ArtZany: Cannon Valley Regional Orchestra Favorites Concert

KYMN Radio - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 5:27pm

Today in the ArtZany Radio studio Paula Granquist welcomes conductor Paul Niemisto of the Cannon Valley Regional Orchestra to preview the Favorites Concert. Cannon Valley Regional Orchestra (CVRO) Favorites Concert under the direction of founding conductor Dr. Paul Niemisto Saturday, March 7 at 7pm The Cathedral of our Merciful Saviour 515 2nd Avenue, Faribault Sunday,

The post ArtZany: Cannon Valley Regional Orchestra Favorites Concert appeared first on KYMN Radio · Northfield, MN · AM 1080 & FM 95.1.

Walz, legislative leaders rally for "conversion therapy" ban

Northfield News - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 4:49pm
Gov. Tim Walz and LGBTQ activists celebrated Valentine’s Day with a rally to demand that the Republican-controlled Minnesota Senate pass a ban on “conversion therapy” for minors.
Categories: Local News

Concert to feature St. Olaf’s new concert grand piano

Northfield News - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 3:20pm
St. Olaf College is hosting a dedication concert for its new concert grand piano, the Bösendorfer 280VC. St. Olaf, in Northfield, was the first college in the United States to purchase this model, and the third to take delivery. It…
Categories: Local News

New D.C. interim trip explores accessibility in the arts

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 3:00pm

Over interim, I participated in “Democracy and the Arts in D.C.,” a course dedicated to learning and discussing all the complex ways that policy from the federal level to local nonprofits shapes the arts and the way the public interacts with them. Over the course of a month, we saw more performances and went to more museums than I had previously thought was humanly possible. We also talked to curators, lobbyists, members of

Congress, directors and artists, among many others. And we somehow found time to get an average of 6.98 hours of sleep a night (not that anyone’s counting).

Of all the wonderful experiences we had, I think the most impactful for me was talking to disability accessibility experts at the Kennedy Center and getting to see the work they do to expand art access. The Kennedy Center is the National Cultural Center of the U.S. and puts on more than 2,000 performances per year for two million visitors.

Each one of these events is required to have a wide range of accessibility features – including captions, American Sign Language performers and audio description – and every organization that works with the Kennedy Center is required to uphold certain minimum disability accessibility policies. They also have staff on hand who are trained to make changes when needed to help make performances accessible to individuals whose needs could not be anticipated.

We spoke with a panel of access experts, including a lawyer, an accessibility consultant and an occupational therapist for about an hour before we broke for dinner and a performance of “My Fair Lady.” It was incredibly refreshing to see an organization that considers accessibility to be central to the work they do.

One of the central characteristics of this attitude is the simple assumption that there will necessarily be disabled audience members and performers at every single event. Many arts organizations assume that “disabled people aren’t coming here anyway,” which is not only extremely unlikely given that disabled people make up 20% of the U.S. population, but would be a major indictment of their programming if it were true. The Kennedy Center has truly made itself a model of what accessibility should look like at arts organizations and where we need to go as a society.

The performance of “My Fair Lady” was exceptional, as were the accessibility features. From where we sat, we could see the caption screens and ASL performers. The captions were not only accurate, but were timed just right so that D/deaf and hearing audience members were laughing at the same time. The ASL performers were seated in the front, and audience members were asked if they had anyone in their party who would be using that service so they could be seated nearby.

All the physical accessibility features were not just present, but were treated as though it was expected that the audience use them: ushers were stationed at the ends of ramps as well as staircases, and nothing was blocked or locked as is so often the case. Everyone benefits from accessibility. It makes our communities stronger and better, and ensures that everyone has equal access to the world.

While the Kennedy Center is often recognized for its exceptional arts programming, it also deserves recognition for the model it is setting for accessibility. We should all strive to follow in the footsteps of the Kennedy Center, and make sure the arts are always fully accessible as a default.

Categories: Colleges

Certainly not lost in Translations – Interim play tackles communication and colonialism

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 3:00pm

The St. Olaf theater department accomplished a sweeping, emotive rendition of Brian Friel’s play, “Translations.” Set in Ireland in 1833, “Translations” centers on the members of a rural school as they respond to a British military initiative to Anglicize the Gaelic names of locations while constructing a new map of Ireland. By exploring themes of communication, national identity, the price of colonisation and unlikely love, “Translations” left the audience with much to ponder.

With three acts and a two-and-a-half-hour run time, “Translations” was long, but I am not complaining. I actually applaud the choice not to cut content from such a carefully-wrought script. It is certainly a slow burn, but the cast made the high ratio of dialogue to action work to their advantage. Matthew Humason ’21 gave a powerful and convincing performance that grounded the production. Bianca Davis ’21 and Asa Kienitz-Kincade ’22 set the tone of each scene with their impressive use of physicality.

