Chili Cook Off Helps The Campus Kitchen

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by BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Student Assistant

The Chili Cook Off, which took place Thursday, Nov. 8, was a huge success for the MSU Community Engagement Office and The Campus Kitchen.

The event, which benefited The Campus Kitchen, featured four chilis, including a smoky Texas-style chili, a white chicken chili, a sweet and spicy chili featuring a cinnamon roll and a completely vegan chili, all of which could be sampled by the campus community for just $2 or a food donation. The vegan chili, created by MSU Campus Dietitian, Lexi Cournoyer, was voted as the top chili of the competition. Her chili will be served in the University Dining Center and on Mav Ave Thursday, Nov. 15 during lunch.

In all 486 food items and over $100 in cash were collected. The donations benefited The Campus Kitchen and will continue to help provide meals to students every Monday between 6 and 6:30 p.m. Those meals are distributed by the Community Engagement (CEO), who offer several resources for students struggling with hunger and food insecurities through partnerships with the University, Crossroads Ministries, Echo Food Shelf, Salvation Army, Centenary Church, Food Not Bombs and others.

The Community Engagement Office is working on ways to further their reach to help more students by implementing a text program, which notifies subscribers when The Campus Kitchen has food available and when the CEO is hosting an event. Students can get those updates by texting SUPPORT to 76626.

The CEO is also seeking help with promotion and research development through the work of an intern. Interested students can apply and learn more through Handshake.

 

Maverick Holiday Carnival Tradition Continues on MNSU Campus

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by: MORGAN STOLPA, CSU PR Intern

Upon returning from break, Minnesota State University, Mankato is preparing for a tradition of

Image

Photo by: Temi Adeleye, KEYC News 12

their own.

Starting back in 2015, the Community Engagement Office created the Maverick Holiday Carnival. An event that offered an opportunity for college students, holiday fans and organizations to interact with children and families in the Mankato area.

Those interested in hosting a fun event, will create booths with activities/games for elementary students in the Mankato area and their families. Elementary students will attend,play games and win prizes at each booth, which will consist of carnival games for children up to 12 years old.

“The theme this year is Candyland Holiday Carnival, so we plan to incorporate lots of Candyland themed decorations as well as holiday decorations,” said Kennedi Alstead, Community Engagement Office, Graduate Advisor.

The Maverick Holiday Carnival will take place on December 9th in the Centennial Student Union, Ballroom from 1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. However, organizations that are having an activity will have access to the ballroom starting at 11 a.m. and should be ready to go by 1:15 p.m. The actual event will take from 1:30-3:30 p.m. for the actual event and no later than 5 p.m. to take down.

The Community Engagement Office is looking for organizations, chapters, offices, and departments to host a booth for their event. Mavs in Action will pay for $50 of supplies for each group that participates. Groups that sign up before November 16th, will have the privilege of Mavs in Action getting the supplies for their game for them. The form will include, supplies needed and a description of their activity. If groups want to be a part but do not have an idea for an activity, we have many ideas available to offer.

The sign-up form will be available on engage for groups to sign up until the end of November. But those who sign up after November 16th will be in charge of getting their own supplies.

“Additionally, there will be a competition where kids can vote on their favorite booth! The winning group will receive a special prize,” said Alstead.

Organizations interested in being a part of this fun tradition can apply here and  contact kennedi.alstead@mnsu.edu for more information.

Alternative Spring Break

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by ALEJANDRO REYES VEGA, CSU Public Relations Assistant

Do you want the opportunity of volunteering and serving the community while traveling to another state?

Then maybe Kingdom House might be right for you. Kingdom house is located in St. Louis Missouri and it provides exciting opportunities if you are looking to do something different and affordable for spring break. Their mission is  “To help people achieve better lives. In fulfilling our mission, we teach people to fish, rather than just feeding them fish.” Their goal is “Through holistic programs and services, we help the economically disadvantaged achieve economic independency, self sufficiency and a path out of poverty.” Moreover, they serve infants, toddlers, children, teens, adults, and seniors.“There aren’t many opportunities where you can go and serve for a week, if you already have a somewhat of a passion for service you can always build your experiences from this trip. You don’t just serve, you learn a lot about each other and the surrounding communities.” Kennedi Alstead

Their programs include:  Early Childhood Center, After School Program, Summer Camp, Kingdom Academy Teen Program, Financial Stability Services, Health & Wellness, Maternal Mental Health for Latinas, Social Capital Building and Senior Programs.

