CSU Serendipity Music Series Welcomes The OK Factor Dec. 11

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The OK Factor, a cello-violin duo, will offer a break from Finals Week and help welcome in the holiday season with a Tuesday, Dec. 11, free performance from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union Hearth Lounge.

Free hot chocolate will be available in the Hearth Lounge while supply lasts.

 As part of the CSU Finals Week Stressbusters, the CSU Serendipity Music Series performance features Olivia Diercks and Karla Colahan, cellist and violinist performing a unique “genre-bending” string performance that the duo labels as new-classical crossover. The ease with which they write and perform has caught the attention of the Minnesota music community where they were named finalists for the prestigious McKnight Fellowships for Musicians in 2018.

 The duo returns for their second December StressBusters performance after a 2017 Serendipity Music Series debut that featured their newly-released holiday CD entitled Have Yourself An OK Christmas. This year’s performance comes as the duo prepares to release their fourth CD – Love, The OK Factor – offering a selection of lullabies and love songs.

Massages By Lindsy Offer Peace During Finals Week

Free 10-minute massage sessions with Lindsy Bottger are a traditional part of Finals Week StressBusters offered by the Centennial Student Union. 

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Massage Therapist Lindsy Bottger believes her 10-minute sessions should do more than relax tense muscles. They are designed to bring peace to mind, body and spirit.

“Your whole-body wellness is a mind, body and spirit connection,” said Bottger, who returns to offer massages as part of the Centennial Student Union’s ongoing Finals Week StressBusters.

Bottger will offer free 10-minute massages Monday, Dec. 10, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesday, Dec. 11, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Wednesday, Dec. 12, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in CSU 201. A daily sign-up sheet will be posted outside the room each morning. Massage sign-up will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

A part of CSU Finals Week StressBusters for several semesters, Bottger has made a connection with students, many have become returning Finals Week clients.

“I’ve seen students from their freshman year all the way through the Master’s program,” Bottger said. “Sometimes the sessions turn into a little bit of talk therapy. We work on the body but sometimes what they really need is to separate themselves from everything. A period of silence – just to be present in the room.”

As part of her massage chair sessions, Bottger offers a peaceful ambience with soothing music and dimmed lights.

“I tell them to breathe. I try to meet them where they are – emotionally and spiritually. When your spirit is at peace it affects how your body functions and responds.”

A talented singer and thespian, Bottger is a board-certified massage therapy who received her training at the Bio-Chi Institute in Sioux City, Iowa. Her interest in massage therapy was an extension of her interest in the arts.

“In college, I studied theatre education. Then I went for massage therapy and the healing arts,” she explained. “This, too, is an artform shaped by my energies, my education and my experiences.”

Lenny Koupal, CSU communications coordinator who organizes the CSU’s Finals Week StressBusters, said common interests helped bring Bottger to campus six years ago.

“Linz and I are ol’ theatre buddies. We met through community theatre and have been friends for nearly 20 years,” Koupal said. “When I arrived at the CSU, Linz was a massage therapist in Mankato. We came up with the idea for Finals Week massages. Since then, she has moved near Bonesteel,  South Dakota, and now lives in Sioux City. She’s traveled as much as five hours – sometimes in snow – to get here for these sessions. I know she does it partly due to our friendship. More importantly, she does it because of her caring nature.”

That distinctively “Lindsy” connection fuels her passion for helping a growing list of Minnesota State Mankato students through Finals Week.

“I love what I do. I love helping people. I love connecting with people. I love networking,” she said. “I believe the power of touch can bring insight to one person’s day or make them feel valued.”

That touch ranges from relaxing massages to warm hugs.

“I give away hugs. I introduce myself and more generally than not I’m reaching for hugs. I’m a hugger,” she concluded with a laugh.

Finals Week massage therapy sessions are open to the campus community. Due to the popularity of the sessions, participants are asked to sign up for only one session.

The massages are part of the CSU Finals Week StressBusters that includes:

  • Monday night’s traditional late night breakfast starting at 10 p.m. on the MavAve;
  • Therapy dog sessions Monday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 6:30-8 p.m. in the CSU Lincoln Lounge
  • The cello-violin duo, The OK Factor, in the CSU Hearth Lounge on Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m offering free hot chocolate
  • Coloring stations by the CSU south entrance and by the Lincoln Lounge.