For the production’s set, Todd Edwards designed an asymmetrical, two-level barn structure that added depth and dimension to Kelsey Theater’s typical proscenium stage and gave many opportunities to the actors and director to experiment with staging. The barn atmosphere was complimented and accentuated by Tyler Krohn’s ’21 sound design and designer Aimee Jillson’s period-specific costume choices. One particularly effective choice was the red uniforms of the British soldiers that – as there was no red present anywhere else in the scenery or costumes – made their invasive entrance much more powerful. Additionally, the overall success of the production could not have been achieved without the work of the visiting dialect coach Foster Johns of the Twin Cities, who helped the cast perfect their British and Irish dialects.

In an interim production, the whole process of putting on a play is condensed into one month. This creates a uniquely immersive opportunity, but it comes with challenges.
“It was like being in a theater company for a month for 8 hours a day,” Moses Young ’22 said. “It sounds exhausting, and while it was at times, I learned so much about the craft of theater and myself through this process.”

“I think the main takeaway from this show is to never forget who you are and where you come from.”
-Moses Young ’22

“Would highly recommend to anyone who’s thinking about it – it also helps to have the coolest people around you for a month,” Young continued.

“I think the main takeaway from this show is to never forget who you are and where you come from,” Young said. “It also puts a spotlight on how large of a role language has played in shaping cultures. It’s a beautiful, lyrical play whose importance cannot be understated.”

Categories: Colleges

UPRISING III art exhibition celebrates new perspectives of black identity and culture

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 3:00pm

Printed large on one wall is a compelling poem about a young woman’s experiences learning to love the black body she resides in. A few feet away, a colorful painting pays tribute to the late Kobe Bryant. And at the far end on the opposite wall, a photography series captures a kind of majesty of the three melanated women it depicts. These are just a few of the many amazing works of art featured in this year’s UPRISING III art exhibition.

A reception in Groot Gallery on Feb. 13 marked a successful opening of the third installment of this annual student-curated exhibition. UPRISING celebrates black history and culture at St. Olaf through visual and performing arts. This year’s exhibit is titled “New Perspectives: Narrating Black Presence and Expression on The Hill.”

In their opening remarks, the curators of the exhibition, Amanda Rose ’21 and Bridget Asamoah-Baffour ’21, spoke to the campus protests of 2017. The protests, sparked by a series of racist notes, inspired Shaquille Brown ’19 to pioneer the first UPRISING show in 2018. UPRISING has since become a continuation of the meaningful conversations around black students’ well-being on St. Olaf’s campus.

From poetry, ceramics and photography to drawings and paper zines, the exhibition features a wide range of artworks by students and faculty of color on campus.
“We focused a lot on variety but then also finding similar themes in the works,” Rose said when explaining some of the aspects of the curation process. “New Perspectives” seems to be a necessary reminder that black people, both domestic and international, are as similar as they are different.

“Black people aren’t a monolith. We don’t all have the same struggles and some of us maybe don’t want to share our struggles through our art,” Asamoah-Baffour said.
I will say, this opening event was not your typical reception. Music by black musicians like Bryson Tiller, Ari Lennox and The Carters, among others, poured through Groot Gallery, creating a vibrant and energetic atmosphere. Ask me if I have ever been to an art exhibition where, apart from walking around and looking meaningfully at art, there are also black students dancing and singing out loud to the lyrics of some of their favorite songs – my answer is no. Seeing this, I thought, this is what it must mean to create spaces of freedom on our campus. This is what it must mean to make a home through art and invite the world to witness it – to witness us.

The exhibition runs until Feb. 22, and it will definitely be worth your time to go and soak it all in.

Categories: Colleges

XFL 2: Electric Boogaloo

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 3:00pm

Hey football fans, we’re baaaaaaaaaaaaaaack! And, just like the producer of that infamous quote, Texas Longhorn’s quarterback Sam Ehlinger, “I’m here to disappoint!” Seriously, it has been almost three months since my last article, and I’m excited to be back and talk about football with y’all. 

During my hiatus, a plethora of things have happened within the football world, many of them important enough to warrant entire articles of their own. However, in an attempt to not further oversaturate an already incredibly crowded sports media market, I will discuss the one occurrence in football that I believe has been criminally underhyped — the kickoff of the revamped XFL. Now, it is very easy to pay little attention to this league, as the likelihood of it not lasting the season is admittedly pretty high. However, where other leagues like the USFL, the AAF, and even the 2001 iteration of the XFL have failed, I believe this modern XFL might actually succeed. The league has a real chance to hold a significant place in this generation’s football zeitgeist, serving primarily as: a potential feeder league for young or overlooked players to make it to the NFL, a place in which new rules and regulations can be tried out before they get implemented in the big leagues, and as a holdover league that might actually succeed, providing entertainment for those of us not thrilled at the prospect of no football for six months. 

