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The Carleton College men’s swimming and diving team returned to competition on Friday, taking part in the Jean Freeman Invitational held at the University of Minnesota’s Aquatic Center. It was the Knights' first meet in four weeks.
After nearly a month away from competition, the Carleton College women’s swimming and diving team hit the water Friday night at the Jean Freeman Invitational hosted by the University of Minnesota.
Local CBS affiliate WCCO-TV visited St. Olaf College to ask executive chef Matthew Fogarty a pressing question: Why is the lutefisk tradition so big in Minnesota?
Fogarty and the rest of the staff of Bon Appetit, the college's food service provider, are busy preparing more than 700 pounds of the fish to serve at the annual St. Olaf Christmas Festival.
For many of the people attending the festival — one of the oldest musical celebrations of Christmas in the United States — traditional Scandinavian fare like lutefisk and lefse have become as much a part of the tradition as the music.
"It's something that makes the holidays for me," James Johnson '64, who was on campus to plan for his 50th class reunion and enjoy the St. Olaf Christmas Festival, tells WCCO.
With Fogarty's guidance, reporter Heather Brown even gave lutefisk a try.
"It gets a bad rap — this isn't horrible," she tells viewers after taking a bite.
Since 1912, the St. Olaf College Christmas Festival (popularly nicknamed “Christmas Fest”) has infused listeners all over the nation with the spirit of the holidays by uniting the five campus choirs with the St. Olaf Orchestra for a series of performances. It is important to remember, however, that the spirit of the season extends beyond Christmas Festival to include both student groups and community members.
In order to keep track of the many opportunities to enjoy “the most wonderful time of the year,” here is a compilation of upcoming Christmas events at St. Olaf.
Dec. 6, 5 p.m., Boe Chapel
Norseman Band is coming off of their Thanksgiving Break chapel performance to create a “Christmas Celebration Mini- Concert.” This arrangement is entirely student-conducted, exploring different styles of Christmas music. The program strays from the religious tradition of Christmas Festival and chooses instead to entertain with “more traditional” secular carols such as “Sleigh Ride.”
Tuba Christmas Concert
Dec. 7, 3 p.m., Crossroads
The Tuba Christmas Concert is a nationally-recognized tradition bringing together tuba and euphonium players ages 10-80 to perform traditional Christmas carols. This St. Olaf concert is one of over 250 “Merry Tuba Christmas” concerts that take place across the nation and abroad. The event was first crafted 40 years ago by legendary tuba player Harvey Phillips (although composer Alec Wilder wrote the carols specifically for tuba around 1974). These “Tuba Christmas” events are formed to bring together performers of all ages from “specific geographical regions,” drawing upon the larger community to join in the music and memory-making traditions of the holidays. This particular event could have up to 100 participants and will be led by Associate Professor of Music Paul Niemisto, conductor of Norseman Band.
Handbell Christmas: Christmas Bells
Dec. 7, 4:30 p.m., Crossroads
The “Christmas Bells” concert is a blend of two St. Olaf handbell choirs: the St. Olaf Handbell Choir and the Chapel Ringers. The two choirs are joining forces to create a memorable and energetic concert. The St. Olaf Handbell Choir also performs in Christmas Festival.
An A Cappella Christmas
Dec. 12, 7:30 p.m., the Lion’s Pause Three well-known student a cappella ensembles (Agnes A Cappella, Krossmen A Cappella and the Limestones) will be collaborating in one free Christmas concert bound to brighten holiday spirits. The concert is sponsored by the St. Olaf Mental Health Awareness Club and will feature Christmas music and a cookie- decorating bar. And do not forget to wear an ugly sweater – there will be a contest for the ugliest Christmas sweater part way through the performance. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Gospel Choir Caroling
Dec. 9, 8 p.m., Mellby Hall; 8:30 p.m., Hoyme Hall; 9 p.m., Hilleboe/Kittelsby Halls
Dec. 12, 11:15 a.m., Crossroads
After a tumultuous ride through a range of setbacks, the new and improved Gospel Choir is back in action as a student-run choir. The choir is utilizing their normal rehearsal time (8-9:30 p.m. on Mondays) to give back to the student community through festive caroling that aims to be very different from the Christmas Festival experience.
