Gustavus Campus News
Gustavus Adolphus College senior Monali Bhakta is always looking for ways to get involved in public life. An English and political science major from Shakopee, Minn., she testified in front of the Minnesota Senate Higher Education Finance and Policy Committee last spring, interned for U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar this summer, and is currently serving as the Gustavus Student Senate Co-President.
While her English and political science studies have combined to open doors for Bhakta, she wasn’t always so confident about what path to take. When she started at Gustavus, Bhakta planned to pursue a biology major with the intent to go into the medical field, but she knew her heart wasn’t in it. “I felt discouraged and I didn’t feel like that career path was my calling,” Bhakta said, describing the discomfort she felt while discerning her vocation and the growth that eventually came from it. “I switched to political science at the end of my sophomore year and I feel like it was one of the best decisions I’ve made.”
As an intern in Senator Amy Klobuchar’s Minneapolis office this summer, Bhakta talked to constituents, worked on correspondence, and put her skills as an English major to use as a writer and editor.
“That was honestly one of the best experiences I’ve ever had,” she said. “I know it’s pretty cliché to say that, but it wasn’t until after I finished the internship that I realized I learned so much about government and especially about social service and how we serve constituents in Minnesota.”
While her experience over the summer was eye-opening, the experiences she’s had on campus that mean the most to her.
“One of the best organizations I’ve been a part of is Building Bridges. The topic that we had last year was Immigration: Demolishing the Legacy of Bigotry in the Land of Opportunity. That was very personal to me,” Bhakta said, explaining that both of her parents are immigrants. “I feel like I have a moral obligation to advocate for people like me.”
Bhakta also serves as the co-president for Student Senate. “That experience, honestly, has been so humbling and informative. It’s something that I take seriously because I know that there are so many people on this campus that want to spread their voice or have a specific message that they want to convey or different changes that they want to see at Gustavus,” she said.
Under Bhakta and co-president Karrie Villareal’s leadership, one of the biggest milestones for Student Senate this year has been an environmental one. The group passed a bylaw that created a new permanent environmental sustainability chair on the cabinet. The decision to make this change came not from Senate, but from listening to input from other students on campus. “Gusties have a lot to say. The purpose of Student Senate is to catapult their voice and be a force of change,” Bhakta said.
As a senior, Bhakta knows the clock is ticking as she continues to advocate for change on campus. “Every day is something new to experience,” Bhakta said. “There is such a strong support system here. What I’m going to miss so much about it is that sense of comfort—this is my home now.”
Bhakta says that her favorite memory on campus is hard to choose, but she points to events such as Christmas in Christ Chapel, Africa Night, Diversity Week, the International Festival, and, of course, Building Bridges.
Before graduation, and eventually law school, she plans to spend January Interim Experience studying away in Australia and Japan.
“It’s a way to treat myself,” Bhakta said. “But I hope it makes me uncomfortable.”
That’s where the growth happens.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
Dr. Eban Goodstein, the Director of the Bard Center for Environmental Policy at Bard College, will be visiting campus to discuss careers, the environment, and climate change on Thursday, October 10. Goodstein will engage students and the public in two lectures. The first will be held at 11:45 a.m. in The Dive and is titled “How to Get a Job Saving the Planet: Sustainability Careers in Business, NGOs, and Government.” The second session will be held at 6 p.m. in Beck Hall 101 and is titled “How to Solve Climate by 2030: We Can Change the Future.”
Goodstein’s background includes a B.A. in geology and a Ph.D in economics, giving him an interdisciplinary lens to view sustainability and the environment. He is the author of multiple books, including a college textbook entitled Economics and the Environment. Goodstein has also coordinated national educational initiatives focusing on climate change that have reached over 2,500 universities, colleges, high schools, and community organizations.
In Goodstein’s morning lecture, he will discuss possible avenues for students who want to focus their career on sustainability. “This is a good fit for students, especially those who maybe are not environmental studies majors but still want to work the environment into their life after Gustavus” said Gustavus Associate Provost and Dean of Sciences and Education Dr. Valerie Banschbach. “He has a great way of grouping the possibilities as far as environmental careers go, as well as giving students specific advice about networking.”
The second lecture, “How to Solve Climate by 2030: We Can Change the Future,” will focus broadly on how to we as a society are going to face climate change head on. The main topics of this lecture will include solar dominance and civic action as the key components to solving this global issue.
All are welcome to attend one or both of these lectures on October 10 at 11:45 a.m. in The Dive and at 6 p.m. in Beck Hall 101.
This event is sponsored by the Provost’s Office, the Center for Career Development, the Environmental Studies Program, the Departments of Geology and Geography, and the student-led Environmental Action Coalition.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
On Thursday, October 3, the Department of Greek, Latin, and Classical Studies hosted University of Illinois Professor Craig Williams for a public lecture on a highly understudied topic: Native American writings on Greek and Roman classics.