As of now, the XFL is populated mostly with old NFL cast offs and no-name players who, as of last year, were working in grocery stores and coaching high school football. While their talent is undeniable – they are all infinitely better athletes than you or I – the reason why they could not make it in the NFL is clear. While a few standout players may be picked up by NFL practice squads at the conclusion of the season, it is unlikely that we will see a large population of XFL players on NFL rosters next year. For high school players with NFL aspirations and talent, the XFL presents an intriguing alternative route to the traditional NCAA. Unlike the NFL, the XFL has no requirement for its players to have waited three years in between high school and the onset of their professional careers, allowing for recently graduated high schoolers to suit up for one of the XFL’s eight squads shortly after graduation. Instead of having to suffer under the NCAA’s harsh regulations and criminal lack of pay, young burgeoning talents have the opportunity to both hone their craft and get payed for the product they put out on the field. While XFL players make only an average of $55,000 annually, star players have the opportunity to earn much more (though 55K is nothing to scoff at). For those questioning the likelihood of this becoming a reality, I point to basketball, where a similar phenomenon is already happening. Tired of being exploited by the NCAA, young stars are choosing to play out their one year in between high school and the pros either by getting payed to play overseas, or by just not playing at all, hoping that their high school stock is enough to get them a high draft spot and a lucrative rookie contract. The XFL could become a legitimate option for young talent, a breeding ground for the next generation of NFL superstars.

The XFL could also serve as a testing grounds for new innovations and rules in the NFL. The XFL has introduced a plethora of new rules designed to cut down on the more mundane aspects of football, encouraging kick returns by heavily penalizing touchbacks and coffin-kick punts, as well as shortening the seemingly endless games by reducing the play clock and not taking every possible opportunity to insert an add break. Fan reception to these changes has been generally positive, and there is precedent for the NFL adopting XFL inventions. Prior to them becoming mainstays in NFL football, the skycam and micing up players was an XFL addition – the NFL is not afraid to borrow ideas from their less successful competitors. I would love to see the NFL adopt the change of increasing the visibility of referees, even going as far as to mic them up during important reviews, allowing for fans to hear the justification of certain calls in real time. This adoption would significantly reduce the amount of frustration with the zebras, which is never a bad thing.

Now, you may be asking, “Zeke, why should I pay attention to this league when so many like it have failed?” And you know what, you have a legitimate point. There have been a plethora of leagues that started off with astronomical levels of hype, only to fade softly into that good night. The USFL, NFL Europe, XFL v.1, the AAF — the list is seemingly endless. However, for some bizarre and uncharacteristic reason I have decided to be optimistic about this one, though not without reason. Vince McMahon, the founder of the league, has reportedly invested $500 million in this version of the XFL, quintupling his investment from the league’s first iteration. This infusion of cash will ensure that the league doesn’t go the way of the AAF, which among other things went belly up because it ran out of money. Another reason for my likely misplaced optimism is the fact that the focus of the league seems to be primarily on the football being played. In the 2001 XFL, football seemed to be the secondary focus of a league more interested in cultivating WWE style drama, as well as creepily oversexualizing its cheerleaders. This time around, players have been given longer times to practice and come together as a team, and cheerleaders have been eliminated completely, allowing fans to hope for a more football-centric experience. 

Of course, at the end of the day the XFL’s success will be judged off of the viewership numbers it pulls in, which will be indelibly proportional to the product put out on the field. So far through the first week, the viewership numbers look good compared to the opening weekends of other defunct leagues, and the level and quality of the football being played is surpassing expectation. For all these reasons, I am cautiously optimistic about the future of this young league. But hey, this whole article is probably gonna age quite badly, because at the end of the day, what the hell do I know?

Categories: Colleges

The emergence of African-American quarterbacks in the NFL

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 3:00pm

Patrick Mahomes just shocked the world. Down 10 points in the fourth quarter, Mahomes rallied his troops to come back and win Super Bowl LIV. Mahomes’s epic performance made it clear why he will be the face of the NFL for years to come. In the process, this quarterback from Tyler, Texas became the third African American quarterback to win a Super Bowl in history.

In the earlier days of the NFL, African Americans were not regarded as quarterback material but rather to be used at other skill positions to put their athleticism to “good use.” The quarterback position was seen as a “thinking man’s position” and unfit for African American people to hold down the reigns. These stereotypes would continue until the emergence of an early legend, Warren Moon.

