McSparron, Grow & England Pick Up MIAC Basketball Awards

Carleton Sports - 17 min 41 sec ago

The ability to impact the game at both ends of the court earned Carleton College senior Shane McSparron a spot on both the 2014-15 MIAC Men’s Basketball All-Conference Team and the All-Defensive Team. The conference coaches also voted Carleton’s rookie forward Kevin Grow to the MIAC’s All-First Year Team.

Categories: Colleges

Tsutsui Named to All-MIAC Team Again; Steinstra Also Honored

Carleton Sports - 23 min 40 sec ago

Carleton College’s Skylar Tsutsui was honored by the conference women’s basketball coaches for the fourth consecutive season as the senior guard was voted to the 2014-15 MIAC Women's Basketball All-Conference Team.

Categories: Colleges

Emma Grisanzio Picks Up All-MIAC Honorable Mention in the Pentathlon

Carleton Sports - Thu, 03/05/2015 - 10:38pm

Sophomores Emma Grisanzio and Zoe Peterson finished fourth and ninth place, respectively, in the pentathlon at the MIAC Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championships.

Categories: Colleges

Colby Seyferth Leads MIAC Heptathlon After Day 1

Carleton Sports - Thu, 03/05/2015 - 10:11pm

After the first day of competition at the MIAC Heptathlon, members of the Carleton College men’s track and field team hold down three of the top four spots in the standings. Senior Colby Seyferth posted the top results of the day in the 60-meter dash, long jump, and shot put en route to 2,747 points, most in the 18-man field.

Categories: Colleges

Bring Passenger Rail to Northfield!

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Categories: Colleges

St. Olaf commemorates legacy of slain civil rights activist

St. Olaf College - Thu, 03/05/2015 - 8:17am

St. Olaf alumnus James Reeb ’50

In one scene in the Academy Award-nominated film Selma, St. Olaf College alumnus James Reeb ’50 is shown lying on a dark street, having been beaten by white supremacists.

He would die from his injuries two days later.

A Boston minister who had answered the call of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to come to Selma and raise his voice in protest, Reeb’s death became an important milestone in the passage of the Voting Right Act of 1965.

As part of the national celebration marking the 50th anniversary of that legislation, St. Olaf will host a daylong commemoration of Reeb’s legacy March 12. His daughter Anne and granddaughter Leah will be on campus to speak about the role he played in the voting rights movement and how they honor the legacy of his work toward civil and human rights today.

The Rev. Gilbert Caldwell, an activist who traveled with Reeb to Selma, will also be on campus to speak about their experiences and the continuing struggle for inclusive civil rights.

‘We must substitute courage for caution’
James Reeb was a Unitarian Universalist minister working to improve housing opportunities for low-income black residents in Boston when he turned on the TV on the evening of March 7, 1965, and saw the coverage of Selma’s “Bloody Sunday.”

As someone who had spoken out for civil rights, desegregation, and an end to Jim Crow laws, Reeb was inflamed by what had happened in Selma. So when Martin Luther King Jr. called on clergy of all denominations to join him for a peaceful march in the city, Reeb left Boston and headed south.

James Reeb’s murder garnered national media attention and inspired a wave of protests, memorial services, and calls for federal action.

That Tuesday, Reeb and the other marchers — led by King — started over the Edmund Pettus Bridge and stopped at the site of the Bloody Sunday attack. There they knelt, prayed, and sang “We Shall Overcome” before retreating to Selma.

That evening, Reeb and two other ministers visited a diner run by local black citizens. As they were leaving, four white men attacked them on the street with clubs. One of the attackers hit Reeb in the head, fracturing his skull. Reeb died from his injuries in a Birmingham hospital two days later.

Reeb’s death inspired a wave of nationwide protests, memorial services, and calls for federal action, helping to create the political groundswell that President Lyndon Johnson needed to introduce new voting rights legislation — a fact referenced in the film Selma.