If you are interested and would like to make a positive impact in a community by working with children and those in need then, make sure to check them out HERE.

 

 

The Ultimate College Experience

by: Brett Marshall

If you came to Minnesota State seeking the ultimate college experience, everything you’re looking for may be right in front of you.

The Ultimate College Experience is the marketing campaign the MSU fraternity and sorority community has embraced for the past three years. The idea came about when previous fraternity and sorority leaders wanted to rebrand the community. They thought about the community’s values of friendship, scholarship, service and leadership and decided that those four things combined created the “ultimate college experience” for their members.

“It’s called the Ultimate College Experience for a reason. If you think about every aspect of college that would make it memorable, fraternity and sorority life covers it all,” Kevin Hines, the Interfraternity Council (IFC) Vice President of Recruitment said.

Image courtesy of MSU Fraternity & Sorority Life

Each of MSU’s fraternities and sororities have been hard at work recruiting motivated individuals who are seeking their ultimate college experience. They’ve already hosted several campus events including the Backyard Bash and Cosmic Bingo where they’ve met and interacted with prospective members.

Hines said there’s nothing to worry about when considering joining a fraternity or sorority and that it’s okay to take a leap of faith and go through recruitment.

“If you’re on the fence, go for it. You can really feel it out your first semester during the new member process. If you realize you don’t think it’s the right fit, you can always leave,” he said. “If you never try it, you will never know if it’s really something you will love forever.”

Lexi Stauffacher, the Panhellenic Council (PHC) Vice President of Recruitment, also encourages those on the fence with recruitment to give it a try.

“Even if you’re unsure about joining fraternity & sorority life you should give it a try because you have nothing to lose but everything to gain,” she said.

 

The two offered great insight into how fraternity and sorority life has given them the ultimate college experience. Hines reflected on the ability to recognize people everywhere he goes.

“I love getting to walk around campus and see familiar faces everywhere I go. I have at least one familiar face in each of my classes from fraternity and sorority life,” he said. “I also love how involved you get to be. The events we do as a community, like Greek Week and homecoming are so much fun and always bring smiles to everyone involved.”

Stauffacher said being in a sorority helped her grow individually and helped her build connections.

“Sorority life has helped me become the confident and more outgoing person I am today,” she said. “It’s also introduced me to some of the most important people in my life and I’m so thankful for that.”

Hines also touched on how the fraternities and sororities at MSU are trying to shift the conversations and stereotypes surrounding Greek organizations from negative to positive.

“We don’t haze on this campus and we are a community dedicated to giving back,” he said. “So many people just see the negative and we’re not like that on this campus. We really do emphasize all the positive aspects being in a fraternity or sorority.”

Sorority recruitment begins Thursday, Sept. 6 and runs through Sunday, Sept. 10. If you have interest in signing up, you can register by visiting https://maverickgreeks.mycampusdirector2.com/landing/. Any questions about sorority recruitment can be directed to Lexi Stauffacher at Alexandra.Stauffacher@mnsu.edu

Fraternity recruitment begins Thursday, Sept. 20 and runs through Sunday, Sept. 23. If you have interest in signing up, you can register by visiting https://www.mnsu.edu/activities/greek/prospective/fraternities.html. Any questions can be directed to Kevin Hines at Kevin.Hines@mnsu.edu.

The Importance Of A Student Union

What Does ‘House of Serendipity’ Mean?

by LENNY KOUPAL, CSU Communications Coordinator

How important is a student union to a students’ overall college experience?

At the Centennial Student Union at Minnesota State University, Mankato, validating our campus presence through a random student survey is something we do every couple of years. It provides valuable information and a reality check against what we say we do and what students generally and actually think of us.

And the survey says…our 2018 overall results graphically indicate that we are steadily advancing our overall effectiveness. Students further shared that, in 2018, we are ahead of the curve when compared to six national student unions of comparable size and services, reputable “Carnegie Class” institutions as well as all institutions completing surveys in 2018.

