Recent News from Campuses
What do hammers and handsaws have to do with the prophet Ezekiel and the Old Testament?
In her new exhibit Sacred Spaces, St. Olaf College Visiting Assistant Professor of Art Michon Weeks combines large-scale paintings of common objects found in her garage with text from Ezekiel’s vision of the wheel from the Old Testament.
“Ezekiel wrote about his vision of the heavenly world brought to earth in the form of spirit-animated wheels. My garage is filled with many ordinary wheeled objects. When I abstract the objects and combine them with text from Ezekiel’s vision, I aim to construct a visual metaphor of the sacred in the current time and place,” Weeks says.
Her work will be showcased at the Northfield Arts Guild from September 29 to October 29, with an opening reception on Friday, September 30, from 7 to 9 p.m.
Members of the St. Olaf community, however, don’t need to wait until the end of September to see Weeks’ art. One of the paintings from this series covers a wall on the third floor of Old Main. The painting depicts an assortment of tools and equipment, with Ezekiel’s quotes spread out within the tools. The painting also includes a description by Ezekiel scholar and St. Olaf Professor of Religion Maggie Odell.
Weeks has created 11 new paintings for the exhibition, and she hopes that they help bring the ancient text of the Old Testament alive for viewers in the same way that they have done for her.
“I sometimes find sacred stories difficult to relate to, because they were written in a distant place and time and seem unbelievable to my contemporary mind. I have found that abstract visual art helps me see the metaphorical intersections of my culture, place, and time with ancient sacred stories,” Weeks says.
Weeks received funding to create this exhibit from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, which was made possible by the voters of Minnesota.
The Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council exists to encourage, promote, and assist regional arts development by providing leadership, outreach, advocacy, mentorship, grants, and services.
Who better to tell us about the newest members of our community than themselves? Hear from the Carleton class of 2020.
TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW for Nobel 52: In Search of Economic Balance.
“Economic literacy doesn’t mean becoming comfortable constructing elegant mathematical models or quantifying the impact of interest rates on the housing market.”—Chris Farrell
Why learn economics? We’re already amateur economists at work, school, and the neighborhood barbecue, talking about jobs and careers, exchanging investment strategies for retirement savings and debating the reasons for rising income inequality in the U.S.
Economics grapples with many social and pocketbook issues that affect us as employees and employers, consumers and savers, and voters. Most importantly, economics struggles with making sense of society’s knottiest issues—questions that go to the heart of American and global life. Where does economic growth come from? What can be done to improve everyone’s standard of living? I like the way the late Nobel Laureate Paul Samuelson and his co-author William Nordhaus put it in their famous textbook, Economics:
“The ultimate goal of economic science is to improve the living conditions of people in their everyday lives. Increasing the gross domestic product is not just a numbers game. Higher incomes mean good food, warm houses, and hot water. They mean safe drinking water and inoculations against the perennial plagues of humanity.”
Little wonder economics has become the modern language of policy making.
Now, economic literacy doesn’t mean becoming comfortable constructing elegant mathematical models or quantifying the impact of interest rates on the housing market. Leave that to the professionals. Economic literacy isn’t following a particular ideology or perspective. No, economic literacy is synonymous with everyday listeners and readers of the news having a reasonable grasp of the money, business, and economic policy making stories told by our leaders and advocates.
“This kind of economic literacy can improve the quality of public discussion about economic policies, such as Social Security, the minimum wage, and environmental regulation,” says Alice Rivlin, economist and former vice-chair of the Federal Reserve Board. Paul Romer, an economist at New York University, sees the fundamental task of teaching economics as helping people “set aside their immediate emotional reactions and to reason carefully about the question at hand.”
Learning more about economics might not prevent us from making a financially foolish investment or voting for a well-intentioned program that falls short of its promise. But a better stock of economic knowledge should improve both our capacity for thinking through our choices and our ability to exercise critical judgment when it comes to policies that may, or may not, improve our lives.
