St. Thomas Campus News
St. Thomas beat St. John’s 20-17 at Target Field on Saturday, holding off a late rally from the Johnnies for the program’s fourth straight victory in the historic rivalry.
Tens of thousands of St. Thomas and St. John’s students, alumni, staff, family and friends descended on Target Field for the 87th edition of the Minnesota matchup. In fact, 37,355 people were on hand, more than doubling the previous record for Division III attendance.
The Newsroom was on hand before, during and after the game to talk with Tommies about the excitement of the historic day.
Let us know what your favorite moment of the day was in the comments section.
It’s going to be fantastic to see him on the field. To watch your son out on Target Field? Wow. – Dave Slavik, father of football player Grant Slavik
We’re just excited about what the team’s capable of this year; we’ve got a great run game. … And it’s just crazy that it’s at Target Field. – David McGoff, senior
It’s pretty cool. It’s such a big rivalry. – Chris Anderson, senior
I’m excited to be here, and really blessed to be here. … We’re very proud of the unity this program has and what it stands for. – Patricia Jones, mother of football player Ronnie Jones, who flew from Pleasonton, Calif. to be at today’s game
I’m really excited about the game. …. It’s awesome the team’s had so much success, and it’s really all about the community this builds. – Jon Soldar ‘07
My brother’s the punter and this is my first game I’ve come to watch. This is a lot more people than I ever expected and it’s so cool to see so much excitement. – Kansas City native Ally Petitjean
We didn’t want to be mean, but we just have a lot of Tommie pride. This is our time to shine. It’s a great school and I’m proud to be a Tommie, so you have to show that off today. – Senior Nick Sable, who brought a sign reading, “Johnnies don’t cry watching ‘Marly and Me.’”
Our son’s a freshman, so this is a first. It feels more like we’re going to a Vikings-Packers game than anything else. You have to love this rivalry. – Scott Ruud, father of football player Alexander Ruud
This is history, man. Thirty-five thousand people? That’s just cool. It’s great to see the smaller schools get the big stage. – Jeff Straub, uncle of football player Alexander Ruud
All these Tommies and Johnnies together, it’s a great event. … This is definitely bigger than anything it’s ever been before. – John Bannigan ’81, St. Thomas development staff
No matter where you’re from or where you’re going, Roll Toms! – Junior Allie Phillips
Tommie-Johnnie is just such an exciting event. A lot of people are worried about not having home field advantage, but we’re in the Twin Cities so we’re good to go. – Gretchen Chatt, junior
To double the all-time attendance record is really cool. – Eric Haney ’93, whose daughter is starting at St. Thomas next year
I’m excited about the fact this is the most people ever for a Division III game. … This whole thing is just really cool. – undergraduate student Emily Isaacson
I’m from out of state so learning about all the tradition of this rivalry has been awesome. I work in an emergency room and all week the doctors and nurses have been talking about this, so it’s cool to see that connection is still so strong. – Senior Katie Stadheim, Mason City, Iowa native
It’s a great rivalry. My brother went to St. John’s and my son’s a senior at St. Thomas, so we’ve got some family split. – Joe Hartman (who was wearing a St. Thomas hat and shirt)
We made it out of enemy territory driving down from St. Cloud. – The Heck and Fenstad families, who both have a daughter attending St. Thomas
My daughter was a freshman last year and on the way to the game at St. John’s their bus broke down 15 minutes out of the cities. So this is the redo; they’re so excited. … It’s a hoot and a holler. – Colleen Sauter, Opus College of Business staff
We go to all the playoff games and love it, so we thought, ‘We’ve got to be here. It’s historic.’ – Jim Block ‘80
For the past few years, a dedicated group of faculty, staff and students has worked diligently to earn the University of St. Thomas the status of Ashoka U Changemaker Campus. The Change Team proudly accomplished its goal last April, when we joined 40 other colleges and universities worldwide that are transforming higher education to help create an “everyone a changemaker world” — Ashoka’s mission.
St. Thomas’s mission of advancing the common good neatly aligns with Ashoka’s. We were awarded this coveted status, however, as much for the ways that we’re already fostering changemaking on campus and in the community as for how we are situated to “do good better.” As Social Innovation Collaboratory director Adam Kay observes, the designation is “not an end, but just the beginning.”
The Ashoka U team that visited last December noted the unique strengths that poise St. Thomas to develop a robust campus changemaking ecosystem. Team members focused on our “culture around changemaking for the common good and interdisciplinary collaboration;” our “many long-term community partnerships in the Twin Cities;” our “commitment to inclusion, interfaith cooperation, and mindfulness;” and our programs that make “major contribution[s] at the intersections of social innovation and professional and graduate education, as well as social innovation and science and engineering.”
When Ashoka U visits again in four years to review and renew our designation, the team will be examining how we have strengthened and built our campus’ changemaking infrastructure around these distinctive features. Therefore, the Change Team — comprised of nearly 30 students, faculty and staff — will focus this year on helping the campus community develop a common vocabulary around changemaking. By collectively constructing a shared understanding of what changemaking means for St. Thomas, the campus community will be better poised to align, leverage, and develop its assets to help solve social and environmental problems at the local and global levels.
Our goal is to foster a pervasive culture of changemaking at St. Thomas where “everyone [is] a changemaker” — especially our students. By re-framing the social impact work that has long been part of the St. Thomas tradition and legacy, the Change Team aims over the coming year to map our campus changemaking ecosystem in partnership with faculty and staff from across the university. By making more navigable the opportunities across campus for developing and practicing changemaking dispositions and skills, students will develop as agents of positive social change just as they develop as subject-matter experts in their majors.
Get involved in one of these exciting opportunities:
- Design a course assignment around changemaking: Choose a topic related to your course from the array of issues covered by Fred de Sam Lazzaro’s Under-Told Stories Project. Have students design a case study on the topic — individually or in groups — using the Under-Told Stories segment as a centerpiece. Top-quality case studies will be used by teachers and students in Ashoka Fellow Dana Mortenson’s World Savvy Classrooms. Learn more about the collaboration and how to support it through your courses.
- Participate in a Faculty Development-sponsored Faculty Learning Community on Changemaking: Changemaking is an intentionally vague term that invites collaborative inquiry and co-construction. What does changemaking look like for St. Thomas? Explore the nuances of changemaking with a group of faculty; help strategize ways to strengthen our campus culture around changemaking; learn how changemaking relates to service and community engagement; and explore ways to integrate changemaking and social innovation into your own courses. Learn more about the Changemaker FLC.
- Attend one of the many Changemaking events on this fall’s lineup: Bring your students or colleagues. Or work one of the events into a course assignment or departmental initiative. View the Changemaker’s Calendar.
- Request a workshop on Changemaking: We were awarded the Changemaker Campus designation because so many faculty, students, and staff are already engaged in changemaking. However, they might not identify it as such. This workshop is designed to familiarize participants with terms such as “changemaking,” “social innovation” and “social entrepreneurship” and to help them see where they and their group or department is best poised to contribute (or may already be contributing) to our “campus changemaker ecosystem.” Request a workshop for your group.
- Write a blog post on Changemaking: Once you understand the concept of changemaking, you begin to realize that changemakers come in all shapes and sizes and that they’re all around (perhaps you are even a changemaker yourself?). In order to showcase the range of changemakers and diverse voices on changemaking in our campus community, we invite students, faculty, staff, and alumni to submit blog posts to the Social Innovation Collaboratory blog. Learn more about submitting blog posts.
“Twenty minutes! If you’re not plating yet, get ready to start plating!”
Human voices mixed with those of IBM’s Watson as seven teams of St. Thomas students and U.S. Bank and IBM employees worked feverishly within the Makerspace of Anderson Student Center. They were here Tuesday and Wednesday for the U.S. Bank Make-a-Thon, creating ways to apply the technology of IBM’s TJ Bot – an open-source project that connects Watson services – to the challenges of finance management for college students.
