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Carleton’s six-week holiday break - over half a term - is a firmly ingrained tradition. But is the time frame of six weeks squeezed in between holidays best for students?
The noise level in the front row at a rock concert is typically about 110 decibels. The cheering inside Carleton College's Thorpe Pool topped 120 on Tuesday.
From placing furniture on the Bald Spot to adding water bottle refilling stations to Sayles, the CSA’s Committee for Student Projects (CSP) is researching how to spend the $170,000 that has accumulated as a result of the Carleton Student Association’s past 12 years of budget surpluses.
Zonnie Gorman spoke from the heart last Friday about the experiences of the Navajo code talkers and the important contribution they made to World War II that is often overlooked.
Someone heard a rumor that a tortoise was being shipped to Carleton through the post office, and I was determined to track down the mystery pet.
In recent visits to our beautiful, crisp, November Arboretum, I find myself doing quite a bit of reflection. As a senior whose next two terms are pulling me away from the Arboretum towards other work-related pursuits, this is the last time I will be writing Arb notes.
Most colleges want to broadcast how intelligent, thoughtful and engaged their student body is. Colleges’ view books, the ones that are sent to prospective high school juniors and seniors, consistently advertise the "model student" who is a brilliant academic, an active member of various clubs or teams, and a humanitarian in the works— engaged in meaningful community service.
Costume director Mary Ann Kelling has spent thirteen years getting Carls gussied up before they hit the stage – even in the midst of chemotherapy and radiation treatment for breast cancer. This week I sat down to chat with her about sewing, teaching, and design theory.
Carleton’s modern dance company, Semaphore, had their fall dance recital last weekend.
Some were hoping for a new friend. Others, “a French girl.” One sophomore only came because his roommate talked him into it. “I’m hoping that it’s not awkward enough to kill me,” he said.
Many college seniors are currently busy applying to jobs and programs, but what about students who dream of creating their own company?
The St. Olaf College Piper Center for Vocation and Career recently invited a small group of students interested in entrepreneurship and innovation to visit CoCo Minneapolis, a coworking space that provides small companies with offices and meeting rooms they can use as the base of their operations.
The students, who had each received a Finstad Entrepreneurial Grant or had been selected for the Mayo Innovation Scholars Program, were invited to CoCo as part of the St. Olaf Entrepreneurial Internship Program. The visit to the coworking space enabled them to engage in discussion with, and offer their services to, the small business owners who are currently making use of the facility.
They also heard from entrepreneurs who used CoCo to jump start successful companies, including Jon Pearce ’01, the CEO and founder of Zipnosis, a diagnostic site that connects clinicians and patients online.
“Taking even a couple hours to see, nuts and bolts, where and how entrepreneurs live and work, is a vital experience to have,” says Pearce. “It expands young minds, and hopefully instills a realistic expectation for what it takes to be an entrepreneur.”
The Entrepreneurial Internship Program is based on a similar program created by the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management for its MBA students.
“Owners of these companies at CoCo believe our students are as good as those getting their MBAs at the University of Minnesota,” says St. Olaf Associate Director of Entrepreneurship Roberto Zayas. “Needless to say, we are very proud of our students' skills and achievements.”
The visit to CoCo was an opportunity to connect students to internships that will provide hands-on experience in the world of start-up companies. The trip also gave many of the students an up-close look at the reality of being an entrepreneur.
“It’s easy to envision becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates,” says Patrick McWilliams ’14. "But little thought goes into the enormous sacrifices, dedication, and absolute confidence that everyday entrepreneurs must achieve. The entrepreneurs at CoCo showed me this through real personal stories and examples.”
Abdi Musse '15 says visiting CoCo made him realize the power and importance of networking.
"Whether you enjoy networking or not, it always helps to find out as much as you can about a sector," he says. "Learning to have conversations with a wider group of people is a relatively small step, but it will still make a big difference.”
According to Pearce, these small steps are crucial to the success of an innovator.
“It’s not about the idea, but making the choice to start walking, heading toward the change and vision you see,” he says. “I challenge all Oles to think broadly about their own experience and how they might share with the next generation.”