Chris Farrell is senior economics contributor for American Public Media’s Marketplace and author of Unretirement: How Baby Boomers Are Changing the Way We Think About Work, Community, and the Good Life.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
Entering college can feel like traversing into uncharted territory. The terrain is vaguely familiar, the food a little strange and sometimes the pack too heavy. Luckily, this new territory comes ready-made with guides who are there to help students create the right map for their college journeys and beyond.
Academic advisers can be key amongst those guides, easing the transitions into, through and after college, and making sure students make the most of their educational opportunities. First-year advisers help connect students to St. Thomas and find their place within it while major advisers provide in-depth explanations of a major’s requirements and bridge college experiences with real-world settings.
“Advising can be so much more than navigating the system,” said Mike Klein, a faculty member in Justice and Peace Studies who advises first-year students and majors. “It can be vocational discernment, even trying to figure out your purpose and vision for life, the steps you’re taking toward that dream. Of course, that’s hard to do in 20 minutes, but when we have longer conversations, I love getting into that territory.”
Connecting to resources
First-year advisers help navigate the switch from high school to higher education. They connect students with resources they might not know are available and make sure students have the necessary academic skills. Training serves as an introduction new advisers and a refresher for those returning. Done each August, the training session details graduation requirements and resources around campus.
Kanishka Chowdhury, director of the American culture and difference minor, said checking in early in the semester is important to get students the help they need earlier on.
“Most of the time, things are fine,” Chowdhury said. “But if you don’t have the meeting … someone might fall through the cracks. Mid-October, it’s too late. … A little conversation can really straighten things out.”
He added that common problems for some first-year students are study habits, knowing how to communicate with professors and adjusting to residential life on campus. In that regard, the resources often recommended to students are the Office of Academic Counseling and Support, the Center for Writing, the Mathematics Resource Center and residential advisers.
Even when academic advisers are helping with a problem, they often are also making sure the student is building skills to help themselves in the future. Melissa Loe, associate chair and associate professor in the Mathematics Department, said when she helps her first-year advisees, she’s not just solving problems for them.
“I don’t necessarily go behind the scenes and say, ‘Let me find that out for you, and I’ll get back to you.’ It’s more, ‘Well, I think you could ask these people. Shall we call them?’ ‘I’d send an email to this person and this person. Do you know how to find their email addresses?’” Loe said.
On the flip side, knowing what’s happening behind the scenes can help professors be more cognizant of what’s happening in students’ day-to-day lives.
“When you teach several classes of students, it’s easy to lose track of what the experience is for students coming straight from high school,” said Heather Shirey, associate professor of art history. “I feel like advising helps me keep that in focus as well; it helps me understand the whole life of the student, not just the performance of that student in one class.”
Learning the student
While advising is an obvious component of being an adviser, being a good listener is perhaps equally important.
“It’s a big, holistic, generic approach until we get to know them well,” Klein said. “In the first meeting, I’m hoping to hear their story – their hopes and dreams and what they’re about so that I can be a better adviser down the road.”
Getting to know the students they’re interacting with is often a vital first step for first-year advisers. (A loose term, as students typically stick with their “first-year adviser” until they declare a major, which is usually sometime in sophomore year.) Once an adviser understands a student’s driving forces and interests, they’re in a position to make recommendations where a student might find a space to belong. Part of that is highlighting the sheer number of choices students have for exploring their sense of self, Shirey said.
“The job of the adviser is not to limit them,” Shirey said. “It’s such a great time for exploration and what classes just sound really interesting. … Sometimes students come in and they’ll say things like, ‘Well, I took three semesters of French, but I’ve always wanted to learn Italian. But I already have the French, so I just have to stick with the French.’ This is the time to [explore].”
“I think there’s a lot of fear that,’I won’t graduate in four years if try out different areas of interest.’ But I try to emphasize there are a lot of opportunities like summer courses, J-Term, study abroad,” Chowdhury said. “I really try to get them to enjoy their time here and learn – learn for the sake of learning.”
Heading out into the world
Once students leave their first-year advisers they move onto a major adviser. He or she continues to ask what drives that student, but also helps put a plan into place, whether that means graduate school or a career.