“We are coming to the students,” said Devon Steve ’17, current conductor of Gospel Choir. “We are caroling for students in order to give them a taste of Christmas right before finals and as a final good-bye as we all make our way home. Students may be tired of Christmas Fest, but this is a totally different look at Christmas from a gospel choir perspective.”
The program includes popular Christmas ballads, sing-a-long opportunities and traditional religious staples re-imagined with a gospel kick.
Interested parties should note that the group is open to all class years, voice parts and experience levels and is still accepting members at any time.
Happy holidays, St. Olaf College! Enjoy all the festivities, decorations and beautiful music that envelope our lovely campus.
Although St. Olaf touts its commitment to an inclusive and globally-minded community, many students feel that the college has not done enough to incorporate other cultures and languages into its curriculum. Language courses in particular offer an excellent tool for promoting cultural education and diversity. However, St. Olaf’s inclusion of other languages, Arabic in particular, is greatly lacking.
St. Olaf’s Arabic classes make up part of the Alternative Language Studies Option (ALSO), a three-year-old pilot program that also offers Korean and Italian. In theory, the pilot could gauge student interest and determine if incentive exists to install a permanent language curriculum.
ALSO’s very structure precludes any accurate measurement of student interest. To qualify for the program, students must first complete their foreign language (FOL) general education requirement. This leaves the program open only to students who happen to have extra space for it in their schedules. Those without this luxury will not have time to enroll in the many language courses necessary to reach a more advanced proficiency level before they graduate.
On top of this, the bulk of Arabic classroom teaching hours are handled by a single Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant rather than a permanent faculty, and the class structure requires students to learn much of the material independently. Education in any language demands a certain level of guided learning. Minimal direction and a lack of an experienced faculty is not the optimal strategy for language instruction.
St. Olaf was on the right track when it created ALSO, but now it must go a step further and place Arabic at the same level as other standard languages like Spanish, German and French. ALSO is an adequate temporary measure but would greatly underserve its students in the long run. My hope is that it functions as a stepping stone to a permanent program. Undoubtedly, such a program would generate much higher student interest than the current option. Investment in a solid Arabic and Middle Eastern studies department would also attract prospective students from interesting backgrounds who are seeking diverse experiences.
From what I have observed, enrollment in ALSO courses dwindles throughout the semester, especially at the beginning levels. I have spoken to a number of students who express interest in learning Arabic but remain wary of a program still in its developing stages. This discouraging enrollment history grossly underestimates the level of interest a full-fledged program would draw. ALSO is better than no Arabic program, as it serves as students’ only on-campus option, but the time has come for the college to expand it.
Arabic is a historically neglected language in the U.S. given our country’s extended political involvement in Arab and Muslim states. Approximately 300 million people worldwide speak Arabic as their native language. It serves as a sacred language for more than one billion. St. Olaf cannot hope to mold its students into globally-minded leaders if it fails to educate them on such an essential language and group of cultures.
Skeptics argue that Arabic in particular is difficult and impractical to teach at the undergraduate level. However, while studying abroad I met countless successful students – all representing schools with academic reputations comparable to St. Olaf’s – who convinced me otherwise. The success of Carleton’s program also proves that effective and affordable undergraduate Arabic instruction is feasible.
Some of St. Olaf’s peer institutions are aware of this and have already developed successful programs. By neglecting its Arabic program, St. Olaf falls behind these schools and forgoes an opportunity for leadership in a growing field.
The most effective action students can take to ameliorate the alternative languages situation at St. Olaf is to express their interest in a permanent program to the administration. While I am less familiar with the Korean and Italian programs, the Middle Eastern studies faculty is aware of the Arabic program’s potential for improvement. However, in order to make real change, the feedback must come from students.
Providing Oles with a global perspective is an integral part of St. Olaf’s mission statement. We should not ignore this aspect of our identity. St. Olaf needs an Arabic program – with a guided and rigorous curriculum and a permanent faculty – that students may enroll in as early as their first year so that they have a chance to attain a higher proficiency level. I encourage students to speak out about this fact.