The St. Olaf men’s hockey team traveled across the state border for a pair of games over the weekend. The Oles were looking for their first win of the season, but unfortunately returned home after suffering two losses.
On Friday, Nov. 8, St. Olaf played away against University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and found themselves right in the contest early on. The Oles responded twice after conceding goals in the first period, with scores from Dan Cecka ’14 and Bryan Glynn ’14, respectively, levelling the contest.
After falling behind 0-1 early, Cecka scored an unassisted goal at 6:54 in the first period. Glynn found the net with 10:27 left in the second period to tie the game at 2-2. His goal was assisted by Dylan Porter ’14 and Cecka.
Unfortunately for St. Olaf, that was as close as they got for the rest of the night, with UW-Eau Claire scoring three more times – the final goal coming with 39 seconds left in regulation time – to close out a 5-2 victory.
St. Olaf then faced the strong University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point on the following evening. The Oles were still in search of an elusive first win for the season. The encounter proved to be tougher than that of the previous night, with the Oles suffering a crushing 1-8 loss.
Joe Kalisz and Kyle Brodie each scored two goals for UW-Stevens Point. The Pointers are off to their best start since 2008-2009 and boast the nation’s leading offense.
Alex Brooks had three assists for UW-Stevens Point. He was one of four Pointers that had at least two assists in the victory. Cecka had the Oles’ only goal. He scored on an assist from JT Paine ’17 and Steven Sherman ’17 midway through the third period.
St. Olaf (0-4) will return to action for their first MIAC contest of the season on Nov. 15 against St. John’s University (2-2) at the Northfield Ice Arena. The match-up is also the Johnnies’ first conference game of the season, and both teams will be looking to secure their first MIAC points.
If the key to achieving a dream is to follow one’s heart, where does one find the heart? Simple: home. Defining home is not so simple. This complexity is explored musically throughout “In the Heights,” the second official St. Olaf Theater Department production of the season.
“Is it where you came from, where you are or where you’re going?” asked Kelsey Myers ’17, the show’s assistant director.
The musical was selected in part because of its significance in the context of a college campus: Students come from various corners of the country and world, live here at St. Olaf College and are contemplating where they will go with their lives. But of these three stages in each individual’s life, which do they truly consider home? Mirroring an infamously confusing period of life, “In the Heights” seeks to provide guidance to those grappling with this question.
The play follows the owner of a bodega in the “barrio” of Manhattan over the course of three days as he witnesses the inspirations and decimations of dreams. Change is coming for all the characters, and it is time to face their pasts before they can leap into their futures.
The show is a challenging but enticing kaleidoscope of dance and music focusing on one Latino community that is united by the heartbeat of dreams. With its cultural foundations in a Spanish-speaking community, much of the show involves songs with Spanish lyrics, such as “¡No Me Diga!” (“You Don’t Say!”). In order to honor the show’s roots, Natalia Romero ’15, who is originally from Colombia, instructed the cast on correct pronunciation and diction. The key to learning Spanish was “repetition,” according to Romero. This meant constantly repeating lines and songs with Romero’s guidance to ensure the right accents and timing.
“The actors were proactive about meeting up to discuss and learn the Spanish on their own time,” Romero said.
Once the language was mastered, the music was the next obstacle. The blending of music was difficult due to the many different Latin dance rhythms that swirl through the songs. There are distinct traces not only of salsa music, but also of rap, which helps to narrate the play. However, rather than the harsher style of rap that is championed by many artists today, the rap in the show is meant to be “conversational.” Romero, who is also the show’s musical director, remarked that this style of rap “made the show unique.”
The generally held consensus was that the music was “challenging but fun,” Romero said.
From this blend of styles emerges one of the most well-known aspects of the show: dance.
“This is very dance-heavy. It’s not an easy show,” Romero said. Styles in the show range from break-dancing to partner salsa dancing and practically everything in between. Even during scene transitions, characters will emerge from the façades and dance together. The dance choreography was styled by two dance instructors brought in by the play’s director, Professor of Theater Karen Wilson.