“It’s been a lot of fun. There have been a lot of challenges I didn’t expect,” said senior finance major Moise Igeno, whose team used TJ Bot to create an alert system to notify students what on-campus opportunities for free food at events align with their interests. “It’s nice to get out of the classroom and work with professionals in this field.”
Some 40 people between students and U.S. Bank and IBM employees were divided among the teams, all vying for the prize of being deemed the best use of Watson technology. Ideas ran the range from a bot dedicated to managing expenses involved with multiple roommates sharing a house; visual recognition and interaction with people going into your fridge; and managing students’ accounts tied to their dining service options on campus.
“Hello, who am I speaking with?” began one interaction with House Buddy, that bot dedicated to assisting roommates. “Gavin.” “Hello, Gavin, how was class?” “Class was good. What bills do I owe?” “Your rent is due today. Would you like me to pay it for you?” “Yes, thank you.”
“It’s fun to come in and see the ideas and people’s excitement as they see these technologies,” said Greg Gorman, director of IoT Developer Ecosystem. “Our job is to show people the possibilities with this advanced technology and get them excited about it.”
U.S. Bank sponsored the event and selected the area of tackling challenges associated with college finances.
“Being able to use the Makerspace and getting students involved is great,” said Kari Shotley of U.S. Bank. “It’s really just getting the right band together here … to come up with the lofty ideas that might stick or influence what we do down the line.”
Opus College of Business – which also sponsored the event – Dean Stefanie Lenway was one of four judges, who awarded the group of Breaking Bot the top prize for their application of TJ Bot toward budgeting and breaking bad habits. St. Thomas sophomore Megan Sharkus was part of the winning group. Sharkus was featured in the Newsroom last spring and owns her own company, Expressionmed, which is dedicated to improving the education, design appeal and safety of insulin kits for children with diabetes.
The annual Tommie-Johnnie football game is an athletic highlight for both schools, featuring one of Division III’s greatest rivalries. This year’s 87th Tommie-Johnnie matchup on Sept. 23 will have even more significance as the first football game ever played at Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins in downtown Minneapolis.
To help get ready for the big day, we rounded up some stories featuring:
- The unique tales of both schools’ mascots;
- the tradition behind the Tommie-Johnnie Holy Grail and other coveted, Minnesota football rivalry trophies;
- and all you need to know about one of the great personalities of the St. Thomas-St. John’s rivalry: I.A. O’Shaughnessy.
On game day, the largest 360-degree, interactive fan photo will be taken at Target Field. To make sure you’re captured in the viral fan photo, show up at or before game time. The 360-degree fan photo will be billions of pixels in size; fans can tag themselves and friends, share the views, and enter to win cool prizes.
Sign up to be notified when the photo is read ready to view at: http://pano.ly/tj17
Sophomore Mary Miley was initially a bit nervous about taking an online biology summer course. She knew there was a lab component in Biology 105, which meant she would be on her own in executing scientific experiments.
That turned out to be one of the best parts.
“I come from a large family so on occasion my parents or siblings would see me doing a lab experiment in the kitchen and ask if they could join me,” she said of taking class from her parents’ home in Saint Paul. “I always felt a great sense of accomplishment after finishing a lab because doing the labs at home is much different than doing them at school, since you are pretty much on your own.”
Miley wasn’t alone in the feeling of accomplishment or family help: 48 students took Dalma Martinovic and Kurt Illig’s online summer biology course, which they designed together and taught as two separate sections. It was the first time for both of them teaching a fully online course with lab components, and both were pleased with how much students engaged with them, and each other, all summer. Martinovic said the course’s interdisciplinary nature and the tying of biology topics to real-life issues (ranging from socioeconomic impact on epigenetic markers to why humans live past reproductive age) helped keep students interested.
“Students want to talk about those things, want to learn. Once you can illustrate the effects of biology, and it’s a fairly complex process to understand … there’s tons of biology underlying the human story,” she said. “We put great care into teaching biology through interesting stories that students could engage with.”
The course was a months-long example of the kind of technological support available at St. Thomas to support hybrid (online and in-class) and online courses: Illig and Martinovic worked with staff at St. Thomas’ STELAR lab to develop both videos and written materials, as well as get assistance in developing an online curriculum versus an in-person one. Their two classes were among the 27 undergraduate online and hybrid courses offered this summer, the most ever at St. Thomas.
“We learned our main role is not necessarily to deliver, to be talking heads,” Martinovic said. “We are more like curators of the material.”
“This class in particular was greatly supported by videos, photos, discussion boards, web articles, and online case studies,” Miley added. “If it weren’t for all of these helpful tools, I can say with certainty that my experience would not have been as smooth or fulfilling as it was.”
For Illig, fulfillment came as well in realizing how connected he could still be to his students, even though they never met face-to-face.
“The biggest surprise was that I felt like I got to know the students in the class through the discussions and the assignments,” he said. “When they’re asked to reflect on a reading, even if they know their peers won’t be reading it, they did a really nice job on reflecting about what they just read. You get that in a face-to-face class, but it was surprising to get that in as much depth in an online class.”
Illig will be teaching the class again in the fall and, aided by videos of him carrying out the labs, students will continue with the experiments- like burning a marshmallow to measure calorie energy- in kitchens all over.
For more information about biology at St. Thomas, visit the website.
For more information about STELAR and St. Thomas’ ongoing support of e-learning, visit the STELAR website.
The website WalletHub recently ranked Minnesota as the happiest state in the United States, topping the warmer western climates of Utah, Hawaii and California. The list was based on 28 metrics across the dimensions of emotional and physical well-being, work environment, and community and environment.
With so much happiness in Minnesota, we asked some Tommie students what makes them happy be at St. Thomas and in Minnesota.
Feel free to let us know in the comment section what makes you happy to be at St. Thomas and in Minnesota.
Katie Harris: At St. Thomas, the tight-knit community makes me happy. As for Minnesota in general, everyone’s just super nice – Minnesota nice!
Brandon Lively: What makes me happiest at St. Thomas is that the professors here are very welcoming. They enjoy their job, which creates a great learning environment for me. In Minnesota, we’re known to be nice people and I think the way we interact with strangers shows that we can create a community just by being nice to people.
Jack Gibbon: What makes me happiest at St. Thomas is the super friendly environment and how you can walk from class to class and see a smiling face. Probably one of my favorite things about Minnesota is the health and wellness aspect. There are so many great ways to stay active and get out by getting involved with the community – not only in physical ways, but also through volunteer opportunities. There are great places to eat and great places to shop. It’s just such a unique environment.
Amanda Tenhoff: One of the things that makes me happy about Minnesota is definitely all the parks, wildlife, greenery and water. When I go to other states, there’s absolutely no water there. It’s awful! I love the sunshine and how we actually get seasons. We have four distinct seasons, except for road construction, which is an all-year season. What makes me happy about St. Thomas are all the people and the sense of community that I get here. I feel like everybody is very well-cared for by everybody else on campus.
Rachel Oeffling: What makes me happiest about St. Thomas is the location, because you’re so close to the Cities. At the same time, you’re separate from the downtown area so it’s a bit more quiet when you want the small-town feel. The campus itself is just very beautiful. There’s lots of walking trails that you can go to and a lot of restaurants that are close by. I love that there are options for study locations and quiet spaces to do homework. There’s lots of access to food that I think other schools don’t have. For Minnesota, I love having the four seasons. Winter sometimes sucks, but it’s super nice to be able to see all the leaves change and the cool weather coming in. We’ve got the North Shore, which is super gorgeous with Lake Superior for great hiking and camping. There’s a ton to do in the Cities and a ton of culture.
