- June 1, 2014
- I'm officially declaring today as the beginning of the pollen alergy season (see May 13 and May 5)
- May 15, 2014
When you figure out your travel plans, please email me
with the information about when you will be arriving and
by what means.
Detailed Check-In Instructions
if you are staying in the dorms.
We are in Hawthrone and Dyment in the Walton complex;
however, your check-in instructions
will vary depending on what time you will arrive.
Points of interest on the map:
- Walton Complex - possibly where you will check in
- LLC North - possibly where you will check in
- Carson Hall - where we will be eating
- Knight Law - where the lectures are
- Deschutes Hall - where my office is and the student talks will be
- May 13, 2014
Some cultural notes about Oregon
Smoking — The University of Oregon is a
Smoke and Tabacco Free University.
There are STFU signs everywhere that say you will have to pay $30 each time
someone sees you smoking on campus.
Oregon law prohibits smoking inside buildings or within 50 feet of the entrance
or air intake for a building anywhere in the state.
So, if you want to smoke, you will have to walk
from the lecture hall
and smoke on the sidewalk where there are no buildings.
If you are addicted to nicotine, an easier solution would be to buy a nicotine patch or gum.
From the map, you will notice that you can smoke when you are standing on the railroad tracks, but you cannot smoke when you are swimming in the river.
- Parking — during the school year, there is no significant parking on campus for students (except athletes) or staff, and none at all for visitors. During the summer, you may find this different. Most staff and students use public transport to get to campus, but that is free to them and not you. If you can avoid it, I would suggest not bringing an automobile.
- Stores — It is illegal for stores in Eugene to give out plastic bags, and paper bags cost $0.05. So, it is better to bring a bag or backpack with you when you go shopping. The closest, full-featured store is about 4 blocks from our dorm. Although it is a normal store, previous OPLSSers have refered to it as "the beer store" because of the wide selection of microbrews. In fact, it has the normal amount of beers and wines for an Oregon store.
- Alergies — My algeries are not active at the moment, but it is not uncommon for people with grass pollen alergies to need medication. You can bring your favorite alergy medication, or buy it at the store here. In particular, participants from Asia are usually susceptible to our North American pollens because of lack of prior exposure. You can see a pollen report before you get here.
Random Cultural Notes
Oregon invented the idea of returnable drinking containers in 1971. At the time, the bill was not to support recycling, but to clean up the beaches and parks.
It is illegal in Oregon for people to own beaches or prevent members of the public from accessing a beach. While not illegal to own propery on the Willamette River, the same governor who started the Oregon Beach Bill and the Oregon Bottle Bill, started the Willamette Greenway Project which means that most riverfront propery is owned by the government. If you follow the bike trail on both sides of the river while you are here, you will notice that there is exactly one apartment building between you and the river.
Oregon is the only State in the US to have sponsored a Pot Party.
Historically, Portland was the Crimper Captiol of the West Coast.
Oregon was the first state in the US to enact a Death with Dignity Law.
Oregon houses the longest running Drag Show in the US. You might walk by it if you are taking a train or bus from Portland.
Oregon pioneered the idea of a pristine water shed by making it illegal, since the 1890's, for people to go near Portland's Water Source
- Smoking — The University of Oregon is a Smoke and Tabacco Free University. There are STFU signs everywhere that say you will have to pay $30 each time someone sees you smoking on campus. Oregon law prohibits smoking inside buildings or within 50 feet of the entrance or air intake for a building anywhere in the state. So, if you want to smoke, you will have to walk three blocks from the lecture hall and smoke on the sidewalk where there are no buildings. If you are addicted to nicotine, an easier solution would be to buy a nicotine patch or gum.
- May 6, 2014
- Be sure that you have Coq 8.4 installed on your laptop by June 15. Also, read the other preparation notes on the Curriculum page
- May 5, 2014
Things to bring to the summer school:
- A laptop. if you fail to bring an ethernet cord, expect to have a really bad Internet connection. If you bring an ethernet cord, your Internet connection should be fine. UO is set up for UO students, of which you are not one. I cannot change this. Do not bother to put "bad Internet" on the exit survey. It will be your fault if you do not bring an ethernet cable. You have been warned.
