Carleton to hold closed in-person commencement ceremony

Carletonian - Sun, 05/02/2021 - 12:47pm

When students were sent home in March of 2020, Carleton had to make the tough decision to hold the commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020 online. Faced with the same decision one year later, Carleton announced in February that this year’s Commencement—currently scheduled for Saturday, June 12, 2021—will be a traditional one with restricted attendance.  

“So long as in-person classes are in session at the end of Spring Term, we plan to have an in-person outdoor commencement ceremony for our graduates,” wrote Dean of Students Carolyn Livingston and Director of Events Kerry Raadt in an email to seniors on January 19. “What we don’t know at this time is whether we will be able to invite families and loved ones to attend.”  

 According to Livington and Raadt, “Our ability to reopen campus to visitors is dependent on a number of factors, including rates of COVID-19 cases in the community, the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine nationally, and state rules regarding events.”  

After a period of deliberation over how to make the event as safe as possible, the college notified students on February 26 that graduation attendance would be restricted

“To keep the event safe for everyone, parents and families will unfortunately not be allowed to attend,” Livingston said. This is consistent with neighboring college St. Olaf’s commencement policy for 2021

Dani Rader ’21 said she approves of the school’s decision. “Based on what happened last year, I got pretty used to the idea that we wouldn’t have an in-person graduation ceremony,” said Rader. “If excluding families is what we have to do to be able to have it in person, then I fully support that.”

 After seeking the guidance of public health experts, the college decided that seniors studying off campus this spring will be able to return to Carleton and participate in Commencement if they arrive with adequate time to quarantine and participate in campus testing protocols. For those who cannot attend, the ceremony will be livestreamed and recorded.

Axel Ohrstrom ’21 is currently studying off campus. “I just thought it would be easier to avoid getting COVID by staying home, traveling less and seeing fewer people,” said Ohrstrom. “That said, having been off-campus since the beginning of the pandemic has created some distance between the friends I made on campus and my day-to-day life. I will be coming back for commencement because it is a chance to see my friends and celebrate our accomplishments together.” 

More students both on and off campus, as well as their families, are getting vaccinated against COVID-19. According to Ohrstrom, “already having gotten the vaccine made the decision to return to campus a lot easier for me. But depending on the required quarantine, it may be more difficult for me to attend.”  

The college has yet to specify whether the increasing availability of COVID-19 vaccines will affect the restrictions on attending or the qualifications for participating in the ceremony. Citing the threat of more contagious variants of the virus and inequitable access to the vaccine worldwide, Livingston and Raadt wrote on April 9 that “it is too early for us to make any changes at this time.”  

If commencement plans are reevaluated, Livingston and Raadt expect to be able to communicate that to students by May 7.

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Categories: Colleges

Relief and cautious joy as the COVID-19 vaccine comes to Carleton

Carletonian - Sun, 05/02/2021 - 12:46pm

One sign that the end of the COVID-19 pandemic is near is that Carleton has recently moved into Phase 5 of its vaccination plan, meaning that all students, faculty and staff who are on campus can get vaccinated. In addition to this, many are travelling off campus to nearby cities to receive their vaccines. Over 60% of the student body has been vaccinated, and this can be observed in daily campus life: professors and students having to skip class due to post-vaccine side effects has become a norm.

“It’s definitely a weight off my shoulders,” Erin Watson ’24 said. “I’m relieved I got it, especially since I got the Johnson & Johnson before they paused it.” 

Fiona Ibrahim ’24 added, “Right after [my vaccination], I felt excited because, ideally, people getting vaccinated is the main stepping stone to going back to regular life. Now, I feel relieved and a bit more relaxed than I did before since COVID-19 is less of a risk for me.”

Overall, students expressed excitement, relief and hope that campus life will soon return to normal. Considering the rapidly-increasing portion of the Carleton community that is getting vaccinated—along with President Poskanzer’s recent email saying that if everything goes according to plan, Carleton will mostly go back to normal in the fall—this optimism seems very much substantiated. Specifically, according to Poskanzer’s email, masks will no longer be a requirement and most classes and extracurricular activities will happen in person.

As exciting as getting the vaccine was, there were factors that made it stressful for some. “I was simultaneously relieved, excited and stressed immediately after. I was beyond grateful and thrilled to have gotten the vaccine. However, being off campus felt somewhat unsafe and scary,” said Brie Sloves ’24, who drove off campus to Mankato to get her vaccine.

Some who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine were very understandably scared when the news came out that the Johnson & Johnson distribution had stopped because it caused blood clots in six individuals.

“I felt very excited after getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. It’s been a little over three weeks since I got it, but I’ll admit that my excitement about the vaccine quickly turned into panic when the vaccine distribution was paused and I was right in the middle of the 6-13 day blood clot window,” Olivia Lentz ’23 said. 

The overarching general sentiment around getting vaccines is excitement about being able to go back to normal soon. However, students are still being mostly as cautious as they were before. With more activities being outdoors due to the changing weather, however, in addition to the rapid vaccination rate, it is now possible for students to gather in slightly larger groups without putting themselves or others at risk.

“I would say my behaviors have not changed drastically. I’ve definitely felt less ‘on alert’ at all times, but still I don’t dine-in at LDC or Burton, I’m taking all online classes and I keep my pod to about four people,” Lentz said.

