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Be Unified. Be Orange.  December 15th, 2013

Submitted by Samuel Schimke,

At first glance, the notion of “being orange” may sound confusing to a random person. What does this mean? Does this mean acquiring an awfully overdone spray tan? While that may be the meaning for some, the concept of being orange is different to the people who make up the population at Oregon State University. At OSU, being orange means being a part of a unique community. Being a college population, members of the orange community share common traits, virtues, and goals that are not common among other more generic communities. The citizens of the OSU population are encouraged by their community to carry out these actions and values. How we the citizens carry out these conditions reflects the ethical and moral standing of the orange community as a whole. In order to engage these qualities in an active and positive way, there are a few skills and values that must be upheld by each member here at OSU, such as knowledge, responsibility, and moral goodness.

First off, in order to portray the values that OSU upholds, we must be equipped with the knowledge involved with these values. Well what does this really mean? Well simply put, it relates to the understanding of any type of subject matter related such as facts, description, and ethical concepts. The knowledge of subject matter is most easily learned through being taught, but most importantly experiencing the concepts first hand. In order to uphold the virtues portrayed by the orange community, it is of great importance to have the knowledge and experience necessary so that we do not act irrationally on the matter.

When we have attained adequate knowledge of the necessary concepts, we next have the option to act on them with responsibility. In a general sense, responsibility can be described as an obligation toward someone or something, as well as a degree of accountability of your action/inaction. By being orange, we naturally become responsible for upholding such ethical traits that are upheld by the college as a whole. However each individual portrays themselves within the orange community directly reflects the values and virtues that represent OSU. We have a responsibility to not act in a way that will reflect the orange community in a negative manner.

Lastly, we must interpret the meaning of being “good” coming from a moral standpoint. We all have a mental picture in our heads of what a good person looks like. But what does it really mean? It turns out that it is not so easily defined but is rather subjective, depending on ones situational circumstances or personal perspective. The OSU community shares commonalities on what is good versus what isn’t, and these values may or may not be shared by outsiders as well. These commonalities shared by the orange community as a whole are what make up our moral fabric.

Now that there is a solid foundation laid out for understanding what it means to be orange, the only thing left is to actually define what it means to be orange. The interesting thing about this concept is that there is no definite definition. What it means to be orange is a subjective concept, and depends on the opinion and perspective of the person describing it. There are a few important virtues and values that really stand out to me when I think of what it means to be orange, and these are what I would like to share with you, in no particular order.

In the community as a whole, we as orange people share the common trait of honesty. Being a college community, this virtue is especially important as it relates to academic honesty. The policies implemented into our academic curriculum uphold the value in being a graduate of this university. This ensures that we all are responsible for our own coursework that we complete, which upholds more value as a citizen of a different community after leaving this one. On another note, we are honest not only in our academic endeavors, but to each other as well. For example, just the other day I had been eating at one of the restaurants on campus when I accidentally left an expensive jacket of mine alone at a table upon leaving. It wasn’t until hours later that I realized I had left it there. While anyone could have easily came up and scored a nice, free jacket, I was delighted to find that someone had turned the jacket in to the restaurant, enabling me to reunite with it. This strikes me as a unique trait of the orange community as I may have never seen my jacket again if it had been in some other community.

As an individual citizen of the OSU community, we share a common trait that is independence. Now this sounds slightly contradicting at first. The definition of independence is built upon the concept of self-reliance, as well as making our own choices without the influence of others. How are we supposed to be influenced by our community if we are independent? The answer lies somewhere in the middle. While it’s true that we must take some influence from the college’s values, it is equally true that we must create new values and ideals for the community through our own independence. It is through the independence of all the students and faculty where new and innovative ideas and creations arise from within, and it’s these ideas that continue to shape and re-shape our moral persona.

I don’t think that the orange community would be as widely recognized and revered as it is today if it weren’t for the compassion that we show towards others. Many of the clubs within the university reflect this virtue, such as the Global Medical Brigades club, Public Health Brigades Club, and many more. The work done by these organizations within OSU display our compassion not only to the members within our community, but compassion towards foreign civilizations across the entire world that are in need of our help. To me, I feel that any able bodied community such as our university has a moral obligation to give compassion and aid to others who are in need where it is possible. The organizations within OSU that work to give aid to these less fortunate groups of people shows me that we are doing our part in helping the betterment of the world on a global scale rather than just within a confined area. People all across the world know the name of our university and associate us with the compassion and help we have given, and I feel it is an important responsibility for us to continue this work.