- Typically, I tell everyone to bring allergy medication. The main agricultural product in the Willamette Valley is grass seed, so if you are allergic to grass pollen, expect to feel the effects while you are here. Some students travelling to the summerschool experience pollen allergies for the first time. You can see a complete pollen report at www.weather.com, zip code: 97403
- Soap, shampoo and other personal grooming items. The dorm has laundry facilities. To use the facilities, obtain the laundry card and laundry soap from me, then pay me back $1.00 per load of laundry. Otherwise, you will have to spend $10 buying a laundry card for a single use.
- For Foreign Participants: Also, if you are not from the North America, bring a power converter for your laptop. US power outlets are not compatible with European power cords. If you come here without a power adapter, it may take you a number of phone calls and missed lectures to figure out where to get one, so it is probably easier to obtain one from your local apothecary (or whoever sells them in your country) before coming.
- You should not bring pillows, blankets or towels
- April 30, 2014
It is imperative that you bring an ethernet cable with you.
The lecture hall is set up for University of Oregon students, so there are 120 wireless connections available for UO students, and about 5 wireless connections avialable for guest accounts. Since you are not a UO student, you would have to be incredibly lucky to get one of the 5 guest connections. On the other hand, every chair has an ethernet jack. So, to review: using wireless, you are unlikely to get internet access, but with an ethernet cord, you are guaranteed to have internet access. Wandering around campus, you should have no problem getting wireless access provided you are not with a group of 100 other guest users.
If you are staying in the dorms, they are redoing the wireless access points over the summer, which means that they will have time to remove wireless from our dorm, but not install the new access points before OPLSS. On the other hand, there is a ethernet jack at each desk in the dorms.
Therefore: no ethernet cable = no access in the dorm.
- April 10, 2014
- If you have a housing package, the meals will be served at the Cafeteria. If you are vegan/vegatarian/raw foodist there should be no problem finding adequate hot and cold food, unless you are a raw foodist, in which case hot food will be hard to come by. However, if you need kosher or halal or some other method of preparation, the cafeteria will not be able to meet your needs. My understanding is that halal is not a problem in Eugene since there are vegan restaurants and there is vegan prepared food at the supermarket, and lots of vegan choices in the cafeteria. However, kosher is tricker. This surprised me since I know many Jews in town. Talking to them and the Jewish Student Union and Hillel and several Rabbis, it seems to come down to "if you live in Eugene, you have to make compromises."
- April 9, 2014
Oregon cities are largely non-smoking.
In Oregon, it is illegal to smoke inside a building or within 20 feet of a building entrance.
The city of Eugene does not allow smoking in public places, such as parks or transit facilities,
or public accomodations such as hotel rooms.
The University of Oregon is a
Smoke and Tobacco Free University.
This means that you will be hard pressed to find anywhere to smoke conveniently.
As was discovered last year, you can stand in the middle of the street on Agate street,
and while it is not technically illegal to smoke there, it is strongly discouraged,
and leaving a cigarette butt in the street is illegal.
In Eugene, smoking does not include ecigs, but UO policy considers them a prohibited tobacco product.
Chewing tabacco is similarly prohibited by the University, but not the city or the state;
however, most restaurants, bars and taverns will not allow chewing tobacco.
Therefore, if you are addicted to nicotine, you should plan on bringing nicotine gum or patches,
or you can purchase them here.
As a side note, it is common in Oregon for a bouncer to be stationed at the entrance to a bar and ask to see some proof that you are 21 or older. During peak hours, they do not have time to negotiate with you: either you have ID or you don't get in. Therefore, if you are going drinking, you should take a US/Canadian drivers license or a passport. Drivers licenses from foreign countries, other then Canada, are rarely accepted. Some background: while it is up to the bouncer to decide whether to let you in, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission routinely sends people with fake IDs to test the bouncers, and if they accidentally let one in, the bar is closed permanently. So, they are generally not in a mood to fudge a bit, and everyone will be happier if you bring ID.
