Buddies and ‘Spring Break Honeys’ Are Part of Safety Awareness

by ABIGAIL SKAALERUD, CSU Public Relations Intern


March is on the horizon. That can only mean one thing for college students… SPRING BREAK! Whether you are going to be in the Florida sun or the Colorado snow, we have tips for how to have a safe, fun and relaxing spring break!

Spring Break is a time of excitement and fun, but can also be frightening you aren’t careful about how you go about certain situations. Liz Steinborn-Gourley, director of the Women’s Center says that the best piece of advice is to “always have a buddy” and if you are in the sun or somewhere warm, “make sure to be drinking lots of water so no dehydration occurs.”

Liz mentioned “spring break honeys” and says that “If you want things to go in a physical direction, bring your own protection that you know and trust. Before becoming intoxicated, talk with your friends about what you are OK or not OK with doing.” If you choose a physical route, the LGBT Center has two free condoms per person and the Health Education office has 4 condoms for $1.

With the flowing excitement that can come with spring break and all the chaos going on around you, make sure to take safety precautions and make safe decisions throughout your time away!


Traveling Tips: Protecting Your Passport Assures Smooth International Travels

by: MORGAN STOLPA, CSU Public Relations Intern


Do you know how to properly protect your passport when you’re traveling abroad? If not, here’s some tips.

With Spring Break just around the corner, it’s more important now than ever to make sure you’re protecting yourself and your passport.

If you’re traveling international this Spring Break, make sure you’re up-to-date on the latest security measures. Whenever you’re traveling outside of the country, it is important to remember your passport is the key to visiting other countries as well as your ticket to re-enter the United States. To ensure your safety when traveling internationally, always know when your passport expires and have a backup plan for if your passport is lost or stolen.

Know When your Passport Expires:

The first thing you should do when planning an international trip is to check when your passport expires. Some countries require that your passport be valid for at least six months after your planned date of entry. Don’t wait until the last minute, it never hurts to renew your passport. 

ALWAYS have a Back-up Plan:

Whenever you travel, things come up. Passports can easily be lost or stolen, so it’s important to plan ahead. Start by placing emergency contact information inside of your passportin case someone locates your lost passport. Next, it’s important to have several copiesof your passport. If your passport is lost, this will speed up the recovery process. One way to do this is by scanning your passport and having a copy saved electronically on your phone. Another way is to have several paper copies in your luggage in case your passport disappears and the internet isn’t reliable. Finally, leave a digital copy with someone you trust. You never know when something could be misplaced. Having a reliable person who could act quickly and respond to your call for help is essential in a crisis. 


Center Celebrates 40 Years of Helping Women

by BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Assistant


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.


RSO of the Month: Society of Women Engineers (SWE)

by ALEX BAUMANN, CSU Public Relations Intern


1.What is your RSO?

Our RSO is the Society of Women Engineers (SWE).

2. What does it do, what makes it special, what does it have to offer?

Our mission is to empower women to achieve full potential in careers as engineers and leaders, expand the image of the engineering and technology professions as a positive force in improving the quality of life, and demonstrate the value of diversity and inclusion. SWE offers lots of opportunities to build your professional network, develop/improve professional skills, work with young women in the community to encourage their involvement in STEM and create a great community of like minded individuals that can help you with anything from classes, stress levels, to advice on interview questions. 

3. Does one have to apply for membership, how selective is the process, does the RSO focus on a specific audience? 

Anyone can join SWE! We encourage women to join our RSO especially due to the challenges faced in the STEM industry, but we have a large number of men that actively participate in our meetings and events. You can join SWE on Engage or by attending one of our monthly meetings or events. By signing you name on the attendance sheet at meetings, you will also be added to our email list for reminders on upcoming events. We have our RSO email swe@mnsu.edu, SWE Mankato website www.swemnsu.com, Facebook & Instagram pages as well as our events on Engage for those that want to find our more information about the SWE section here at MSU Mankato!

4. What is your ultimate goal as an RSO?

We would like to see women be represented equally in the STEM industry to reflect the society we live in.  In order to achieve this goal, we are encouraging young women in high school to have the courage and confidence in themselves to pursue their goals of making the world a better place through the use of STEM skills & careers.

