Recent News from Campuses
Considered one of the UK’s most in-demand young composers, Pitchfork calls Meredith “one of the most innovative minds in British music.”
Minneapolis is center stage and in the midst of playing host to thousands of football fans from across the world as we approach the NFL’s championship game this coming Sunday. It’s safe to say that the energy in the air is palpable – or maybe that’s just the frigid air.… Read More
WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University theatre and dance students will present SPLaSH!, a biennial short play showcase Feb. 7-11 at the Saint Mary’s Performance Center.
SPLaSH!, which stands for Short Play Showcase, features a kaleidoscope of professionally written and student developed one-act plays from their playwriting class that are produced, directed, designed, and acted by Saint Mary’s Department of Theatre and Dance students. A variety of genres ranging from comedy, drama, and sci-fi to absurdism, mystery, and more means there’s something for everyone.
This year, there are six shorts, including four original works by theatre students:
- Victoria Madigan ’18 takes on Tony Award-winning playwright Christopher Durang’s “Nina in the Morning.”
- Peyton Roberson ’19 brings to the stage the adventures of Dick Piston, hotel detective, in Jeff Goode’s 10-minute mystery film noir spoof “Murder by Midnight.”
- Stefan Kahlstorf ’19 directs an original piece written by Roberson about a demon who helps out on his host’s first date in “My Wingman is a Demon.”
- Shania Merchlewitz ’18 directs “Lix Dalakan” by Margo Hansen ’19 which takes a man with revolution on his mind traveling through time 1,000 years into our dystopian future.
- Michael Britton ’18 performs a staged reading of his absurdist-inspired play titled “Everytheory.”
- Darren Cajipo ’18 directs John L. Donovan’s autobiographical “The Lovable Losers” where one die-hard Chicago Cubs fan roots from abroad to reverse the curse during the seventh game of the World Series.
Here is the schedule of performances:
- Wednesday, Feb. 7, at 7:30 p.m.
- Thursday, Feb. 8, at 7:30 p.m.
- Friday, Feb. 9, at 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday, Feb. 10, at 3 and 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, Feb. 11, at 3 p.m.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. They can be purchased online at pagetheatre.org or by calling the box office at 507-457-1715.
Sweet Briar board member named to Virginia Communications Hall of Fame | Sweet Briar College News | January 31, 2018
Gustavus Adolphus College professor of health and exercise science Karl Larson is the 2018 winner of the Karen Denard Goldman Mentor Award from the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE). The award, which will be presented to Larson at the organization’s annual conference this April, honors mentors who help students close the gap between research in the classroom and work in the professional world.
Larson was nominated for the award for his work creating a National Case Study competition that presents students with a public health issue and challenges them to solve it. Since the first competition in 2005, the program has grown to include 12 undergraduate teams and six graduate level teams, and continues to expand each year.
“My personal goals for the SOPHE Case Study Competition are to provide an opportunity for students to display their skills from coursework in designing and planning an approach to a public health issue,” Larson said.
Larson’s team writes new cases each year based on significant public health issues and student groups have two weeks to design their approach to the problem. The teams gather at the national convention to present their ideas to a panel of judges.
“I see mentoring as one of the most important things we do,” he explained. “Conversations, application, research, community service… We are the guides for our students to have these types of experiences, and it is where I find great value and reward.”
Outside of directing the Case Study Competition, Larson is involved in SOPHE as the current president of the Minnesota chapter. The organization is home to public health educators and professionals across the nation.
While the Karen Denard Goldman Mentor Award speaks to Larson’s talent and passion for setting up students for a life of success, he isn’t content with the status quo. As the professor looks to the future, he hopes to find a sponsor and increase funding so the case study competition can continue to expand.
“My goal is to provide a vehicle for students to display their talent,” Larson said. “As a professor, you watch them get really excited about a new opportunity and you know you got it right.”
Visit the SOPHE website to learn more about the public health organization.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
A new class at St. Olaf College this January gave students an up-close look at how music can engage and advocate for those on the margins of society.
Students in the Music and Social Justice Interim course, led by faculty member Mark Stover, visited the Minnesota Women’s Correctional Facility in Shakopee each week to learn and explore the topic of music’s role in social justice. In collaboration with the college’s Academic Civic Engagement program, they also began creating a musical advocacy project in conjunction with Northfield-area nonprofits that include the Northfield Arts Guild, Cannon River Watershed Project, and Greenvale Elementary School.