Student opinions show overall progressive growth in effectiveness of Centennial Student Union services and programs.

A comprehensive view of the Centennial Student Union shows satisfaction higher than comparative universities across the country.

We can pat ourselves on the back, but we know there’s no resting on our laurels when it comes to our own expectations and, more importantly, our students’ expectations. As student union administrators, we know that college is more than classrooms and textbooks. So much of learning is accomplished outside the classroom – personally, socially and globally. We know that a strong student union presence plays a pivotal role in student success and growth. We know that a student union is more than brick and mortar. To help students, we know that a student union must be a living, evolving culture. It’s pulse must be the pulse of the campus.

Back in 2010, the CSU set out to define that culture by branding itself the “House of Serendipity.” The moniker seeking a place for unexpected discoveries – pleasant surprises – was taken from the words of the late C. Shaw Smith. Along with being a student union director and the former president of the Association of College Unions International, Smith was an accomplished magician.

That may have accounted for his philosophy that a quality student union should be a surprising, life-changing experience. “I like to call the Union the House of Serendipity,” Smith said. “You go for one thing and you get more than you bargained for. It’s inescapable. It gets into your head and into your heart, and you’re never quite the same again. The right Union will change you.” His words have become the mantra behind the mission and vision of the CSU.

Providing our students with a Serendipity experience started with our tagline “offering pleasant surprises ’round every corner.” That literal application morphed a few years later into a philosophical message that helped express the vision of the CSU. Now “offering pleasant surprises that INVITE, INVOLVE and INSPIRE,” the CSU views those three words as a Maslow-style progression of personal growth.

We seek to create an inviting environment where students can find the creature comforts – food, essential services, corners for studying or sleep and, most importantly, social interaction.

Once achieved, that level of comfortability encourages student to get involved. Coming into the CSU could lead to joining a fraternity or sorority, getting involved in student government, writing for the student newspaper or helping to plan homecoming, concerts or campus activities benefitting all students.

Such personal engagement inspires students to spread their wings as they explore and achieve personal confidence and leadership skills that will shape their careers and adult lives.

Along this journey of personal growth, students are supported by the CSU’s core values that seek to engage students along six prime objectives – Leadership, Integrity, Community, Personal Development, Innovation and Celebration.

So how does this all get back to the original question: How important is a student union to a students’ overall college experience?

Retention is such a key focus for Minnesota State Mankato as it is for universities across the country. At the heart of that discussion is the ability for a university to meet a student’s needs and expectations. As the student-centered heart of campus, the CSU sees the student union’s important role in adding broad-based value to the college experience. Sometimes to the surprise of our students.

Recently, the Washington Post offered a perspective from Jim Troha, a private college president who was also the parent of a prospective college student. The article – entitled VALUE MATTERS IN CHOOSING A COLLEGE. BUT NOT JUST THE PRICE KIND – shared Troha’s view of higher education from a different angle. Too often, college administrators size up value along yardsticks that measure scholarships, job-placement rates, graduate school enrollments and students’ marketable skills.

“What I don’t see, however, are people talking about value — and not the way grocery stores do — but value in terms of ideas, aspirations, the kind of person you want to become, the kind of experiences and environments that will bring out the best in you,” Troha said. “The kind of place where you will be surprised by uncovering your potential.”

By looking past price to value based on the culture of a university campus – in our case, a university student union – Troha said parents and students are better equipped to ask deeper questions.

“They realize potential, networks and the long game (so to speak) are of equal if not greater importance than the immediate details of cost comparisons,” he stated.

At Minnesota State Mankato, the goal is for each of us to visualize “Big ideas. Real-world thinking” in every one our students. The Centennial Student Union works to accept that calling by striving to offer a culture of value that pleasantly surprises students into realizing their full potential. Their big idea may be Serendipity of Self where global thinking is shaped through personal experiences that apply leadership, integrity, community, personal development, innovation and celebration. For the CSU, helping students equip themselves with those shared tools will maintain the student union’s important role in a valued and enduring college education.

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.