City weighs housing options; Council give Martig high praise; Earth Day events set for Saturday

KYMN Radio - Thu, 04/22/2021 - 12:02pm
By Rich Larson, News Director The Northfield City Council heard a presentation on the comprehensive housing study on Tuesday night, and after all the statistics and forecasts had been given describing the dire housing situation in Northfield right now, the question became ‘What comes next?’  Northfield Mayor Rhonda Pownell said that the city is taking this situation very

Students express concerns after IFC hosts Jewish author, journalist Bari Weiss during Palestine Liberation Week

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 04/22/2021 - 12:00pm

Students expressed concern over the Institute of Freedom and Community’s (IFC) decision to host controversial pro-Israel journalist Bari Weiss during Palestine Liberation week. Weiss spoke virtually on Wednesday, March 31, the day after Land Day — an important commemorative day for Palestinians.

Students believe that this decision reflects an intentional attempt to silence voices on campus. “It’s not a coincidence that Weiss was presenting on March 31, the day after Land Day,” said Political Awareness Committee (PAC) Coordinator Danely Quiroz. “Land Day is a commemoration in Palestine [of an event] where Palestinians were shot by the Israeli Defense Force. It was intentional. St. Olaf College was heavily promoting Bari Weiss on their Instagram stories yet they refused to acknowledge us in their emails. This was another attempt to silence student advocacy and Palestinian voices.” 

PAC Executive Assistant Monique Geronimo ’21 believes that this decision reflects a larger, recurring issue with the administration and IFC. “The Institute and the administration have a history of push-and-pull with students. It’s no coincidence that they scheduled a Zionist speaker on [Land Day]. Last year they also allowed a Zionist to come when we had the Palestinian event, as a counter to that,” Geronimo said. “They allowed an anti-immigration, racist speaker to come on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. There’s this relationship of us, students, always pushing against the administration.”

Edmund Santurri, Director of the Institute for Freedom and Community, wrote in an email to the Messenger that the date of the speaker was coincidental: “As far as we knew, Palestine Liberation Week was announced publicly after the Institute announced publicly that it had rescheduled Bari Weiss’s talk from the original date of March 11 to March 31.” He noted that March 31 was the only day available considering the schedules of both the speaker and the IFC.

Students raised concerns about Weiss’ visit to campus months before she arrived. In an email to the St. Olaf Extra email alias on Feb. 24, members of the Jewish Student Organization — Elizabeth Strauss ’22, Hannah Goldner Niederman ’23 and Leo Libet ’24 — expressed their dissatisfaction with the choice of bringing Weiss to campus. “She advocates for many inflammatory stances that accuse anti-Zionist Jews of being themselves anti-Semitic, or tools of leftist anti-Semites, comparing anti-Zionist Jews to the Yevsektsiya (a Soviet committee made up of Jewish people who controlled and terrorized other Jews). She even goes as far as to propose that all people who oppose Israel’s power in the region are anti-Semites,” the group wrote in an email.

Santurri responded to the Jewish Student Organization’s email by saying that Weiss’ voice is not meant to speak for all Jewish experiences on campus. “The point of having these Institute guest speakers is to generate civil debate about controversial matters,” Santurri wrote in the response email.

Besides saying it was not announced, Santurri’s email did not include mention of the close proximity of Weiss’ rescheduled talk to Land Day, an internationally recognized day of commemoration on March 30.

According to the student organizers, the goal of Palestine Liberation week was to provide education, resources and spaces to discuss what the liberation of Palestine looks like.

“We need to stop treating [Palestine] as a controversial topic,” Quiroz said.

Categories: Colleges


Manitou Messenger - Thu, 04/22/2021 - 12:00pm

What do the Middle ages tell us about love? You may be envisioning princesses in towers, dashing knights riding to the rescue, or other fairy tale tropes you may have learned from modern media. If you ask Marie de France, one of the first recorded female writers in Europe — it’s all about women’s power in relationships. Marie de France — her true name is unknown — was born in France and wrote poetry at the court of King Henry II of England in the late 12th century. She wrote lais — or lyrical, narrative poems written in octosyllabic couplets that usually focus on adventure and romance.

