Toilets on Campus: Student Favorites

by REED CARR, CSU Public Relations Intern

Minnesota State, Mankato campus is packed with great places to go number two.

While most of us would rather be in the comfort of our homes while dropping the kids off at the pool, we have classes to attend. Luckily, there is a variety of different bathrooms at MSU.

“I spend most of my time in the library, so that’s where the majority of my bathroom time is spent,” said a marketing major. “The library doesn’t have any individual bathrooms, but there are shared rooms on every floor that have plenty of stalls. I usually go up to the third floor because it has the least traffic and it’s hidden pretty well.”

The library may have plenty of reading material, but some people need more seclusion while letting the dogs out.

“CSU 107 is the only way to go if you’ve really got to go,” said an international business major. “I make sure I only use individual bathrooms that have a door that locks when I got to do my business. There are only a few really good ones on campus.”

Individual restrooms are a must if you’re having a true emergency. Unfortunately, even single occupancy lavatories can have their downsides.

“The single person bathrooms in Trafton South are risky because, for some reason, the locks don’t work,” said a mechanical engineering major. “I still use them when I’m in a rush though. I just put my bag in front of the door in case someone tries to walk in. Hopefully they’re fixed soon, or I’m going to change my spot.”

If you haven’t found the best spot in school to take a royal squat, take a long walk around campus when you get the chance. It’s best to have a strategy before duty calls.

5 Things I’ll Miss About MSU

by REED CARR, CSU Public Relations Intern

Memorial Library

There is something mystifying to me about sitting in a library surrounded by mountains stories and philosophies I have no knowledge of. Even more so when it’s pitch black outside, a cup of black coffee in hand, in one of the unoccupied corners of the second floor of the Memorial Library. I spent hours ignoring homework in exchange for hours of being lost between the dusty pages of James Joyce, Ernest Hemmingway, Edgar Allan Poe and countless others. It made studying the next day a rigorous, hurried process, but I feel nighttime in the library is when and where I learned most.

 

The Newsletter

 My final semester at MSU has been my best yet as I’ve worked with some really great people to deliver weekly events and news through the MSU newsletter, inSIDER. I came to MSU as a marketing major and realized my talents laid in writing to the masses, not selling to them. The inSIDER has evolved my writing in a way I didn’t expect and I was able to have a blast with fellow writers and mentors while doing it. If you’re looking for an internship in writing next year, talk to Leonard Koupal in the CSU. He’s the man!

 

The Professors

 Mass media and English department professors at MSU are a large part of the reason I was able to keep a positive attitude with my schooling and my future. While they are the ones that assigned 10-page papers and at times asked class to read an entire book in one day, those hurdles taught the most. They have always been up for a chat about class discussion, travel, food and anything in between.

 

Campus and Changing Seasons

 There’s nothing quite like the beginning of a new school year. As the trees burst into reds and oranges, the MSU campus’ artistic, monumental and memorial decorations give the campus a nostalgic feel. Students sport purple and yellow as Blakeslee Stadium rumbles on the other side of Stadium Rd. Minnesota autumn is second to none, but I suppose the beginning of May isn’t such a bad time of the school year either.

 

The Diversity

 Growing up in Kilkenny—a town of 108 people—and moving to Mankato opened my eyes in so many ways. I met people who have helped me grow academically, spiritually and culturally. I’ve met friends that made class not only knowledgeable but fun. I’ll miss walking through the halls seeing all the friendly faces. No matter what I do after graduation, I’ll always be proud to have been a MSU Maverick.

Renewed Responsibility in Sexual Encounters

by REED CARR, CSU Public Relations Intern

“Affirmative consent,” a policy adopted by Minnesota State College and Universities in February, helps spot the difference between a green light and a yellow light in a sexual encounter.

The Minnesota State Board of Trustees policy change was urged by college students and faculty in an attempt to halt sexual violence on campus.

Laura Schultz, Assistant Director of Violence Awareness & Response Program at Minnesota State, Mankato, explains that the new policy “places the responsibility of making sure that consent is present on the person instigating sex. So instead of someone having to say a verbal “No” for an incident to be considered sexual assault, this policy encourages folks to think about the way that a verbal, enthusiastic, ongoing “Yes” should be present for both parties to feel sure that this is fully consensual.”

Not only are college students required to engage in “Affirmitive Consent” before sex, but faculty and the Board of Trustees are holding themselves to the same standard in an attempt to show the importance of consent.

“This policy is meant to encourage everyone to fully understand how important it is to ensure consent,” Schultz said. “Hopefully policies like this one will make folks think more specifically about what actions they are taking to be sure that each partner is fully agreeing to each step of the way. Hopefully it will increase communication and make clear what’s expected of all who are engaging in any specific sex act.”

