Curiosity killed the cat. At least that’s what the old adage says. To me, it’s the same as saying, “Don’t ask too many questions,” “Don’t be bold,” and “Don’t laugh so loud; you’ll draw attention.” To that, I say phooey. Living in a nation that continually struggles to embrace a multicultural identity, some days those are the only things you can do to stay sane. Ask questions, be bold, and laugh—always laugh.

You can also read Ethos.

I learned the lesson about Ethos barely more than one year ago when I became a student at the University of Oregon. Although this issue will mark only my fifth publication with the magazine, in my short tenure I’ve come to realize the students who make up Ethos create a family as diverse as the subjects we write about. We learn as much from each other as we do when developing our content and as former editor in chief, Beth Kramer, once told me, each issue of Ethos is bound by a thread of common ground. This issue is no exception.

The thread connecting the 2012 fall issue of Ethos is Oregon. It’s about the people who have melded to create a culture distinct to this state—from progressive farmers mainstreaming European fruit in a Northwest climate (“Fields of Plenty,” page 38), to the men and women who keep Oregon’s pioneer spirit alive panning for gold in the Cascade foothills (“All that Glitters is Gold,” page 30). Others such as Soviet expatriate, Alex Reutov, have enriched our communities by sharing traditions from abroad (“A Promised Land,” page 8).

As a new school year brings together a new Ethos staff, it’s our goal to continue the tradition of past Ethos teams by finding a thread of commonality and inspiring cross-cultural discussion. I ask you to read our words, look at our photos, and understand our work, as a way of making sense of a sometimes chaotic world. Whether you are rooted in Oregon or just passing through, please take our stories with you and above all else, be curious.