One lay, titled “Lanval,” dramatizes the story of a fairy and her knightly lover. Lanval, a knight of King Arthur, is wandering in the woods one day when he comes across a stunningly beautiful fairy queen. The fairy tells the knight that she has been searching for him and has chosen him as her lover.

The relationship comes with one caveat, however: The fairy makes Lanval promise that he will never tell anyone about his love.

When Lanval returns to Arthur’s castle, King Arthur’s notoriously adulterous  wife Guinevere spots Lanval in the garden and attempts to seduce him. He refuses, stating that he does not want to betray his lord, Arthur. Guinevere retaliates by telling Arthur that Lanval attempted to seduce her, and when she refused to love him, insulted her.

Lanval insists that she was lying, and decides to prove his point by saying that he is in love with a woman far more beautiful than Guinevere ever could be. Though Arthur knows his wife to be adulterous, he has no choice but to sentence Lanval to death for this offense. Because Lanval has told the court of his fairy lover, he knows she is sure to never return.

However, at the last minute, the fairy queen swoops in and rescues Lanval. She whisks him off to the fairy land, and the court of King Arthur never hears about Lanval and his fairy lover again.

Marie de France flips the traditional chivalrous knight and tortured princess trope on its head. Though Lanval is a knight, it is he who is the damsel in distress in this story. The fairy queen — and Guinevere —  both seek out Lanval’s love, rather than he theirs. The fairy queen chooses Lanval, rescues him and takes him to live in her homeland. Marie de France’s lay lauds women’s agency in relationships through a chivalric tale of King Arthur and fairies.

Though “Lanval” seems to promote positive relationships in medieval times, the lay was so popular because it was so fantastical. Tales of courtly love, in which men pledge their loyalty to their lovers and give them all choice in the relationship, allowed women an escape from the unhappiness of their arranged marriages. The fairy queen is no average woman; she is the most beautiful creature in the land, but she is not mortal. Though “Lanval” provided a much needed escape for women in, it was no true depiction of medieval relationships and love.

Categories: Colleges

Spiritus Novus prepares for end-of-year concert unlike any other

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 04/22/2021 - 12:00pm

Spiritus Novus is an organization of performers — “singers, nominally,” as director Will Rand ’22 puts it — that performs works composed by St. Olaf students. Spiritus gives composers on campus the opportunity to produce their work with a high-level ensemble during many rehearsals, a concert and a professional recording.

Spiritus has begun recording and putting together this concert, which will premiere online near the end of May or beginning of June. The concert seeks to represent the emotional experience of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rand described the broader themes of the upcoming concert: “It’s about ringing out the old, the things that got us here, the things that we no longer need that no longer serve us … and bringing in the new life post-pandemic,” Rand said.

The concert includes a variety of pieces which speak to different aspects of the pandemic. For example, a piece written by Sarah Shapiro ’22, entitled “Breathless,” is about the sudden, traumatizing grief of losing loved ones to COVID-19.

This year’s concert takes a slightly different form compared to those of previous years. Because it is recorded rather than live, Spiritus has been able to introduce a multimedia component to the performance. “We started from a place that was very practical and performance-oriented,” Rand said. “We realized there was a lot more we could be doing. It’s about bringing in as many different perspectives, and types of expression and ways of making art to try to capture this very broad thing. To think that we could just capture our collective souls in this one medium is a little bit short-sighted when you look at the full picture of possibility.”

One piece, written by Anna Severtson ’22, takes place on a Zoom screen. The group recorded each performer separately, and in the piece voices fade in and out, showcasing the simultaneously isolating and communal experience of pandemic music-making. The multimedia approach has been so successful that Spiritus, when able to perform live and in-person in the future, plans to consider keeping the video element as part of their concerts.

Rand seeks to continue Spiritus’ goal of bringing in as many voices and media as possible. “If someone is feeling the creative instinct for any kind of expression and they want to share it with somebody and they want to connect it to something, we would love to work together to create something beautiful,” Rand said.

Find updates at the @stolafspiritusnovus Instagram account and Facebook page.

Categories: Colleges

‘God is good’ – campus reacts to Chauvin verdict

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 04/22/2021 - 12:00pm

Content warning: police brutality

For the first time in the state of Minnesota’s history, a white officer has been charged with the murder of a Black man. On April 20, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all counts in the murder of George Floyd. After less then 12 hours of deliberation, the jury convicted Chauvin of second- and third- degree murder as well as second-degree manslaughter.