“For majors, it’s much more about digging deep: into what they’re studying, into what their motivations are, what their hopes are, in order to help guide them toward resources they might not know about. Or ask some challenging and maybe directing questions that can help them focus from that big, abstract idea of what they want to do someday into the practical realities of getting to that place,” Klein said.
Chowdhury added that a major or minor adviser can be beneficial because he or she can explain why requirements are in place. As someone connected to his or her field, he or she also knows the possibilities of that field, where alumni are looking for jobs and where they’re being hired.
Chowdhury said an alum might tell him, “‘The things I learned in X class is really helpful and I can understand the applications of what I learned.’ Then I can take that information and tell perspective students, ‘Hey, so-and-so is working for an environmental organization in Minnesota, and said she’s really benefited from this particular degree,’ and tell them how and why.”
Klein echoed that sentiment, saying that Justice and Peace Studies has shaped their program off what they’ve heard from alumni, often bringing alumni back into the classroom and trying to network current students with alumni.
“There are times, after graduating, when students become more like friends and colleagues,” Klein said. “And that’s a very affirming, wonderful part of doing advising.”
Advice from some advisers
Many of the advisers offered the same pearl of wisdom to students on their journeys: Take ownership of your education.
“Take a few moments before the appointment to imagine what you want to get out of it. Try and reflect on your educational goals – long-term goals, but also this semester, what I need to get done,” Klein said.
“You are the one, in the end, who is going to make the important decisions. You’re the one who has to figure out what combinations work for you. What you’re passionate about, frankly,” Chowdhury said. “We can’t make that decision for our students. What we can do is use the knowledge and expertise that we’ve acquired over the years of advising to support them, guide them and encourage them.”
St. Thomas kicked off a new academic year with a Welcome Days program that included educational and entertaining programs for first-year students during their first few days on campus.
First-year students attended sessions on academic success, community engagement, diversity and inclusion, and interpersonal relationships. Students also took part in social activities and St. Thomas traditions, all designed to help them feel part of the St. Thomas community.Move-in
Most of the 1,217 freshmen living on campus moved into their residence halls Sept. 2.
The Great Tommie Get-together
Palmer Field was filled with more than 1,100 first-year students at the Great Tommie Get-together, a fast-paced get-to-know-you event on Sept. 3.
First-year students take part in Headphone Disco in which participants dance to two different soundtracks that only they can hear via wireless headphones.
Welcome Assembly and Interfaith Blessing, and Academic Convocation
Student, faculty and staff filled Schoenecker Arena during the Opening Celebration and Interfaith Blessing, while just a few hours later faculty processed across the lower quad to President Julie Sullivan’s annual academic convocation.
Opening Mass of the Holy Spirit
Archbishop Bernard Hebda presided at the Opening Mass in the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas on Sept. 8.March Through the Arches
First-year students walk through the Arches and into the quad while surrounded by St. Thomas community members who applauded them. March Through the Arches is a Tommie tradition that began in 2000. It usually takes place the day before classes begin, but due to inclement weather it was held Sept. 8 in the evening.
Minneapolis, MN—September 9, 2016—The Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) and the Jerome Foundation are pleased to present an exhibition of new work by recipients of the 2015/16 Jerome Foundation Fellowships for Emerging Artists: Star Wallowing Bull from Moorhead, Minnesota, along with Emmett Ramstad, Holly Streekstra, Lindsay Rhyner, and Samual Weinberg, from the Twin Cities.
A concert “must:” Carleton presents new works by groundbreaking artists Mazzariello, Melville, and Mobius Percussion
The evening of eclectic new music combines keys, drums, voice, and electronics.
A little (or even a lot) of rain couldn't dampen the spirits of the newly minted Carleton Class of 2020, who moved in on Tuesday, September 6 to start New Student Week.
Gustavus Adolphus College geography professor Anna Versluis is back on campus this fall after spending a nine-month term in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, through the Fulbright Scholar Program.