On March 15, 1965, four days after Reeb’s death, Johnson invoked his memory — “that good man” — as he introduced the Voting Rights Act to a joint session of Congress.

At Reeb’s memorial service, held in Selma that same day, King delivered the eulogy.

President David R. Anderson ’74 and students traveling through Alabama as part of a history course gathered in Selma in January to lay a wreath at the memorial to James Reeb ’50.

“In his death, James Reeb says something to each of us, black and white alike — that we must substitute courage for caution, that we must be concerned not merely about who murdered him, but about the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced the murder,” King told mourners.

“His death says to us that we must work passionately, unrelentingly, to make the American dream a reality, so he did not die in vain.”

A campuswide commemoration
In addition to the celebration of Reeb’s legacy, St. Olaf is hosting a series of events to commemorate the role alumni and others played in the civil rights movement.

The events — collectively titled A Long Walk Home: 50 Years of Climbing the Hill to Freedom — include:

  • An art exhibit that documents the Selma-to-Montgomery marches through 45 photographs from the archives of Stephen Somerstein.
  • A discussion with St. Olaf alumni Jeff Strate ’66 and Sheryl Anderson Renslo ’66, the producers of a documentary film titled Alabama Return that chronicles the experiences of 65 St. Olaf students who volunteered for the Tuskegee Institute Summer Education Program in the summer of 1965.
  • Screenings of the Academy Award–nominated film Selma.
Categories: Colleges

2015 MIAC Indoor Track & Field Championships Preview

Carleton Sports - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 6:43pm

The MIAC Indoor Track & Field Championships will be held March 5-7 at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn.Full event information and team previews can be found by clicking the link above.

Categories: Colleges

Zoe Peterson Captures First Career MIAC Athlete-of-the-Week Honor

Carleton Sports - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 6:19pm

Carleton College sophomore Zoe Peterson is hitting her stride in the jumping events at the perfect time. Peterson took home a pair of first-place finishes in the long and triple jump on Friday night at the Ole Open Qualifier, setting one new school record in the process in her final tune-up before the conference championships. For her performance, Peterson was honored on Wednesday with the season's final MIAC Women's Indoor Field Athlete-of-the-Week award.

Categories: Colleges

Colby Seyferth Runs Away With Final MIAC Indoor Track Athlete-of-the-Week Award

Carleton Sports - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 5:54pm

Carleton College senior Colby Seyferth has had an incredible indoor track and field season, and his success continued in a big way during his final outing to prepare for the 2015 MIAC Championships. Seyferth starred at Friday's Ole Open Qualifierwith wins in both the 200- and 400-meter dashes and the MIAC's top time this season for both events. For his performance, Seyferth was honored Wednesday with his third MIAC Men's Indoor Track Athlete-of-the-Week award of 2015.

Categories: Colleges

Knights Earn both Regional and National Rankings

Carleton Sports - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 1:47pm

The Carleton College Women’s Tennis team is no stranger to the national spotlight, earning national rankings in each of the last five years. There is no difference in that this year with the Knights ranked No. 26 in the nation by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA). 

Categories: Colleges

Social Science Conference confronts inequality

Manitou Messenger - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 11:07am

Multiple prominent thinkers in the fields of political science and economics descended upon Northfield on Feb. 20 and 21, as part of the 2015 St. Olaf Social Science Conference. The Conference featured Professor Casey Mulligan from The University of Chicago, Professor Steven Fazzari from Washington University in St. Louis and Theda Skocpol from Harvard University.

The conference was funded by several sources, including the newly-created Institute for Freedom and Community. Despite concerns over the use of “freedom” in the name, which some believe conveys a right-wing bias, the conference was able to attract self-professed liberals like Skocpol.

The main goal of the Social Science Conference this year was to address the existence and ramifications of income inequality in all facets of the social sciences. The invited professors represented different fields; Mulligan and Fazzari are professors of economics, while Skocpol is a professor of political science. Together, they offered a multidisciplinary analysis of the complex issue.