One thing everyone loves about being orange is the enthusiasm across campus about being engaged within it. Anywhere you go on campus, there are signs, banners, and statues celebrating what it is to be a Beaver. For example, the “what’s your orange moment?” banners across campus. As well as this, the enthusiasm shown and spread through the sporting events such as football and basketball. Everyone loves to gear up in their orange gear and get hyped about OSU spirit. I believe these propagandistic aspects of our campus are imperative to our ethical and moral fabric as a whole. These banners and events make us closer together, it gives us a way to bond with one another. From this we form a sense of unity, a real sense of community. Common ground is found by everyone within these activities, helping to bring us from a group of strangers to a functioning and collaborating group as a whole.

Above all else, what do I love the most about being orange? Being a member of this special community brings on motivation for the pursuing of excellence and the pride in hard work. As we all know, it is often extremely difficult to find motivation within yourself to get out of bed every day with the intention of working diligently to better yourself and achieve greatness, in whatever aspect of life you may choose. The end rewards of consistent hard work, such as financial success and stability, are dreamed of by just about anyone, but actually getting there isn’t always so easy. In the orange community, we are constantly surrounded by literally thousands of others who are working constantly to achieve the same goals as yourself. This plays a role as a major motivational factor when it comes to actually pursuing that excellence. If it weren’t for the help and support of the faculty members, as well as the friendly competition among my peers, there is no way I could have gotten this far into my academic career. I’ve heard a quote been said before, “If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room.” – Unknown. I like this quote because I think it highlights the notion of never being content with your current career/educational status. The constant striving for more knowledge, more excellence, is what allows each and every one of us to achieve things greater than we ever could have imagined. Being a member of such a large university means that you will almost certainly never be the “smartest” person in the room. We are constantly challenged by others around us, but this is what makes us better at the things that we do.

These are the qualities that I personally believe to be unique and important when I consider what it means to be orange. These values and virtues bring knowledge, as well as a sense of responsibility, and moral goodness to our community. We as citizens of the orange community bring on these qualities to the university, and the university simultaneously brings them on to us. Constantly we are encouraged and challenged to be the best person we can be, whether it be morally or professionally. As I have previously highlighted, it takes a group of individuals and their ideas to make up a successful community. Instead of simply taking in and following my thoughts, I now want you to consider what you feel is important to being orange. What qualities and values are important to you? What traits do you impose on us as members of OSU? Remember, what you do and how you act directly reflects what it means to be orange, so get out there and be the best person you can be.

Be Unified. Be Orange.  March 20th, 2013

By Andrea Bourgeois


Before this assignment, I didn’t understand what the “Be Orange” campaign meant because I assumed Being Orange had one specific meaning, and what that was I really wasn’t sure. You can imagine how this confusion frustrated me while I tried to brainstorm an approach to a thoughtful response. After a few failed attempts, I decided to grab my camera and take a walk around campus hoping that what I saw will spark some ideas. What I found was honestly more than what I thought I was looking for because what I found was my Orange moment. It’s hard to say in words what this is exactly because it completely defines the three years that I’ve been a student here. In a broad sense, however, I found a unique form of unity that describes who we are as Beavers which was portrayed in each photo I took that day. Each photo depicted a different kind of unity found at OSU and each kind of unity I found is explained below, along with its photo.


 It’s not the message in chalk itself that explains what being orange means, it’s the idea behind the message.  This picture emphasizes OSU’s broad community through the unity of meetings and informative lectures from different clubs and organizations on campus.  A club or an organization emphasizes unity through similar interests, which is an excellent way to bring people together who share these interests.  I took a picture of this in particular because of the meaning behind clubs on campus.  These extracurricular activities were put together by students who wish to share their common likes and interests with other students on campus.  This means that these clubs and groups were made for one sole purpose, to bring people together, meaning they value unity.  It’s not easy putting together a club or organization on campus; I’ve had my share of this in High School.  The fact that they put their time and effort into uniting other OSU members and the fact that other OSU members are passionate enough to give their time and participate shows a kind of care and connection OSU members have with one another.  These clubs can range anywhere from a sport to a love for a movie or book, but they all unite through this bond over what it means to be in a club.

Not only do clubs help student connect, they also give a sense of support.  We’re all experiencing the OSU life together and it’s important to have a community that reflects this.  A club can mean many things; to some it means their support system.  A club is indeed a mini community because they share a common space conceptually and literally.

