Blogosphere

The Weekly List – The James Taylor Show

KYMN Radio - Thu, 03/04/2021 - 5:30pm
Tonight, in anticipation of his 73rd birthday, Rich and Dan pay tribute to the man who defined the role of singer/songwriter, James Taylor.

New bill would incentivize greener farming practices

Northfield News - Thu, 03/04/2021 - 5:00pm
For years, local soil and water conservation districts have been working alongside nonprofits like the Cannon River Watershed Partnership to help farmers implement conservation practices in a financially feasible manner.
Categories: Local News

It takes a village — working to address racism

Northfield News - Thu, 03/04/2021 - 2:00pm
Northfield’s 2018-20 strategic plan is all about becoming a welcoming community.
Categories: Local News

City looks to assist in Bluffview development; Draheim’s dentist bill made law; Chamber announces Home & Garden Show

KYMN Radio - Thu, 03/04/2021 - 12:02pm
By Rich Larson, News Director On Tuesday night, in an effort to combat Northfield’s housing shortage, the City Council discussed the Bluffview development in the South East corner of town, where a little used tool would be employed to help get things moving.   City administrator Ben Martig said the developer would like to extend Ford Street west to Highway

Stoltzfus named new CRVO director

Northfield News - Thu, 03/04/2021 - 11:48am
Paul Niemisto, conductor of the Cannon Valley Regional Orchestra, recently announced that CVRO member Dr. Philip Stoltzfus has been named the new concertmaster of the Northfield-based ensemble. A press release states Stoltzfus has a music major in violin performance from…
Categories: Local News

Free small business training @ Main Street Now conference

NDDC's Downtown Northfield - Thu, 03/04/2021 - 11:34am

For the first time ever, the annual Main Street Now Conference is happening virtually and is offering a Small Business Day on April 13.  This special education track will be filled with content tailored for small business owners — from live, interactive sessions with retail experts to a happy hour with fellow entrepreneurs.  A few of the proposed sessions include:

  • What Brick & Mortar Stores Need to Know About Being Online
  • Small Business Marketing: Three Ways to Increase Customer Engagement for Physical Storefronts
  • Shifting Your Business Model: Five Marketing Strategies to Reach Customers Despite the Challenges of COVID-19
  • Action Steps to Gaining Visibility & Sales in an Increasingly Challenged Marketplace
  • Big Plans for the Future of Small Business

In an effort to support as many small businesses as possible, Main Street is offering FREE one-day registration to all small businesses located in Main Street America districts (Northfield included).  If you are interested in attending, please email NDDC Executive Director Greg Siems to receive the Coupon Code and link for registration.  The deadline for this offer is March 22nd.

To learn more about the program, check out the Small Business Day website or view this flyer.

The post Free small business training @ Main Street Now conference appeared first on Northfield Downtown Development Corporation.

Categories: Organizations

Remember

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 03/04/2021 - 11:20am

If you walk around the pond in the Natural Lands, and it happens to be a sunny winter day, slightly breezy, around 4:30 in the afternoon, in February, when the sun lingers in the sky a little longer and that same sky seems stretched a little bluer across the horizon than it did just a week ago, and the birds are chirping as if to say “we see you,” and prairie plants peek their sleepy necks out from their blanket of snow, and that car driving out past the hospital feels both very close and far away –

breathe.

Categories: Colleges

NHL introduces new COVID-19 precautions following delayed season

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 03/04/2021 - 11:17am

The NHL and NHL Players’ Association created a 56-game schedule that kicked off play in mid-January of this year. The formatting of the games changed, including requiring teams only play within their respective divisions, allowing game rescheduling and disallowing fans in the arenas.

The NHL protocols require players to pass consistent medical screenings in order to participate in training, practice and games. Players are now considered unavailable if they receive a positive COVID-19 test result, an unconfirmed positive test result, if they have been in contact with a positive patient, are exhibiting symptoms or are quarantined for travel reasons in alignment with CDC guidelines.

The Dallas Stars had the start of their season interrupted when a number of players and staff members tested positive after training camp. After this, several more teams saw the need to reschedule games as more players were added to the COVID-19 protocol list. Notably, the New Jersey Devils saw a record 17 players added. The Minnesota Wild experienced a rough few weeks after being the sixth team to have games postponed. Not only did they have seven players on their COVID-19 list, but two more were gone with injuries, leaving an absence of key players.