The growing divide between rich and poor is an important topic that has been the subject countless documentaries, books and hours of expert analysis in the past few years. Each of the speakers latched onto a specific aspect of the economic inequality issue that they intended to discuss and address.

Professor Hofrenning, Associate Dean of the Social Sciences at St. Olaf, spoke about the choice of topic for this year’s conference.

“In recent years, we have focused on healthcare, immigration, human rights and families. This year the normal sources of funding were supplemented with new support from the new public affairs program, the Institute for Freedom and Community,” Hofrenning said.

Skocpol, the most well-known of the three speakers, divided America’s economic history in terms of economic inequality into two segments.

“If you look at [income growth] between the end of World War II and 1979, that’s the cutoff I prefer, although you can quibble. A rising tide was raising all boats… since 1979 there’s been volatile but extreme upward growth only for the 1%,” Skocpol said.

The income inequality growth has been so significant since the 1970s that Skocpol has utilized her fellow professionals’ allegorical countries to repepresent this growing divide.

“My colleagues Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson call the early world Broadistan… shared prosperity and then we moved into [Richistan], a new world where the top is pulling away,” Skocpol said.

After the keynote lecture of each speaker, the audience was given the chance to ask questions of the speakers. The debate and discussion were not purely limited to students, though; plenty of faculty members and other adults were able to submit questions.

The speakers themselves questioned each others claims. Skocpol and Mulligan sparred over the controversial implementation and economic effects of Obamacare. Mulligan opposes the ACA while Skocpol believed it to be a “step in the right direction” for the combat of income inequality.

A student panel, moderated by Erik Springer ’15 and SGA President Rachel Palermo, discussed economic inequality on Saturday afternoon. Many of these students were double majors, straddling multiple disciplines of the social sciences. The lenses of economics, political science, sociology, anthropology and social work were used to discuss economic inequality. This panel was part of the initiative to allow students to engage with the issues facing the public today.

The speakers and students not only discussed the cause and ramifications of economic inequality but also possible economic and political solutions to these problems.


Categories: Colleges

History professor talks to national media about civil rights landmark

St. Olaf College - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 10:48am

St. Olaf College Professor of History Michael Fitzgerald

St. Olaf College Professor of History Michael Fitzgerald tells the Associated Press that the Edmund Pettus Bridge, a landmark synonymous with the civil rights movement, is undoubtedly named for a white supremacist.

As the 50th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery marches approaches this month, the story about the bridge’s namesake — and a petition by Selma students to rename the landmark — has been featured in outlets ranging from NBC News to Business Insider.

Voting rights marchers crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge were violently beaten by law enforcement officers on March 7, 1965, in what became known as “Bloody Sunday.”

The following Tuesday, Martin Luther King Jr. led thousands of clergy members — including St. Olaf alumnus James Reeb — onto the bridge, where they knelt, prayed, and sang “We Shall Overcome” before retreating to Selma. Several weeks later, marchers crossed the bridge as they began a successful 50-mile march to Montgomery to protest voting laws.

Because of that history, a group of students in Selma would like to see the bridge renamed. Built in 1940, the bridge is named for Edmund Winston Pettus, a Confederate general and U.S. senator who lived in Selma after the Civil War.

Fitzgerald, who is researching a book on Reconstruction-era Alabama, tells the AP that he hasn’t found “persuasive evidence” that Pettus was a Ku Klux Klan officer or even member. But, he says, Pettus was “almost certainly” involved with the White League, a later terrorist organization.

“What I would say is Edmund Pettus is definitely a strong white supremacist,” Fitzgerald says.

Fitzgerald specializes in southern history, teaching courses on African American history and the Civil War era as well as topical seminars on slavery, civil rights, and related topics. This January, his Experiencing Southern History course examined how Alabama’s official sites of memory — museums, monuments, and memorials — reflect the competing demands of politics, public attitudes, schools, and tourism.

