Blogosphere

07 April 2021 – Transportation Sector

KYMN Radio - Thu, 05/06/2021 - 1:02pm
Audio clip coming … 1st story – nuclear energy is an important part of our future energy baseline 2nd story – Volkswagon and Ford – EV statements 3rd story – Impact of massive EV deployment on power distribution networks 4th story – Major utilities announce building out of charger stations.

Don and Marge Tarr’s lasting contribution to Oles and community

St. Olaf College - Thu, 05/06/2021 - 12:38pm
A generous bequest through Northfield Shares illustrates the deep commitment that Marge Tarr and Professor Emeritus of Chemistry Don Tarr made to St. Olaf, Northfield, and communities beyond.
Categories: Colleges

Upgrades planned at City Hall; No word on Archer House yet; ‘Girls Nite Out’ set for Friday night

KYMN Radio - Thu, 05/06/2021 - 12:14pm
By Rich Larson, News Director During their meeting on Tuesday night, the Northfield City Council began discussions for security, operational and aesthetic improvements to City Hall.   The building itself was built in 1958 as an elementary school and was converted to city offices in the late 70’s. With its long hallways and a lack of public interface

Spotify Playlist: 2021

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 05/06/2021 - 12:00pm

This two-sided playlist looks back at the heartbreak of the pandemic on side one. Side two picks up with “Samurai Cop (Oh Joy Begin)” and looks forward to the hope this summer offers!!!

Categories: Colleges

St. Olaf Equestrian Club selects new leadership, hopes to expand in the fall

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 05/06/2021 - 12:00pm

The St. Olaf Equestrian Club (StoEq) opened applications for new leadership positions on Sunday, April ll. The available positions were initially lessons coordinator, treasurer, manager and events coordinator. The current co-captains decided to split the role of events coordinator into two separate positions to accommodate for the number of applications.

“Running social media and coordinating events are both important positions which require different responsibilities,” said current events coordinator Sydney Carlin ’21 in an interview. “We didn’t want to overload one person trying to juggle two roles.”

The Equestrian Club has suffered at the hands of the pandemic, especially this year. The niche sport also does not draw as much attention as more mainstream sports, which has led to low participation.

“We hope that adding more people to the leadership team will increase StoEq’s presence on campus,” said current club president Atia Cole ’21. “Equestrian sports can be really difficult physically, but also really therapeutic. It’s a sport that I believe a lot more people should get into.”

The new leadership positions were announced on Instagram and via email on April 22. Molly Prytz ’22 served as lessons coordinator for the 2020-2021 school year and will now be taking on the role of president. Esther Levit ’22 was appointed as the new lessons coordinator. She will be working alongside Emma Gambach ’23, Kate Dallmier ’23 and Samantha Maul ’22. Gambach filled the role of social media manager, Dallmier was selected for treasurer and Maul will serve as the new events coordinator.

Equestrian sports also come at a great financial cost, something that equestrians have to reckon with when they enter the sport. Fundraising for club sports has been less popular on campus during the pandemic, and the Equestrian Club has felt the impact.

“The biggest struggle we have is accessibility,” Prytz said. “Club sports like rugby, volleyball and even broomball have facilities on campus with equipment they need. We unfortunately can’t just ask the College to buy us horses and build us a facility.”

Additionally, while all sports come with inherent risks, equestrian sports see a lot more drastic injuries that can ward off participants. The wellbeing of both horse and rider can be at stake when an amateur places themselves in an unsafe situation. Additionally, there must be strict regulations in order to make sure the club has access to properly cared for horses.

“A lot more people are scared of horses than we thought,” Cole said. “We also want to make sure all of the barns we use are treating their animals exceptionally well.”

StoEq is not the only club sport to feel the effects of the pandemic and experience a lack of advertising. It raises the question of how intramural and club sports can become more accessible on campus, especially to first-year students who have not had many chances to experience new activities.

lindah2@stolaf.edu

Disclaimer: Lindahl is a current member of the St. Olaf Equestrian Club.

Categories: Colleges

Shopping smart: Small steps can make for a smaller footprint

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 05/06/2021 - 12:00pm
Illustration by Anna Weimholt

 

Our economic system is built so that shopping acts like gasoline in an engine; our dollars are oxygen in the fire that makes the line charts trend up. It can’t burn without our input, our dollars, our constant throwing away of things. It’s just that simple. When we hear the words “shop smart” out of a power-hungry big business, it should immediately put us on alert as consumers, because this behavior is that of a cornered animal trying to save itself. Framing consumption of their products as smart shopping is one of the craftiest moves a corporation can make to exempt itself from its own destructive practices. The kicker is that their idea of smart shopping will not save us, the planet we live on or the air we breathe from being decimated completely. That’s reassuring!