Judge Peter Cahill read the jury’s verdict around 4 p.m. as the state of Minnesota, the nation and the world watched. The trial came to an end almost a year after Floyd was murdered on May 25, 2020. Floyd’s death, recorded by bystanders, sparked protests across the world and a global conversation around racism and police brutality.

Meanwhile on campus, students gathered in dorm rooms, classrooms and community spaces to watch the jury’s decision. In the Taylor Center for Equity and Inclusion, a group of students congregated in front of the TV anxiously waiting. The room was silent as the group waited for Cahill to appear on the screen.

As the sun broke through the clouds and through the window of the Taylor Center, Cahill began to read the jury’s verdict. The air was full of tension and remained as the Judge read off all three convictions. Almost in disbelief, students remained silent, watching Chauvin be handcuffed and taken out of the courtroom. Tears streamed behind the students’ masks as the news showed images of celebration at George Floyd square in Minneapolis. Students began to move around the space, hugging each other and processing the historic moment.

“God is good, God is good,” said Mannie Bioh ’22. “All the time, He is good.”

“I feel so relieved. I feel like I can breathe,” said Evie Slater ’22. “It doesn’t bring George Floyd back and it doesn’t mean this is over, but it’s a step in the right direction. And it gives me hope for Daunte Wright’s case.”

Killed by former officer Kim Potter on April 11 during a traffic stop, Wright’s death reignited protests across the state and added pressure to the Chauvin verdict. The jury’s conviction signals hope for some, when it comes to police brutality.

With the increasing criticism of the U.S. justice system and the events of last summer in recent memory, students were worried, not knowing what to expect.

“I didn’t know what to expect. The justice system is weird, we all blatantly saw the video. You would think it would be an obvious verdict,” said Lerato Mensah-Aborampah ’22. Paulina Morera Quesada ’24 shared similar sentiments, thinking about her feelings prior to knowing the jury’s decision.

“I felt very empty, I didn’t know what to expect, what to feel. It was very stressful,” Morera Quesada said. “I think I have very little trust in this system. I just kept thinking ‘can we keep asking people to go through more pain right now?’”

The weight of the trial and recent killings of Wright and 13-year-old Adam Toledo in Chicago, alongside pandemic fatigue, has added to the stress, sadness and anger the BIPOC community on campus has been feeling. Chauvin being held accountable for Floyd’s death gives a moment to breathe.

“I feel like this small win is like a ray of sunshine. For the school, for the community, for the BIPOC community, for our Black peers, this is fantastic news,” said Jimena Maida Colindres ’23.

In a response to the verdict, President David Anderson ’74 sent an email to the campus announcing there would be no class on Wednesday, April 21, and instead it would be “a day of healing and reflection for our campus community.”

Interim Vice President for Equity and Inclusion and Director of the Taylor Center, María Pabón Gautier, sent a follow up with the details of events being held for students, faculty and staff to process the jury’s decision and gather in community.

In the morning, the Taylor Center held a morning reflection for anyone who wanted to find community, engage in self care and discuss.

Chapel held a candlelight event on Wednesday night — a time for personal reflection and prayer.

The Center for Advising and Academic support and the Wellness Center provided resources on radical healing as well as self care supplies.

The Flaten Art Museum and Art History department teamed up and provided space for a collective wall drawing, noting how art can be a powerful tool of expression.

Chalk stations were located around the quad for students to write messages or create art. The Paw program held a special session Wednesday afternoon for members of the community to engage in some animal therapy.

Pabón Gautier hoped that the elimination of classes and activities gave students, faculty and staff the space and time they needed to heal or process.

“There are times in our lives in our history where it requires us to stop and take a pause and this is one of those where it was important for us to recognize that our community is going to need space to process, to just do what they need to do,”  Pabón Gautier said.

Categories: Colleges

The pandemic heightens bodily shame

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 04/22/2021 - 12:00pm

The genesis of body shame, according to the biblical tradition, results from our admittance into the realm of rationality. When Eve gains the knowledge of good and evil, her body — or at least her body image — breaks. Eve, in front of the mirror in the morning, laments the crooks and crannies of the meat sack she must wear into the world.

