New Student Government President Plans Improvement

Inauguration of New Student Government is April 18

By BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Intern

Minnesota State University had one of its highest voter turnouts ever in the recent Student Government election that seated Mavericks United’s MeMe Cronin as the new President with 54 percent of the 1,762 votes.

Cronin and her Vice President, Katelynn Ogunfolami, campaigned to understand and address student needs if elected.

“We were tabling in different locations, meeting with RSOs, taking to students in classes, promoting through social media and poster, making buttons and even baking cookies,” Cronin said. “It was a lot of work, but luckily Katelynn and I were able to keep each other accountable.”

As a Student Senator, Cronin said she decided to run for President after seeing things that could be improved.

“I see a lot of issues on campus that I want to address. When Katelynn and I came together, both of us formed a vision of what we wanted to accomplish next year and I knew the two of us could be the people to actually create that change,” she said.

Though Cronin expects new experiences as President, it won’t change who she is.

“I don’t think I will necessarily have to change the way I act or carry myself. There will definitely be new pressures I’ll face, like having to aid the senators and being a main point of contact for student government,” she said. “But I will definitely hold every senator responsible to the same standards I do for myself. Each of us that were elected were motivated to be the voice for their constituency, so we need to do our students that justice.”

Cronin said her primary goal as Student Government President will continue to listen to student concerns and seek ways to address them. She wants her senators to do the same.

“I want all the students of MNSU to know that Katelynn and I, as well as all of the newly elected senators are motivated to aid our students ,” she said. “Katelynn and I are always open and willing to hear any concern from any student on campus.”

Inauguration of the 2018-19 Student Government will be Wednesday, April 18, at 5 p.m. in the CSU Hearth Lounge. Student Government meets Wednesdays at 4 p.m. in Nickerson Conference Room in the Centennial Student Union. For more information about Student Government, visit www.mnsu.edu/mssa

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

57-Year History: Traditions Old and New Help Greek Community Flourish

by REED CARR, CSU Public Relations Intern

Marie Bruce, “The First Lady of Mankato State”

Despite periods of unrest and uncertainty, Fraternity and Society Life at Minnesota State Mankato continues to evolve and preserve values as new generations take the baton.

To propel the Greek community and their initiatives into the future, members are resurrecting traditions from the past.

Mavathon, a fun-filled day of dance, games and food, was revived in 2011 after an 8-year hiatus and has been held annually ever since raising over $100,000 in charity for Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare.

This year was state record-breaking with around $30,000 raised.

“The students at MSU, Mankato are making an investment in the children treated at Gillette, because often times they have to be seen throughout their lifetimes,” said Becky DeRosia, Development Associate for Gillette in Our Chapter: Celebrating 50 years of Leadership, Scholarship, Service and Friendship by Ashley Portra. “MSU, Mankato has not only brought back a tradition on their campus but is also giving the children at Gillette a brighter future.”

‘MSU, Mankato has not only brought back a tradition on their campus but is also giving the children at Gillette a brighter future.’

– Becky DeRosia, Gillette Children’s Speciality Healthcare

Charity events like Mavathon have been crucial to Greek societies’ success and purpose. The 50-year anniversary of Greek life at MSU was monumental because it showed that persistence in fellowship and camaraderie can keep a dream alive even through a rough patch.

With the majority of young people in the 1960s and ’70s opposed to the Vietnam War, a wall was built between some of the nation’s youth and their pro-war elders. Political movements and disagreement between students and administration during the 1970s nearly brought an end to MSU’s Greek Life as we know it today. Club members weren’t displaying their letters and mostly operated behind the scenes. With time things began to recuperate and the growth is still ongoing.

“When arriving on campus in 2007, I did not know there were fraternities and sororities,” said Erik Heller, Lambda Chi Alpha alumnus in Our Chapter: Celebrating 50 years. “Now it’s hard to go around campus without seeing Greek letters, members, events, or posters.”

On its 50th birthday in 2011, the Greek community reached 400 members for the first time with help from John Bulcock, assistant director of Student Activities for Greek Life and Off-Campus Housing. His contribution has helped to boost community size and enthusiasm with members and non-members. Bulcock’s success in growing Greek interest parallels one of his predecessors—Marie Bruce.

Bruce, “The First Lady of Mankato State,” acted as the main driving force behind Greek development and pride at MSU. As Dean of Women, she worked to gain accreditation from the American Association of University Women and established a strong interest in Greek life on campus with help from Dr. Margaret Preska and Dr. Clarence Crawford.

“In 1957, 13 men founded Alpha Beta Mu, the first social fraternity on the Mankato State College campus, under the ideals of brotherhood, scholarship, service, and development of leadership and social qualities,” Portra writes in Our Chapter: Celebrating 50 years. “Originally students and administration opposed officially recognizing the group as an organization however because of their persistence and interest in community service, Alpha Beta Mu was granted recognition as MSC’s first local fraternity on campus by the Student Senate on February 4, 1959.”

Bruce’s vision for a more cohesive campus and Alpha Beta Mu’s determination to be recognized as an accredited entity paved the road for a total of 10 nationally recognized fraternities and sororities at MSU today. Tens of thousands of Mankato brothers and sisters have had the opportunity to develop leadership, friendship, scholarship and service skills with help from their peers and alums.

As Bruce said, “to be Greek is to be involved and to learn the necessity of cooperation.”