But we can’t live in this country without participating in the economy; It’s how we get food on the table and clothes on our backs. Espousing advice from a pedestal in an op-ed isn’t the revolutionary act my ego thinks it is, and I’m no saint. I fall victim to the dopamine rush of shopping, the self-satisfaction of the worthwhile purchase, the excitement of a shiny new piece of tech. It’s intoxicating, that’s just the reality of it. Shopping smart isn’t about what you’re buying, it’s the exact opposite: shopping smart is about avoiding purchases.

Shop local. Supporting small businesses and avoiding large ones is one of the best steps you can take to improve your consumption practices. With local sellers, the purchase often supports owners and workers more directly, allows those workers better conditions and puts dollars back into your community. Farmer’s markets, local artists and secondhand stores are excellent alternatives to shopping online or in a big box store.

Avoid the temptation of one-day delivery. You know what else can deliver your goods in one day, and reduces the carbon footprint of your shopping needs drastically? Your feet! Get out and walk for those groceries, bike to the coffee house or ride the bus to the clothing shops.

Don’t roll with trends. Trends aren’t cool — be a trail re-blazer. Confidently wearing something brutally out of style is what brings trends back into style. Real heroes never threw away their mom jeans, they’re the ones that brought them back.

Re-teach yourself the value of longevity. Reminding yourself that longevity is more important than instant gratification is an essential step to becoming a more conscious consumer. Purchases that stay useful for years can be much more satisfying than a shirt you’ve worn twice and given away.

Watch where it’s made. This can be the toughest one to keep track of, but watching where products are coming from is an essential step to becoming a conscious consumer. Do the research! Avoid unethical companies, child labor and long imported shipping routes wherever you can.

Want vs. need. I’d hate to sound like an old man here, but this piece is the most important part. Too often we find ourselves throwing away things we purchased under the impression that we needed it. Truly reassessing necessity can help us consume less, the most essential aspect of shopping smart.

The American shopping system is designed to be thrilling and to develop addictive tendencies; we as consumers can reframe this system from thrilling to fulfilling. Having an eight-year-old T-shirt that has stories behind it is fulfilling. Putting patches in your jeans and bringing honey jars back to the farmer for a refill is fulfilling. Don’t get duped into the cycles of fast products and faster disposal. Having a connection with local farmers, tailors, craftspeople and sellers is healthy,

and rediscovering that health is a radical step in our quest to reclaim our spending power from a broken system. It feels like a small step, but that’s a good thing! Small steps make for lighter footprints on our environment and our mental health, so don’t be afraid to take them.

vorndr1@stolaf.edu

Justin Vorndran ’23 is from

Osceola, WI.

His major is English.

Categories: Colleges

Learning from failure: How to not let setbacks define you as an athlete

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 05/06/2021 - 12:00pm

Crunch time. Win or go home. Everything is on the line to put your team on top, and every mistake is amplified because it is the final seconds of the game. Many people tend to faulter under this enormous pressure: Turning the ball over, giving up a homer in the bottom inning, missing the game winning shot. All of these are athletes worst nightmares, and they would never wish it upon anyone, let alone themselves. We hate failure, but what if I told you that failure is actually a gift?

Being hard on yourself is a natural reaction to letting people down; I know that feeling more than anyone. In high school I was having a fantastic year on my football team. It felt like every game I was playing great and was doing everything I could to help my team win. I was named All-District, and my numbers that year were comparable to some of the best receivers in the state. I felt fantastic heading into the playoffs.

But the playoffs had a different idea for me. I ended up having my worst game of the year, and I remember my stat line distinctly: One catch, seven total yards, three dropped possible touchdowns. I remember hearing the final buzzer and crying on the bench with my head down, speaking to nobody, becoming a weeping ball of self-negativity.

In my mind I was a complete failure. I let my team down and couldn’t perform when the game actually mattered. All of my fellow seniors wouldn’t be able to bask in the glory of going out with a bang in their final year, and it was all my fault. I sat on that bench for what felt like hours and left the stadium emptier than I had ever felt in my life prior to that. I didn’t go to school the next day because I didn’t want to have to approach anyone on my team; the feeling of guilt would have just been too much for me to stand.

