Blogosphere

Charter Commission Meeting

City of Northfield Calendar - 3 hours 40 min ago
Event date: March 11, 2021
Event Time: 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
Location:
Northfield, MN 55057
Description:
Charter Commission Meeting
Thu, Mar 11, 2021 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM (CST)

Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.

https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/537343845

You can also dial in using your phone.
(For supported devices, tap a one-touch number below to join instantly.)

United States: +1 (571) 317-3122
- One-touch: tel:+15713173122,,537343845#

Access Code: 537-343-845


New to GoToMeeting? Get the app now and be ready when your first meeting starts: https://global.gotomeeting.com/install/537343845

Success on the tennis court, classroom, and workforce

St. Olaf College - 3 hours 42 min ago
Sabrina Barboza '21 is from Katy, Texas, and came to St. Olaf College to play tennis at the collegiate level. Over the last four years, she's done that and so much more — from exploring academic interests to growing through internships to landing a full-time job in her dream industry.
Categories: Colleges

Grant County Intervenors’ Briefs

Carol Overland - Legalectric - 4 hours 37 min ago

Whew, time to take a breather. We had two briefs due at 1:30 p.m. today, and got them filed with 1/2 hour to spare! Let’s hear it for the power of Doritos! (Only way I got through Contracts and Corporations in law school was a two-fisted supply of Doritos and Haagen Dazs)

Here are our Grant County Intervenor briefs. First, the non-party brief in the WP&L acquisition docket for SIX solar projects covering over 5,400 acres:

GCI-Non-Party-BriefDownload

Next, the Grant County Solar docket focusing on the CPCN application for that one project:

Initial Brief-Grant-County-IntervenorsDownload

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZz

Categories: Citizens

Former restaurant general manager charged in theft of nearly $20,000

Northfield News - 6 hours 4 min ago
A former general manager of Alibi at Froggy Bottoms in Northfield allegedly stole nearly $20,000 from the establishment over the span of a few months last year.
Categories: Local News

Former Supreme Court Justice Alan Page talks ‘Page Amendment’; Lippert has concerns for mental health care; St. Olaf, Carleton students protest Line 3

KYMN Radio - 6 hours 9 min ago
By Rich Larson, News Director Former Supreme Court Justice Alan Page is advocating for an amendment to the Minnesota State Constitution that would guarantee every child in the state a quality education.   Justice Page said the “Page Amendment” would put children first and make a quality education a civil right. He said the current language

Senator Rich Draheim provides update on several bills

KYMN Radio - 9 hours 20 min ago
Senator Rich Draheim provides an update on a bill addressing funding for the Chauvin trial as well as several bills that he has authored.

Record number of gun permits issues in Minnesota in 2020

Northfield News - 11 hours 42 min ago
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A record number of permits to carry handguns were issued in 2020, a surge attributed to a rise in violent crime in the Twin Cities and the civil unrest that followed the death of George Floyd.
Categories: Local News

Fine Tune #272 archive: woman 2021.03.07

KYMN Radio - Sun, 03/07/2021 - 7:20pm
This week’s archive edition of Fine Tune first aired on International Women’s Day, 2016, and features a sampling of some songwriter’s views of women – while you may not agree with some of the views expressed therein, there is definitely food for thought! This year’s IWD theme is #ChooseToChallenge “A challenged world is an alert world and

Muchas noticias y plan de rescate de la economía de Biden

KYMN Radio - Sun, 03/07/2021 - 5:19pm
Se juntan noticias importantes esta semana. Se aprueba una nueva vacuna para covid, la de Johnson & Johnson y el plan de rescate a la economía. Igualmente se inicia el programa de reforma migratoria del gobierno Biden. Entra en el proceso el pasado jueves 4 de marzo. Advertencia. En los 33 minutos finales compartimos el

March 2021

Tom Swift - Untethered Dog - Sun, 03/07/2021 - 5:15am

7 March Time. Your dog sleeping on your leg. Transitions. Clarity about necessary purchases. Questioning everything. Sleep. 6 Saturday Moving on. Preparation. Your roof. A trusted handyman. Eric Bogosian. A much-needed nap. Walking without a jacket. Steak sandwiches. 4 Thursday Water. Gin and tonics. A break from it all. Jennifer Connelly. 1980s music. A sweet, […]

The post March 2021 appeared first on Untethered Dog.

Categories: Citizens

Daily humiliations

Carletonian - Sat, 03/06/2021 - 6:57pm

The post Daily humiliations appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

Carleton prepares for long-shot possibility of vaccine allocation from state

Carletonian - Sat, 03/06/2021 - 6:39pm

Having been approved as a vaccination site in February, Carleton is now in the process of strategizing priority groups, gathering data on eligible community members and managing a myriad of other distribution logistics.