The current COVID-19 protocol list is made available to the public and updated as necessary. Due to the rising concern over COVID-19 safety, the NHL recently implemented more safety measures teams must follow.

The clear shields behind each team’s bench will be removed. This choice was made to encourage more airflow in the arenas during games, where players and coaches are required to be within close proximity of one another. The removal of this shielding means that no person can occupy the seating area close to the bench.

There will be limited time at the host arena and more locker room space given to each team in an effort to maintain social distancing. Teams are encouraged to make any necessary preparations in advance to arrive at the playing location, and the away team should arrive no earlier than an hour and forty five minutes before the game. Other meetings or media should be conducted virtually whenever possible.

Air filtering and cleaning is also likely to be implemented by the league, which means air filters would be placed behind player benches to lessen the risk of airborne infection.

These precautions are in addition to the protocols already in place, including mandatory mask wearing by everyone except players during practices and games, limiting player’s social interactions and routine testing.

As of this week, the teams that currently have players on the COVID-19 protocol list include Ottawa, Philadelphia, New York (Rangers) and Las Vegas.

lindah2@stolaf.edu

Categories: Colleges

Coach Hatting talks spring softball season

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 03/04/2021 - 11:14am

Going into the 2021 spring season, the St. Olaf women’s softball team is ranked 14th in the nation by the National Fastpitch Coaching Association (NFCA), their highest ranking in the history of the program. This week, I sat down with Head Coach Kayla Hatting to discuss the team’s success and what makes this season so special.

 

 

Madelyn Wood // Olaf Messenger

How would you describe your philosophy as a coach?

My philosophy as a coach has definitely changed over time, but for me, it all comes down to being a good human. Whether that be in the classroom, at your job, at practice or even being a good friend. In my mind, it’s about doing the right thing all the time, and I think the team has really bought into that idea. While I’m so proud of the girls for achieving this ranking, the best thing about it is that they went about it in the right way. And I think that all ties back into being a good human all the time, on and off the field.

St. Olaf is ranked 14th in the NFCA. What would you attribute your team’s success to?

While it’s true that as a team we decide to practice every day at 5 a.m., I think that speaks to the larger theme of persistence and consistency present in the group. Obviously we want to be good, but even more than that, this team does not settle. I see the girls working hard to show up every day to reach their full potential. Whether that’s waking up to practice at 5 a.m. or being flexible with COVID protocols and safety procedures, these girls never settle for excuses. It really is a team effort, and it’s so exciting to see them show up every day and want to get to work.

What makes softball at St. Olaf so special?

As cheesy as it sounds, we really are a family, and the love that the whole team has for one another is definitely what makes this group so special. As a coach, I try to focus on character and character building, and seeing how much we all mean to one another has shown me that this team will go out into the world as more than just good softball players. They’ll be good humans too.

What are you looking forward to this season?

In a twist of fate, our first game this season is scheduled for one year to the day that the season was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID. Obviously I’m excited to be a coach, but even more than that I’m excited to see the girls compete. When they’re out on the field, they fight for each other and I truly love seeing them when they are at their best. The ranking is great, but to see them have a chip on their shoulder and walk into the season with confidence is something I’m definitely looking forward to. If there’s anything that COVID has taught us, it’s not to take the season for granted because nothing is guaranteed. Just taking the field, even in the abbreviated season, and seeing the love these girls have for the game and each other is what it’s all about.

boldt3@stolaf.edu

Categories: Colleges

Dominic Bledsoe will return for fifth year with the Oles

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 03/04/2021 - 11:12am
Eli Tan // Olaf Messenger

Seeing Dominic Bledsoe ’21 play the game of basketball is a sight to behold. Whether it’s attacking opponents off the dribble or locking down the best guards in the league on defense, Bledsoe has been one of the best players on the Ole basketball team since his freshman year. A two-way guard who tries his hardest on both ends of the court, Bledsoe has been awarded MIAC All-Defensive Team for three straight seasons while also being the floor general for the squad’s offense. When he announced that he would be coming back for a fifth year, you can already guess how everyone reacted: with pure joy. But before we go into the details of his decision for the future, we must rewind to the interesting backstory of his past.

Bledsoe grew up in the city of Falcon Heights. He attended DeLaSalle High School in downtown Minneapolis, a basketball powerhouse known throughout the entire country.

“Yeah, we won a couple of championships.” Bledsoe said. That’s to say the least. DeLaSalle has won seven of the last eight state championships in Minnesota’s AAA division with Bledsoe being on the team for two of them.