Williams’ talk, titled “Ere Egypt and Rome Were Born: Native American Writers on Greco-Roman Antiquity,” focused on various pieces of Native American writing that incorporate elements from the classics‒with the first known piece dating all the way back to 1663. Along with the literature, Williams pointed out themes to focus on when reading these kinds of historical works, as well as some of the challenges that come along with studying historical works.
“Finding the texts (is a challenge), but there’s great pleasure in archival research,” Williams said. “Trying to figure out where things might be‒it’s a challenge but it’s a pleasurable challenge.”
Williams also gave the audience a sense of the cultural implications that might be addressed through his line of work.
“Those who study classics are not blindly accepting European culture,” Williams said. “They remind us, implicitly or sometimes explicitly, that the classics have been a central pillar of the ongoing cultural assault, mental colonization, or cultural genocide.”
Jordan Johnson ’21, a theatre major with minors in classics and English, was able to take a lot away from Williams’ talk.
“I learned a lot about how the rest of the world has their own classics,” Johnson said. “I’ve only been exposed to the classics of the Greeks and Romans, so having this chance to see how other people take that into their own life, especially Native Americans, I think that is something really important for me to listen to.”
While the study of the prevalence of classics in Native American writing may seem extremely specific, it holds personal relevance in Williams’ life.
“It’s a parallel to a journey in my own life,” Williams said. “I’m Mohaken on my father’s side, and I didn’t grow up with knowledge about my culture. That’s been a powerful inspiration, to get to know these authors, respect them, and learn their history,” Williams said.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
LAS VEGAS – The United States Professional Tennis Association held its Awards Lunch this past Wednesday during the 2019 USPTA World Conference presented by Havana Bob’s at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. Neal Hagberg of Minneapolis, Minn., was presented with the 2019 USTA/USPTA Community Service Award.
The USTA/USTPA Community Service Award winner is jointly presented by the USTA and the USTPA and recognizes a USPTA member that, over the past year, improved their community through the power of tennis. These members organize local events that bring together families and neighborhoods and invite new people to the game and foster a sense of community.
Hagberg has worked at Gustavus Adolphus College, his alma mater, since 1981. He has been the Tennis & Life Camp director since 2011. In his role, he teaches, leads music and entertainment, directs counseling and leads the “life” portion of TLC. Hagberg uses tennis and music – he and his wife Leandra are an accomplished singer/songwriter duo – to inspire, motivate and develop leadership skills in his students. He is a USPTA Elite Professional and has been a member for seven years.
– release courtesy of the USPTA
Founded in 1927, the USPTA is the global leader in tennis-teacher certification and professional development. With more than 14,000 members worldwide, the association raises the standards of tennis-teaching professionals and coaches and promotes a greater awareness of the sport.
Gustavus Adolphus College President Rebecca M. Bergman announced at the annual Homecoming Weekend Alumni Awards Banquet on Friday, September 27, that the College is moving to the public phase of the largest comprehensive capital campaign in the institution’s history. The $225 million campaign, Show the World, will support the continued implementation of the Gustavus Acts Strategic Plan and initiatives that will advance the College’s mission, provide increased opportunities for students and faculty, and continue to raise Gustavus’ standing as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the United States.
“The time has come to Show the World our vision and raise our collective voice as we share the life-changing experience of a Gustavus education with diverse new audiences,” Bergman said. “As we move boldly forward, we recommit to our mission and rise to our new vision.”
Show the World will be chaired by George ’75 and Mary Dee Johnson Hicks ’75 and Beth Sparboe Schnell ’82 and Bob Schnell ’81, Bergman announced. Both couples have had successful business careers and a long history of engagement with the College. George Hicks, Mary Dee Hicks, and Beth Schnell have served in College leadership on the Gustavus Board of Trustees.
“Every day, we are watching College-wide strategic initiatives propel Gustavus Adolphus College into the future,” the co-chairs announced in a letter to alumni and friends of the College. “With all of this momentum, it’s time to Show the World that Gustavus belongs in the ranks of the most attractive liberal arts colleges in the country.”
The College has already received gifts and commitments totaling more than $155 million of the $225 million goal during the quiet phase of the campaign, Chair of the Board of Trustees Scott Anderson ‘89 told the audience. Commitments to Show the World include three of the five largest gifts in College history, including a landmark $40 million gift for the Nobel Hall of Science expansion and renovation, new scholarships, and the College’s endowment; a $25 million grant that included $10 million in dedicated funding for the Center for Career Development; and a $10 million commitment that included challenge funding for the Nobel Hall of Science and scholarships for National Merit Scholars.
“This campaign is built around three foundational ideas: Equip, Energize, and Elevate,” Vice President for Advancement Thomas W. Young ’88 said. “We equip students to lead purposeful lives through exceptional opportunities to learn, grow, and serve. Our campus is energized by the power of progress as we move forward together. We have elevated our vision for the future by creatively redefining the liberal arts and finding innovative ways for students to broaden their minds through global experience and hands-on learning.”