“We open our eyes to the world around us, and we pay attention to the brokenness in the world to find ways that we can immerse ourselves to build authentic, meaningful relationships,” says Stover, who also conducts the St. Olaf Chapel Choir and Viking Chorus.Students in Mark Stover’s ‘Music and Social Justice’ class listen to guest speakers.
On campus, the class received visits from numerous musicians who provided first-hand accounts of music’s importance in bleak situations. St. Olaf alumna and composer Abbie Betinis ’01 came to campus to teach the class her song Resilience. Nationally renowned choral director Tesfa Wondemagegnehu met with the class via video conference to provide a lecture on race and music.
Students in the class also learned impactful protest songs and composed their own, which they shared during their visits to Shakopee. Each week, students and women in the correctional facility started their visit in song before exploring music’s unifying qualities and how it relates to social justice.
Kayla Carlson ’19, a student in the class, says the weekly visits to the correctional facility were the most impactful portion of the course.
“The visits to the women’s prison are so important because often people don’t have conversations about those who have been incarcerated. They are often dehumanized or just ignored entirely. Learning their names and hearing their stories has been extremely impactful because now I have an interest in doing social work in a prison setting, where not a lot of people want to work,” she says.
By using music as the vehicle, Stover says a middle ground is created where one can “find peace in a broken world.” In the prison, the distinction between prisoner and free citizen is erased. All are treated as equals, as discussion and learning is facilitated.
Stover says that “it’s been a great privilege to learn and grow from these women in Shakopee,” but the students are not the only ones gaining from this experience. The women in the facility were given the option of signing up for weekly classes with the St. Olaf students. The outpour of interest was astounding, with nearly 30 women signing up, some of whom are involved in the facility’s Voices of Hope choir. One prisoner emotionally told Stover, “I’ve been here for four years, and this is the first time I’ve felt like a human being.”
A final word form Stover involves not just one party, but all: “We’re pioneers. It’s not just my course. It’s our course. We get to own it together.”
Watch students in the class work with composer Abbie Betinis ’01 to learn her song Resilience.
All eyes will be on Minneapolis for Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday with thousands of football fans arriving early to partake in game-related activities in the days leading up to the big event. The Minnesota Super Bowl Committee Host website is the first stop for many out-of-towners traveling to the Bold North and local folks, alike, looking for information and guidance during the festivities.
The person behind the host committee’s high-profile website? St. Thomas’ own Gino Giovannelli, a digital marketing guru and an Opus College of Business Distinguished Service Faculty member.
Giovannelli’s involvement with the project began a few years ago when plans to host a Super Bowl in Minneapolis were in their infancy. He was hired to lead digital marketing for the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee including the website and search programs supporting 52 weeks of events leading up to Sunday’s game.
Over the course of the project, Giovannelli gave his students a behind-the-scenes peek at his work.
“It’s been fun for the students,” said Giovannelli, an East Coast native with a mechanical engineering and marketing background. “I start every class by saying, ‘You want to know what’s going on with the Super Bowl?’ I’m going to miss that because we would spend the first 15 minutes of class talking about what was happening.”
An interactive marketing expert, Giovannelli created Miles Interactive more than 10 years ago. Along with the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee, his clients have included the University of Minnesota Alumni Association, Caribou Coffee, SUPERVALU, Famous Dave’s, Life Time Fitness and Sun Country Airlines. Prior to striking out on his own, he served as vice president of Carlson Interactive, an interactive agency within Carlson Companies.
Even though he has worked on a myriad of websites, from a world stage point-of-view the Super Bowl is his biggest project yet. He’ll also be shift lead in the social media command center run by The Social Lights in days leading up to the football’s premier event.
We caught up with Giovannelli – who, in his spare time, is a drummer in the rock band Twin Star Rocket – and asked him about his Super Bowl involvement, classroom observations and the world of digital marketing.
What’s it like overseeing the creation of the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee website?
It’s fun. It’s exhilarating. It’s a blast. It started with just a few of us including the CEO, the VP of sales and marketing, an admin and me. We started out working on building out the infrastructure to support the website. Over time, more people joined as we continued to evolve the site. It’s up to more than 30 people now. It felt, ironically, very much like a start-up at first. Now it feels big because we have the NFL, we have the host committee, we have 10,000 volunteers and the city.