Finally, I managed to go to school and face my fears. I wasn’t acting like myself, obviously still depressed about the game, and people noticed. Then, one day, a coach came up to

me and gave me the best advice of my life. He told me, “Failure is temporary. If you are really as competitive as you say you are, you will come back better because of that failure. Don’t settle … elevate.”

Those words have been my motto till this day. People are so willing to let one failure bring them underneath and keep them there for the rest of their lives, but as athletes we  can’t do that. We may drop a pass, or miss the game winning jump shot, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from these failures and get better. Every time something doesn’t go our way on the field, court, or wherever you play, I challenge you, instead of being down on yourself, to evaluate the situation and encourage yourself to get better, because you can. There is no failure in life that can hold you down forever, so why even give it the opportunity?

Failure is temporary. Growth is continuous. I can promise you if I had let that failure in high school hold me down, I would have never become the player that I am now. Every athlete has the gift of being able to learn from their mistakes. Instead of crumbling under these minor setbacks, let’s manifest into our minds fantastic comebacks.

alada1@stolaf.edu

Categories: Colleges

We are becoming desensitized to violence in the news and media

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 05/06/2021 - 12:00pm
Illustration by Aimi Dickel

 

The flag in front of Buntrock has been at half-staff for the majority of our semester. It feels like our country and our world experience tragedy after tragedy at an increasing speed. Some horrific events are extremely close and others are so far away that it is hard to imagine the effects. There have been mass shootings, hate crimes and police murders continuously throughout this year. Not to mention the continued pain and death of COVID-19. 

Just this morning I woke up and scrolled through Instagram. The first four posts were a text about persistent anti-trans legislation, a photo of Anthony Toledo, numbers on COVID-19 deaths in India and a post about antisemitism in New York. The list goes on and on. I scrolled for about 15 minutes and then went to brush my teeth and finish my English essay.

How am I not incapacitated for the rest of the day after reading about traumatic events? I look at this type of news, either on a newspaper app or on Instagram for hours every day. And then I just go back to the activities of my life. If I always let all of the news fully sink in, I don’t think I would be able to get out of bed.

How do we recognize injustice and grief in our world in a way that isn’t all-consuming and debilitating? How do we hold the weight of it all in a way that will be productive? How do we make sure that we’re not completely desensitized to constant death and oppression? How do we care for our mental health and wellbeing as a part of this?

The weight of these big unanswerable questions make everyday life feel insignificant. Does it really matter if I finish my homework about some dead ancient philosopher when the world around me is burning?

I think reconciling with the weight of current life is all about mixture — of joy and grief, empowerment and frustration, self-reflection and broad thinking. We don’t have any answers, but we still need to keep looking for them. When people die, we need to recognize that what was lost was a real life — whether our recognition is big or small. Maybe I rollerskate in honor of my friend’s mother who died. Or I organize for Black Lives Matter. Or I donate to India Relief. None of these actions will fully solve the problems of our world, but I think that we need to consider two things: First, we cannot let any injustice go unacknowledged. Second, we cannot stop trying to put joy and justice into our broken world — in whatever way our capacity allows.

peacor2@stolaf.edu

Caroline Peacore ’24 is from Pasadena, CA.

Her major is undeclared.

Categories: Colleges

Reflections on “social studying”

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 05/06/2021 - 12:00pm
illustration by Sadie Favour

 

You can learn a lot about a person based on where they like to study. Room studier? Third-floor library? Heaven forbid, Old Main!

Though navigating the tension between academics and social life is part and parcel to the college experience, there’s something seemingly impossible about balancing the two underneath the droning expectation of performance baked into the slogan “Oles Can. Oles Will.”

I’m not here to make smug generalizations about what to do to be successful in college — do what works for you! Instead, I want to share a bit about my struggles of balancing school and social life during my tenure on the Hill in hope that my experiences might speak to yours.

While enjoying the socially-distanced company of a friend this past week, she shared fond pre-COVID-19 memories of “studying in the Cage, chatting with everyone, but getting nothing done.” I found this characterization of “social studying” to be relatable, but also convicting.

During a long day of studying, I’m guilty of meandering through social spaces in search of the social interaction of which I have deprived myself. When I become hungry for connection, I plant myself in a highly-trafficked place with the passive hope that a friend will wander by and steal me away from school.

In the epoch of Zoom meetings and email, I am much more likely to double-book a meeting that I am uneager to attend than I am to just cancel. Overcommitting begets more commitments.

On days where I have little to do, I will still find some small task to complete before I let myself consider rest.

Even more damning, when I find a few pockets of free time I can only seem to muster up a day’s worth of purposeful entertainment before I feel crippled by boredom. I only feel this paralyzing form of boredom when I am at school. How could freedom produce such lethargy?