5. How many members do you have?

We currently have around 30 active members in our section with a large base of alumni.

6. How many years have you been in the University?

SWE has been on campus for 11 years since the section started in 2008.

7. What other Universities have your organization?

Most universities that offer engineering around the U.S. have a SWE section; from D1 universities to tech colleges.

8. Something funny: what meme would your RSO relate to? 

9. Is there anything else you’d like to include about your RSO (upcoming events, recruitment opportunities, etc.)?

This semester SWE will be having a lot of exciting events! We will be selling our new T-shirt design throughout the semester, especially during E-week! We will be having our second annual Spaghetti Dinner on Monday Feb. 25th from 6-9pm during E-week at Crossroads Church across the street from the Trafton East building. SWE will be hosting a panel about empowering women in STEM with female industry professionals, faculty members and graduate students on Thursday March 21 for Women’s History Month in TE225 from 5:30-6:30pm. We will be collaborating with multiple organizations in CSET & the Women’s Center for the Women in STEM Etiquette Dinner on April 4 in the CSU Ballroom from 5-8pm.


28 Days of Honoring Black Excellence


by ABIGAIL SKAALERUD, CSU Public Relations Intern

For over ninety-three years now, Black History Month has been a major marker for the month of February. It is a month of remembering and honoring significant achievements and contributions made by African-Americans throughout history.

This year we decided to honor Black Americans by spotlighting two people on social media every day during the month of February. From Rosa Parks, an American activist in the civil rights movement, best known for the Montgomery Bus Boycott; all the way to Frederick Douglass, who was one of the first African-American NFL players in 1920, as well as the first African-American head coach in the NFL.

Besides social media being a platform to share the significance of Black History Month, our famous Tunesday in the CSU has been highlighting Black Americans such as Minnesota native, Prince, and others such as Beyonce and Michael Jackson. We have also been honoring the successes of Black Americans throughout the CSU on the big screens slideshow.

February will always be a month of honoring what Black Americans have done to better the United States, and that will be something to remember as long as time goes on.


Dreaming of Wakanda: MSU Welcomes Back Pan African Conference

by BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Assistant


The 43rd Dr. Michael T. Faign Pan African Conference will give MSU Mankato an immersive experience in African culture and will provide leadership opportunities for Black students.

According to the event’s official website, the Pan African Conference “will imagine new possibilities for economic justice, emancipatory education, and political solidarity. Inspired by the imaginary city featured in the film Black Panther, we will consider pan Africanism as a political project for healing, sustaining and loving ourselves. We invite secondary, post-secondary and community leaders to join us for this year’s conference as we proclaim “We are Wakanda!” to celebrate our diversity!”

The three-day event begins Wednesday, Feb. 27 and wraps up Friday, March 1. Events occur daily and include keynote speakers, breakout sessions, movie screenings, a career and internship fair, a game night, a royalty competition, food and much more.

Dr. Michael T. Faign and Keynote Speakers

The conference’s namesake, Dr. Michael T. Faign, highlights the prestigious list of keynote speakers.

“Dr. Faign is an emeritus professor and Pan African Leader who has served and been a member of the MSU community for over 45 years. Dr. Faign, a Detroit, Mich., native has served the institution in several roles including professor of African American studies, creator and chair of the ethnic studies program, associate professor for cultural diversity and several other rules,” the event’s website said.

The conference was named in Dr. Faign’s honor in 2010 to celebrate his many contributions to the university.

Additional keynotes include Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson, Ericka Huggins, Derrick Smith, Phillip Agnew and Leslie Redmond. Information about each of them can be found on the conference website.

Royalty Competition

The royalty competition will highlight young MSU scholars who are committed to developing their leadership skills, their education and the community. They will be scored on judged across a variety of events including a fashion show, questionnaire, talent show as well as their dedication to their culture and heritage through advocacy, ideas on social justice and advocacy for change for Africans on local, national and international scales.

The website notes the competition is not a popularity contest, “Royalty will be screened and selected based on the applicant’s ability to demonstrate academic performance, curricular and co-curricular involvement and contributions and passion to their University and community.”