The cultural emphasis on the mind over the body flows through the modern United States milieu. During the coronavirus pandemic, bodily shame extends bodily shame to include our breath and speech, which can be particularly problematic to our romantic relationships.

On St.Olaf’s campus, the extension of bodily shame can be seen clearly in how romantic relationships function during the pandemic. Already, the dating population leaned on dating apps and now the mere prospect of getting together in person is daunting.

Meeting up in person, now carries with it all of the baggage of being breathing, potentially COVID-19 spreading beings. But beyond that, all relationships from the first meeting assume a sexual nature, insofar as talking has become a body-to-body activity.

U.S. culture naturalizes the idea that sexual expression and sexual experiences are inherently bad. From hook-ups to the most heteronormative of sex partners, sex is steeped in shame. The stigmatization of sex is dangerous as it bars individuals from education, shuns healthy conversation and pushes sexual relationships into the dark.

The convex of the sexual relationship is the cultural ideal of falling in love with your best friend; that is, we’re taught to find someone who stimulates our mental sphere and then only secondarily, our bodies.

Because of the nature of COVID-19, however, the veneer that all of our relationships are bodily is broken. The intellectual relationship between two lovers now faces growing shame. Merely talking to another person means sharing a respiratory area physicalized by a disease spread through the air.

The implications of these growing levels of shame is a dating space replete with anxiety, hesitancy and dejection. Considering the numerous positive outcomes of being in love and the naturalness of love, the loss and difficulty around romantic relationships is a real challenge to our culture.

Let’s get a couple of things straight, all categories of body shame suck and bodily shame is not distributed equally. I am not advocating for a reversal to the paradigm where our bodies are bad, but our mind is good; rather, I believe that realizing how bodily shame has extended to previously non-bodily spheres helps us to counter-act both and the broader bodily shame prototype.

Further, some bodies are more heavily shamed than others. Audre Lorde’s mythical norm – white, thin, male, young, heterosexual, Christian and financially secure – is the body against which all other bodies are compared. Thus, if the mythical norm haver faces inscrutable shame, the Black and Brown, the fat and the female, get it in droves.

The pandemic’s transformation of speech into a bodily activity, though, is a ubiquitous call to fight against body shame.

This is the part of most Opinions’ pieces where the author makes a prescription based on their diagnosis. Unfortunately, I do not have a detailed list that aims to deconstruct bodily shame as it is. Instead, I’ll push you to consider how the pandemic heightens body shame, particularly around romantic relationships, as you and your friends navigate a pandemic, St. Olaf.

Brennan Brink ’21 is from

Rapid City, SD.

His majors are ancient studies

and religion.

Categories: Colleges

Spring 2021 SGA elections see low voter turnout- Nelson, Paredes to serve as President and Vice President; Stich, Tlhwaele, Yassin win respective races

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 04/22/2021 - 12:00pm

Camille Stich ’22, Mbuyisile Tlhwaele ’23 and Mohamed Yassin ’23 won each of their contested elections after students cast their ballots for executives of St. Olaf’s Student Government Association (SGA) via Google form on Friday, April 16.

Stich will serve as Volunteer Network (VN) Coordinator after defeating challenger Missy Daniels ’22, Tlhwaele as Diversity Initiatives Support Committee (DISC) Coordinator after defeating challenger Linden Hoskins ’22 and Yassin as Political Awareness Committee (PAC) Coordinator after defeating challenger Matt Mackenzie ’22.

Andy Nelson ’23 and Michael Paredes ’22 ran uncontested and will serve as SGA’s President and Vice President, respectively, after challengers Hannah Niederman ’23 and Maddy Bayzaee ’23 dropped out of the race during a candidate forum on Monday, April 12.

Lily Braafladt ’22 will serve as the Music Entertainment Committee (MEC) Coordinator, Sandra Chimutsipa ’23 as the After Dark Committee (ADC) Coordinator, Zoe Golden ’22 as the Student Activities Committee (SAC) Coordinator, Jessica Hollister ’22 as the Student Organizations Committee (SOC) Coordinator and Fenton Krupp ’24 as the Board of Regents Student Committee (BORSC) Coordinator, all after running in uncontested elections.