Playing alongside multiple DI recruits and competing against them in practice every day while being coached by an amazing defensive mind in Dave Thorson, you can see where Bledsoe learned his defensive grit.

During his senior season in high school, Bledsoe got recruited to St. Olaf by Men’s Basketball Head Coach Daniel Kosmoski, and the rest was history.

“I’ve gotten the opportunity to play with a lot of great teammates,” Bledsoe said. “It has been a lot of fun and I’ve enjoyed every minute.”

Bledsoe has been a part of many key victories and playoff runs that the Oles have had throughout the years, but none have ended in a conference title. Wanting to finish on top was definitely a deciding factor for Bledsoe when he decided to come back for one last run.

“Nobody is perfect – everyone is still a work in progress,” Bledsoe explained when asked about his off-season preparation. “The three-point line is moving back and I have to get used to it. Also, ball-handling, shooting, I just have to keep getting better.”

Another factor in his return is undoubtedly the potential of next year’s roster to compete at a high level. With all but one player returning, Bledsoe has big goals set in stone for the team. As a natural competitor, he wants nothing less than to be able to leave this program with something that will last long after he is gone from the hardwood: a championship banner.

“Accolades are great, but really what I want to be remembered as is a great teammate and someone who has passed on wisdom to the younger guys to look back on.”

Fifth year or not, Bledsoe has the same passion for the game as he did when he first stepped on campus in the fall of 2017. In his final season, you can expect Bledsoe to leave his heart on the court every game.

alada1@stolaf.edu

Categories: Colleges

Heartbeat

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 03/04/2021 - 11:07am

The recent return to St. Olaf’s campus has been marked with Valentine’s Day, the reappearance of Friday Flowers, results from Matchomatics — a survey created to determine the compatibility of Oles — and loosening COVID-19 restrictions. Couples roam campus while loneliness strikes some. One Facebook page, St. Olaf Flirts, has had increased traction over the past couple of weeks. This page allows students to post anonymous messages often aimed at leaving both straightforward and enigmatic compliments to classmates, friends or strangers.

While I may lack the knowledge to give romantic advice, I do believe that I have the perfect set of credentials to provide advice on crafting the perfect flirt as I have been awarded the “top fan” badge for the St. Olaf Flirts page.

St. Olaf Flirts is a great place to share your appreciation for someone, whether it be a friend or a stranger! Many flirts reach out to workers at the Cage or Stav Hall who do everything from make the perfect coffee to have a great attitude. (If you feel the urge to share your appreciation on the Facebook page, you may also consider writing them a nice note to put in their mailbox or  giving a gift of Friday Flowers.) One unmatched benefit of appreciation posts on the page, however, is that you can reach a larger audience. Many students are vocal about showing their support to organizations and groups on campus, specifically BIPOC and LGBTQ+ minorities, on the page. If you want to share your appreciation for a group, I highly recommend crafting a post.

Besides appreciation posts for fellow students and friends, some people use St. Olaf Flirts to reach out to their crush and gain information about them, such as their relationship status and preferences. While the majority of flirtations seem to be short-lived, I have noticed patterns in popularity among posts. Flirts that go beyond the basic “Junior Jane Doe is cute. Single?” are more interesting to people who view the page and generate more reactions and responses. Flirts that include jokes stand out and are more exciting for the receiver. If you lack incredible wit, compliments are another viable option. In your flirt, you should share what you find most endearing about your crush, whether it be their enthusiastic attitude during 8 a.m. class or their confident demeanor as they roam Stav searching for a place to eat. Whatever joke or compliment you decide to include in your flirt, speak from the heart and be proud of what you submit to the page.

Remember that it is possible that your crush is not on Facebook or wants to keep their relationship status or preferences private. Additionally, if someone catches your eye, remember that initial attraction does not necessarily equal compatibility.

These posts can brighten someone’s day, but do not forget the value of sharing your appreciation in person or through other means! Whether you decide to write a St. Olaf flirt yourself or flirt in person, you should be proud of putting yourself out there.

franci3@stolaf.edu

Categories: Colleges

Mediabeat: “CHAOS” and the strangeness of truth

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 03/04/2021 - 11:06am

Rarely do I make a spontaneous book purchase. Usually I’m too committed to the eternal quest of finishing the stack of unread books that I already own. However, a few months ago I tuned into my favorite internet radio show, “Time Crisis,” and listened to an interview with Tom O’Neill, the author of “CHAOS,” a book covering the Manson murders. O’Neill said he spent decades researching this book, travelling around California and interviewing former criminals, celebrities and hippies at restaurants like Denny’s. I was intrigued. A day later, the red paperback arrived at the post office, and I quickly became glad that I bought it.