What has been the most rewarding part of the process?
Seeing it come to life. On the website, we have this countdown clock. I remember when it had a couple hundred days. Now we’re less than a week out. It is such a visual reminder because it’s on the homepage. Then it’s all going to be done.
What have you learned from working on the website?
I’ve learned to be nimble, more so than ever. I usually play the same role on projects. Strategist right into project managing a big website build. With this, I’ve learned I need to be more focused on whatever is needed. Fortunately, I like that. I love being the person that can do a variety of things. I like to use my head some days of the week. I like to use my hands other days of the week. It’s a great blend and balance. This project – more than any other I’ve worked on – it is so important to be able to be willing to jump in and help out in areas that aren’t in your wheelhouse. I’ve learned a ton because I had to.
Digital marketing can be key in a company’s success (or, in some cases, failure). Why do you feel it’s important for a university to have digital marketing courses?
The big one I’m shocked about is that about 70 percent of companies doing digital marketing daily do it without a strategy. Imagine doing anything without a strategy. Companies actively doing social media, email, mobile marketing or websites are doing it without a strategy. That’s a big part of what I teach – figuring out what you should do versus what you could do.
When students take your course, what do they come away with at the end?
They have developed a digital marketing strategy and a marketing plan for either a concept business or a real business. Every single student, working in teams. I want to make sure everyone knows how to create a strategy. I tell them to bring this strategy to their job interview. Ask that employer, ‘Do you have one of these?’ Because 70 percent of them will say no. Then you say, ‘Do you want one of these? If you do, hire me.’
They also each individually build a website following the same methodology I used when I built the Super Bowl website, the University of Minnesota’s Alumni Association website, Caribou Coffee, Sun Country Airlines, Radisson Hotels and Resorts. Usually they create a website to promote themselves to employers.
They build a website, do the strategy and do a marketing plan. Then they do deep dives into each of the five digital marketing channels. That’s for the undergrad class. Many MBA students choose to create a website for their current employer or a business idea they are considering on the side or sometime in the future.
For Ellen Schreder, love has no borders. The Minneapolis lawyer, Saint Mary’s alumna, and mother of four fell in love with the people of Haiti when she visited the country 12 years ago with her daughter on a mission trip. But she soon saw that the women of Haiti had a need.
Without access or funding to purchase proper sanitary products, girls were often forced to miss school for a week every month. Ultimately, she discovered, many dropped out of school. Young girls and women, including new moms, were in great need of menstrual products.
Schreder turned that need into an opportunity to help countless girls stay in school and help women learn a valuable skill while earning an income for their families. By connecting with Days for Girls and Helping Haiti Work, she and her colleague Dr. Leslee Jaeger have created a way to help the women of Haiti with their health, education, and financial situations.
Schreder and Jaeger are helping Haitian women develop basic sewing skills as well as a business plan for constructing and marketing sustainable feminine hygiene solutions.
Days for Girls is an international organization dedicated to providing lasting access to feminine hygiene solutions and health education. Schreder and Jaeger have been leaders of the Days for Girls Enterprise Team in Haiti for four years now.
Schreder manages most of the business from Minneapolis but travels to Haiti two or three times each year.
“It’s a community of people working together that’s just amazing. The fact that I can communicate so well with them without even speaking the same language is incredible,” said Schreder. “Every time I return from Haiti, I come back with a new perspective on life. Things that used to seem like a challenge for me here are all quite manageable given this renewed perspective. Our Haitian women are so happy for every opportunity, and they make the most of everything. Here in the U.S., we have more than we need, and people often struggle to find happiness.”
Schreder and her friends and family have invested time and money to help the people of Haiti. Currently, Schreder employs 14 Haitians, 13 seamstresses, and one tailor. She’s also working to secure a Rotary Grant to fund the growing organization. The grant would help pay rent and secure solar power for all three sewing center locations in Haiti. It would also allow them to purchase industrial machines and sewing supplies to support the production volume and hire a Haitian manager to run the program locally.
“I’m inspired to keep growing this program because the Haitian people have so very little and yet are so appreciative for this opportunity. They struggle every day to figure out how they’re going to feed their kids. But they’ve made the most of this opportunity,” Schreder said.
