Jason Bamburg

Jason Bamburg has 15 articles published.

Sold-out ‘Grease’ packs Center Stage Theater

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Guests to Grease were welcomed with classic cars brought in by the Stray Angels car club.
Photo by Jason Bamburg

The musical, set in 1950s Chicago, has an abstract feel right down to the set design. “I wanted to honor ‘50s Chicago,” Director of Theater Stephanie Newman says. “These are kids who think they’re rock stars, but they’re just rough city folk.”

The show’s main characters, Danny and Sandy, met on the beach over summer break and fell in love, parting bitter-sweetly at summer’s end. Only they find Sandy has transferred into Danny’s school when fall semester starts. It’s a coincidence, but it reveals much about the social groups so many of us remember from our high school days.

Every generation has their own group of misfits who defy authority and come from less than upper-crust homes. Danny (played by Braydon Simmons) belongs to a gang who call themselves the “T-Birds,” in the social group known as “greasers” the “greaser in the future could be called the “stoners” today (whether they smoke pot or not) that we may be more familiar with.

Sandy (Madison Whittet), however, has just left a Catholic school and has yet to determine allegiances or fall in with a group, be they cheerleaders, the nerdy bookworms or “The Pink Ladies,” who are sort of the T-Bird’s auxiliary girls club.  She is pulled in these directions all at once, and the fact that Danny is both a jock and a greaser T-Bird doesn’t help Sandy’s indecision.

This is the classic struggle of the new kid; everybody wants to get to know you while simultaneously wanting to influence you. There is some measure of appeal in all of these newfound friends. She is certainly smart and shy enough to fit in with the brainy kids. Some unfamiliar extrovert inside may be calling her to cheer for the jocks (Danny is partially one), but the middle-finger raising audacity of the greaser culture (the other side of Danny) eventually wins out.

Sandy’s trajectory is easy to see when she is repeatedly tempted by cigarettes and alcohol (and the production centers around the rough kids). Rather than a female lead tapping into the sensitive side of the male – which was a common theme in the ‘70s— we have Sandy’s instant change into a sultry bad girl and likely the Pink Lady’s new leader.

Music director Michael Wheeler brought out great performances from the cast. Even the less seasoned vocalists among the cast could be forgiven a sour note here and there, as each and every song ended confidently and beautifully, whether by a single performer or a collective chorus. Wheeler must have emphasized the importance of a number’s ending to be spot-on.

Newman and her husband Travis were responsible for a spectacular set design, imagining her “abstract rather than detail” ‘50s vibe to great effect. Besides the subtle decoration of vinyl records and hanging guitars, the props (manipulated quietly by the cast themselves) included moving sections that served as settings for the beach, Rydell High School’s entrance, the gym, the cafeteria, “The Burger Palace,” the local drive-in movie, and Kenickie’s garage.

Kenickie, played by Ben Ruggles, could be said to be the de facto leader of the T-birds, if only because he has a “new” used car, and believes some work will transform it into racer and a “chick magnet.” The prop involved is the front end of a rusty Ford pickup on a rolling platform. This car is used in a few scenes but is most enjoyed as the centerpiece of a daydream sequence in which Kinickie imagines his car’s future, and the transformation is executed with a custom drop-on shroud of shiny fabric that makes the car look finished, bringing the song “Greased Lightning” to life.

The musical, created by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, first appeared at Chicago’s Kingston Mines nightclub in 1971 and ended its first Broadway run in 1980. At that time, it had the honor of being the longest run in Broadway’s history with 3,388 total shows. The 1978 film adaptation starring John Travolta and Olivia-Newton John was also massively successful, earning nearly $9 million on its opening weekend. One might think such an iconic and critically acclaimed show would be showcased in a larger venue, but the UCC theater program makes use of the Center Stage Theater (rather than the larger Jacoby on campus) for many reasons. Among them is the immediacy and proximity to the stage. “In the Center Stage, every seat is a good seat,” Newman says.

A larger space would also call for much more audio and lighting responsibilities, and Newman likes both to be as natural as possible. “It is important to learn how to fill a space with your voice,” she says, “my focus is on process and students more than a product.”

In this ethic, however, Newman and her incredible team have created an understandably sold-out production.

Though “Grease” is officially over after its highly successful run, the Theater Arts program will offer “The Lion in Winter,” starring Newman herself next. “It’s Game of Thrones-esque with British humor,” she says.

“The Lion In Winter” runs February 23 – March 11 and tickets are available at the Whipple Fine Arts Building or online at

I am UCC: Nursing student thankful for support

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    Priscila Lopez is clear about her career goals and who has inspired her along the way.