The ensemble’s constant presence keeps the show’s dance aspect in focus. They are everywhere. Even during solos, they will join in the musical expression, even if just to add ambiance with background dancing. The intricate interactions of the population of the barrio are reinforced by the cast’s cohesive warmth.
“Everyone is happy, super cooperative and welcoming” said Myers. “It speaks to the theater as a family. This is our home.”
Romero echoed Myers, saying that the cast members “all have a lot of personality, which is fun to see.”
Despite a mixture of class years and perspectives, the cast bonded through the rigors of rehearsals. This characteristic fondness is echoed by the musical’s director. Leading this cast of characters is Wilson, whom Myers described as “an amazing fairy godmother of a person.”
Through language lessons, dance rehearsals, original student-designed lighting and clear dedication to learning new styles of music, the members of “In the Heights” have prepared a whirlwind of a tale for their audiences.
So just where is home? Go see the show to find out! Tickets are on sale online and at the Theater Building box office. The play is scheduled to take place in Kelsey Theater on Nov. 15-17 and 22-24. All showings are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. with the exception of Nov. 17, which is at 2 p.m. and Nov. 24, which is at 1 p.m.
Photo Credit: VALENTINA YANG/MANITOU MESSENGER
Excuse me while I get up on my soapbox and put my ex-Wellness Center Peer Educator hat on. No matter how many cups of coffee you have, nothing can replace the effect a night of good sleep has on your ability to learn, retain and recall information. Nothing.
Pardon my dramatization, but it seems to be a common conception on this campus that there’s some sort of magic ratio that will give you the same learning potential eight hours of sleep would – such as substituting one cup of coffee for every one hour of missed sleep. We carry mugs covered in all-day-coffee stickers like each one is a merit badge earned from a late night of studying.
Caffeine cannot replace sleep, and I think deep down we realize that. I’ve definitely made it through many lectures fully awake thanks to the cup of black tea in my hand, but the moment they were over, I was unable to recall anything that had happened or had been said.
This zombie-like effect arises out of the science of caffeine; it is an addictive drug that acts on adenosine receptors in the brain. Adenosine accumulates in the brain over the course of the day in accordance with your circadian rhythm and makes you weary. Caffeine binds to adenosine receptors in the brain without producing the same groggy effects adenosine would and prevents actual adenosine from binding to the receptors.
This process activates your body’s fight-or-flight response: the rapid beating heart and sense of anxiety you get after coffee would be the same feeling you would have if you were being chased by a tiger in the wild.
In short, caffeine increases arousal by acting on your fight-or-flight response. Astrid Nehlig published a review article in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease confirming this fact. Nehlig also said that caffeine – in moderate doses – can increase concentration and elevate mood. As much as I hate to admit it, caffeine can also help learning in situations of decreased arousal: So if you didn’t sleep much one night and need to learn the next day, coffee is not a bad idea.
However, Nehlig notes that in higher quantities, caffeine increases blood pressure and heart rate to a maladaptive level. Caffeine also prevents you from using new information and storing new memories. This means that what you read or learn is likely to slip right out of your brain within the day.
The other factor that plays into memory, and thus into learning as well, is the sleep cycle. Ruth Bolstad, Academic Strategist and Consulting Coordinator for the Academic Support Center, explained that part of the sleep cycle is spent re-creating the chemicals needed for learning. Interrupting that process (or not letting it come to completion) leaves our ability to learn incomplete.
Not sleeping also makes us tired, obviously, so we equate these two processes as one and the same. That’s why we think drinking coffee will allow us to learn better. In reality, coffee does nothing to restore those chemicals that help us to retain or process information, and this caffeinated crutch we often lean on actively hinders the learning process. In the big picture, this means we have to alter our sleep habits in order to achieve our highest academic performance.
Just as an added caveat, in a sleep study published in the College Student Journal, William E. Kelly studied students who consistently got eight hours of sleep and compared them to students who usually got six. Stanford did a study where they paid students to get an hour more of sleep a night, no matter what they averaged before.