Candidates engaged in a series of events during their campaigns leading up to Friday’s voting. The main event, a 45-minute long town hall held in the Buntrock Crossroads during the evening of Monday, April 12, followed outdoor tabling on Saturday, April 10 and a debate between President and Vice President candidate pairs on Sunday, April 11. The candidates also held drop-in Zoom calls with students over the course of April 13-15, although these calls, divided between dorms, received little student engagement.

In a regular year, candidates would hold more in-person events, such as extra tabling and door-knocking throughout dorms around campus. Safety protocols instituted due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic altered these usual plans, although candidates still had the chance to engage more personally with students compared to last spring’s virtual campaigning.   

A departure from usual campaign procedures, combined with general student feelings of burnout, may have contributed to a low voter participation rate. 711 students voted via Google form on April 16, representing approximately 24% of the student body. While St. Olaf has seen a recent trend of low voter participation as compared to student government elections in the late 2000s and 2010s, less than a quarter of the student body casting ballots for SGA executives is a low turnout, even in light of this recent trend.

28% of students voted last year, even while campus shifted completely online and candidates had to restructure their campaigning. While 24% is low compared to last year, it is even lower when compared to the average 42% participation rate throughout the early-to-middle 2010s.

SGA Election Commissioner Logan Graham ’22, who helped organize the logistical structure of candidates’ campaigning activities, expected a low turnout primarily due to an uncontested race for President and Vice President.

“The 24% number is completely unsurprising,” Graham said. “Last year, while we were online and things had to get shifted, we also had three different pairs running for President and Vice President, and this time it was uncontested. An uncontested President and Vice President race absolutely depresses turnout very significantly.”

While an uncontested race for President and Vice President may have driven down turnout this year, Graham thinks other issues may explain the general recent trend of decreased participation. 

“Low turnout has been a problem for multiple years; there is this kind of fundamental disengagement with SGA that no number of posters or town halls will really fix in and of itself,” Graham said. “So part of it is that SGA needs to be seen as a valid route for causing change on this campus and then I think more students will get involved.”

Categories: Colleges

CJC, PAC, Wellness Center host guest speaker Taysha Martineau

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 04/22/2021 - 12:00pm

In collaboration with the Political Awareness Committee (PAC) and the Wellness Center, the Climate Justice Collective (CJC) hosted speaker Taysha Martineau for an event titled “How We Go Home: An Indigenous Perspective on Environmental Injustice” on April 15.  Moderated by CJC organizer Isaac Nelson ’21 and PAC Coordinator Danely Quiroz ’21, the event garnered over 100 attendees. Following a 30-minute lecture by Martineau, the audience was encouraged by the moderators to ask questions and engage in conversation.

Martineau is a two-spirit Indigenous organizer and co-founder of Camp Migizi and Gichigumi Scouts. These two organizations are dedicated to locating Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Relatives (MMIWR). With the recent construction of the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline, Indigenous organizers like Martineau have been vocal about the increased rates of sex trafficking that construction sites bring to Indigenous communities.

Martineau addressed the high rates of MMIWR, the fears they hold as a mother, police abolition and environmental justice during their virtual lecture. Martineau opened their talk by discussing the injustices that Indigenous communities face as result of projects like Line 3. One consequence Martineau mentioned is the inability of Indigenous communities to hunt and gather their food due to construction.

“We can’t gather food or medicine. Elders are getting sick as they are unable to sustain the diet they had for years,” Martineau said. “We don’t own the land; we belong to the land.”

Martineau also discussed the fear of raising Indigenous children. They brought up that while most children can dress themselves, Martineau dresses their children so they always know what their children are wearing in case their children go missing. Working within organizations that are dedicated to finding MMIWR, Martineau is all too familiar with the violent reality that Indigenous communities face.

“We have to watch to make sure their [construction workers] eyes aren’t trespassing our bodies,” Martineau said.

Martineau then discussed why activism and protesting are essential to supporting Indigenous rights and encouraged the audience to get involved in any way they can. For Martineau, their activism was born out of anger and a longing to see change.

“I’m not here to appeal to people’s morality,” Martineau said. “I step forward with every emotion. I am an angry traumatized individual; I take every emotion I carry to the frontline.”