News Editor Kate Fridley ’14 is from Apple Valley, Minn. She majors in political science with concentrations in Middle Eastern studies and management studies.
On Wednesday, Nov. 20, Bon Appetit Board Manager Randy Clay sent a campus-wide email imploring students to return missing mugs to Stav Hall. He pointed out that the cost of purchasing more mugs falls on students.
“I believe people are generally well-intentioned when they walk out of Stav with a mug. It takes no effort to walk out with a mug. It will now take a concerted effort to get those mugs back,” Clay wrote.
Stolen dinnerware has always been a problem for Stav. However, this year Clay is changing his outlook on the issue.
“I’m trying not to see it as theft because that approach hasn’t helped us reclaim any of the missing dishes,” Clay said. Instead, his strategy is to state the plain facts about missing Stav equipment and hopefully motivate students to do the right thing.
As Clay stated in his email to the student body last week, Stav started out with 1,000 new black mugs in October. More than 900 of these have since disappeared. An original inventory of 300 white mugs has dwindled to 30.
Bon Appetit acquired the black mugs, which cost $0.30 more than their smaller white counterparts, because another college had ordered them in blue and erroneously received a shipment in black. This allowed the company to purchase them at a discount. However, Bon Appetit staff quickly learned that having higher quality logoed mugs increased incentive for theft.
Students ultimately pay for these items through increased meal plan prices. Clay likens the problem to people not taking responsibility for environmental sustainability: When individuals are selfish, it hurts everyone.
“There are definitely groups on campus concerned about the environment, but unfortunately there are also a lot of students who don’t care. I don’t think people with that attitude are thinking sustainably,” Clay said. “A coffee mug or a plate shouldn’t be seen as something that’s disposable.”
According to Bon Appetit General Manager Peter Abrahamson, missing mugs cause problems during Christmas Festival season in particular. He noted that equipment shortages can make a bad impression on cash-paying guests.
“Guests will come in and see that we don’t have enough mugs, and we might have to put out disposable paper cups instead,” Abrahamson said.
However, missing dinnerware’s effect on the cost of food and services in Stav is not as straightforward as many students believe. A number of factors contribute to the company’s yearly budget forecast, including inflation and spending estimates. Bon Appetit presents this forecast to the college to determine the rate students will be charged the following year.
“There’s a misconception about meal plans and how they work, from [Bon Appetit’s] perspective,” Clay said. “They’re not based on 100 percent participation; they’re based on a missed meal factor.”
Abrahamson elaborated, “When we build the budget for each week, we estimate the number of students on each type of plan and their participation and figure out how much to budget per student per day to come up with the total food cost.”
In short, while missing Stav dinnerware does affect students, theft does not fall into a straightforward causal relationship with the number of food items available. According to Clay, decisions on what items to keep or discard are often made on a line-by-line basis with attention to the bigger picture.
For example, Bon Appetit opted to eliminate chunky peanut butter when it realized that Stav already provides three options for this expensive item. It made sense to keep the traditional creamy peanut butter while also offering an organic option.
“Sometimes when it’s a popular item it sticks in people’s minds that we don’t have it anymore,” Clay said.
Bon Appetit’s yearly participation forecasts tend to be highly accurate. However, some changes have unexpected results. Stav dinner hours were extended last year in the hope of spreading out dining hall traffic, but this instead increased participation during the dinner hour and led to a difficult year financially for Bon Appetit.
At the same time, Bon Appetit was able to save money by switching some of its china to melamine, a plastic material that does not shatter when dropped. This helped reduce the routine cost of broken plates.
“We make the habit of taking stuff away that’s minimally invasive,” Abrahamson said. “We don’t necessarily take food out of the program.”
While he does not have exact numbers, Clay says many mugs have reappeared. He attributes much of this success to his reframing of the “theft” issue to one addressing hard facts and individual responsibility.
A common attitude is that Oles pay so much for their board plans that they feel entitled to take mugs from Stav. However, Clay and Abrahamson emphasize that the resulting inconveniences fall largely on other students.
“When someone argues, ‘I paid for this,’ yes, you did. But you’re not thinking about everyone else who also paid and would like to have that mug when they come into the dining room,” Clay said. “It doesn’t do anyone any good sitting in your room.”