Notable Events

Students, faculty and staff are all welcome to attend various events during the conference. Major events include Game Night Wednesday, Feb. 27, from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. in CSU 245 and the Royalty Competition & Fashion Showcase Thursday, Feb. 28, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the CSU Ballroom. The conference is screening Marvel’s Black Panther immediately following the Royalty Competition. A full schedule of events can be found here.

Anyone seeking more information about the conference is encouraged to visit the event’s website, or to contact any of the three conference co-chairs: Kenneth Reid (kenneth.reid@mnsu.edu), Dr. Agnes Odinga-Oluoch (agnes.odinga-oluoch@mnsu.edu) or Dr. Shannon Miller (shannon.miller@mnsu.edu). Registration, which is required for all attendees, can be found here.


Uniting Together For the Kids

by BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Assistant


A day of dancing, laughing, free food, games, music, friends, family and, most importantly, fundraising for the local Mankato Gillette Children’s
Specialty Healthcare is returning to MSU for its ninth consecutive year.

The event, called “MAVATHON,” is set for Saturday, Feb. 23, in the Centennial
Student Union from noon to 10 p.m. and will include free food, bowling, karaoke, dancing, a live DJ, jazzercise, a performance by the MSU Dance Team, a caricature artist, cosmic bingo and more. Local families and children impacted by Gillette will be in attendance at the event, something many participants look forward to every year.

“I’m excited to see all the families during the main event,” Travis Gerlach, a member of the MAVATHON executive board, said. “It brings so much more meaning to the money we’re raising to meet and talk with the families that benefit from it.”

This year the group is hoping to raise $32,000 for Gillette. So far, they’re
at about 40 percent of that goal and have hosted numerous fundraisers around
the city of Mankato to gather funds. The unity that MAVATHON brings to campus is something Ryan McCormick, Morale Director for the event, said is vital to its success.

“The most important aspect of MAVATHON is unity under one purpose. Hundreds of students from a variety of backgrounds, organizations, majors, and walks of life gather to achieve one goal: dance now for their (the kids) tomorrow,” he said. “We all set aside self-interest and work tirelessly to raise money, giving Gillette’s children a chance to fight back and lead a fulfilling life.”

MAVATHON is put on by an MSU recognized student organization called
Dance Marathon. The group works year-round to plan the event and fundraise money, all of which is donated locally to Gillette Children’s in Mankato. This is the ninth year the event has taken place at MSU and over the course of those nine years, MAVATHON, which is Minnesota largest dance marathon, has raised more than $100,000 for Gillette — more than any other Minnesota dance marathon.

Gillette Children’s is an affiliate of the Children’s Miracle Network, which
funds critical treatments and healthcare services, pediatric medical equipment
and charitable care to local hospitals.

Registration for the event is $32 and can completed by visiting


Drive Your Career Forward at the Diversity Career & Internship Fair


by ALEX BAUMANN, CSU Public Relations Intern

On Wednesday, February 27 from 11:00 AM-2:00 PM the Career Development Center partnered with Institutional Diversity and The Multicultural Center will be hosting the Diversity Career & Internship Fair in the CSU Ballroom.

This Diversity Career & Internship Fair is open to ALL Minnesota State University, Mankato students with a focus of serving students of color and is a highlighted recruiting event connected to the Minnesota State Mankato Pan African Conference.

Kenneth Reid, Director of African American and Multicultural Affairs at MSU said,
“African American Affairs is committed to supporting diverse communities on- and off-campus. Thus, we are pleased to present the Diversity Career and Internship Fair to the campus community on Wednesday, February 27 from 11 am – 2 pm. This event is intended to connect MNSU students and members of the greater Mankato community with companies who are interested in hiring people of color.”

There is no Pre-Registration or Attendance Fees Required for Students. The Diversity Career and Internship Fair is your spring semester opportunity to network with employers at Minnesota State University, Mankato!

First-year and sophomore students-
Explore positions and fields of study, get more information about specific organizations and employers, and develop your network of contacts. Get ahead of your competition by networking as a first-year/sophomore student!