Chase Lau: I would probably say what makes me happiest about St. Thomas and Minnesota are the people. Out of all the states I’ve been to, I’d say that the people in Minnesota are legitimately nicer. People always joke that Minnesota nice is just Minnesota passive-aggressive, but I really notice that people seem to be a lot nicer here. One of the things that drew me to St. Thomas when I toured here was that people would always hold the door for me. It seems like such a stupid little thing, but I was like, “Oh my gosh! People actually care.” I had just come from a tour at the U of M, and they couldn’t give a crap about you. That’s fitting, obviously, because there’s so many people there. But here, it seems like people actually care about you. I think that’s the thing that draws me to Minnesota. Also, I freakin’ love the seasons!
With one year to go on both her J.D. at the St. Thomas School of Law and M.B.A. at the St. Thomas Opus College of Business, Leslie Redmond knows what it’s like to be busy. So, it’s perhaps no surprise that she kept the momentum going this summer: working with Restoration Counseling and Community Services (RCCS) in aligning their sober housing and substance abuse treatment for former convicts, and also leading the growth of Win Back the Community, a Minneapolis-based LLC she started last November aimed at empowering members of North Minneapolis.
“You don’t want to fall into that savior mentality. We’re not saving communities, we’re investing in people so they can invest in themselves. I really believe that,” Redmond said. “People don’t need saving; they need opportunities, hope and role models. That’s our vision and what we’re trying to do.”
Redmond, who’s also the vice president of the Minneapolis NAACP, is a native of Washington, D.C., and went to Florida for her undergraduate degree in political science and African studies. As she got to know the Twin Cities while studying for both a business and a law degree, she began developing ideas of how she might empower people to address some of the community’s issues she saw.
That started last summer with a Win Back the Community festival, and in her business classes the following school year she fleshed out how it might evolve. Fast forward to this summer, when Redmond and Win Back the Community have:
- pooled resources from a wide range of community partners;
- formed a clean-up initiative for West Broadway Avenue, “Cleaning for Change”;
- created a storytelling model for anti-violence activists in the community, “Don’t Complain, Activate”;
- started an ambassador program that connects Win Back the Community’s 15 youth workers with community mentors, and those mentors with mentors from the next generation;
- gathered people for the second annual “Summer Festival and Cultural Celebration”;
- hosted an art gallery featuring local youth artists, “New Rules: Be Humble”;
- and landed a $36,000 grant from the city of Minneapolis to provide payment to the program’s youth workers.
“When I think about activating a community ecosystem, that’s really what we’re doing. I’ve always been about collaboration and I’ve always seen potential in people,” Redmond said. “It’s so much unity being brought together.”
In her work with RCCS, Redmond flexed her law background this summer in, as 2013 MBA grad and fellow RCCS employee Nate Kalkwarf said, “cutting through the red tape of sober housing licenses and permits.”
“She really stood out, with the education at St. Thomas, a really solid background in operations, finance,” Kalkwarf added. “It’s been an enormous help to have her.”
As St. Thomas continues to move into its first year as a Changemaker Campus, Redmond’s work stands out for its social innovation and leadership in the surrounding communities. For more examples of social innovation at St. Thomas visit here.
There was a time when Rachel Wobschall was just a recent Waseca High School graduate. That was well before she had earned the St. Thomas triple crown: a bachelor’s, master’s and Ed.D. all as a Tommie. That was before she had become the first female Tommie Award winner and before she was the first woman to serve as All-College Council president.
Then, she was the first in her family to go to college, and spent the summer before fall semester hanging out on the St. Paul campus.
“The only coed dorm for that first year was Murray Hall, and when I visited they still had scaffolding up on the two floors that make up the residence. So that was like, ‘Whoa,’” Wobschall said.
While there was still work that needed to be done at that point, the finished product for Wobschall and her female classmates in that first year of coeducation was worth the wait.
“We had suites of three or four women, but we had our own private bathroom. That,” Wobschall said, “was luxury.”
With plans to study political science and leverage the proximity to the state’s political system for job opportunities, Wobschall quickly started taking advantage of more than just the notable restroom resources at St. Thomas. In fact, she famously introduced herself to the dean and the president at orientation, walking right up and shaking their hands. Soon they, and most everyone at St. Thomas, would know who she was.
“The size of the college at the time was such that you could get involved with extracurricular activities a lot. I lived on campus all four years so I wanted to do things on the weekends, and I didn’t have a car so I was hanging out. I just followed my interests, really,” Wobschall said.
That recipe helped Wobschall become a campus leader for many extracurricular organizations, leading to the prestigious undergraduate honor of the Tommie Award. After graduating, Wobschall worked in state government, including on the senior staffs of the late Gov. Rudy Perpich and former Gov. Jesse Ventura.
Wobschall also went on to serve as the executive director of a program studying technology for people with disabilities, an area with extra meaning for her as she has cerebral palsy. On top of her subsequent degrees in international management and organization development, Wobschall remained tied to St. Thomas as a member of the Alumni Association Board from 1989-95, and as executive director of Alumni and Constituent Relations from 2002-16. In 2000, she received the Monsignor James Lavin Award for volunteer services.
“Almost everything that I have done since I became an alumna has its roots in the education, experiences and friendships I developed at St. Thomas,” Wobschall said.
Today, Wobschall is a senior major gifts officer for Gillette Children’s and remains a Tommie in every sense of the word.
“Staying connected [to St. Thomas] is just natural. There is that foundational nature of St. Thomas that it’s a value-orientated and service leadership-orientated place, which really resonates with me. I like to help people,” Wobschall said. “The value of [my career] is service and giving back. Those were foundational values that were really developed when I was at St. Thomas, especially as an undergrad.”
St. Thomas is once again listed among the “Best Colleges” in the United States, according to rankings published today by U.S. News & World Report.
The university ranks No. 115 in the national universities category, up slightly from No. 118 in 2016. The undergraduate engineering and business programs also moved up in their rankings.
The undergraduate School of Engineering program ranks No. 29 among 200 schools that offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees but not doctorates – an increase from No. 35 last year. The ranking is based solely on surveys of deans and senior faculty at schools with accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.
The Opus College of Business undergraduate program ranks No. 128 among 488 programs accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The survey also is based solely on peer assessment. St. Thomas ranked No. 150 last year.
U.S. News announced the rankings today (Sept. 12). They are published on the magazine’s website and in the “Best Colleges 2018” guidebook, available online now or in print editions in bookstores Oct. 10.
With more than 1,500 colleges and universities in the United States, the U.S. News & World Report separates colleges and universities into four categories:
• National Universities (311 universities), offering a wide range of undergraduate majors as well as master’s and doctoral degrees (St. Thomas falls in this category; Princeton retained the top spot);
• National Liberal Arts Colleges (233 colleges), which award at least half of their degrees in the arts and sciences (St. John’s, St. Benedict fall in this category);
• Regional Universities (659 schools) which provide a full range of undergraduate majors and master’s programs but few, if any, doctoral programs (in the Midwest Creighton University and Drake University are examples of this category)
• Regional Colleges (334 schools), which focus on undergraduate education, but grant less than half of their degrees in the arts and sciences.
The university rankings are based on seven measures: assessment by peers and high school admissions counselors (22.5 percent of overall score); graduation and retention rates (22.5 percent); faculty resources (20 percent); student selectivity (12.5 percent); financial resources (10 percent); graduation rate performance (7.5 percent); and alumni giving (5 percent).Learn About St. Thomas
The University of St. Thomas offers more than 100 undergraduate majors in five academic divisions. Seventy percent of our students major in science, technology, engineering, math or business. Our faculty pride themselves on their commitment to teaching and scholarship: 100 percent of our classes are taught by faculty, not teaching assistants. Our faculty to student ratio is 14:1, allowing more personalized instruction and undergraduate research opportunities. As a national university, St. Thomas attracts students from 45 states and 37 countries. More than 97 percent of first-year students receive merit-based scholarships. We boast an alumni network of more than 105,000 strong.