All great improvisers know how important it is to roll with the punches.
So when Laura Bretheim ’14 found a semester program at The Second City in Chicago that was not offered through St. Olaf College, she worked out a creative solution.
Bretheim, an environmental studies major at St. Olaf, is spending her fall semester enrolled in the Comedy Studies Program at Second City through Columbia College Chicago.
While the program isn’t currently affiliated with St. Olaf, the college’s flexibility, along with the help of Theater Department faculty member Dona Freeman, enabled Bretheim to develop a system of credit that would reflect her studies upon her return to campus.
The Second City specializes in sketch comedy and improv and has been the training ground for well-known comedians like Tina Fey, Steve Carell, and Stephen Colbert. Students take classes in acting, writing, improvisation, voice and movement, and being a professional comedian, as well as complete an independent study.
Bretheim, a self-described “big comedy nerd” who got involved in St. Olaf’s improv group, Scared Scriptless, her first year, found the program at Second City several years ago. But she decided to officially apply after a conversation with a fellow Ole.Bretheim attended St. Olaf’s annual Making it in the Arts Conference and struck up a conversation with Shelly Gossman ’99, a successful comedian who has written for Saturday Night Live. Besides being a fellow St. Olaf alumna, Gossman was also deeply interested in improv and comedy and had even studied at Second City herself. “She encouraged us to come here if we were thinking at all of pursuing improv or comedy in general," Bretheim says. "It really is a fantastic place to hone your skills and your voice.” Like many off-campus study programs, Bretheim is exposed to new ways of learning every day. “Overall, our teachers are incredible,” she says. “They create a place where we can take risks, fail, and then try again. I’ve really learned how to accept that something might not work at first, but there are ways to make it better. Also, my homework is usually, ‘write some sketches,’ or ‘watch this sketch and explain why it’s funny.’ Which is just fun.” While there are certainly times when the creative juices aren’t flowing, Bretheim says her experiences working with successful comedians (including a visit from Saturday Night Live cast member Horatio Sanz), writers, actors, and directors provides the necessary motivation. “The most challenging thing is the roller-coaster ride of feeling good or bad about the work,” she says. “Sometimes I’ll get stuck in a rut for days, or even a week or two, but I’ve learned that if I just keep working, eventually I’ll find the next idea that I really enjoy.” She adds, "We’ve gotten to meet a lot of professionals, and they’ve all told us similar things: do the work, be patient, have fun, and it’s possible.”
Retired St. Olaf College faculty members Paul Fjelstad '51 and John Treon, each of whom served the school for more than two decades, have died.
An alumnus of the college, Fjelstad was the only Ole ever to graduate with majors and departmental honors in five fields of study: physics, mathematics, chemistry, German, and philosophy. He went on to earn his doctorate at Harvard University.
He joined the St. Olaf faculty in 1967 and served as an associate professor of natural sciences until retiring in 1988. Fjelstad was one of the founding members of the Paracollege, a tutorial program that offered an alternative to the structured liberal arts curriculum. He creatively applied the science of mathematics to all facets of human life.
Fjelstad died December 3. Funeral plans are pending.
Treon, an assistant professor of history at St. Olaf who went on to serve as the registrar for more than a decade and then as director of academic events and alumni abroad programs for several years, died November 23. He was 73.
Treon joined the St. Olaf faculty as an assistant professor of history in 1968. He left in 1974 to work in the financial industry, but returned to the college in 1984 to serve as the registrar.
In 1997 he was appointed the director of academic events and alumni abroad programs at St. Olaf. In that role, he coordinated major public ceremonies such as Commencement, Honors Day, and the Peace Prize Forum. He also worked to create new academic outreach services such as study abroad programs for alumni and friends of the college. He retired from St. Olaf in 1999.
Treon earned his bachelor's degree at Lambuth University and his master’s degree at the University of Arkansas. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Virginia, and he was also named a research fellow at Newberry Library in Chicago.
Read more in Treon's obituary.