Dean of Students Carolyn Livingston told the Carletonian that “as a community clinic, we are abiding by the same phases that everybody in the state is abiding by.” That means that if the college is allocated any doses while Minnesota is still in the current Tier 1 of the 1b vaccination phase, the doses would only go to staff, faculty and any of their household members who are age 65 and over. 

However, Livingston stated that “we have not been given any vaccines for distribution on campus,” and it is unknown if or when the state might begin to allocate doses to the college. 

Nurse Practitioner and Vaccine Coordinator Angel Yackel explained that if the state does decide to distribute the vaccine to Carleton, “we’d get notified [by the] state on a Thursday or a Friday that we’d receive [the] vaccine the next week.” The vaccines would be delivered around the following Tuesday, and the college would have three days to administer 90% of the allocated doses and the rest of the week to use the remainder. 

The state of Minnesota is distributing directly to hospitals, clinics and pharmacies, and the remaining doses are handled by “coalitions in each part of the state that get allocated doses, and the coalitions decide how those extra doses will be given out,” Yackel said. These coalitions typically distribute to vaccination sites such as congregate living facilities, pharmacies that need additional doses and clinics that are not affiliated with hospitals. The college would likely fall in the third category.

“We’ve submitted our information to that coalition, so if they deem it appropriate to give vaccine[s] to us to give to the priority groups, they [will] let us know,” Yackel explained. “It could happen at any time, but it also could be several months from now.” 

In the meantime, the college’s Vaccine Priority Working Group—spearheaded by Yackel and another vaccine coordinator, Advanced Practice Nurse Natalee Johnson—is preparing for swift action in the event that Carleton is allocated vaccines. 

Yackel reported that the college in February sent a form to all faculty and staff to start compiling a list of community members who fall into each state-designated priority group. She explained that Carleton wants to develop a list of all those who fall into the current priority group, as well as those in the next group in case the college has extra vaccine doses. 

According to recent updates from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the current Phase 1b–Tier 1 group includes people ages 65 years and older. Phase 1b–Tier 2 will include anyone 16 or older with certain designated high risk health conditions

Phase 1b–Tier 3 will extend the vaccine to people ages 45-64 with at least one underlying health condition from a more extensive list, people ages 16-44 with at least two conditions from the same list, and anyone over 50 years old who lives in multi-generational housing. Finally, Phase 1b–Tier 4 will include anyone over 16 with at least one condition from the list as well as all people over the age of 50. 

After the four 1b tiers are complete or adequately underway, the state will proceed to Phase 1c, which will include broader categories of essential workers, and finally Phase 2, which will open up vaccines to the general public. 

According to US Census 2019 American Community Survey data, there are over one million Minnesotans in the 1b category. MDH recently predicted that the state would reach Phase 2 by around July 2021, but this timeline has not been updated since the FDA’s emergency approval of a third vaccine, produced by Johnson & Johnson, which is expected to accelerate the vaccine rollout nationwide. 

     President Joe Biden recently suggested that all American adults could receive a vaccine by the end of May, moving the rollout timeline up by a few months, though he made clear that it was not a promise

Yackel confirmed that the college is working on a survey, similar to the one sent to faculty and staff in February, to compile lists of students who fall into each priority group. 

“We have the survey in the works…but it’s one of those things that goes through the Core [COVID] team and everything, so we need approval from them before we [c]ould send it out,” she told the Carletonian on February 19. 

Livingston expressed a belief that “it will be some time before we get out of the 65 and older phase.” Similarly, Yackel admitted, “We’re hopeful that we’ll get something, but it is a waiting game.” 

She continued, “As we’re becoming more aware of what’s going on around us, we’re not expecting super soon that we’ll get anything, but we don’t know that. We could suddenly get a call…saying ‘we need to distribute this vaccine, can you do it?’”

Yackel also mentioned that “there are a lot of folks in higher education who are pushing to get the vaccine out to institutes of higher education before the end of the school year for sure, because it’s a very valuable resource to have a college or university able to vaccinate their whole campus while everyone is on campus.” 

Conversely, she said, “If vaccines [aren’t] prioritized for higher education prior to the end of school year, then it puts more of the burden on local healthcare systems to be able to vaccinate students once they’re back home.”

In a recent op-ed for the Chicago Tribune, Cornell College President Jonathan Brand advocates for accelerated distribution of the newly approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine to young adults—particularly college students, many of whom will soon be “traveling nationwide.”

Brand argues that because it is less effective than the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine could be more effective at protecting the population as a whole if it was distributed to young people first, saving the more effective vaccines for those in higher-risk groups while moving a super-spreader population towards herd immunity.

The American College Health Association is also calling on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to allocate vaccines for college students before the “mass migration event” at the end of the spring term, and insists that “Colleges and universities are a logical site for COVID-19 vaccine distribution.”

As for the likelihood that federal and state governments grant this request, Yackel expressed mild doubts, “because nobody’s getting vaccine[s] for anybody but those that are in the priority groups,” at least for the moment. However, she is confident that “local public health as well as the department of health has a pulse on this,” and noted that “we’re receiving communications from them regularly.”

