Organized eSports Coming to Minnesota State Mankato?

Survey Looks At Popularity, Possibilities

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by BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Assistant

Take the gaming survey to provide feedback on gaming habits like systems used and games played.

One of the fastest growing communities in the world could soon have a new home at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

A group of Minnesota State Mankato staff recently completed a research report on eSports and its presence across colleges and universities across Minnesota and the rest of the United States.

The report was submitted to University administration and is being reviewed to determine the feasibility of having eSports as an active part of student life at Minnesota State Mankato.

Ben Nelson, marketing & facilities coordinator for MSU Campus Recreation, has been one of the leads on the research and thinks bringing eSports to campus could help build friendships and community.

“We want gamers to able to experience that community beyond their screens and headsets and to be able to game together on campus.”

Nelson and the team have been surveying campuses similar in size to Minnesota State Mankato to find out if they have an eSports program and, if so, how it operates. They found that although several campuses have eSports programs, there doesn’t appear to be one magic recipe for how eSports groups are started, funded and supported.

“There’s no clear home for eSports in a lot of universities,” Nelson said. “Some schools have eSports under the same umbrella as NCAA sports like basketball volleyball. Others are based out of academic areas, some are based out of recreational areas and some are based out of student unions.”

Not even the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA), a leader in advising campus recreation programs, had an idea of where to house eSports.

“It’s not typical to what campus recreation is used to offering. It’s not a physical sport,” Nelson said. “Even in the campus rec world there’s a divide between ‘Is this part of us?’ or ‘Is this not a part of us.'”

Nelson thinks Minnesota State Mankato would benefit most from housing eSports in Campus Rec with a mix of intramurals and competitive club teams.

“The most likely route would be an eSports umbrella with subsequent RSO’s dedicated to different games underneath that umbrella,” Nelson said.

But getting to that point will still require funding and resources from the University. Nelson said the University would have to determine if it wanted to invest in gaming systems and computers, a dedicated space for the gaming, travel and/or other expenses associated with the formation of eSports.

There’s no timeline for eSports at this time as the preliminary research just concluded and was passed on to administration. Nelson said if students continue to show interest and support, it could help push the idea forward. He said the best way for students to help is go to the Campus Rec Facebook page and take the gaming survey to provide feedback on gaming habits like systems used and games played.

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Rocketing to the Top: Spencer Good a Top Minnesota Gamer

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by BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Intern

eSports gaming is rising faster than ever before, and Spencer Good, a junior at Minnesota State University, Mankato, is looking to make his mark in a game called Rocket League.

Good began playing Rocket League, a game he described simply as “rocket powered cars playing soccer,” on his XBOX five years ago while attending Mankato West High School.

He originally picked up the game casually to play with friends. The rush he got from playing was similar to the nerves and excitement he got from playing lacrosse and ever since he’s developed a big passion for the game.

Spencer Good, a junior in MSU’s Accounting program is a top 10 ranked Rocket League player in Minnesota.

“It’s helped me find a healthy gaming community. I’ve met and connected with people I never would have if not for Rocket League. There’s been so many times when someone has told me their friends play Rocket League and we end up playing with one another down the road and becoming friends,” Good said.

After years of playing Rocket League with his friends, Good has developed serious skill. In March, he rose to a top 10 player in the state of Minnesota and to the top 1 percent of Rocket League players internationally which means among the 50 million players worldwide, he’s one of the top 500,000 players.

He credits his rapid growth to active learning within the game and a mindset focused on skill development and not just winning.

‘I also play under the philosophy that I’m playing to improve and not to win.’

Spencer Good, Top 10 Minnesota Rocket League Player

“I attribute my relatively fast growth to watching and playing with higher skilled players and picking their brains to learn what they’re doing that I’m not. I also play under the philosophy that I’m playing to improve and not to win.”

Despite these achievements, Good remains humble.

“Honestly I still don’t think I’m very good at the game. There are so many weird and complex mechanics I still have to master and practice. So to me, it’s easy to see where I can still get better,” he said.

Good hopes to help grow Rocket League at Minnesota State Mankato by forming team, which could eventually receive support from the university. The team would compete in the College Rocket League (CRL), which features university teams from across the country. Most of the matches are streamed on Twitch and YouTube and often generating hundreds of thousands of views. Good has also been asked to join a competitive team out of Eastern Connecticut University.

