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.

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.”

2018 Greek Week Champions Have Been Named

by TIARA JELLUM, Panhellenic Council Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing

Mankato, Minn.— The Fraternity & Sorority Community’s annual Greek Week officially ended Friday at Minnesota State University, Mankato. The theme of this year’s week was “Farewell to the 90s – Cartoon Edition,” and lasted from Monday, April 9-April 13. The sororities and fraternities competed in events to accumulate points for their respective chapters while giving back to the community.

The events included a coin drive, won by Sigma Nu which resulted in more than $250.00 being donated to Habitat for Humanity. A Salvation Army clothing drive was also held. More than 4,000 items of clothing were donated. A popular event, the Cardboard Boat Regatta forced chapters to race boats made only from cardboard and duct tape across the Highland Center Pool was won by Alpha Chi Omega. The much-anticipated lip sync competition was won by the men of Sigma Nu, and the Greek God and Goddess were Ryan Muenchow from Sigma Nu, and Catherine Miller from Sigma Sigma Sigma. The overall winners of Greek Week were Sigma Nu in first place, Alpha Chi Omega in second place and Sigma Sigma Sigma in third place.

Brother & Sisterhood Spikes GPA

by TAYLOR ZENZ, CSU Public Relations Intern

Semester after semester, MSU fraternity men and sorority women set the bar high for academic standards. During fall semester, the Greek community on campus maintained a 3.13 grade point average surpassing the university’s accumulative average GPA of 3.03.

Each fraternity and sorority member has to maintain a GPA requirement for membership. However, if a particular GPA goal is reached on an individual level, chapters give incentives and rewards to those who go above and beyond.

The Fraternity & Sorority Life community also likes to reward their members with an event called “Pie for Pi,” in which members who reach a 3.14 GPA or higher are rewarded with a piece of pie at the first “All-Greek” meeting of the semester. Also, they receive recognition in the MSU newspaper, The Reporter.

“Fraternities and sororities become a mini support system for studying and are great motivators,” said Jordan Schindler, VP of Member Development and Education for Fraternity & Sorority Life. “You step into a network of diverse students on our campus and are most likely to find someone in the same major or classes as yourself and they are more than willing to help you out.”

With leadership and scholarship being two of their four core values, the Greek community is always raising their goal to set a higher GPA. This year, they hope to maintain an All Greek Average GPA of 3.14.

“I believe this goal will be reached by our amazing fraternity men and sorority women,” Schindler said. “Greek Life is life training that helps people learn how to set and reach goals on a deadline, take on leadership positions for a group of people and are always striving to improve the community around us.”

For fraternity and sorority members, maintaining good grades comes before anything else. Some chapters even require midterm checks—a required meeting with their professors about their grades halfway through the semester. This not only helps with seeing where they stand in class, but it also offers facetime with their professor, which can be a rare opportunity for students. Schindler says that midterm checks are beneficial because “executive members are able to catch problems before it is too late to help members be more successful in their classes.”

She mentions that members are motivated to get good grades because if the standards aren’t met, the opportunities and friendships that come with Fraternity & Sorority Life are in jeopardy.

“Having others look out for your success helps in the end,” Schindler added.

To learn more about Fraternity & Sorority life on campus, visit www.maverickgreeks.com

‘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.

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 

RSO Takes Fill-in-the-Blank Approach When Recruiting Student Members

EWB Officers, from left, Jordan ZumBerge, Michael Seffren, Sam Stoffels and Yoseph Ukbazghi.

EWB Officers, from left, Jordan ZumBerge, Michael Seffren, Sam Stoffels and Yoseph Ukbazghi. See more photos at end of story.

Leaders with the Engineers Without Borders chapter at Minnesota State University, Mankato seek to expand their membership to all students on campus. Trouble is, the group’s name tends to scare away students.

Named the March 2015 Recognized Student Organization of the Month at Minnesota State Mankato, the club is finding that lifting typecasts is the first phase of recruitment and growth.

“We talked with the marketing club and they specifically said ‘the Engineers Without Borders name scares me off’ because it’s engineers,” said Michael Seffren, vice president of programs for the Minnesota State Mankato chapter of EWB.