During her time in the Caribbean nation on the island of Hispaniola, Versluis taught a course at the University of Haiti and conducted research on land-use change and different agricultural systems. The class, which was housed in the university’s agricultural and veterinary sciences division, is similar to an upper level course she teaches at Gustavus titled “Remote Sensing of the Environment.” Remote sensing is a method for studying land-cover and land-use, climate and weather, ocean systems, and other environmental issues.
“The students I’ve had both in Haiti and the United States have many similarities. They’re hardworking, eager to learn, and have lots of energy and ask good questions,” the professor said. “In Haiti, however, there isn’t as much access to infrastructure such as high-speed internet, so we really work to capitalize on our learning opportunities.”
As a geographer, Versluis studies the relationships between people and the environment, along with how natural and cultural processes shape landscapes. Her research in Haiti focused on how different agricultural approaches, namely plantation agriculture and the subsistence farming known as the counter-plantation model, affect land use and the environment.
“The history of the Caribbean is built on a slave/plantation economy where crops such as sugar and coffee were cultivated exclusively for export,” Versluis explained. “The counter-plantation model consists of small-scale farming where family systems grow produce for themselves and the local market.” Each of the models has different effects – both positive and negative – on the environment and the economy.
“Haiti is where Christopher Columbus formed his first settlement and it was the first nation in the Americas (or in the Western Hemisphere) to abolish slavery,” she said. “The country is really a bellwether for the rest of the Caribbean and the Americas.”
Versluis first traveled to Haiti after earning her bachelor’s degree, when she took a three-year research and writing position in the country through the Mennonite Central Committee’s human rights organization. “I was interested in learning another language and looking for a cross-cultural experience,” she said.
That interest in cross-cultural learning has only grown now that Versluis is a professor. She believes the experiences she had in Haiti – both then and now – have shaped the way she teaches geography. “International travel and immersion gives me a larger frame of reference so I can look at the bigger picture,” Versluis said. “One of the things that’s most helpful is having a real-world example of how the choices we make as U.S. consumers have an impact on the rest of the world.”
The professor encourages all students to gain an international perspective. “It opens your mind to new ways of doing, thinking, and being,” Versluis explained. “You learn humility and become changed through experiences that are difficult to duplicate in a traditional classroom setting.”
“The experiences you have will tie back to the classroom and allow you to develop cross-cultural understanding,” she continued. “It allows you to ask new questions about yourself and about the world.”
The Fulbright Scholar Program is named after Senator J. William Fulbright and is sponsored by the United States Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The Council for International Exchange of Scholars supports the administration of the Fulbright Scholar Program for faculty members and professionals.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
As a teaching assistant at the Tony Award–winning Children’s Theatre Company this summer, Christine Menge ’18 had the opportunity to work with established theater professionals and college students from across the country.
Yet the people she learned the most from? The children she taught.
Menge says working with young people ranging in age from 5 to 18 served to remind her of the creative power of youth — and the importance of providing a space for it to flourish.
“I am continuously amazed at how self-aware and limitless children are,” she says. “There is no second-guessing when you’re a child; there is only ‘this,’ and ‘this’ is perfect no matter how many stumbles or scribbles or voice breaks. Teaching is a reciprocal process, and I was lucky enough to relearn that every week.”
Time magazine has called the Children’s Theatre Company “The #1 children’s theater in the nation,” and it was the first theater for young people to win the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theater.
Menge landed her internship with the organization with the help of the St. Olaf Piper Center for Vocation and Career. In her role as a teaching assistant at the Children’s Theatre Company, she developed curriculum and taught students to explore their imaginations and textual analysis skills through theater.
“In the classroom, I worked with teaching artists from around Minnesota to design and lead different classroom activities every week based on the camp’s themes and age groups,” says Menge, a theater major at St. Olaf with a concentration in management studies.
“Our goal was to give children tools to live creative, emotionally expressive lives inside and outside of theater.”
She was joined at the Children’s Theatre Company by friends and fellow Oles Emily Cardinal ’19, Rosie Linsner ’18 and Shelby Reddig ’17, who were also working as stage management and education interns.