Late Night Yummy!

by AFURE ADAH, CSU Public Relations Assistant

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FINALS WEEK is coming up folks! You know what that means, Late. Night. Studying. We’ve all been there and will probably all be doing it these next couple of weeks. Late night study mode, activate!

To help us out, our lovely Jazzman’s Cafe, located in the CSU, is hosting a Late Night Breakfast for us. Aww!

Here is your cordial invitation,

Late Night Breakfast is an event at the end of each semester and it gives us students, who might need a little late night snack or meal, a chance to take a break and refuel for our late night cram sessions.

Food will be provided by Sodexo and the menu usually consists of pancakes, eggs, breakfast potatoes and a couple more staple breakfast items. Yum!

It will be Monday, December 10th from 10-11:30 PM, and you are all invited!

Finals Week Therapy Dogs Inspired Growth, Expansion

Maggie, the inspiration for the CSU’s Hound Hugs and Kanine Kisses title, gives another one of her trademark hugs and kisses.

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After several semesters offering therapy dogs as part of the Centennial Student Union’s Finals Week StressBusters, the tradition has grown and evolved into ongoing monthly Hound Hugs and Kanine Kisses program now being copied on other Minnesota campuses.

The Finals Week edition of Hound Hugs and Kanine Kisses will be Monday, Dec. 10, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 6:30 to 8 p.m. Both sessions are in the CSU Lincoln Lounge.

Lenny Koupal, CSU communications coordinator who oversees the therapy dog sessions in the CSU, said therapy dog visits started in 2012 to help students through stressful Finals Week.

In response to students’ request seeking more frequent visits, Fall and Spring sessions of Hound Hugs and Kanine Kisses are planned in the CSU every third Thursday of the month from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Lincoln Lounge.

Koupal said Cathy Colby, a member of the University’s IT staff and volunteer with the local therapy dogs organization, helped get the monthly sessions started.

“Cathy – and her French bulldog Gizmo – really made this happen. Other members were invited with many of them becoming monthly regulars,” Koupal said.

Inspiration for the Hound Hugs and Kanine Kisses label came from one of the therapy dog regulars.

“Maggie is this amazing British lab owned by Kay Ashley. She’s not only the canine mascot for the Mankato Moondogs baseball team, she’s the quintessential therapy dog,” Koupal said. “Maggie literally gives hugs and kisses to many of the student participants.”

Others who have helped promote the program on campus are faculty such as Dr. Mary Kramer, professor with the Health Science Department. For Health 101 classes, students can complete an out-of-class assignment by attending therapy dog sessions and sharing personal observations.

“Faculty have shared students’ reports of the evening. Some of them are quite moving with the therapy dogs helping homesickness, classroom stress and general anxiety,” Koupal said.

Kramer said the student reflections have interested her and fellow professors in possible research into the emotional impact of therapy dogs on college students.

Other area colleges offering therapy dogs include a new monthly Sunday program at Gustavus Adolphus in St. Peter. Koupal said other schools within the Minnesota State system expressing interest in similar therapy dog sessions include Hennepin Technical College and Anoka-Ramsey Community College.

Koupal said what started as a Finals Week program will continue to meet student needs. A recent CSU student survey showed therapy dog sessions were the third most popular event students attend in the CSU.

“We’ve had as many as 300 students show up for an evening session,” Koupal said. “It’s been an outstanding program.”

Chili Cook Off Helps The Campus Kitchen

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by BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Student Assistant

The Chili Cook Off, which took place Thursday, Nov. 8, was a huge success for the MSU Community Engagement Office and The Campus Kitchen.

The event, which benefited The Campus Kitchen, featured four chilis, including a smoky Texas-style chili, a white chicken chili, a sweet and spicy chili featuring a cinnamon roll and a completely vegan chili, all of which could be sampled by the campus community for just $2 or a food donation. The vegan chili, created by MSU Campus Dietitian, Lexi Cournoyer, was voted as the top chili of the competition. Her chili will be served in the University Dining Center and on Mav Ave Thursday, Nov. 15 during lunch.