Categories: Colleges

Obligatory tipping fails to support waitstaff

Manitou Messenger - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 10:17am

Tipping the service staff at restaurants is an American reality as deeply ingrained into our culture as apple pie or exorbitant incarceration rates. The fact is, if you want to be viewed as a decent human being in America, there is an obligation to pay an uncertain amount beyond the bill to the people who worked to bring you your food. Many are happy to make this contribution, as servers generally make small wages and need the surplus income, but in a recent College Humor video, comedian Adam Conover questions the entire practice. Why not demand that restaurants pay their staff a fair wage, rather than put the responsibility on the customer?

The question arises in a video series called Adam Ruins Everything, in which the aforementioned comedian tackles the legitimacy of generally accepted practices – such as wedding rings or circumcision. Conover delves into both the history and current value of the practice. He claims that tipping was initially a response of convenience for employers; they would ask that their employees take “bribes” offered by some customers for better or faster service. He argues that this became an excuse for employers to pay their staff less and resulted in the modern tipping culture that we currently hold. With regard to the absurdity of the business model, he suggests they simply pay the staff more.

“I mean, that’s what every business has done since the dawn of time. When you buy a pair of jeans, they’re just 50 bucks. They’re not like, ‘That’ll be $40 and you decide if the stock boy eats tonight!’”

The video and its light-hearted take on the societal expectation of tipping sheds light on the strangeness of the practice. The video contains depictions of patrons dealing with the more banal aspects of tipping, such as deciding on the percentage to pay or even doing that basic math in front of a date or friends. More than just illustrating that tipping is inconvenient for the patron, the video does outline how it is ultimately detrimental for the employees as well – not only because it serves to lower their working wage, but also because it offers an illusion that their quality of work is quantified by pay. Ultimately, studies suggest that server performance has little to no impact on how much of a tip is given.

The most difficult part of discussing tipping as a phenomenon is the same problem that arises in the difficulty of talking about pretty much any social dynamic, in that it is tricky to separate individual people from the broader discussion. For many, suggesting an abolition of tipping is equivalent to taking money from the hands of the wait staff, but the ultimate suggestion is, of course, to raise their wage as a substitution for tips. This is still hard for some to take in, and almost any discussion of tipping tends to make those arguing Conover’s position to seem selfish or stingy.

Ultimately though, tipping is a somewhat misguided attempt at supporting servers. Although it seems right to give money to the waiter from the individual perspective, it puts undue pressure on them to perform for a basic wage. If we are to make the restaurant experience better for all, it may be best to take a cue from the rest of the world and phase out tipping and substitute it with fair pay.

Conlan Campbell ’18 ( is from Burnsville, Minn. His major is undecided.

Categories: Colleges

Men’s swim team finishes second

Manitou Messenger - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 10:00am

The road to championships is rarely easy. Athletes, coaches and supporters alike are taken on a ride of ups and downs that will prepare them for the biggest event at the end of a season. For the St. Olaf men’s swim team, this season has been a push in pursuit of another MIAC championship title. The Oles were two–time defending champions and were looking to add a third straight title as they headed into last weekend’s MIAC event,

It has been a difficult period for the team. Within the last three weeks, two swimmers have been injured, and less than a month ago, another swimmer had to leave the team. Billy Brebrick ’16 left mid-season this year, and Coach Bob Hauck emphasized that this was a “huge loss” for the team. His enthusiasm and positive leadership on the team were some of the “glue that held the team together,” Hauck said. Of the two swimmers injured, only one is competing, putting himself at a possible risk for further injury. Mike Gratz ’15, who won three individual titles last year, sustained a fracture in his right foot. Too much pressure may cause a further break that would result in needing surgery. While racing, he is unable to correctly launch off the blocks at the beginning of the race, or push off the wall after completing a flip turn, putting him at a huge disadvantage. Despite these setbacks, Hauck has more than just faith in Gratz and the team as a whole.

“Gratz at 90 percent is faster and stronger than other swimmers at 100 percent,” he said, adding that the rest of the team has come together despite recent adversities. Other swimmers such as Benjamin Kosieradzki ’15, Tanner Roe ’15 and Nick Wilkerson ’17 have stepped up to the plate, in hopes of leading the team to victory.

