Taylor Zenz—Graduating Senior

by TAYLOR ZENZ, CSU Public Relations Intern

With an assignment of writing a personal reflection of my past 4 years at MSU, I’m sitting here with a blank page and a million things to say, yet I can’t seem to move my fingers across the keyboard.

Maybe it’s because I’m in denial that I’m graduating. Maybe it’s because I’m excited or actually very sad. Maybe it’s all the above.

I’ll start here – my time here at MSU has been everything that I had ever hoped for and much, much more.

From crying because I didn’t want to leave my mom and sister behind when I moved into the dorms to now tearing up writing this article because I don’t want to leave Mankato, it’s been quite the ride. In high school, I was an incredibly shy and quiet girl who didn’t know her place. When I tell people that now, they don’t believe me for a second. I have MSU to thank for turning me into an independent, enthusiastic, social human being who found a passion for leadership.

Of course, learning these things didn’t come easy, however, I got extremely lucky with my journey.

Being involved with MSU was one of the greatest decisions that I’ve made. Whether my time was being dedicated to my studies, Greek Life, Dance Marathon or the CSU, every long-hour day and sleepless night was worth it. With my involvement, I met the most influential people that this campus has to offer. From their teachings, I have become someone who I, myself, have become proud of.

The most important thing that I’ve learned is that growth only comes from being uncomfortable. From making friends, pursuing relationships and taking on leadership roles, stepping out of my comfort zone gave me my most cherished items and people.

Yes, we’re here in college to get a degree, but our time here is so much more than that. It’s about learning what it takes to succeed. It’s about learning how to get back on our feet after being down. It’s about meeting people we connect with. It’s about finding our lifelong friends and people who will be in our weddings. It’s about meeting those who we want to go into business with or spend the rest of our lives with.

I’d like to thank my freshman dorm neighbor who ultimately was responsible for breaking open my shell. To my squad who took me in as one of the “bros”, thank you for looking out for me the past 4 years. To my sorority best friends and roommates, thank you for being the best dang comedians, therapists and dancers that Mankato EVER saw. Thank you to my mom and sister for always being of constant support. And of course, thank you to my professors, advisors, mentors and co-workers at the CSU – you’ve all taught me so much. But mostly, I’d like to thank myself for the allowance of being open to different opportunities and endeavors.

I hold very high hopes of the future and I know that I can achieve them because of the valuable time that I’ve spent on this campus. When you’re in my shoes, a week shy of graduation, I know that you all will feel the same way.

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.

What You’re Thinking and How to Reverse It

By BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Intern

The snow is melting. The temperatures have finally crawled into the 60s and all you want to do is go outside and enjoy the weather and get on with your summer. But alas, you stare down at your planner and see the list of 20 things you have to complete before Finals Week comes to a close. And as you stare down at the list, you probably start thinking one or more of the following five things:

  1. Sleeping all of your problems away. Your problems and stress can’t hurt or affect you if you’re sleeping, right? Everything will be just fine once you wake up.
  2. It’s okay to let it all out. Finals are one of those times when life comes at you really fast and it can be overwhelming. Sometimes the best thing to do is to let the waterworks operate at full capacity.
  3. Switching majors. If you’re not going to sleep or cry, you may consider switching majors. You look over notecards and at final projects and study guides and start thinking to yourself, “Do I really want to do this the rest of my life?”
  4. Sometimes you think you just need a change of scenery; this college town just isn’t doing it. The professors stink, you haven’t found the perfect best friend and you’re just not happy and feel like you need a fresh start.
  5. Dropping out. There are two types of college students in the world – those who have thought about dropping out because of stress…and liars. It’s a normal feeling. Everything piles up and it just feels like you’ll never get it done and the only remaining solution is to quit and give up.

Here’s the thing though, it’s all going to be okay. Finals are stressful and have the tendency to be overwhelming and chances are you probably will think about some of those things above.. and that’s okay, just don’t let it consume you. Instead, use some of these tips to help you push through and get to the summer with a smile on your face!

  1. Take breaks. Don’t over exhaust yourself with endless hours of studying. Hop on YouTube and watch a funny cat video. Grab some friends and take a walk outside. Blast some music. Take a power nap. Eat a snack. Just give your mind a break and decompress a little bit for 20-30 minutes and get back at it. Studies have shown that taking breaks actually helps you do better, so don’t hesitate to take one.
  2. Form a study group. Whether it’s with your roommates or classmates, find some people to bounce ideas off of and help you study. It keeps the mood light and makes studying a little more fun. One of the best ways to solidify that you know something is being able to teach someone else. Explain to your roommate something they know nothing about and see if they understand. Have your classmate run some flashcards by you, so you can nail those definitions.
  3. Visit a tutor. Campuses always offer lots of tutors to help you with whatever you might be struggling with. Asking for help doesn’t make you look bad or like you’re dumb. It shows you’re serious about your education and that you want to learn. Visit a tutor so you can get the knowledge and resources you need to get a good grade on your final exam.
  4. Talk to your professor. Professors are there to help you learn. If you get stuck or start to freak out about your tests, stop into their office hours and ask for some help or about what specific material you should look over. Chances are they will be able to help you and you’ll be more prepared when test day rolls around.
  5. Don’t be afraid of a bad score. Everyone has had a bad test at some point in their life. Don’t let it define you. You can always retake a class. That one test will not be a difference maker in the rest of your life. Just take a deep breath, realize it’s going to be okay and work hard to do better the next time around.