In all 486 food items and over $100 in cash were collected. The donations benefited The Campus Kitchen and will continue to help provide meals to students every Monday between 6 and 6:30 p.m. Those meals are distributed by the Community Engagement (CEO), who offer several resources for students struggling with hunger and food insecurities through partnerships with the University, Crossroads Ministries, Echo Food Shelf, Salvation Army, Centenary Church, Food Not Bombs and others.

The Community Engagement Office is working on ways to further their reach to help more students by implementing a text program, which notifies subscribers when The Campus Kitchen has food available and when the CEO is hosting an event. Students can get those updates by texting SUPPORT to 76626.

The CEO is also seeking help with promotion and research development through the work of an intern. Interested students can apply and learn more through Handshake.


Maverick Holiday Carnival Tradition Continues on MNSU Campus

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Upon returning from break, Minnesota State University, Mankato is preparing for a tradition of


Photo by: Temi Adeleye, KEYC News 12

their own.

Starting back in 2015, the Community Engagement Office created the Maverick Holiday Carnival. An event that offered an opportunity for college students, holiday fans and organizations to interact with children and families in the Mankato area.

Those interested in hosting a fun event, will create booths with activities/games for elementary students in the Mankato area and their families. Elementary students will attend,play games and win prizes at each booth, which will consist of carnival games for children up to 12 years old.

“The theme this year is Candyland Holiday Carnival, so we plan to incorporate lots of Candyland themed decorations as well as holiday decorations,” said Kennedi Alstead, Community Engagement Office, Graduate Advisor.

The Maverick Holiday Carnival will take place on December 9th in the Centennial Student Union, Ballroom from 1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. However, organizations that are having an activity will have access to the ballroom starting at 11 a.m. and should be ready to go by 1:15 p.m. The actual event will take from 1:30-3:30 p.m. for the actual event and no later than 5 p.m. to take down.

The Community Engagement Office is looking for organizations, chapters, offices, and departments to host a booth for their event. Mavs in Action will pay for $50 of supplies for each group that participates. Groups that sign up before November 16th, will have the privilege of Mavs in Action getting the supplies for their game for them. The form will include, supplies needed and a description of their activity. If groups want to be a part but do not have an idea for an activity, we have many ideas available to offer.

The sign-up form will be available on engage for groups to sign up until the end of November. But those who sign up after November 16th will be in charge of getting their own supplies.

“Additionally, there will be a competition where kids can vote on their favorite booth! The winning group will receive a special prize,” said Alstead.

Organizations interested in being a part of this fun tradition can apply here and  contact kennedi.alstead@mnsu.edu for more information.

What do the Holidays look like for Internationals

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by ALEJANDRO REYES VEGA, CSU Public Relations Assistant

Imagine that you are moving to an entirely different country where maybe not even your first language is spoken. Differences will probably keep appearing food, music, stores and the people. This can be challenging at times and connecting with people from other cultures can be a struggle. However, at MSU there is a program to help international students learn and feel more comfortable.

The Friendship Family Program (FFP) is designed for (either incoming or current) international students. FFP is essentially made to assist these students to have a smooth transition from their home country to a new environment. It can be difficult for some of us to adjust into a new way of living. That’s why FFP strives to help international students learn the “American” lifestyle by having another family by their sides. FFP is also the place where passionate culture exchange happens. Students and families get to know more about each other, share cultures, and learn to embrace diversity.

The members of FFP collect applications from students and volunteer families, then match them up randomly. Usually, 1-2 students are matched with one family. At the beginning of a semester, an event is thrown for the participants to meet each other for the first time and share contacts. Throughout the semester, they have get-together events for them to connect with other students and families and have fun nights!

Thanksgiving is a holiday that is not celebrated in every country in the world, therefore, it is for many their first time. FFP helps many international students learn the traditions that make-up Thanksgiving so they can continue to learn more of the “American” culture.