In addition to her work at the Children’s Theatre Company, Menge also had the opportunity to further develop her own acting skills through two summer classes at the acclaimed Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis.
“We would meet, learn, and play, then take the skills that we learned in class into our everyday lives and meet again the next week to see how it went and add more tools to our actor toolboxes,” she says.
Menge says the summer experiences she had at the Children’s Theatre Company and the Guthrie Theater wouldn’t have been possible without the internship funding she received from the St. Olaf Piper Center for Vocation and Career.
In the past year, 107 St. Olaf students have received Piper Center funding for unpaid or underpaid internships. Another 107 students have received internship funding through college programs such as the Rockswold Health Scholars Program, the Svoboda Legal Scholars Program, and the Johnson Family Opportunity Fund — all part of the college’s commitment to supporting students as they navigate potential career paths.
Menge says the opportunity to work with theater professionals off campus will enhance the remainder of her time on campus, where she is very active within the theater community. She is the managing director of Deep End Alpha Psi Omega Productions, St. Olaf’s largest student-run theater organization, and is a member of Scared Scriptless, St. Olaf’s improvisational theater group. She’s also a company member of the Myswyken Salad Theatre Company, where she does everything from acting to designing and directing.
“I met some amazing people this summer who have offered to do workshops at St. Olaf this year with our theater organization, Deep End Alpha Psi Omega Productions. Now their insights have the opportunity to become our insights, giving more students the chance to build their own networks of fellow creators,” Menge says.
Menge, who hopes to be an actor, theater teaching artist, and arts administrator after graduating from St. Olaf, says her experiences this summer have been invaluable in preparing her for a career on stage.
“In my Guthrie classes we talked a lot about ‘playing in the sandbox.’ It means being willing to invent and explore and get messy without the weight of self-doubt getting in the way,” Menge says. “I’m going to carry with me the sandbox idea that what we are is already enough, everything’s fine because the sky is not going to fall around us, and there’s room for everybody in here to do their own thing. So what are we waiting for? Let’s play.”
St. Olaf College recently welcomed the Class of 2020, a talented group of 830 first-year students that is the most diverse in the college’s history.
Hailing from 504 high schools in 42 states and 54 countries, these new Oles include 151 domestic students of color and 77 international students. The class also includes 22 Davis United World College Scholars and 13 National Merit finalists.
Fifteen members of the class were admitted last year and chose to defer, spending a gap year participating in Rotary Youth Exchange programs in Brazil and Indonesia, traveling in Ireland and Norway, taking classes at the National Outdoor Leadership School, teaching music lessons in Africa, and interning at the Smithsonian.
And while these numbers provide some insight into the incoming class, each new group of students is more than just a compilation of statistics and figures. The Class of 2020 also includes:
- One student who is a competitive rock climber
- Another who knows every line of every Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers film
- A student who can recite 60 digits of Pi
- A student who is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and another who is related to one of the signers of the Mexican Declaration of Independence
- Another who can recite every word in the Lord of the Rings movies
- A host of students with lofty career ambitions — from becoming the St. Olaf mascot to a Disney Imagineer to the President of the United States to the Secretary General of the United Nations
“I’m excited to welcome the Class of 2020 to campus,” says St. Olaf Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Chris George ’94. “They are bright, enthusiastic, and driven. I look forward to their participation and involvement with the St. Olaf community over the next four years and beyond.”
Watch a video of members of the Class of 2020 settling in on campus:
A dramatically changing world makes it imperative that St. Thomas continue to anticipate and adapt to rapidly expanding industries in preparing students for the future, President Julie Sullivan said Tuesday.
Sullivan shared her vision of a St. Thomas education in her fourth academic convocation address to an O’Shaughnessy Educational Center auditorium audience of faculty, staff and administrators.
“Our jobs are to ensure our future alumni have the capacity to lead fulfilling and prosperous lives and to make sustainable differences in their futures, in their workplaces and in their communities,” Sullivan said in her 30-minute address. “We want to look into the future and see happy, productive alumni advancing the common good and improving the lives of others.”