The seamstresses have also been trained in business development and the Days for Girls Ambassadors of Women’s Health curriculum, which allows them to provide education about menstrual health, reproductive health, and feminine hygiene when distributing the feminine hygiene kits to schools and communities in need.
Helping others comes naturally for Schreder. She’s known since she attended Saint Mary’s from 1980 to 1982, that she wanted to become a lawyer. Her original plan was to start out at Saint Mary’s (where she majored in English for two and a half years) and then transfer to the University of Minnesota for her criminal justice degree.
Schreder said Saint Mary’s was a good fit for her because she grew up Catholic. And although she didn’t graduate from Saint Mary’s, she made many lasting relationships during her time there. “In fact, my freshman year roommate is still my best friend today—which is almost 40 years later,” she said.
Overall she said Saint Mary’s increased her confidence and helped prepare her for the next steps of her academic career.
Schreder graduated from William Mitchell (now called Mitchell Hamline) and is now partner at a law firm in Minneapolis. She started her career in prosecution but now solely practices family law. What she enjoys most about her job is getting to work with people through a very difficult phase.
“I’m dealing with good people at one of the worst times in their lives,” Schreder said. “They’re getting divorced, their families are splitting apart … It’s a challenge to help them through that and come through to the other side in as good of a position as possible, both emotionally and financially.”
To Schreder, family means everything. When her own children were teenagers, she welcomed two other teenage boys into her home. They became part of her family, which now also includes a 2-year-old grandson who calls her “Fun Grandma.”
One of these young men was born in the Dominican Republic, which shares a border with Haiti. “He has taken full advantage of every opportunity presented to him and graduated from high school and college,” said Schreder. “He’s truly able to relate to the work that I do in Haiti. A few years ago he got his first and only tattoo. It reads ‘Opportunity.’ And that’s his story too.”
Over the Christmas break, a new Starbucks kiosk was installed in Bethany’s Honsey Hall. The self-service machine offers an assortment of beverages sure to please students, employees, and visitors alike. This is a new venture for Starbucks—a paid kiosk on a college campus—and Bethany is the proving ground. While the new attraction was originally set to be open for business shortly after students arrived for second semester, a delay with installation of the card readers prevented that from happening.
As hundreds of thousands of people descend on Minnesota for Super Bowl LII this week, the gathering force and marketing power of the country’s biggest sporting event will be on full display. Opus College of Business assistant professor of marketing Ashley Stadler-Blank appreciates that power as much as anyone: with her professional and academic expertise she is one of the best people you’ll find to talk about sports marketing with.
With that in mind, the Newsroom reached out to Stadler-Blank a week out from the big game to pick her brain about what goes into something this big. Before talking with her she laid out some mind-boggling facts about what we’re discussing: 19 of the most-viewed 20 TV broadcasts in U.S. history are Super Bowls; the price of advertisements during the Super Bowl has gone up 76 percent in the last decade, up to more than $5 million a spot; and that last year 114 million people watched the Super Bowl, more than a third of the country’s population.
Before we get into this little event the Twin Cities are hosting, how did you yourself get into this field of sports marketing?
I just grew up a fan. It was something I did with my dad as our family bonding thing, so translated that into a career interest.
There’s this really interesting dichotomy from what the fan sees to what the business is. I got this advice when I got into the industry, to never to work for your favorite team. The business of it kind of ruins the fun of being a fan. It’s different working it as opposed to being a fan.
I worked in sports for about two years before getting into the education piece of it. I went to teach at two schools in sports management, before pursuing a doctorate at Penn State University. They had a center in sports interest research. My research interest is related to consumer behavior as it pertains to sports. Sports are special because unlike a lot of other product industries, there’s so much emotional engagement. (Much of Stadler-Blank’s research involves fan-avidity, or the level of fanhood, including studying distances fans of teams are located.)
An event like this, the number of people that come here and the number of people that watch, this is such an American cultural touch point for so many people. From the lens you view with sports marketing, how do you see an event like this that is a sport, but is so much bigger?
First and foremost, the line between sport and entertainment is blurring. Sport is entertainment now. There is a 24 hour news cycle with sports; the way we look at sport today is drastically differently than even 10 years ago. Players themselves are brands. … It’s this interesting mix on a lot of levels.
You have people attracted to players, teams, but the NFL in general has the highest level of fan-avidity of any sport in the U.S. … [Super Bowl Sunday] is almost like a holiday. I recently watched the movie ‘Concussion,’ and they make the point the NFL now owns the day the church used to. It is the big dog and everyone wants to see it. For a lot of people it’s not so much the game as it is the social aspect.