However, not every international student is part of FFP and have to look for other options. In my experience, most of my friends including myself choose to travel to some new part of the United States or perhaps where some distant relatives or close friend lives. In my five years living in the United States, I have been able to visit many states along with their cities. Being international means that going home for the holidays is not always an option. Therefore, home can be that place where you gather with friends, or you choose to spend your vacation at.

Community Thanksgiving!

Photo by: Crossroads Campus Ministry-Mankato

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If you can’t go home for the Holidays where can you go?

Simple, the Crossroads Community Church located at 331 Dillon Ave, Mankato, MN 56001. If you’re coming from campus the church is right next to the preforming arts building, right behind the Trafton Science building.

The church will be hosting their 1st FREE community Thanksgiving on Thursday, Nov. 22nd at 1 p.m.

The event is for students, staff, faculty and friends. As the Crossroads motto is, “welcoming everyone of good will, no exception,” all will be welcomed at this event. Those interested in attending do not have to be Christian. There will be a free will offering basket if attendees are interested in donating.

“Food is provided, just bring yourself and your smile,” said Pastor Heath.

The menu will feature a traditional Midwest thanksgiving meal with foods such as turkey, squash, cranberries mashed potatoes, as well as apple and pumpkin pie. There will be no pork provided but, there will be board games available for those attending the meal to enjoy.

The church is looking for volunteers to help decorate tables for the thanksgiving meal. If you are interested in volunteering or need more information please contact Pastor Heather Hammond, Crossroads Pastor at CrossroadsAdvocate@gmail.com.


If you’re not interested in attending the meal but need food during holiday breaks consider visiting Crossroads Community Church. The go-to place for students who need a meal or groceries for the week. Every Tuesday, the campus cupboard and campus kitchen are open to students.

The goal of campus cupboard is to provide food for students who need help. Overall, Crossroads has had 170 people come through campus cupboard. Every Tuesday from noon to 3:00 p.m. students with their MavCard are able to get one full bag of groceries for free. There are typically 30-40 people for campus cupboard on Tuesdays.

Additionally, every Tuesday from 11:00 a.m. to 1 p.m. the church has $1 lunches available to students, faculty, staff and community members. Usually have 30-60 people come through on Tuesdays for these meals and on average 45 people attend.

For more information, visit Crossroads Community Church’s website at: https://crossroadsatmnsu.org and click on either the Campus Kitchen or Campus Cupboard tabs located at the top of the homepage.





Seasonal Sports Dome Gets Student Approval


A digital concept showing the exterior of the proposed dome as well as its location.

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UPDATED Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 11:30 a.m.

by BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Student Assistant

Minnesota State Mankato students have approved their financial support of seasonal sports dome.

Voting polls were open Tuesday, Dec. 4, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and required at least 1,078 students to vote ((half of the voter turnout for the spring Student Government election) for the votes to be considered valid. Students either voted yes, no or abstain for support of a referendum that would increase tuition by $.83 per credit capped at $10 per semester for the next 10 years beginning in fall of 2019. This increase would fund the additional $2 million needed to construct the $4 million dome.

By the times the polls closed, 2,915 students casted a vote: 1,900 voted in support of the referendum, 997 students voted opposed to the dome and 18 students abstained. The referendum passed and now a recommendation will be made to President Richard Davenport seeking his support. The final decision will be made by the Board of Trustees in late spring or early summer of 2019.

The sports dome or bubble, which will be located south of Parking Lot 23 just off of Monks Ave, will consist of three artificial turf fields, each about 75 yards long and 50 yards wide. A seasonal bubble will cover the fields from Oct. 15 to April 14.

During those colder months, the bubble will be heated to around 50 degrees and include restrooms and storage space. The dome will use indoor LED lighting. Since the dome fabric will be opaque and gray there will be no light pollution from inside. The fields would be unlighted when the bubble is down.

Student, campus and community impact

“This facility will allow us to transition many activities that are currently scheduled in Myers Field House and Schellberg Gym during the winter months on a court space to a more appropriate turf surface,” Todd Pfingsten, director of Campus Recreation, said.

