Tag Archives: oregon state

School pride in taking a stance on climate change

I can’t help but share my pride in my fellow faculty for taking a strong stance on climate change.  Our university is a leader in climate change research and is now moving toward being a similar leader in climate change policy.  Our faculty senate recently voted to call upon our Foundation (which manages our endowment) to

  1. immediately cease all new investment in any of the top 200 fossil fuel companies;
  2. use its expertise to ensure that within five years none of its assets include holdings in such companies; and
  3. release quarterly updates to the public detailing progress made toward complete divestment.

Of course this is still just the first step and we have to follow through with action from the Foundation.  Although their bottom line is maximum earnings, they have a new process for hearing such requests — a hopeful sign in my mind.

Compare this to the recent decision by (my unfortunate alma mater) Brown’s president to defend their continued investment in the 15 largest coal companies, using (weak) arguments similar to those used to counter divestment from South Africa during the apartheid regime (“We all agree racism is horrible, but this isn’t the right way to oppose it!”). This seems to be the story for climate change.  We all agree it is something to be avoided (or, sadly, simply ‘mitigated’), but we really aren’t doing anything about it.  There’s a lot of talk and little action.

Thankfully, I can be proud of the Brown students who are not giving up.

Smoke-free campus

As of September 1, our campus is now smoke-free. OSU is joining over 700 campuses across the US with the same policy: no smoking on campus, inside or out.  It is definitely welcome to me, for both public and personal health reasons.  I’ve never understood why people still adopt smoking, knowing full well how many negatives it comes with.  And I’ve never appreciated the clouds of smoke at the doors of buildings.  I wonder what the border of campus will be like though.  Are there enough smokers on campus to make a qualitative change along the commercial roads nearby?

FSM is from OSU

So, when you arrive to Oregon State, in the spirit of, well, school spirit, you’re told of all the things that OSU is known for.  The marionberry, a cross between a raspberry and a blackberry and delicious, was cultivated here and the modern maraschino cherry developed here, too. Two-time nobelist, Linus Pauling graduated from OSU.  It is a land-, sea-, space- and sun-grant institution.  The first graduating class of OSU in 1870 – then the Corvallis State Agricultural College – was comprised of two men and one woman. And so on, and so forth.

But it took a chance encounter at my local food coop to learn that the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster was founded by an OSU physics graduate student! Given the worldwide reach of Pastafarianism, you’d think they’d bring that up in the orientation.

NSF Day at Oregon State

The NSF is coming to OSU to hold a one-day workshop on Wednesday, April 13 on the “Foundation, its mission, priorities, and budget [covering] the NSF proposal and merit review process and NSF programs that cut across disciplines”:

This workshop is primarily designed for researchers and educators less experienced in proposing to the NSF; however, more experienced proposers and NSF grantees may well find the workshop useful and informative. It is our hope that events such as this will stimulate new interest in NSF programs at institutions that have not been among our traditional customers, as well as at premier research institutions.

This appears to be open to anyone for the low-low price of $15.  If anyone I might/should know was thinking of coming, do let me know! Perhaps think about giving a talk in our department while you’re here.