Watson said that the prevailing feeling about being vaccinated against the disease that has upended life for the past year is relief. “I haven’t changed any behaviors yet, but I do feel a lot better about masked, medium-sized indoor gatherings. Honestly, the biggest difference is that I’m no longer stressed about getting quarantined, since that was always looming over my head as a big fear,” Watson said. 

Ibrahim agreed, saying, “I’m not changing any behaviors too much. I think it’s important to stay cautious until more of campus is fully vaccinated.”

Despite the somewhat mixed feelings around getting the vaccine, especially considering various risk factors involved in both obtaining the vaccine and regarding the vaccines themselves as new information comes out, the strongest emotions on campus are excitement and joy. Each student receiving their vaccine brings us as a community one step closer to becoming protected from COVID-19. 

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Categories: Colleges

A brief history of Earth Day at Carleton

Carletonian - Sun, 05/02/2021 - 12:44pm

The changes in the way Carleton has celebrated Earth Day throughout the years are closely related to changes in environmentalism itself. Earth Day was first established in 1970 by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson as a way to draw national attention to environmental issues. Amid the anti-war movement and growing public awareness of air and water pollution, the establishment of Earth Day effectively brought environmental protection into the spotlight. Now a focus of national policy, Earth Day aided in the passing of many important milestones in American policy, such as the creation of the EPA, the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.  

In 1970, Carleton College celebrated the first Earth Day with a week full of environmentally-focused activities. The event was so successful that it drew national attention, with three students appearing on the Today Show with Hugh Downs. 

Carleton students work in the Arb in the 1970’s.
Photo courtesy of The Carleton Voice.

The interest Earth Day stirred up surrounding environmental protection had lasting impacts on campus. As a response to increasing environmental activism, Carleton transformed 33 acres of farmland into a native habitat restoration project, known today as the McKnight Prairie. Students advocating for clean water uncovered the issue of  E. coli in Lyman Lakes from upstream sewers, which was quickly remedied by campus maintenance workers.

Since its powerful debut in the ’70s, Earth Days throughout the years have enabled Carleton to bring attention to some of the most pressing issues facing the environment today.

Students pose in the Japanese Garden, first proposed by Religion and Asian studies professor Bardwell Smith and completed in 1976.
Photo courtesy of The Carleton Voice.

In 2007, the festivities extended past Carleton, all the way to the Twin Cities, with a public art event on Harriet Island held by an alumni group. Campus and the Northfield community had its own fun, with the CSA and Northfield Community Contra Dance Association hosting an Earth Day Contra Dance in Severance Hall, which soon became a yearly tradition.

 In 2009, Carleton celebrated Earth Day by having Bon Appetit serve a “low carbon diet,” limiting the amount of beef, cheese, rice and any food whose production and transportation increase greenhouse gas emissions. 

In 2010, Carleton invited the community onto campus for a week of events focused on sustainability and highlighting Carleton’s wind turbine and steam plant.

This year, Earth Day garnered extra attention. The  Sustainability Office, in collaboration with other campus groups, put together two weeks of events, as Earth Day coincided with Climate Action Week (CAW). Rebecca McCartney ’21, a Sustainability Assistant (STA) for the Sustainability Office, explained, “CAW usually falls in the seventh week of Winter Term, serving as our big environmental-action-focused week in roughly the middle of the year. It’s a great chance to reinvigorate students during the bleakness of Winter Term by providing new ways for students to engage with environmental stuff going on around campus and in the community.”

 However, this year, Climate Action Week was moved to coincide with Earth Day. This provided the Sustainability Office with extra opportunities. “This year, I (along with some other STAs) have been coordinating with other Minnesota students who do sustainability work at their schools to do some statewide actions. A few months ago, some schools started planning a cross-campus ECO Challenge, and we figured we could easily move our Climate Action Week to the April timeframe of the Eco challenge to match up with other schools and generate energy around the state,” she said. 

As the climate crisis continues to unfold and students’ priorities change, Carleton’s Earth Day celebrations change to reflect the campus mood regarding environmental issues. Rather than focusing solely on environmental conservation and protection, climate justice and its intersection are now a highlighted theme. This increased focus on justice has led to a variety of events, such as meals using ingredients indigenous to Minnesota served in the dining halls, a documentary screening on Disabilities and climate action, and an educational campaign on sexual violence and pipelines, as well as many other events. 

“It was a really great opportunity for the Sustainability Office to work with different offices and organizations on campus to think more critically about what intersection of climate action and climate justice looks like,” McCartney said.

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Categories: Colleges

5th week sports update

Carletonian - Sun, 05/02/2021 - 12:43pm

Baseball: The Knights had a tough week on the diamond, dropping a double header to Augsburg 3-0, 3-1 on the 23rd. Pitching was a highlight, with starters Kiefer Lord and Travis Brown both putting up solid showings over six innings. The bats stayed quiet in a double header against St. John’s the following day as the Knights also lost both games. A similar result followed against St. John’s on the 27th, as the Knights struggled to find the strike zone, walking nine in a 12-2 loss. The Knights fell to 2-13 on the season and 0-13 in conference play. They’ll get their next shot at Macalester May 1. 