St. Thomas must provide an education of the quality so that alumni in 20, 30 or 50 years will tell future presidents of the university what she hears today: “Stories, stories and more stories about how St. Thomas transformed their lives and meaningfully contributed to the people they have become.”
Future careers and jobs will be transformed by the enhanced power of digitization, she said, and will involve more technology, incorporate more data, be more global and occur in a more diverse environment. “And everything,” she added, “will be more interconnected.”
Sullivan cited three industries – robotics, big data and genomics – that will change the nature of work and require new forms of social and employment contracts. Consequently, she said, talent will be a critical factor for innovation, competition and growth in an “on-demand” economy.
She pointed to three forms of intelligence as critical for future success:
- Contextual intelligence is the ability to understand context and match it to technology to create innovation, and two hallmarks of a liberal education – the humanities and the social sciences – always will help us understand context.
- Emotional intelligence involves self-awareness, self-motivation, empathy and social skills, all of which are engendered by a St. Thomas education.
- Ethical intelligence “is our moral and collectiveness consciousness,” she said, “grounded in our sense of shared purpose and our commitment to shared prosperity. All stakeholders will have a role in ensuring innovation is directed to the common good.”
Sullivan said the integrated liberal, technical and professional education now present in undergraduate and graduate programs also is reflected in efforts such as “St. Thomas 2020,” the university’s strategic plan, and the work of task forces such as Educating for the Future.
“We provide this integrated education through a values-based lens, and in our case, it’s a faith-based lens,” she said. The lens is inspired by Catholic intellectual tradition – pursuing truth through the integration of faith and reason – and by Catholic social thought, which is grounded in principles such as the dignity of every human person and solidarity as one human family.
“It is these principles,” she said, “that form the foundation for the mission-based outcome of our education: Think. Act. Work. All for the common good.”
Which smell better, new books or old books? That’s heavily debated among book lovers. Some prefer the fresh ink of a crisp new book, others the musty memories of an older, well-loved volume. Luckily, both can be found at the University of St. Thomas Campus Stores.
Students migrate there each semester to purchase or rent textbooks. But who’s behind the offered selections of course materials?
In short, the professors – what they say goes. St. Thomas professors research textbook options and send requests for their selections to the Campus Stores.
“If they ask us to get the book, we get it for them,” Stephen Griffin, the director of campus stores, said. Interventions from the Campus Stores typically only concern the age or price of a book.
The Campus Stores also compare costs between materials. “We buy the most inexpensive books that we can,” Griffin said.
The earlier that professors send in their requests, the more used books the bookshops can obtain for students. Used books are the cheapest, followed by rentals.
“About 65 to 70 percent of our books are rentable now,” Griffin said. “A lot of them are for courses with brand-new books because the wholesalers we go through want them back, or they’re books that have been around forever. [For example], we rent the Bible.”
A perk of renting through the St. Thomas Campus Stores is that students can write and highlight to their hearts’ content.
“As long as the book is in sellable condition, we’ll take it back,” Griffin said.
Because of horror stories students have told him, Griffin warned about renting through places such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble. “You rent a book from Amazon, the book has to come back in pristine condition. I mean, there’s no writing in it, there’s no highlighting in it, if the book cover is bent at all they’ll charge you for it, and they charge you full price, so you may buy the book twice,” Griffin said.
Griffin explained that at the St. Thomas stores, if a student wants to keep a book they rented, they are charged the difference between the rental price and what they would have paid for the book new. “So, it’s a better deal,” he said.
More and more professors are even creating their own course packets, in which they can compile chapters or sections from several different books into one booklet.
“They may grab four, five different books and take pieces out of them that they’re going to teach in class. For the students, it’s much cheaper than buying four books – they’re buying one book,” Griffin said.
In those cases professors simply obtain copyright clearance, have the Service Center print everything and then the booklets are ready to sell at the bookstores.
