Colleges

Knights Sweep Tripleheader; Off to Team’s Best Start in Recent History

Carleton Sports - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 10:09pm

The Carleton College men’s tennis carried an 11-match win streak into Tuesday’s tripleheader, and the Knights remained undefeated after posting identical 9-0 victories over North Central (Ill.) College, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and Buena Vista University. Every member of the squad got into the win column at least one time on the day.

Categories: Colleges

“Dead Man’s Cell Phone” rings of greatness

Manitou Messenger - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 10:00am

The St. Olaf Theatre Department’s newest show, Dead Man’s Cell Phone by Sarah Ruhl, premiered on Thursday, March 12. The run concluded on Sunday, March 15. The production was directed by Shannon Cron ’15, keeping with the department’s annual tradition of a senior theatre major directing one of the season’s shows.

Dead Man’s Cell Phone told the story of a young woman named Jean (Katie Hindman ’15) who finds herself caught up in a surreal journey that blurs the lines between comedy, tragedy and romance after she repeatedly answered the phone of a man that died next to her at a cafe. The playmakers gave themselves an excellent gift in their selection of Ruhl’s beautiful narrative exploration of mortality and human connection.

Building upon the foundation laid by the script, the play continued to impress with its technical aspects. The visually striking set was symmetrical and minimalist, allowing it to serve as the location for a wide variety of scenes with little more than a few changes of furniture. Whether it was a nondescript cafe, a stationery store or a Johannesburg airport, the set always felt like the perfect backdrop for the show’s tone.

The production’s often dim lighting seemed at home in the Theater Building’s smaller stage, Haugen Theater. Dead Man’s Cell Phone was the first play this year, either Department or Deep End APO production, to use Haugen. The venue choice matched the smaller scale of the show, as opposed to the grandness of last month’s Cymbeline or the upcoming Big Fish, both of which chose the much more spacious Kelsey Theater as their venue.

This is not a knock against Dead Man’s Cell Phone, however. The play was only smaller in terms of scope. The script called for a world that appeared to be vacant apart from the main cast. There is a distinct void of ancillary characters. Jean finds a dead man in a cafe and remarks on how the place is completely empty, despite purchasing soup there just minutes before. When Jean is later held up at gunpoint in an airport, there is no fuss and no intervention. In the funeral scene, there is no reference to any attendees we don’t see. The closest we get is a grieving mother attempting to hug various members of the audience. Just as no one sees the owner of the cell phone pass away, no one sees anything that happened to the characters in the play.

No one outside of the story has any stake in the fate of the characters. The world would  not have stopped if Jean actually had died in the second act. The mother’s grieving has no impact on the society around her. Even the dead man’s black market organ trade empire is able to move on without him. In Cymbeline, we saw personal conflicts lead to a clash of Britons versus Romans played out on the fields of war. Conversely, this show seems to have much lower stakes, which actually provides the true magic of the play. In a world without witnesses, the audience becomes the sole witness. We feel a responsibility to invest in these characters because no one else could.

Another interesting aspect of the show was the set changes. Rather than having blackouts, the audience watched as the stage hands moved the props around for the next scene. To keep this entertaining, transitions were accompanied by a catchy electro-swing tune. In a comic twist, the stage hands did all of their work rather begrudgingly as they scoffed at the inhabitants of the play’s decidedly empty world. The joke never really progressed, unfortunately, but it was still interesting to see how various characters interacted with the stage hands as they all flurried about the stage, getting in each other’s ways.

The play’s acting was top-notch all around. As the protagonist, Hindman was wonderfully quirky, able to bring the audience to laughs with the subtlest of movements. Her chemistry with love interest Dwight (Joey LeBrun ’15) was very nice and brought a lot of heart to the show. It was a joy to see Jean’s reactions to the play’s eccentric characters, from an awkward conversation with the dead man’s snooty wife (Stacie Argyrou ’16) to wrestling for a gun with a stranger at the airport (Emily Field-Olson ’16).

The dead man’s mother, Mrs. Gottlieb (Christa Schmidt ’16), was probably the funniest character in the show. Schmidt had the audience in stitches every time she waddled on stage wailing about whatever it was upsetting her that minute. Though the character was absurd, Schmidt was able to make Mrs. Gottlieb believable within the world of the play, even as she ran into a large outdoor grill to meet her son in the afterlife.

