It is the best type of arm's race: For those just tuning in, the University of Oregon and Oregon State University are doing more than battling on the football field in their annual Civil War game. They are involved in a giant game of Risk, staking out outposts for their colleges across the state.
But what is welcomed about this competition is that it is benefiting students throughout Oregon—and especially in more remote places like Central Oregon—and also bolstering specific local economies. What's more, this competition is being done in a spirit that is collaborative and encouraging.
Last week, the Oregon Community Foundation pledged a $250,000 donation to OSU's four-year Cascades campus. For the donation to become a reality, it needs to be matched dollar-for-dollar. Moreover, OCF will match another quarter-million if sufficient donations roll in before Dec. 31. While not enough money to build a high-tech student center, it is a significant donation because, one, it gives a hearty push forward for Bend's OSU campus and, as a matching donation, it encourages community buy-in and support.
Oregon Community Foundation, you're our Glass Slipper of the week.
Currently, OSU is on track to grandly expand the Cascades campus to a full-fledged four-year campus, with its inaugural class in fall 2015.
This move to expand the Cascades campus comes on the heels of UO's expansion five years ago, when that university purchased the iconic White Stag Building at the west end of the Burnside Bridge (the former warehouse for White Stag outdoor manufacturer, the building is recognizable for its steel-girded sign with "welcome to Portland" scrawled over a leaping deer).
UO's move was particularly notable because the university used that expansion to bolster its architecture and marketing programs, two important industries in Portland. In addition, the move respected Portland State's turf, a completely different attitude from 60 years ago when PSU first secured its charter, and when UO and OSU representatives reportedly lobbied the state Legislature to designate the Portland State campus as "resident free," meaning that dorms were largely not allowed on campus and essentially relegated the school to a commuter school. It was a Tonya Harding move, kneecapping that campus. Even so, Portland State has worked around those restrictions, growing its urban planning and governmental graduate programs into national leaders and, in recent years, rallying around its motto, "Let Knowledge Serve the Community," to develop cutting-edge service-learning programs for undergraduates.
The attitude surrounding the OSU-Cascades expansion into a four-year college is radically more generous, reflecting more contemporary values of collaboration; what is good for the goose is good for the gander, a rising tide raises all ships, and the like.
It means that OSU can start its four-year campus in 2015 on a strong first step, and provide the full, massive potential to the region that it promises—for students in the region and also potentially transforming Bend into a robust college town like Boulder. Moreover, the majors are tailored for the local economy, with Exercise and Sport Science, Hospitality Management, and Tourism and Outdoor Leadership specifically designated for the campus and area students.
Oregon Community Foundation's $250,000 pledge this week mirrors and encourages this collaborative spirit, and marks another step in the right direction for OSU-Cascade's campus.