Regarding the limited communication from college administrators on vaccination plans, Yackel said, “We’ve been wanting to share information, but it’s a tricky time […]because of all the unknowns that are there still. But we want people to know that we have plans in place and we’re ready to say yes whenever they call on us.”

Johnson added, “Carleton is really preparing to be ready to do it when we can.” She said the mission of the Vaccine Priority Working Group “is to really just be ready to go when it’s ready and not have that be a limitation on why we couldn’t accept vaccine[s] if they were made available. So we’re pushing for that, and we’ve got a great team working on it, and we’re looking at all the angles so that we don’t have to delay anything that would be offered.”

“It’s a rocky rollout,” Johnson observed of the national and global distribution process, but “I believe that people are doing the best they can on a very short notice.”


Update: March 6, 2021 — this article has been updated from the version published in our print edition to include information about a statement from President Joe Biden on the national vaccination timeline.

The post Carleton prepares for long-shot possibility of vaccine allocation from state appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

Leadership transition in Disability Services

Carletonian - Sat, 03/06/2021 - 6:38pm

Carleton’s Disability Services Office—which provides student accommodations and support and works to improve understanding of disability in the campus community—has just begun a major transition this winter: the search for a new director. Ever since former director Chris Dallager left Carleton at the end of January, Accessibility Specialist Samantha Thayer has served as Interim Director while the college searches for someone to fill Dallager’s position.

After four years as Carleton’s Director of Disability Services, Chris Dallager will be moving on to a similar job as Director of Disability Support Services and ACCESS at Mississippi State University. As Dean Livingston explained in an email to the campus community on January 29, ACCESS is a four-year transition program that helps students with intellectual or developmental disabilities prepare for life after college by giving them the opportunity to “live on campus, audit classes, learn employment skills, and receive significant coaching and support to set up independent living.” 

Dallager’s new role will also involve helping with MSU’s Autism Liaison program, in which graduate students mentor degree-seeking undergraduates on the autism spectrum.

Dallager made some lasting changes to the office during his time at Carleton. Livingston notes in her email, for example, that he “consolidated and streamlined” the process that students must go through to obtain academic, housing or dining accommodations. He also created the office’s peer leadership positions

In an interview published in Issue 2 of Winter Term’s Disability Digest, Dallager reflected on his work at Carleton. He admitted that the changes he is most proud of are those he made with the help of other staff and faculty from Carleton and from other colleges. 

It was through collaboration with colleagues, he explained, that he worked to make the office better equipped to support students with mental health conditions, which are one of the most common reasons for needing accommodations. He commented, “I don’t think the work that almost any of us do at this college occurs because one person did it.”

Students have had a wide range of reactions to Dallager’s leadership of Disability Services. A June 2019 Carletonian article reported that although some students found the office very helpful, many found it disorganized and were frustrated that Dallager was not always quick to reply to email. Other students felt that the office should be doing more to get involved in campus life. 

The article also explained that receiving approval for accommodations could be difficult, especially since getting the required documentation of one’s disability is often expensive.

Not all of the approval procedures and requirements are decided by Disability Services, so it is unclear how much a new director could change the process of arranging accommodations.

The search for a new director is already underway, but Disability Peer Leader Isabel Anderson ’22 observed that “finding the right fit for Carleton may take some time, especially in a pandemic.” Moreover, the requirements for applicants are demanding. 

On Carleton’s Human Resources page, the position listing requires that candidates have a master’s degree in counseling, psychology, or a related field, as well as previous experience in a Disability Services office within an institution of higher education. 

Human Resources also emphasizes that Disability Services should play an influential role in campus culture, explaining that the job of the Director and Assistant Director is not only to “provide accommodations” but to “develop and implement programming to increase awareness of disability issues and challenges at Carleton [in order to impact] policies [and frame] Carleton values, activities, and decisions to help develop an environment where students with disabilities can thrive.”

In answer to an email query, Associate Dean of Students Joe Baggot noted that the current plan was to “begin reviewing applications at the start of the Spring Term.” In the meantime, Thayer will continue to fulfill the responsibilities of the director in addition to her usual responsibilities as Accessibility Specialist. 

Anderson—who has continued to work for the office remotely this Spring—commented that Thayer “has done an incredible job maintaining a smooth transition and continues to serve Carleton with an expertise that is appreciated by everyone who works in the office.”

The post Leadership transition in Disability Services appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

Funding approved for Carleton Bike Cooperative to enable student repairs

Carletonian - Sat, 03/06/2021 - 6:37pm

On February 15, over $3,800 in funding was unanimously approved by the Carleton Student Association (CSA) for the Carleton Bike Cooperative—proposed by Jacyn Schmidt ’21 and Andrew Farias ’21 in partnership with the Sustainability Office and the Makerspace

The funding comes from the Student Projects Committee, which Chair Polycarpe Bagereka ’22 said is used for projects that may not be associated with any chartered organization. He added, “We review every submitted project idea and when it is worth pursuing, we work collaboratively with the students and any appropriate parties to bring the project to fruition.”  