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center reported one in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college. This new consensual footing helps define the sometimes blurry lines in an intimate setting.

LGBT Center Anniversary

HELPING STUDENT FIND THEIR VOICE FOR 40 YEARS

by TAYLOR ZENZ, CSU Public Relations Intern

This year is all about traditions and anniversaries. Alongside the University’s 150th and the Centennial Student Unions 50th celebrations, the LGBT Center hosted their 40thanniversary this past week.

Back when it was still Mankato State, the University became the second school in the nation to have a campus-based LGBT Center. In 1977, the “Alternative Lifestyle Center” was found with only a few student volunteers and a graduate assistant as part of their staff.

Now, the landmark LGBT Center has an independent office, a full-time coordinator, Jessica Flatequal, and hundreds of students who visit the Center each week.

One student, Graham Waitt, is especially thankful for the LGBT Center this year. As a nontraditional student who felt lost in school, he joined the LGBT Center and never looked back.

“I would not be who I am today without the people that I met simply by hanging out in the Center,” Graham mentions, “I think the biggest impact was that it helped me find my own voice that I didn’t realize I had. It helped me become a strong advocate and ally for the community that I now call home.”

Like many other students, Graham didn’t find the comfort of the LGBT Center right away. As a freshman on campus, he didn’t feel comfortable enough to go into the Center or to volunteer. When returning to Minnesota State Mankato after taking time off, he knew that he didn’t want to let a second chance pass him by. After meeting a close friend in Residential Life who ultimately invited Waitt to join her in the Center, he found himself visiting frequently and making friends.

“It was one of the best decisions that I ever made in college,” Graham said.

Joining the LGBT Center provides endless opportunities for students. For Graham, it’s given him the opportunity to get out in the community and give back. He’s been able to attend several LGBT conferences around the Midwest and was given chances to be a speaker at peer panels to educate the community on LGBT-specific issues. He also has had the privilege to help with campus Drag Shows and Mankato Pride.

Graham is not only an advocate for the LGBT Center and community, but an advocate for finding your true self.

“That’s what we all want in the end, right?” he stated.

To learn more about the LGBT Center on campus, visit https://www.mnsu.edu/lgbtc.

 

 

“See Us” Draws Attention to the Underrepresented

By BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Intern

Students and female athletes made a powerful statement April 16 when they began their “See Us” campaign at Minnesota State Mankato.

“The campaign’s purpose is to spread awareness of the underrepresentation, sexualization and judgements made toward female athletes based on their appearances rather than talented abilities,” said Callie Rohlik, the head of MSU’s campaign.

Rohlik and her group of fellow honors program members, Olivia Thomas, Samuel Oluwadoromi and Mellary Jayathunge, got the idea from Courtney Place, a student-athlete from Augustana University in Sioux Falls, S. D., who started the campaign at her school a few months ago.

“’See Us’ had been getting an increasing recognition from female athletes and supporters throughout southwestern Minnesota and I wanted to aid in her expansion by bringing it to MSU,” Rohlik said. “An MSU softball athlete had served as a rep for her movement and I knew fellow female athletes at Minnesota State would love to join the movement as well.

Rohlik, her group and athletes set up a table in the Centennial Student Union with a bright pink display board with the “See Us” logo surrounding an opening where athletes could pose for a picture, which was then sent to social media with the #SEEUS hashtag.

The campaign focus comes from various injustices female athletes face compared to male athletes. A study done by Cheryl Cooky and Nicole Lavoi that analyzed women’s sports after Title IX found that the media coverage for female athletics was only two percent of all news coverage in 2009.

“That particular statistic was appalling to my group members and myself,” Rohlik said. “We believe there’s no reason female athletics shouldn’t be broadcasted just as often as male sporting events.”

Rohlik expressed that injustice for female athletes doesn’t end with broadcast inequality.

“Another issue lies within the perspectives and comments viewed and made by many throughout the world. These statements regard sexualizing females based on their uniforms or judging their incredible talents through negative statements like, ‘Well she’s really good, but that’s because she’s basically a man. Did you see those quads?’” she said. “These judgmental comments are why we joined Courtney’s movement and what we are trying to place an end to.”

Rohlik says students can show support for the movement by following “See Us” on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and by being active fans at female athletic events.

“Support those that are underrepresented and respect their amazing athletic talents just as one would a male athlete.”

Rohlik, Thomas, Oluwadoromi and Jayathunge are all members of MSU’s Honors Program and were inspired to become activists for “See Us” after going through the “Social Change in the 21st Century” seminar, which is apart of the Honors Program. More information for “See Us” can be found by visiting the movement’s social media pages “See Us Movement.”