A standout aspect of “CHAOS” is the time the author devotes to his own journey of becoming obsessed with the inconsistent story of the murders. The “Time Crisis” interview compared the book to “Zodiac,” which is one of my favorite movies, and I’d wholeheartedly agree. O’Neill started researching the murder case because he had to write a magazine article about the Manson murders, but ended up making such strange discoveries that he missed his deadline by 20 years and ended up writing an entire book.

The initial hook that O’Neill found was a small, yet very disturbing, fact: the prosecutor in the Manson family’s trial — the man who was responsible for establishing the definitive story of their crimes — let Roman Polanski keep a videotape that allegedly showed Polanski abusing Sharon Tate, when it clearly should’ve been taken as evidence after her murder. This action eventually led to bigger questions.

The police knew that although Manson and many family members were on parole, they were stealing cars and stockpiling weapons. The first discovery led to more questions. Why didn’t the police do anything about these issues before the cult committed the murders? Why did it take so long for them to investigate Manson after? And, one of the strangest: why were the family members regulars at a Haight-Ashbury clinic that turned out to be a front for a Cold War-era CIA experiment?

Despite the intense CIA-related direction that the book takes, it’s not a conspiracy theory story. Not to spoil things, but none of these interesting questions actually get answered. A big takeaway from “CHAOS” is that people often want to simplify historical events despite the fact that historically important events never happen in the form of a clear and well-organized narrative. It’s shocking to see just how connected the Manson murders were to every other major event happening in late 1960s California, from the Black Panther movement to the CIA’s LSD experiments. These connections just show that the truth is immensely more complicated and nonsensical than we’d like to think.

“CHAOS” is also about the impossibility of even finding the truth at all. As time goes by, we see that many of the people who were involved in the murders, namely Manson himself, have now passed away, and that so much of the information about the CIA seem to have been expertly hidden. This book suggests that we may never know the full story of the Manson murders, but we do know that the truth is bizarre. Overall, “CHAOS” is a book about the human drive to search for truth and understanding and how we can’t always find it. It’s also one of the most well-researched and underrated nonfiction books I’ve ever read, and I’d highly recommend it for those seeking some “Zodiac” vibes.

smith89@stolaf.edu

Categories: Colleges

Fifth-Year Emerging Artists: Paddy Mittag-McNaught on using materials to elicit experiences

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 03/04/2021 - 11:01am

The Olaf Messenger is running a multi-week series on the Fifth-Year Emerging Artists (FYEA) at St. Olaf. The program allows artists to create and display artwork, use St. Olaf studio space and remain in community with current students. This week we feature Paddy Mittag-McNaught ’20.

On what he’s been working on

I love to work with materials. I don’t work representationally. I don’t try to copy objects. Instead, I’ve realized that I like to use materials to try and elicit experiences. Right now, I’m really into bending wood and exploring wood as a material, experimenting with what it can and can’t do.

I think when I work with materials and don’t think about copying a particular object, it’s like painting a still life versus thinking about what I can actually do with the object, producing an image. It becomes a really individual and real experience. Like when you walk up to a sculpture and look at its texture and the way it moves — that is a non-representational experience, in the way that it is an abstract representation of a real thing.

On his decision to pursue the FYEA position

I decided to stay an extra year for several reasons. First, the spaces at St. Olaf are extremely unique and rare to have as undergraduate students. For example, we have a full lithography studio, and the wood shop is just beautiful and has great light.

I also think COVID played a large role. At the time, the program offered something solid, especially since it was so hard to find a paying job in the spring of 2020. In short, the program offered stability and became a great opportunity to continue making art even in uncertain times.

On the effects of COVID-19

I think the most challenging thing about the program right now is making work without the structure of a class. What’s probably more difficult is the really weird COVID vibe on campus. Not even just on campus. It’s the COVID vibe everywhere. While the other artists and I were here for all of December and January, we were lucky to have studio space, but it got lonely at times, since it was only us — us and Public Safety. We even started to befriend the Pub Safe people just because we’d see them locking up.

COVID makes it harder to reach people. Like gallery openings: they just kind of slide under the table now and nothing really happens. It makes me sad, because there is such an art to a gallery opening ­— there’s food and wine and your friends are there giving you high fives — but it’s especially frustrating if you’re an artist trying to show work. Right now, openings are such a major thing that we’re missing out on, because we’re also missing an opportunity to show and develop our work in a formal setting. Art is best viewed in person, and it’s tough that we can’t offer that in-person experience.

On the other hand, I can now send a Zoom link to people who live in different states and countries — people completely on the other side of the world — and they can come. My grandma can come, which is amazing. But it just doesn’t feel the same.

On his favorite project(s) so far

I really enjoyed the capstone work I did for my major. I have a background in construction and woodworking, so I made 59 of these stools which I call “V stools” that were all made with dry joinery techniques, which means that there weren’t any screws or glue holding a piece together. After all of them were made, I stacked them into a cylindrical shape so you could walk into it, although originally I didn’t have any plans for how the installation was going to look, simply because there was so much chance involved with the work. I ended up calling it “Community” (pictured at right) because — long story short — I have this obsession with modular objects and things that build off of each other, like bricks. For example, a brick in and of itself has its own characteristics, but 3,000 have a whole different set of qualities. That modular element reminded me a lot of how communities work.

I made that piece in April and May, when the COVID stuff was all new. Since then, I think the piece has only grown more important, especially with the death of George Floyd back home in Minneapolis where I live. When I watched that community form, I saw a really cool transformation when things came together.

I ultimately decided to donate all of the stools to an organization called Colloquate Design, which focuses on justice through the arts. I ended up raising about $2,000 for this group, which is amazing. Currently, the last of the stools are still going out to people. The piece’s meaning just keeps transforming, and it’s not done yet. It’s going to keep going, it really is.

On what the future will hold

Honestly, I don’t know. I will need to think more about this after I finish the program. I do plan on getting my master’s in architecture at some point, and I know ideally I would like to work for some sort of creative group that deals with design in all of its facets — graphics, buildings, furniture, everything. In general, I think I’d like to find somewhere that’s not as cold as Minnesota and hang out there for a while.

allbro1@stolaf.edu

Categories: Colleges

Who has the power in the classroom?

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 03/04/2021 - 11:00am

The immense authority of a professor in the classroom is no secret. They hold the power to influence the way students write, the way students think and the wellbeing of an individual. A single professor’s class can turn a student’s semester from a dream to a nightmare.

At the same time, a single student’s privilege can end a professor’s career. Not all students have the same amount of power in the classroom. White students in a classroom with professors of color occupy a higher position in academic and social hierarchies. All students must understand their position in the classroom if we are to disrupt the current unjust systems that perpetuate racism within higher education.

Without questioning teacher-student relations, it might seem obvious that the professor holds the power. Part of the professor’s supremacy comes from the scarcity of courses offered. This places students in classrooms with professors they did not choose who control their academic success. Students automatically begin at a vulnerable level.

The professor is also given institutional power in implicit ways: as colleges become more commercialized, teaching becomes more important than learning. Those two words — teaching and learning — might seem to go hand in hand, but in reality, to learn as a student means more than just being taught at. How many courses revolve around lectures? How many students cram for exams because they haven’t retained what they should have learned throughout the semester? The answers to these questions indicate that our education system prioritizes the needs of the teacher over the needs of the learner.

Unveiling the more intricate nature of academic tenure reveals the complicated power structures of the classroom. Tenure supposedly secures academic freedom for teachers so that they have

the liberty to say what they want and teach as they please. The idea of tenure is great in theory, but the history of the higher education system as a white owned space seeps into today’s tenure process.

Professors of color face a much more challenging path to becoming tenured. Many are overloaded with menial work so that they will not be able to complete the requirements for becoming tenured. Additionally, professors of color often move from college to college to escape oppressive work conditions. As former assistant professor of theater Michelle Gibbs wrote in her resignation letter, the fact that Professors of color are threatened by the power of their white students further discourages a classroom that involves non-traditional teaching and learning.

Gibbs’ evaluation leads me to recognize that power between

teacher and student in the classroom does not always belong to the teacher. Power then belongs to historically and socially enfranchised individuals: educated white people.

So where do students get their power? I’d begin the conversation first by acknowledging that all students will not have the respect and influence in the classroom that they deserve until professors of color do as well. In order for our classrooms to look equitable in terms of teacher-student relations, the racial hierarchy must be dismantled as well.

To interrupt our society’s racial hierarchy means disrupting the current commercialization of higher education and actively fighting the historical racism at St. Olaf. Reclaiming and reorganizing power at St. Olaf can happen if we work as a group of students dedicated to a critical evaluation of the College for the betterment of all. All of our voices should be speaking out in concert against the injustice of our social systems.

The classroom is a mask that hides the face of our society. We see progress and scholarship, but when you look behind the mask, we find the same social structures that affirm the existence of whiteness and prevent all students from claiming their education own the classroom.

bayzae1@stolaf.edu

Maddy Bayzaee ’23 is from Wheeling, Ill.

Her majors are social work and race and ethnic studies

Categories: Colleges

What Texas teaches us about the Green New Deal

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 03/04/2021 - 11:00am

As Texas faced off against a brutal winter storm that left millions without power, water disruptions statewide and nearly 70 people dead, the Republican Party took the offensive and condemned the Green New Deal.

These attacks were clearly little more than an attempt at deflection; only around five percent of Texas’ power comes from renewable sources, and the power shortages were more related to uninsulated fuel lines prone to freezing than frozen wind turbines. But the Republican attacks, in conjunction with the climate disaster that Texas is still struggling to recover from, provide a perfect opportunity to make the case for an energy revolution in the United States.

The Green New Deal (GND) takes its name from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s signature policy, the New Deal, a collection of legislation that sought to fight against the Great Depression and provide federal assistance to Americans in need. The GND is similarly ambitious in scope, seeking to merge solutions to climate change with programs to radically counter poverty and inequality in the United States.

If anything, the crisis that unfolded in Texas should lay bare the inadequacies of private companies and the tendency for such firms to place profits above people in times of crisis. After a push by the company Enron in the 1990s, Texas severely deregulated their energy grid, relying on market competition to set fair, adequate prices. Yet when the storm hit Texas, industry leaders gleefully celebrated the opportunity to charge astronomical prices, with some bills nearing $10,000. It seems likely this trend will continue as climate change inflicts more and more similar crises and governments fail to take adequate measures to prevent this.

American economist Milton Friedman once said, “Only a crisis — actual or perceived — produces real change.” Republicans’ attack on the GND seems largely an attempt to deflect from their own ideological failings as well as their inability to articulate a coherent and satisfying response to the catastrophe; they know all too well the tremendous policy opportunities crises present (see the PATRIOT Act). Roosevelt implemented perhaps the most expansive set of policies in American history in the context of the Great Depression — could the events in Texas or similar ones elsewhere present a similar opportunity for the GND?

Probably not, at least currently. But it is clear that Republicans’ insistence on attacking the GND rather than lobbying for strong solutions has made clear they have little intention of addressing the base causes of this disaster. The under-regulation and over-reliance on the state’s fossil fuels, coupled with decades of austerity politics that have crippled Texans’ finances and left many homeless individuals permanently on the streets, have directly created many of the conditions that greatly exacerbated this recent tragedy. Changes must be made to prevent similar disasters in the future.

Simply put, the GND makes sense. It not only provides a path to save the environment, but provides opportunities to challenge poverty nationwide — and prices for renewable energy continue to fall at rates higher than predicted. Of course, the transition to renewable energy, especially in a place like Texas where fossil fuels are so ubiquitous, could have some short-term problems, and certainly the political effort required alone would be more substantial than one could expect currently. But this in no way means that it is not worth it. Humanity is facing an existential crisis, and the tragic events in Texas are merely a prelude to the chaos that will continue to wreak havoc on people across the globe. Under these circumstances, radical change must be taken to avoid utter disaster. A Green New Deal must be implemented as fully as possible, or else the consequences may very well be totally ruinous.

krouss1@stolaf.edu

Jarrett Krouss ’23 is from Minnetonka, MN.

His majors are philosophy and political science.

Categories: Colleges

Passion Project provides creative outlet

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 03/04/2021 - 11:00am
Illustration by Anna Weimholt

Most publications at St. Olaf fulfill a particular niche. The Olaf Messenger serves the role of a community newspaper, “The Quarry” is a literary and fine arts magazine, and “The Reed” is a philosophy journal; each produce content in accordance with their traditional role. Passion Project seeks to create a place where these boundaries do not exist, and their method of choice is radical support.