The biggest show-stealer, however, was none other than the titular dead man himself, Gordon (Dylan Stratton ’16). Though we did not get to see much of Stratton in the first act, other than his impressive ability to sit still for lengthy periods, he opens the second act with hilarious and heartfelt monologue reflecting on his last day alive. In a way, Stratton actually played two characters: the actual, flawed but lovable Gordon, and then later a much meaner, vicious Gordon in Jean’s nightmare. Stratton displayed expert acting versatility not only in these variations of his character, but also in his ability to seamlessly switch between rib-tickling humor and heart piercing drama.

I don’t usually like to give glowing reviews; having no criticisms makes me feel like I’m not doing my job right. But other than maybe the choreography of the one fight scene being a tad hit-or-miss (literally and figuratively), I don’t really have any complaints. Dead Man’s Cell Phone was a wonderful play and the best show of St. Olaf’s theater season so far.

The next department show is Big Fish, which premieres April 9, and runs until April 12. Tickets are available now in the box office and online.

mayo1@stolaf.edu

Photo Credit: ANDREW WILDER/MANITOU MESSENGER

Categories: Colleges

A Letter

Manitou Messenger - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 10:00am

*Note: This is a piece of creative work and not an actual letter written by James Reeb.

Dear Oles,

The days have gone long; long have they gone. And yet, so fast it seems, since the last time I set my feet upon the grassy plains of the hill, under the peacefulness of a spring breeze, or across the sea of snows that covered the campus tree to tree.

One could not imagine the jubilation and excitement that roused within my heart, as I gazed my eyes upon this alma mater of mine, which has changed so much within such a short space of time. Many have come and gone, saying to everyone that change is good, and change is needed. And indeed, most of the time it is truly so.

Lo, how I see it, the world in which you live in right now has fallen under a greater cross. The conflicts of man have divided us inside and out. From home to neighborhood, from neighborhood to community, from community to society, from society to a nation. Within every turn, behind the mask of a decent smile, and the assuring tone of “I am good,” there is despair, there is hatred, there is suspicion, there is arrogance; so much so, it seems that what defines a person has no more relevance at all.

We are all living our own lives, setting our own standards, meeting our own needs – and we are blinded inside and out to the silent faces and wailing hearts who longed for a human to be the way a human should be.

And yet, out of all the obstacles and roadblocks, somewhere around the corners of the Hill, there are always Oles, one or two, many or few, willing to take up the standards of humanity, truly living up to our “job descriptions,” both as Oles and humans alike. Step by step, a path starts to shape within all of you I see, a path of life that you laid down through your toil, sweat and tears, stone by stone, human by human, one deed after another.

Whether or not you choose to take this path is entirely up to you, although I know that an Ole will choose what needs to be chosen, not for his sake alone, but for the sake of others. For the eyes of your head can be closed, but never let the eyes of your heart go blind.

Alas, my time comes with a struggle, a choice and an outcome of its own. I can simply say that is your turn now to live these things in your life as well, Oles. And yet, whatever everyone says and thinks, I know that from what you obtained here, all of you will create a path of your own, transforming yourself and this world that we live in, one step at a time. As my friend Kempis used to say, “The wider, the more exact your learning, the more severe will be your judgment, if it has not taught you to live holily.”

And at long last, my dear Oles, you could not be, nor do I wish to see you, become an inactive spectators. None of you will ever know the cost that we who lived before you have paid for a life that is worth living. My last hope is that you will make a good use of it. For if you do not, I shall repent in heaven that I ever took the pains that were cast down upon me in order to preserve it.

Um Ya Ya.

18:04 Post Meridiem

St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN

Yours sincerely and respectfully,

James Reeb

pattin1@stolaf.edu

Categories: Colleges

Fixation on Clinton e-mail is ‘ridiculous’

Manitou Messenger - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 9:49am

Most of us will never end up as the Secretary of State or potentially have an extremely high-profile presidential run. Though we all sometimes take some shortcuts to get what we want, not all of our mistakes will be publicly exposed. A probable Democratic frontrunner, Hillary Rodham Clinton, has recently been put in such a difficult situation.

Media outlets have recently highlighted Clinton using her private e-mail account for government correspondence during her time as Secretary of State. I’m sure every one of us has used a private e-mail account to send a school or work e-mail. While most of us are not in positions of power, it is something that almost everyone has done at one time or another. The issue at hand is that Clinton may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record, which some government officials are calling a “serious breach.”

Without a doubt, what Clinton did was not correct due to its violation of the Federal Records Act. By using her private e-mail, she corresponded with foreign dignitaries in a way that could not be completely monitored by the U.S. government. However, how many of us can completely separate work and personal matters, especially within a job as prominent and demanding as Secretary of State?

The uproar surrounding these communications is already moving into its second week. Clinton tried to avoid speaking about the issue, hoping it would blow over, but it did not.

