St. Olaf professor’s pandemic-themed debut novel generates media buzz

St. Olaf College - Tue, 01/18/2022 - 9:27am
The debut novel by St. Olaf College Associate Professor of English Sequoia Nagamatsu is generating buzz in the literary world and a wave of media attention, including in recent reviews and interviews in the Star Tribune, Minnesota Public Radio, and The New York Times. 
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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Update — Honoring Dr. King

St. Olaf College - Mon, 01/17/2022 - 8:41am
A message from Vice President for Equity and Inclusion María Pabón Gautier that is part of a series of regular updates she sends to the campus community.
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St. Olaf names new director of public safety

St. Olaf College - Mon, 01/17/2022 - 8:30am
Derek Kruse will lead the Public Safety Office's mission of working collaboratively with campus community members to create a secure, stable environment in which to live, work, and learn.
Categories: Colleges

Limited hours, limited choices: It’s time to reconsider certain COVID restrictions

Manitou Messenger - Fri, 01/14/2022 - 1:30pm

Hannah Goldner Niederman
Contributing Writer 

Existing on a college campus can be a difficult experience for so many reasons, and Covid has only made it more difficult. Being on Olaf’s campus during this time is absolutely a rare and great opportunity in comparison to other colleges that are completely online, but that does not mean that the choices being made about student life are right. The recent decision to change meals to be scheduled compounds a huge issue facing interim students on campus — access to food. 


What was already reduced hours for both the Caf and the Cage has now become a minefield of scheduling conflicts and an increase of the question on many students’ minds, “Do I have time to eat today?” As someone who has been dealing with an eating disorder for many years, I already struggle with convincing myself to nourish my body with care and intention. I have spent many months working on teaching myself how to eat properly again, and now I find that progress has moved back to square one. Having only 45 minutes to eat at a set time with no alternatives is a slippery slope for all students, and extra difficult for those, like me, who already struggle with not nourishing themselves. This decision to limit open meals is supposed to be in response to Covid risk, but making this the only readily available food option can also create the opposite impact. Having little access to food on campus is only encouraging students to go off campus for food or to order delivery, which brings outside people into our “closed” community. 


If you do find yourself going to the caf despite the new regulations, then there is the problem of the cafeteria’s limited options as well. Many would argue that St. Olaf has always had limited vegetarian, kosher, vegan, halal, gluten free, and allergy safe options. With the supply chain and understaffing issues faced during Covid, options have become even more limited. I see my friends struggling to convince themselves to go to the cafeteria but knowing that if they don’t, they might end up hungry or spending money they don’t have on delivery or vending machines. 


It is difficult for me to understand how this was the decision that seemed the smartest, especially when Covid spreads in so many ways. Not every student eats in the caf., not every student goes to every meal, and not many are using the mealtime as a free-for-all maskless social gathering. Making a rule about this may seem like a straightforward way to limit exposure in the eyes of an administrator who does not live the life of a residential student, but it is simply not. It pains me to see this restriction alongside weekly experiences of walking past touring groups, visitors on campus, basketball games filled with maskless attendees, and non-college student visitors. It feels like hypocrisy right in front of my eyes, just begging me to say, “Why do the rules apply to some and not others?” 


It has begun to feel like the school is saying that they value some students over the overall health and wellness of the rest of the campus. Policies should be made with care for the risk of everyone, with special consideration for those suffering disproportionate harm. Every decision made can have unintended consequences, but when the consequences impact the health of the student body, it is time for a deep reconsideration of that decision. 


Hannah Goldner Niederman ’23 is from Skokie, Ill. Their majors are gender and sexuality studies, political science, and race and ethnic studies.


Categories: Colleges

St. Olaf celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day with several events

St. Olaf College - Tue, 01/11/2022 - 12:26pm
St. Olaf will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with several events on January 17 and 18 that honor the civil rights leader's legacy and lessons.
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St. Olaf Orchestra to head west for Conductor Steven Amundson’s last tour

St. Olaf College - Tue, 01/04/2022 - 4:13pm
The St. Olaf Orchestra is embarking on its 2022 Pacific Northwest tour later this month, which will feature concerts in Montana, Oregon, and Washington. It will be the final tour for Amundson, who is set to retire in May.
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St. Olaf Choir to embark on 15-city national tour

St. Olaf College - Tue, 01/04/2022 - 4:13pm
The St. Olaf Choir, conducted by Dr. Anton Armstrong '78, is embarking on a National Tour across the Mid-Atlantic this winter.
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St. Olaf student’s foundation supports families impacted by sickle cell anemia

St. Olaf College - Thu, 12/23/2021 - 10:22am
St. Olaf student Tchofor Dick Nchang ’25 founded the Sickle Cell International Foundation, which has created partnerships with local hospitals in Cameroon to provide over $60,000 worth of feeding, tests, hospitalizations, and medications free of charge to 124 families and counting.  
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