Priscila Lopez, ASUCC senator and Spanish Club representative, developed a profound respect for her family and heritage at an early age.

One of three children born to immigrant parents, she had a first-hand view of the difficulties Hispanic Americans face and the determination that is required to overcome them. “My parents came from Mexico in the mid-’80s,” she says. “They worked hard, had my brother, and got their citizenship that they worked very hard for.”

She gets a little misty-eyed as she recalls her humble but loving childhood. “There were days we didn’t  have very much,” she says, “and I remember how much they struggled to just get by, paycheck to paycheck.”

In the early nineties, liability issues were not as prevalent as they are today, so field work often included the whole family with the little ones working too.  Summers were spent alongside her parents harvesting produce and saving money for the incoming school year.

“I remember growing up and going to the onions, the asparagus . . . and then I learned how to pick cherries, which I was really fast at,” she says. “I would work just as hard and long as everyone out there,” she says, “and I got some money for clothes.” The reality of intense work for long hours and little pay did not escape her, however. “It reminded me that I don’t want to do that,” she says. “It’s really hard (work), hard on your body, and I was just a kid.”

Lopez’s decision to leave her hometown of Pasco, Washington and pursue school was born out of frustration. “When my daughter was 3 years old, I was working two jobs; I worked at Ross, and I worked as a housekeeper at a Shilo Inn,” she says. “I was living with my parents and decided I needed an education.” She went to the Department of Labor in Pasco and entered Workforce (a training program).

“I just needed one job instead of trying to struggle through two,” she says. While waiting for a counselor to get back to her, she saw a notice that started her path to UCC.

It was wanting to be as far from home as possible — for an entirely fresh start— that brought her to Douglas County. “I saw a sign on a door that said ‘Join Job Corp’ and so that’s what I did.”

Her interest in nursing and a desire for distance led her to the Wolf Creek Job Corp, where she enrolled in the nursing program and earned a scholarship. “I did phlebotomy and some of my prerequisites,” she says.

After the two years required to remain in the program, she found herself a local job. “I got a job at Davita Dialysis,” she says, “and I stayed here with my daughter and continued to go to UCC because it gave me the opportunity. I got my G.E.D. here.”

Everyone is prone to moments of doubt, and Lopez is no exception. “Before even thinking of going to school, I didn’t think I was going to make it very far,” she says. “I didn’t believe in myself; I didn’t think I was smart enough.” The positive atmosphere she experienced at UCC bolstered her confidence greatly, though. “When I started college here everyone was so supportive . . . . It was amazing how much it changed my life,” she says, “so I stayed for the school.”

Lopez is the first in her family to attend college and admits to occasional uncertainty even today. “I still have the fear sometimes,” she says, “but then, UCC is so different, and it motivates me to keep going.”

As a kid, Lopez wanted to be a police officer, but her interest in the field of medicine started with one of her early jobs. “I started off as a caregiver in Washington,” she says. “I would go to people’s homes and help them with their laundry, grocery shopping, baths, and take them to doctor’s appointments. That’s where it started,” she says; “where I learned that I wanted to do more.”

Now in the nursing program on campus (and working at Mercy Medical in Roseburg), Lopez intends to seek a bachelor’s degree and work as a nurse in either the E.R. or Critical Care. After two years of experience, she will apply to be a nurse anesthetist. “They get to administer anesthesia under their own license,” she says, “and be part of procedures like colonoscopies, endoscopies, cataract removals and most medication sedations.”

In the meantime, however, the prospect of working with traumatic injuries doesn’t intimidate her. She has encountered emergencies when working with diabetic patients. “Sometimes, when working in dialysis,” she says, “people were crashing hard.” She has altruistic reasons as well for taking the steps toward her chosen career: “When I enter a patient’s room, I think I’m going to make their day better,” she says. “The way I view it is that could be my dad, or mom or sister . . . . I want them to be treated well and cared for genuinely, (and) not just be there to pay my bills. Most patients won’t remember what you did for them, but they will remember how you made them feel.”

Lopez is a saltwater angler in her free time, and she’s enthusiastic in her description. “I love kayak fishing in the ocean,” she says. “I love going out in the open water and being surrounded by only God knows what.” She is not a fan of “catch and release,” however, as cooking her catch is part of the appeal. “Eating it is great.” she says, “It’s something that I caught, and I know exactly where it came from.”

If Lopez could influence any change at UCC, she would like to see more student involvement with the various organizations on campus. “I’d really like a lot more students to get involved with things ASUCC is doing,” she says, “and the work The Mainstream is putting out there . . . to just get involved and have fun.”