So to summarize, it’s okay to feel a little stressed about finals and like you want to quit school and give up, but just remember to relax, take breaks and use your resources. You’ll get through them and be on your way the next chapter of your life — you  got this!

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.

 

 

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.

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.

Introspection and Networking Leads to Career Gold

Career Development Center Helps Find The ‘Perfect Fit’

by REED CARR, CSU Public Relations Intern

Who are you? Why are you here? Where are you headed? Staff at the Minnesota State Career Development Center suggest students begin with these questions when searching for their ideal career path.

Matthew Carlson, Acting Director in the CDC, feels self-knowledge helps students find a career that provides happiness as well as a paycheck.

“’Who am I? Why am I here? Where do I want to go?’ It’s hard to get there if you don’t know where you want to go,” Carlson said. “And the fourth question—’How do I get there?’—is relatively easy if you know the answer to the first three. There are employers, there are jobs, there are qualifications, there is experience you need—there is a match out there. If you want to be a doctor, there is a recipe. If you want to be a chef, there is a recipe.”

In the past, the CDC simply lined students up with a job and hoped that it would work out, but things have changed. It’s all about finding the perfect fit.

“We are more in the developmental side of growing a career. It’s not enough just to get a job—we want you to get the thing that is just incredible,” Carlson said. “Go for the gold, man—plan A. You can have more than one goal, but aim for plan A, whatever that is for you. It may not work out, but you’ll lose nothing by trying.”

‘It’s not enough just to get a job—we want you to get the thing that is just incredible. Go for the gold, man – plan A.’ – Matt Carlson

A large part of finding that “plan A” job comes from collaboration and networking. Rather than hoping for the perfect job to fall from the sky the CDC teaches student to build relationships with prospective employers.

“We are trying to teach people job search skills so they can help themselves and others in the future,” Carlson explained. “If I can teach you how to network and connect with employers, you’ll be able to do it the rest of your life. I could just give you a job and you’ll be happy for a short amount of time, but then down the line when you’re ready for a different job, there won’t be anyone there to help you.”

Everyone knows that a solid resume is a great tool in finding a job—but filling in the white space can seem daunting. The CDC is connecting students with opportunities and experience to make a strong resume.

“The kinds of doors that open with employers are internships, any kind of experiential learning where you maybe take an entry-level position that might open other opportunities,” Carlson explained. “The university itself opens lots of ideas on what you may be able to do, but the employers are the ones financing it. Employers have problems, and they pay people to fix them. The way you fix them is with your skills, knowledge and experience.”

The CDC can help with anything from resumes to job searching to interview preparation. If you need career advice or simply want to bounce your ideas off a trained career counselor, stop by the for a drop-in meeting Monday-Thursday, 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Or schedule an appointment at: https://mavjobs.joinhandshake.com/login

Professional Networking Made Easier With LinkedIn

Career Development Center Offers Help With LinkedIn, Resumes and More

By BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Intern

There’s an old saying that goes, “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.” That statements rings true for a lot of people, but especially college students.

The importance of building connections and networking is vital for the success of young professionals. It can provide an inside route to hard-to-get positions, provide great mentorship opportunities and be a source for professional resources.

A great way for students to start building their professional network started is getting a LinkedIn account.

“LinkedIn is a powerful way to professionally network with recruiters and employers,” Karina Clennon, Assistant Director for the Career Development Center at Minnesota State, Mankato said. “Students can apply for positions, stay connected with faculty after graduation and find where alum are working.”

But just having a LinkedIn isn’t enough. Clennon says it’s important to find ways to make it stand out to separate yourself from other students and job-seekers. She offered a few tips to students looking to better their profiles.

“Include key words for positions you are applying to in your headline. Be sure to ask faculty and supervisors to write you a recommendation on LinkedIn, include all of your skills and keep your profile up to date,” she said.

‘Include key words for positions you are applying to in your headline. Be sure to ask faculty and supervisors to write you a recommendation on LinkedIn, include all of your skills and keep your profile up to date.’ – Karina Clennon

In addition, Clennon said students need to make sure they have a professional picture displayed, not a selfie or cropped picture. She also recommended that students should include all information they would have on a resume as well as other professional experiences that may not fit on a resume.

Clennon also stressed the importance of using multiple resources and not being entirely reliant on LinkedIn during the job search.

“LinkedIn is a tool. It’s really important to leverage all of your resources when you are on the job search. Make sure you’re talking to your advisors and mentors for more information about careers,” she said. “Keep up to date with your online presence, too, because employers do take that into consideration when making hiring decisions.”

The CDC works closely with the Colleges of Allied Health and Nursing; Business; and Science, Engineering and Technology by providing programs and activities to students within those colleges. Students not in those colleges can visit the Career Development Center any time during the school day to get help creating a LinkedIn profile, feedback on resumes and cover letters and to seek career advice.

Clennon is a graduate of MSU with a Doctorate of Education in Education and Supervision as well as a Master of Science in Counseling and Student Personnel: College Student Affairs. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato.

The Career Development Center is located on the second level of Wigley Administration building and is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information about the CDC or to schedule an appointment, visit www.mnsu.edu/cdc.