As my time on the Hill ends, I am able to see a handful of things more clearly. St. Olaf’s culture of production and performance has been eating at me for four years. Social studying has always been an attempt to keep my head above water — a means of survival. The free time I have fostered was largely denuded.

Life in a pandemic is uniquely overbearing, but I’m coming to see that these themes are not isolated to a life mediated by poor mask etiquette and a gross neglect of human life. These themes are symptoms of the reifying capitalist system that orders more than markets.

To those of you who have more than three weeks left in this place, be courageous and lend yourself some time to reflect and consider your own relationship to studying and social life on campus. I hope my ruminations foster such courage.

milhau1@stolaf.edu

Ben Milhaupt ’21 is from

Burnsville, WI.

His majors are race & ethnic studies and religion.

Categories: Colleges

Webinar examines the Derek Chauvin trial verdict

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 05/06/2021 - 12:00pm

Two weeks ago, the nation waited with bated breath for the jurors of the Derek Chauvin trial to reach a verdict. The prosecution and defense teams gave their closing arguments on Monday, April 19, and the jury reached a verdict on Tuesday, April 20.

Former police officer Derek Chauvin faced three different charges during the trial: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Judge Peter Cahill read the jury’s verdict around 4 p.m. CST on April 20. The jury found Chauvin guilty on all three counts.

On Friday, April 23, Interim Vice President for Equity and Inclusion and Director of the Taylor Center for Equity and Inclusion María Pabón Gautier hosted a live discussion with Minnesota-based criminal defense attorney Barry Cattadoris to discuss the historic trial.

During the webinar, Cattadoris first mentioned that he and many other attorneys were surprised by the swiftness of the trial. The jury deliberated for about 10 hours in total before reaching a unanimous guilty charge for all three counts against Chauvin. Jury deliberation varies from case to case, some anticipated that it would last for weeks while others hoped for a decision in a few days. Cattadoris hypothesized that the defense’s short case and lack of witnesses did not help them in the trial.

“There’s a surprise that the defense called so few witnesses,” Cattadoris said. “Had Mr. Chauvin testified, it probably would have been a whole day of testimony.”

Pabón Gautier asked about the possibility of the defense appealing the guilty verdict due to their claims of improper conduct and intimidation of jurors. Cattadoris claimed that there is a low possibility that Chauvin’s legal defense team will attempt to appeal the verdict.

“I think a couple of the hot issues that arose during the trial were the new police homicide in Brooklyn Center and whether or not that impacted the jury too much. And then there were a lot of objections about the prosecutor making improper arguments,” Cattadoris said. “I don’t think there’s much merit to any issues there. Just because there’s prosecutorial misconduct doesn’t mean you will get a new trial.”

Pabón Gautier and Cattadoris also discussed the jury’s deliberation process. According to Cattadoris, the jury can replay audio and video used during the trial in the public courtroom, but they must rely on their own notes and memories in the private deliberation. There were no reports that the jurors requested replays of any audio or video used during the trial, which speaks to the impact of the evidence.

“It must have really stuck with them in their mind when they watched it in the courtroom,” Cattadoris said.

The actual sentencing of Chauvin is much more complicated than a simple guilty verdict. Under Minnesota law, if a crime can be charged three different ways, the culprit of the crime will usually only face the sentence for the most serious charge. In Chauvin’s case, that would be the second-degree unintentional murder charge.

Minnesota sentencing guidelines also take into account the accused party’s criminal past. Additional factors such as family history, chemical dependency, education and mental health can also affect sentencing. There is then a range of days, months or years to which a judge can sentence the accused.

There is a possibility that Chauvin will receive a suspended prison sentence, in which he would be placed on probation. If he were to break that probation, he would then serve prison time.

The state can ask for an extended sentence if it proves beyond reasonable doubt that aggravating factors contributed to the crime. However, it cannot go beyond the statutory maximum sentence for second-degree murder of 40 years, and there are sentencing limits based on Chauvin’s lack of documented criminal history.

   “If Judge Cahill finds aggravating factors, the most he could do is 360 months under the case law,” Cattadoris said. “I think most likely you’re looking at a 200 to 270 month range.”

  According to Cattadoris, Chauvin will serve his prison sentence at Oak Park Heights prison. Oak Park Heights is a maximum security prison usually reserved for inmates with life sentences or other disciplinary issues. Chauvin is classified as a high-profile offender. He may be placed in segregation, separated from other inmates.