Martineau ended their talk by encouraging the audience to do whatever they can to support Indigenous communities, such as attending protests on the frontline, sharing social media platforms or creating art. Martineau emphasized the importance of letting voices be heard and practicing transformative love moving forward.

“If we choose to stand up together, then it’s game over. There isn’t a fight in this world we can’t win,” Martineau said.

Categories: Colleges

Playlist: dry season

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 04/22/2021 - 12:00pm

Categories: Colleges

Sadness as a virtue: Why we should allow ourselves some melancholy

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 04/22/2021 - 12:00pm

As we enter the apex of what many would regard as the happiest of all earth’s seasons, I want to take some time to write about sadness. As the earth becomes green and vibrant, I’ve found myself falling into feelings of gloom and melancholy usually reserved for dreary winter days.

Once upon a time these sensations would have been all-consuming. Many times over the course of my first year at St. Olaf do I distinctly remember spending weeks on end languishing in states of depression. It seemed, at the time, my depressed outlook on life would never end. I drifted through the quad and Buntrock Commons, headphones in, wallowing in my sense of alienation as I struggled to build and define myself as a college student.

Part of the reason these feelings felt so pervasive was because I perceived them as unnatural. I believed people’s natural constitution bent toward happiness, or at least toward contentment. So I caught myself in a pitiful cycle of entering sadness, feeling I was less-than-human for it and then collapsing deeper into personal grief. My sadness wasn’t caused by an estrangement between me and the world, but rather an estrangement between me and my self. My enrollment in the class “Kierkegaard and Existentialism” at the time probably didn’t help my thought processes much.

Time has helped me realize that sadness is not something that should be seen as unnatural. Rather, sadness is one of the most natural and fundamental of all human emotions. In a sense it is sadness that affirms our experience of all other affections. It confirms the fact that you have felt something so deeply that you express a sense of heartache over its loss, something that now exists only as memory. Sadness is, in essence, the consequence of living a meaningful life.

This understanding builds the foundation for recognizing sadness as a virtue. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “To possess a virtue is to be a certain sort of person with a certain complex mindset. A significant aspect of this mindset is the wholehearted acceptance of a distinctive range of considerations as reasons for action.”. To practice sadness as a virtue, one must fully understand the importance of feeling and expressing sadness and their alternative options. Knowing you could respond to sadness-causing experiences with empty joy or simple resignation, and then choosing to feel and express sadness, is the mark of a virtuous person.

I don’t think I’m perfectly virtuous when it comes to practicing sadness. In fact, I still hesitate to accept the notion of sadness as a practice. It would seem to lead to a life full of melancholy, romanticized in films and literature but impractical in a constant world of noise and busyness.

Maybe that’s why I’m trying to advocate for sadness here. I find that when I embrace my sadness and express it in positive ways, through conversations with my dad, journal entries or tearful walks in the woods, I’m able to put a pause on the chaos of life. By sinking into sadness, I float down, away from an external world that is constantly pestering me for my attention and toward a truer sense of my self.

In this way sadness is a practice. It is a practice of self-realization, of coming to better know all parts of yourself, all corners of your heart. Without being able to express sadness, I feel that I wouldn’t be able to really express any feelings at all. And since sadness is as natural a part of the human condition as feelings of joy and of fear, why shouldn’t I embrace it with open arms? Sadness will always persist, it just comes down to whether we choose to deny it or accept it.     

I’ll accept my sadness and all the long conversations, pages of my journals and tears that come along with it.

Kierkegaard would agree. “My melancholy is the most faithful mistress I have ever known; what wonder, then, that I love her in return.”

Jacob Maranda ’22 is from Rock Island, IL. His majors are economics and philosophy.

Categories: Colleges

Commencment for class of 2021 to be held in person

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 04/22/2021 - 12:00pm

St. Olaf College has announced that the Class of 2021 will graduate in an in-person ceremony without guests on Saturday, May 29. President David Anderson ’74 sent an email to the graduating members of the St. Olaf community on April 15 announcing this year’s Commencement ceremony. The email included information regarding the schedule of events, caps and gowns, graduation applications and Senior Days.

