Tag Archive for: volunteer

photographer during outdoor photo shoot

Hey students, we’re looking for volunteer models to be featured in promotional photos. No auditions or modeling experience is required, just your genuine Raider selves.

Email adminstu@sou.edu to sign up. Deadline: Monday, May 8.

Call for Models

Volunteer student models needed! Sign up by Monday, May 8. Email adminstu@sou.edu

In case you missed it, the Friends of Hannon Library hosted Taylor Olson-Hill at the library yesterday for a presentation on volunteering for humanitarian work abroad. Taylor is a native Southern Oregon that has spent the last four years working on international humanitarian projects. She has spent time in Cambodia, Haiti, and most recently the Greek island of Lesvos, where she worked in a refugee camp and saw first-hand the reality of the current refugee crisis. She spoke about the value in volunteering, but she was also honest about the personal cost.

By her admission, the work Taylor did wasn’t glamorous or easy. A day in her life on Lesvos could vary from sorting clothes to running a school, from playing soccer with children to serving as a barrier between refugees and protesting locals. “People can say all they want, that it’s not sexy, it’s not fun,” Taylor remarks as she displays photos of supply warehouses and makeshift classrooms, “but the work is what you make it.” Something as simple as handing out clean clothes or learning someone’s name, she says, can make an important difference in a person’s life.


School in the Camp – Lesvos, Greece

Taylor’s presentation was engaging, informative—at times, even tearful. With frank words and personal photographs, she shared the tragic stories and stressful environment she experienced. Among the many photographs display, one of the most vivid images was of what the volunteers on Lesvos called the “life jacket graveyard.”


Life Jacket Graveyard – Lesvos, Greece

“Each of these represents a life,” said Taylor in a shaky voice. “Lives of those who made it. And those who didn’t.” With tears in her eyes, Taylor made no effort to hide her emotions while recounting her experiences. As a mother, she sympathizes with the fates of those halfway across the world. “I think, what if it was my boys?”

Much of Taylor’s role in the camp was working with children, unaccompanied minors that made their own way to Greece from Syria, Afghanistan, India, and other conflict-stricken regions. “Fifty percent of all refugees are children,” she states. “They’re not something to be feared. They’re just people. They’re children.”

“Fear comes from a lack of understanding.”

Taylor was open about the toll this kind of work had on her and other volunteers, especially when volunteering in an environment where local objection to the presence of refugees led to ostracism, public protests, abuse, and even mass deaths. Long-term volunteers have been diagnosed with secondary stress disorders—suffering from anxiety, exhaustion, and even guilt. “We felt guilty for being able to leave when they couldn’t,” she said. Taylor spoke about the separation anxiety volunteers felt from not being able to ensure the safety and health of the people they worked with, and of how difficult it was to ultimately leave the island when it was time for her to go home.

“That was probably the hardest day of my life, leaving the camp, because I didn’t know what would happen to them.”

She finished her presentation, however, with a smile. “It’s worth it, I promise you.”

Taylor does urge people interested in humanitarian work to prepare themselves before volunteering, citing the differences between her time in Greece and her time in Haiti. “Do your research, know where you’re going and what the situation is.” She stressed how each place, each circumstance, can be its own reality, and that volunteers must be mentally prepared for the experiences they will encounters. She shares a list of further reading for those that want to learn more:

The Syrian Jihad by Charles R. Lister
A Month With Starfish by Bev Jackson
Third Wave Volunteers (Facebook)
ReliefWeb (Facebook)
International Refugee Assistance Project (Facebook)

This presentation was sponsored by the Friends of Hannon Library as part of their 2016-17 Speaker Series. For more information about Taylor Olson-Hill and her presentation, contact the Friends of Hannon Library at libraryevents@sou.edu.

taylorolsonheadshotTaylor Olson-Hill comes to Southern Oregon University’s Hannon Library to share her firsthand experiences with the Syrian refugee crisis and the truth about working inside a refugee camp. Featuring original photographs from Olson-Hill’s recent time working with refugees in Lesvos, Greece.

Thursday, November 10
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Meese Room

Rogue Valley native Taylor Olson-Hill has spent the last four years working on international humanitarian projects in Cambodia, Haiti, and most recently in Greece aiding the refugees fleeing from the war in Syria. Passionate, engaged and fascinating, the stories of her work in the Syrian refugee crisis on the Greek island of Lesvos tell the truth about working inside a refugee camp: from sorting clothes in a warehouse, to acting as a peacekeeper between refugees and locals. In this presentation, she will dispel misconceptions about refugees and the crisis, and talk frankly about the hidden cost of volunteering in Greece.