Moon began his career in the Canadian football league, leading his team to many championships before moving to the NFL. There he would continue his success, going to nine Pro Bowls and even finishing top five in passing yards when he retired. NFL executives were shocked. An African American man giving his team a boost at the quarterback position like Moon did was simply unheard of at this time, yet this was the first step to breaking down racial biases.

Years later we received Michael Vick. With his tremendous athleticism and dazzling plays, NFL fans quickly fell in love. Vick was on top of the world, yet when trouble came in the form of jail time for animal abuse, the stereotypes were quick to rush back. African American quarterbacks were seen as untrustworthy. Using where people were born and seeing the harsh surroundings that they grew up in, NFL execs would lack faith in a black prospect because they would not want a troublemaker leading their team. Vick came back though, admitted to his mistakes, and showed the world that he was still good enough to play. The fans accepted him because he was just so dazzling to watch, and this really opened up the door for future prospects.

Next came Robert Griffin III, or “RG3,” for the Washington Redskins and his amazing rookie year, which showcased his elite ability to make people miss on tackles. Then Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks, who won a Super Bowl in his second year against a very talented Denver Broncos team. Most recently we have seen Lamar Jackson explode in the NFL, winning MVP even though people did not think he was good enough to play quarterback. All of these prospects were doubted because of their skin color, yet all of them have prevailed to show the world that they are more than that. Now there are more non-white starting quarterbacks in the NFL than ever before, and all of them have unique talents that prove they are just as good as any other quarterback in the league.
People like Patrick Mahomes are setting the example for a new generation. The prototypical white quarterback is becoming a thing of the past and younger kids are encouraged more than ever by seeing people just like them on the big screen. Athleticism is not a curse anymore. Being yourself is becoming more and more encouraged. Skin color is not a barricade keeping your dreams from becoming a reality. Black quarterbacks are continuing the tradition of proving people wrong one throw at time, and it looks like they will keep doing so for years to come.

Categories: Colleges

St. Olaf Choir returns from whirlwind tour for home concert

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 3:00pm

After traveling for two weeks across the East Coast, the St. Olaf Choir returned to campus for a final home concert on Feb. 16. The tour celebrated the 100th anniversary of the choir’s first tour to the East Coast in 1920 and the 30th anniversary of Dr. Anton Armstrong’s ’78 directorship of the choir.

The concert triumphantly finished off the choir’s two week tour. Boe Chapel was packed with an eager audience, and some even stood in the back to hear the world-renowned ensemble in their two and a half hour performance.

Social justice was a predominant theme of the concert. The song “When Thunder Comes,” composed by Mari Esabel Valverde ’10 and set to the words of a poem by J. Patrick Lewis, celebrated American civil rights heroes. In a note in the program, the composer explained that “calling attention to our history’s systemic erasure of the stories of marginalized human beings in the United State, Lewis’s sonnet presents a powerful model for patriotism.”

Climate change and the environment was another important theme. Just before the choir performed the song “On Horizon’s Brim,” an ode to our beautiful and dangerously changing planet earth, Armstrong asked the audience, “What kind of steward have you been for God’s creation?” The music was composed by Ralph M. Johnson ’78, and the poem that provided the lyrics was written by Malcolm Gimse ’58.

Ann Ambach ’21, St. Olaf Choir member, and Jessica Folson ’21, violinist in the chamber orchestra, talked about their experiences traveling with the choir and relayed what it is like to be a full-time student and touring musician.

Touring can be a stressful endeavor. The musicians traveled for two weeks, missing several days of class at the beginning of spring semester. However, Ambach and Folson both agreed that the stress of missing class was worth touring the country performing music as an ensemble.

“It was a little stressful when classes started, but at the same time, I’m doing what I love to do,” Ambach said.

Both Ambach and Folson’s favorite performance was their concert at Carnegie Hall.
“My favorite concert was the Carnegie Hall concert because it was in my hometown, and it was just really great to be able to go home and show them what I’ve been working on,” Ambach said.

“My favorite was Carnegie as well,” Folson said. “This year I got to have fun on that stage. Last year when I played there with the orchestra I was super stressed, but this time I just had fun.”

The chamber musicians are not always a part of the choir, and they only had to perform in half of the concert, but both Ambach and Folson noted the strong bonds formed during the tour between the singers and the chamber musicians.

“You’re all spending so much time together, so you all bond even though we’re not in the same ensembles normally,” Ambach said.

Although the schedule was packed, with concerts almost every day, the students did have a little time for late night sugar runs.

“I got out of the concerts and rehearsals a lot faster because I wasn’t the main event,” Folson said. “The other collaborative musicians and I would get ice cream or cookies, and that was really fun.”