While the men’s team has suffered losses, the women’s team has grown and the veteran swimmers have high hopes of standing on the podium. Maddie Lee ’16 is the current champion of the 200-yard freestyle, holding the fastest time throughout the MIAC in the event this season. During the interview, Hauck specifically referenced a new member of the team, Claire Walters ’17.

“Watch out for her,” he said, “because she is a favorite in the 200-yard butterfly. She is a possible record breaker as well.”

A repeat win may not occur this weekend, but Hauck is not concerned about winning another title.

“[The team] has worked hard this season, and this weekend is a time to display all the hard work they have put forth,” he said. “I am not worried about whether or not we will win, because in the end, we have something amazing to celebrate.” The celebrating begins with a season of thousands of miles of laps, a season of two-a-day practices, and ends with a team that is stronger together.

Despite competing valiantly at the MIAC championships, the men’s team fell just short of winning a third consecutive title, finishing in second place behind University of St. Thomas.

Categories: Colleges

Lost City

Manitou Messenger - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 10:00am

This picture of Machu Picchu was captured by Logan Sardzinski ’16 during his interim trip to Peru with his Nikon camera.

Categories: Colleges

Program gives students hands-on experience in international consulting

St. Olaf College - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 3:49pm

This year’s Norway Innovation Scholars are (from left) Camille Morley ’15, Janna Jansen ’15, Sarah Elder ’15, and Joe Briesemeister ’16.

As part of a program that gives St. Olaf College students hands-on experience in international consulting, four Oles spent Interim working with a Norwegian cardiac device company in Oslo.

Modeled after the Mayo Innovation Scholars Program, the Norway Innovation Scholars Program enables students to spend four weeks performing a market analysis, evaluating intellectual property issues, and creating strategic development plans in an international business setting.

This year’s scholars — Sarah Elder ‘15, Janna Jansen ‘15, Joe Briesemeister ‘16, and Camille Morley ‘15 — come from a wide range of academic interests and majors, including chemistry, economics, nursing, mathematics, and business, but were brought together by their collective interest in health care innovation and business.

“I am very interested in small businesses and the unique organizational challenges they face. I also have a strong interest in the health care industry,” says Morley, who has previously interned for the U.S. Commercial Service and the Northfield Enterprise Center. “This program allowed me to explore research- and consulting-based work and also gave me a good perspective on living and working internationally.”

Throughout the month, students conducted biotechnology market research and completed a case study for Cardiaccs, a small medical device company in Oslo.

“I feel as though our recommendations and conclusions may ultimately be valued more by a small company with limited resources as opposed to a large entity,” says Briesemeister, who also participated in the Mayo Innovation Scholars Program. “I’m glad that our work has the potential to directly influence the company’s decisions.”

While in Oslo, the students collaborated at NLA University College, a private Christian college in the city.

“We read a lot of articles from scientific databases and spent a lot of time getting a sense for the medical device market — size, products, prices, etc. Since most corporate information is kept private, we had to get creative to find this kind of information,” says Elder, a chemistry major with an interest in intellectual property.

Each afternoon the students met with their on-campus advisors, Associate Professor of Biology Kevin Crisp and Associate Director of Entrepreneurship Roberto Zayas, over Skype to discuss the day’s work.

They were also guided by a Norwegian advisor, Professor Magne Supphellen of both the Norwegian School of Economics and the Hauge School of Management. As one of the leading brand management and marketing experts in Norway, Supphellen helped the students through the marketing and management aspects of their project.

When they weren’t researching their product’s place in the market or reading up on regulations, the students were out exploring Oslo, immersing themselves in Norwegian culture and forming relationships with Norwegian students.