   Pabón Gautier emphasized the lack of emotion Chauvin displayed during the trial and asked Cattadoris to explain his thoughts on Chauvin’s body language and excessive note-taking.

   “Officer Chauvin was taking a lot of notes. A lot of people attributed that to a sign of him being nervous, or that he couldn’t emotionally connect with the witnesses,” Cattadoris said. “At the very end, he scribbled his attorney’s phone number on his hand which to me is a sign that he didn’t think he was going to be convicted or go into custody that day.”

    The discussion then turned back to Chauvin’s decision not to testify. Cattadoris cited civilian and witness Darnella Frazier’s video of the incident as a key piece of evidence that kept Chauvin quiet during the trial.

   “I’ve seen it be called the Civil Rights Documentary of a generation. I think if that video didn’t exist, he would have testified,”Cattadoris said.

   The webinar closed out with discussion about the impact of the trial. Many were left wondering if the case of Derek Chauvin will set a precedent for future cases of police violence. Cattadoris spoke to this possibility.

   “Police need to be held accountable too, and I think that helps jurors feel better about their decision,” Cattadoris said. “We’ve historically had some of the worst racial disparities in general in all aspects of life in Minnesota. This, I think, will really be the driving force for the Federal Department of Justice to look at past cases that have been closed out.”

   The other officers involved are currently being charged with aiding and abetting in George Floyd’s murder. The state would have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that former officers Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Keung intended to aid Chauvin in committing the crime. They will go on trial in August.

   The full webinar discussion between María Pabón Gautier and Barry Cattadoris can be viewed on the St. Olaf College events archives page.

lindah2@stolaf.edu

Categories: Colleges

Protecting mental health during a global crisis

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 05/06/2021 - 12:00pm
Illustration by Aimi Dickel

 

When reflecting on the events of the pandemic within the past year, I feel as if my mental health has been on the wildest roller coaster ride. There are times where I’m just coasting through, taking in as much scenery as I can, and then other days where I’m suddenly plummeting or upside down on a loop-the-loop. It’s during rough days that I try to do something creative and fun to help bolster my mental health.

An April 11 Washington Post article described how the pandemic has given many people a time to reflect on themselves as well as bring about a new perspective on life. Suddenly, material objects and fake relationships aren’t as important as family, true friendships and small activities that give us moments of happiness. I truly believe that being in quarantine during the pandemic has allowed people to become more creative in what they do.

We ask ourselves, “what kind of activities can we do to distract ourselves for a few minutes, to give us a piece of the reality we once knew?” Most days, it is hard to engage with our current life, so little things that give us hope and peace are important to have. Whether it’s diving into the world of your favorite Korean drama, or meeting all the puppies on campus, there are a variety of activities you can do! Personally, things that have helped me during the pandemic are painting and sending watercolor cards to my friends when I couldn’t see them in person, as well as FaceTiming my family and discovering new music artists and genres to listen to.

To get an idea of some of the enlivening activities St. Olaf students could be doing, I asked some of my friends what they have gotten up to. My friend Madeline Schaeppi ’21 binge-watched the Netflix shows “Outer Banks” and “Tiger King,” while Grace Erispaha ’21 enjoyed getting outdoors as well as exercising. Kara Anderson ’21 talked about baking during quarantine at home. Grace Callaghan ’21 loved hiking while Natalia Granquist ’21 enjoyed doing an art project which was painting a jean jacket with acrylic. Rafa Al Helal ’22 loved FaceTiming with friends — similar to me — as well as planning movie nights. Many people highlighted common themes of enjoying the outdoors and exercising, which have helped them get outside during the pandemic.

Since the weather is getting warmer, I highly suggest people on campus to get outdoors and have socially distanced gatherings outside with friends or people in your “bubble.” Take a walk in the Natty Lands and take advantage of the opportunity that we are on-campus and in-person, a truly special circumstance these days. Most importantly, take care of yourself, and do activities that make you feel happy. Sometimes it’s as simple as taking a break and a few deep breaths. For me writing this article for the Mess helps to distract me from my nursing workload. And I’m grateful for the stress relief that it provides me!

kettne1@stolaf.edu

Laras Kettner ’21 is from

Madison, WI.

Her major is nursing.

Categories: Colleges

An ode to the first floor Rolvaag federal publications room

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 05/06/2021 - 12:00pm

Here at St. Olaf, we live in a color scheme. The aesthetic direction of campus relies on whites, greys and yellows, chosen with complimentary types of wood. Wood — and matching faux-wood — in Holland is more mellow to play with the white walls, while the wood in Thomson is yellow and vibrant to make the large windows and huge open central space pop more dramatically. When you look for it, you notice it everywhere; St. Olaf’s aesthetic is finely curated.