The first thing that Clinton did when she got in front of a room full of press at the United Nations was apologize and admit to her mistake. However, that did not seem to quell the stream of questions and the press conference quickly descended into a defensive mockery of civilized discussion.

But who really cares? All of her work-related e-mails are being released, and 55,000 pages have already been pored over. In addition to that, the public nature of her job leads one to assume that Clinton was not actively trying to keep her actions secret by using her private e-mail; it was simply an oversight. Unfortunately, making a story out of her mistake sells papers, so it has been blown out of proportion.

Nothing can prompt us to pick up a paper like a big picture of someone we love to hate facing hordes of hostile reporters. Of course, nothing of any substance is discussed in news articles that use words like “yoga” and “wedding” more frequently than terms actually relevant to Clinton’s former job description. The import that our nation’s media is giving to a situation of questionable relevance belies the American people’s preference for sensationalism.

In a country that is facing massive internal crises, such as police forces’ treatment of citizens and the vast gulf between our two major political parties, focusing on this triviality is extremely detrimental to facilitating any sort of positive political discourse. We can’t seem to go ten minutes into a news show without mentioning personal e-mails sent by a woman who hasn’t proven herself to be untrustworthy, but we spend little to no time on other issues of actual domestic importance.

A situation such as this cannot get much more ridiculous, but I am sure the media can find a way to make the e-mails of a woman doing her job an even bigger “scandal.”

Although, did you see her hair at the press conference? It looked really nice; I think that she has been doing something new with it.

Christine Barkley ’18 (barkle1@stolaf.edu) is from St. Paul, Minn. Her major is undecided.

Categories: Colleges

Knights Dominate Nebraska Wesleyan to Improve to 11-0

Carleton Sports - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 11:28pm

The Carleton College men’s tennis team extended its season-opening win streak to 11 matches with a decisive 9-0 triumph over Nebraska Wesleyan University. The day’s second contest versus Elmhurst College was postponed by rain and re-scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

Categories: Colleges

Lots of LOBs in Loss to Carthage

Carleton Sports - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 10:00pm

Defensive miscues and an absence of timely hitting proved to be too much for the Carleton College baseball team to overcome as the Knights dropped a contest with Carthage College by a final tally of 8-5 despite a 4-for-5 day at the plate from junior Hayden Tsutsui, who belted his fourth home run of the season. Carleton left a total of 10 runners on base throughout the course of the game, which proved pivotal to the outcome.

Categories: Colleges

Basketball falls short in Sweet Sixteen

Manitou Messenger - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 4:04pm

The last few weeks have been an exciting time for the St. Olaf  men’s basketball team. The Oles had been working extremely hard to prepare for the third round of the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Championship. The team traveled to Rock Island, Ill. to face Marietta College on Friday, March 13.

The Oles had the opportunity to upset the 12th seeded Pioneers, who hail from Marietta, Ohio. Despite leading throughout the contest, the Oles were overcome by the Pioneers, eventually falling by a score of 72-79.

The Oles started the game strongly, taking a 36-29 lead into the half-time break. A strong and intense struggle between the teams then ensued. In total, St. Olaf had 10 turnovers while Marietta had nine.

In the second half, the Pioneers made a comeback and took the lead. St. Olaf led by as many as 12 in the second half, but the Pioneers used a 19-5 run to take a 65-61 lead with 5:12 left. The Oles refused to give up, bringing the lead back to a single point twice in the dying minutes. Unfortunately for the Oles, the Pioneers were able to hold the lead for the remainder of the game. The Oles, who only turned the ball over twice in the first half, were plagued by turnovers in the second as Marietta forced eight in the final 20 minutes.

Despite strong performances from Ben Figini ’16 and Sterling Nielsen ’15, who combined for 32 points, the Oles  they fell by a scoreline of 72-79. Austin Majeskie ’17 and  Riley Aeikens ’16 also had strong performances with 11 points apiece. Unfortunately, this loss ended St. Olaf’s strong run in the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Championship.

The NCAA appearance was the second straight for St. Olaf, who fell in the first round of the tournament last season. The Oles’ adventure into the Sweet Sixteen was the first in program history and was accompanied by a team record of 23 wins.

The season in not quite over for Nielsen, who was one of 18 NCAA Division III senior players to be selected to play in the Reese’s Division III College All-Star game. The game will be played on March 21 in Salem, Va. The selection caps a stellar season for Nielsen, who was an All-MIAC, MIAC All-Defensive and D3hoops.com All-West Region second team selection.