Textbooks for finance, history or political science are switched out often to provide students with the most recent information, whereas subjects such as economics or math may use the same course materials for years. It all depends on how quickly changes happen in a field of study.
When it comes to the required undergraduate course, Theology 101, four books are mainstays in the St. Paul store. The Theology Department chooses the four, and individual professors can supplement other materials of their choosing.
With online venues and commercial bookstores, students have plenty of places to go for their books. Nevertheless, Griffin said the majority of students get some books from the St. Thomas stores. “I think we’ve done a better job being more competitive,” he said.
Students can sell their books back at the end of the semester, contributing to a stockpile of titles just waiting for professors to add to their syllabi the next time.
The class of 2020 is welcomed to Carleton and begins their four-year experience as Carls.
There are 1,217 freshmen living on campus this year and on Sept. 2 most of them moved in. St. Thomas staff photographer Mark Brown asked a small sample of these students about the most important thing they brought with them.
Emily Larsen: Minnesota Wild coffee mug
“It was a gift from my mom and dad on my birthday. I’ve always been a big Wild fan and it’s been a big part of my life. It just means a lot that it’s from them. It means a lot because when I look at it I think of them.”
Hannah French: Polaroid picture of the last time she spent with her high school friends
“It was from this past summer. I had all my girlfriends up to my cabin and it was just us for the weekend. It was when we were all sitting down to have a dinner. We wanted to have a nice dinner, but we just wound up having pizza rolls. It was one of the last times we were all together. All of my friends are super busy and we were all moving at different times. It’ll be nice to know that they will all be friends that I can meet up with again during breaks and after college.”
Joe Lemmer: playbill from high school production of “My Fair Lady”
“That was my last musical as a senior and it was a lot of fun and it was really meaningful for me. It was one of my favorite shows that I did throughout high school. It helped shape me as a person. This is the one that stands out to me as the most meaningful. It really opened me up to try new things and brought me out of my shell.”
Maya Imoto: blanket
“My grandma made it, and I’ve had it ever since I was a baby. I sleep with it every night. I think it’s really comforting. I like the smell, if that’s not weird. Whenever I have a bad dream I hold it for comfort. I have really personal memories with it.”
Maddy Morehouse: necklace
“The necklace is from my aunt who does a lot of traveling with her company. Traveling is something that I want to do and it’s something that I found through her. She was kind of the inspiration for that. So, the necklace symbolizes that togetherness.”
True Dabill: Fight Club
“I bring a book with me everywhere, which is why my girlfriend hates me. There’s always time in the day to read at some point. I find that every time I don’t bring a book, I always want to read. So, I always bring a book. If I’m stressed it gives me something to ponder instead of focusing on anything else.”
Abby Westphal: safe-keeping box
“I did it as a summer project after all my other friends went off to college. I painted it to look all nice. It kind of holds special things about my old friends to try to remember them. It’s a place to hold special feelings, a place to put them out without talking to someone and it can make you feel better somehow. It kind of just holds it all in there so it doesn’t all seep out. It’s the box to hold it all in securely. It’s special like that.”
Nolan Adams: pillow and quilt
“It’s all about the activities and sports I played throughout high school and earlier … baseball, wrestling, football and the Boy Scout bicycling trip we took from Illinois to Niagara Falls. My grandma has always been sewing stuff and fixing things for us. It’s a hobby of hers. So, she thought it would be cool to have a reminder of home to take with me. This was my graduation present.”
Tim Lyngdal: crucifix
“I’ve had a godfather who is a priest and I’ve been very close with him since I was young. He was very excited when he found out I was going to the seminary. The day before I left he gave me this cross. It’s a constant reminder of why I’m here and to always do my best at everything … in my studies and in my relationship with everyone and my brothers at the seminary here.”
When a new academic year begins, it’s not only the students who learn.
Just before fall classes begin, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota faculty and staff members come together for an annual University Convocation that includes professional development. The theme of this year’s day-long convocation for faculty and staff was “Unity in Diversity” and featured guest speaker and facilitator H. Yvonne Cheek, Ph.D.