As for inspiration, Lopez looks no further than her children. “They inspire me to keep going,” she says, “I want them to be able to look at me and say ‘Mom can do it, I can too,’ but I don’t want them to ever rate their level of success based on me. I hope they go over and beyond what I’ve accomplished. They’re the reason I try.”

I am UCC: April Hamlin, Dean of Student Services

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    The new dean of student services stresses the importance of having a “Plan B.”

   There is little to nothing that the director of student services thinks she “has” to do. She does, however, “get” to do exactly what she loves with exuberance.

    April Hamlin doesn’t proceed through her days with of a sense of obligation, but rather a buoyant joy, the infectious kind that brightens a space and likely the days of many students and co-workers. This would seem counter-intuitive for someone who, in fact, has a virtual laundry list of roles to play and things to do on campus. “So far this morning,” she says, “I’ve been working on a grant that provides services for our program, I’ve worked on a drug and alcohol program annual review and I’ve visited the services here in the Student Center to do some advising.”

   With 12 vacancies in Student Services at the time of this writing, Hamlin’s priority is to fill those job positions. “It’s one of the big things that have been really driving my energy and attention right now,” she says. Otherwise, she has leadership roles in many departments including the Trio program, Student Life & Campus Engagement, Financial Aid, Admissions and Enrollment, Advising, Counseling Services, Testing and Accessibilities. “I’m also the campus diversity officer, and Title IX deputy coordinator,” she says, without the slightest hint of being overwhelmed.

   Education was an unexpected field that Hamlin didn’t initially pursue. “In grade school, I wanted to be an astronaut,” she says, “and then in high school I wanted to be a music therapist; I was going to double-major in psychology and music.” By the end of college, however, she wasn’t so sure about those choices. “I feel so blessed I fell into education,” she says, “it wasn’t on my radar.”

   The kind of work she had done prior to UCC provided her with a solid foundation for her present duties, even if the path was unintentional. She spent eight years in youth special education with the Bend-LaPine school district and later went on to be the director of the adult basic skills development at UCC’s Wooley Center, where she took part in G.E.D. preparations, high school diploma programs, English learning and college/career planning for over five years. “It’s kind of a microcosm (of services) here on the main campus,” she says.

   Hamlin likes to think of herself as an “agent for change,” and this is even reflected in some of her earliest work. “I did about 10 years in juvenile corrections,” she says. “What I loved is that I worked in both Deschutes and Douglas counties where restorative models of juvenile justice were practiced. Instead of just putting kids in detention,” she says, “we would work with them to find out what was really going on.” During this period she also worked in prevention programs for girls believed to be high-risk for future infractions, headed work crews, led 30-day programs and was involved with behavioral rehabilitative services.

   The leadership and supervisory skills she has gained aside, Hamlin believes her most recent duties as a grant development writer have prepared her well for her current position. “I was really blessed because I got to work really closely on several federal grants. I worked with the Upward Bound team on the renewal of their federal grant.”

   A recent concept that has entered the national conversation among community colleges also has her excited: “I got to do a lot of work last year with Guided Pathways, a new direction community colleges are looking at in terms of promoting a holistic approach to student success,” she says “and success being measured by completion.”

   Though not prescriptive (every college will have to make their own adaptations), Guided Pathways is an idea that aims to hopefully offset some of the dismal statistics regarding college completion. Many students are very clear about their academic and career goals when enrolling, and a reduction of studies unrelated to those specific goals may encourage some to complete their education.  “If you have a place that you are aiming at, a place to land,” she says, “we can help you land in the least amount of time”. If students arrive hoping to find a direction, Hamlin indicates that is still perfectly OK. “It’s not about limiting options,” she says; “it’s about defining paths so that you know exactly what you need.”

   Part of what keeps Hamlin grounded, healthy and happy is a simple philosophy. She says she could be doing one of many things, but “gets” to be where she is. “One of the ways I think self-care manifests itself is (in) always having a Plan B in mind.” she says, “Have some other thing that you could be doing for your job. I could be a massage therapist (she has been licensed for 16 years), but I don’t want to do that. I get to be the dean of student services. I’m not a victim of my choices.”

   Hamlin credits her parents for being her biggest inspirations. “My mom finds treasures in the most mundane places,” she says, “we go for walks and she still picks up rocks and shiny things and is super delighted by it. I want to be somebody who finds treasure in my life, whether it’s in relationships or something shiny off the street.” Her dad, a minister in Hamlin’s youth, also modeled the way for her. “He always had a calling, and I feel like I’ve got a calling. I may have stumbled onto the path, but here’s where I’m supposed to be.”