“We had a free night in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and we did a junior night and went to Ben and Jerry’s,” Ambach said. “That was probably my favorite thing, just being in this tiny little ice cream shop with all the juniors and bonding a little bit more.”
Ice cream runs highlighted the trip, but sickness also permeated the tour. Worries about the lack of a nurse on tour abounded, but both Ambach and Folson said that the fact that a nurse was not present did not make a significant difference to their experience on tour.
Overall, both Folson and Ambach agreed that the tour was “amazing,” and the Choir’s impressive, socially conscious repertoire was executed to perfection at the home concert on Sunday.

Categories: Colleges

Hockey, basketball find success over interim

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 3:00pm

Although we at the Manitou Messenger hibernated over interim, St. Olaf athletes certainly did not, continuing to compete during the frigid month of January. That being said, we as a sports-consuming student body have much to catch up on, so let us dive right into it.
Though I am usually quick to criticize the St. Olaf hockey teams, even I must admit that this past January was relatively successful. The men’s hockey team increased their win total by 200 percent, finishing the month with a record of 2-3-1, bringing their overall record to 3-14-1. More significantly, they recorded the first-ever win in the new St. Olaf Ice Arena, over one year after its inaugural game.

The defeat of the University of Wisconsin-Stout on Jan. 18 by a score of 3-2 was followed by another home win in overtime against Bethel on Feb. 8. Finally, hockey fans got to celebrate a St. Olaf win on their home ice.

The women’s team went 0-5-2 in January, recording their first ties over interim and bringing their overall record to 0-16-2. While neither team recorded a winning record over interim, these results are significantly better than expected, especially when compared to the rest of the season. This goes to show that as a fan of St. Olaf hockey, it is always important to look on the bright side of things, no matter how small they are.
For a more uplifting look at Ole athletics, we turn to the St. Olaf basketball teams. Over interim, men’s basketball went 4-6, while the women went 3-5. While neither team finished the month ideally, both find themselves in a position to compete for a postseason berth entering the final stretch of games in the season. As of now, both teams are hovering under 0.500 with the men sporting a record 11-12 and the women at a solid 8-15 in the win-loss columns, respectively.

This analysis goes to show the consistency of St. Olaf athletics. Even when we as the general student population cease to pay attention, more focused on surviving the cold, harsh winter with our limbs and GPAs intact, our winter athletes continue to perform. For that, I am proud to be an Ole.

Categories: Colleges

Heart Beat

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 3:00pm

“Marriage is just a certificate that financially binds you to another person,” I said.
“No, it’s not! It’s more than that.” I’d struck a nerve.

A couple of days ago, my friend and I got into a heated argument about marriage. It started out as a joke: I was satirizing the consumerist culture behind marriage’s ceremonious BS. But – when I noticed he was not on board with my bit in the same way he usually was – we both started getting defensive.

College students preach the importance of making financially sound decisions – we don’t order food we won’t eat at restaurants; we are stingy with our gas money; we’ll work an extra shift at the Caf for a larger paycheck. Every penny counts. That’s why this culture around marriage is so strange to me. Is marriage not – to some degree – an investment as well? If so, wouldn’t it be important to evaluate the financial risk? If not, why is there social pressure to achieve an arbitrary label?

WeddingWire’s Newlywed report states that the average cost of marriage in the U.S. is nearly $39,000. To put that in perspective, the average student loan debt for college graduates is about $2,000 dollars less. You could pay off your college debt and celebrate with an extravagant vacation with that money. Even so, if I were part of that lucky couple, I would opt to save at least $28,000 of that to cover the cost of our eventual divorce (considering the average cost of divorce in Minnesota is about $14,000) and then split the remaining money evenly so we both can go on extravagant vacations, separately.
My friend was not amused by my statistics. However quick I was to be cynical, he was just as ready to remind me of marriage’s cultural significance. It is a symbol for love that dominates modern society. It is in art, film, music and writing alike. Our entire adult dating life leads up to the moment when we find the person who best complements us, and the person with whom we would be best fit to spend the rest of our lives will not always be a financial asset to us. And they should not have to be. Being happy and comfortable trumps being miserable and financially secure every time.

I contended by saying that although you cannot separate marriage’s modern cultural significance from the practice itself, it is still important to acknowledge its history. Traditionally, marriage was looked at as a security deposit for owning land and property and a means by which people delegated heirs. There are some regions which continue to view women as included in “property ownership.” In some cultures, the amount of spouses you had represented your socioeconomic status – monogamy became widely accepted because many people could not afford the costly luxury of multiple partners. Arranged marriages are still common practice in some regions. Point is, love never seemed to be in the picture.