Out With the Bottle, in With the Box

By BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Intern

Four honors students passionate about creating a healthier environment are encouraging MSU to make a switch from plastic to paper water bottles.

Madison Hoffman, Mackenzie Dockendorf, Anna Hagan and Ugochi Nwachukwu generated the idea in their “Honors Social Change in the 21st Century” class after a shared interest in helping the school become more environmentally friendly.

Hoffman and her classmates did research on plastic water bottles and found that 30 billion plastic bottles are consumed in the United States each year and of those, 80 percent end up in a landfill or the ocean. This has led to major pollution — including a patch of garbage in the Pacific Ocean made up of primarily plastic that is the size of Texas. They also found the MSU’s sustainability plan had no information about reducing plastic waste.

The group decided that boxed water was something that could start to address these issues and help MSU begin reducing its footprint.

“Campus currently has nothing like boxed water,” Hoffman said. “The sustainability plan is gaining traction because of Student Government and green campus organizations who have made some changes, but we are still somewhat saddened by the school’s plan and think that something like this will get more people to notice the environmental impact the university has on the planet.”

The group has created a petition that has already gained support from 225 people. Hoffman said the petition is important because it’s a representation of student voices that can be shown to dining services and Sodexo and kick start the change.

“We want students to get involved with environmental committees and turn this into a snowball effect where people start caring about social and environmental change on this campus,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman said that she and her group have the support of Student Government President-elect, MeMe Cronin, and are meeting with Kari Doffing, Dining Services General Manager, to bring boxed water to campus. Additionally, they have crafted a letter to Sodexo, the catering company in charge of all of MSU’s food services, encouraging them to consider making a switch to boxed water on the campuses they serve.

A few campuses in the U.S., including Michigan State and Hope College, have already implemented boxed water and the feedback has been very positive.

The biggest drawback Hoffman sees for boxed water is the cost. Each box costs 10 cents more than a plastic bottle, which begins to stack up in large quantities. However, she said that she and her group are working with the distributor, Boxed Water Is Better, to bring down the cost with a quantity discount.

She also believes the benefits of boxed water outweigh the additional cost. Boxed water is completely recyclable as 76 percent of the container is made from paper from sustainably managed forests that are continually replanted to make up for the losses. The water is purified through reverse osmosis and ultraviolet filtration, which leads to better hydration and taste.

Boxed water containers also decompose faster than 450 years – the time it takes a plastic bottle to decompose – making them better for the environment should they still end up in landfills.

Boxed Water Is Better, the company that would supply the boxed water to MSU, began in Grand Rapids, Mich. in 2009. Since then, the company has gained traction by being sold in major cities like Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta. They’ve received celebrity endorsements and also made their way into large music festivals such as Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits where they’ve sold over 300,000 boxes of water. They donate 1 percent of their sales revenue to environmentally-minded organizations.

Students wanting to support and the sign the petition to bring boxed water to MSU can do so by signing the digital petition on Change.org.

MSU Dance Marathon Continues to Make Miracles

More Than $30,000 Raised For Gillette Specialty Healthcare

By BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Intern

After a record-breaking fundraising effort, MSU Dance Marathon is already starting to prepare for next year’s Mavathon.

MSU Dance Marathon set a Minnesota record by raising over $30,000 for Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare between April 2017 and February 2018. The efforts were celebrated Feb. 24 with the group’s featured “Mavathon” event.

The 11-hour event included testimonials from families benefitting from money Dance Marathon raises, mini fundraisers, games, free food, karaoke, bowling, billiards, Zumba, capture the flag, cosmic bingo and more. The event was a huge success, despite some unfriendly weather.

“We had a snowstorm the day of Mavathon, which proved to be challenging at some points, but overall the event went awesome,” said Sarah McClain, one of the 2018-2019 Dance Marathon co-presidents.

McClain and her co-president, Reggie Evenson, aren’t sitting back on the success of the event. They’ve already started accepting applications for the next executive board, which is responsible for planning Mavathon and coordinating the various fundraisers throughout the year. McClain said she’s excited for what’s to come because being a part of the executive team has been a great experience.

“Being on exec was extremely rewarding and taught me a lot about leadership,” she said. “It’s a great way to get involved and it also looks very good on a resume.”

Graduate advisor for the exec team, Travis Higgs, said Dance Marathon has made him feel like he’s made a difference in the world.

“I have an extreme soft spot for philanthropy and giving back to the community. We are directly impacting our local Gillette Children’s Specialty Heathcare,” he said. “The wonderful feeling of working hard and seeing the event come to life is extremely rewarding.”

The executive board needs a wide variety of people as the positions cover everything from event planning to recruiting to marketing to donations and fundraising. Positions on the executive board include the following chairs: operations, entertainment and events, catering, marketing and media, finance, fundraising, corporate donations and sponsorships, family relations and morale captain.