   One of Hamlin’s favorite quotes is from composer Leonard Cohen who once said: “There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” Perhaps her own, born of the moment, is just as good: “Walk the path you’re called to and look for treasure on the way.”

Behind the desk: Jessica Richardson, executive assistant to the provost

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    Jessica Richardson, the administrative assistant to the Provost has worked for Umpqua Community College since 2009.

To say that Jessica Richardson in the new provost office has been a life-long fan of Umpqua Community College is to make a literal statement. “UCC has been a part of my life (since) around 8 years old,” Richardson says, “I took a sheep shearing class that had a field trip to Oregon State University.”

Richardson, a native of Myrtle Creek, does not mind her daily commute to work at all. “I love the small towns; it’s like a step back in time,” she says, referring to the rural area she calls home. As a runner, she says she can travel into Myrtle Creek’s downtown within 5 minutes, yet her home is in the peaceful and quiet outskirts. “It’s totally worth the drive to work.”

Her early involvement with UCC programs continued soon after her field trip. “I took another (UCC) class when I was about 10 or so at South Umpqua High School when they first got computers there, and I learned about computer programming,” she says. Through the years, she took community education classes which she then went on to teach in the ‘90s.

Richardson started working on campus in 2009 teaching community education and then worked in advising for four years until a promotion moved her to administrative assistant for the Career Technical Education Department. She was promoted to executive assistant to the vice president for instruction in 2015. “And then,” she says, “I got another promotion this year for this position.”

Her position now, as executive assistant to the provost, can best be explained by first understanding the duties of a provost. Specifically, a provost’s areas of responsibility vary from one institution to another, but their main functions are to coordinate academics and student services, acting as an intermediary between the two and serving as chief executive officer when the incumbent is absent from campus.

“Much of what I do is behind the scenes,” Richardson says. “I help a lot with accreditation, which means the education you get is of the highest quality.” Accreditation is the verification of a school’s adherence to standards, leading to a continuous cycle of improvement as reviewed by peers from other schools. “Without accreditation,” Richardson says, “your diploma isn’t worth anything.”

Being a less visible employee on campus is about the only drawback of her position, Richardson says, although she tries to interact with the campus outside of her office when possible. “Running is one of my bigger passions, and it’s what I need to wind down after a long day,” she says. “You’ll often see me after work at the track or just walking around campus.”

Along with her employment here, Richardson also earned a business degree and walked at last year’s graduation. “I wish I had started my (business) education sooner,” she says, “I didn’t really need it with the career field I was in before (she was a trainer certified through the College of Sports Medicine before her return to UCC).

Her love and connections with this campus are echoed by one of her two teens as well. Her daughter first took a swimming class at three months old and is now a dual-enrolled junior here.

Graduation traditions haven’t changed much since their beginnings

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Graduations tend to follow certain traditions, though many of us are not sure why.  As we celebrate our successful students we can take a quick trip into the heritage of the familiar things we expect to see on graduation day.

Why do we wear the cap and gown?

In the early 13th and 14th centuries, most higher education took place in European churches as a path to membership in the clergy, and bulky, hooded robes were a common sight on campuses for lack of indoor heating.

Hoods originally covered the shaved heads of the clergy until they were superseded for that purpose by the skullcap, a close-fitting cap.

The square piece on top of the cap that graduates wear today is known as a mortarboard based on its resemblance to the tool used in masonry to hold mortar by hand. When and why this accessory was added to the skullcap is uncertain, but it bears some resemblance to the flat-topped biretta cap worn by early Christian clerics.

According to The Washington Post, Cambridge and Oxford are credited for enforcing robes and caps as university uniform in the 14th century to address the concern over “excess in apparel” and to set students apart from fellow civilians. Princeton then mandated that all students except freshmen wear the academic dress for commencements in 1755. Later, on March 13, 1786, a group called “The Corporation of the University” decreed black flowing robes and matching caps to be worn by candidates for bachelor’s degrees.

Colors for trimmings (including edging of hoods and tassels on caps) are meant to indicate the discipline for which the degree is being awarded.

The length of the hood is traditionally meant to indicate the level of degree earned; a bachelor’s student should usually wear a hood three feet long, a master’s hood is usually 3 1/2 feet and a doctor’s robe should have a hood of four feet long.

Sleeve patterns are also used to indicate the degree; pointed sleeves belong to bachelor’s candidates, oblong sleeves are worn for a master’s, and doctorates wear bell-shaped sleeves.

Ph.D. and doctoral sets, often custom made, can cost $1000 or more, with pieces such as tams, honor cords and stoles purchased individually.