Pfingsten cited soccer, rugby, lacrosse, ultimate frisbee, baseball, softball, football, cricket, walking, jogging and running as just a few of the activities that will benefit from the new space. He also said moving activities to the dome will open up more than 300 hours of court space in Myers Field House and Schellberg Gym for activities like volleyball, basketball, table tennis, badminton, pickleball, team building programs and indoor climbing. Pfingsten believes that a number of academic and activity classes will utilize the sports dome as well. He also wants students to understand the impact campus recreation facilities have on the student body.

A digital concept of the inside of the dome.

‘Over 60 percent of MSU students currently utilize the existing recreation facilities – that’s well over 9,000 students each year.’

Todd Pfingsten, Director of Campus Rec


“When you consider sports clubs, intramural sports activities, outdoor recreation, fitness and wellness, and open recreation (not including Human Performance classes and Athletics), over 60 percent of MSU students currently utilize the existing recreation facilities – that’s well over 9,000 students each year,” he said.

Pfingsten also noted “there is a strong correlation” between the improvements to the University’s recreation facilities and student wellness, which furthers the need to continue to enhance the facilities available.

“Expanded programming, excellent services and exceptional facilities promote exercise, friendship, development of social skills and leadership opportunities and make for a healthier, happier Minnesota State Mankato community,” he said.

In addition to student and campus use, the facility will be made available to the Mankato community and other surrounding communities. Early projections estimate about one-third of dome use would be by area communities renting the facility.

The dome’s availability to the community should help expansion and involvement of more youth sports and attract clinics with professional facilitators to Mankato, boosting revenue opportunities for local businesses and increasing sports tourism. In the past, area youth soccer and softball teams had expressed major interest in renting a seasonal domed space for practices and tournaments.

The roots of the proposal

The idea for the sports dome has been in the works for almost 12 years.

“The concept of a seasonal sport bubble has a long history that traces back to a failed 2007 student referendum that would have been completely student-fee-funded and a sports bubble was one component of that proposal,” Pfingsten said.

The idea reignited a few years ago when health and wellness were identified as two of the University’s key strategic initiatives.

Minnesota State Mankato President, Richard Davenport, suggested a personal commitment to providing higher quality academic, recreational and athletic facilities that would result in better facilities and healthier students.

He felt the sports dome would be an effective mean of addressing this initiative and appointed a task force in Spring 2018 to begin exploring its possibilities.

The task force, consisting of various stakeholders including administration, staff, students and student leadership, held a series of meetings between January and April.

Using past student survey data from 2006, 2014 and 2017, they identified the needs of various student groups over time and collected feedback from direct user groups including Campus Recreation, human performance classes and athletic teams. Gathered information helped the task force in making its recommendations to the President’s Cabinet in May 2018. This led to the $4 million sports dome proposal, which now has the support of the students and is likely slated for construction to begin by summer 2019.

Awareness Sleep Out

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Minnesota State University, Mankato hosts Awareness Sleep Out to educate students about homelessness.

Have you ever slept in your car for an extended period of time? Lived in temporary housing? Well, you’re not alone. Homelessness is a real issue and continues to affect millions of people each year.

This year, for Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, the Community Engagement Office at Minnesota State University, Mankato is hosting an Awareness Sleep Out. During this experiential program, students will learn more about what it is like to face hunger & housing issues that hundreds of thousands of individuals face in the United States every year.

This event will take place on Friday, November 16, in Lot 11a at 9 p.m. and will conclude Saturday (11/17) at 8 a.m. In order to participate you will need a partner to participate with and a car to stay overnight in.

“This is a good event to end on for this week because you are able to experience what individuals who are homeless may encounter,” said Kennedi Alstead.

Throughout the night there will be speakers, discussions, and activities. Participants will be given a back pack of supplies as well as several “fate cards,” which will have hypothetical situations on them. Participants will be able to live out their situations and discuss them in groups. Upon completion of this event, there will be coffee and doughnuts available and you will be able to share your experience with other participants.

If you’re interested in participating in the Homeless Awareness Sleep Out be sure to RSVP by emailing Kennedi Alstead at kennedi.alstead@mnsu.edu. Although, you will be participating in pairs, each participant needs to individually register so there’s an updated emergency contact information for everyone.