Carleton is ranked 20th in the final Golf World/Women’s Golf Coaches Association’s Division III coaches poll of the fall season. The Knights are one of three ranked conference schools. The Knights, who finished second by one shot at the MIAC Championships in October, are also ranked second in the initial NCAA Midwest Region rankings. The NCAA rankings are used to select teams to the NCAA Championships after the conclusion of the spring season.
In a sign of how the game would go for the Carleton College men’s basketball team, the Knights came up empty on their first four possessions and ultimately suffered a 65-37 defeat to rival St. Olaf College.
Skylar Tsutsui led three Knights in double figures, but her bid for a game-tying shot at the buzzer missed the mark as the Carleton College women’s basketball team dropped a 73-70 decision at rival St. Olaf College.
The Carleton College men's basketball team came up just short in its three tough nonconference games last week, but senior Taylor Hanson starred with a trio of outstanding performances. The Knights' forward was one rebound shy of a double-double in all three games, and averaged 19.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.
By Jake Hauschild’ 15, PoliticOle Columnist
Obamacare has turned out to be a political junkie’s goldmine. Whether you are critical of the GOP’s attempts to delegitimize it (like the majority of St. Olaf), frustrated with its disastrous rollout and Obama’s backtracking on his “keep your plan” policy (like the larger-than-it-seems minority of St. Olaf), or just enjoy ripping on both parties in general (like me), you have likely spent many a drunken weekend night (though not on campus, surely) debating the 12% of the bill that you actually understand against the 5% that your friend does. The seemingly endless controversy certainly does provide its entertainment and is more than suitable if you are seeking a distraction from the Minnesota Vikings’ train wreck of a football season.
It turns out, however, that the drama surrounding the Affordable Care Act may have proved slightly too distracting, overshadowing health care news that actually does create substantive change in people’s lives. Recently, the state of Vermont confirmed that “Green Mountain Care,” a healthcare initiative it passed in May of 2011 in order “to provide, as a public good, comprehensive, affordable, high quality, publicly financed health care coverage for all Vermont residents in a seamless and equitable manner regardless of income, assets, health status, or availability of other coverage,” could and would legally exist alongside Obamacare.
This “Medicare-for-all,” single-payer system is the first of its kind to exist in the United States, and, in accordance with the Affordable Care Act, will be implemented in 2017, giving the state several years to raise the estimated $1.6 billion needed in new taxes to replace private insurance premiums and to cover the health care costs of those who are now uninsured. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the 600,000 Vermonters must find $1.6 billion dollars on their own; rather, the new taxes will represent a redirection of money currently spent on private insurance premiums in support of the single-payer system. Dr. William Hsaio, the Harvard health care economist who was Vermont’s adviser on the reform, estimates that Vermont will save 25 percent per capita over its current system in administrative costs and other savings, even considering a potential increase in state employees. After the system is implemented, it will be maintained by these slightly higher tax rates, Medicare, Medicaid, and federal funds allocated to each state through the ACA.
I don’t doubt that the Affordable Care Act will make health care cheaper for many people. Especially in states like Minnesota where the state governments actually decided to help its own citizens, this new system, once fully rolled out, will be good for people in general, especially poorer citizens who couldn’t afford insurance before. However, while the changes we’ll see will be good, Obamacare, at its heart, is a system that still puts giant insurance companies’ interests before those of America’s citizens.
As President Obama began his first term, and as Democrats had a majority in both houses (and even as it lost its majority in one of those houses), the party had an opportunity to truly make radical health care reform. Indeed, it was one of the things that the American people were calling for. The average United States citizen paid (and still does pay) nearly twice as much on health care as any other citizen in the world. 48 million people were uninsured, 45 thousand people died each year because they were unable to pay to see a doctor, and the U.S. remained the only industrialized nation in the world not to guarantee healthcare. However, when given the chance to push for true, radical health care reform, Democrats instead chose to introduce feel-good legislation that would indeed help some people (though certainly confusing them beforehand), but would ultimately still function under the same paradigm established by insurance companies themselves. This reform of deductibles, out-of-pocket, out-of-network, and balanced billed charges is only another crutch for the U.S.’s dependence on a handful of insurers who have continually robbed and overcharged its citizens on something that, in this day and age, should be considered a right, regardless of ability to pay.
