Parents: Frequently Asked Questions

Atmosphere

What is the atmosphere like on campus?
How big is the campus?
Is the student population diverse? And does the UO do anything to promote diversity?
Do a lot of students join sororities and fraternities?
What is Eugene like? What community activities are available? And what's the weather like?
Should my student bring a car to campus?
How can my son or daughter arrange to come home during term breaks?
How safe is campus? 
What is the UO’s student communication plan during emergency situations or catastrophic events? 
What is the UO’s drug and alcohol policy?
In what situation will I be notified of my student’s health and safety?

What is the atmosphere like on campus?

The University of Oregon is a world-class teaching and research university located in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon. On the way to class, your student will walk through an arboretum of more than 3,000 trees, located in a city that’s been named the “Top Green City in America.”  

The UO offers a broad spectrum of opportunities for learning in the liberal arts and professional programs in architecture, arts, business, education, journalism, law, and music and dance. In the classrooms and laboratories, students are inspired by a faculty of prominent scholars and work side by side with eminent researchers involved in breakthrough discoveries. At the UO, both students and faculty members reach out to make connections that serve communities from small local groups to large international organizations. Explore the University of Oregon. You will like what you find.

If you haven't visited campus already, we highly recommend it. You can schedule a campus tour and information session by calling the Office of Admissions at (800) BE-A-DUCK.

How big is the campus?

The University of Oregon is situated on a 295-acre campus with a total of sixty major buildings. The student population is 20,376, of which 16,681 are undergraduates. Students can walk from one end of the campus to the other in about 10 minutes, provided they don’t stop to chat with friends!   

Is the student population diverse? And does the UO do anything to promote diversity?

Our students represent all fifty states, the District of Columbia, four U.S. territories, and eighty-seven countries. There are many different religions, ethnic backgrounds, and political persuasions represented in our student body. In the fall of 2007, 15 percent of our students were African-American, Native American or Alaskan Native, Asian, Latino, or multi-ethnic. In addition, 27 percent of our students are from outside Oregon.  

One of the strengths of a mid-size university is its diversity. Since our students present many different interests and viewpoints, there are few pressures to conform to a single attitude or lifestyle. On average, each UO course your student will take will include one person from another country, six people from different states, and many people with religious, political, and cultural perspectives different from their own. 

Several offices on campus promote diversity and inform students about other cultures through lectures, films, seminars, festivals, and music. Some of these offices include the Center for Multicultural Academic Excellence, the Mills International Center, and the Cultural Forum. 

Do a lot of students join sororities and fraternities?

Many UO undergraduates choose to join one of the twenty-three fraternities and sororities on campus. About 11 percent of the student body participates in the UO Greek system. A formal recruitment process is required for students interested in joining a Greek-letter organization. The recruitment process for each house varies so be sure to inquire about the process early on.  

What is Eugene like? What community activities are available? And what's the weather like?

Eugene, Oregon, is a classic college town with a metropolitan-area population of more than 200,000. You'll find that Eugene is small enough to bike across, but large enough to offer galleries, music venues, and great restaurants to discover. Eugene’s official motto is "World's Greatest City of the Arts and Outdoors" and it has more working artists, writers, and musicians per capita than Portland.  

Outdoor recreation, music, art, culture, shopping, and dining—UO students have many activities to choose from while living in Eugene. In fact, Rolling Stone magazine called Eugene’s music scene one of the top ten in U.S. college towns. Students who choose to spend their summers in Eugene can enjoy the world-class Oregon Bach Festival, put on by the UO. The Festival’s concentration of major choral-orchestral works, educational offerings, and family atmosphere attracts an annual audience of more than 32,000. 

Many people are surprised to learn that the annual average rainfall in Eugene is less than that of New York City—just 46 inches a year. The spring rains provide the lush green of spring and summer. The average annual temperatures range from 45-85 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Should my student bring a car to campus?