However, I will admit my friend had a point. Regardless of marriage’s long, elaborate, monetary-centric history, institutions have the ability to develop new meanings and grow into something else. The United States’s culture of marriage has shifted to value love over money. By and large, finding “the one” does not mean finding “the one who can be the best financial benefit to my future children and me” anymore. We root for Romeo and Juliet because our culture believes in fighting for true love. Happiness and security are not luxuries anymore (nor are they mutually exclusive). That being said, it is still important to step back and recognize the history that led up to this culture flip and ask yourself if marriage is right for you before you commit. It still is an important financial decision to make, and it is important to make that decision wisely. For all we know, Romeo and Juliet’s tragic ending avoided some massive legal fees during a very messy divorce.

Having trouble navigating the St. Olaf dating scene? Email your questions to and maybe one of our love columnists will answer them in next week’s issue. All submitted questions will remain anonymous.

Categories: Colleges

Belay on

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 3:00pm

The culture of rock climbing at St. Olaf

Tucked at the bottom of Skoglund’s west stairwell is St. Olaf’s climbing wall. At 55 feet, the wall’s peak is one of the highest in Rice County, and for fearful students like myself, it might as well be El Capitan’s Dawn Wall.

Suffused with brightly-colored holds, the wall’s surface fits nicely amidst the overwhelmingly gray tinge of the Tostrud Fieldhouse. Whether it is being swarmed with climbers or empty, basking in the nighttime streetlight of Skoglund’s parking lot, the structure possesses an undeniable gravitas that never fails to hold my attention, even if just for a moment.

The wall is home to a community of Oles who spend hours of their day harnessed high above ground, studying the wall’s many details, connected in their goal of reaching its top, and reaching it quickly. This community and their earthy aesthetic intrigues me on a daily basis, so I decided to take a deeper look into what the hobby is all about.
Made up of many class years, experience levels and a range of Fjallraven backpacks, this group is a welcoming one. While the rock wall serves as a fun place for students on campus to go to after class or on the weekends, it is also taken seriously by those who aspire to climb outdoors. The five-story wall and its neighboring bouldering structure serve as a traditional climbing gym for the group’s more experienced members and a place to practice routes they would encounter on climbs in different regions of the Midwest. Veteran members act as route setters, orienting the wall’s holds to create paths of calculated difficulty, graded with numbers and letters on a scale beyond my comprehension.

Without being able to practice indoors, many of these climbers would lose their edge in the winter months, where consistent outdoor climbing is made impossible by both the weather and geographic location of Northfield. Many members of this community also frequent Carleton’s climbing setup, which lacks the height of St. Olaf’s but includes a rigorous bouldering wall different from the one found in the Fieldhouse.

While the wall can be seen as a training ground for outdoor climbing, it still provides its own set of challenges, described as addicting by the majority of its loyal fans. When I asked frequent climber Jacob Tollerud ’21 what the feeling is that keeps bringing him back, he brought up the idea of flow state.

Flow state comes when you are completely immersed in an experience, devoting so much of your physical and mental energy to the task that the rest of the world disappears around it.

“This is a great place to adapt your skills for the real climbs,” Tollerud said. “But training the more difficult routes trying to not fall is where you get the most dopamine, where you get the biggest rush.”

“You get to the top and you’re just enthused,” he said. “You’ll get down five minutes later, and it’s like a drug, thinking about what the next thing there is to do. It’s the flow state.”
From the wall’s loyal climbers to the gym rats of the first floor weight room, to the runners of the upper track and the gatekeepers of the water fountain matts, the Tostrud Fieldhouse serves as a haven for different flow states students enjoy.

As many of us are consumed by the grandeur of professional sports along with the fame and attention they demand, the smaller joys of physical activity are often overlooked. The rock wall and its thriving community are a nice reminder of these joys, and the equally fulfilling passions that exist for physical activity outside of conventional athletic teams.

Categories: Colleges


Manitou Messenger - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 3:00pm
Categories: Colleges

SGA senators resign

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 3:00pm

The Student Government Association (SGA) Senate is working to fill multiple vacancies following the departure of four student senators between December and February, including Gender and Sexuality Senator Jacob Boettcher ’22 and Intercampus Liaison William Jadkowski ’21.

Two of the vacancies have since been filled: Edwin Le ’21 is the new Rand Hall Senator, replacing River Gerding ’21, while Sarah Hilst ’23 is the new Hilleboe Hall & Kittelsby Hall Senator, replacing Audrey Anaya ’22. Both Gerding and Anaya stepped down in January, while Boettcher and Jadkowski stepped down in December and early February, respectively.