There is no general rule for the position of the tassel on the mortarboard, though many institutions have adopted the custom of moving the tassel from the right side of the cap to the left when students receive their degrees.

Why do we play “Pomp and Circumstance?

“Pomp and Circumstance” was composed by Sir Edward Elger in 1901.

The title comes from a line in Shakespeare’s Othello (“Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!”). The music was originally intended (and used) for the coronation of King Edward VII. It was first associated with graduation in 1905 when its composer received an honorary doctorate from Yale University, but it was played as a recessional, not a processional.

After Yale, Princeton University adopted the music, as did the University of Chicago. Eventually, it became the graduation standard nearly everywhere.

UCC has had a tradition of playing a recorded version of “Pomp and Circumstance,” but this year the bagpipers will play for the entire procession.

“Hang your sheepskin on the wall!”

Some graduates may have heard this expression in the weeks leading to their big day, and like so many euphemisms, it makes little sense now, but the statement did make perfect sense at one time. Before paper manufacturing became simplified and more economical, a graduate’s diploma was most likely printed onto a sheet of sheep or lambskin.

The traditional images of a rolled-up document tied with a ribbon in a graduate’s hand relate to the animal skins as well; the “paper” could be secured somewhere safe for later framing, as a little rain would shrink and distort the document.

Today, diplomas made from actual paper are typically handed to students in a nice, flat folder. It is presumed that after the transition to paper, diplomas were still issued rolled up and tied for many years until students expressed frustration at smoothing them out for framing

Why do we toss our caps to the sky?

According to Mental Floss, the US Navy might be given credit for this tradition. Cap tossing at the end of commencements may have started in 1912 at the US Naval Academy’s graduation. Newly commissioned graduates were given their officer’s hats for the first time after having worn midshipman’s caps for four years. In fervor and gratitude, the unneeded midshipman headgear was thrown to the sky. It is thought that as civilian students learned of this unusual event it was quickly adopted at college commencements across the United States.

It is interesting to note that graduation ceremonies today bear more than passing resemblance to those of centuries past. Enjoyment of graduation day traditions may have some additional spirit once we understand why we do the things we do on this special day.

Harvey Day, Behind the Scenes

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    Harvey Day has worked at UCC for five years.

Students who have exchanged a wave, smile or otherwise acknowledged the security officers on campus likely have done so with Harvey Day. Among his colleagues, Day has been a security officer at UCC the longest, having started here in February of 2011.

Raised in California, Day’s path to his position on campus was somewhat unintentional. “When I graduated high school, I wanted to be a police officer,’ he says. The counseling services at the private Baptist school he attended were less than resourceful, however. “I didn’t know how to go about it, so I thought I’d get a job until I figured out what I wanted to do, and then life happened.” It is not uncommon for a job to become a career path, but this is the “life happened” portion of Day’s story.

Harvey Day has worked at UCC for five years.

Fresh out of high school, Day went to work for Kmart. His employment with Kmart became a 37-year experience, culminating in managerial positions in various departments in different locations. Starting in Dublin, California, Day transferred to places as diverse as Murry, Utah, and Everett, Washington before his transfer to Roseburg. “I’ve been here longer than I’ve been anywhere else,” he says.  In his last four years with the chain, he managed security and says the job was fairly routine, though shoplifting investigations livened things up sometimes.

“I stopped quite a few shoplifters,” he says; “the thing is, several that I stopped were either entering college or the military. They had to tell their recruiter or school counselor why they couldn’t show up [for appointments].” The consequences of thievery still resonate with him. “Everybody loses,” he says, speaking of shrinking profit margins for corporations when all aspects are considered. It is often the “loss leader” items (sold below cost to draw customers) that are shoplifted, he said.

Day says the day-to-day routines of being a UCC security officer may be a bit less colorful than his previous work, but he is far from unhappy. “Compared to what I used to do, this isn’t really a job,” he says. “When I was with Kmart, days were broken up by shoplifting arrests and internal investigations, not so much here, and that’s a good thing,” he says, as he is willing to accept occasional periods of boredom in exchange for the comfort and security his department provides for students and faculty on campus.

He says the security staff have received positive responses to their increased visibility since the October 1 tragedy and mentions the small blue vehicle he is often seen cruising around in. “Some students joke that it looks like the Pope-mobile,” he says.

Day would like to ask that incidents on campus are reported promptly (he was reviewing tapes of a parking lot incident nearly a week old as of the interview). “We do have cameras in the parking lots,” he says, “but their angles are limited.” Immediately reporting to security offers a higher chance of a resolution because the frame of time is better known.

