Memorial Service Honors Kenya Student & CSU Grad Student

A candlelight memorial service honoring Patricia Miswa, a native of Kenya and Centennial Student Union Communications graduate assistant who died Jan. 4, will be Wednesday, Jan. 24, at 7:30 p.m. in the CSU Hearth Lounge.

All are invited to attend to share in remembering the 32-year-old creative writing graduate student and globally-known “story-teller.” The memorial will offer time for personal reflections and placing of flickering candles around the Hearth Lounge fireplace. Anyone with photos of Patricia that they would like to share for viewing at the memorial are encouraged to send them to csuinfo@mnsu.edu or share on the Centennial Student Union Facebook.

Arriving to Minnesota State Mankato this fall, Patricia joined the CSU staff and the Communications GA. Lenny Koupal, CSU communications coordinator, said Patricia’s graduate assistant application was a pleasant surprise.

“Her application as I was about to give up hope for a qualified GA candidate for this academic year seemed like a godsend,” Koupal said. “The expectation that my office and our students would gain from two years’ experience with someone with Patricia’s maturity, experience and wisdom was an outcome I looked forward to fulfilling. But life can spin on a dime and leave us dizzy, off-balance and drained. What we seek to do now is honor her spirit and example.”

Patricia’s pursuit of a master’s degree in creative writing sought to fulfill her dream of being a “story-teller.” She had already made great strides toward that goal with her successful online magazine, AfroElle. Through her magazine she sought to illuminate the lives of African women who could serve as beacons of hope and inspiration for others. Her magazine’s global audience was evident by her Instagram account with more than 200,000 followers.

“As an hommage to Patricia, we hope to create an online magazine with shared photos and stories about Patricia to share with her family, friends and followers,” Koupal said.

According to Patricia’s mother, Josephine Ouma, an educational fund is being established in Patricia’s name.

“The family has decided to support her vision of helping young people,” she said, “particularly young, disadvantaged women acquire skills that would help them be economically independent by setting up a Patricia Miswa Education Trust Fund.”

Koupal added that Patricia will continue as the inspiration and driving force for a new CSU Communications initiative.

“We planned to start ‘You Got This,’ a program seeking student success stories that would encourage fellow students struggling through various aspects of college life,” Koupal. “It was to be Patricia’s graduate project modeled largely after her empowering work with AfroElle. In memory of Patricia, that initiative will continue. I have to believe that somehow she will be telling us all, ‘You Got This’ as we move forward.”

Anyone seeking more information should contact Lenny Koupal or the Kearney International Center at Minnesota State Mankato. 

December 2017 RSO : MNSU Public Relations Society of America ( PRSSA )

Get to know PRSSA

  1. What is the focus of your organization and what are some of the activities you conduct? We are one of many chapters of a national PRSSA organization. We talk about what is going on in the PR world and how to prepare for our future career.
  2. When did your organization start at Minnesota State University, Mankato? Our organization was started in 2002 by Dr. Jane McConnell.
  3. How many members do you currently have? We currently have 29 members.
  4. How often do you meet?  We meet every Wednesday at 6:45 p.m. in the Heritage Room.
  5. What leadership positions can someone hold within your chapter?  We have the positions of president, Vice President, treasurer, social media chair, tours and speakers chair, and volunteer and fundraising chair.
  6. What are your goals of your organization and how to you attain them? Our goal is to further educate students as to what PR is, and to help increase their skills beyond the classroom prior to graduation.
  7. What is the greatest achievement your organization has received? Our greatest achievement would be in the connections that we get to make by visiting real PR firms in the cities as well as speaking with professionals at our meetings.
  8. How do you join? Anyone can join! Just show up to a meeting. However, there is a $75 fee to be a recognized member.
  9. Why should someone join your organization? PRSSA is a great experience for anyone. It is a great way to build connections, practice skills and to get ahead in the field of public relations. – Jennifer Skalicky, president of MNSU PRSSA

Connect with PRSSA on Facebook 

Q & A with Taylor Zenz

Taylor Zenz works as a Public Relations intern in the Centennial Student Union’s Communications department and she is the CSU Student Employee of the Month for November 2017. We quizzed Taylor on very important topics so you could get to know her better.