Without looking at this picture, I’m sure that most of us know Oregon State has been around for quite a while now.  This seal only reinforces that statement.  It’s hard to believe that we’re not the only students, staff, and associates of OSU since it’s hard to picture Oregon State in any other time but the present.  This picture symbolizes Oregon States history and how the school has grown.  This is because of what a seal represents, a symbol that implies another idea or meaning.  To us then, this emblem represents the school overall, how we view Oregon State as a school today.  To the associates of the past and future however, their experiences were and are probably going to be a bit different than ours, so the seal is going to have a different meaning. Overall though, this seal brings all of us Beavers together since it represents one main idea, and in this case that’s Oregon State.  Even after we’re long gone and OSU is a memory of our past, this emblem will still unify the Beavers of the past, present and future because it represents this community as a whole.

Oregon State is known for it’s many advances towards public safety, this picture included.  It’s awesome that we’re striving to be a healthier campus since there are so many health issues in the world today.  This sidewalk sign however, may be a bit deceiving since OSU does promote healthy lifestyles, and biking is a big part of that. Before this sign was sketched onto the sidewalks leading into the MU quad, there was a huge safety issue concerning bikers and pedestrians both.  Since it is such a popular area to pass through during the passing periods, there just didn’t seem to be enough room for bikers and pedestrians to share the sidewalk safely, so OSU came up with this solution to keep everyone safe and essentially happy.  How does this unify OSU as a whole though?  Implementing these signs means that we’re trying to make OSU a safer campus, and in following this rule and all rules put in place, we’re respecting each other’s safety.  This in turn brings us together because it means that we care for one another and that each of us will go out of our way to make sure that we are being safe.

This photo is more directed towards the students of Oregon State seeing as we all came here for one reason, to get a degree.  The Valley Library represents academic success through its endless row of book and spacious tables for studying.  This can also be said for almost every building on campus.  These buildings and classrooms are here to help each one of us succeed in our academic endeavors because they provide an open learning environment.  This then unifies the students through success.  It’s upsetting to see a fellow student fail here at OSU because we’re all striving towards the same goal and we all have an equal opportunity to reach that goal.  To succeed as an individual means success as a whole and in this case as OSU.  It’s awesome that we have such a high success rate because it means we care about our future and this brings us together as students because we’re striving for the same thing(s).

 The library puts out a tub full of “Choose Civility” buttons every so often with different messages on them; “lower your music”, “assume the best”, “keep shared spaces clean” and so on.  These buttons represent a pledge taken by all OSU associates who wear one.  It means that they identify with a higher set of actions that set their OSU morals to a “good civilian” level.  This photo parallels the “Please Walk Bikes” photo in the sense that they both unify Oregon State through courteousness.  This is because of the respectful nature found within each saying on the buttons. I find that the buttons remind us that we’re not the only ones who use this space and they help keep our campus looking happy and beautiful through the messages they put out.  Those who choose to wear a button are unified through the underlying message they serve, again being courteous.  Civility is a trait that we all should encompass because it shows that we not only respect the environment (being OSU) but that we respect each other enough to perform those little actions that have us go out of our way to keep everyone that much happier.

 No matter what college campus you visit, you’re always going to find some form of unity through the athletics department.  These two photos not only represent football and basketball but every college sport, club sport, intramural team and everything in between.  It’s awesome that everyone who associates with Oregon State can find some common ground within these sports because finding a common ground within a big community like this is rare.  Yes, there is more of an emphasis on certain sports than others and yes, at times it does seem as if those certain sports are all that matter but most of us didn’t decided to be apart of this community because of those sports.  Most of us came here to either get an education or work to support our families and ourselves.  Sports just happen to be one aspect of Oregon State and it’s an aspect that was worth mentioning since it does bring so many people together.  Overall, I find that this is because a sports team is representing the greater population of fans during the game.  We get a sense of dignity from watching our team play against another team for the “winners” title. To some, it matters who wins and who loses, but to others the most important aspect is the fact that they’re out there in the first place, representing a greater whole.  Whatever the case may be, most of us identify with our sports teams because they bring us together and give us a sense of pride.

I’ve also included a picture of the volleyball courts outside of Dixon because when I say sports, I mean ALL sports and sport teams here at OSU.

These photos give a broad sense as to what it means to be apart of this unified community and what I found that day on campus. It’s amazing with how diverse this community is we all came here to be apart of OSU and this lifestyle for one reason or another. And beneath all of this, we decided to stay and be apart of this community because we found something within Oregon State that shed a positive light on us in some way. This light means something different to everyone, but in general it portrays the unification we share as a university. There’s a reason why we have only one mascot, one school fight song, one set of school colors. We define each of these symbols as meaningful aspects of OSU, which in turn defines us and who we are as a whole. The Be Orange campaign brought to light what I find valuable about being a Beaver and I’m confident in saying I know what it means to Be Orange.