A campus visit is an exciting part of choosing the right college. Schedule your visit today.
The University of St. Thomas has joined colleges and universities across the country in denouncing the Department of Homeland Security action ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. We call for congress to pass legislation as soon as possible to permanently protect DACA students, also known as Dreamers, who were brought to our country as children. Specifically, in her welcome back messages to students and staff, Dr. Julie Sullivan stated, “Today we stand with our DACA students. We will advocate for a permanent fix to this pressing problem and will ensure our current DACA students’ financial aid to attend St. Thomas is not diminished.”
As a university founded by Archbishop John Ireland to provide access to education for immigrant families, our support for the DACA community extends beyond our students. Whether an immigrant student is undocumented or has family members who are undocumented, the uncertainty and fear surrounding this policy change are stressful. We encourage students to access information and support and attend an informational event. St. Thomas School of Law Immigration Law Practice Group has posted a number of resources on their website as well as the Dean of Students website.
“For those directly affected by this decision, I want you to know beyond question: You are welcome at St. Thomas. For those indirectly affected, we are called to be in solidarity with those who are,” Karen Lange, Vice President for Student Affairs wrote in a statement to the St. Thomas community.
The university advises DACA students to do the following:
- Check your paperwork. If your status and employment authorization will expire prior to March 5, 2018 immediately apply for renewal. The deadline is October 5, 2017.
- Do not travel outside the United States. The Department of Homeland Security is no longer granting advance approvals to travel outside the United States. Even if a person has currently valid advance parole (permission to travel), legal experts are advising against travelling outside the U.S. because Customs and Border Patrol have discretion regarding whether the individual can be re-admitted to the United States, and the advance parole document can be terminated at any time. DACA students should not study abroad.
- Consult with an immigration lawyer to see if there is another immigration status for which you might be eligible.
What is DACA?
Initiated in June 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy addresses the uncertain status of thousands of young people, who were brought to this country as infants or children. DACA provides eligible recipients temporary permission to stay in the United States and obtain work permits. These young people grew up in the United States. After years of living in limbo, many of them were able to register with the federal government and gain the temporary DACA status available under the policy.
To qualify for DACA, applicants must pass a multi-faceted and rigorous test and meet the following requirements: to have arrived in the United States before reaching age 16; resided here continuously since 2012; be enrolled in or completed high school; not been convicted of a crime; and not present a threat to national security or public safety.
About 800,000 young people so far have DACA status. With a legal path for education and employment, they pay taxes and contribute to the economy. They are ineligible for federal means-tested welfare benefits, Pell Grants and federal student loans, as well as tax subsidies.
Memorandum to end DACA
On Sept. 5, 2017 the Department of Homeland Security issued a memorandum to rescind DACA and provided a six-month wind-down period:
- Effective Sept. 5, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will no longer accept new applications for DACA.
- Those currently enrolled in DACA can continue working until their permits expire (permits are typically issued for two years).
- Those whose permits expire by March 5, 2018 will be permitted to apply for two-year renewals but must do so by October 5, 2017. DHS will review these applications on a case-by-case basis.
- New applications and renewal requests received by DHS before Sept. 5 will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, even those for permits that expire after March 5, 2018.
- Congress has until March 5 to determine any future legislation regarding DACA students.
- Minnesota Immigrant and Refugee Rights Helpline – DACA questions
- US Department of Homeland Security, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
In 1977, St. Thomas was indelibly changed. In the college’s articles of incorporation, Archbishop John Ireland had written that the property was to be used “for the purposes of Catholic College Education of young men of the State of Minnesota and other Northwestern States.” The benefits of such an education already had stretched far beyond Minnesota “and other Northwestern States,” and, in 1977, officially were offered to women.
It was easy to see the effects of this change on St. Thomas: Much of the decision was made based on future enrollment numbers. Aquin writers pondered what the “Mr. Tommy” Award would be called and where the new female students would be housed. Connie Pocrnich was the first of 177 women to enroll for that first fall and the rest, as they say, is history.
Since then, St. Thomas has graduated approximately 47,000 women. While we can more easily track the gender diversity of the campus or the number of degrees those women have earned, it’s much harder to map each and every way these women have changed the lives of their communities and people around them. That impact is in part, we hope, on account of the opportunities afforded to, and earned by, them through their education.
Some of the Newsroom’s recent favorite stories of female alumnae are:
- Bridget Nelson ’87 is a comedian who has worked on “Mystery Science Theater 3000.”
- Aimee (Anderson) Thatcher ’96 has been a full-time firefighter with Las Vegas Fire and Rescue since 2006.
- Missy Pederson ’02 is a Ladies Professional Golf Association caddy.
- Michele Henry ’06 is co-owner of Primp Boutique.
- Kari Jo Faulhaber ’10 won a Midwest Regional Emmy for her documentary that followed a homeless man’s experience at the Dorothy Day Center.
- Rachel Larson ’15 works in Liberia to bring health care to every person there.
Throughout this year, to commemorate the arrival of the inaugural class of women, the Newsroom will be sharing even more stories of remarkable alumnae who have helped positively redefine what it means to be a Tommie.
Please remember Father Leo Tibesar, who taught in the theology department and was a librarian at Ireland Library in the 1970s and 1980s. He passed away on Aug. 31.
A mass of Christian burial is scheduled for 10 a.m., Monday, Sept. 11, at the Church of St. Frances Cabrini, 1500 Franklin Ave SE, Minneapolis.
A panel of experts rontrom the School of Law and Immigration Clinic will address the questions regarding the recent announcement to rescind the federal DACA program. If you have students, family or friends impacted by DACA, join
us at 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 13 to learn more. The event will be held in the Anderson Student Center (ASC) 340.
- Update on DACA rescission – what it means for work permits, travel, etc.
- Update on litigation to keep DACA in place
- Update on pending legislation and other advocacy
- Resiliency and wellbeing – tips for staying healthy in the face of legal ambiguity
Presenters include: George Baboila, Social Work Director at the Interprofessional Center and Clinical Faculty in the School of Social Work; Kerry Conboy, Program Coordinator at the Interprofessional Center and Immigration Specialist; Amy Micek, Program Manager at the Interprofessional Center and Immigration Paralegal; Rebecca Scholtz, Faculty Fellow in the School of Law and Staff Attorney, Defending Vulnerable Populations Project, Catholic Legal Immigration Network; Virgil Wiebe, Professor of Law and Immigration Clinic Director.
Freshman Rachael Lee carefully added the finishing touches on what appeared to be a short stack of red, white and blue Legos encased in a blob of yellow Play-Doh.
It was nearing the end of day one of the two-day Freshman Innovation Immersion workshop at the University of St. Thomas, where students were embracing their entrepreneurial spirits a week before the academic year kicked off.
More than 80 members of the class of 2021 signed up for this speed-course in entrepreneurship, studying everything from human-centered design (a creative approach to problem solving) and creating business prototypes, to crafting a business model and pitching ideas.
With Schulze School of Entrepreneurship faculty leading, a nonstop buzz filled the Maker Space in the Anderson Student Center as students embraced every challenge thrown their way. They had to work fast and were constantly pushed out of their comfort zones as they learned entrepreneurship fundamentals, all while creating a business concept in just two days.
Lee’s colorful model? A prototype she and three teammates created of a vibrating bracelet wirelessly attached to an alarm clock, intended to motivate you to get out of bed without disturbing your roommate.Day One: Innovation in problem solving
During the first day of the workshop, students honed in on specific problem statements. From there they crafted solutions through ideation, prototyping and testing, all through an empathetic lens. And they didn’t just come up with a business solution: They interviewed complete strangers across campus to find out what real-world problems they battled.
