September is a wonderful month for the community of Ashland. The weather begins to change, there is a crispness in the air and the community gears up for a busy fall season ahead. Another reason why the fall is so exciting in Ashland is that Southern Oregon University welcomes back students and the campus comes alive with activities for Ashland residents.

The Ashland Chamber of Commerce and Southern Oregon University celebrate a long lasting partnership over many decades. The chamber recognizes and values the impact the university has on our community and has had over time, the opportunities it provides for cultural enrichment and the economic impact students and their families, faculty and staff have on our economy and local businesses. Small class sizes, dedicated faculty and a beautiful green campus offer a unique, accessible and nurturing environment for students.

The Ashland Chamber invites you, our business members and citizens, to participate in the happenings of your Southern Oregon University this fall and throughout the year. Attend athletic events held by championship-winning athletes and teams, including the football team’s home games, view outstanding athleticism on the soccer field, support long distance running with the cross country team and cheer on both men and women’s wrestling, basketball and volleyball, just to name a few. These student athletes work hard both on and off the field and the Ashland Chamber encourages you to support them in their ventures.

Beyond athletics, Southern Oregon University is host to cultural events through the Oregon Center for the Arts (OCA), which presents award-winning drama, comedy and musicals in the 300-seat Center Stage Theatre and 100-seat Center Square Theatre right on campus. This fall, from Sept. 28 to Oct. 5, enjoy Lunacy Theatre Festival. Additionally, Southern Oregon University’s OCA provides opportunities for world-class chamber music through the Chamber Music Concerts and is home to many of the performances from the Rogue Valley Symphony.

A valuable asset to the Ashland community is the Schneider Museum of Art on the SOU campus. Their fall exhibit, Breaking Pattern, opens Oct. 1, with an opening reception from 5-7. A public lecture by one of the exhibitions co-curators, Matthew Deleget, will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30,  in Meese Auditorium. The exhibition will run through Dec. 5. These events are open to the general public and are excellent ways to engage with the Southern Oregon University community.

The Hannon Library on campus, and Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), offer multiple events each year to engage the community further in educational opportunities. On Saturday, Oct. 3, the Hannon Library hosts the Ashland Book & Author Festival, celebrating books and book-related arts while featuring local authors of all genres. OLLI’s fall courses kick off on Sept. 14 and have a number of interesting courses to participate in as members.

With a multitude of activities from athletics, theatre and musical performances and educationally driven events, there is something for everyone on SOU’s campus this fall. The Ashland Chamber of Commerce encourages you to attend an event on campus if you haven’t before and engage further with Southern Oregon University, a valuable asset to the community of Ashland.

Dana Preston is membership development manager for the Ashland Chamber of Commerce.