To maintain the campus “bubble” and prevent the spread of COVID-19, the College is not permitting guests to attend the ceremony in person. This decision is a result of the limited space on campus that would not allow for all participants and guests to socially distance. Despite the distribution of vaccines, the College made the decision to close the ceremony to guests out of caution, and they continue to follow Minnesota Department of Health (MDC) protocols.

To accommodate for this change, the College will live-stream the 2021 Commencement and events, and graduates’ families and friends can also watch the events later in St. Olaf’s archived stream. The College will partner with the photography company GradImages to photograph each graduate as they exit the stage.

While the College will hold Commencement in person, there are changes to this year’s ceremony. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Olaf has instituted precautions following the guidance of MDH. Graduates must already be in St. Olaf’s campus bubble, meaning that they have to participate in COVID-19 testing and adhere to the Community Standards. However, seniors who are not on campus may still attend Commencement, but must quarantine and test negative prior to the ceremony.

The same COVID-19 regulations that apply to the Commencement ceremony also apply to the Illumination Ceremony, which will be held on May 28, and Baccalaureate, which is being held the morning of May 29. All events are scheduled to take place on the campus green/Mellby lawn; however, in the case of inclement weather, the College will hold Commencement in Tostrud Athletic Center.

For the students who graduated in 2020, the College has tentatively scheduled a commencement ceremony for Aug. 14, 2021. As more details become available and concrete, anyone who intended to participate in the 2020 ceremony will receive more information.

Similarly, as May 29 approaches, seniors should expect to receive more information from the Events Management Office and others involved in the planning of the 2021 Commencement in the coming weeks.

Categories: Colleges


Manitou Messenger - Thu, 04/22/2021 - 12:00pm

Categories: Colleges

Horoscopes: April 22nd

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 04/22/2021 - 12:00pm
Aries: Rumor has it God is an Aries. Interpret that as you will. Taurus: You are so mysterious and brooding, but your large iced caramel mocha latte negates all of that. Gemini: You’re an artist, an icon, a visionary and maybe ambidextrous? Cancer: Red is your color this week, go be sexy. Leo: Take a break, go to therapy. Virgo: You don’t actually know what horoscopes are, and yet here you are, pretending that you do. Libra: Your caffeine addiction is concerning your friends. Try swapping your third cold press for an herbal tea today. Scorpio: Please be safe this weekend. We know what you’re gonna get up to, horny bastard.
Categories: Colleges

a lost possibility

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 04/22/2021 - 12:00pm

It’s soft. slow. steady.

It’s Hot. Heavy. Heart-shattering.

I tried to expect


I tried not to hope for


She gave me


that I wasn’t supposed to be

hoping for


I do not want

more than

that Moment

I do not need


She gave me


Her warmth

pressed against me

filling me

with an Unknown Feeling

My senses overload

my heart is ready to explode

from nerves

from excitement

from fear

from Fear.

Fear that I will hurt her

Fear that I will do something wrong

Fear that I am not enough

Fear that she deserves more than me

Her eyes

swallow me whole

recover my soul

Hold me.

Let me hold you.

I just want to touch you.

To feel you.

To know that we are together.


in this moment

She kisses me


an ending

or a goodbye

or a memory

re-lived for one more

fleeting moment

to be stored forever

imprinted in our skin

in our lips

in our minds

to be written

in a poem

in hopes that she

felt it too

that she


to remember it


in hopes that

this memory

is not a memory

is not something to be

stored away

in our minds

in a poem

but instead





I am forever

in that Moment

I am forever

loving You.

Categories: Colleges

Spring concert preview: Rico Nasty to perform in MEC Zoom concert this month

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 04/22/2021 - 12:00pm


Illustration by Aimi Dickel


Rico Nasty will perform at this year’s spring concert on April 30. The Music Entertainment Committee (MEC) will host the event virtually for both St. Olaf and Carleton students.

Elina Sargsyan ’23 and Ghazal Ramazanian ’22, members of MEC’s spring concert subcommittee, expressed their excitement for Rico Nasty’s upcoming performance. “Everyone was really really passionate” about the possibility of Rico Nasty performing, Sargsyan said. She described MEC’s “mission to bring artists that not only reflect the student body but also artists that promote positivity and use their platform to help others.”

“Rico was a great option,” Sargsyan said.