The UO has made a commitment to maintaining green space on campus. Therefore, general parking is limited. Because the campus is conveniently arranged, most students walk or ride bikes to campus. It takes just about 10 minutes to walk from one end of campus to the other--if you don’t stop to talk with friends! And since student IDs allow students to ride the bus for free, your child can take advantage of Eugene’s excellent transit system to get around town.  
Most students manage very well without a car; in fact, with parking at a premium, having a car is more often a hindrance than help. And since the UO is a residential campus, most students decide to spend their weekends here because of the wide variety of activities and social life available, as well as the frequent need for some library time.

Some students who live in the residence halls choose to bring their cars to campus. These students are able to purchase a special parking permit that allows them to park their cars in a lot near their residence hall. Parking spaces are limited, however, and permits do not guarantee a parking space. 

How can my son or daughter arrange to come home during term breaks?

By car, Eugene is about two hours from Portland and five hours from Seattle. And the city is within a day’s drive of some of the northwest’s most pristine wilderness areas. The Pacific Ocean affords opportunities for kayaking, surfing, and beachcombing; numerous rivers offer rafting and fishing; and the Cascade Mountains provide plenty of options for climbing, skiing, snowboarding and hiking. 

UO students come from all over the country—and from around the world. Eugene offers access to Greyhound Bus Lines, Amtrak passenger trains, and the second busiest airport in Oregon. Students can fly home to most large cities on the west coast directly from Eugene, and students from a greater distance can fly out of Portland International Airport, located 120 miles from Eugene.

How safe is campus?

When crimes are reported on campus, the university community is informed of the time, place, date, and type of crime committed through a daily log that is available upon request. Much of the information is also provided to the Oregon Daily Emerald, the campus student newspaper, and to other print and broadcast media. When the University of Oregon Police Department is aware of a situation that poses a threat to the campus community, “crime alerts” are sent out via e-mail and are posted on the UOPD website containing up-to-date information. Notices are also posted around the campus as needed. UOPD takes these steps when faculty, staff, and students need to be aware of crime in order to take necessary precautions and avoid becoming victims.

A copy of the University of Oregon's annual security report is available upon request. This report includes statistics for the previous three years concerning reported campus crimes that occurred on campus; in certain off-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by the University of Oregon; and on public property within, or immediately adjacent to and accessible from the campus. The report also includes institutional policies concerning campus security, such as policies regarding alcohol.and drug use, crime prevention, the reporting of crimes, sexual assault, and other matters. You may obtain a copy of this report by contacting the University of Oregon Police Department at (541) 346-5444 or by accessing the following website: http://police.uoregon.edu/annual-report.


What is the UO’s student communication plan during emergency situations or catastrophic events? 

The UO plan calls for university officials to communicate with the campus community using a host of methods, including e-mail, campus voice mail, and the UO website. University of Oregon officials frequently review and update our plan and train staff members to respond to emergency situations. As part of this training, the UO participates in joint emergency preparedness exercises with local police, fire and emergency medical agencies.

A traumatic event can sometimes trigger severe stress. Support is available for UO students who might need to process their feelings with a mental health professional. Free, confidential counseling services are available for students at the University of Oregon Counseling and Testing Center. For more information, students can call 346-3227 during regular business hours or 346-4488 evenings and weekends.


What is the UO’s drug and alcohol policy?

The illegal use, possession, manufacture, cultivation, or distribution of drugs and alcohol on institutionally owned or controlled property or as part of any university activity is prohibited.


In what situation can I be notified of my student’s health or safety?

The U.S. Department of Education interprets the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to permit institutions to disclose information from education records to parents if a health or safety emergency involves their son or daughter. In an emergency, FERPA permits school officials to disclose--without student consent--education records, including personally identifiable information from those records, to protect the health or safety of students or other individuals. At such times, records and information may be released to appropriate parties such as law enforcement officials, public health officials, and trained medical personnel.

Disclosure of information from records is allowed under the University of Oregon Student Records Policy and FERPA in connection with a health or safety emergency if the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or others. Factors the University considers in determining whether to make the disclosure include:

  • The seriousness of the threat to health or safety
  • The need for the information to meet the emergency
  • Whether the individual(s) to whom the information is released is in a position to deal with the situation
  • The extent to which time is of the essence