Lee and her teammates were inspired by a student they talked to who struggled getting out of bed in the morning, leading to their Lego-based solution.
Lee, who is from the Los Angeles area, hasn’t picked a major yet. She saw the Freshman Innovation Immersion workshop as a great way to explore some options.
“I’m an artistic person,” she said. “I have skills that I really don’t know how could extend to things like entrepreneurship. I’m trying to figure out how my skillset could translate to the business world and see what going into business might look like.”
Laura Dunham, Ph.D., associate dean of the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship, ran the program’s first day.
“I want students to build their creative confidence and build a sense of excitement around the idea that they can be innovators,” she said. “That they can be people who can find new problems and understand how to research them and feel empathy for the people they’re designing solutions for and design great solutions. We want our students to come out with the skills in whatever area they love, whether it’s the arts or sciences or business – we want all of them to see themselves as people capable of action of being changemakers.”
During a break in the action, Samantha Nordmark, a Russian major from Rolla, North Dakota, said she took the workshop to expand her horizons and meet new people.
“I want to know how to be a better entrepreneur,” said Nordmark, whose team was working on improving health and fitness. “Thinking on my feet while someone’s talking and then taking notes – it was hard. We interviewed eight people in an hour. The first interview was so bad, but by the last interview I finally got it. I need improvement, but I got so much better in just an hour.”Day 2: Creating a business model
Taking what they learned on the first day, the freshmen reconvened and were paired with mentors, which included upperclassmen and alumni. Mentors helped guide students as they worked on a business model, crafting pitches, putting together poster boards and presenting their business concepts.
A panel of judges heard from the top five teams, which included apps to help motivate kids to do chores, an easier way to make international phone calls and an app to help save you money by going to the gym. The winning concept was the Umbrella Sponge, a tool to make cleaning water bottles easier. The device was the brainchild of Viridiana Arevalo-Martinez, Katherine Baker, Zachary Ban and Lucas Beer.
“We worked together really well,” said Arevalo-Martinez, an entrepreneurship major from Richfield. “It was really fun to put our heads together. Sometimes you think you know everything yourself, but when you start working with other people you realize little things you hadn’t thought about or considered before. We made a lot of changes along the way.”
At the end of the workshop, computer engineer and business major Tejesh Bhimavarapu from Shakopee, said he’s strongly considering an entrepreneurship minor.
“What really stood out to me is they used the word empathy,” Bhimavarapu said. “Empathy is really important. If you develop something for a single person, many people could find it applicable to them. I think that’s very important. If I develop something that’s very near and dear to me, that’s where I’m going to find that passion to push forward.”
Following the pitch competition, students went to CHS Field, home to the St. Paul Saints baseball team, for a talk about innovation and creativity with Saints co-owner Mike Veeck. Much to their delight, actor Bill Murray, another one of the team’s co-owners, made a cameo during their time at the stadium, which also included a picnic and baseball game.
For more information about entrepreneurship degrees and programs offered at the University of St. Thomas, check out the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship.Hear it from the mentors
Twenty mentors contributed their experience and perspectives, and several offered their reflections on the two-day program.
Matt Michalski, junior real estate major
“I’m a junior, but I’ve been involved in entrepreneurial activities since my freshman year. I’m explaining to the freshmen how I’ve approached pitches in different events. Since I’m a current student, I’m still doing a lot of these business competitions and pitching things in the real world, so having their new ideas thrown at me is super beneficial, as well.”
Diane Paterson, Twin Cities Small Business Development Center (part of the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business)
“We serve all kinds of businesses and some of them are student-based. So coming here and seeing these new ideas is really fun.
“I love the students and their fresh ideas and their excitement. You could tell they were having fun because there was constant buzz in the room. It’s a way for them to get to know each other before school starts and an opportunity for them to share their innovative ideas in a safe environment where no one is going to discount your contribution to this business idea.”
Greg Cash, ’79, runs a medical devices business and is a member of the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship advisory board
“I get a lot of personal satisfaction from mentoring. I got a lot out of my St. Thomas education, so I like to give back whenever I can.
“The fact that they’re incoming freshmen and they’re able to put together a presentation, pitch a product, understand what a value proposition is, that they know how to do a positioning statement – that’s pretty cool. I didn’t get into any of that until I was an upperclassman.”
Martha McCarthy Krueger, ’11, co-founder of a social media marketing agency
“I’m a big proponent of entrepreneurship. It’s opened my life since discovering what it’s all about and how to think about business plans and value propositions, all of that. I’m really passionate about it. It’s fun to be able to interface with the younger generation who shares that interest and help answer their questions or steer them in the right direction whenever possible.
“I hope this opens their eyes to innovation and entrepreneurship and lets them know it’s something they’re capable of. You’re not too young or too inexperienced to come up with an idea that’s compelling to someone. Hopefully they get a feel for something they enjoy and that if they have ideas, it’s fun to work through them and problem solve, hash things out and bounce ideas off of other people.”
What is a Catholic University?
Is it Catholic first? Is Catholic a noun and university a modifier or adjective?
Is it university first? Is university a noun and Catholic a modifier or adjective?
Or is Catholic University an integrated phrase? Is Catholic University a noun in and of itself, with no modifiers?
Our founder, Archbishop Ireland, was ahead of his time. He put university on an equal footing with Catholic. Most Catholic Universities prior to the mid-60s and Vatican II stressed Catholic more than university. In 1967, just two years after Vatican II, a group of presidents of American Catholic universities, led by Fr. Ted Hesburgh of Notre Dame, wrote the Land O’ Lakes document. It was developed in response to a call by the International Federation of Catholic Universities for input to the global discussion on the nature and role of the Catholic University in the modern world.
Some say, fifty years ago, Land O’ Lakes moved the pre-Vatican II emphasis on Catholic first to university first, and Ex Corde swung the pendulum back in 1990 to Catholic first.
I believe Land O’ Lakes is more accurately characterized as imagining a Catholic University as an integrated phrase, a noun in and of itself, with no modifiers. The Land O’ Lakes architects described a bold vision for a Catholic University and, like John Ireland, were pioneers in doing so.
Land O’ Lakes stipulated the need for Catholic Universities to be among the most respected universities in our country for their teaching and research. It advocated for free inquiry, academic freedom and institutional autonomy from the Church, which was necessary for universities to make independent decisions.
While expressing the importance of academic excellence in a Catholic University, Land O’ Lakes also illuminated in several ways the importance of a Catholic presence in a Catholic University. First, it explicitly integrated the academic and Catholic missions of a Catholic University. It highlighted the roles of theology and interdisciplinary encounters as defining elements of a Catholic University. Theology scholars were called upon to be in dialogue with all other disciplines, and to examine and evaluate all aspects of the Church and provide the Church with continued counsel.
Second, Land O’Lakes said a Catholic University should give preference in its teaching, research and public service to questions of human urgency and named the following examples: civil rights, international development and peace, and poverty, all of which remain issues of human urgency today.
Thirdly, the Land O’ Lakes authors described a Catholic University’s social community as one where students express their Christianity in a variety of ways and live it experientially and experimentally, and where faculty and students explore together new forms of Christian living, witness and service.
Finally, the authors also believed their universities should welcome people of all faiths and embrace the possibility that God can be encountered in unexpected places. They believed all people share responsibility for human history and thus need a foundation of respectful dialogue and understanding from which to pursue this shared responsibility.
We remain on the journey of clarifying the integrated term Catholic University 50 years later.
Why is this so hard? Why have we been discussing, and sometimes debating, for 50 years what it means to be a Catholic University?
There are several reasons, some involving the hierarchical nature of the Church, but I would like to focus on another reason that involves all of us.