With the Cooperative, students will be able to receive advice about their bikes or learn how to repair them for low to no cost at the mobile bike repair station—which can be set up outside Sayles or other locations for drop-ins. Students will also be able to purchase add-ons or safety equipment, like helmets and U-locks.  

 Construction of the  actual bike station—which will be outfitted with a bike cargo trailer with a stand and integrated tool chest—will begin this spring. Instrument Project Manager Aaron Heidgerken-Greene, who manages the Makerspace, said he will work with students to create a final design and teach the skills necessary to build it in the Makerspace.   

They will also establish a component list, and Heidgerken-Greene expects that “we’ll start with materials for light maintenance and repair, such as bar tape, lubricants and a variety of inner tubes.” On their budget sheet, Schmidt and Farias have also allotted for common larger replacements—such as chains and tires. 

Students may be charged a small fee for parts used in repairs, but any instruction or tools used will be at no cost, which is similar to the model used by BicyCAL at the University of California Berkeley. Schmidt and Farias also hope to implement a sliding scale for students to get parts at no cost or a discounted price to alleviate financial burdens. 

The Coop also plans to offer workshops to educate students on common fixes and introduce technical skills. “When I was a freshman, I did a workshop with an upperclassman who was really interested in teaching people how to fix their bikes,” Schmidt said. “And I’m really excited about that being something that’s very normal.” 

Carleton has had three iterations of bike sharing and repair programs in recent history. The proposal highlights two internal programs: the 1999 CSA-funded Yellow Bike Club (YBC) and the 2011 green-painted bike rentals started by Students Organized for the Protection of the Environment (SOPE) and maintained by Student Activities Office (SAO) staff members. YBC bikes were repaired by students, and serious injuries “due to break failures” were reported.  The SOPE bike program, on the other hand, could not be maintained as it was additional work on top of full-time SAO staff positions.

The latest attempt with bike-sharing company Zagster in 2018—which was also funded by the Student Projects Committee—failed because the company wasn’t fulfilling their side of the contract, which Farias said “made us worry in terms of bike maintenance and liability in the long run.” It was also expensive, at $18,000 for 10 bikes.  

For liability reasons, both Manager of Campus Energy and Sustainability Martha Larson and Heidgerken-Greene were clear that this program will train students to repair their own bikes instead of having others complete the repairs for them. Heidgerken-Greene said, “We will be focusing on training the owners of the bikes in routine maintenance, and hosting workshops and guides for more complex repairs.”  

“That’s Jacyn and Andrew’s message here, is empowering students to know how to fix their own bike, empowering students to have transportation,” Larson added. “The more we empower people to fix their own stuff, the more it becomes doable, efficient from a time perspective and cheap to choose that instead of to choose ‘throw away and replace’ as a solution.”

Farias said, “There are risks and we want to manage them with the safety precautions, with workshops, with education, with training, with waivers and liability forms, and really doing our best because students are going to continue riding bikes regardless.” 

“Bikes are one of the main ways that students get around on campus. And we just want to be able to help facilitate that safely and in a cooperative manner,” he added. Farias also encouraged students to register their bikes, which allows them to be easily contacted if their bike is stolen or moved for snow plowing.    

Eventually, the Cooperative hopes to expand to fixing up and providing rentals to Carleton students using bikes in the space known as the bike “boneyard” or “graveyard”—which is located under the water tower by Farm House. Security and Grounds Services place bikes here when they have not been moved for a long time.   

Assistant Director of Security Services and Emergency Management Blake Held said, “We tag bikes prior to clearing them from the racks. Facilities staff gathers the tagged bikes to the boneyard. This happens at the end of the academic year, occasionally during the academic year, and when special circumstances like construction projects dictate.” 

In a regular year, there are anywhere between 300 to 450 bikes left behind on campus and placed in the “boneyard.” Schmidt and Farias mentioned that in previous years, some of these bikes were given to a local middle school teacher, to Food Recovery Network volunteers for transportation to the Community Action Center of Northfield, or to a metal recycler.  

Farias said, “The problem is that all these bikes are just exposed to the elements, there’s no cover on top of them. So when it rains, they get rusted. When it snows, they get buried.” The majority end up as scrap metal, which amounts to around 12,600 lbs or 6.3 tons of bicycle-related waste for an entire year.”  

“We’re definitely losing more bikes,” Farias continued. “They’re not being recycled back into campus. Most of these are being purchased or they’re being brought to campus.” When new students arrive in the fall, the whole cycle starts over again.  

For now, Schmidt said, “the main purpose [of the Cooperative] is to help students keep their bikes in good running condition, and safe to ride, and to prevent bikes from going to the graveyard in the first place.”