Figini was recognized for his strong season, also being named to the D3hoops.com All-West Region second team. Figini led the Oles in scoring (16.9 ppg), rebounding (5.8/game) and shot 56.5 percent from the floor.

briche1@stolaf.edu

nolans@stolaf.edu

Categories: Colleges

St. Olaf names director of college relations for music organizations

St. Olaf College - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 2:08pm

St. Olaf Vice President for Enrollment and College Relations Michael Kyle ’85 has announced the appointment of Jean Strohm Parish ’88 as the director of college relations for music organizations.

Parish, who is currently the general manager of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, has more than 25 years of experience in performing arts administration. In her new role at St. Olaf, she will direct and promote the creative, innovative, and entrepreneurial direction of the college’s music organizations, St. Olaf Records, and the St. Olaf Christmas Festival.

She will join the college May 11.

“I am deeply honored to be offered this opportunity to serve St. Olaf College and its music organizations,” Parish says. “I look forward to working collaboratively with faculty, staff, and students, to further the mission and goals of the college, and to build on the tremendous legacy of the music organizations.”

A vocal performance major at St. Olaf, Parish also earned her master of music degree in choral conducting from the University of South Florida.

She began her career as an arts administrator in orchestra management for the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra before moving on to serve as the director of operations for the Chicago Children’s Choir. She then served as the tour and media manager of the New York Philharmonic, where she managed and executed the annual international tours and media activities of the orchestra.

After leaving the New York Philharmonic, Parish spent nearly a decade working as a freelance arts administrator.

Parish has been the general manager of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra since 2009, where, as a senior member of management, she has helped to lead the strategic direction, culture, and evolution of the orchestra. She has oversight of the areas of Operations, Education and Community Engagement, the Liquid Music series, Human Resources, IT, Administration, and Facilities, and throughout her work continually strives to advance the ensemble’s role as a leading advocate for classical music in the Twin Cities.

She will take over at St. Olaf for Bob Johnson, who is retiring this spring after directing the college’s music organizations for 37 years.

Categories: Colleges

Censorship is ███

Manitou Messenger - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 10:00am

“What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist,” novelist Salman Rushdie once famously proclaimed. Every time we think about Rushdie’s words, there’s one thing that comes to mind – working for the Manitou Messenger.

Yep, that’s right. There is no place where the freedom to offend is more limited than in a Lutheran, private, liberal arts college newspaper. It’s more important to sound positive and encouraging than it is to tell the objective, harsh truth. It doesn’t matter how many points the football team loses by; it was a “valiant effort.”

The latest student play sucked? What a wonderful opportunity it was for students to display their talents. Half the student body is criminals and thieves who steal property from the Caf in the form of mugs? It’d be really appreciated if you could please bring them back, guys.

You see, everything gets dressed up nicely, rather than the cold, hard truth being put into print. We think it’s high time to break free from political correctness and convey a few of these cold hard truths to our fellow Oles out there.

We’ll be surprised if this article even sees print. Already being in the gender minority on this editorial staff, we’ve had to overcome a lot of obstacles, only to have our voices stifled. Here are a few examples of ideas that have been crushed:

1. We all either know of or have experienced the sensation of defecating slightly whilst passing gas. We would argue that it is a vital and unavoidable part of growing up. However, God forbid we use the socially acceptable term for this aforementioned act. See How Authors Respect Truth?

2. Satire is “the use of humor, irony, exaggeration or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.” While this seems like a straightforward and overarching definition, the tyrants at the newspaper have found a way to redefine the word solely for the sake of extending their tyrannical powers.

Imagine this: a young, aspiring, handsome, cool, hot, talented Variety editor for the Manitou Messenger strides confidently into the office with a great pitch for a satire article.

He describes his idea about writing an article detailing the fictional event of a school administrator, whose initials resemble a public demonstration of love, tweeting a picture of a not-so-flattering part of his body.

Everyone laughs and falls in love with said editor. Then the executive editors come in and rip up his pitch in front of his tear-filled eyes. They hate fun. They hate laughter and good ideas. There is only so much we can do.

3. The censorship isn’t exclusive to printed words; even our office conversations have been attacked. The other day, someone made an observation and said, “he is rocking out.”  One of us said, in response, “he is rocking out with his caulking out.” Panic ensued. They told us that “caulking” is the line. What? The simple act of closing up joints and gaps in buildings is now off limits?  We need serious help.

4. Every time a male member of the staff tries to speak out in a wonderful embrace of his physical characteristics, he is quickly shut down. If there’s one thing that it’s hard to be in the 21st century, it’s a male who’s proud of what he possesses physically, and this office is a microcosm of wider society.

