Southern Oregon University
Campus Organizer: Evan Rattle - firstname.lastname@example.org
OSPIRG SOU students working to protect Crater Lake Fall 2015
Protect the Bees
As you might know, millions of bees are dying of. Bee keepers are reporting that they're losing on average 30 percent of their bee colonies each year, and that's a huge problem because bees pollinate many of our favorite foods like strawberries, avocados, chocolate and everything in between. You could say that no bees means no food. There are a lot of factors contributing to bee colony collapse, but one particularly pervasive problem is the use of neonicotinoids or neonics, a type of pesticide used primarily in largescale agriculture. This term we're working to pressure the EPA to place a moratorium on these bee killing pesticides by demonstrating to them that we have massive public support. We'll be running this campaign in fall here on campus as well as on campuses across the country to make sure the EPA does the right thing.
Did you know that we're quickly headed towards an antibiotic resistant era? The rate of antibiotic resistant infections in recent years has increased dramatically. In fact, the CDC reports that on average 2 million people are getting sick and 23,000 people are dying each year from antibiotic resistant infections. By the year 2050 they predict that more people will die from antibiotic resistant infections than from cancer. That's a huge problem because we rely on antibiotics to allow us to heal from everything from ear infections and cuts to serious childhood illnesses and chemo therapy. One of the biggest factors contributing to antibiotic resistance is the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms; 70 percent of antibiotics sold in the US are given to healthy factory farm animals. That's why OSPIRG is working to get restaurants that buy meats from factory farms to commit to purchasing meat raised without the routine use of antibiotics. And our strategy is working! In the last year we've convinced Subway, McDonalds and most recently Taco Bell to make the switch. This term we'll be working to convince KFC, the largest fried chicken restaurant in the world to also commit. We believe that if we can cause an industry wide shift we will be able to preserve our life saving medicines for when we really need them.
Hunger and Homelessness:
Oregon has the highest rate of child hunger in the nation, at about 30%. We think that we can make a direct impact on this issue by partnering with local food banks to make sure our neighbors have access to good and healthy food. So, we’ll be working with groups like the Ashland and SOU Campus Food Banks to raise money and run food drives so that we can feed our neighbors.
One of our biggest accomplishments from the 2015-2016 academic year was helping to pass the Coal to Clean bill, HB 4036. This legislation not only makes us the first state in the country to commit to going coal free, but it also increases our renewable energy portfolio standards to 50 percent by 2040 and has provisions that help us establish community solar, which will make solar a more viable alternative for consumers in our state. Here on campus we gathered over 500 petitions, generate activist phone calls to our elected officials and went up to Salem to ask them to vote the right way.
For our hunger and homelessness campaign we helped to increase food security on campus and in our community be gathering over 500 lbs of food for our campus food pantry and for the Ashland Emergency Foodbank. We also worked closely with AEFB, Jackson County Fuel Committee and the Governor's Food Drive.
All in all it was a pretty successful year - we recruited 12 interns and over 25 volunteers to help us collect public comments, phone bank, make activist phone calls, recruit new students and make real change happen here at SOU. We ran a press conference to get big money out of politics and another to protect childeren from unsafe toys. We wrote letters to the editor to protect Crater Lake and to save bees from harmful pesticides and we got on the 5 O'clock news for our work to combat climate change.
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