The post Funding approved for Carleton Bike Cooperative to enable student repairs appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

Remembering the joyful life of longtime Carleton custodian Teresa Pittman

Carletonian - Sat, 03/06/2021 - 6:36pm

It’s hard for anyone to picture Teresa Pittman without a smile. She carried it with her everywhere, so much so that her husband Mark Pittman, thinking about something to dedicate in his wife’s memory, said, “is there such a thing as an everybody smile and get along day?”

 After 23 years working as a custodian in nearly every building at Carleton, Pittman, 56, died on February 9 at Abbott Hospital in Minneapolis of complications from COVID-19. She is the first member of the on-campus Carleton community to pass away from the disease.

Every workday since 1997, Pittman woke up shortly after 3 a.m. to drive from the hobby farm near Kilkenny where she lived with Mr. Pittman to be on campus, cleaning supplies in hand and hard rock in ears, by the time her work started at 5 a.m. She greeted everyone she met in those early mornings with friendly conversation and her signature smile. 

“The first thing I heard every day before my morning classes was rock music echoing out from the hall,” said Aishee Mukherji ’21. As soon as Pittman saw her coming, Mukherji said, “she would turn down the music to talk. Every conversation was meaningful to her. She was busy, she didn’t have to stop and talk, but she always did.”

Perhaps because of that willingness to stop what she was doing to ask about the kids or the final exam or the football game, Pittman had a penchant for turning passing chats into relationships that endured over her two decades at Carleton. Mr. Pittman said, “There are students that she still recognizes at alumni weekend. They could have graduated 10 years ago and they can still pick her out of the bunch.” 

Forming lasting friendships isn’t usually part of a Carleton custodian’s job. Pittman was known around campus for making an effort to get to know everyone around her. “She was special like that,” said Annette Nierobisz, Professor of Sociology. “Teresa was one of those people everybody liked.” 

Competition for Pittman’s heart was stiff between her barn full of miniature donkeys and her seven grandchildren. The donkeys were a gift from Mr. Pittman one year and, he said, “she just fell in love with them. They were her kids after our kids left.” It was just as likely that Pittman would brag about her youngest grandson’s latest football game as it was that she’d proudly report on what the baby donkeys were up to that day.

Mukherji said that Pittman’s motherly presence was apparent in all her interactions, especially with students as she was working in the residence halls. “It’s easy to feel homesick in college, living in a dorm,” Mukherji said. “She would always ask how you are, even if she was on the phone with someone.” 

Between the hours she spent cleaning the Recreation Center and the hours she spent working out in the building, Pittman will also endure in many people’s memories as a semi-permanent fixture in the Rec. Pittman’s remembrance page is filled with tributes from students, staff and faculty who left notes of gratitude for their ever-cheerful workout buddy. “She was the Rec Center,” Nierobisz said. Mikki Showers, Director of the Recreation Center, said in an email that plans are underway to install a plaque dedicated to Pittman in the Recreation Center. 

If she couldn’t be in the Rec working on her own athletic prospects, Pittman, a true purple-and-gold-blooded Minnesotan, was watching her beloved Vikings play. A lifelong resident of Southern Minnesota, Pittman graduated from Faribault High School and met Mark, her second husband, at the 2000 Jesse James Days in Northfield. The Pittmans married in 2004, bringing her two children from a prior marriage and his three—including Dining Services staff member Carrie Akemann—together in their house in Kilkenny. 

Mr. Pittman said that, true to her smiling, self-assured style, Pittman’s mantra through her final weeks was, “It is what it is. There’s nothing you’re going to do to change it.” Mr. Pittman was also sick with COVID-19 at the time, but has since recovered.  The COVID-19 Core Team said in an school-wide email, “it was determined that she’d had no close contacts on campus, nor were connections traced to any other COVID-19 cases in the campus community preceding her illness.” 

Pittman brought her particular love of life and care for those around her to Carleton through her last day at work on January 14. Nierobisz said that the image of Pittman walking through the sunny Recreation Center parking lot on a winter morning, laughing raucously with a colleague, will endure as a final memory of her. “I’m going to miss that positive energy,” she said. “Carleton can be an intense place and she lightened it up for us. She kept it real.”If you would like to make a contribution or reach out to Teresa’s family, her son Tyler has organized a GoFundMe fundraiser to cover medical and funeral costs. Notes of remembrance can be left at the Chaplain’s website or sent directly to Mark Pittman at the address provided. Otherwise, just smile and get along.

The post Remembering the joyful life of longtime Carleton custodian Teresa Pittman appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

Cold and hungry: how Carleton students survived a severe winter storm in Texas

Carletonian - Sat, 03/06/2021 - 6:35pm

When Sergio Gonzalez ’23 woke up in Houston on February 17 and checked his faucet to see if his water was running again, he couldn’t believe that he could see his breath indoors. 

At first, he thought he had to be dreaming; it couldn’t be that cold inside the house, could it? He checked the thermostat. It was below freezing.