St. Olaf’s aesthetic can trap you in it and make you forget that the world doesn’t look like that. The world outside is full of what French Anthropologist Marc Augé has dubbed “non-places:” locations which are designed for pure utility and are made as such in part to minimize potential aesthetic meaning-making. St. Olaf’s fine-tuned aesthetic seeks to create specific associations in ways that can be overwhelming. If non-places contribute to modern malaise, and most of St. Olaf is so aesthetically determined as to be stifling, what do we want?

We want the first floor Rolvaag government documents room. Let me just list some things that are true about the place, free of judgement. There are a number of important documents that pertain to the United States government, some dating back to the 1800s. There are life-sized cardboard cutouts of Lara Croft and Austin Powers. Records of everything said in the United States Congress, since its inception, are present. There is a word-board where people have written “I need filling” and “friends ride friends.” A painting of Jesus Christ blessing a 16-wheel truck is visible from the location of the Second Bioethics Commission Report on Human Cloning. There is nearly every issue of the “Federal Register,” which are in containers, each adorned with different pictures of sad women, creating what has been dubbed “the wall of melancholy women.”

Now, we obviously don’t want the first floor Rolvaag government documents room all the time. The place is awful. The things which have surely happened on the room’s sole couch — sitting beneath a number of anime posters, of course — are unspeakable. Regardless, St. Olaf needs a first floor Rolvaag government documents room or two.

As students at a school which likes to think of itself as a leading “academically rigorous” and “intensely residential” liberal arts college, we need places to remind us that, fundamentally, college is stupid. We need silly, ridiculous, ugly, violently uncool spaces on our campus in order to remind ourselves of the fact that college, on its worst days, is all of those things. If one wants to have a more holistic picture of the aesthetic life of college, and wants to escape the nearing-on-corporate look of Olaf, I can’t more highly recommend taking a trip to the bottom of Rolvaag.

graham10@stolaf.edu

Logan Graham ’22 is from

Warrenville, IL.

His major is philosophy.

Categories: Colleges

Student-directed ‘The Tempest’ impresses

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 05/06/2021 - 12:00pm

Brick by Brick Players, a theatre company directed by Hadley Evans Nash ’21, performed an outdoor production of William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” on April 30 and May 1.

A senior theatre major, Evans Nash decided to adapt and direct “The Tempest” as her independent research project for her major. The process began with 24 students auditioning for the five parts for which Evans Nash was casting. As the play is considered a coming-of-age story, Evans Nash focused on displaying three younger characters — Miranda, Ariel and Caliban — as they relate to Prospero, the play’s protagonist. The characters came of age in a setting reminiscent of a childhood playroom, surrounded by toys.

Evans Nash focused a lot on play and wanted to create a cast “that could play with me,” Evans Nash said. The talent of Grace Bloomquist ’21, Adam Hecker ’22, Kate Helin-Burnette ’22, Jack Moody ’23 and Sydney Hall ’21 brought Evans Nash’s vision to life. These five were “actors who take risks and were willing to be strong and wrong,” Evans Nash said.

Posters for the play went up on Monday, April 26 with a QR code to register for tickets. Both performances took place in the outside seating area behind Rolvaag Memorial Library. The 30 person audience sat both on the ground and in adirondack chairs. For those who could not attend in person, the performance was also recorded.

Bloomquist played Caliban, Miranda and Ariel. According to her, the biggest challenge of producing the play was the transitions. Since Bloomquist played three different characters, differentiated by where asky blue scarf of her costume was tied on her body, she had relatively no breaks and at one point had to make a transition to one character after just saying a line as another.

Along with the visual of the scarf, Bloomquist brought a different energy, and sometimes even voice, to each character she played, whether she was acting drunk or in love. Although it was a challenge, it was also “fun to navigate,” Bloomquist said. To assist with the transitions for both Bloomquist and the audience, the crew rang a bell prior to Bloomquist speaking as a new character.

While the lines of the script came directly from Shakespeare’s original work, Brick by Brick Players adapted the story, creating an island of their own outside of the library. The island featured toys scattered around the stage, and in fits of rage, the actors used a plastic baseball bat to emphasize their emotions. The environment around the actors also played a role in bringing the plot to life. Bloomquist leaped and skipped around a tree and, at one point, even climbed it to hurl plastic balls down to the stage to symbolize aggressive emotions pouring out. These creative elements made the play humorous at times but also demonstrated the strong power dynamics between the characters.