This event is sponsored by the Friends of Hannon Library and is free and open to the public. Get free campus parking for this event by going to any campus parking meter and using this code: FHL1110

For more information, contact Hannon Library at 541-552-6816 or libraryevents@sou.edu.


If you’re reading this, I bet that you love Hannon Library. Although anytime is that right time to love Hannon Library, right now is especially right for that. Why, you ask? Because it’s Love Your Library Month!

Love Your Library Month is an annual celebration of libraries across the country, and honestly (not that I’m biased or anything), there really is no better library to spend it at than this one.

For Love Your Library Month, most people say kind words, volunteer a couple hours, or spend a little bit of extra time kicking it at the library. You are not most people though—you’re an Ashlander, and Ashlanders have always been known for that little bit of extra flair with everything they do.

As a student who practically lives in the library, and as a library employee who does his best to help Hannon Library run smoothly, I’d like to give you 6 things you can do this month to love your library.

1. Share your art


Schneider Museum isn’t the only place on campus with art (no offense to Schneider—we love you guys!). If you’ve visited Hannon Library you probably know about the art that hangs on every floor throughout the building, but I’m guessing you may not know that nearly every piece of art comes from local talent.

Although not all pieces are accepted, anyone can submit a request to display their art in Hannon Library for free. To do this, email the library’s Art Manager at keenand1@sou.edu with “Art” in the subject line.

2. Volunteer for SOAR


While the name Southern Oregon Arts & Research Conference may not sound like the world’s wildest shindig, helping out with SOAR really is a great time.  Every year students present projects they’ve been working on throughout the year. Whether it’s short films or scientific research, SOAR always has something for everyone to enjoy.

Although SOAR is a campus-wide endeavor, Hannon Library serves as the SOAR headquarters. Volunteers get to work on arguably the biggest event at SOU, and their contribution is critical to pulling off a successful conference.Volunteers do everything from photography to crowd coordination, so you can find a role that suits you best.To inquire about volunteering contact soar@sou.edu.

3. Musical performances

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Here in Southern Oregon, we’re blessed to be in the middle of an artistic hub, and Hannon Library plays a big part of the artistic innovation of Ashland by hosting musical performances.

Although we tend to shy away from excessively boisterous music (so keep your hair metal band in your garage), we have hosted performances from harp players, a cappella groups, and pianists at Hannon Library.

If you are interested in donating your musical talents for a Music in the Library event contact Dale Vidar at vidmar@sou.edu

4. Become a Friend

FHL Logo Red

While Hannon Library does not have enemies, we do have a certain group of people that we call Friends. Friends of Hannon Library is a group of community members that support the library, put on lectures, and enjoy a long list of privileges (like checking out books and reserving study rooms as non SOU students!)

Unlike everything else at Hannon Library, it does cost some money to become a Friend. There are various levels of membership, each with their own set of privileges. The starting cost is just $45 a year. To inquire about becoming a Friend of Hannon Library, visit the Library Administration Office, email adminstu@sou.edu, or call 541-552-6816.

5. Donate a book or two  


With all the musical performances, lectures, and fine art in Hannon Library, sometimes it’s easy to forget that the primary purpose of the library is to provide students and the community with a place to find books and access materials. We accept any and all book donations, which are tax deductible. We also always accept DVDs and music CDs.

To donate materials call Library Circulation at 541-552-6860, or come in and talk to the workers at the Circulation Desk.

6. Give us your money


Although sometimes I wish that the books, internet, computers, staff, and building maintenance at Hannon Library were free, in the words of my favorite philosophers, The Wu Tang Clan, “cash rules everything around me,” and unfortunately the library is no exception to this rule.  

Without getting too deep into the political wormhole of Oregon legislature, over the last decade Oregon public universities have not been receiving the funds that they used to. Because of this, an occasional money donation goes a long way.

All money donations are tax deductible. To make a donation, contact Library Administration at adminstu@sou.edu or 541-552-6816 .

Well, you just read six different ways to get involved with your library. As a student employee here, I have to say, that if you’re looking for somewhere to give back, there are few environments as welcoming, friendly and homey as SOU’s Hannon Library. I hope to see you sometime this month, either playing piano at an event, showing off your latest painting,  or dropping off a book you know someone will enjoy. It’s always a great feeling to give back to places, like Hannon Library, that have given so much to students and the community.

~ By Alex Mesadieu