Beginning around February 11, a severe winter storm generated record cold temperatures throughout the United States. In Texas, temperatures plunged into the single digits for the first time in decades. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) instituted rolling blackouts beginning on Monday, February 15, to prevent uncontrollable blackouts due to failure of a power grid unequipped for extreme cold, according to the Texas Tribune

Carleton students studying remotely in Texas were forced to juggle surviving harsh conditions and being full-time college students. 

The rolling blackouts were met with overwhelming public outrage as many Texans were left freezing in their houses without electricity or heat for days on end. On top of everything else, Texan houses are designed to shed heat to accommodate scorching temperatures in the summer. According to the Wall Street Journal, nearly 80 people have died from hypothermia, carbon monoxide poisoning, and other factors caused by the storm, though the full death total may take months to calculate. 

With no heat in his house, Gonzalez was forced to wrap himself in layers of blankets as the temperatures descended at night. “With the mountain of blankets and my own warm-blooded body heat, I was okay at night. When I woke up, I knew it was going to be freezing the second I took the blankets off.” It was so cold that Gonzalez described feeling his nose hairs freeze, a familiar sensation for many Carleton students walking to class in Minnesota winters. “It was super jarring. It was crazy this was happening in my own house,” he said.

Claudia Hernandez-Barrientos ’21 was so cold inside her house in Houston that on Wednesday, February 17, she and her family decided to stay inside their car, the only place left with heat. “We drove a couple miles away from the house to see if any businesses were open. Eventually, we found a street with some businesses open and that’s where we got food, actual food. We ate gas station food and I used their hotspot to log into class,” said Hernandez- Barrientos.

Access to regular food was a major concern. When their power went out, most of the food in Gonzalez’s fridge spoiled and cooking appliances were rendered unusable. Gonzalez’s only option was to drive to his mother’s house once a day for a hot meal. “I was thinking, ‘Where am I going to get water? Where am I going to get my next meal?’ There was no meat in stock, no frozen foods. All we could get were nonperishables,” said Gonzalez. 

“Knowing that I was falling behind in my classes was really weighing on my mind. I knew for a fact that everyone else was going along normally—the storm wasn’t affecting the whole class. It was just me who was falling behind,” said Gonzelez.

Reaching out to professors proved effective in receiving accommodations for most. Gustavo Flores ’23 was thankful for understanding responses from his professors, as was Gonzalez. Gonzalez added that he felt particularly supported by one professor who sent a personal message sympathizing with his situation in comparison to professors who were receptive of extension requests but otherwise detached. 

Administratively, on Wednesday, February 17, Dean Livingston sent an email to the 86 students studying in or connected to the Houston area, including the 41 members of the Posse Scholar program. The email offered support regarding academic deadline flexibility and promised to get emergency funding to students who requested it “as soon as we can.” For those who did not respond to the email, Dean Livingston promised to “call those we don’t hear from,” since “even responding to this email may be difficult.”

Flores appreciated the administration’s response, saying that “they could have done a little more, but it was only a four day period, and with all the slow bureaucracy in the administration,” he understands why larger action was not taken. 

Amber Lozoya ’23 described her distrust surrounding the administration’s response. “My Posse members and I felt a little hesitant reaching out to Carleton because in the past when we asked for help, they were really unresponsive. Some of us haven’t gone back to Carleton for two terms now and we didn’t understand why our financial aid decreased by a lot. We weren’t on campus so we were supposed to have smaller charges. We contacted Carleton and none of their responses made sense. Anytime we asked for financial help, they would send us to a different department, who would send us to another department and we would go in circles, never getting our answers,” said Lozoya. 

“Not knowing if your family is okay or not puts a huge emotional strain on people. We’re in a climate crisis on top of a pandemic, in Seventh Week, and we need more resources,” said Alé Cota ’22.

For many, financial concerns caused by the natural disaster are overwhelming. “The government [of Texas] is acting like it’s a completely normal month and people are fine. We’re not. They’re willing to discard human lives. We’ve known this for a while and now this has solidified that,” said Flores.

Feeling the absence of official help, some students are taking their communities’ wellbeing into their own hands. Cota worked with the mutual aid working group of the Corpus Christi chapter of Democratic Socialists of America to redistribute wealth and emergency funds. “We have an undocumented population and a pretty large unhoused population in Corpus, who already receive a lot of hostility from the city council and city government. A lot of the mutual aid work was getting people forms where they could request aid, fundraising, that kind of stuff. It took up most of my time that week,” said Cota. Flores emphasized the importance of crowdfunding, explaining that because of mutual aid, he was able to help cover the costs of his high school teacher’s burst pipe. Climate science suggests that the storms in Texas are a result of climate change, as summers get hotter and winters get colder around the world. Cota emphasized that environmental efforts on campus regarding sustainability need to be more holistic and less focused on the individual. “There’s been a recent push to minimize our personal waste product on campus, but we shouldn’t be focusing on whether or not someone forgets to compost their food,” said Cota. “We need to focus on larger things like whether or not Carleton divests from fossil fuels, which they are still invested in, or making sure construction on campus uses sustainable strategies.” Without action, climate disasters will continue to dismantle lives.