What did these researchers find? Students who got more sleep had higher GPAs in both instances. Just think: increasing your GPA could be as easy as just going to bed.
Michael Enich ’14 (firstname.lastname@example.org) is from Chicago, Ill. He majors in religion.
Graphic Credit: ALLI LIVINGSTON/MANITOU MESSENGER
On Wednesday, Nov. 6 in the Lion’s Pause, the Political Awareness Committee (PAC) held its first Government Internships Fair.
At least 60 students attended the event, where they networked with liaisons from political offices and organizations at the local, state and federal levels. Also among the attendees were state senate candidate Mike Obermueller and Rep. David Bly (D-Northfield).
PAC modeled the event after Ole Biz and Ole Med. These feature sessions of mingling and informal networking were punctuated by “pop-up” speakers who gave short speeches summarizing their specific careers and fields.
PAC Coordinator Rachel Palermo ’15 found inspiration for the fair over the summer while interning for the Justice Department in Washington, D.C.
“I got there and my first thought was, ‘Why aren’t there more Oles here taking advantage of all these internships?’” Palermo said. “We’re well-qualified. They’re the kind of positions we’re interested in.”
Will Lutterman ’14, PAC Special Events Coordinator, had the idea to bring in local and state-level organizations for those unable to travel all the way to D.C. He and other PAC members reached out to organizations, networked with alumni and drew on their own professional connections to compile the invitation list.
“This was the first time there’s ever been a student-run career event,” Lutterman said.
Participating organizations included the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. and Minnesota Senate and House of Representatives, the Minnesota DFL, the Minnesota Green Party, the Office of Governor Mark Dayton, the Minnesota Department of Human Services, the Northfield City Council, Obermueller for Congress and Holiday Co.
According to Lutterman and Palermo, the fair offered an excellent opportunity for Oles interested in the public sector to get a leg up in locating otherwise difficult-to-find internships.
“A lot of these opportunities are never posted. They’re informal and relationship-based,” Lutterman said. “You have to know the right people.”
Palermo described the event as well-rounded. One pop-up speaker spoke about working in government relations for a private company and the lobbying field, offering information to attendees interested in the private sector.
Students were able to speak face-to-face with liaisons and internship coordinators who might have hundreds of applications to sift through. Though they do not have specific numbers, Palermo and Lutterman said some students learned of positions and turned in applications as a result of the event.
“It was encouraging to see those connections being made,” Palermo said.
Event organizers opted to keep the event on campus rather than bus students to the Cities as Ole Biz and Ole Med do. This kept the event informal, and Palermo hopes attendees walked away feeling more comfortable networking in a variety of professional settings.
The organizing that went into the event, Palermo said, was a rewarding process.
“All it takes is a few people to say ‘We’re going to do this,’ and then start planning,” Palermo said.
Palermo emphasized her hope that the event would encourage more St. Olaf students to apply for those prestigious and seemingly unattainable internships. The internship fair was a stepping stone toward that goal.
By bringing representatives from these prestigious offices together, “We took these highly selective positions and made them manageable for Oles,” Lutterman added.
Given its success, PAC hopes to make the internship fair an annual event.
“We hope people do this in the future, too. We don’t have the resources the Piper Center does, but for everyone who came it was a very valuable experience,” Lutterman said.
email@example.comPhoto Credit: BEKAH ENGSTRAND/MANIOTU MESSENGER
NORTHFIELD, Minn. - The St. Olaf wrestling team (1-0)opened the season with a win on Thursday, defeating UW-Eau Claire (0-1) 24-13 at the Skoglund Center.
ST. PAUL, Minn. - The St. Olaf men's soccer team had four on the MIAC all-conference team, the league announced on Thursday.
ST. PAUL, Minn. - St. Olaf sophomore Kajsa Brindley and senior goalkeeper Nora Forbes were named the MIAC women's soccer all-conference team on Thursday.
STEVENS POINT, Wis. - UW-Stevens Point defeated St. Olaf 8-1 in a non-conference men's hockey game on Saturday night.