Can any brothers out there who’ve felt ashamed to boast of their special body parts give me an amen? Don’t be scared; don’t be silenced. You’re bigger than this.

While we joke and kid, we’ve both absolutely loved writing for this newspaper while spending time with all the Beautiful Journalistic Ladies on staff and are glad that articles like this are allowed to be published.

pelegano@stolaf.edu

nolans@stolaf.edu

Categories: Colleges

Honoring James Reeb ’50

Manitou Messenger - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 9:36am

Last week, St. Olaf hosted several events in commemoration of the death of James Reeb ’50, who fought for civil rights in the ’60s, called  “A Long Walk Home: 50 Years of Climbing the Hill to Freedom.” The week of March 9 marked the 50th anniversary of what later became known as “Turnaround Tuesday,” where the killing of white clergymen on the Edmund Pettus Bridge inspired protests around the nation that ended in the passing of Voting Rights Act of 1965.

On March 12, a chapel service honoring Reeb was followed by a dedication of the James Reeb Reflection Room. During the chapel service, James Reeb’s granddaughter Leah, “recognized the importance that St. Olaf had in [her] grandfather’s life and his development and what led him to take part in his various efforts towards equality.”

Ann Reeb, James’ daughter, also spoke about the importance of continuing to speak out against what is wrong even today, to show that what Reeb sacrificed his life for will not go in vain. Ann Reeb said, “When there is something that you see that is wrong, stand up, use your voice, carry on.” The new dedication in Rolvaag details Reeb’s story of protest and his death, and invites those present to reflect on his contributions.

Throughout the week, there were film screenings of the movie Selma, which include the scene where James Reeb is attacked on the Edmund Pettus Bridge and gallery talks on the opening of the art exhibit capturing the civil rights’ protests. The Flaten Art Museum will continue to have the special exhibit “Selma to Montgomery: Marching Along the Civil Rights Trail” which will remain up until April 12. The exhibit includes 45 photographs by Stephen Somerstein that capture the spirit of the protesters in Alabama at the time.

dipietro@stolaf.edu

Photo Credit: MAGGIE SHAVER/MANITOU MESSENGER

Categories: Colleges

Bats Quiet as Knights Drop Pair on Sunday

Carleton Sports - Sun, 03/22/2015 - 11:54pm

The Carleton College softball team collected a dozen hits—all singles—during its two games on Sunday afternoon, but could muster only two runs total in falling 6-2 to Hamilton (N.Y.) College and 1-0 to Carthage (Wis.) College. The setbacks dropped the Knights to 5-5 on the season.

Categories: Colleges

Late Rally Falls Short as Knights Drop Another Close Game

Carleton Sports - Sun, 03/22/2015 - 8:58pm

In a matchup of academic powerhouses, the Carleton College baseball team dropped a 5-4 decision to Williams College. The Knights slipped to 1-3 on their annual spring trip as they absorbed their fourth one-run setback of the season.

Categories: Colleges

Thomas Pope lectures on successful storytelling

Manitou Messenger - Sun, 03/22/2015 - 4:16pm

Thomas Pope, a professional screenwriter and artist in residence at St. Olaf, started his presentation on storytelling with a PowerPoint. Despite the inclusion of technology as a modern storytelling technique, Pope began with a timeless classic: “once upon a time. . . .”

Continuing the classic beginning, Pope told the audience a story that had a basic structure. A curious individual asks a wise man a probing question: “What holds up the world?” The wise man responds, “An elephant holds up the world.” Obviously unsatisfied by that answer, the individual asks, “What holds up the elephant?” This can get to be quite annoying for the old master, as the writer noted, ending his short narrative with a line we all know so well: “Kid, don’t bother me.”

What does hold up the last elephant? What holds a story up? This is the question that the professional storyteller has been attempting to answer, and what he presented to a room full of students in Rolvaag 525 on Tuesday, March 10.

Starting the meat of the presentation with a description of the basic structure of a story, Pope embarked on a 40-minute lecture that, while entertaining, resembled a middle grade picture book.

The professional screenwriter stripped the art of storytelling down to its basics: a lot of cause and effect makes a story.

In addition to cause and effect, contingency and coincidence make a story interesting and worth telling. These two elements made up the bulk of the presentation.

Beginning with the three-act structure that has been the building block for hundreds of years, Pope first explained the finer points of cause and effect.

“Every event in a story wears two hats: cause and effect,” Pope said. “Every event in a story is an effect of another event and a cause of a later one.” Causality is the most basic element of a story. It has to be there. It is not random at all, it is what makes sense to us.