Good says school remains his top priority as he’s pursuing a degree in accounting, but hopes he can continue to hone his skills.

“I want to reach the top rank in Minnesota and move into the top .1 percent internationally. There’s a lot of growing to do before then, but I hope to eventually get it.”

Good encourages anyone who’s passionate about eSports to dive in and go for it. He said the best way to start is to do it with friends.

“Every game is better with friends, so make sure you either find people or bring people to the eSport.”

He also recommends playing the underdog as the key to success.

“Finding people that are better than you at the game is huge if you want to get better fast, but most importantly you should play to improve. If you only focus on winning on every single game, you won’t try new things and make the mistakes that are key to learning and improving.”

If you’re interested in becoming a part of MSU’s Rocket League team or want some tips and tricks to improve at Rocket League, Good said he’d love to help.

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Models Walk The Runway at April 12 Spring Fashion Show

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by ALEX BAUMANN, CSU Public Relations Intern

The finale to Mankato’s Next Top Model competition will take to the fashion runway as the MSU Fashion and Commercial Photography Club hosts its Spring Fashion Show Friday, April 12, at 7 p.m. in the CSU Ballroom.

This event featuring four finalists showcases a variety of spring fashions and is the crowning moment for the FCPC’s model competition.

The Mankato Next Top Model is a six-week competition that started with 12 models. Each week a photographer picks a theme and does a photo shoot with all models, after this pictures are taken, photos were post on the club’s Instagram page @fcpcmankato.

“During the club meeting, the pictures are judged by the judging panel. The panel consist of four judges – a student guest judge, a board member, a photographer, and a photography expert,” said FCPC President Samuel Oluwadoromi. “These judges are given a rubric to which the all judge different aspects of the pictures from the photo shoot.”

The score of each models are added together and the model with the least score is eliminated. The model with the least score can avoid elimination is by having the highest like on Instagram, if that happens the model with the second least score gets cut from the competition. The finalists are going to be the final four models left in the competition after week five judging.

Audience members will get an exclusive look at spring couture from Vagabond Village, a charming vintage consignment shop in downtown Mankato. The event will feature over 25 unique outfits showcased on the runway.

At the end of the show, finalists will individually take the spotlight to showcase their catwalk skills. With the help of the audience, a winner will be crowned.

“The members of FCPC will be taking photos of the event and this helps their portfolio by showing their ability to do various categories of photography,” said Oluwadoromi.

Ticket prices are $3 in advance, $5 at the door. The event is open to students and the public. Purchase tickets online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mankatos-next-top-model-finale-tickets-58499625956 OR follow FCPC on Twitter @fcpcmankato for information on CSU ticket sale dates and for the chance to participate in exclusive ticket giveaways.

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Veterans Resource Center

Serving the Needs of Those Who Served for Us

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by ALEX BAUMANN, CSU Public Relations Intern

For the March RSO of the Month, the inSIDER recognizes our Veterans and those with a Military Connection. We salute those pursuing their education who chose to protect and defend the rights we all enjoy. We thank those individuals whose family members served or who share other military connections.

In honoring our veterans, we also offer a closer look at the Veterans Resource Center which provides services and programming for veterans. Special VRC programming is planned for April 15-19.

Currently, about 600 veterans from all service branches attend Minnesota State Mankato. Our veterans range from those currently serving part-time in the Minnesota Army National Guard while attending MSU as full-time students to those who have finished their time in service, have families, and are transitioning to being a civilian.

The Veterans Resource Center in CSU 167 (near Student Activities), is a space specifically for veterans or anyone with a military affiliation.

“We are happy to have anyone with a military affiliation come and visit. It’s a place to study, have lunch, get information, and connect with friends,” said Tim Adams, Veterans Resource Center Student Success Coordinator.

The Veteran’s Resource Center helps veterans get connected with the resources necessary to complete their education whether it be helping select a major, get connected with academic advisors, and assisting with using financial benefits. 

“We provide a space for veterans to feel welcome, feel free to speak their mind, and have a place that they can come in and feel comfortable,” said Adams. 