SGA is still working to fill the other two Senate seats and does not plan to hold a special election to do so, wrote SGA Vice President Ariel Mota Alves ’20 in a message to the Messenger.

“It’s a slow process and resignation is always hard because finding [a] replacement is time consuming,” Mota Alves wrote.

Boettcher’s departure marks the second time this academic year that the Gender & Sexuality Senator seat has opened unexpectedly. Boettcher’s predecessor, Maggie Upjohn ’20, vacated the seat Nov. 4, prompting SGA to call the Nov. 19 special election that Boettcher won.

Despite the coincidence of resignations, there was no unifying reason or internal conflict common to the departures, according to statements from International Student Senator Zhanat Seitkuzhin ’22 and Larson Hall Senator Sasha Kazharskaya ’22.

“I resigned from my position as Gender & Sexuality Senator due to personal health issues that arose following the date of the special election that was held,” Boettcher wrote in an email to the Messenger. “These health complications would have prevented me from fully contributing to the Senate and being a fierce advocate for LGBTQIA+ aligned students on the Hill.”

Jadkowski declined to comment regarding the reason for his departure.
“The Student Government Association does incredible work on this campus and I will continue to support their efforts to make St. Olaf a more welcoming and inclusive environment for all,” Boettcher wrote.

Categories: Colleges

Humans of St. Olaf

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 3:00pm

“So this past Interim, I was studying abroad in London. And so we went into this street market. I think the area was called Shepherd’s Bush. And there was this vendor selling
freshly-made juice. So, you would pick your choice of fruits and he would blend it and give you a cup of juice. So, I asked for ginger. And he was like, ‘Oooh! Strong girl!’ And I was thinking, ‘Uhm – okay – how does that – okay.’ Now when it was my actual drink, he made it and then handed it to me and was like ‘Is that enough ginger?’ I was like, ‘Can I have more ginger?’ And he said again, ‘Oooh, strong girl!’ I realised that I didn’t ask for a price before hand [which is something you should do] and he said, ‘2 pounds. But that’s just because you are such a strong girl. I never give anybody this cheap of a price! This is just because you are a strong girl!’

It was so funny. It was very very funny and it just reminded me of how I miss home. Buying stuff in the streets. Especially if you are in the northern part of Nigeria. We call them mallams who just own corner stores – like kiosks. And they would always engage. People call them aboki but that’s because they also call people aboki and aboki means my friend. So yeah, that made me think of home.”

Categories: Colleges

College leases land for new solar garden near campus

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 3:00pm

St. Olaf has agreed to lease approximately 10 acres of its land northwest of campus to Hyacinth Solar, LLC for a one megawatt (MW) community solar garden.
The proposed solar garden could generate enough energy to power approximately 258 homes each year and avoid approximately 1,480 metric tons of carbon emissions annually, according to Hyacinth.

Hyacinth is a subsidiary of Geronimo Energy, LLC and prides itself on “developing renewable energy projects that are farmer-friendly, community-driven, and beneficial for rural communities,” according to Geronimo’s website.

Kevin Larson, director of facilities at St. Olaf, believes this land is a good fit for the project because it is near an existing five MW solar garden. The new solar garden can utilize the pre-existing power lines, which makes it more economical than if it were located in a field without any power lines to tap into. The project will connect to Xcel Energy’s existing distribution system.

Larson believes leasing this land invests in and supports greener energy which is an overall goal of the institution. St. Olaf is presently carbon neutral for all campus electricity, meaning the net release of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere is zero, through subscriptions to over 30 one-MW solar fields, Larson said.

Project planners do not anticipate that the solar garden will impact any natural, scenic or historic features in the city.

The project will also include a vegetated buffer to reduce possible visual impacts to nearby roads, according to Hyacinth’s conditional use permit application.
Hyacinth intends to start construction of the facility as early as spring 2020 and hopes to complete the project by the end of 2020.

Geronimo has worked with the city of Northfield on establishing the best way to utilize the land they are leasing from St. Olaf. This project is a notable way to endorse Northfield as inclusive to alternative energy sources and provide residents with more ways to subscribe to local green energy while still being conscientious to existing land and community, Northfield City Planner Mikayla Schmidt said.

Categories: Colleges

The Valentine’s Day: the fight between capitalism, true love

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 1:15pm

In 1993, Haddaway asked the world, “What is Love?” Now, I ask you the same. Close your eyes for a moment. Envision a day dedicated to celebrating all forms of love. What would that day look like?

I would argue that Valentine’s Day falls short of this ideal. From cards with pre-printed messages to spray-scented bouquets, Valentine’s Day has become a commercial operation hyperfocused on romance.