The group now takes a fill-in-the-blank approach to recruitment that offers students opportunities to contribute and benefit from the group’s community focus.

“What we came up with was Underscore Without Borders,” Seffren said. “So if you’re a nursing major – if you’re a business major, marketing, finance, anthropology, history – whatever, put you’re major right in front of Without Borders. That’s the type of club we want to have.

“This club is open to every single student,” he added. “We will find a spot for you that you will enjoy doing.”
Seffren, along with EWB Chapter President Sam Stoffels and Jordan Zumberge, chapter secretary, shared the past and future of their student organization that traditionally focuses on international projects while transitioning toward more local community involvement.

Granted a campus chapter in 2009, EWB is part of an international Engineers Without Borders organization offering 140 professional and student chapters. EWB chapters partner with communities throughout the world to develop sustainable, reliable infrastructure that improves quality of life.

Since its inception, EWB at Minnesota State Mankato has been working with the community of Santa Rosa Senca, El Salvador, to improve the community’s water distribution system. The group is currently preparing for a week-long visit to Santa Rosa Senca in May.

“It is a student-led, student motivated, student-driven organization,” Stoffels said. “All aspects of the trip have to be student organized.”

To assist all areas of project development and delivery, Stoffels said the organization is working to expand its membership by recruiting students from across the curriculum who want to make a difference.

“Not only do our projects benefit the communities we work with,” Stoffels said, “they also benefit students by giving valuable skills that aren’t picked up in the curriculum. Especially the soft skills – planning, teamwork, leadership, presentation, fundraising and networking.”

Zumberge added that engineering students are needed for the technical work, but the group primarily seeks students ready to help others.

“Any student that really wants to do humanitarian work, make a difference and do more than just go get free pizza, those are the students we want – who are motivated to help people,” he said. “When I see the perfect vision for EWB, it’s walking through the CSU (Centennial Student Union) and saying ‘Hi’ to five or six non-engineering students that I know because they are in EWB with me.”

For the three club leaders, this spring’s trip to El Salvador will be their first international assistance venture. No members who made the trip two years ago will be joining them.

“We know the effects of having an upperclassmen-heavy organization,” Stoffels added.
As a result, the chapter concentrates on attracting younger students.

“A lot of our recruits are sophomores” Zumberge said. “At that age they know what they want to do with their life. They’re not new to campus anymore. That’s what we find is the ‘sweet spot’ in our recruiting.”

Along with student members, the EWB chapter also partners with a professional engineering mentor from SEH Engineering in Mankato. Dr. Stephen Druschel, P.E., from the university’s engineering department serves as the group’s advisor.

The three also gave “assistant advisor” honors to Ashley Strom, assistant director of RSOs at Minnesota State Mankato, for her help in networking with different RSOs and community groups.

“Ashley is a great connector,” Seffren said. “She’s linked me up with at least five different student leaders that all want to do things with us.”

While the international project is EWB’s primary focus, the group slates guest speakers and presentation to introduce students to useful information for sculpting their lives and futures. Another recent focus seeks opportunities for local volunteer work.

“We are looking at short-term, local volunteering events because the international travel only occurs at most twice a year for our student chapter,” Stoffels said.

Seffrens added some students have simpler goals for involvement.

“We want to do local stuff so that people who don’t want to travel can still participate,” he said. “Or they just want to put in an hour a week doing local volunteering with us.”

While proud to advance their international Engineers Without Borders affiliation, the three chapter officers remain committed to crafting – and exemplifying — a club that grows by helping others.

“It’s really what you want out of it. If you want something that will occupy a lot your time, it can occupy a lot of your time. If you don’t you don’t have to,” Stoffels said. “A lot of use are putting a lot of time and effort into this club because we truly believe in helping people. I can’t stop, basically.”

MavSync: https://orgsync.com/66916/chapter
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Minnesota-State-University-Mankato-Engineers-Without-Borders/325841984225?fref=ts
Web Page: http://www.ewbmankato.com/
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