For the week of April 15-April 19 there will be events specifically for veterans and raising awareness and visibility of veterans on MSU’s campus. The scheduled events are: 

April 15-19: Pushups in the CSU Courtyard 

April 16: Health & Exercise Panel in the CSU 

April 17: Highway Cleanup

April 18: Kayaking Trip on Blue Earth River 

April 19: Dining Out at the VFW

Stay tuned to the Veteran’s Resource Center’s Facebook Page for further details on those events.  

When veterans are approaching graduation, the Veterans Resource Center is a great place to get connected with potential employers and getting on track for any career field.

For further information what the Veteran’s Resource Center contact Tim Adams (tim.adams@mnsu.edu) or for information on financial matters contact David Schrader (Southeast Regional Coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, David.schrader@mnsu.edu)

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Student Activity Fee Vote Seeks Approval

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by BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Assistant

Minnesota State’s Student Government approved a 4.9 percent increase to the Student Activity Fee (SAF) for the 2019-20 school year, which will require a student referendum to pass.

The vote to approve or reject the referendum will take place as a part of the Student Government elections on Tuesday, April 9. For approval, more than 50 percent of students who vote in the election must indicate they’re in favor of the increase.

The need for the referendum comes from a piece of Minnesota Legislature passed in 2017. Minn. Stat. § 135A.0434 Mandatory Student Activity Fees Referendum says if a student activity fee budget increases by more than 2 percent from the previous academic year, the increase must be approved by a majority vote of students who vote in a campus referendum.

In total, the SAF budget is worth $2,683,047 and that money helps to fund 37 student-activity related organizations including, but not limited too, campus recreation, intramural sports, Student Events Team, homecoming, fraternity and sorority life, community engagement, multicultural activities, international activities, sexuality and gender programs, theatre, dance and several others.

The $2.68 million budget breaks down to a per student cost of $8.77 per credit hour, banded at a max of 12 credits, or $105.24. This is just slightly more than last year’s total of $100.32. In short, students would be paying a maximum of $4.92 more per semester to continue fully supporting 37 student activity groups.

This is the second straight year the SAF will have to go referendum. In 2017, Student Government approved a SAF increase of 2.96 percent. The higher percentage this year results heavily from contractual obligations for full-time staff, an increase in minimum wage for student workers and a lower student enrollment.

If the referendum fails to pass, a 2.3 percent cut will be made to each of the 37 groups who rely on the budget. In addition, $25,000 would be added to the budget from SAF reserves. These changes would bring the percent change down from 4.9 to 1.91.

Any students interested in learning more about the referendum can reach out to Student Government President, Meme Cronin, at maryelizabeth.cronin@mnsu.edu or to the Advisor, John Bulcock, at john.bulcock@mnsu.edu.

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AASP Conference looks to help students “excel in their arena”

by BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Assistant

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An exciting event showcasing the field of sport and exercise psychology is coming to MSU this weekend.

The conference, called the Midwest/North Central Regional Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) Conference, is student run and has been organized by students in the Sport and Exercise Psychology graduate program with the aid and supervision of their professors. These students will also present on a wide range of topics that have inspired them in their time in this field. The presentations, panels, lectures and symposiums will include topics such as mindfulness, grit, the psychology of injury, anxiety, burnout, internships, future work opportunities and others. The event runs between March 22 and March 23 in the CSU rooms 245, 253 and 256.

“The wealth of knowledge and ideas that will be shared this weekend cannot be highlighted enough,” Ciana Curran, one of the event’s planners, said. “The conference will provide all attendees the opportunity to mingle with other individuals working in the field and those who have just begun their journey.”

While the event is student run, there will be keynote speakers Friday and Saturday. Muna Mohamed will speak Friday, March 23, at 3 p.m., about her involvement in the Girls Involvement in Recreation and Leisurely Sports (G.I.R.L.S) initiative, which worked closely with adolescent girls and families of East African descent in the Minneapolis area. She will share about community-based, participatory action research, her coaching experience and offer suggestions for implementing this approach in varied professional enterprises such as coaching and consulting. Mohamed undertook the initiative at the University of Minnesota under Dr. Thul and with Fatimah Hussein.

Following Mohamed, Jenna Halvorson of “The Mental Clutch” will conduct a workshop focusing on “How to Develop the CLUTCH Mentality”. In this workshop, the audience will be led through six different skills that are crucial to putting on a clutch performance while engaging in a variety of different activities to enhance each skill. The lessons will consist of the importance of communication, learning from mistakes, understanding, trust, control and having fun. Halvorson is the founder of The Mental Clutch sport and exercise consulting company, which provides athletes and performers with tools to gain the upper edge on their competition.