Softball: Carleton squared off against St. Olaf in a double header on the 24th. Carleton dropped the first game 1-7. Game two was a slugfest, with the Knights putting up an impressive 11 runs lead by Brooke McKelvey’s four RBIs. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough as the Knights lost 14-11. The Knights achieved better results against Hamline and Concordia, splitting both double headers. Ally Norton pitched an impressive complete game, allowing only one earned against Concordia in game 1 as the Knights won 2-1. The bats came alive in game two against Hamline as the Knights scored every inning to put away Hamline 12-4. The Knights end the week 4-12 on the season, and will square off against Gustavus Adolphus on May 1.  

Women’s Track and Field: The Carls competed across three meets this weekend. Grace Blanchette, Sydney Marsh, and Eve Farrell dominated the Heptathlon going 1-2-3 at the St. Olaf meet of the Saints.  Clara Mayfield had a strong showing at the Hamline showcase, finishing 4th in a stacked field. The Cross-Country All-American ran 17:08 placing her 3rd in the conference and 9th in country. The rest of the Knights competed in the Drake Alternative Meet at Gustavus Adolphus. Riley Roberts netted a pair of third place finishes in the 100 and 200m sprints. The Carls also swept the 800 with Amy Kropp, Alice Cutter, and Mary Blanchard finishing 1-2-3 respectively. The Knights compete next at the Macalester College Janis Rider Invitational on Saturday, May 1st. 

The Carletonian’s own Phoebe Ward fights off two Oles in the 3k at the Carleton Relays.
Photo by Art Onwumere.

Men’s Track and Field: On the Men’s side the Knights competed at St. Mary’s this Saturday. In the sprints, former distance runner turned yoked speed machine Oscar Christoph grabbed a 3rd place finish in his first 100m race, despite (or perhaps because of) his unorthodox starting position. Bridger Rives netted a 2nd place finish in the 400m while the Batman to his Robin, Jeremy Fong, finished 1st in the 800m. Matt Wilkinson once again trounced the field in the 1500, and Steven Levy put on a show in the 5000m, winning by a solid 40 seconds. The lanky duo of Ben Santos and Henry Bowman swept the steeplechase, and Noah Eckersley-Ray continued his streak of dominance in the javelin throw, winning the event by more than 8 meters. The Knights will compete at Macalester this weekend along with the women’s side. 

Matt Wilkinson glides around the bend in the 5000m run at the Carleton Relays.
Photo by Jeremy Fong.

Men’s Tennis: Men’s tennis lost their undefeated streak this week, falling 6-3 to Gustavus Adolphus, who has yet to lose in MIAC play. Standout Leo Vithoontien won in straight sets at the number one singles spot. Four seed Yuv Kataria was the only other Carl to win his singles competition, besting Gustavus’s Alex Budde in a nail-biting tiebreak set. In doubles, Aswath Viswanathan and Aniketh Vipparla won their three seed battle 8-6. The Carl’s next match will be in Collegeville Minnesota against St. John’s M,ay 30. 

Men’s Golf: The Knights placed 12th out of 17 teams at the Saint John’s Spring Invitational. Senior Peter Gullikson led the squad on the first day with a 74, followed by sophomore duo Andersen Murphy and James Berger. On the second day it was Murphy’s turn to lead, finishing with a 76 at Monticello Country Club, followed by Berger with a 78 and Gullikson with a 79. Murphy and Gullikson tied for 25th at the tournament with 153 total strokes, with Berger coming in only one stroke behind, and Jackson Steinbaugh and Bob Zhu finishing with 179 and 169 strokes respectively. The Carls will compete next at the MIAC Championships, which will be held April 30-May 2 at Emerald Greens Golf Course in Hastings, Minn.

Women’s Golf: On the women’s side, the Carls placed 4th at the Carleton-St. Olaf Spring Invitational before the MIAC championship next week. In the first round the Knights were led by Kristin Miyagi’s score of 80 which was good for 2nd place on the day. In round 2, Miyagi continued her hot streak with a score of 77 at the Northfield Golf Club, with Alyssa Soma right on her heels with a score of 78. The Knights finished 4th overall, with Miyagi, Soma, and Alexis Chan all finishing under 164 combined strokes. The Knights look to improve on this showing in the MIAC championships next weekend. 

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Categories: Colleges

The European (not so) Super League

Carletonian - Sun, 05/02/2021 - 12:43pm

Last Monday, fans of European football across the globe reacted passionately to the formation of the European Super League: an exclusive organization founded by 12 of the continent’s most renowned and wealthiest football clubs.

Under its proposed structure, the Super League would be comprised of 20 elite European clubs competing against each other in midweek matches between regularly scheduled competition in their respective domestic leagues. Following this ‘regular season’ of play, a playoff would ensue with a champion eventually crowned.

At face value, the league appears to have some merit. Who wouldn’t want to watch the most renowned clubs in European football compete against one another on a weekly basis? But fans were not tricked. Twitter erupted with demands for the league’s abolishment, and fans in England took to the streets in protest. 

Chelsea supporters gathered on Tuesday to protest their club’s involvement in the League. As they held up a team bus attempting to depart for a Premier League match against Brighton, threatening chants suddenly turned into overwhelming cheers. In the face of insurmountable public pressure, Chelsea and Manchester United became the first two clubs to quit the short-lived league, prompting a cascade reaction from other clubs and the League’s virtual collapse within less than 48 hours of its establishment.  

The discontent expressed by fans largely stems from the manner in which the Super League would alter the framework of European football as a whole. Since 1955, teams from different European countries have competed within domestic leagues to earn one of 32 bids to the UEFA Champions League, the most prestigious football tournament in Europe, and—excluding the FIFA World Cup—on the planet. 

Within the overlying structure of the Champions League, clubs in domestic leagues including the English Premier League, Italian Serie A, Spanish La Liga, and the German Bundesliga face the prospect of relegation if they underperform, making possible the promotion of clubs from lower leagues, who are able to ‘climb the pyramid’ and replace relegated clubs for an opportunity to vie for a bid to the Champions League tournament. 

“The ‘pyramid’ open league system with relegation and promotion is what makes ‘football’ ‘football’ in England, Europe and most of the world,” said Carleton Men’s Soccer Coach Bob Carlson, who leads the Sports and Globalization OCS program in England and Spain – a 10-week Winter Term program where students examine firsthand the political economy and culture of European football. 

If the Super League were to inevitably replace the Champions League as the prime football tournament in Europe, it would shatter the tradition of relegation that is the hallmark of European football. Under the proposed structure of the League, 15 of its 20 clubs would be permanent members protected from relegation, leaving a mere five clubs to compete for entry into the League each year.

Sports Economist Stefan Syzmanski, whose book Soccernomics is part of the Sports and Globalization curriculum, warns that the Super League “would be catastrophic for European football” because it would break the promise that any club can have an opportunity to triumph on the greatest stage in Europe. 

Under the current structure of European football under UEFA and the Champions League, teams in domestic leagues compete feverishly with an understanding that if they place high enough, they will have a reasonable shot at playing on Europe’s biggest stage. However, by opening the door to only five clubs on a yearly basis, the Super League will substantially restrict the prospects for non-member clubs to earn a bid to its tournament, which will in turn discourage top talent from joining non-member clubs and diminish the competitiveness of Europe’s domestic leagues.

Beyond the issue of the Super League’s exclusivity, there is also the issue of wealth accumulation. In contrast America’s National Basketball Association (NBA) or National Football League (NFL), European soccer leagues don’t have the equivalence of a salary cap, meaning that clubs with wealthy owners and an abundance of capital have a significant advantage in the international market for football talent, which more often that not translates to more wins on the pitch. 

“A closed league like the Super League is simply a way for the big clubs to generate more revenue for their own coffers,” said Carlson, contributing to the widely held notion that the European Super League would widen pre-existing wealth disparities between football clubs across Europe. 

JP Morgan Chase has already provided a $3.25 billion “infrastructure grant” to the European Super League, while each founding member stands to gain around $400 million from private investment in order to establish “a secure financial foundation” for the League moving forward. Beyond that, it is expected that the broadcast rights to Super League matches, along with commercial income, will generate billions of dollars per year. 

No longer subject to UEFA, the current governing body that operates the Champions League and redistributes its revenue to domestic leagues and clubs throughout Europe, the revenue earned from the Super League would remain largely within the hands of its 15 permanent members, thus furthering their advantage in attracting the top football talent and deepening the pockets of billionaire owners. 

The money-driven ambitions behind the European Super League violate the game’s origins as a working class game. Popularized by supporters of Club Africain in 2017, the slogan “Created by the poor, stolen by the rich” was scrawled on bedsheets and displayed by protestors throughout the U.K. last week. The majority of these protestors, bound to their clubs by a sense of community and tradition, would be sold out by the Super League, which seeks to capture profits from the “fans of the future,” a globalized demographic who live far away from Europe’s traditional football neighborhoods and are indifferent to the loss of tradition the Super League would inflict on Europe’s treasured domestic leagues. 

“The immediate backlash from fans, clubs, federations, players and managers gives me hope that although these big clubs are powerful, they cannot manipulate and dismiss the tradition of domestic leagues, which are the foundation for football around the globe,” said Carlson, who feels optimistic about the future of European football and Carleton’s Sports and Globalization program. 

“The heart and soul of English and Spanish football remains very, very strong. I don’t think promotion and relegation are going anywhere any time soon, and even with some form of the Super League, our students will still experience the thrill of immersing ourselves in sporting culture abroad,” he added.

Following the departure of Chelsea and Manchester City, the remaining four clubs from the English Premier League (Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham) abandoned the league and issued apologies to their fans, along with Italian clubs AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus and the Spanish club Atlético Madrid. The two remaining Spanish clubs, Barcelona and Real Madrid, are the two lone clubs keeping the project alive.

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Categories: Colleges

Arb Notes: spring warbler migration in the Arb

Carletonian - Sun, 05/02/2021 - 12:42pm

As the weather in southern Minnesota warms and insects begin to emerge, the Arb will soon become host to a stunning group of migratory visitors. These are the wood-warblers, a diverse family of exceptionally colorful, tiny songbirds. Almost 30 species pass through the Arb during spring and fall migration. Some, such as the American Redstart and Yellow Warbler, stay here to breed; most, however, have as their final destination the boreal forest of central Canada. 

Wood-warblers have their origins in the Neotropics, but over millennia, many species evolved migratory behavior in order to exploit the seasonally resource-rich regions of northern North America. Warblers typically travel in mixed-species flocks during migration, allowing them to more effectively locate food and keep an eye out for predators. On some spring mornings in the Arb when migration is in full swing, these flocks swell to extraordinary numbers; at times, the forest may appear genuinely flooded with unbelievably vibrant little birds, and the air filled with their surprisingly loud songs. In each flock, different species exploit different niches, with some such as the Northern Parula keeping to the canopy, others such as the Connecticut Warbler frequenting the understory, and others being general oddities: the Black-and-White Warbler creeps up and down tree branches, as if a miniature woodpecker.

The fact that such incredibly colorful and boldly-patterned birds exist in Minnesota comes as a great surprise to many people, even local residents. Habitat fragmentation and climate change are causing population declines in most species; therefore, increasing public awareness of their presence is vital to their conservation. So in addition to seeing Minnesota spring as a time of leaves sprouting and humid air, we should also know it as that time when the forest suddenly becomes invaded by thousands of tiny tropical birds.

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Categories: Colleges

How isolation ought to be improved, from a guinea pig

Carletonian - Sun, 05/02/2021 - 12:38pm

My name is Caroline Saksena. I was a guinea pig in the Carleton Isolation Experiment at the start of Fall Term 2020. It was miserable. Here is what can and should be done to make students’ experiences in isolation and quarantine better:

To SHAC and the administrative authorities involved: If something is serious, don’t let that news be a surprise to the student involved. During my isolation, after I’d been reporting for over a week that I couldn’t breathe properly, SHAC called me and suggested I might need to go to the ER. That sent me for a spin and left me wondering if I should’ve gone to the doctor much sooner or taken my health more into my own hands. I lost a bit of trust in the system with regard to how well I was being taken care of.

Figure out how to use Slack. There is no reason why cross-team communication should drag out over days in this age of technology. SHAC, Security, and the DoS office should have a system to rapidly get in touch with decision makers for when a call needs to be made and coordinate responsibilities smoothly. I was told to make a doctor’s appointment and that I could get a ride. On the day of, I found out the department from whom I thought I could get a ride would not give me one because it was not their responsibility. I missed my appointment, wondering: should I have called 911 and footed an ambulance and ER bill to see a doctor sooner and save myself the trouble and stress of Carleton transportation logistics? The next appointment I could make was for five days later. By that point, the communication across offices found some agreement and I was able to get a ride there and a taxi voucher back. Through that time, I couldn’t breathe, and I was seriously distressed. No one can argue that my symptoms weren’t serious.

Along similar lines of transparency, communicate more accurately about housing and bathroom sharing. If people are told they won’t be sharing a bathroom with someone else potentially sick, their upset over sharing bathrooms is completely valid. It shouldn’t require a riot of individual students to point out a clear transparency issue before it gets fixed. If Carleton can’t offer everyone in isolation their own bathrooms, they need to at least say so honestly.

Pay student workers who are forced to miss work shifts. The college should eat that loss, not the students who are responsibly supporting the health of the community by quarantining/isolating. Students rely on work-study as financial aid and a stint in isolation is already stressful enough.

Make it easier to know what resources are available for those in isolation; for instance, printing my readings through disability services saved my eyes. 

I felt guilty requesting apples and yogurt because I knew that Keri, the quarantine/isolation coordinator, was overworked. I was always immensely grateful for her support. At the same time, I felt like I lacked substantial food to eat. Based on my tuition fees and breakdown, I have been promised board (read: sufficient meals), and I shouldn’t be in the position to feel like asking for food I can eat is asking for too much. Food insecurity sucks, and it’s not only difficult to focus on classes when you’re hungry or rationing food, but it’s also difficult to physically heal when you’re not feeling great and don’t have enough protein or veggies. Friends I know who have visited quarantine after me shouldn’t have needed to regularly doordash meals to supplement what they received from the college.

To friends of those whisked away, check in with people you care about who are all alone. Send a daily “how are you doing?” text. Offer to support them even if you don’t know what they might need. They will appreciate it. Make sure though, that you lead with “How are you?” and not “What did your test result say?”. The latter makes you feel so very well cared about. Don’t send the latter at least until after recognizing their emotional headspace. Friends can also leave surprises in Sayles mailboxes to brighten up someone’s day.

To people on campus, there should not be a negative stigma around going into isolation or quarantine. If anything, it takes courage to comply with these guidelines because it means packing up and leaving your dorm home to prioritize caring for the Carleton community over your social needs. We must assume the best intentions and practices and give people the benefit of the doubt that you would hope to receive in your time of need. 

In the course of two weeks, I got at least three negative PCR tests and a negative antibody test. But I also couldn’t breathe in and out for a count of four without wheezing, and I was eternally tired. A lack of diagnosis was almost as debilitating as recognizing how the associated side effects of COVID-19 might apply to my life if I got a positive test. As someone who’s still terrified of contracting COVID-19, I feared the absolute worst of not being able to walk, run and bike normally again.

I didn’t self-report symptoms until the second day I felt abnormal. I was afraid of getting stuck in isolation over nothing and before being able to see my friends for the first time in six months. I reported after a friend shared that they’d been honest on the form and reported symptoms for their allergies, and it wasn’t a big deal. That normalized and destigmatized honest reporting for me in a valuable way.

I was a guinea pig. I did not have fun. Emailing SHAC, my teachers, and supportive resources across campus sucked up my “free” time when I wasn’t sleeping or in class. I burned out last fall in part because I lost so much of my willpower to the duress of starting out my year as an isolation guinea pig. My story here is sugar-coated. By contextualizing my less than ideal situation with recommendations for change, I hope to validate others’ experiences and promote ongoing improvement so that people who quarantine or isolate in the future may fare better than I did. 

P.S. Please give Keri, the quarantine/isolation coordinator, a raise. Even better, please give her a collaborator to spread out her load and lift weight off her shoulders. She was a wonderful support, and I have only praise for her as she did the best she could in the given circumstances.

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Categories: Colleges

Turn Out the Lights: The Pizza Party’s Over

Tom Swift - Untethered Dog - Sun, 05/02/2021 - 12:37pm

What does it mean when you don’t any longer go gaga for pizza? It’s baked cheese. On a bed of highly refined carbohydrates. Topped with greasy meat. Doused in salt. It is, in other words, the rare fare that incorporates all four American food groups. Yet — for some reason — pizza no longer offers […]

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Categories: Citizens

Ignored, unwanted and discarded: thoughts on racial inclusion, body positivity and beauty standards at Carleton

Carletonian - Sun, 05/02/2021 - 12:36pm

Content warning: sexual assault.

Last Sunday, I was eating brunch with a fellow senior friend of mine, reminiscing on our time at Carleton, when the topic of dating came up.

“You know, I’m kind of sad that I never really dated anyone at Carleton,” she told me.

For the past few weeks the same thought had been filtering through my mind whenever I reflected on the last four years. While lamenting over our failed experiences together, she eventually brought up physical appearances.

“I think my main problem is that I’m not really the Carleton type,” she said.

“What’s the Carleton type?” I asked her.

“I think the girls that typically do well here are like, the thin, white, cross-country type of girls.”

 I’d heard this before. The first time someone brought this up to me, I’ll admit that I did a little bit of an internal eye roll. Carleton is such an accepting place, I thought. There’s no way this is an actual thing. A big part of me didn’t want to recognize or accept this theory as valid because I didn’t want to see myself as someone who didn’t fit a certain beauty standard. I’d already spent the first half of my life ashamed of my appearance and my racial identity. In high school, I’d finally learned to accept myself, and I didn’t want to revert to a state of racially-motivated self-hate again. 

But despite my adamant refusal to accept the thought, I couldn’t shake it. I started noticing and hearing things. I told someone that I wanted to set my friend, a woman of color, up with this guy in one of my classes. “Oh, he only likes tall skinny blonde girls,” was the response I received. 

A few weeks later I confessed a crush I had on someone to another friend. 

“I think he’s mostly into tall skinny white girls,” she replied. 

 As I began to grow more aware of comments like these, which I started hearing all too often, I grew more self-conscious about my own appearance. Was I not white enough, or tall enough, or thin enough? Did my body type and racial characteristics make me undesirable or unnoticable? I hadn’t had thoughts like these in ages. I assumed they’d disappeared forever. I never thought that spending time at Carleton, a liberal arts college that prides itself on its inclusive community, could make these feelings reappear. 

Full disclosure here: I am writing about racial and body image issues within the Carleton dating scene from a relatively privileged standpoint. I’m a half-white, half-East Asian straight-sized (not plus-sized) girl. While my physical appearance doesn’t conform to the typical skinny white girl beauty standard, I’m not completely removed from this realm. Fattie EDU, an episode of the podcast series She’s All Fat, emphasizes the experiences of Carleton women facing greater challenges. The episode, released in 2019, features our college specifically, highlighting key takeaways from interviews with white and POC female Carleton students in larger bodies. Many interviewees expressed feeling more unnoticed, unwanted, and left out of the dating/hook-up scene at Carleton than they had anywhere else. “I get the sense that here, there just isn’t as much respect for different bodies…and I think it also heavily relates to dating culture and hookup culture on campus,” confessed one interviewee. This podcast shed light on a fundamental flaw within the Carleton social sphere: as a community, we’ve adopted and accepted extremely rigid beauty standards. Body positivity does not exist at Carleton.  

There are thin white bodies all over this campus, while much fewer large bodies and bodies of color inhabit our school’s spaces. Before coming to Carleton, I’d never felt like the fattest person in the room. Nowadays I constantly feel this way. Being among a minority race and what feels like a minority body type while simultaneously feeling unnoticed and unwanted is a double blow to my self-esteem. Hearing other women with various non-white racial identities wonder about whether or not a guy will like them due to their race pains me. The fact that I can relate to other women of color who claim that they “had it much better in high school” confuses me.      

Pondering the potential racial implications of my sexual assault experience at Carleton devastates and exhausts me.

For a while I’d managed to sweep my fears under the rug, but this single incident surfaced every insecurity I held about my body and my race within the context of both Carleton and this country as a whole. Not long after my assault, six Asian women were murdered in a targeted mass shooting in Atlanta. Some news reports suggest that the shooting was sexually motivated. In general, violence against Asians has spiked in the past year. While my situation is far removed from these numerous hate crimes, I couldn’t help but wonder. These national violations, compiled with the various experiences, thoughts, and discussions I’d had regarding Carleton beauty standards begged the question: did race play a role in what happened to me? 

My assaulter was someone I’d barely begun dating. On our second date, he started talking about physical intimacy and said something that caught me off guard.

“I typically see taller women…I mean, not on purpose, it just happens that way,” he explained. “Since you’re a lot smaller, I’m afraid of hurting you, so just let me know if I’m hurting you.”

He was trying to be courteous, but something about the statement rubbed me the wrong way. The possible undertones in his message blared like a siren. If he hadn’t dated anyone like me in the past, maybe I wasn’t someone he’d typically consider as a romantic prospect. Maybe my racial characteristics and body type diverged so far from his usual bounds that I appeared almost alien-like: a strange, weaker and much more delicate creature than the other women he’d encountered. 

He must’ve noticed my unease, because then he asked, “has no one ever brought this up to you before?”

No. Believe it or not, not every guy I hook up with thinks I’m an alien just because I’m 5’2”. 

At another point in time, he said this:

“I’ve never dated an Asian gi — well, maybe I shouldn’t say that because then you’d feel pressure to represent.”

Right. Because all Asian women are the same. Did he also hold back on telling his first white girlfriend that she was his first white girlfriend? 

Later on during that same conversation, we started talking about racial fetishization. 

“Oh yeah, it’s awful how some guys fetishize Japanese women, especially because the fetishization stems from so many messed up stereotypes,” he said, “like how Japanese women are submissive, shy, obedient…”

I don’t remember every stereotype he listed, but I do remember the list continuing on for quite a while. I never realized there were so many stereotypes about my ethnicity. 

Later that same evening, he sexually assaulted me. I said no twice, and even blocked him during his first attempt. I guess I was still too “submissive” in the end.

In the aftermath of my assault, I couldn’t stop thinking. I stopped sleeping. I felt confused. I wanted answers. I came to a reluctant conclusion: my perpetrator didn’t value my boundaries or my body because of my race. 

 My conclusion stems from the assumption that he’s never assaulted anyone else before, which I’ll admit is a pretty big one. Part of my rationale comes from what he told me about his previous relationship: that he never had sex with his last girlfriend, who he had dated long-term. From what I gathered, he wasn’t a virgin before he began dating her, and he alluded to hook-ups he’d engaged in after breaking up with her, so it didn’t seem like sexual repression was his motivation for assaulting me. What ultimately stuck out to me was the fact that she was white and he respected her boundaries, while I was Asian and he disregarded mine. 

Again, I could be wrong. Perhaps there’s more nuance to the situation from my perpetrator’s perspective. What matters is that I came to this conclusion, regardless of whether or not it was true. I’m not trying to attack my assaulter here, this is much more a criticism of the Carleton community as a whole. What happened to me was bad, but the fact that it happened within the context of Carleton’s dating culture made the aftermath feel much worse. 

My self-esteem plummeted. I began seeing tall thin white bodies everywhere, and I couldn’t resist comparing myself to others. I felt embarrassed to leave my townhouse, and when I did I made sure to cover up my flaws in an oversized men’s flannel. I started reducing my meal sizes, and then I started skipping out on meals altogether. I felt uglier than ever. I’d spend some days lying in bed weeping, wondering why and feeling ashamed. My worst nightmare, it seemed, had finally manifested: I was an unwanted unnoticed, and discarded body. 

It’s true that the dating/hook-up pool at Carleton has multiple layers of exclusivity and complexity. Plenty of people who conform to the typical white and thin beauty standard have also expressed difficulty in entering this sphere. A lot of success is based on fashion and social circles, which suggests a classist element to this dynamic. And overall, many Carleton students are either incredibly shy or focused solely on academics. While I often hear students of every race and body type address these concerns, I’ve only ever heard students of color address the racial implications and body image issues at play in the dating scene. This means that the majority of students at Carleton have failed to recognize the ways in which minorities are marginalized within the dating/hook-up context. Exclusivity sucks. The fact that most people remain unaware of their own exclusive behavior makes it so much worse. We need to address this. Dating or hooking up at Carleton is hard enough when just considering the classist aspects of the culture. Imagine how much more difficult this might become when your race or body type is excluded. Sure, some students of color have had success with dating at Carleton, but this doesn’t mean that the problem doesn’t exist.

On a campus as white as Carleton, recognizing minorities becomes vital. When it comes to beauty standards, the dating pool, and hook-up culture, Carleton is not an accepting space. We need to re-evaluate how we view each other’s bodies and consider our biases both as individuals and as a community. Representation is a good start. Let’s make an effort to address inclusivity in every aspect of our social spheres. Let’s be more vocal about body positivity. 

This is my contribution, and I hope others will join me. I’ll graduate soon, but I encourage those remaining on campus to raise their voices in the many ways Carls have raised their voices in the past. Start a club, start a movement, write. For those of you learning about these issues for the first time, listen and support. There are many options for change. I beg you to consider at least one.