But, after all, what more would you expect, when insurance companies, whose political contributions coincidentally reached all-time highs from 2008-2012, have a lot more cash to slip into our politicians’ campaign funds than do the millions of Americans who can’t afford health insurance in the first place? Whatever the case, the legislation passed in Vermont certainly offers hope that, even on a state-by-state basis, radical health care reform that truly puts people over corporate profit is possible.
On an unrelated note, does anyone have property for sale in the Burlington, Vermont, area, per chance?
Jake Hauschild ’15 is a Political Science Major with concentrations in Latin American Studies and Statistics from Kasson, MN. Jake is a regular columnist for The PoliticOle. Contact him at email@example.com.
A cancer research internship this summer opened numerous doors for St. Olaf College student Brandon Khor '15: the possibility of having a paper published, an opportunity to gain valuable insight into a future career in medicine, and even the chance to return next year to finish the lab work he started.
Khor was one of three out-of-state students — and one of 14 total — selected to participate in the Nathan Schnaper Internship Program at the University of Maryland.
Through the University of Maryland School of Medicine, students were paired with a faculty member at the Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center to conduct research.
Khor worked alongside University of Maryland doctoral candidate Tiha Long and faculty mentor and primary investigator Bret Hassel to examine whether adding RNase-L, an enzyme in the immune system, to colon cancer cells could serve as a treatment for the disease.
Throughout the summer, Khor's team discovered that when there is a large quantity of RNase-L, certain cancerous cells can be pushed toward a state that makes them unable to multiply — and therefore unable to develop into a tumor.
Khor enjoyed the rewarding nature of this medical research, which he'll compare this January to a St. Olaf service-learning course in Peru focused on giving students medical experience.
“The biggest reason why I’m drawn to medical research is that it would allow me to help a large number of people,” Khor says. “However, I’m more set on becoming a doctor that does clinical duties, so Peru will give me a great experience that I can juxtapose with my research internship and a chance to get more hands-on experience in the medical field."
During the Interim course, Khor and his classmates will work with the communities of Cusco and Arequipa, Peru, to assess medical and dental needs and examine emerging and existing health care issues.
The course is one of a number of experiential learning opportunities St. Olaf students can use to explore a career in medicine. Others include the Mayo Innovation Scholars Program, an internship program at Hennepin County Medical Center, and a new networking program that brings students together with alumni physicians. The medical school acceptance rate for St. Olaf students is more than 20 percent higher than the national average.
And, as Khor has found, the opportunities for hands-on medical experience don't end there.
With the success of his summer research findings, Khor has been invited back to the University of Maryland to continue his research and, if the findings are significant, have it published.
“I made great connections with my coworkers and my primary investigator there,” he says. “I’m also really interested in cancer research in general, so I’m definitely looking at going back and picking up where I left off."
Tianen Chen scored a career-best and game-high 26 points with nine rebounds and Taylor Hanson (Sr./Saint Paul, Minn./Minnehaha Academy) posted his second double-double of the season with 15 points and 12 boards but the Carleton College men’s basketball team lost to No. 16 Whitworth University, 70-61
Skylar Tsutsui poured in a career-best 29 points, but it wasn’t enough as the Carleton College women’s basketball team lost for the first time this season, falling 105-84 to Catholic University at the Colorado College Thanksgiving Classic.
Senior Taylor Hanson had a career-high 23 points to go along with nine rebounds, five assists, two steals, and a block, but his stat-stuffing line was not enough as the Carleton College men’s basketball team dropped a 71-66 overtime decision at Colorado College.
The Carleton College women’s basketball team opened the 2013-14 campaign with a convincing 85-62 victory at Colorado College. The Knights had five players in double figures, including a career-best 21 point-effort off the bench by sophomore Michele Arima.
Seniors Anthony Kemper and Brian Frett were two of the top receiving targets in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC). Both were recognized for their abilities when conference coaches voted them to the 2013 All-MIAC Second Team.
Five players finished in double figures for the Carleton College men’s basketball team—including double-doubles by both senior Taylor Hanson and sophomore John Eckert—but it was not enough as the Knights dropped their season opener, 77-73, to visiting Wartburg College,