Saturday, March 23, Dr. Adrian Ferrera will speak at 10 a.m. and share his professional journey from graduate school to working with the U.S. Army Special Forces, University of Washington Athletic Department and now leading the Auburn University Counseling and Sport Psychology Services. He will provide information about the mental health and performance needs of each population and his own approach to serving sport and military performers.

At 1:15 p.m. Ken Illdefonso Jr. (Ph.D. student) and Dr. Jana Fogaça, Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin, will join Halvorson and Mohamed on panel to field questions. This diverse panel will share their insights into navigating as a young professional in the sport and exercise psychology field.

Curran emphasized the conference for those actively in sport and performance.

“If you are a student interested in pursuing sport psychology, this conference will be sure to give you insight into your future path. If you are an athlete or performer, you could use this opportunity to get some tips as to how you can enhance your mental game. If you are a coach who wants to know more about what makes their athletes perform at their best, then this is the place for you,” she said.

She also added that the conference benefits the campus at large as well and encourages students to check it out for their own personal growth.

“It is not just athletes and performers who can benefit from this event – mental training can be the difference between maintaining focus and concentration during crucial exams, can help you strive to your academic goals and even manage your time so you can have a healthy and a fulfilling lifestyle. If you have any interest in excelling in your arena, this event should be a priority for you,” Curran said.

Those seeking additional information or looking to register for the conference, can do so by visiting the event’s webpage.

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MSU Looks to Defend “March Gladness” Title

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by BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Assistant

MSU is trying to defend their title in a March competition, but it’s not for a sport, it’s for card making.

The competition, called “March Gladness,” is hosted by an organization called Cardz for Kidz, a nonprofit with a goal to get as many handmade cards as possible sent to terminally ill children in hospitals all around the world.

The competition began March 1 and ends March 31. The competitors are any and all universities across the nation and the competition is scored simply by which university creates and delivers the most cards. Last year, in its first year of competition, MSU won the competition by creating 571 cards, all of which went to Shriners Hospitals for Children in St. Louis, Mo.

Karen Anderson, Director of Community Engagement at MSU, hopes MSU can defend its title, but says another school may be looking to pull off the upset.

“We have heard rumors that a school in Wisconsin [is] attempting to challenge us,” she said.

In an effort to make a big push for card creation, the Community Engagement Office (CEO), set up a competition for RSO’s. The competition is ongoing and interested groups are asked to reach out to the CEO to get a supply kit to make cards. The three RSO’s that make the most cards will receive a cash prize. The deadline for submitting created cards is March 25 at 4 p.m. More information on the competition can be found on Engage.

Anderson hopes the internal competition can help MSU win the national competition. She’s also hoping the international students can use their diverse backgrounds to contribute to the competition and create extra special cards.

“One of the very special things about MSU is that we have a so many international students, and with that comes the ability to write cards in many different languages,” she said.

Cards in different languages and ones that had significant effort go in to making them have profound impacts on the kids who receive them.

MSU has been a partner with Cardz for Kidz for a few years and is the only university in the country to be recognized as a “Platinum” partner. MSU achieved this status by having created more than 1,000 cards since the beginning of the partnership.

For more information on Cards for Kidz, visit their website cardzforkidz.org.

For more information on the card competition, contact the Community Engagement Office or visit Engage.

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Women’s Center March Schedule of Events

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In celebration of Women’s History Month and its 40th birthday, the MSU Women’s Center is hosting a series of fun events to invite, involve and inspire women.

March 14, 6 to 9 p.m.: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Film & Discussion in the Multicultural Center hosted by Black Motivated Women

March 19, 11 a.m. to noon & noon to 1 p.m.: Women’s Careers in the Military in CSU 201

March 19, 4 to 5 p.m.: “The Hate U Give” book discussion in CSU 218

March 20, 4:30 to 6 p.m.: Writing Herstory in CSU 253/4/5

March 21, 4 to 6 p.m.: International Women’s Day #balanceforbetter co-hosted by Women of Action Council and the International Student Association, location: Ostrander Auditorium

March 21, 6 to 7 p.m.: Empowering Women in STEM, location: Trafton East 225

March 25, 5 to 7 p.m.: Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland co-sponsored by Black Motivated Women and the Women’s Center, location: CSU 218

March 27, 6:30 to 8 p.m.: Feminist Feast: Black Feminism in CSU 253/4/5

Additional information on the events can be found by visiting the Women’s Center’s Facebook Page.

