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!

“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.

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.

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

Greek Week April 9-13 Goes Beyond Fun Events

By BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Intern

 

Next week’s Greek Week is more than just fun competition among chapters. Rather, the tradition stretching back to 1966 holds a special place in the hearts of the Fraternity and Sorority Life at Minnesota State Mankato.

For many, the week is starting to take on a new meaning.

“Greek Week is so important to our community because it’s the one week a year that we get to come together to celebrate each other and the hard work that we do throughout the year,” said Emma Thole, Panhellenic Council president.

While the week focuses on traditions and unity, it also spotlights the community’s values of friendship, leadership and service. Events during the week include a clothing drive where all donations collected go to the Salvation Army. In past years, over 1,000 items were collected. Other events include a cardboard boat regatta, a cookout, a lip sync competition and a Greek God/Goddess competition.

These are all events that have long been a part of Greek Week — traditions that will continue to live on in the spirit of togetherness.

“Traditions bring people together. They create a sense of unity and accomplishment between the organizations involved,” said Christian Brollier, vice president of Public Relations and Marketing for the Interfraternity Council.

Brollier says much of the community’s accomplishment comes from leadership.

“Fraternity and sorority life has many opportunities for you to get involved and become an effective leader—not just within our community, but also on campus,” he added.

That campus leadership is prominent as fraternities and sororities are one of the most involved groups on campus. Each year, they raise thousands of dollars for charity, complete over 5,000 hours of community service and achieve a GPA higher than the undergraduate average. Many of them are involved in other prominent campus organizations like dance marathon, student government and residential life.

Greek Week begins Monday, April 9 and concludes Friday, April 13. All of the week’s events are free and open to the public. For a full schedule of events and updates throughout Greek Week, follow @MaverickGreeks on Twitter and Instagram.

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.