By the way, Oregon is a friendly, egalitarian place. It is generally strange to hear car horns, or snotty store clerks. One generally summons a waiter with "Excuse me", rather than wistling or other shows of disrespect. When one buys something in a store or bar, one usually says "thank you" as merchandise or change is given. Nordstrom is a national department store chain that began in the US Pacific Northwest. When they openned a New Jersey store, they paid Oregonians to move to New Jersey because they couldn't find people in New Jersey who were as friendly as the people in Oregon.
- April 7, 2014
To travel to Eugene, you can either take a plane to Portland (pdx) and then
to Eugene, or you can fly directly to Eugene (eug).
Once you have your flight, let me know when you will be arriving at pdx or eug,
and I will put you into a group of other students who are also arriving at
that time. This will allow you to share a taxi, or just generally be
less likely to get lost.
I pride myself on giving good directions and getting no one lost, so help me to help you to help me.
The University has a directions site and so do I. It has driving directions and links to train, bus, etc. You can get there from the maps page.
Regardless of what time you arrive, I will have some way of getting your room keys to you.
- April 1, 2014
You may not need a visa.
Visa Waiver Program
website. If you do need a visa, it will be a tourist visa (B-2).
(see US state dept website)
In any case, you do need a passport.
Also, be sure that you do NOT use the word "summerschool" when talking to INS officials.
Since the summerschool gives no academic credit, the INS views it as an academic conference.
There have been cases of people coming from innocuous European countries who have been held up
at the border because they said "summerschool" and were then unable to produce documents showing
that they were enrolled for university credit.
So, be careful because the US government has a very limited semantic for the word "school".
We cannot issue you an I-20, because you will receive no academic credit from the University of Oregon.
Depending on your point of origin, the main thing they will want to know in your interview is that you are not a "risk to emmigrate" to the US. The State Department says:
Evidence of your employment and/or your family ties may be sufficient to show the purpose of your trip and your intent to return to your home country. If you cannot cover all the costs for your trip, you may show evidence that another person will cover some or all costs for your trip.
Different Ambassadors have different semantics of "evidence" and different attitudes about the phrase "may be sufficient". The University of Oregon has no influence with the US State Department. It is probably advantageous to bring evidence of round trip plane tickets.
- March 31, 2014
When you get here, the building you will be staying in is:
1599 E. 15th Street Eugene OR 97403However, do not send mail to that address. All university mail is given to the university mail room and distributed to university departments, who distribute it to the person to whom it is addressed. So, if you must have mail sent to you while you are here, you will have to address it to me:
Jim Allen Dept of Computer and Info Science 1202 University of Oregon Eugene, OR 97403-1202
- March 28, 2014 — For Foreign Participants:
It is never too early to work on obtaining travel papers to the US.
Since the summerschool does not give academic credit, you will have to
obtain a tourist visa to the US.
Notice that "study" is specifically prohibited on a tourist or vistor visa.
Be careful not to tell the embassy or border officials that your are going to study in the US.
Do not use the term summerschool.
Although OPLSS has summerschool in the title, you should tell them you
will be attending an academic conference that awards no academic credit.
When you go to the embassy for your interview, the main thing you will need to prove is that you are not a risk to emigrate to the United States. This may be difficult for a graduate student from non-EU countries, since you don't have a high paying job. This is unofficial advice, but I would suggest taking letters from your family and academic advisors explaining why you would be unlikely to want to stay in the US. The decision is left up to the ambassador to your country and there is no appeal, so be prepared. Talk to other students from your country who have attended conferences in the US.
- March 28, 2014
- Check here later for updates before you arrive. I will be posting updates on registration deadlines, when you should expect to be notified, how to get here, and what to bring. If you apply (with a recommendation) before April 14, you should hear back from us by April 18. If not, please send me an email asking what happened to your application.