Juniors, seniors, Internship/Job Seekers-
Meet and engage with potential employers and professionals in the field! Dress for success and be prepared to talk about your projects and coursework. Impromptu interviews may take place!
Get prepared by visiting the Career Development Center to learn more about how you can best prepare for this event!
This Diversity Career and Internship Fair serves students registered for the Pan African Student Leadership Conference and is open to all Minnesota State University, Mankato students.

There will be a variety of employers represented at the Diversity Career Fair, including Walgreens, Sherwin-Williams, Thomson Reuters, and 45 others.

This is a great opportunity for students to engage with employers and create opportunities for their futures.

The Diversity Career Fair is sponsored by fun.com, Hormel Foods, and Facilitating Racial Equity Collaborative.


“I’m Afraid I’m a Fraud” Feminine Feast Set Feb. 20


by MORGAN STOLPA, CSU Public Relations Intern 

Do you ever hear a little voice in your head that says “you don’t know what you are doing?” Well, you are not alone.

Join the Women’s Center in a Feminist Feast, “I’m Afraid I’m a Fraud,” to enjoy a catered meal while discussing the topic of feminism and the impostor phenomena. 

Postponed from the original Jan. 30 date, the Feminist Feast on Wednesday, Feb. 20, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union, North Ballroom, explores the the impostor phenomena. The evening includes discussion and a 20-minute facilitated presentation and discussion by Residential Life’s Academic Success Coordinator, Megan Ross, and Director of the Women’s Center, Liz Steinborn-Gourley.

Impostor syndrome is defined as a commonly-shared feeling that someone is a fraud and believes that their accomplishments are nowhere near as good as the praise or promotions they receive.

“Feminist Feast is an opportunity for us to break bread and discuss the very real challenges we face regularly from the political to the personal. In regards to the impostor phenomena, once we understand that our feelings of inadequacy and fraudulence are not our struggle alone, we are better able to confront and change our thinking. People of color and women most often experience these feelings of fraudulence as we begin to see all of the great things of which we are capable. We are good enough. We do belong here,” said Steinborn-Gourley.  

Feminist Feasts are open to all students. If you’re interested in attending RSVP at the Women’s Center in CSU 218 by 12 p.m. on Monday, February 18 or by responding to our Facebook event: facebook.com/WomensCenterMsu. 

Remember, Feminist Feasts are open to all students. 


LGBT Center Spills the “Tea Talks” on All Things Health and Wellness


by: MORGAN STOLPA, Public Relations Intern

Do you want a safe place to learn where no questions are considered out of place?

The LGBT Center is collaborating with Planned Parenthood, The Counseling Center, and Smitten Kitten to provide Tea Talks that create a learning environment for students to learn about a range of issues focusing on health and wellness.

In February the LGBT Center is hosting two Tuesday Tea Talks on Feb. 19 and Feb. 26 from noon to 1 p.m. in CSU 194. Students are encouraged to ask any of the presenters their questions. The Tea Talks are a learning environment so if you came looking for an answer, ask the question!

All attendees are asked to keep an open mind and are encouraged to bring a lunch since the talks take place over lunch hours. There are a range of topics that will be discussed all of which will focus on health and wellness. As always, there will be free tea!

The February Tea Talk topics:

Tuesday, February 19: Get ‘PrEP’ped: STIs, Treatment, and PrEP for all Communities

Planned Parenthood will be visiting the Center and discussing the signs, symptoms, and treatment of common STIs. They will also discuss PrEP, a pill-a-day way of preventing HIV infection.

Tuesday, February 26: Navigating Eating Disorders Within the Queer Community

The Counseling Center will be sharing stats and infographics, discussing signs and symptoms (for self or others), and engaging students in an experiential mindfulness and a body compassion exercise.

“My favorite thing about the Tea Talk topics this semester is that while the talks are held in the LGBT Center, the topics and conversations apply to ALL communities. Students from majors like counseling, psychology, health & wellness, nursing, or social work are all encouraged to join in, as well as anyone who is curious and wants to learn more about any of the topics we’re offering this semester,” said David Gardener, the acting director of the Gender and Sexuality Programs.

Remember, the LGBT Center is not only for members of the queer community, their allies are always more than welcome to come in and find a sense of community.

For more information, or questions check out their Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/LGBTcenterMSU.