept can be seen on a much larger scale. I’ll use the Jim Crow laws as an example. I saw a documentary that covered a very light-skinned African American family who worked and saved enough money to buy a magnificent house in an all-white neighborhood. The main character was better off than most blacks because he could often pass as Caucasian. They moved next to a white family who had strong moral beliefs about fairness, equality, and equal opportunity. However, many people in the neighborhood were upset that a colored family had moved in to their area and brought their property value down. They organized a committee and pressured the neighboring family to take the colored family to court. They abided.

Even though racism went against their morals, they agreed to take the colored family to court in an attempt to uproot them out of their new home. They succumbed to the pressure of “society’s values” and completely devalued their own moral code. Why?

There are legit and valid reasons as to why they went along with the community’s plan. The family had their own image to protect. If they would have openly opposed the motion to uproot the colored family then they may have fallen victim to hate crimes themselves. They could have received hate mail, had their property damaged, been excluded from social events, etc. Their own physical and interpersonal safety was at stake.

I believe that when we bear witness to an unethical event, we have a moral obligation to ourselves to stand up and confront it. If I would have spoke up and told my associate that discriminating against someone based on the color of their skin was wrong, and that I won’t accept that sort of talk while I’m present, I would have experienced personal gratification. Yes, the situation would have been awkward for a short period of time but I ultimately think I would have gained even more respect in the eyes of my peers. This sort of action can only be done by someone who is bold. It takes courage to stand up for what you believe is right, especially when that idea challenges the majority. Being orange is about having the moral competence and boldness to act on your own accord. From now on, I will no longer remain silent in the face of an unethical event.

This is just an example of what Beaver boldness means to me. Being orange may apply to you in different ways. However it may be, Oregon State University instills the ideal that boldness is an essential trait to being successful. So be bold, be orange!

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