 

 

Shining Light on the Reality of Greek Life

by REED CARR, CSU Public Relations Intern

Movies like Animal House and American Pie paint a fictitious picture of what it means to be in a fraternity. There is no shortage of fun in fraternities and sororities, but togas, hazing and chapter houses overflowing with empty beer bottles are traits of a fantastical Greek lifestyle.

Black robes and candles and chants might lead an uninformed citizen (like myself before this column) to think of this society as some type of witchy cult. Knowing that there was more to the story, I made a quick google search and had a chat with some members at MSU to get educated.

“We are the same as any other college kid,” said Brett Marshall, Phi Delta Theta member. “We hang out at peoples’ houses, play and watch sports, play video games and go out on the weekends. But on top of that, we like to host and coordinate events that get us involved in the community and with charities of causes we’re passionate about.”

Sports? Video games? They really do sound like any other twenty-something, so why are there so many stereotypes surrounding Greek Life?

“Most of these stereotypes exists because of movies and the media,” Marshall explained. “On the fraternity side, there’s often a connotation that we don’t treat women with respect. There’s also just the generic ‘Brad the Frat Guy’ stereotype, which is usually someone who drinks all the time, isn’t respectful and coasts through everything. The problem is the only time we get press coverage is when something bad happens, which obviously that needs to be heard, but they never cover the good things.”

Fraternity and Sorority Life’s MSU Dance Marathon had a record-breaking year as the event raised $30,000 for Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. In addition, the Greek community will have raised nearly $10,000 for other charities including: Huntsman Cancer Research, Live Like Lou Foundation and CADA (Committee Against Domestic Abuse).

“Within the community, we support the CADA house downtown, which is the domestic violence shelter in Mankato,” said Taylor Zenz, Alpha Chi Omega member. “In supporting them, we make monthly donations of basic necessities, such as soap, toothpaste and deodorant for victims.”

Self-indulgence isn’t a common characteristic of the community—in fact, it’s the polar opposite. Zenz helped drive the point home by citing the four core values of Greek members:

  • Friendship
  • Leadership
  • Scholarship
  • Service

While there have been cases of illegal hazing and sexual misconduct in some fraternities and sororities throughout the country, that behavior has no place in a bona fide Greek society. After peeling away the societal misconceptions built by Hollywood and other media, I was able to see that this community’s focus is on being the best you can be through personal and communal achievement.

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.

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.

Fitness Goes Interactive As Students Connect

by TAYLOR ZENZ, CSU Public Relations Intern

Are you sick of your daily, strenuous routine at the gym? Switch it up and try an interactive group fitness class!

During the school year, Campus Rec offers 22 group fitness classes on campus each week. Classes range from yoga, meditation, core conditioning, Zumba, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), Thai dance, cardio-based classes, hip-hop, circuit training, strength training and stretching classes.

When speaking with Carly Hopper, fitness and wellness program coordinator at Campus Rec, she explained how unique and versatile the classes are for students with busy schedules. She says the Group Fitness classes provide an opportunity for friends to get active together and also provides an opportunity to meet new people who share the same interest.

Apart from getting socially and physically active, Hopper mentions that the Group Fitness classes are beneficial for those who don’t know “how to develop a safe and effective workout or which machine to use or for how long. It is already done for them when they attend a Group Fitness class. They simply have to show up with a positive attitude, participate, and most importantly, have fun.”

“Going to the group yoga classes on campus allows me to connect with my fellow students in a very relaxing environment,” said Mahala Wolff, MSU senior. “The class allows me to clear my mind and set my intentions for the day.”

Another senior student, Margaret Winter, explained, “I look forward to having an hour of peace after a long day and these classes are the perfect way to have it.”

If group fitness isn’t your forte, Campus Rec offers other options that are bound to get your blood flowing – intramural sports, sports clubs, adventure programs, Maverick Adventures pilot programs, indoor and outdoor climbing walls, a “Health in Every Aisle Tour” at the Hilltop Hy-Vee Monday, April 9, the MSU sprint triathlon Sunday, April 29 and more.

Hopper suggests that studies show that students who are physically active have a higher retention rate in schools versus those who are not. Studies also suggest that physically active students have a decrease in depression and anxiety problems.

“Anybody and everybody, regardless of their health, fitness level, experience or lack of experience is welcome in Group Fitness classes,” Hopper said. “We hope to see you in class!”

Campus Rec is always developing new, creative ways to keep up with MSU’s physically active and collaborative community. For a full list of offered fitness classes and events, visit https://www.mnsu.edu/campusrec/fitness/groupfitness.html and follow the Campus Rec Facebook page for event notifications.

Stay Connected on Campus When You’re a Commuter

by REED CARR, CSU Public Relations Student Intern

If you live off campus during your first couple years of school, you may miss out on valuable social growth. There are many financially beneficial reasons to live at home, but the connections made while spending more time on campus can be invaluable. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to stay connected on campus in order to build long lasting relationships with fellow students, even if you live out of town.

Get an on-campus job.

Deeper pockets aren’t the only reason to find a part-time gig at MSU. Spending hours with other people at work is bound to strike up some common interests and a bond. There are a variety of employment opportunities for students at MSU. Visit Handshake (MavJobs) to learn more.

Buy a meal plan.

Not only will you save money in the long run by purchasing a meal plan and eating in the residence halls—it’ll give you the opportunity to eat with people you meet from class who live on campus. What better way to connect with someone than to chop it up over some grub?

Join an RSO.

With student organizations ranging from marketing, to music, to math, there is a group fit for anyone. Joining a club full of like-minded students is the perfect environment to build friendships with people who have similar goals. Browse the countless student organizations at MSU to find a match for you.