Marketing firms such as IBISWorld report that spending on Valentine’s Day has a record $20.1 billion across the world. American consumers alone spend an average of $152 on gifts for the holiday. For a celebration of love, there are a lot of price tags attached.
Stores change their displays completely whenever Valentine’s Day rolls around. Baskets filled with flowers fill their display cases even though it is the middle of winter. Sparkly hearts and boxes of cherry-filled chocolates cover every surface. Adding to the chaos, everything is simultaneously overpriced and on sale.

Where did this annual tradition of spray-scented bouquets and chocolates come from? The history of Valentine’s Day is uncertain at best. Many believe that it began in the third century with the decapitation of Valentine, a Catholic priest canonized into sainthood shortly after his death.

Valentine secretly married couples to spare the husbands from fighting in the Roman military and in response, the emperor not-so-secretly decided to chop off the priest’s head. Long story short, Valentine did not get a happy ending.

Valentine’s Day was born in all her shining glory when the Catholic Church placed the feast of St. Valentine next to a pagan festival celebrating fertility. From then on, the holiday grew into an international celebration.

I believe that Valentine’s Day is currently churning its wheels in the mud, trapped in a multimillion-dollar industry that convinces consumers that love requires commercial validation.

Valentine’s Day should be a holiday that celebrates all forms of love, not exclusively chick-flick romance or pagan fertility rituals. Returning to Haddaway’s question, “What is Love?” we see that love means something different to everyone.

For some, love is an overabundance of hormones. According to an article published by Harvard University, the nervous excitement – the good old-fashioned “butterflies in your stomach”– and feelings of attraction toward a special someone can be attributed to an increase in your brain’s dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin levels.

For others, love is a mushy-gushy feeling that leaves everyone grinning. Love motivates us to work toward something beyond ourselves. Love also glues together families, friendships and relationships. Whether we narrow love into a science or take a step back to see the bigger picture, love is multifaceted and boundless.

How do we celebrate such a complicated word? Well, some buy flowers and treat their significant other to a candlelit dinner. Others wear a t-rex suit and hand out candy in Buntrock. How you celebrate is up to you.

I only ask that you tell the people you love that you love them. Leave them a voice message, send them a text, write them a letter or – if you happen to be so lucky – tell them in person. Take the time on Valentine’s Day to let love speak for itself. You will not regret it.
Amy Imdieke ’21 is from Northfield, Minn. Her majors are chemistry and English.

Categories: Colleges

Admin set to consider designated smoking areas

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 1:04pm

The working group tasked with reforming St. Olaf’s smoking policy will soon recommend the creation of designated smoking areas.

Currently, community members may smoke anywhere on campus provided they remain a certain distance from building entrances.

Many college employees have complained about walking through smoke when entering and exiting buildings, which drove the College to reexamine its smoking policy, said director of Environmental Health and Safety Elisabeth Haase.

The designated area proposal, which the working group will submit to the President’s Leadership Team for approval before February ends, aims to remedy this issue, Haase said.

Working group member and smoker Bakr Al-Taie ’21 said he likes the designated smoking area policy because it will reduce secondhand smoke exposure but also provide a wide range of areas for smoking.

Haase declined to comment on how many designated areas might be created, but did say there would be smoking areas outside of each residence hall.

Al-Taie said he recalls seeing a map of the proposed areas at a working group meeting. He remembered seeing one to two spots near each building. Haase could not provide a map of the areas to the Messenger.

Alongside drafting the new policy, the working group researched the possibility of a smoking cessation program at St. Olaf with the help of a group of nursing majors.
The group looked into how the College’s insurance policy and health services might factor into such a program.

Haase could not provide more specifics about what the program could look like, but did speculate that the College might create a working group to continue researching it.
“I do think it’s good that they’re developing [a cessation program] if it’s used when students want to use it,” Al-Taie said. “If it’s not pushed on students I think that’s good.”

Categories: Colleges

Developer request on park fee reduction on hold; Northfield PD keeping us safe; Nfld Transportation Committee has four priorities

KYMN Radio - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 12:02pm

By Teri Knight, News Director A resolution for a reduction in park dedication fees is on hold. The Northfield City Council was asked to reduce the fee that the developers of the 5th St. Lofts would pay in lieu of parkland. Due to the location of the downtown lofts, land for a park isn’t an

The post Developer request on park fee reduction on hold; Northfield PD keeping us safe; Nfld Transportation Committee has four priorities appeared first on KYMN Radio · Northfield, MN · AM 1080 & FM 95.1.

Housing and Redevelopment Authority Meeting

City of Northfield Calendar - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 11:24am
Event date: February 25, 2020
Event Time: 04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
801 Washington Street
Northfield, MN 55057
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