The Show the World campaign will focus on fundraising in five key areas: endowment growth, increased scholarships, investment in strategic capital projects and facilities updates, enhanced signature events, and expanded Gustavus Fund giving and participation. Key outcomes of the comprehensive campaign will include greater financial aid for Gustavus students, more endowed faculty positions to attract and retain expert teachers and scholars, and the expansion and renovation of Lund Center, the College’s athletic and wellness facility, among other priorities.
“Great institutions set bold goals, successfully achieve them, and stay true to their values and principles,” Bergman said. “Our time is now. The curtain is rising. It’s time to Show the World.”
Visit the Show the World website to learn more, get involved, and add to the momentum!
“Climate change is not a belief system,” said Dr. Gabriele Hegerl to a sold-out campus crowd and more online around the world. A Fellow of the Royal Society who published some of the first studies detecting the influence of humans on surface temperatures, her sentiment permeated throughout as scientists and experts gathered for the Nobel Conference 55, Climate Changed: Facing Our Future.
What is climate change, then? In the manner in which the Nobel Conference considers a topic, climate change was examined in multitudinous, multidisciplinary ways—as scientific fact, human-created phenomenon, current humanitarian crisis, future cause of wars, the result of Western imperialism and consumerism, and evidence of our lost connection with our Earth and with our souls. It was explored through music (from the Gustavus’ Wind Orchestra, Wind Symphony, Symphony Orchestra, and Jazz Ensemble), dance (including a student-created piece performed on a melting block of ice), visual art (works from the Dustbowl era, works with fungi and plastic as mediums, and a piece about glaciers that engaged all five senses), small group and self-guided learning, and a student-planned, carbon-friendly menu prepared by Gustavus Dining Service.
A variety of voices across countries, continents, disciplines, generations, and world views weighed in on the science of climate change and its ethical concerns. Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh opened the Conference with a lecture on the rhetorical “war on climate change.” “What migrants know is that climate change already is a war. And that what leaders do is more important than what they say in public.” The speakers all agreed that the ethics of geopolitics around climate change currently present a dizzying web of complexity. Dr. Richard Alley, professor of geosciences at the Pennsylvania State University whose work focuses on climate reconstructions through polar ice, delivered a pithy long view: “What keeps screaming at us from history, if you were to compress it down to a couple of tweets, is that carbon dioxide is a big deal,” he said. “The next big tipping point comes from us humans.” Dr. Diana Liverman, Regents Professor of Geography and Development at University of Arizona, showed how progress that has eradicated world poverty has led to an increase in C02 emissions. “In many areas, rising incomes correlate with a rise in consumption,” she said. But, she notes, “There are synergies” that are good for both people and climate. For instance, more plant-based diets and resilient, sustainable food systems.
On day two, Canadian Inuit activist and author Sheila Watt-Cloutier, raised within an Arctic food and culture system that is rapidly melting away, spoke of the connection between environment, economy, human rights, and foreign policy. These interlocked forces shape who wins and who loses as our climate changes via human action. Her people are losing—with the highest rate of suicide in North America, a dramatic increase in diabetes and substance abuse, and increased reliance on imports instead of the Arctic itself. “At issue is our very ability and right to exist as indigenous people,” she says. “We, the Inuit, are the collateral damage.” Dr. Gabriele Hegerl followed up Watt-Cloutier’s human experience with explanations of how climate modeling makes accurate predictions about how our climate will respond to certain factors. The climate models have shown and continue to show what the Inuit experience and will continue to experience.
Climate engineer Dr. David Keith, professor of applied physics at the Harvard School of Engineering and applied sciences and professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, opened his talk with some good news: “The sudden decrease in the cost of solar power is unexpected and fantastic,” he said. Then, the dark news: “If we just bring fossil fuel emissions to zero, we stop the problem from getting worse. That’s an unusual definition of ‘solved.’” He has an unorthodox solution: solar geoengineering through capturing atmospheric carbon dioxide to make carbon-neutral hydrocarbon fuels. It is, he admits, potentially dangerous—and full of possibility.
“We live in a Kafka-esque world,” said Dr. Mike Hulme. Climate change conversation is complex, disorienting, and often menacing. The professor of human geography and Fellow of Pembroke College, University of Cambridge, offered the humanities as ways to get to the heart of it all. The powers of narrative and metaphor, he says, are as equally important as the power of metrics. “Science on its own offers no moral vision. A well-ordered physical climate is deeply contingent on a well-ordered social world,” he said. The speakers debated this point with fervor as the conference closed: Metrics are the only thing governments listen to in Western and global culture. Lack of conversation on values when presenting climate change science has been detrimental to the science. If we have to build a moral understanding before we take action, are we too late?
“It all now rests on the young people,” said novelist Amitav Ghosh.
“I want to stop dumping this on youth,” said Dr. Diana Liverman. “I’m still alive and I should be doing something.”
Watch the archive video of the lectures and panel discussions, at the Nobel Conference website.