COVID-19 restrictions generated a new level of creativity to the performance, from the number of actors to the physical distancing on stage. These restrictions did not limit the cast in any way and instead highlighted the production members’ innovation and talent.

“This feels like the perfect note to end on. Being able to do this, tackle three roles in one, with people I love working with and being able to do Shakespeare in a global pandemic is really cool. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity,” Bloomquist said.

esterl1@stolaf.edu

Categories: Colleges

A&Eats: Creative food options on campus

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 05/06/2021 - 12:00pm

We all know the feeling. You’re sitting in the library, famished after working on homework all afternoon. You check out the Stav Hall menu hoping, just hoping, that you’ll see the mythical mac and cheese making its once-a-semester appearance. You’re out of luck. Grains has some sort of tagine again and something called a Messy Mike (whatever that means), but fear not! There are several caf creations and heightened-yellow-alert-safe delivery options that can satiate your hunger for food without having to step off campus!

DoorDash

Yes, Oles, DoorDash has arrived in Northfield! Although the pickings are slim, you can get McDonald’s or Taco Bell delivered right to your door! Also, the inflated delivery charges make McNuggets taste so much better.

Gran Plaza

Craving a delicious burrito that’s  not from the tortilla line? How about some guacamole? Well, Gran Plaza in Northfield is the place for you! Gran Plaza has an efficient delivery system to bring enchiladas, tacos, burritos, quesadillas and whatever else your heart — or stomach — desires right to the Hill. Oh, and before you ask, yes, they do give you free chips and salsa.

James Gang

Cage not quite cutting it for you? Or maybe you just ran out of flex dollars? James Gang Coffee House in Northfield is here to soothe all your caffeine cravings! Coffee, smoothies, breakfast pastries, paninis, salads and even fresh fruit cups are all on the delivery menu just waiting to be summoned. The Coffee House has a specific ordering system just for St. Olaf students, so make sure to check out the website before placing your order.

Caf creations

Have you tried a smashed chickpea sandwich? How about peanut noodles? Or a greek yogurt bowl? These caf creations might not hit the spot like slightly lukewarm McDonald’s in a bag, but they can still expand your horizons. For the chickpea sandwich, take chickpeas from the salad bar, smash with mayonnaise and balsamic vinegar and place between two pieces of toasted bread with plenty of lettuce and cucumber. Think chicken salad sandwich, but make it vegetarian. For the peanut sauce, mix all natural peanut butter, soy sauce and sriracha together to make a delicious condiment to top any chicken, sandwich or noodle dish! And finally, greek yogurt, honey and your favorite cereal make for a crunchy and substantive dessert.

Hopefully, we can all get back to seeing Chipotle bags stuffed in  the res hall garbage cans soon, but for now, it’s worth acting creatively and checking out some local options to keep our campus community safe.

boldt3@stolaf.edu

Categories: Colleges

Title IX regulations’ influence one year later

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 05/06/2021 - 12:00pm
Illustration by Kenzie Todd

 

After the implementation of new federal regulations, St. Olaf’s Title IX Office received fewer reports during the 2020–2021 school year.

The new federal regulations  have added increased barriers to the reporting process (now known as the grievance process). The regulations most notably limit the scope of sexual assault and lengthen the course of the investigation.

“The investigation process will be longer than before. Given all the steps we are required to take it will add time to an already stressful process,” said Title IX Coordinator Kari Hohn.

This year, there have been 34 reports to the Title IX office, and 23 of those people have met with Hohn for intake. This is down from the past three years. From fall 2016 to summer 2019, the Title IX Office received 145 intakes for an average of 48 cases per year.

“On the whole, our numbers are lower than in previous years, and this seems to be the case for most — if not all — institutions across the country,” Hohn said.

Beyond coming in for intake, the Title IX team has seen fewer people seeking to move forward in the grievance process.

“We have seen far fewer students wanting to move forward with the investigation process,” Hohn said. It is still difficult to know how the new regulations and impact of COVID-19 Community Standards interplay with one another in affecting the number of reports.

“I think there was a lot of hesitancy to report, to reach out, to use Title IX services as well as SARN because of the uncertainty of the new regulations,” said Sexual Assault Resourse Network (SARN) Co-Chair Zoe Plewa ’21. “We are trying to make clear that SARN is still supporting survivors and our Title IX policy is also still supporting survivors for the most part. Kari Hohn tries really hard to meet the needs of every survivor.”