Harvey and his colleagues can be seen all over campus as they make their rounds; however, they can be contacted directly at their office or by phone.

The security office is located on the river-facing side of the warehouse building, and officers can always be reached at (541) 440-7777.

Behind the scenes: Diana Kelly

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    Diana Kelly, Program Assistant for Student Life and Campus Engagement Jason Bamburg / The Mainstream

Students who pass through the Student Center on their way to the cafeteria, the TRiO program, Veterans Services, ASUCC, the peer mentors program or other services most likely don’t realize they are walking right through an office. “I have the biggest office on campus,” Diana Kelly says, waving an arm at the entire lobby area.

As Program Assistant for Student Life and Campus Engagement, Diana Kelly has a contagious amount of positive energy to share with anyone who feels lost or blue. The old adage “if you do something you love for a living, you’ll never have to work a day” certainly applies for Kelly, as her enthusiasm for her job is easily read. “I get to work on a beautiful campus,” she says. “I get to create things and build things, who wouldn’t like that?”

Raised in the San Fernando Valley of California, Kelly was a self-proclaimed “valley girl,” but may as well be an Oregon native now, as she and her husband fell in love with Roseburg and moved here 28 years ago.

Having survived the Northridge earthquake and a demolished house, Kelly and her husband wished to raise their daughter in Oregon. Kelly’s husband only had one condition: he insisted they settle anywhere along the I-5 corridor.

Their journey did not take them very far northward before they backtracked and settled in Douglas County with their (then) 16-month-old baby girl. When touring the UCC campus, Kelly’s resolve to remain in Roseburg was cemented. “I realized learning takes place here,” she says, “and now I’m home, and have been here ever since.”

In her Southern California years, Kelly held a number of positions in which she says she did well but was unsatisfied. Her 18 years of banking, she says, was a “slam-dunk job”; it didn’t challenge her. Plus, she had been robbed seven times in her seven years as a teller (“I was also really good at being robbed,” she says, recounting one heist in particular when she asked the robber about a Band-Aid on his neck). She also once owned a private investigation agency with her former husband and has done retail work at Saks Fifth Avenue.

“None of the things I ever did mattered to me in the way that education does,” she says. “This college matters to me. What happens on this campus matters.”

After the move, Kelly had a position at the Douglas County Hospital, until she was given a three-day notice that the facility was shutting down. Instead of looking elsewhere for work, she decided to earn an accounting degree. Her path to her current position started with a transfer degree at UCC, after which she was immediately hired by the Financial Aid department and progressed to enrollment with Eastern Oregon University, where she earned a degree in business administration.

Kelly also did work-study employment in the bookstore, the P.E. department and in the Administration building before finding her niche in Campus Life and Student Engagement, where she is now actively involved in nearly every activity and event that the campus hosts.

Kelly’s service to UCC extends well beyond the things she “gets to do” in her job, however; she is also president of ACEUCC, she’s an adviser to Phi Theta Kappa and she serves as chairman of the Veterans Day Parade Committee.

Kelly’s deep commitment to veterans is inherent,  as she came from a family of military and service work. “My aunt worked 911 dispatch in Oklahoma City,” she says (her daughter now does the same in Linn County). “My two uncles are Air Force, and my dad was Navy.” As such, she helped to open UCC’s Veteran’s Center four years ago, she attends a monthly veteran’s forum and is working on the possibility of bringing ROTC to the school. Kelly is also working with community resources to find a property and fund housing for Douglas County’s alarming number of homeless veterans.

Though Kelly mentions gardening and canning as some of her hobbies, the conversation inevitably leads back to UCC, as she is helping Phi Theta Kappa with a garden project located by UCC’s running track using all recycled materials.

It should be noted here that there is a special compost area within this garden project. All of the flowers that Kelly could collect that were given after October 1 will be turned into mulch for landscaping around the future Snyder Hall, “so they will always be with us,” she says.

This is a measure of the kind of person Diana Kelly is. “I don’t like the words ‘no’ or ‘can’t,” she says. “If I have to tell you ‘no,’ I will give you [other] options.” She will go out of her way to offer answers and solutions to students and derives her inspirations from the students themselves.

“I am inspired by people,” she says. “I am inspired by our students and by the resiliency of our students . . . because no matter what happens around here, we never quit.”

Diana Kelly and her coworkers encourage students to make use of all of the services they offer.

“If you’re not sure what those services are,” she says, “come and talk to us in the campus center; we will connect you with what you need.”