A BRIEF PROFILE

Name: Taylor Zenz

Hometown: Anoka, MN

Major: Mass Media

Occupation: CSU Public Relations Intern

Birthday: July 24, 1996

15 VERY IMPORTANT QUESTIONS

  1. If you could witness any event past, present or future, what would it be? Contact with other life on different planets
  2. What did you want to be when you grew up? A dentist
  3. What is the happiest moment in your in your life so far? Receiving my acceptance letter to MSU.
  4. If you could live anywhere, where would that be? ANYWHERE on the west coast that’s warm. Maybe California or Hawaii.
  5. If you could have dinner with three famous people (current or historic), who would they be? Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Luke Bryan (My 3 favorite people)
  6. What is your favorite childhood memory? Tubing on the Mississippi River every weekend with my friends.
  7. What is your most prized possession? My Netflix account. There’s nothing like rewinding after a long day watching your favorite show.
  8. What tops your “bucket list?” To go backpacking through New Zealand.
  9. If you could have a super power, what would it be? To be able to transport myself to different places. Goodbye long travel times!
  10. What is the one thing or achievement you are most proud of? Being elected VP Public Relations and Marketing on the Panhellenic Council.
  11. If you could start your dream business, what would it be? My own public relations firm helping small businesses grow.
  12. What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you? I was the most shy person you’d ever meet before I came to college. College really opened me up!
  13. How do you hope to be remembered (what will people say at your eulogy)? That I was a great friend and role model.
  14. What three words best describe you? Personable, energetic, outgoing.
  15. What do you like most about Minnesota State University, Mankato? The college community. I love walking down any given hallway and seeing a familiar and friendly face.

November 2017 RSO: Dream Closet

Get to know Dream Closet

  1. What is the focus of your organization? The focus of Dream Closet is to offer free clothing for people in the community who need a helping hand. Once a semester, we put on a free shopping event in MSU-Mankato’s Centennial Student Union Ballroom. The clothes we provide at these events are donated in boxes by members in the community.
  2. When did your organization start on our campus? How many members do you currently have? Dream Closet was started in an entrepreneurship class on MSU-Mankato’s campus in 2013. We currently have approximately 20 members in the organization.
  3. How often do you meet? What offices do you offer within the chapter? We meet two times a month. The offices we offer are social media/marketing advisory and tasks are otherwise assigned based on member interest.This year, we are changing leadership and that has been a challenge. However, we are excited to use this opportunity to create a new vision for Dream Closet. 
  4. What are your goals? Our goals for our organization is to continue to have more people come to our events, and to be more active in our community.
  5. What is the greatest achievement your organization has received? The greatest achievement Dream Closet has received is last spring our organization was chosen for Summit and Jacob Heights honorary charity.
  6. How do you join? If someone is interested in joining Dream Closet, they can join via our OrgSync page (Dream Closet for Girls). Dream Closet is a great opportunity to give back to your community and experience first-hand the way the community comes together in a supportive way.
  7. When is your next event? The next free shopping event will be in the Spring of 2018, follow us on Facebook for updates.

Connect with Dream Closet-Mankato on Facebook

October 2017 RSO: Black Motivated Women

Get to know Black Motivated Women – Mankato

  1. What is the focus of your organization? The purpose of Black Motivated Women is to provide a safe space for African and African-American women on campus to voice our opinions on social, economic and political issues as they pertain to the black community.
  2. When did your organization start on our campus? How many members do you currently have?The organization was created in 2014, but was brought back to the MNSU campus officially in the fall of 2017. We currently have a consistent 35 members, but over the past few weeks we have had a maximum of about 60 students attending our meetings.
  3. How often do you meet? What offices do you offer within the chapter? We meet bi-weekly on Thursdays from 6pm-7:30pm. Location varies between CSU 238 and CSU 253/4/5 depending on the week. We typically send the specifics of each meeting in an email to our members.
  4. What are your goals? Our biggest goals are empowering women of color on campus, strengthening the bonds of black women here in Mankato, and bridging the achievement gap. We want our girls to graduate and excel in life after college.
  5. What is the greatest achievement your organization has received? Receiving October RSO of the month has been the greatest achievement for our organization.
  6. How do you join? Joining BMW is simple! All students have to do is attend one of our meetings and sign up to receive our emails or send a formal request to join on Orgsync.

Connect with Black Motivated Women on Facebook 

Faculty Faces features Queen Booker

EDITOR’S NOTE: Many of you have your favorite classroom mentor – that professor or instructor who made learning fun, who believed in you and inspired a passion to learn or pursue your dreams. If you have a faculty member you would like to see featured, send an email to csuinfo@mnsu.edu

Continental Traveler Seeks Global Community 

By Patricia Anyango
Graduate Assistant, CSU Communications

 

Queen Booker still needs to see the bottom of the world.

An associate professor of Management within the College of Business who loves to travel, Queen said many would be surprised to know that she has travelled to all the continents except Antarctica. Among her favorite – and most daring – journeys was her travels in Angola during the late 1990s.

“I loved the people and the most courageous thing I ever did was travel there to determine what aid was needed for civilians who were trying to survive the civil war,” she said. The payoff was knowing that what she was doing in Angola had a positive effect.

A native of the Mississippi Delta, Queen has always been passionate about helping communities and making them stronger. She has worked with the Ford Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other nonprofit organizations focusing on economic empowerment of rural communities.