The post Cold and hungry: how Carleton students survived a severe winter storm in Texas appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

Sayles Girls: first-year Black women support each other on campus

Carletonian - Sat, 03/06/2021 - 3:53pm

My interest in doing a photoshoot with the Sayles Girls was to highlight a small, relatively unknown BIPOC women’s group on campus. The Sayles Girls are a group of Black women and femmes from the Class of 2024 who share a common sisterly bond like no other. What started as a study group in Upper Sayles to maintain the academic standards of Carleton has since branched out into a beautiful support group for these BIPOC women on campus. The friends can be seen all around campus, still frequenting Sayles, but also working out of the Classics Library Lounge and the 1st and 3rd floors of Olin.

The Sayles Girls include first-year students Amira Aladetan, Mariam Zewdu, Lindsay Okindo, Hannah Ward, Grace Bassekle, Hala Shabaita, Taia Bush and Faith Agboola (not all pictured here). Many of the girls met over the summer break individually, before grouping up in WhatsApp chats and socially distanced meet-ups during Fall 2020. They’ve maintained a bond since then, and continue to nurture each other while navigating Carleton and other social groups.

The post Sayles Girls: first-year Black women support each other on campus appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

SAAC hosts COVID-safe competitions for student-athletes

Carletonian - Sat, 03/06/2021 - 3:52pm

Carleton student-athletes would typically be wrapping up their winter seasons this week; a cumulation of many hours spent competing against athletes from other schools in gyms and pools throughout the Midwest. However, as with the last three athletic seasons, COVID-19 robbed student-athletes of yet another opportunity to compete this winter. While nothing can compare to the thrill of live competition, the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) took initiative to fill the void of games and meets on campus this winter by organizing small weekend competitions among lifting pods from various varsity programs. The effort was a huge success, and provided student-athletes with an opportunity to socialize with members of other teams in a COVID-safe environment. 

Student-athletes were placed by their coaches into lifting pods of four to eight athletes at the beginning of the term to restrict the spread of the virus among athletes while using the weight room. Since Carleton athletes can no longer cheer each other on at athletic events, SAAC brainstormed ways to bring members of different teams together in a competitive, fun and safe way. Ultimately, lifting pods were realized as a form of built in infrastructure to organize small teams from different athletic programs around campus.

Between Fourth and Seventh Weeks, SAAC organized four unique competitions: a snow sculpture competition held on Bell Field, a virtual trivia night hosted on Zoom, a Valentine’s-Day-themed scavenger hunt which took place across campus and an ‘epic’ sledding contest on the hill adjacent to Evans Hall. At each competition, lifting pod members had the opportunity to score points based on their performance. Final points were totaled up with the chance to win a free Chipotle meal on the line for each participant of the victorious pod. 

For many student-athletes on campus, the competitions served as a chance to continue some form of competition. 

“It was a great way to still compete in some way and get to know athletes from other sports teams in a COVID-safe manner,” said Adam Nik ’22 of the football team.  Nik and his lifting pod performed extremely well in the competitions, including notching a significant victory in the sledding contest on February 21. 

“We went out there to have fun. We gave it our best effort and walked away with the win,” said Nik. His pod’s victory in the sledding contest was key, as the points were worth triple, possibly putting his team in a position to win free Chipotle. 

That said, organizing inter-pod competition was not without its challenges. All competitions were required to strictly abide by the school’s extensive COVID-19 guidelines, meaning each event had to be held either virtually or outside. After all, Minnesota in the winter is known for its deep freezes and polar vortexes, neither of which are conducive to outdoor events.

“The most challenging part was dealing with the weather,” said Cayten Gardner ’22, a SAAC leader and member of the baseball team. “As I’m sure everybody remembers, there was a serious cold snap earlier this winter which definitely altered some of our activities, but we made due with what we had.”

The cold snap during midterm break forced SAAC to reschedule the sledding contest for a later date and host a virtual trivia night in its place, using Kahoot to quiz student-athletes on over 70 different trivia questions. Thankfully, this winter proved extraordinarily mild for a Minnesota winter overall, with only two weeks of sub-zero temperatures and minimal snow fall, which enabled all other competitions to be held outside. 

Despite the challenges organizers faced, the competitions were a resounding success, boasting participation from 20 of the 27 lifting pods on campus. 

Commenting on the success of the competitions, Natalie Lafferty, a junior on the swim team, said, “My favorite moment was during the snow sculpture competition, walking around and seeing each pod working together to create their masterpiece.” 

The snow sculpture competition was the first contest organized by SAAC, and also garnered the highest participation amongst the pods, with 18 teams competing. The result was the creation of everything from an upside down snowman to a sea serpent to a dolphin. 