“I loved exploring different neighborhoods and spending time with the Norwegians we met,” says Jansen, a senior nursing major interested in health care innovation. “One of my favorite nights was one of our last. We invited all the Norwegian students we had met to our apartment for food, including delicious Norwegian chocolate. It was a great night celebrating the new friendships we made over the past month.”


Categories: Colleges

Three-parent IVF: scientific progress or “designer babies?”

Manitou Messenger - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 10:18am

My twin and I were born via in-vitro fertilization (IVF), a process of fertilization that manually combines an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish and then transfers the embryo to the uterus. That was the only way for my parents to have children, and it was a process that ultimately allowed me to sit down and write this article. That being said, when I found out about the new legislation in the United Kingdom, I could not pass up the opportunity to express my viewpoint.

In short, the U.K. recently passed legislation that allowed scientists to use the DNA of three donors in order to create babies: sperm from one donor, an egg from another and mitochondria (structures in a cell’s nucleus that produce valuable energy) from a third, which  involves altering a human egg or embryo before transferring it into the mother. This process prevents children from inheriting fatal mitochondrial diseases from their mothers. The U.K. is now the first country in the world to allow for the creation of genetically modified embryos, which critics claim will eventually lead to creating “designer babies” in the future.

For individuals with severe mitochondrial diseases, this development gives hope that their children can live a life free of the pain and suffering they experience. This is truly a life-saving process, yet it differs from the traditional in-vitro process that the world has been coming to terms with the past two decades. In my case, the point of in-vitro was simply for the sake of life, for the hope that my parents could create a family of their own. For my parents there was about a 30 percent chance that the in-vitro process would actually work, and for some reason or another they ended up with twins. As grateful as I am for in-vitro fertilization, I find it hard to come to a decision on whether or not this new step in the process is beneficial.

Many critics have expressed the fear that this new three-donor process could possibly lead to further genetic modification, a concern I also share. I find it hard to go against a process that gave me life, yet at some point I believe a line has to be drawn. I do believe that a step such as three-donor IVF could be the beginning of a landslide of potential pushes to allow for further genetic alteration. As I stated before, “traditional” IVF is simply for the sake of creating life, and even with the technology we have, the process does not always succeed in creating babies. At this point, IVF seems like the furthest we should go, and to throw genetic modification on top of it crosses that line. On the one hand, I feel for the parents who don’t wish to see their children experience pain, yet on the other I see consequences that loom down the road. Perhaps this is just a step in an evolution that is uniquely human, a process that will help our species move into an age of technology. Is it important to protect the health of suffering children, or are we passing a scientific boundary?

To go against these developments makes me feel like a snake that is biting its own tail. I am grateful for the advances that allowed for me to live in this world, yet I still believe that there is a line that can be crossed and that nature has its limits. But then again, maybe if humans can perform processes such as three-donor IVF, it is simply part of nature. We are nature’s creatures, and all of our actions are simply actions that nature has allowed us to perform. Either way, I cannot see a clear answer to any of these questions despite my personal relationship to IVF developments. During these times, I turn to a famous quote by one of my favorite fictional characters, Mewtwo: “I see now that the circumstances of one’s birth are irrelevant; it is what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are.”

Maybe this isn’t a question about what is too far or what negative outcomes might arise, but rather a question about what life is and how our species should value a life free from pain and suffering.

Cole Hatzky ’18 ( is from Iowa City, Iowa. He majors in English.


Categories: Colleges

Sustained Dialogue promotes positive discussion

Manitou Messenger - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 10:10am

Sustained Dialogue (SD) is an action plan that consists of a five-stage process founded by Dr. Hal Saunders, and was newly launched at St. Olaf as a site for students, staff and faculty to meet and exchange ideas for a better environment on campus.

This program sprouted from the conflict resolution methodology of senior Middle East diplomat Saunders, a key drafter of the Camp David Peace Accords. His observation of the evolution of relationships and personal growth through negotiation inspired him to launch the Sustained Dialogue in the hope of improving the way people converse with one another other.