Although her background is in community development, Queen got into academia to serve as a resource and source of encouragement to students.  Helping them see the importance of community and economic development is at the heart of her teaching philosophy.

“Be engaged, think and look outside your classroom and yourself and look at how you can make a difference in your community,” is her advice to students.

Besides the classroom, Queen offers guidance to students involved with African Students’ Organization for Development and Progress (ASODP), Liberia Student Association & African Student Association (ASA). In and outside the classroom, Queen remains actively involved in the advancement of diversity on campus. You may also find her singing some of the R&B classics in Centennial Student Union during daytime karaoke events.


I would like for students to remember me as someone who genuinely cared about their long-term success and well-being. –  Queen Booker


Queen holds a doctorate from the University of Mississippi, an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and a bachelor’s from Harvard University. During her 14 years at Minnesota State Mankato, she has taught subjects like Principles of Management, Ethics, Operations Management and Management Information Systems.


If she had a superpower, what would it be? 12 questions with Queen Booker

  1. What did you do for fun growing up? I was and still am a complete bookworm. I read books. My early favorites were the Child Craft books and World Book encyclopedias followed closely by the Sam and Ann adventure series, especially in the later books where the authors focused on Greek and Roman mythology.
  2. What is your favorite childhood memory? When I was in first grade, I was named homecoming queen of our elementary and middle schools. It was the one and only time I have ever been Queen Queen!
  3. Would you rather watch a movie or read a book? Oh in a heartbeat: Read a book!
  4. Which superpower would you choose? I would chose the power to summon the elements of a storm (lightning; rain; wind; snow) like Thor.
  5. Which fad do you wish would come back, and which do you wish would disappear?  The fad that I wish would disappear is the practice of wearing pants around the hips and the one I wish would come back is men opening the car door for women.
  6. Do you collect anything? I collect post cards and t-shirts. Instead of taking pictures when I travel I purchase post cards and t-shirts to recall my favorite memories of my trips.
  7. What would you do if you weren’t a professor? If I weren’t a professor, I would most likely have been a writer of “love inspired” religious novels.
  8. What does your perfect day include? A perfect day for me is one where it snows and then it stops before I have to drive in it! I love the snow but hate driving in it!
  9. Who is your hero/heroine? I don’t have a specific hero/heroine. But I admire anyone who is willing to stand up for what they truly believe as long as it doesn’t bring harm to others or themselves.
  10. Where in the world would you like to live? I would love to live in the Mississippi delta again. There is just something about being able to get peaches and plums fresh off the tree!
  11. If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to? If I could go back in time, I would go back to 1982 and relive my first year of college. I made many mistakes during that first year including but not limited to eating too many Nutty Bars and Oreo cookies that caused me miss a few classes. Missing those few classes could have ended my academic future but I was lucky enough to have professors who cared enough to address my problem and helped me to continue my education. Being a professor now, I realize how important it was to have caring professors but I also know that it was my responsibility to take care of myself. So I would go back and be a better person during that first year of college.
  12. If you could share a meal with any 3 individuals, living or dead, who would they be?  If I could share a meal with any three individuals, I would choose my mom, my maternal Aunt Mae Bell and my maternal grandmother Gertrude all of whom have passed on. I never had the chance to share a meal with them at the same time although all three had a profound impact on the woman I now am.

Q & A With Bethelhem Legesse

Bethelhem Legesse works in the Centennial Student Union’s Operations department and she is the CSU Student Employee of the Month for September 2017. We quizzed Bethelhem on very important topics so you could get to know her better.

A BRIEF PROFILE

Name: Bethelhem Legesse

Hometown: Ethiopia

Major: Electrical Engineering

Occupation: Student

Birthday: May 4

 

  1. If you could witness any event past, present or future, what would it be? The building of the pyramid
  2. What did you want to be when you grew up? An engineer

  3. What is the happiest moment in your life so far? When I got accepted to Minnesota State University, Mankato
  4. If you could live anywhere, where would that be?  Fiji

  5. If you could have dinner with three famous people (current or historic), who would they be? Moses and David from the bible and Steve Jobs

  6. What is your favorite childhood memory? Hanging out with my parents and siblings over the weekend
  7. What is your most prized possession? My family

  8. What tops your “bucket list?” Flying in a hot air balloon
  9. If you could have a super power, what would it be? Flying
  10. If you could start your dream business, what would it be? Owning a cupcake store 

  11. What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you. I’m double-jointed 

  12. How do you hope to be remembered (what will people say at your eulogy)? That I impacted lives
  13. What three words best describe you? Adventurous, open minded, relatable 

  14. What do you like most about Minnesota State University, Mankato? The vibrant social life

 