There is a well-documented human tendency to “sort” ourselves and our views or affiliations into clear dichotomies. This human tendency has been magnified of late in our country. Increasingly we view ourselves as either this or that (liberal or conservative, republican or democrat, black (brown) or white, urban or rural, coast or heartland, rich or poor, educated or uneducated, Christian or non-Christian). And we limit both our in-person and online encounters to interactions with those who live, think and believe like we do, and thus those who reinforce our own worldviews. I am sure many of you have read or heard about the book, The Big Sort, which describes how America came to be a country of cultural division, economic separation and political polarization over the past 40 years.
As a result of this polarized segregation and isolation, we are losing our ability to meaningfully discuss our similarities and differences with respect, compassion and sensitivity.
Recently, there have been articles and discussions in high profile media outlets about a similar polarization in the American Catholic Church between “liberal and conservative Catholics” or between Catholics who focus on “sexual ethics” and those who focus on “social justice.”
I believe there are many parallels to these dichotomies in our Church and our nation and our unresolved struggle, which began with Land O’ Lakes, to move away from the ongoing debate of whether it is Catholic first or university first and to focus on defining and living the integrated term Catholic University.
As Catholic universities, if we can bridge the gulf and encompass all (Catholic and university), maybe we can be a role model for bridging other divisions in our Church and our country.
Bridging the divide between those who stress Catholic and those who stress university within our own communities doesn’t mean we all move to the middle. It means we resist segregating ourselves in our “camps” within our own universities and we authentically encounter, communicate with and learn from each other with love and respect.
A modern Catholic University
What would this Catholic University look like today?
The foundational principle of the Catholic University is respect for and promotion of the dignity of all human persons. All human persons are created by God and thus are sacred. A Catholic University is devoted to integral human development. We are concerned with the intellectual, moral and spiritual development of all persons.
The Catholic University includes Catholics and non-Catholics.
Some members of the Catholic University will be pursuing their spiritual development by focusing on the orthodoxy of their faith, others by focusing on the personal commitment or piety of their faith, and others by focusing on the social mission of their faith.
The Catholic University welcomes the inclusion of ideas, thoughts and differences. We do not exclude issues of modern society and culture. We do not exclude doctrinal or non-doctrinal, orthodox or unorthodox argument and thought.
There are related lessons to be learned from the historical and current free speech debates on American campuses. In the 1960s, University of California, Berkeley Chancellor Clark Kerr explained his decision to allow controversial speakers on campus by saying, “The University is not engaged in making ideas safe for students. It is engaged in making students safe for ideas.”
Encountering those with ideas or faith perspectives counter to our own is an important step in fully shaping and strengthening our own convictions.
What would be nonexistent in this Catholic University today?
Dichotomy and separation. Hatred and discrimination. Any group’s claim to superiority. Such notions violate the fundamental principle that we are all the same in the eyes of God.
In light of recent events in Charlottesville and elsewhere in our country, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops explicitly reiterated the Church’s stand against the sins of racism, white supremacy, and neo-Nazism. They also announced a new Bishop’s task force to address racism in our country and in the Catholic Church. Clearly, we must stand against these same sins in a Catholic University.
Inclusivity, community and One University
In conclusion, a Catholic University is called to be a community of inclusion, encounter, and accompaniment. Members of a Catholic University are called to see the other person as God sees him or her, rather than through our own sometimes limited lens. This is our calling and our opportunity.
If we can bridge the chasm between those who prefer to stress Catholic and those who prefer to stress university, as a Catholic University we also may be able to serve as a role model for bridging the chasm in the American Catholic Church and the many other chasms in our country today.
As leaders of Catholic Universities we stand in the middle, regardless of our personal beliefs. We stand in the middle making room for all, doing everything we can to break down the walls and chasms separating our community members, and creating a sense of “us” – something at St. Thomas, we refer to as One University.
We are excited to welcome you back to campus for the new academic year. The energy on campus has been building, and we are excited for classes to begin officially tomorrow.
In addition to welcoming you back, I am writing to you to acknowledge today’s announcement to rescind the federal policy of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Since 2012, this policy has provided protections from deportation for more than 800,000 young people who entered the United States as children–many of whom know only the United States as a home.
This morning, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops denounced the action and St. Thomas President Julie Sullivan affirmed our university’s commitment to advocate on behalf of our dreamers, “Just as our founder, Archbishop John Ireland envisioned, we are a community that welcomes all immigrants,” our president stated. She called on all within our community to live our convictions and embrace our mission to advance the common good.
The university will continue to examine events surrounding the policy change as they unfold. For those directly affected by this decision, I want you to know beyond question: you are welcome at St. Thomas. For those indirectly affected, we are called to be in solidarity with those who are.
We have resources available to you on our website. Also, many staff and faculty on our campus are available to guide you to additional resources and to serve as a sounding board as we move through these trying times. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to email or call our office (651-962-6120).
Yesterday, during our undergraduate welcome assembly and interfaith blessing, we reaffirmed our commitment to our university convictions. During this event, one speaker quoted Maya Angelou, “We are more alike, my friends, than we are different.” Let us remember this as we embark on the journey of a new academic year.
Karen Lange, Vice President for Student Affairs
Yohuru Williams started in his new role as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at St. Thomas in July. His weeks since then have been a whirlwind of meeting colleagues, getting to know the St. Thomas community and sharing his vision for the future of the college.
The Newsroom sat down with Williams to talk with him about history (his PhD is in history from Howard University), what he likes about the Twin Cities and what he already loves about St. Thomas.
This interview has been shortened and edited for clarity.What drew you to the College of Arts and Science at St. Thomas?
I think one of the things that’s so attractive about St. Thomas is that in this space, there’s a lot of faculty-student collaboration. It’s one thing to look at that on a website; it’s another thing when you come here and you start to interact with the faculty. You really get a sense of how excited they are to work one-on-one with students and how much that impacts students’ lives.
My first full week here, I walked to the science building with my associate dean, Mark [Stansbury-O’Donnell], and we’re meeting with a geology professor. I’m asking her about her research, and she grabs me by the hand and she says, ‘You have to meet the student who’s working with one of my colleagues.’ I’m in this situation where I’m used to faculty talking a lot about themselves and being excited about their own work, and here she wants to show off what the student is doing. I meet this young person and he’s phenomenal. I meet his professor, and the professor shares generally what they’re working on, and then he steps back and gives the student center stage. Now that’s pretty unique, and to me, I think it’s emblematic of what happens here, what makes this place so special.How do you see the combination of liberal arts and professional preparation for students?
I had lunch with an alum last week, and she is kind of the quintessential Tommie in the sense that she came here, and she didn’t have a clear idea about what she wanted to major in. … She started out as a Spanish major, ends up with psychology. Now, she’s legal counsel for a major company. In her story, she tells how this place helped her go through the process of discernment.
It’s not just about a major here. It’s not about a clear path to a career. It’s about identity formation. We actually are guiding students to that interrogation of what it means to be a contributing member of a larger society. It’s not just college ready. It’s life ready here. And I think that’s special. When people talk about the value proposition the institution has and what you can excite parents and students about, I think that’s what differentiates St. Thomas.
[This alum] said, ‘When I am sitting in a room full of attorneys, my psychology degree gives me a leg up by being able to understand the dynamics and nonverbal communication that’s taking place at that table. And I never would have had that had I not been at a school like St. Thomas that encouraged me, with its core, to explore various academic disciplines and to recognize they can work in concert to make somebody a professional, an even better professional, because they bring those things to the table.’
I think what the college encourages is that kind of interdisciplinary focus. In the College of Arts and Sciences you may declare a major and that major very easily could prepare you for a career outcome that you desire, but in the process of taking a little bit of foreign language and in the process of taking a little bit of psychology, a little bit of history, thinking about writing and developing critical thinking skills, you become a person who really is nimble and able to pivot in a way that extends beyond what happens at most professional training.