On a campus level, SD aims to promote communications between students and faculty in order alleviate sensitive campus issues. Dialogue groups will consist of eight to15 people who are deeply concerned with the welfare of St. Olaf, and hope to improve the environment for the community as a whole. These groups will meet throughout the spring semester to share stories and together acquire an action plan that will create positive change on campus.

Through the exchange of stories and ideas, people will enhance their communication skills and their relationships with one another, and together effectively solve the problems that their peers find most alarming. SD aims to achieve more than just raise awareness; it gives the participants wider perspectives of issues on campus and instills stronger incentives to work toward the solutions.

Five stages are set to ensure that the program acquires its goal. The first stage is the “Who,” in which the moderators and organizers gather people from different backgrounds with different interests to form dialogue groups. The second stage is the “What,” in which dialogues are individually based; participants will share and exchange their stories in order to address issues that need be alleviated. Stage three is when participants come to the roots of the problems, analyze the causes and get ready for stage four. Stage four focuses on answering the question “how.” This is the transition from a “dialogue mode” into a “planning mode.” Stage five is when action takes place and the production of the dialogue becomes visible.

The moderators of the dialogue are students and faculty members who are passionate about improving the campus community by facilitating areas for participants to exchange ideas, and direct the dialogue in a way that is most relevant to the goal of the dialogues. Moderators must have gone through 18 hours of training in order to qualify for the positions.

Nathan Detweiler ’16, one of the moderators, expressed his expectation for the dialogue.

“Sustained Dialogue is a different kind of interaction. One not defined so much by selling a position or making a point but rather about coming to a common understanding rooted in respect and cognizance of common humanity. It’s not a silver bullet, but rather like a spider trailing threads across two trees. It builds a structure that can bear the weight of many trials. No single thread defines the structure, but in their entirety, they create relationships that are hard to destroy.”

So far, SD has been warmly welcomed in the St. Olaf community, students and faculty members alike, who appreciate the chance to come together to be heard and to hear others. Change does not happen overnight, but hopefully with time, students will begin taking action to improve the St. Olaf community.

Categories: Colleges

Music on Trial: How to discover great new music

Manitou Messenger - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 10:00am

I live in fear of waking up one morning and realizing that I’ve fallen deep into a rut. You know, having the epiphany that I’ve worn variations of the same outfit and pondered variations of the same thoughts while the world around me thrashed, and then oops! years have passed, and I’m closer to death with nothing to show for it.

One of the ways I try to ensure that this will never happen to me is by constantly seeking out new music. However, perfectly-curated playlists don’t arrive in my PO with the same regularity as solicitations from credit card companies and letters from my dear friend, Sallie Mae. Thus, I’ve learned to exploit the resources at my disposal, and I hope you will too, with this handy guide to discovering new music…

Method 1 – Songza: I list this first because it is my personal favorite. I have yet to find another site as comprehensively organized around moods – anything from “aggressive” to “raw” to “nocturnal.” If you’re like me and need your playlist to be 100 percent aligned with what you are feeling in a given moment, check this out. Unlike Pandora, which leans heavily on popular singles, Songza will probably expose you to a song or artist you haven’t heard before.

Method 2 – Word of mouth: Find that kid with the slouchy beanie and black-framed glasses and ask him what he’s listening to these days. Surely you will be enlightened. Just kidding! It’s always a fun conversation starter to ask friends and acquaintances if they’ve heard anything good lately. You can also learn everything you need to know about people by asking them what their favorite song is.

Method 3 – The Current playlist: The only thing Oles love as much as fair-trade coffee and nose piercings is the Current. No shade; it’s totally justified. The radio station consistently delivers a spirited mix of cutting-edge new stuff, forgotten treasures, campy “No Apologies” tracks and indisputable classics. When you hear a song you like, take note of the time, then get the artist info on the station’s daily playlist, which is always up-to-date online.

Method 4 – The Hype Machine: This is for the person who’s already heard everything on the Current – hell, they DJ the Current. This person needs something fresh, something ahead of the curve. The Hype Machine features tracks that are being released and blogged about in real-time.