The Title IX advisory board recently conducted a survey to try and get feedback on barriers to reporting.

“COVID-19 was not lifted up as something that was a barrier to student reporting,” Hohn said. However, given the new Community Standards, Hohn suspects that fewer incidents are happening because of COVID-19.

St. Olaf’s Title IX team recently posted an update to their policy ensuring students that amnesty will be extended to those who are assaulted while violating the COVID-19 Community Standards. “If a student is harmed or sexually assaulted while violating a COVID-19 Community Standard they don’t have to worry about getting in trouble for the Community Standard violation,” Hohn said. “We just want them focused on getting help.”

While the regulations limit the type of incidents to which St. Olaf is required to respond, St. Olaf does not intend to stop helping students who were assaulted off-campus or abroad.

“The new regulations narrowed the scope of what constitutes a Title IX incident. We will continue to respond to and address incidents that occur off-campus and abroad,” Hohn said. “Regardless of where something happens or whether the perpetrator is involved with St. Olaf or not, they can receive assistance through the Title IX Office.”

St. Olaf is legally required to follow the new federal regulations. “We are constantly having to change things and not just in a way that we have worked to deem helpful or appropriate for our community but in ways that we are being forced to incorporate by the government, which are arguably not the best fit for our community.” Hohn said.

With Joe Biden as the new president, it is possible that these regulations will change, but those changes likely will not happen for at least another year. The Trump administration went through a lengthy legislative process to enact the regulations, and the Biden administration will have to do the same.

SARN Co-Chair Maggie Bahnson ’21 said the implementation of the new regulations were a long time coming after Trump took office. She hopes to see the policy reversed in the near future.

“This impact will be something the Biden administration will have to actively work to reverse. We don’t know what it will look like and we know it takes a lot of time,” Bahnson said.

Until then, the Title IX Office continues to be a resource for students and offers a variety of options outside of the formal grievance process. One of the options available is an informal resolution process which allows for a variety of accommodations that prevent a survivor from seeing their assailant on campus.

While a variety of options exist, Hohn wants to remind students that there is no pressure in terms of next steps when talking with the Title IX Office or SARN. The survivor is “very much in the driver’s seat,” Hohn said.

“What I want to avoid is students not reporting their incidents because they are fearful that something will automatically happen like an investigation or reaching out to an accused person,” Hohn said. “It is an imperfect system, to say the least. A big reason we offer so many resources, accommodations and other options to students is because we know there are plenty of students who aren’t ready to go through the grievance process.”

While Hohn, Bahnson and Plewa all agreed that it is important for community members to educate themselves on the Title IX process, they specifically emphasized the importance of prevention and education work.

“We need to focus on prevention work,” Plewa said. “The Wellness Center does a lot of important work, but we should continue to expand on that. Having required trainings on consent, healthy relationships, how to support your friends that are survivors. There is a lot of information that people can opt into but nothing that is super required besides the bystander training.”

The Consent and Sexual Respect Initiative is one of the ways that Title IX is placing greater emphasis on prevention and education in a time of instability under complicated federal regulations. The group offers a variety of different educational opportunities that work towards preventing sexual violence.

Those interested in making suggestions to improve the current Title IX system on campus are encouraged to reach out to the Title IX working group as a whole or to Kari Hohn specifically.

leikvo1@stolaf.edu

Categories: Colleges

Cleanup Days

City of Northfield Calendar - Thu, 05/06/2021 - 11:50am
Event date: May 8, 2021
Event Time: 07:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Location:
1710 Riverview Drive
Northfield, MN 55057

Cleanup Days

City of Northfield Calendar - Thu, 05/06/2021 - 10:43am
Event date: May 8, 2021
Event Time: 07:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Location:
1710 Riverview Drive
Northfield, MN 55057

Cleanup Days

City of Northfield Calendar - Thu, 05/06/2021 - 10:39am
Event date: May 8, 2021
Event Time: 07:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Location:
1710 Riverview Drive
Northfield, MN 55057

Northfield artists combine 3 perspectives, view of Earth in single exhibit

Northfield News - Thu, 05/06/2021 - 9:49am
Visitors to Northfield's 502 Gallery will see three unique views of the earth from three different perspectives.
Categories: Local News

Rice County Sheriff Troy Dunn

KYMN Radio - Thu, 05/06/2021 - 9:11am
Rice County Sheriff Troy Dunn discusses preparation of lakes and parks for spring, provides tips for preventing thefts, talks about the upcoming decision relating to the Rice County jail, and more.
Syndicate content