However, a story with just causality would be absolutely dull, and no storyteller could ever be successful with that one element. This is where contingency comes in, to add some “spice.”

Contingency is the occurrence of some random events. It is commonly used to provide interest in a story. Where causality can commonly be represented by the protagonist, contingency can be represented by God.

“The protagonist is a plot magnet, walking through a contingent minefield,” Pope said. If contingency is God, then coincidence is plain insanity. This is what writers turn to when they have nothing else to use. This is when the aliens appear out of nowhere. Coincidence feels like a cheat.

“You can make a lot of money with that sort of crap in Hollywood,” Pope said.

The presentation was punctuated with interesting facts, such as, “when you have a casual world, it leads to a drama, and when you have a contingent nightmare, it leads to a tragedy.” Pope also included one tidbit that took a bit of the magic away from storytelling.

“They lived ‘happily ever after’ just means that they lived in a state of reduced tension,” Pope said.

Pope ended the lecture on an interesting note, introducing a fourth element to the basics of a story: choice, the choices of the protagonist and of the other characters. This is an especially relevant element in society today, with video games being so prevalent. He went so far as to say that he recognized a new generation of storytelling watching his sons play video games.

St. Olaf students, staff and community members alike took valuable insight away from Pope’s talk.

Pope has been a screenwriter for 30 years, working with Francis Coppola, Robert Redford, Wim Wenders and many others.

barkle1@stolaf.edu

Categories: Colleges

Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias

Manitou Messenger - Sun, 03/22/2015 - 10:00am

“Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias.” This photo was captured by Ethan Boote ’15, during his Ole Band tour to Spain, with his iPhone.

Categories: Colleges

Standardized testing underscores problems in educational system

Manitou Messenger - Sun, 03/22/2015 - 9:48am

Standardized testing has recently received more headline space with the emergence of a widespread “opt-out movement,” in which parents are opting to keep their children from taking standardized tests. The debate on standardized testing is not a new one, however. Standardized testing has been a part of the American education system since the mid-1800s, but their use increased in 2002 after the passing of the No Child Left Behind Act. Has this additional testing actually advanced education or is there some validity to many parents’ concerns surrounding the practice of standardized testing?

One claim that proponents of standardized testing make is that tests are the only way to fairly and objectively measure students’ academic abilities. While it may be objective and seem fair, some students are naturally better test-takers than others. There are six different types of learners: visual, auditory, tactile, kinesthetic, analytical and global. Out of these six groups, only the visual and analytical learners are able naturally to look at a standardized test with lots of words, graphics and clear objectives, and extract the information from it.

While many students are taught how to become visual and analytical learners, teachers prefer to use an auditory teaching style. Lectures and larger discussions are great for auditory and global learners, but in a standardized testing room there is only silence and the spinning thoughts inside a test-taker’s head. Tactile learners, who need physical learning tools, have nothing but a pencil and booklet to help them remember what they have learned. Kinesthetic learners become restless in their seats when they are forced to sit in one place for an extended amount of time. If there is more than one type of learner, shouldn’t there be more than one type of standardized test?

Another argument proponents make is that stricter standards and increased testing are better in terms of preparing students for college. In January 1998, Public Agenda found that 66 percent of college professors said “elementary and high schools expect students to learn too little.” By March 2002, after a surge in testing and the passing of NCLB, that figure dropped to 47 percent, “in direct support of higher expectations, strengthened standards and better tests.”

To be honest, secondary education is not based on testing alone. At many institutions, students may take only two tests during one course – a midterm and a final. College preparation courses, such as classes at community colleges or Advanced Placement (AP) classes in high school, may do a better job at preparing students for classes at the university level than a standardized test does. The AP tests themselves are not what prepare students for college, but the intensity, curriculum and larger workloads are what challenge and assess a student’s ability to perform at an accelerated college level.

While these tests play a role in determining a somewhat holistic view of a state or country’s educational system, there are pitfalls to the current system that make them more of an expensive, bureaucratic hassle than a helpful tool.

Maggie Shaver ’17 (shaver@stolaf.edu) is from Centennial, Colo. She majors in English and sociology/anthropology with a management concentration.

Graphic Credit: LOUISA CARROLL/MANITOU MESSENGER

Categories: Colleges

Small Contingent Stands Tall at Westmont Collegiate

Carleton Sports - Sat, 03/21/2015 - 11:40pm

Five members of the Carleton College men’s track and field team wrapped up the squad’s time in Southern California by taking part in the Westmont College Collegiate meet on Saturday. Jerry Cook-Gallardo and Jonah Barry highlighted the day with career-best performances.