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Panel to Inspire Women Seeking Career in Engineering & Technology

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by ABIGAIL SKAALERUD, CSU Public Relations Intern

Women seeking a career in the technology world of science, engineering and mathematics will be inspired by four professionals from the industry at a Society of Women Engineers panel on Thursday, March 21.

The program as part of Women’s History Month will be at 5:30 p.m. in Trafton East 225. Appetizers and refreshments will be served.

Focusing on careers in Science, Technology, Engineeering and Mathematics, the four-member Empowering Women in STEM panel include Dr. Emily Ziemke from Dupont Pioneer, Dr. Fredreana Hester from General Mills, Dr. Stephen Druschel from the University’s Civil Engineering Department, and Marianne Anderson, an alumnus currently pursuing a master’s degree.

Panel members will share experiences in undergrad, graduate school and with their positions in industry. Discussion will offer advice on how to succeed in college as well as landing a job after graduation. A question and answer session will conclude the program.

Seeking a balanced representation of men and women in various areas of STEM, SWE’s main goals is empowering women to feel confident in their skills and themselves in order to succeed in the STEM industry.

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Center Celebrates 40 Years of Helping Women

by BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Assistant

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2019 marks the 40th year Minnesota State’s Women’s Center has been on campus helping and developing young women.

To celebrate this historic event, the Women’s Center is hosting many events open to the campus including a birthday party, keynote speakers, a Feminist Feast and more. A full list of the Women’s Center’s events can be found on their Facebook page.

Liz Steinborn-Gourley, director of the Women’s Center, cites underrepresentation across many job fields as one of the most important reasons for the Women’s Center and its programs.

“We are underrepresented in the political arena and in leadership,” she said. ” We exist to empower and inspire women to achieve and lead. We host programs and events that support the achievements of women.”

The Women’s Center achieves this through various events, programs and partnerships.

“We provide leadership opportunities through our Women of Action Council and we host programs and events focused on the advancement of women,” Steinborn-Gourley said. “We’ve collaborated with the Center for Science, Engineering, and Technology; Black Motivated Women; the Center for African American Affairs (sponsor for a portion of the Pan African Conference); VARP; LGBT Center; Student Activities; Residential Life; and the Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX.”

Steinborn-Gourley also noted the office the Women’s Center uses, located in the CSU 218, is shared with Violence Awareness and Response Program.

“(It) provides confidential advocates for students who have experienced violence,” she said.

The Women’s Center’s resources and outreach impact many Minnesota State Mankato students. Steinborn-Gourley estimates more than 750 students have attended programs or used resources from the center, something she contributes to the students.

“The student voice really drives what we do here,” she said.

Some of the Women’s Center’s most popular events in recent years have included the Laverne Cox lecture, which drew one of the largest crowds attending a Carol Ortman Perkins. Other successful events include the Feminist Feast, Galentine’s Day and other lecture series speakers like Kate Chance from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

In addition to events, programs and resources, the Women’s Center also provides students a great place to just relax and hang out.

“We can provide referrals and we have a lounge space that’s open to all students and we often provide free coffee, a comfortable space to hang out and great discussion,” Steinborn-Gourley said.

The success of the Women’s Center’s events, programs and resources shows how far it has come since it first opened in 1979, when it’s primary function was to support lower numbers of women on the campus as well as assist with women who had children, or left to get married and then returned to college.

The Women’s Center is in the middle of an assessment year and continues to look at how they can continue to best serve the needs of the students. Steinborn-Gourley asks students to be honest with this assessment and continue to help the center.

“If you’re one of the select students asked to complete the survey about the Women’s Center, I encourage you to offer your honest feedback so we can shape the Center to serve you,” she said.

Steinborn-Gourley also wants students, especially those who have never been to the Women’s Center, to come check it out.

Additional information about the Women’s Center and their 40th Birthday Celebration can be found by visiting their Facebook page, or by contacting Steinborn-Gourley via email at elizabeth.steinborn-gourley@mnsu.edu.

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