Fees increase starting this summer

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Starting this summer, a 12 credit student might expect to pay an additional $36 in tuition and fees per term. An increase of $3 per credit was a unanimous, though tentative, decision reached by the UCC Board of Trustees on Wednesday, April 12. A second reading of the tuition increase will be required at the April 26 board meeting before it can be voted in or voted out.

The first April board meeting focused primarily on what can be done to rectify a $1.4 million shortfall and included discussion on the proposed increase in tuition and fees for students.

Along with Oregon’s forecast $1.7 billion shortfall, UCC’s own concerns revolve around a shortfall of $1.4 million due to factors such as lower enrollment, salary increases, increased retirement costs and lower fund balances.

UCC can no longer afford to operate on the budget reserves. An increase of the reserve from eight to nine percent is expected on the condition that state allocations of money exceed what has been promised to community colleges.

Oregon’s community colleges are asking for $634 million in state support but are expecting only $550 million for the 2017-2019 biennium as was promised in 2015. This would be a 22 percent increase or roughly $29 million over current funding.

In accordance with the federal Consumer Price Index, Oregon’s seven universities, and 17 community colleges, are requesting additional funding from Governor Kate Brown and state lawmakers in July for their next biennium. In 2015, Brown endorsed the initiative for the 2015-2017 biennium and then in December 2016, released budget recommendations. The budget for the 2017-2019   biennium  is  now  being       planned.

The state will make final decisions in late June. It has asked that colleges adopt and adapt their budgets to the original agreement by June 30. Should the state decrease this proposal, UCC will have to make further adjustments; however, if funding exceeds the stated goal, UCC will be focused on increasing its reserves until the state follows through with funding disbursements.

In the meantime, maintaining operation will mean that UCC not only makes tuition adjustments, but also reduces or cuts funding to certain programs.

Faculty is also seeing a reduction in positions, as some full-time positions will become part-time, and others will take on additional responsibilities.

The only proposal accepted and passed so far by the Board at their April 12 session was ASUCC’s request of a $1 per credit increase in activities fees, half of which would fund the many services and resources that the student government provides, the other 50 cents per student being allotted to the salary and benefits of the Director of Student Life/Campus Empowerment (SAFEE).

The Board of Trustees reconvenes in an external budget committee meeting to make further decisions regarding the tuition increase on April 26.

This meeting will be open to the public in the Lang Teaching, Learning & Event Center at 6 p.m.

Counseling resources

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    Services are being offered in ESB building Jason Bamburg / The Mainstream

When the words “…should talk to a therapist” or “…should really see someone about this” enter a conversation, it may sound more of a condemnation than practical advice to many of us. “This isn’t a thoughtful recommendation of a valid path to health, it’s an insult,” said Ryan Howes, Ph.D. in an essay for Psychology Today.

The stigma surrounding mental health counseling and therapy may not be as strong as it once was – after all, we are arguably exposed to more traumatic events on a daily basis than in previous decades – but there may still be some general reluctance of people to consider talking to a therapist due to lingering notions that therapy is for the mentally ill or severely troubled. “We go to therapy to treat problems as well as improve an already decent life.” Howes said.

The free and open counseling resources on UCC’s campus are available to everybody, including UCC faculty, and it should be emphasized that the use of these services (which include the Resiliency Room, ESB 9) do not require that a person has a mental health “issue” or an emotional crisis to tackle.

The Administrator of UCC’s Mental Health and Recovery services was contacted and unavailable for further comments, however, Western Virginia University addresses some of these concerns on their website by offering facts and suggestions to help broaden understanding of these services.

Counseling can help with the following:

  • Using personal strengths and attributes in a variety of situations
  • Identifying problem areas and factors that attribute to difficulties and dissatisfaction
  • Improving stress – management skills
  • Building self-confidence and self-esteem
  •  Enhancing the quality of relationships
  • Making better decisions
  • Leading a more satisfying and fulfilling life

Facts about counseling:

  • Counseling benefits many types of people; those with chronic problems and those with situational concerns.
  • Counselors will respect your autonomy and help you to make your own decisions
  • For the most part, counseling is confidential and information will not be shared unless you give your own written consent (counselors go over confidentiality limits at the onset of counseling).
  • Counseling can help with both short-term and long-term problems, and length of time can be decided between you and your counselor.

Lack of utilization could potentially jeopardize the availability of counseling resources on the UCC campus, as federal grant funding that had been dispersed in response to the October 1 tragedy is supplemented from other sources and also reimbursed to some agencies, drawing the sustainability of the services into question. Funding to extend the program is still in negotiation processes, however.