Categories: Colleges

Maria Wetzel Secures All-America Honorable Mention in 200 Backstroke

Carleton Sports - Sat, 03/21/2015 - 9:44pm

Sophomore Maria Wetzel became the latest in a long line of Carleton College swimmers to shine on the national scene when she received All-America Honorable Mention after finishing 16th in the 200-yard backstroke at the NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships. Carleton women have now turned in 55 All-America or All-America Honorable Mention performances since 1999.

Categories: Colleges

Revisiting ‘It’s On Us’ with media projects: Task force aims to provide educational material on current campus policy

Manitou Messenger - Sat, 03/21/2015 - 3:25pm

Since its implementation in the fall, the “It’s On Us” initiative continued working  “to create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.” SGA recently created a task force to discuss innovative ways to educate St. Olaf students about sexual assault.

The “It’s On Us” student-run task force works to incorporate as many campus voices as possible. The task force was created by the SGA wellness subcommittee. It also has ties to the Wellness Center, SARN and the Gender and Sexuality Center.

“We wanted students feedback,” wellness subcommittee leader Olivia Luther said. “Some people really want to have a voice with this issue, so we thought this was a really great way of giving students that opportunity to share what they think about the It’s On Us task force, or how they think they can share their voice and prevent sexual assault.”

While incorporating voices from all over campus, the task force was also able to include students from all years, which has helped ease the worry that campaign would not be sustainable beyond this year. First years such as Swannie Willstein ’18 and Rita Thorsen ’18 dove right in and assumed leadership positions in the policy subcommittee of the task force. Organization members encouraged them to contribute, take on leadership roles and work through the organization to not only make St. Olaf a safe environment, but also create tangible change.

“The task force has provided a situation where we all come to the table from different backgrounds and perspectives,” Thorsen said. “But each opinion is equally valued, and it has propagated an environment in which we can be leaders.”

The involvement of underclassmen is critical to making sure the organization continues to grow and make a difference.The task force deals with preventative issues, such as education and awareness.  The changing of campus culture will take time and effort by the larger student body.

The task force is divided into three subcommittees, where members work on poster and video campaigns and review St. Olaf policy on assault. These three subcommittees are only starting points and organization members are open to other ideas for the task force. The subcommittee members in each group are not limited to their own individual committee, they are encouraged to contribute to all aspects of the organization.

The current video project will identify different terms such as consent and sexual assault and will also include resources for students to get more information.

“We plan to get students from all over campus so that when we launch this digital campaign, people will be tagged from all over campus,” SGA president Rachel Palermo ’15 said. “Their friends will then see the video, and hopefully take the time and watch it and learn about this education campaign.”

The committee hopes that a social media campaign will spread the message to a large proportion of the student body. The poster campaign has similar goals. It aims to create slogans that not only incorporate the key pledges of the It’s On Us campaign, but also provide another quick educational reminder about sexual assault in hopes of changing campus culture.

The policy subcommittee has worked on reviewing campus policy and reporting processes. They want to make their message as clear as possible in an attempt to alleviate some of the confusion that comes along with such a sensitive and complicated topic. The policy subcommittee also works closely with Dean Greg Kneser and other administration members who serve as advisors for the committee.

“The administration is extremely supportive, and they are faced with such a difficult task because each individual case is being so specific, and all of the codes and rule systems they need to follow,” Willstein said. “But I know they are doing everything in their power and they care so much, it’s just a really difficult situation.”

The task force is always looking for new voices, and welcomes all students to come share ideas and get involved in an important and relevant issue. Meetings are at 6:30pm on Sundays in BC 143. All are welcome to come contribute or just listen and be a part of change.

“Sexual assault is an issue and it should be addressed,” Palermo said. “It’s not just a women’s issue, it’s an issue that effects everyone. It’s so important for our society as a whole to get that, so we need to address it.”

madsen1@stolaf.edu

Graphic Credit: ETHAN BOOTE/MANITOU MESSENGER

Categories: Colleges

‘Social smokers’ muddle addiction definition

Manitou Messenger - Sat, 03/21/2015 - 9:44am

Recently, salon.com published an article about a new trend among Millennials dubbed “social smoking.” Now, more than ever, college students are beginning to smoke without defining themselves as smokers, but instead justifying it as something they only do when they drink or engage in social situations. This practice has grown recently, profiting from technology such as e-cigarettes, and its reasoning makes it easier for many to explain their smoking behavior as not overly damaging to their health in the long term. This trend is also interesting in that it marks a very substantial change: these young people are the largest participating demographic of smokers.