You have the engineering school, for example, talking about how the College of Arts and Sciences core helps to make their engineers better because they’re critical thinkers. We hear it from Opus [College of Business] all the time. That’s what makes our business students shine, is that they come out with this liberal arts background. It’s why so many of our students minor. It’s why so many of our students get internships in fields outside of their major. And again, I think the lived experience of our alums and our recent grads point to how well-rounded our students are.What is your sense of interdisciplinary and community work here and nurturing its growth?
This just happened to me last week … One of the bio professors comes in and starts talking about the pollination path. And I could have sat here with her all day at that point, because it started out as a community partnership and how can we contribute to this problem here and this area, protect some of the wildlife, get to know the eco-system a little bit better? We have this co-op (Brightside Produce) where people can come and get vegetables. It’s the community partnering meets the academic pursuit meets desire to contribute to the common good. And then if you’re writing grants to help facilitate that, if you’re bringing in new faculty to help facilitate that, if you’re involving students to help facilitate that, it all becomes part of what’s special about St. Thomas. And that’s really what I love about this place.Coming from the East Coast, what are you enjoying most about Minnesota so far?
Wow. What’s not to like?
The fact that you can see the sky! It’s huge. I was out the other night just looking up at the stars. The only other time I’ve ever seen the sky this clearly was when I was in Oklahoma. I was thinking to myself, ‘So this is what the sky looks like.’ So, that’s nice. The fact that people think traffic here is 20 minutes and I’m used to sitting in traffic for three-and-a-half hours, so that’s nice. I’ve never had better food in my entire life. I’m going to gain weight here.
I love St. Thomas. I love this space. I think there’s a nice mix between your urban feel, but then these beautiful spaces that are just green space and wetlands. It just feels like it blends in so seamlessly; it’s just a very nice place to be.
As freshman Hannah Schwartz put it: “I love that you get to become part of the tradition.”
That tradition – March Through the Arches to welcome the university’s newest, incoming class of students – brought the St. Thomas community together Tuesday on the lower quad of the St. Paul campus. Hundreds of students, faculty and staff lined the sidewalks to applaud the class of 2021, which represents 30 countries, 28 states and 424 high schools. With 1,397 new bachelor-seeking students, 242 new transfer students and 107 new Dougherty Family College students, the line of students marching went on for more than 10 minutes.
The festivities, which included a welcome assembly inside Schoenecker Arena and a picnic on John P. Monahan Plaza, capped a full slate of Welcome Days activities from Sept. 1-5. The Newsroom was on hand to talk with students, faculty and staff about what makes March Through the Arches such a special part of every fall at St. Thomas.
“It’s a profound thing. I love being part of this ritual where freshman are welcomed into our community. … And I like the hamburgers.” – Cynthia Sarver, assistant director of Social Innovation Collaboratory
“We want to be welcoming. We want to show we support you.” – Anna Starks, junior
“When you pass through the arches at St. Thomas, you become part of a learning community that Archbishop John Ireland started in 1885. … We all welcome you into the St. Thomas community.” – Provost Richard Plumb
“The next four years of your life will be full of friendships and life-changing events. … It’s a great day to be a Tommie.” – Ryan Foster, senior and student body president, during the welcome assembly
“We welcome you to this community. … You will find challenge, but you will also find support as you pursue your dreams.” – Father Larry Snyder, Vice President of Mission
“I really like it; I like the unity. Everyone feels together.” – Jacolby Krebsbach, freshman
“Remember those walls I built, well, baby they’re tumbling down. They didn’t even put up a fight, they didn’t even make a sound. … I can feel your halo, halo, halo, I can see your halo, halo, halo.” – Summit Singers, performing during the welcome assembly
“There’s a lot of enthusiasm at the beginning of every school year, and this is a great way to show it. … It sure is a lot of purple.” – Chemistry professor Tony Borgerding
“Go, Tommies, go Tommies, go!” – Caruso’s Crew
“The atmosphere here is pretty cool. It’s very energetic.” – Vlad Vechar, freshman
“It’s great to see freshmen coming in and borrow some of their enthusiasm. It’s a great ritual.” – First-year chemistry faculty Codrina Popesc
“It’s nice they have everything going on (with welcome days) to help meet new people. … And today, the arch march is really cool. This is the only place that has these so it’s nice to have it as ours.” – Sydney Lewellyn, freshman
As the school year kicks off, we asked Tommie students some of their favorite things to do on the weekends, both on campus and off. There’s no lack of options in either category, and you can let classmates know what you’re up to in both by using #TommieWeekends in your social media posts.
Katie Foy, sophomore psychology major
One of my absolute favorite things to do on the weekends (and my Instagram will prove it to be true), is going to the downtown farmers market in either St. Paul or Minneapolis. It’s nice for me to get off of campus and have some space from the busyness of school and work. It’s also a major plus to support local farmers, business owners and musicians (there’s usually live music at both locations on the weekends)!
On the weekends at St. Thomas it’s super nice to just relax and hang out with friends on the quad. When it’s nice out there are usually lots of Tommies on both the upper and lower quads reading, playing catch, doing homework or just listening to music and talking. I love being outside.
John Lucke, junior studying Catholic studies, exercise science and psychology
On the weekends I love to be social and engage with others to take the stress away from school. One of the best communities to do this in is called Saint Paul’s Outreach. SPO encourages and strengthens friendships by calling people to a life closer to Christ. Growing in virtue and chasing after the Lord with SPO has changed my life.
On campus, Saint John Vianney chapel has Last Chance Mass at 9 p.m. on Sundays. It’s one of the best places at St. Thomas to encounter friends, take your mind off of homework and receive peace. Everyone around is joyful and welcoming; it is well worth a visit.
Rio Hindami, junior psychology major
One of my favorite campus events is Bingo Night at Scooter’s on the weekends. Free prizes and free food – what more do you want? It’s always a fun time to get a group of friends to hang out on a Friday night and try to win some Tommie apparel. You can’t forget about Nacho Bingo too. (It’s literally just nachos and bingo, but more lit!)
I love going to off-campus events hosted by St. Thomas Activities and Recreation (STAR). Last year I went to the Chanhassen Dinner Theatre to see Beauty and the Beast for only $5! I even got a steak dinner with the show, which was amazing. It was a cool experience for me since I am not from the Cities and it was my first dinner show. I have also gone to other STAR events such as the Mystery Bus and a Timberwolves game, which were also $5.
Kenzie Fannin, sophomore neuroscience major
After my busy weeks at St. Thomas, a little retail therapy is so necessary on the weekends. Walking down Grand Avenue or Nicollet Avenue with a few friends is one of the best ways to relax and have fun – there are so many shops and restaurants to explore. My goal is to visit every restaurant on both of these streets by the end of my four years at St. Thomas. Wish me luck!
STAR puts on tons of other fun events, too, like Thursday Night Live, and they give out free stuff all the time. One of the best things to do on campus is go to Grocery Bingo in Scooter’s! I mean, who doesn’t love bingo and free food? Thanks to STAR, St. Thomas is never a boring place to be.
Sunita Dharod, junior justice and peace studies major; minors in American culture and differences, and communication and journalism
One of my favorite things to do on campus is get a group of friends and hang out on the quad. We love laying out a blanket and reading, doing homework, or painting. I also love bringing lunch or a Frisbee, too.
My favorite thing to do off campus is check out all the restaurants around St. Thomas. My favorites are Shish, which is right on Grand, and Selby’s has some great vegan food.