Method 5 – Spotify (“related artists” feature): This is kind of cheating, because it won’t really take you to any truly breathtaking new territory. It will, however, deepen your understanding of some of your favorite genres and eras. It’s cool to see which artists are in conversation with each other.

Method 6 – Movie/TV soundtracks: If you know how to secure a job being the person who selects movie soundtracks, please hit me up immediately, because that would be a dream. Sometimes even the lamest, soapiest productions (xoxo, Gossip Girl) feature awesome music from bands outside the mainstream. Try to remember one key lyric so you can Google it later.

Method 7 – Live music: Very few “broke” college kids would shell out the money to see an artist with whom they weren’t at all familiar. The opportunity to see a random act perform live at little/no cost does present itself, though. Check out the group rocking one of the dinky, lesser stages at a festival. Show up for the openers for the band you paid to see, instead of just assuming that they’ll suck.

When all this is finished, you’ll experience the adrenaline rush of a successful hunt. Gaze upon the bloodied carcass – I mean, new playlist – with pride. By soundtracking your life in a new way, you might start to see things in a new way.

Categories: Colleges

Greetings and Gratitude Week thanks, honors donors

Manitou Messenger - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 10:00am

From Monday, Feb. 16 to Thursday, Feb. 19, the Office of Stewardship held an event in Buntrock Commons for students who have received endowed scholarships and Interim funding to craft thank-you notes for their respective scholarship donors.

“It’s a way of saying thank you, but also giving the donors the chance to see the impact of their gift,” said Lisa Carey, Stewardship Coordinator and organizer of the card collection and creation. “They are people who believe in the experience and believe in the students, and that people care about supporting their efforts… It’s important to show gratitude to those who have given something to you.”

While this year the program received increased press coverage by St. Olaf College media, the program was first started in 2006. Since its beginning, the program has enjoyed a 95 to 97 percent turnout rate of students coming to create the cards for their donors, a higher statistic than similar programs at other colleges and universities. Generally, the event generates 700 notes per year.

“We are thankful to the students who show up and make it important. It speaks a lot to their integrity,” Carey said.

The cards themselves are part of a three-step annual interaction between the Office of Stewardship, the students and the donors. The first part is a survey that goes out to the scholarship recipients, asking questions relating to why they chose to attend St. Olaf, what their favorite memories at the college have been and content that probes into their interests. This information is generated into a personal profile for the student, completed by a photograph of the student, which is sent to the donor, so that the donor can learn more about the student they are sponsoring.

The second piece to this “jigsaw puzzle” is Greetings and Gratitude Week, where the students are thoroughly encouraged to create their personalized thank-you note. Design wise, there are four possible images to choose from, two freshly plucked from the St. Olaf natural lands and two from the student winners of the international photography contest. Once they select a card, the students update their donors on how first semester and Interim have gone, and they are encouraged to enclose pictures from any study abroad programs they may have experienced in those terms. Students who are abroad during this time can send in pictures from their studying locations and descriptions of their research or reflections on the experience.

“They (the donors) love to see that impact, that the students literally get to go to France, let’s say. This student got to do this research, and this student was able to do these things here. It’s about connecting the dots and making the connections for both sides.”

The impact, however, is not one-sided: through the process of making the notes, the students are provided with individual sheets that detail the history, lineage and significance of the scholarships they receive, so that they can see where they will also fit into its legacy, whether it is to honor the education of a music major or it is a recognition for being from Iowa.

The third interaction is that the donors are invited to Honors Day in May. If the donors decide to attend, then the student they sponsor is also invited, and they will have the opportunity to meet. As the scholarships are created for a variety of reasons and sometimes in memory of those who have already passed away, the donor will be whoever the living contact is for the scholarship. For those who have received the same scholarship several years in a row, it is a reunion for a bond already begun through cards and Honors Days past.

“Students do pretty cool stuff… it’s fun to get to tell the story,” Carey said.

Categories: Colleges

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