Overall, this trend is fairly easy to trace but difficult to fully explain as a social phenomenon. The majority of these young smokers consume a relatively small number of cigarettes compared to the average smoker. This practice is generally limited, especially among college students, to a few times a week and generally not every day. This leads to questioning the terms of what it means to be a smoker. Among this millennial population, the majority (regardless of their consumption or dependency) would not classify themselves as smokers, but rather claim that smoking is simply an activity they partake in when the situation warrants it. Such is the nature of “social smoking.”

So how real is this phenomenon of “social smoking,” and what are its implications as a designation in the millennial social environment? It seems that the most basic definition of a smoker would be one who consumes cigarettes, but if the individual has no real dependency on the substance and their consumption is intermittent or wholly situational, then perhaps the label is somewhat misguided. The designation becomes even more difficult when you take into account smoking apparatuses like e-cigs, of which the health risks are somewhat less extreme. I don’t argue that the idea of social smoking exists or that it is significantly less damaging than consistent smoking, but to discount it entirely as a safe or positive movement is to ignore its greater ideological implications and social impacts.

Whether or not those who are beginning to smoke now are becoming addicted to cigarettes, the movement is dangerous in the attitude that it fosters toward smoking in general. Cigarettes carry an extreme health risk, as everyone of course knows. Your doctor will tell you, your grandpa will tell you and even the pack that the cigarettes come in will tell you that. It is not a secret to anyone. With this in mind, those who choose to start now are doing so with the knowledge that it is damaging, so there are likely few witless victims at this point, seduced by the allure of smoking but ignorant of the intrinsic damage of the practice. At this level, there is nothing wrong with taking up the practice as an individual, but as a social movement it appears fairly negative.

So much has been done in the last century to make smoking more difficult. Places where it is allowed are limited, the cigarettes themselves are heavily taxed and overpriced and there is enough of a social stigma that smoking publicly is likely to garner a few judgmental glances. It seems likely that those who are beginning now are doing it as a countercultural move – as a reaction to what is expected as conventional.

While the opportunity for individuals to decide their own behaviors is extremely important, it is also important to consider the long term ramifications of behavior. A couple cigarettes may not be damaging, but smoking can very easily become a habit difficult to break, especially in the busy, tumultuous years immediately after college.

Conlan Campbell ’18 (campbe1@stolaf.edu) is from Burnsville, Minn. His major is undecided.

Graphic Credit: LOUISA CARROLL/MANITOU MESSENGER

Categories: Colleges

Campbell, Escher national champions: Oles win titles, place highly at NCAA Championships

Manitou Messenger - Sat, 03/21/2015 - 8:52am

Four Oles competed in the Division III Indoor Track and Field National Championships on March 13 and 14 in Salem, N.C., with all four having success in their respective events. Paul Escher ’16 competed in the mile, Jake Campbell ’16 in both the 3000m and the 5000m,  Grant Wintheiser ’15 in the 3000m and Danielle Larson ’15 in the pentathlon and high jump.

Escher won the individual title in the mile race with a time of 4:12.07, pulling away in the final 250 meters after sitting in the back of the pack for much of the race. Campbell won the 3000m with Wintheiser coming in as the runner-up, one second behind his fellow Ole Wintheiser. Campbell’s time of 8:10.55 was the fastest in Division III during the men’s indoor season this year. Wintheiser held the lead for the majority of the race, with Campbell surging in the final 50m to claim the national title from his teammate.

Along with the victory in the 3000m, Campbell also placed fourth in the 5000m with a time of 14:32.55. Campbell found himself in the second place position during part of the race, but managed to maintain a fourth place position by the end of the race.

The Ole men finished fourth in the team standing with 33 points, with University of Wisconsin– Eau Claire eventually taking the team title with 62 points. Considering that the Oles only had three athletes competing on the men’s side, it is very impressive that they finished so highly against many other teams that could sport greater attendance.

As the lone representative of the St. Olaf women’s track and field team, Larson was an All-American in the pentathlon as she finished seventh with 3,400 points. Larson won the high jump section of the pentathlon with a height of 1.64. She also had success in the 800m race, finishing second in 2:20.92. In the long jump, 60 meter hurdles and shot put, she placed 16th, 12th and 10th respectively.

In the high jump event, Larson cleared a height of 1.65 meters, enough to earn herself an 11th place finish.

The outdoor season begins for both the St. Olaf men’s and women’s track and field teams on April 11 at Hamline University.

hatzky1@stolaf.edu

Photo Credit: MADISON VANG/MANITOU MESSENGER

Categories: Colleges

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