Chelsea Akin, senior psychology major, exercise science and business administration minors
On the weekends I love to get outdoors to ride my bike, a bike from Tommie Central or the Nice Ride bikes on the Greenway Path that runs parallel to Lake Street. This pathway is sidewalk connected to St. Thomas and is perfect for rollerblading, walking, running and bicycling all the way to Lake Calhoun. The path runs right into Uptown as well, which is full of restaurants and activities.
I take the St. Thomas shuttle on Saturday morning to walk to the downtown Minneapolis Farmers Market. The market is located off Lyndale Avenue and has plenty of fruits, vegetables, delicious baked goods, clothing items, fresh flowers, food vendors and gift ideas.
Chase Lau, senior computer and information sciences major
As a freshman, I enjoyed going to the various STAR events they had every week. They do a lot of cool things, like Headphone Disco (ask pretty much any student at St. Thomas and they’ll be able to tell you about it!) or TommieFest, a day of games, activities and music that usually happens in the spring. Even if you don’t want to do cool things and meet new people there’s usually free food, so it’s worth it to at least stop by.
Tommie Central has a lot of discounted tickets for sale to a number of places around the Twin Cities. Get familiar with the public transit system (it’s super inexpensive and easy) and you’ll have a huge list of things available for you to do on the weekends, all without a car. I enjoy using the discounted movie tickets and science museum passes.
Mark Shipman, senior operations and supply chain management major
My favorite thing to do off campus is to explore the numerous coffee shops and restaurants Minneapolis and St. Paul boast. (Downtown St. Paul is only a short bus ride away, and it seemingly has a million restaurants for me to try.) You can always find something new on every street, and it’s nice to get off campus sometimes to study or relax with friends.
One of my favorite activities to do on campus is take advantage of our intramural and club sports, and our amazing workout facilities. It was a great way to meet some of my best friends playing soccer and volleyball, or meet someone in between our busy schedules to catch up at the gym.
Jake Hartmann, senior legal studies in business major
One of my favorite things to do on the weekends is to go to STAR events. No matter if it is Laser tag, Bingo (where I win most of my Tommie gear), a musician, Relaxation Night or the Mystery Bus, I know I will have the opportunity to meet up with my friends and get some free food. I also always look forward to the larger concerts that STAR puts on at least once a semester. All of the on-campus events are free so it is an inexpensive way to have fun and take a break from studying.
I love exploring the Twin Cities! It is so easy to take the St. Thomas shuttle to the Minneapolis campus downtown. I’ve used the shuttle to go to Twins games, Timberwolves games and concerts. If I feel like staying closer to campus, I’ll rent a bike and go to different shops and restaurants on Grand Avenue and Selby Avenue.
Abby Heller, junior neuroscience major
One of my favorite off-campus activities is renting a bike for free from Tommie Central and riding to Minnehaha Falls. There are walking trails, bike paths, and tons of space to picnic and play Frisbee at the park.
Diversity Activities Board events are my favorite things to go to on campus. DAB is a student-led event planning committee. DAB events are anything from T-shirt making to a famous guest speaker to cool ethnic food and dance to try out and have fun with. DAB events always have cool new things for me to try with my friends.
Amanda Post, senior COJO major and business administration minor
Campus is so fun on football game days because the plaza is packed with people, booths and food before the game. During the game, I love cheering on the team with my friends. Caruso’s Crew (SJV seminarians dressed in construction gear – yep, it’s as funny as it sounds), the pep band, cheerleaders and dance team all do a great job of making the game enjoyable in the stands. This is the first year that we will play our rival, Saint John’s University, at Target Field! Check out the full schedule. #RollToms
My Christian faith is very important to me, so I make a point to get to church on Sundays. It’s amazing how many different time options there are for services in the Twin Cities. Many churches offer services in the morning, afternoon and evening. Bethel University hosts an hour of student-led worship called Vespers on Sunday night at 8 and 10. A lot of college students from all over attend (there are St. Thomas carpools), and it’s a great way to refocus and refresh before the week begins.
Duncan Anderson, junior psychology major
The Metro Green Line rail is an easily accessible, money-friendly way to explore all of the exciting opportunities the Twin Cities have to offer. With stations located just a few blocks north of campus, the rail travels both east and west to downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul. It’s always fun to grab a couple friends and explore locations such as the Stone Arch Bridge, West Seventh Street in St. Paul, U.S. Bank Stadium and the Walker Art Center. You can plan your next trip using the Green Line website.
Participating in intramurals has always been my favorite weekend activity on campus. I play on a soccer team during the fall season. It’s a great experience because of its inclusivity; no tryouts are required, and everyone is welcome. In fact, you don’t even have to have played the sport before in order to join a team. It’s a wonderful way to meet new people on campus and participate in a friendly, energetic environment.
Abby Gieseke, junior COJO major, contributed a top 10 list of her own
- Hike the shoreline of the Mississippi River
- St. Thomas may be in the middle of the city, but the Mississippi River is right next door. River Road is always very active with people hiking, running, or just soaking in the sun.
- Take the metro to explore Grand Avenue
- Grand Avenue is full of popular shops and restaurants. It also hosts the annual outdoor festival Grand Old Days. If you hop on the 63S bus starting from Cretin and Summit Avenues, the fun atmosphere of Grand Avenue is only about a five-minute bus ride away.
- Take the St. Thomas bus to Nicollet Mall for dinner
- St. Thomas offers a free shuttle service exclusively for St. Thomas students from the St. Paul campus to the Minneapolis campus. It runs every 20 minutes, picking you up right outside the student center on Summit Avenue, and dropping you off on Nicollet Mall, where there are many fun places to eat and explore.
- Rent rollerblades from Tommie Central and roll River Road
- Tommie Central is not only a wonderful resource to gain knowledge about St. Thomas, but it also offers rentals, many of which are free with your student ID. Equipment ranges from rollerblades to tennis racquets, snowboards to camping gear, and much more.
- Bike to Minnehaha Falls
- Nice Ride MN offers bike rentals costing $3 for every half-hour. You can pick up the bike on River Parkway and ride it 3 miles to Minnehaha Falls, where there are many beautiful areas to hike, as well as amazing photo opportunities.
- Take the lightrail to Mall of America
- Mall of America attracts tourists from all over the world, but at St. Thomas you are just one easy light rail ride away. You can hop on the blue line at Marshall Avenue and Finn Street and be at MOA within the hour.
- Twins Games
- Twins games are a great way to spend a beautiful night, but they are even better when you have a discounted ticket for student night. The Minnesota Twins offer $1 hotdogs, $5 tickets, and free metro transit rides for college students on Wednesday nights; all you have to do is show your student ID.
- Call Tommie Central for discount tickets to shows and concerts
- Going to fun events on the weekends can be expensive, and it’s no secret that college students are looking for discounts everywhere they go. Tommie Central offers discounted tickets to all St. Thomas students for movies, local attractions, seasonal attractions and professional sports.
- Get into a bouncy house at events on the quad
- You’re never too old for a bouncy house, especially when it’s in the middle of the quad. St. Thomas hosts many pep rallies before football games, or during parent’s weekend, and they are always equipped with many fun activities such as free food, music and games.
- Saint Paul Saints
- Attending a Saints game is a great way to explore downtown St. Paul and support our very own home team. You can even watch a spectacular fireworks show at the end of the game for only $3 extra.
Please remember Robert “Bobby” Bloom, a member of the St. Thomas class of 2018, in your prayers. He died in a car accident on Aug. 30.
Bloom studied supply chain and operations management at St. Thomas after graduating from White Bear Lake High School. He was also president of the St. Thomas fishing club.
“Bobby was loved beyond words,” Bloom’s family said. “His faith in God and love for family and friends will be our guide during this difficult time.”
Visitations are scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 6, 4-8 p.m., and Thursday, Sept. 7, 10:30-11:30 a.m., at St. Mary of the Lake Catholic Church in White Bear Lake. A memorial service is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 7 at the same location.