September 2017 RSO: MSU Mankato Swing Dance Club

                                                                                            Swing Dance club members

Get to know MSU Mankato Swing Dance Club

  1. What is the focus of your organization? To teach people how to swing dance and create a fun and welcoming environment for meet new people.
  2. When did your organization start on our campus? How many members do you currently have? We started in 2006 and we have roughly 20-30 members.
  3. How often do you meet? What offices do you offer within the chapter? We meet every Monday in either the ballroom of the CSU or the flex space next to the Bullpen of the CSU. Within the club we have the office of the President and Vice President as well as treasurer, secretary, and media positions.
  4. What are your goals? To teach swing dancing skills ( we have three types) and to create a social environment.
  5. What is the greatest achievement your organization has received? As a club we do not compete but some members have gone on to compete after learning how to dance at our club.
  6. How do you join? You show up with an open mind.
  7. Why should someone want to join your organization? Swing dancing is a skill that can be applicable throughout your life and is a great way to be social.

The Effects of Music on the Brain

  • Music keeps the brain active – even while sleeping
  • Instrumental music is more conducive to concentration
  • Surgeons perform better when listening to music
  • Music can reduce blood pressure and is a defense against anxiety, depression and stress
  • Types of music impact our relationships and willingness to help others.

Even if we listen to music in a passive state and largely as a means to relax or let go, music is anything but. Whether you use it when you exercise or during a power nap, your brain, when in contact with music, is working at full!

Since the 1950s, many studies have focused on identifying the action of music on the brain.

Music and Work

Not everyone has the same needs when it comes to music and work. Some prefer silence despite scientific proof that music helps to focus and improve efficiency and creativity.

In 1994, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported a spectacular difference in performance of stressful operations between surgeons operating with their music of choice versus those that operated in silence.

In general, instrumental music has been shown to be more conducive to concentration than alternative forms. Lyrics and singing may cause distraction even if it is in an unconscious manner. That being said, the type of work being done and the monotony of the task will affect this.

The Mozart effect

Listen to music and your body, in particularly your brain, will say thank you. With slower music, it can improve circulation and dramatically reduce blood pressure.

According to a 2004 study involving rats listening to Mozart, music generates a supply of calcium to the brain that produces dopamine, inhibiting the sympathetic nervous system and reducing blood pressure. This also explains why music acts as a defense against anxiety, depression and stress.

Music makes us better

Beyond the biological benefits of music, it is now proven that it even has impact on our relationship with others.

A 2009 study revealed that if one is subjected to a happy music, the people who surround us will seem happier.

Even more surprising is the experience of psychologists Rona Fried and Leonard Berkowitz of the University of New York: they subjected a group of students to listen to calm music; another to stimulating music; a third group to music producing negative emotions; and lastly one with no music at all. The students were then asked to render a service. Students submitted to the calming music were more likely to help (90%), followed by those in the third group and those who did not listen to music (60%) and in last, the group subjected to more negative music (45%).

Moral of the story: listen, sing, play! It’s good for the body and for the soul.

Taken From Karaoke Version Blog

Alumni Memories Sought; Centennial Student Union Plans 50th Celebration Homecoming Day, Oct. 7


The Centennial Student Union invites students and alumni to join its 50th Anniversary Reunion Celebration on Homecoming Day, Saturday, Oct. 7.

Highlighting CSU reunion festivities during Minnesota State University, Mankato Homecoming Day 2017 activities will be an afternoon reception starting at 3:30 p.m. in the CSU Hearth Lounge. Other days activities will be a morning light breakfast, an invitation to participate in the Homecoming Day parade, and an evening “family friendly” event.

Mark Constantine, director of the Centennial Student Union, said activities celebrating the student union’s 50th anniversary will begin at the start of the Fall 2017 semester and continue through Homecoming 2017.

“We are reaching out to all alumni – and particularly our past CSU student employees – to return to the Centennial Student Union on Homecoming Day to help us celebrate,” Constantine said. “We also are inviting all alumni to share photos and memories shaped in the CSU as a part of a Fall ‘Serendipitous Memories’ art show planned in the CSU Art Gallery.”

“We are reaching out to all alumni – and particularly our past CSU student employees – to return to the Centennial Student Union on Homecoming Day to help us celebrate. We also are inviting all alumni to share photos and memories shaped in the CSU as a part of a Fall ‘Serendipitous Memories’ art show planned in the CSU Art Gallery.” – Mark Constantine

Photos and memories can be shared on the CSU 50th Anniversary website, www.csu.mnsu/50thAnniversary. Shared memories will be displayed in a CSU Art Gallery exhibit from August through the Homecoming celebration.

“Maybe the CSU is where you met your life partner, found a lifelong Greek community or discovered a personal passion,” Constantine said. “We want to share your CSU memories.”

The CSU also is creating a 50th anniversary display that will be used in the CSU throughout the 2017-18 academic year as well as with the University’s planned Sesquicentennial traveling display. The CSU display will include a video timeline featuring CSU directors, key staff members and special guests.