  Some of the ongoing services currently offered in ESB 9 include:

  • Caregivers Support and Information Group – First Monday of each month at noon
  •  PTSD Support and Management Group – 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month at noon
  • Single Parent Support and Information Group – 3rd Monday of each month at noon
  • Grief and Loss Support and Information Group – 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month at noon

Students and faculty alike are welcome and encouraged to visit the Mental Health and Recovery services in the Educational Services Building, ESB 9 for any reason, even if only to de-stress or just relax in the Resiliency Room. The UCC Mental Health and Recovery Services can be reached at (541) 440–7900.

Persuasion in the Post-Truth Era

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Note: Information and extracts from

The Washington Post, New York Times and the Guardian

Hundreds of scientists recently gathered in Boston’s Copley Square to rally against what they say is a “direct attack” on research and facts by the new Republican administration. Though specific calls to action were not made clear, neither are the goals and strategies of the new presidency regarding scientific research and funding.

The conference/rally held outside the American Association for the Advancement of Science on Sunday, Feb. 19 meant to highlight the uncertainties facing research in the new era of contagious denial, cherry-picked data, and supposed “alternative facts.”

Concerns among scientists have been expressed since the new administration has settled into Washington. Public perceptions being altered by prominent and highly public figures is a reality of these times, but skeptics and outright deniers of certain areas of research – and its widely acknowledged findings – now hold America’s highest offices, including that of the President.

The appointment of Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency is a particularly troubling action of the new administration that concerns researchers. Pruitt, the self-described “Leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda” has sued the E.P.A. multiple times in attempts to block the restrictions and regulations placed on the fossil fuel industry by the Obama presidency.

During Pruitt’s time as Oklahoma’s Attorney General, his offices stated their intentions were in “…protecting Oklahoma’s economy from the perilous effects of federal overreach by agencies like the EPA.” Though he accepts that the planet is warming, Pruitt questions human involvement as a factor.

Besides the pressing issue of climate change denial, the science community also worries about a loss of public trust in the legitimacy of real science. In this post-truth, alternate fact paradigm, enthusiasm for the sciences altogether may be waning. “This was not organized by any interest group,” Rush Holt, the chief executive of the AAAS said of the Boston rally. “It’s a spontaneous display of concern about science itself.”

In response to these troubles, even typically apolitical scientists are banding together at a level some say has not been seen since the nuclear proliferation controversies of the 1970s. “It’s the first time in my 50-year career that I have seen people speaking up for science at large,” said Holt. “I’ve seen for or against nuclear power or whatever. This is unusual phenomenon.”

Evidence of the level of these concerns can also be seen in other unconventional actions taken by scientists and science enthusiasts since the change of administration, such as the recent “Hack and save.”

On Saturday, Feb. 11, students, scientists and coders at UC Berkeley tackled the issue of climate data potentially disappearing, prompted in part by the official White House website having been scrubbed clean of any language associated with climate research.

Around 200 of these activists gathered to collect and archive as much data as possible from federal entities such as the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA’s Earth Sciences Program, and the Department of Energy. They did encounter several dead-ends but were able to download 8,404 NASA and Department of Energy web pages onto the Internet Archive.

This is a precautionary preservation of over three decade’s worth of collaborative data regarding this planet, its atmosphere, and our role in its protection. The satellite data from NASA and the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) alone has been used to aid farming, weather forecasting, and even insurance claims. These climate data “hack-a-thons” have been turning up across the country in response to a government now seemingly focused on nurturing fossil-fuel dependency and eliminating evidence of the harm it continues to produce.

Social Media is also seeing evidence of scientific retalliation.

In mid-January, scientists, and associates of government agencies such as the EPA and departments of the Interior, Agriculture, and Health and Human Services confirmed seeing directives to remove web pages and limit the dissemination of information to the public, including the use of social media. As a result of this media silence regarding climate research, some employees and supporters of these and other agencies have created “rogue” twitter accounts borrowing the actual agency names and logos. These rebel accounts have names such as the “alternate National Parks Service” and feature hashtags like “@RogueNASA” and @ungagged EPA, where they post current information in defiance of the unofficial gag order imposed.

Another factor in the current battle for science is simple public understanding and support.

The rapid-fire rate at which the people view and passively accept faulty information that sounds to be scientific is perhaps another by-product of the communication age, leaving most citizens ill-equipped to tell truth from outright fiction.  Critical thinking over what is read and heard may get lost in today’s hustle, and Carl Sagan’s “Baloney Detector” guidelines of years ago are forgotten.

When suppression of true information is a trivial matter in politics and popular culture, some are left to wonder how science, in general, will fair in this period of a seemingly unsupportive government. Science, though, like mathematics, is a constant.

It exists independent of politics and the “popular vote.”



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