Applications can be found on MSU Dance Marathon’s Orgsync page at https://orgsync.com/65960/forms/99860. A valid Minnesota State University Star ID and password is required to apply.

Dance Marathon is a nationwide organization that raises money for the Children’s Miracle Network and its affiliates. Marathons, like Mavathon, are student-planned events at colleges and high schools all across the nation. Collectively, dance marathons have raised $5 billion for the Children’s Miracle Network. Mavathon is Minnesota’s largest dance marathon and has raised more than $100,000 for Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare dating back to 2009 when it started at MSU.

‘Embrace Your Voice’ Is Theme for Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Taken from March 28, 2018, University Media Relations News Release

Focusing on the national theme of “Embrace Your Voice,” a month of programming during Sexual Assault Awareness Month is planned for April by the Violence Awareness and Response Program at Minnesota State Mankato.

According to Laura Schultz, VARP coordinator, a series of events throughout the month are planned on campus to raise student awareness about sexual violence and prevention of sexual violence. Programming provides tools and resources needed toward ending sexual violence.

Recognizing the power of one’s voice can range from practicing or providing consent to speaking out against stereotypes or gender biases, she added.

All the events are free and open to the public. Events that require an RSVP are noted on the month’s schedule. For more information, contact Laura Schultz at laura.schultz-1@mnsu.edu or 507-389-5127.

Otto Rec Electrified for Group Workout

by TAYLOR ZENZ, CSU Public Relations Intern

Earlier this month, The Student Events Team collaborated with Campus Rec for an event that made students rave: Cosmic Otto Rec.

Cosmic events on our campus have grown extremely popular in the past few years. Events like Cosmic bowling and cosmic bingo have been popular in the past, but nothing like this. Cosmic Rec transformed Otto Rec Center into a 2-night energetic party decked out with animated lighting, special effects and loud music.

Alex Weiland, concert chair for the Student Events Team and the brains behind the event, wanted to bring a different and unique atmosphere to Otto Rec. He also hoped that the event would encourage more people to visit Otto Rec and give something extra to those who are regulars.

Apart from the special effects, there were special activities that included Zumba classes, hip-hop cardio, a “Just Dance” competition and 1K running races around the track. Both nights were electrifying, but Weiland’s favorite part was “Seeing the reactions of everyone when they first walked in and saw the concert-style lighting and music filling up the Otto Rec Center.” He said the student reaction was very positive and it was a successful

“Everyone at Campus Rec was great to work with. Everyone was very helpful and encouraging of trying something new and creative in the space,” Weiland said. Campus Rec was happy with the event and plan to host again in the future.

Building Teamwork Part Of Adventure Education Program

by REED CARR, CSU Public Relations Intern

Mavericks are finding that classrooms are only one of many sources for cultivating knowledge on campus. Team climbing and high-ropes courses can be just as beneficial.

Sam Steiger, director of the Adventure Education Program at Minnesota State, Mankato helps foster leadership, teambuilding and self-motivation through experiential learning.

“Sometimes people shorten the program into just running the ropes course, but we actually provide way more,” Steiger said. “If we are able to have multiple interactions with a group in experiential learning as a team, it really solidifies that learning effectiveness, and we feel it’s a great way to compliment any topic.”

The Adventure Education Program is often used by RSOs, sports teams and some special needs groups in the area. They’ve even worked with corporations like Target and Taylor Corp.

“We like to work with groups who integrate what we do into their curriculum,” Steiger said. “The college of business uses our program at the beginning of their integrated business experience. Their first interaction together is in our program learning team skills and how to communicate. That’s a great example of how the program can be used for learning.”

Steiger was the inspiration for the rock-climbing walls that boast over 20,000 climbers each year. Growing community interest in climbing has led to The Whipper Snapper Spring Climbing Competition—an annual event hosted by Campus Rec. There are plans to push the program even further to offer a wide range of rental equipment.

“You could rent outdoor equipment like tents, sleeping bags, paddle boards, kayaks, bicycles, rollerblades—there is a huge demand for it,” Steiger said. “Students are very excited about the potential of using expensive equipment for cheap on their own adventures.”

The Adventure Education Program, brainchild of Dr. Jasper Hunt, has come a long way since it began in 1982. Dr. Hunt built the outdoor challenge course as a lab for MSU’s Experiential Education majors. The program continues to expand as Mankato students and residents seek new ways to achieve mental and physical strength.

Thanks to those who work hard to maintain and propel the program, tens of thousands of people utilize and learn from the facilities each year.

The outdoor ropes course and climbing wall will be available starting Sunday, April 15. Contact the Adventure Education Program office to schedule a group or solo session—no fee for students.