It’s not just the Super Bowl, it’s Super Bowl week. … By and large, that is really an event for the community so they can feel part of it. Often times people in the community don’t get to go to the game, so that’s a way the community gets to engage with the NFL and the Super Bowl.
It’s been more than a year since we’ve started to see things around about “Bold North” and this marketing theme pulling all this together. What’s your sense of what goes into planning something like that from a marketing perspective?
This event is almost like the Olympics on a smaller scale, in that it’s a point of pride for the local community. A smart marketer will try to differentiate the event from others, but do that in a way that’s unique to the local community. One of the reasons I think it’s so powerful is that people can take pride in saying, “Bold North.” It’s forward, edgy. I love the slogan; it’s really successful and gets a lot of buy-in from the local community, which an event like this needs. … A lot of Minneapolis is shut down because of this event, so getting community buy-in goes a long way into facilitating the success of the event.
The Bold North, it’s them turning a negative into a positive and being proud of where they come from, highlighting all this area has to offer. There are a lot of events the Super Bowl and host committee puts on; there are start-up conferences, all these events that try to highlight all the local community has to offer. … I think they nailed it on the head with this one.
So it’s as big of a spotlight outside of an Olympics as an area can get for their community. After we secured the hosting, from a marketing perspective, what does it take to make sure we’re showing Minnesota in a way we want to?
Part of it is encouraging people to come to Minnesota. It’s an incredible facility and a huge draw, but it’s showing we don’t have just the game but all these incredible amenities you can take advantage of here. … They’ve done a great job highlighting some of the things you have to do while you’re here, and getting that engagement from the local community is huge to do that.
Another thing beyond Minnesota marketing is this marketing and advertising push around the event. In sports marketing there’s the marketing of the actual sport, the Super Bowl, and the other is marketing through sport, using the platform to elevate your brand. If you think about the money that’s going into advertising in the Super Bowl, not just TV but online, estimates are that this is the most revenue any corporation in the United States will get in a 24-hour window, period.
As St. Olaf College student Chris Casey ’18 begins a super week with the U.S. Bank Future Leaders Program that will culminate with seats at this Sunday’s Super Bowl game in Minneapolis, he sat down for an interview with WCCO-TV.
The Future Leaders program highlights three young Minnesotans who are passionate about achieving their goals and dedicated to giving back to their communities. Casey is joined by fellow Future Leaders Contessa Boorman and Dominique Jones.
Along with tickets to the big game, these future leaders will also witness behind-the-scenes action at experiences like Super Bowl Live and Radio Row at Mall of America. They will also get to network with board members from U.S. Bank, as well as National Football League staff members and others working at the Super Bowl.Chris Casey ’18 with WCCO-TV reporter Alia Lucia in Minneapolis, where he spoke with her about his U.S. Bank Future Leaders experience.
Casey, an economics major at St. Olaf, tells WCCO reporter Ali Lucia that what’s keeping him grounded during this exciting time is advice his grandfather gave him:
“Whatever opportunity you get, make sure you find some way to give back,” says Casey, noting that he’s incredibly grateful for this experience through the Future Leaders Program. “I get to learn from many industry experts that will make me a more polished individual, and hopefully I can take that wherever I go.”
A pair of Bethany students will represent the College at the annual Private College’s Scholars Day at the Capitol on Wednesday, February 21, 2018.
Every Minnesota private college selects two students for the annual capitol event, where each presents a professional poster describing their research methodologies and addresses implications for future research. Representing Bethany are seniors Patricia Lilienthal and Benjamin Wessel.
“Zip Codes: Destination or Destiny?” Center for Common Good to Host Panel on Racial Discrimination and Housing Stability
Fifty years after the landmark Fair Housing Act, how fair and equitable is housing in the Twin Cities? Join the Catholic Charities Advocacy Team and the University of St. Thomas Center for Common Good as we explore perspectives related to racial discrimination and its impact on housing stability.
A panel of community experts will lead an interactive discussion on where we are, how we got here and how far we still have to go.
The event is Monday, Feb. 12, 5:30-8:30 p.m., Woulfe Alumni Hall in the Anderson Student Center. The event is free, but space if limited. RSVP here.