Cheek is a strategic change consultant, master trainer, and facilitator who serves as President of Millennium Consulting Group. Based in Minnesota, Cheek and her company work to foster inclusivity locally and nationally with individuals at various organizations.
During her Saint Mary’s convocation address titled “Preparing for the Stretch,” Cheek focused on inclusivity, respect, and solidarity. During a morning large-group presentation on Aug. 24, Cheek invited and encouraged Saint Mary’s community members to reach out to others so no one feels invisible.
“Dr. Cheek challenged us to ‘kick it up a notch’ and ‘activate our courage.’ She also gave everyone in the room permission to start exactly where they were on their journey of inclusivity and social justice,” said Samantha Zaid, Ph.D., director of the Marriage and Family Therapy graduate program at Saint Mary’s. “In fact, it seemed a core part of her message: part of the preparation for the stretch and the growth in diversity is to acknowledge where you are. We cannot learn from others or use ourselves to benefit the world without that honest self-reflection.”
In an afternoon session, Cheek facilitated small-group conversations where employees identified and addressed “micro-inequities,” defined by Cheek as subtle, often unconscious, repeated messages that devalue or discourage another person. Cheek said these micro-inequities are destructive and impair relationships and performance.
“Dr. Cheek’s expertise provided the university with culturally responsive teaching content and background. I appreciated our table discussions in the afternoon where Dr. Cheek gave us the tools to dig into cultural biases and explore ways to constructively move forward in our work as Inclusive Lasallian educators,” said Lynn Albee, Ed.D., assistant dean of the School of Education at Saint Mary’s that sponsors the Missing Voices: Equity in Education Summit.
In response to questions from faculty and staff, Cheek recommended the following as a reading list to start learning more about inclusivity, respect, and diversity:
- The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander,
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates,
- Waking Up White by Debby Irving, and
- Hamilton—The Revolution (libretto from the Broadway show) by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter
One of Cheek’s career highlights has been co-designing and facilitating a White House conference on women and leadership. Cheek holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, as well as master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of North Carolina.
Today, Gustavus Adolphus College began its 155th academic year, with early-rising students attending classes beginning at 8 a.m. Students, faculty, staff, and community members were officially welcomed to the 2016-2017 school year with a 10 a.m. convocation service in Christ Chapel.
During the service, President Rebecca Bergman encouraged the Gustavus community to move ahead with energy and boldness. “We recall the accomplishments of the past with gratitude, and we have the opportunity to look to the future,” she said during the message. “It is our collective efforts every day that will move us forward.”
The theme of progress resonated with members of the community, many of whom helped develop the new Gustavus Acts Strategic Plan over the course of the past year. The beginning of the plan’s implementation is a key objective of the 2016-2017 term.
“You are a part of the Gustavus community and an integral part of its future,” Bergman continued before closing with a simple question: “Are you in?”
“I came to Gustavus not knowing anyone and not sure what to expect,” first-year student Daniel Eiden, a native of Menomonie, Wis. said after his first college class. “But over orientation weekend I got to know a lot of great people who I can see myself being friends with throughout my college career.”
After Friday’s first-year move-in day festivities, the Class of 2020 spent Saturday, Sunday, and Monday getting acclimated to Gustavus campus life through a series of activities, the full schedule of which can be found online.
“During the college search, everyone said that people at Gustavus will do everything they can to help you,” Eiden continued. “Even though it’s just the first week, I’ve already seen that the professors and other students really look out for one another. I’m excited to dive deeply into academics and campus life here on the hill.”
Today’s first day of classes kicks off busy month on campus, including the following large events:
Tuesday, September 13 – Fall Involvement Fair
Tuesday, September 13 – Reading in Common Lecture by Jamelle Bouie
Monday-Tuesday, September 27-28 – Nobel Conference 52: In Search of Economic Balance
Saturday, October 1 – Homecoming: The Great Gustie Gathering
Many campus events, athletic contests, and fine arts performances are also scheduled for the first month of the academic year. To see a full list of events, visit the Gustavus College Calendar..
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin