Gals Unite for Feb. 13 Galentine’s Day Celebration!

by: ABIGAIL SKAALERUD, CSU Public Relations Intern


If you have watched the show Parks and Recreation, you likely know about the concept of “Galentine’s Day.” On the show, the main character, Leslie Knope came up with the unofficial holiday, celebrated as a day for “ladies celebrating ladies.”

On Wednesday, February 13th, HER Campus is hosting a time to celebrate your besties, and fellow ladies for a Galentine’s Day get together. From 11am to 1pm in the Women’s Center (CSU 218) they will be having brunch treats, card and craft-making, mocktail mimosas, chocolate and other Galentine’s day goodies! There will also be a message in the bottle that you can decorate and give to someone you love or a friend!

The director of the women’s center, Liz Steinborn-Gourley says, “We don’t exclude anyone from Galentine’s Day!” So come join the women of MNSU next Thursday in a day of lady time and fun goodies!


Cutting Hair for the Kids

by: BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Assistant


MSU student-led, MAVATHON, is offering a day of free haircuts to support children in need.

The event, called Clips for Kids, will offer free haircuts by Campus Coiffures. Donations will be accepted for the haircuts as well and all proceeds benefit Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in Mankato (a donation of $10 is encouraged, but not required and any dollar amount helps).

“It received good feedback last year and a lot of the people in the community look forward to the event, so we thought we’d continue it and make it event that happens every year,” Anna Sunderman, Graduate Advisor for MAVATHON, said.

In addition to students and community members having the ability to donate to Gillette, they can also donate their hair. Greg Wilkins, Associate Director of the CSU and Student Activities, is encouraging students to donate 8 inches of their hair or more to give to an organization called Children With Hair Loss, which creates free wigs for kids who have lost their hair. It can take over 50 inches of hair to make a wig, so every chop of 8 inches is a big help!

Campus Coiffures stylist, Ken Bunde, giving a haircut at least year’s Clips for Kids event.

The fundraiser is a part of MAVATHON, a student-led group in charge of coordinating MSU’s Dance Marathon, a nationally renowned organization that hosts events on college and high school campuses to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network. This will be the second year Campus Coiffures has offered to help with fundraising efforts.

“This is an event the [executive] board is really excited about,” Sunderman said.

The event is slated to take place Tuesday, Feb. 12, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the CSU Hearth Lounge. Students who aren’t able to make it to Clips for Kids, but still want to donate to MAVATHON can do so by making a donation to the MAVATHON Donor Drive.

MAVATHON’s campus-wide fundraising celebration event is set to take place Saturday, Feb. 23, from noon to 10 p.m. in the CSU. Students looking to participate in that event can sign up to join a team by visiting the registration page. Any further questions about Clips for Kids or for MAVATHON can be directed to Anna Sunderman at

You can also find out more information about MAVATHON by checking out this week’s Serendipitous Moments video.


Love Shouldn’t Hurt

by: BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Assistant


Valentine’s Day is one of the most popular times of the year to cherish your significant other, but it can also be a good time to make sure if you’re in a relationship, it’s a healthy one.

According to The NO MORE Project, one in every three teens will experience an abusive or unhealthy relationship. Women between the ages of 16 and 24 are three times more likely than the rest of the population to experience and about one-third of the adolescent population America are victims to sexual, physical, verbal or emotional dating abuse.

Physical and emotional abuse in adolescent relationships can cause long-term effects such as increased chances of alcoholism, suicide, depression and other diseases, says Linda Chamberlain Ph.D. Heightened risks of STI’s and pregnancies can also be side effects of abusive relationships.

Unhealthy and abusive relationships happen across all types of relationships, including ones in the LGBT community. In fact, the Urban Institute found the rates of dating violence among LGBT youth is higher than non-LGBT youth. According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), “transgender youth reported the highest rates of dating violence, with 88.9 percent reporting physical dating violence.”

“The reasons for the unusually higher rates of teen dating violence within the LGBTQ community need further research, but early indicators point toward the limited curricula around topics of teen dating violence, domestic and sexual violence prevention education and inclusive sex education,” said David Gardner, Acting Director of MSU’s Gender and Sexuality Programs.

Gardner also noted the HRC’s suggestion that non-inclusive sex education has led to myths like “men cannot be victims of intimate partner violence,” or “that women cannot be violent to their partners.”

The HRC also says these myths further marginalize LGBTQ survivors who may already be more reluctant to report their abuse or access counseling and other resources because they fear being discriminated against or outed as LGBTQ.

It’s not always clear if you or someone you know may be in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, but Liz Steinborn-Gourley, Director of the Women’s Center at MSU, says these eight items can be red flags and warning signs:

  1. Being pressured into unwanted sexual activity.
  2. Constantly monitoring where you are and who you are with.
  3. Vandalizing or ruining your stuff.
  4. Excessive jealousy or insecurity.
  5. Explosive temper.
  6. Invasion of your privacy.
  7. Falsely accusing you of things.
  8. Threatening or causing physical violence.

There are several options for students seeking help with abusive and unhealthy relationships including speaking with a confidential advocate in the Violence Awareness Response Program in CSU 218 or at 507-389-6146, or speaking with a counselor in the Counseling Center (507-389-1455). Additionally, if students need to report dating abuse, they can contact a University Security Officer at 507-389-2111 or the staff in the Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX 507-389-2986. Committee Against Domestic Abuse (CADA) also operates a 24-hour crisis line, +1-800-477-0466, that students can call.

LGBT community members and allies are also encouraged to join the LGBT Center Tuesday, April 9, at noon in CSU 201 for a special presentation by OutFront MN called “It Happens to Us, Too,” which focuses on intimate partner violence within the LGBT community.

More information on teen dating violence and LGBT dating violence can be found by visiting or 


RSO of the Month

by ALEX BAUMANN, CSU Public Relations Intern

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For the month of February the African Student Association will be recognized as the RSO (Recognized Student Organization) of the Month. Here is what the African Student Association President, Mindorr Sarre had to say about the organization.

1.What is your RSO?

African Student Association

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

ASA is a very special organization. It is lead by a student board of nine members. This contributes to ASA being an inviting environment, as each board member speaks for their community and the people. ASA uses member interactions and feedback to cater to what students would like to see and participate in. An example is African Night, which is our biggest event of the year that includes a lot of member participation and planning. Our committed members are the reason why ASA is so strong and continues to grow. We offer weekly meetings, as well as many events that are always entertaining for everyone! We love giving back to the community and making a real impact on the people we reach out to.

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

You do not need to apply to become an active member. Although, paid members at only $15/year receive a lot of benefits such as getting food first at meetings, free parties, and member of the month features with prizes and more. We are not selective, and welcome everyone to attend our meeting, where you’ll be able to connect with our social media and receive weekly e-mail updates. We love using ice breakers and games to increase member interaction, so you’re sure to feel welcome and meet someone! ASA’s specific audience includes everybody. We focus primarily on building relationships between students who are African, yet welcome students and the community to experience and learn about Africa and our traditions also.

4. What is your ultimate goal?

ASA’s ultimate goal is to educate people on African culture, discuss issues, and celebrate our roots all while having fun and having a broad diverse audience.

5. How many members do you have?

Around 80-100 supporting members, and more that just support through attending events.

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

Over 30 years

7. What other Universities have your organization?

University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Saint Cloud State University, University of Minnesota Duluth, Saint Thomas University. 

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

  “Oh my God! Wow!!”

Everyone is amazed at what ASA has to offer, how much fun we have, and our beautiful events.

Thank you to the African Student Organization President Mindor Sarre for taking the time to answer the questions and give readers some insight into what the organization has to offer.

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Apply in February for Scholarships Totaling More Than $1 Million

by ALEX BAUMANN, CSU Public Relations Intern

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Typing Scholarship Finder in the University’s website search bar could uncover more than $1 million in scholarship opportunities.

For students not aware of this valuable online resource, you have until Feb. 28 to apply for scholarships to assist in paying for school. Check it out today!

This Serendipitous Moments video from November 2017 still offers valuable general information for helping students use Scholarship Finder to apply for more than $1 million available scholarship.

For the 2019-2020 academic year, the University is again offering more than $1 million in scholarships to Minnesota State University, Mankato students. All you have to do is apply. In as little as 10 minutes you could gain help in financing your college education.

Don’t have a 4.0 GPA? That’s okay! With Scholarship Finder, you can find and apply for scholarships based on your unique accomplishments and involvement such as:

  • Major
  • Interests
  • Background
  • Personal circumstances
  • Financial circumstances
  • Much more!

Go to Scholarship Finder at to see a listing of all that is available. Sign in with your Star ID and password, complete a general application and get customized recommendations that match your unique qualifications.Applications are open now; February 28 is the last day you can submit. Don’t wait, sign in today!

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Nominations Now Open for Annual Leadership Awards

by ALEX BAUMANN, CSU Public Relations Intern

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Know of a student or staff deserving of recognition? The annual Leadership Awards program can help.

Through Friday, February 22, nominations will be accepted for the 2019 Leadership Awards. Conducted by Student Activities, the awards include 11-13 categories including: Big Ideas – Real-world Thinking, Commitment to Cultural Responsiveness, Maverick Spirit, Outstanding Campus Volunteer, Outstanding Collegian, Outstanding Recognized Student Organization, Outstanding Recognized Student Advisor, Recognized Student Organization Exemplary Service Award, Recognized Student Organization Program of the Year, Rising Star, and the Scott Hagebak Centennial Student Union Hall of Fame. Winners will be selected through panel review of nominations.

Big Ideas – Real-world Thinking, Commitment to Cultural Responsiveness, Maverick Spirit, Outstanding Campus Volunteer, Outstanding Collegian, Outstanding Recognized Student Organization, Outstanding Recognized Student Advisor, Recognized Student Organization Exemplary Service Award, Recognized Student Organization Program of the Year, Rising Star, and the Scott Hagebak Centennial Student Union Hall of Fame. Winners will be selected through panel review of nominations.

Nominators, nominees, award winners, and guests are invited to April 14 awards ceremony to celebrate and recognize the exceptional work of those nominated and awarded. The ceremony will be from 4-6 p.m. in CSU 253/4/5.

To nominate someone, complete this online application.

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February Offers Celebration of Black History and Contributions

by: BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Assistant

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Across the nation, February has become a celebration of culture as Black History Month focuses attention on the contributions of African Americans in politics, entertainment, science and medicine, athletics and much more.

At Minnesota State, the Multicultural Center and Black Student Union have events plan for the whole month including games, movie screenings, panels, special events and more! For a full schedule of events, check out the calendar.

The Origin Story

The beginnings of Black History Month trace back to 1926 when Carter G. Woodson, a renowned historian, scholar, educator, and publisher of that time, created “Negro History Week.” Negro History Week eventually turned into Black History Month in 1976. The month of February was chosen because of the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas. The month was created to celebrate the accomplishments of black people throughout history.

Black History Month is exclusively celebrated in the United States and Canada in February. It’s celebrated in United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Ireland in October.

Why It’s Important to Celebrate

There are many reasons to celebrate Black History Month, but perhaps the most important funnel down to the following: recognizing and honoring the contributions of blacks in history; learning about the treatment of blacks and how they need to be respected and treated as equals; and continuing to make progress for social justice.

How It’s Celebrated

There are tons of ways Black History Month is celebrated. A lot of celebration happens in places of education like schools. Teachers will often show students movies about black icons, read stories, share poetry, view documentaries, show them artwork, play black-inspired music like hip-hop, explore their accomplishments and more.

Outside of the classroom, the celebrations can be far more extravagant. Atlanta, considered to be a “Black Mecca,” has a big parade. The Smithsonian in Washington D.C. creates special exhibits dedicated to Black History. Nashville has festivals, musicals and more. Philadelphia hosts a Black History Essay Contest for grade schoolers.

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Tubing at Mt. Kato

by ALEX BAUMANN, CSU Public Relations Intern

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On Jan. 26th, 2019 the Student Events Team and Mount Kato will host free tubing for MSU students at Mount Kato from 7:00pm-11:00pm. Students can either take the free shuttles to and from the event or drive to Mount Kato and show their mavcard before tubing. 

Follow Student Events Team on Twitter for 
time updates throughout the night.

ROUTE 1 (Starting Times) Runs about every 40 minutes:
1. 6:30 CSU
2. 6:34 Preska
3. 6:37 Maywood Ave/ Warren St. (Highland West)
4. 6:42 Live Active
5. 6:47 College Station
6. 6:58 Mt. Kato

ROUTE 2 (Starting Times) Runs about every 40 minutes:
1. 6:30 Stadium Heights
2. 6:35 Summit and Jacob Heights
3. 6:38 Lot 20 (U Square/ Parking)
4. 6:43 Monks Ave/ Bunting Ln (Quads/ East Highland)
5. 6:47 Quarters/ College Town
6. 6:58 Mt. Kato

** Look for a coach bus and the STUDENT EVENTS TEAM Event Sign at each of the bus sign locations**

First Bus will pick up at 6:30pm.
Last bus will Leave Mount Kato at 11pm.

In addition to tubing, Mount Kato offers skiing and snowboarding, group events, lessons and more. You can visit their website for more information.

You can RSVP for the event by clicking here

Mankato Winter Festivities


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There are many things around Mankato to do in the winter time. Some times, people tend to disregard going out and doing a whole lot in the winter because it can be really cold, roads can be icy, and it’s not easy to get around. However here are a few activities and places to enjoy them in the winter around Mankato.

Minneopa Falls

Minneopa Falls is a great place for those who enjoy being out in nature. It’s a great place to go hiking, snowshoeing, picnicking, and more (probably when it’s warmer for the picnicking). It’s also a great place for photographers, the scenery is pretty ideal for photo taking opportunities. Visit their website for information

All Seasons Arena

All Seasons Arena is a great place to go for those who enjoy hockey, ice skating, or both. They offer affordable rates and even offer free skates on occasion. It is also really close to MSU’s campus so it’s not too far out of the way for most students to be able to go and enjoy it.

Kiwanis Recreation Area Mountain Bike Trail

For anyone interested in Mountain and Snow Biking, the Kiwanis Recreation Area Mountain Bike Trail offers a place to bike in the winter. It is on the same trail as the Kiwanis holiday lights which many students are familiar with and go see around the holidays.

CSU’s “BEST Board” Spotlights MSU’s Student Leaders

by: BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Assistant

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The BEST Board is a staple feature of the Centennial Student Union, highlighting some of Minnesota State’s top student-leaders. But who exactly are these students and why did they get chosen? I had the opportunity to learn about the board in conversations with CSU Communication Coordinator, Lenny Koupal, and a few of this semester’s featured leaders.

What is the BEST Board?

The “BEST” in “BEST Board” stands for: Boasting Exceptional Student Talent and it hangs above the Hearth Lounge in the CSU highlighting eight student-leaders each semester, each of whom were hand-picked by CSU and MSU staff.

The BEST Board hangs above the Hearth Lounge in the CSU.

“It’s meant to exemplify those students that show exceptional leadership capabilities and growth, not only within the CSU, but also within student-life leadership across campus,” Koupal said.

The BEST Board is meant to serve a dual-purpose as recognition for high-achieving students as well as an inspiration for what students have the capability to do during their time outside the classroom at MSU.

“We want to spotlight those students that have made the most of their college career, ones that can serve as an inspiration to others.”

How do students get on the BEST Board?

Students are nominated to be on the best board by staff from all over campus, including areas like student affairs, Student Events Team, CSU administration, Fraternity and Sorority Life, Student Government, Resident Life, Campus Recreation, international student life, diversity groups and many others.

Nominations are taken every March and October and that begins the selection process. A committee consisting of a four-member panel including Koupal, Mark Constantine (Director of the CSU and Student Activities), James Ball (Associate Director of CSU Operations) and Greg Wilkins (Associate Director of the CSU and Student Activities) review the nominations and then pick eight students to be featured for the upcoming semester.

The committee looks for students who have shown continued growth since coming to MSU. This growth could be things like starting off as a student-worker and progressing to graduate assistant or a student holding a small position in an organization and working their way up to become president.

Koupal said they also try to find different kinds of leaders, citing Amanda Johnson as an example saying she is a “quiet leader who worked her way up from CSU Operations staff to Graduate Advisor.” He also mentioned Austin Hassebroek, a former CSU student graphic designer, as someone who he thought was a great example of a BEST Board student because of all the pride, effort and passion Hassebroek always put into his work.

“It’s about students that are successful and help other students be successful,” Koupal said. “They show leadership qualities and Maverick spirit.”

What does the BEST Board mean to the students on it?

Getting on the CSU BEST Board carries a high level of recognition and it’s not taken lightly by the students who get to see their face on the 55-foot long display. Take it from me as someone who’s had the honor of being featured on it.

It served as an affirmation that my hard work and dedication to leadership and growing the organizations I was apart of was worth it. It also served as a motivator for me to continue working hard and trying to make the people and organizations around me even better.

In addition, I’ve been able to witness first-hand how being a leader impacts others. In my fraternity, new members are assigned mentors, or “Pledge Fathers,” to help them through the fraternity and through college. My Pledge Father, Carl Vagle, was on the BEST Board in Fall of 2015. I looked up to him a lot as an inspiration and found myself on the BEST Board in Fall of 2017 as a result of his mentorship and leadership qualities.

Now in the Spring of 2019, two of my Pledge Sons (members of my fraternity who picked me as a Pledge Father) are now on the BEST Board, Graham Waitt and Wallace Pope. It’s incredible to see the impact one person can have on organization and how that can translate into many years of success for that organization.

But don’t just take my word for it. It’s had a far-reaching impact on so many students who have been on it — both past and present.

“”For me it really helps me understand who I’ve become as a student leader since coming to MSU as a shy freshman,” Lydia Jagodzinski, Speakers Chair for the Student Events Team, said. “I always saw older students up there and never thought I’d see myself there someday too. It’s so unreal to me.”

Pope said the BEST Board was reassurance of representing the organizations he was a part of, “Being among some of the most distinguished leaders on campus is a great testament to the hard work and effort that has been put into being not only a great representative of this University but also a great representative of the RSO’s and groups I am apart of.”

Waitt thinks the BEST Board is one of the ultimate forms of representation for non-traditional students like himself.

“As someone who is not only a non-traditional student, but also a member of the LGBT* community as well as in organizations like Fraternity and Sorority Life, being up there shows different intersections that people are able to see and connect with,” he said.

In addition to Jagodzinski, Pope and Waitt, the other students featured on the Spring 2019 BEST Board are Amanda Johnson, Emily Christensen, Ana Leyva, Supreme Shrestha and Valerie Stocking. Mini displays of past BEST Boards can be found on the back wall of the Flexible Programming Space in the lower level of the CSU.

The BEST Board’s Impact Beyond MSU

The BEST Board’s impact and legacy have begun to spread beyond MSU as well.

“It’s one thing that’s really started to spread outside MSU,” Koupal said. “Other schools have seen what it’s done asked us about it. It’s kind of infectious to see the ability to recognize students in that way that we are.”

Koupal hopes the BEST Board and its legacy continue to inspire students to be more involved, to reach higher and achieve more and that its far-reaching impact continues to create leaders and a better campus for the years to come.