Students publish the Passion Project through their website and Instagram, with a Zine on mutual aid on the way. The flexibility of their digital platform enables the soliciting of all sorts of work. Lifestyle Editor Anna Clements ’22 describes the project as “enthusiasm for the idea of enthusiasm; we wanted to have a place where people could be unabashedly open about the things that they care about.”

The traditional limitations on the sort of things students can create and publish are not present here, and the organization treats anyone’s passions, however disparate, with respect.

“I think what stood out to me is that I really like the idea of … being able to share the little things, or the mundane things you wouldn’t necessarily be sharing,” regular contributor Tienna Brusset ’22 said.

The project responds to St. Olaf’s culture by creating opportunities for anyone to publish work on any topic with almost any format. The goal is not only to publish content online but to exhibit support, interest and empathy for the content and the creator. Passion Project is “making a community where we are radically supportive … there is a political component to how much communal support there is,” Clements said.

Much of the content published over the last semester focused on activism, antiracism and lifting up Black experiences. Similarly, the open, egalitarian and communal ethos surrounding the content of the publication is missing in other places at St. Olaf. Brusset described Passion Project’s position on campus — “I think there is a pressure at St. Olaf to take your passions and use them for something… I think Passion Project provides an opportunity for you to express anything you want to express, it doesn’t have to be this huge labor that exists to further yourself.”

Passion Project serves as an excellent opportunity to bask in people’s passions and to share your own, and it accepts submissions from all students.

graham10@stolaf.edu

Categories: Colleges

Mask days: Will we ever forget them?

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 03/04/2021 - 11:00am

103 years ago, St. Olaf College — as well as the rest of the world — was dealing with a pandemic different from COVID-19: the so-called Spanish Influenza, which infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide and killed roughly 50 million.

In an effort to protect the community on the Hill, St. Olaf’s fourth president, Lars W. Boe, enacted the College’s first pandemic protocol in September of 1918, which included a campus-wide quarantine, college-issued masks and the recommendation to gargle with a mild antiseptic twice a day. By the end of October, Boe thought he had successfully protected St. Olaf from the flu. However, following the end of World War I in November 1918, the first cases of the Spanish flu appeared on campus — likely due to the celebratory social gatherings that took place between students as a result of the long-awaited armistice.

Out of the 550 students enrolled at St. Olaf at the time, the majority infected were men involved in the Student Army Training Corps (S. A. T. C.), who had both separate dining and living quarters from other students at the College.

St. Olaf students’ involvement in preventing the spread of infection and helping those who were already sick at the time showed the true direness of the situation. Then Dean of Women, Gertrude M. Hilleboe, documented the many female students who sewed masks and “pneumonia jackets” — which would help keep patients warm — in their spare time, as well as the home-economic students who helped the overwhelmed kitchen staff prepare soup for patients housed in Ytterboe Hall. One photograph documented S .A. T .C. members carrying cots into Old Main, where S. A. T. C. members were relocated to make room for patients elsewhere.

In December, Boe made the executive decision to enforce a full quarantine, ultimately cancelling the Christmas Festival and sending students home early for the holidays. In a letter featured in the Messenger, dated Dec. 10, 1918, Boe wrote:

“The changes and the attendant difficulties have been accepted by both teachers and students in a cheerful spirit. The patriotism of the student body has manifested itself in a willingness to put up with many discomforts and a readiness to make sacrifices. … The student body as a whole have been under rather strict quarantine regulations. For a while we considered ourselves exceedingly fortunate in comparison to many other schools and communities in not having a single case of influenza. But our turn came.”

Those who died from flu complications were S. A. T. C. members Oscar A. Mohagen, Peter C. Reinertson, Waldemar E. Schmidt and Joseph Tandberg, for whom a large, horse-drawn funeral procession was held by the College that same November. In contrast, St. Olaf currently has roughly 130 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with zero deaths among students. But things are not completely different than they were 100 years ago. One photograph from the 1918 pandemic with the caption “Flu Days: will we ever forget them?” speaks to the strange universality of living during a pandemic. In the photo, a group of young women stand bundled up against the Minnesota cold, masks covering their faces.

In order to ensure that St. Olaf’s “mask days” are indeed not forgotten, the school archive librarians have begun collecting photos, articles and other writing for future Oles. The Shaw-Olson Center for College History encourages students to document and share their personal experiences regarding COVID-19, whether it be through diary entries, photographs, or even poetry.

For more information regarding this ongoing project, email college_archives@stolaf.edu.

allbro1@stolaf.edu

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