In addition to the weather, another challenge SAAC organizers faced was picking winners at each competition. Lafferty commented, “The most challenging aspect [of the competitions] was having to be the judge, because we had some pretty amazing snow sculptures, Valentines and sleds.” 

While there has been some discussion amongst SAAC about the possibility of organizing similar competitions in the spring, all eyes are currently on the administration to see what the final decision is regarding spring sports.

The post SAAC hosts COVID-safe competitions for student-athletes appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

Kettle Hole Marsh: 10,000 years in the making

Carletonian - Sat, 03/06/2021 - 3:51pm

Carleton’s Kettle Hole Marsh sits alongside a trail through the prairie in the Lower Arboretum. The marsh, now covered in ice and cattails, is about 10,000 years in the making. Its story begins at the time of Minnesota’s last glaciation.  

About 15,000 years ago, an ice sheet covered most of western Minnesota. Over the course of 6,000 years, the glaciers retreated northwards, leaving chunks of ice scattered throughout the landscape. Some also floated downstream on major waterways, washing ashore during periods of intense flooding. These chunks then melted, leaving an array of “kettle lakes” behind. Most of Minnesota’s 11,842 lakes—from the 5.1-square-mile Red Lake to tiny Kettle Hole Marsh—were formed through this process. 

Over the past centuries, water and sediment from nearby farmland have collected in Carleton’s Kettle Hole, turning what was once a lake into a marshy wetland. The rate of sediment deposition has varied over time, accelerating in the mid-1900s from intense cultivation, but since decreasing due to conservation practices. Only a small section of standing water remains.

As the only body of water in the Arboretum that does not drain into the Cannon, Kettle Hole is a springtime refuge for frogs and toads. When the ice melts later this month, western chorus frogs, wood frogs and northern leopard frogs will emerge by the thousands, their calls a deafening chorus. As they mate throughout the spring, they will be protected from predators by a glacial depression formed more than 10,000 years ago.

The post Kettle Hole Marsh: 10,000 years in the making appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

I’ll pick your major if you pick mine

Carletonian - Sat, 03/06/2021 - 3:50pm

As of the time of writing, there is a month and some until the Class of 2023 has to officially declare a major. I find that this deadline is an interesting one, not because of what it is, but because of the differing emotions sophomores feel towards it: anxiety, worry, relief, stability and a bunch of other emotions someone declaring psychology can tell you about. Still, one must admit that it is a Carleton milestone, but certainly not one I am happy to be hitting. 

I, like many others, came to Carleton with some idea of what I wanted to major in. But the liberal arts model seems to actively frown upon those who do. It got to the point where I cannot tell you all of the majors that I considered at some point. Sure, I applied to Carleton as a cognitive science major…or maybe it was computer science…actually, I think it was political science. Truth is, I have no idea, nor do I care. 

So I took computer science. The first few classes were great; the classes after that…were also great. But then, Spring Term arrived, and I had a single class that was not in computer science or math, and that was my Argument & Inquiry seminar. “It’s a S/Cr/NC term,” I thought, the perfect moment to branch out. So I took political science and I came to a horrifying realization: I love this class, too. Later, the indecision came to its worst when I took not one, but two classes covering the intersection between art and computer science. You can probably now see why I desperately do not want to declare a major. 

It seems like a common theme among my peers: Few of us are comfortable with the idea of limiting our learning to a single field. Even among the ones that have a set idea, there’s still the doubt of a minor or double major. But of course, upper education is laid out in such a way that disincentivizes a broad spectrum in favor of specialized education. It is not the Renaissance, and the astronomers and mathematicians are no longer artists and philosophers. 

So how do we pick? Should I pick based on career prospects? My own talents? The skills I seek to improve? That is a personal choice, but ultimately an inconsequential one. How many extremely successful people have majors in fields that are seen as less important? In fact, how many successful people have no degrees at all? When we set our parameters for success according to the 21st-century standard of living, we find that a degree is no longer necessarily a ticket to success, so the field it is in is even more irrelevant. 

But alas, each sophomore will have to tick the box and click the button next to their preferred department a month from now. I’ll hopefully find myself resorting to the field that will lead me to greater personal growth and highest likelihood of changing and molding my world view. 

I do not seek this as a way to make myself more marketable in a career sense, but rather out of pure desire to be the best version of myself. Is it likely to matter in the long run? Probably not. I do, however, recognize that I am able to do this due to the numerous privileges that I was and am afforded, and not acknowledging them is a disservice to those who do not share my position. 

Still, the endless pursuit of this wisdom is common among Carleton students, and my hope for our choice is that it does not stifle but instead inspires new interests. In the end, college is barely about learning, so go ahead and ask your friend to pick your major. Even better, declare in a department you have never even taken a class in. Go to their major declaration party, take a class, fall in love with the subject. Or don’t. It’s not like it matters. 

The post I’ll pick your major if you pick mine appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges
Syndicate content