Listeners are familiar with Rico Nasty using her platform to advocate for Black rights and mental health. MEC recognized that in the current political and social atmosphere, their choice of performers would have an impact on the student body. “[Rico Nasty’s] platform to advocate for marginalized and underrepresented groups of people” was a significant factor in MEC’s decision for her to perform, Sargsyan said.

Ramazanian called Rico Nasty’s personality “outgoing and engaging,” an essential quality MEC was looking for in a performer this year. Ramazanian was particularly excited about Rico Nasty’s performance. “She is a rising artist … in the industry and I’m sure she’ll blow up,” Ramazanian said.

Rico Nasty began her career on SoundCloud, a popular music-sharing website for up-and-coming artists. Her self-declared “sugar trap” music gained popularity online through both YouTube and TikTok. In the past year, snippets of her songs “Ohfr?,” “Smack a B*tch” and “P*ssy Poppin” became trends on Tik Tok. Rico Nasty released seven mixtapes before the release of her first studio album, “Nightmare Vacation,” with Atlantic Records in late 2020.

Similar to past virtual concerts, MEC will present the event via Zoom webinar. Students will be able to connect with each other during the performance through the live chat function. Rico Nasty will also participate in a Q&A led by a member of MEC, and those attending will have the chance to submit their questions. Ramazanian believes the online format will allow the concert to be more “personal” and will create “more of a connection with the artist and the students” since Rico Nasty will be able to see students’ messages.

MEC also hopes that the virtual concert will encourage students to stay safe and stay in as COVID-19 cases continue to loom over campus.

As finals week and the end of the semester approach, the Rico Nasty concert will be “a good platform to just reconnect with each other, relieve stress, and listen to some good music,” Sargsyan said.

The Rico Nasty concert will take place on April 30 at 8 p.m. via Zoom. Students can RSVP to the event through the link in @stolafmec’s Instagram bio or by scanning the QR code on event posters around campus.

Categories: Colleges


Manitou Messenger - Thu, 04/22/2021 - 12:00pm

Categories: Colleges

Flowers that Bees Stuff Themselves Into

Pollinator gardens are all the rage, and we hope this isn’t a passing trend! In addition to providing much needed habitat and food for these essential creatures, there is another extremely important reason to plant for pollinators: to watch bees stuff themselves into flowers.

If you haven’t witnessed this phenomenon, you will not regret lingering in your garden to catch it. Here’s a list of perennials that will all but guarantee hours of enjoyment watching the bees.

Perennials that Bees Love to Squeeze Into

Digitalis – Also known as foxglove, Digitalis puts up spikes dripping with tubular blooms that bumblebees love to climb into. They’re great at the back of the garden where they will hang above shorter plants. Foxglove is a biennial, so plant a few each season to ensure blooms every year.

Penstemon – Super tough, long blooming, and long-lived, Penstemon, aka beardtongue, brings the bees in with its prolific blooms. Big juicy bumblebees spend quite some time happily squeezing into each individual bloom. To keep the show going, remove spent flowers to encourage rebloom.

Physostegia – Known as obedient plant because the flowers will stay in place if moved, Physostegia has tubular blooms up and down, and the bees never pass it up. It spreads happily and likes moist soil, so pick a spot where there is room to let it go and watch the bees enjoy the buffet. 

Great Blue Lobelia – A bee magnet! The bright blue blooms are impossible to miss, and they’re just the right size for a bumblebee to squeeze about halfway in. Great in combination with yellows, purples, and whites. Good for moist soils and tolerant of some shade.

The post Flowers that Bees Stuff Themselves Into appeared first on Knecht's Nurseries & Landscaping.

Categories: Businesses

Midori Krieger on One Small Step Program

KYMN Radio - Thu, 04/22/2021 - 9:29am
Midori Krieger discusses a program called One Small Step aimed at bringing people together in a bi-partisan way to have conversations around common issues.  For more information, visit the Story Corps website.

Deb Purfeerst provides update on vaccination process in Rice County

KYMN Radio - Thu, 04/22/2021 - 9:17am
Deb Purfeerst, Director of Rice County Public Health, provides an update on the Covid vaccination process in Rice County.  52.5% of residents have had at least one dose of the vaccine.
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