The post Ignored, unwanted and discarded: thoughts on racial inclusion, body positivity and beauty standards at Carleton appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

Township proposes Rice County take over road maintenance, but skepticism abounds

Northfield News - Sat, 05/01/2021 - 4:20pm
A familiar face representing a township just south of Dundas shook up the conversation at Tuesday’s Rice County Transportation and Ditch Committee meeting — but it seems unlikely that his bold solution to a troublesome problem will come to pass.
Categories: Local News

The Raider Wrap with Jimmy LeRue and AJ Reisetter 5-1-21

KYMN Radio - Sat, 05/01/2021 - 11:16am
It’s all about the great outdoors today on the Raider Wrap.  Aj Reisetter sits down with Softball stand outs Avery Valek and Brynn Hostettler. Girls Softball Head Coach also joins to talk about the season so far.  The continue to dominate the Big nine conference lead behind Senior Pitcher Hostettler who is on her way

Broadband, workforce pose challenges in southern Minnesota, county officials tell Klobuchar

Northfield News - Sat, 05/01/2021 - 8:30am
A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, broadband internet remains a need and filling jobs is a challenge in southern Minnesota, county commissioners told U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar Friday.
Categories: Local News

Xcel, cost taxation? WHAT?

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Fri, 04/30/2021 - 1:54pm

Just wow… It’s the sort of thing that makes my head burst!

Association of Freeborn County Landowners has been challenging the invasion of Freeborn Wind, a/k/a Xcel Energy a/k/a Northern States Power into this existing community.

Hundreds of meetings, filings, over the last FOUR YEARS, and we got the first contested case hearing ever for a wind project in Minnesota… the first in 20+ years of siting wind projects, and the first time a projects comes to the test, the ALJ recommends the permit be denied!

The Recommendation of the Administrative Law Judge:

The Public Utilities Commission does a perverse and contorted 180 and lets Freeborn have their way, and the public, residents be damned.

Freeborn? PUC upends ALJ’s Freeborn Wind Recommendation

Then 17 turbines left for Iowa, but 24 remain.

… we get tossed out by the appellate court, which affirmed the Commission’s decisions and Orders.

Freeborn Wind appeal – we lose…

And earlier this week, they serve this:


Let’s see… they have open access to ratepayer pocketbooks, they’re reimbursed for their costs! BY US! We ratepayers have to pay! Meanwhile, for the public to show up, and to challenge for FOUR YEARS on this project, or any project, like the Mesaba project, or CapX 2020!, people hold garage sales, put grain in at the elevator, a silent auction in a tornado, and plain old arm-twisting to cover our comparatively nominal costs.

Our objection just filed:



Meanwhile, don’t cha wonder how’s Xcel Energy doing these days? Their 1Q report just out… More customers, decreased sales, and stock soars:

Hmmmmmmm, remember that Texas storm? Here’s the impacts:

Xcel easily tops earnings estimates

Ain’t capitalism grand…

Categories: Citizens

Hillmann talks 22-23 school budget; Smith authors ‘Ensuring Innovation Act’; Fundraiser at Nate’s Community Garage tomorrow

KYMN Radio - Fri, 04/30/2021 - 12:02pm
By Rich Larson, News Director Northfield School District Superintendent Dr. Matt Hillmann presented the proposed budget for the 2021-2022 school year to the Northfield School Board on Monday night. And while the district does find itself in decent financial condition, the Covid-19 pandemic has taken a toll.  The proposed budget is $57 million, which is

Home and Garden Show

City of Northfield Calendar - Fri, 04/30/2021 - 10:28am
Event date: May 15, 2021
Event Time: 09:00 AM - 03:00 PM
901 Cannon Road
Dundas, MN 55019

Volunteering beyond the church

Northfield News - Fri, 04/30/2021 - 9:30am
Emmaus Church in Northfield deployed teams of volunteers acting as Stephen ministers prior to the 2020 pandemic; they brought comfort to the sick, hope to those in crisis, and empathy and love to the grief stricken. Under the direction of…
Categories: Local News

Representative Todd Lippert discusses Health and Human Services Bill

KYMN Radio - Fri, 04/30/2021 - 9:07am
State Representative Todd Lippert discusses the Health and Human Services bill that addresses affordable health care, affordable prescription costs, and emergency housing.

NH+C CEO: COVID hospitalizations hit new peak, especially among younger population

Northfield News - Fri, 04/30/2021 - 8:39am
Even as more Rice County residents receive vaccines, NH+C President/CEO Steve Underdahl said his organization is seeing a record number of COVD-19 patients — most younger than those hospitalized earlier in the pandemic.
Categories: Local News

April 2021

Tom Swift - Untethered Dog - Fri, 04/30/2021 - 4:10am

30 Friday Being asked for help. The wider view. Rapidly sprouting grass. A functioning air conditioner. Lunchtime walks. When the garage is in back. Change. Seasoned tater tots. 29 Thursday Stirrings. Decisions. Veggie pizza. President Biden. Warm nights. Ceiling fans. Getting stuck. So you have the chance to get going again. 28 Wednesday Five dollars […]

The post April 2021 appeared first on Untethered Dog.

Categories: Citizens

The Weekly List – The Prince Show, Part 2

KYMN Radio - Thu, 04/29/2021 - 6:00pm
This week, Rich and Dan are once again joined by their old friend Patrick Drury as they conclude their two part show dedicated to the great Prince Rogers Nelson.
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