In Our August, 2016 Issue:

Mann About Town

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An open let­ter to the stu­dent clubs and orga­ni­za­tions of Met­ro­pol­i­tan State:

Hey, clubs and orgs. How’s it going?

With the school year com­ing up, tran­si­tion is in full effect for clubs. Typ­i­cally speak­ing, this is the part of the year in which tran­si­tion and recruit­ment becomes the high­est pri­or­ity for suc­cess through­out the entire year. I have been in enough col­le­giate clubs to see recruit­ment pat­terns pop up. Also, as the for­mer Pub­lic Rela­tions Coor­di­na­tor for the Min­nesota State Col­lege Stu­dent Asso­ci­a­tion (MSCSA), a pri­mary duty of my posi­tion was to encour­age stu­dent sen­ates across the state to con­tinue recruit­ment and entice stu­dents to attend MSCSA con­fer­ences. Tac­tics var­ied greatly, depend­ing on the cam­pus, but had a great suc­cess rate.

As a result, this arti­cle is a lit­tle eas­ier because I get to focus on one cam­pus. But, it makes it a lit­tle bit harder because of the cul­ture of Met­ro­pol­i­tan State.

Uni­ver­sity Background:

Metro State has five cam­puses: the main cam­pus, located in St. Paul off of Dayton’s Bluff; two pri­mary satel­lite build­ings — the Col­lege of Man­age­ment and Mid­way Cen­ter, located in down­town Min­neapo­lis and (Mid­way) St. Paul, respec­tively; and two sec­ondary cam­puses, located in Brook­lyn Park and Eden Prairie in con­junc­tion with Hen­nepin Tech­ni­cal Col­lege. Each cam­pus has some form of a recre­ational or relax­ation area, so space for adver­tis­ing isn’t too incred­i­bly dif­fi­cult. This is ulti­mately chal­leng­ing to find a cohe­sive cen­ter to the university’s cul­tural cen­ter, espe­cially when Metro State is referred to as a “non-​traditional cam­pus.” This means the typ­i­cal idea of a “tra­di­tional stu­dent” — 1824 years old, full time, no kids, not mar­ried — is not the norm. As a result, the uni­ver­sity hasn’t quite pegged the cul­tural heart just yet.

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Balancing in Times of Calamity

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It always seems like when­ever a police shoot­ing hap­pens that ignites the coun­try. This news is dis­heart­en­ing to hear. The inci­dents of the recent Twin Cities, Baton Rouge, and Dal­las inci­dents weigh espe­cially heavy. Another unarmed black man being unfairly shot? Another planned mass mur­der? It’s become the grue­some stan­dard of America.

With three major national sto­ries break­ing within 72 hours, some­thing was dif­fer­ent. Dif­fer­ent from Sandy Hook; even dif­fer­ent than Columbine: there was a moment, even for just a brief breath, the coun­try felt defeated. The wear and tear of so much injus­tice had become slightly heav­ier than pre­vi­ously thought to be han­dled. It was no longer just a sense of fear and anger, but defeat.

Most of us either know of or have a loved who is a cop. Most of us either know of or have a loved one who has been racially pro­filed. This isn’t much of a sur­prise. What is a sur­prise is how the con­ver­sa­tion on improv­ing the sit­u­a­tion became so eas­ily hijacked by dem­a­gogues who think solely in extremes rather than compromise.

That’s what became most sur­pris­ing: com­pas­sion and empa­thy have been put on the backburner.

By no means should either extreme thoughts of ignor­ing an obvi­ous sys­tem­atic bias against col­ored indi­vid­u­als or com­pletely abol­ish­ing the police depart­ment be humored. But the fact that, yes, racism is very much alive in the U.S., and the Twin Cities is one of the more despi­ca­ble exam­ples of racial wealth dis­par­i­ties, needs to be addressed. The belief that every sin­gle cop is sim­ply a power-​tripping, trigger-​happy racist is sim­ply illogical.

Where progress and heal­ing begin to take place is when we are able to look at each other and see the hap­pi­ness, pain and con­cern that defines the human con­di­tion. There is a lot of work that needs to be done just to work through the frus­tra­tion alone.

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Tech Corner: Back to School Technology Shopping on the Cheap

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It’s August, and we all know what that means: back-​to-​school shop­ping. Many of us dread this time of year and the dent it puts in our wal­lets; tuition is already expen­sive enough, so hav­ing to spend money on a new com­puter, pair of head­phones, or phone can be a down­right dis­heart­en­ing way to start the new school year.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s how to spend less on elec­tronic good­ies with­out sac­ri­fic­ing qual­ity. And, in com­mem­o­ra­tion of this most-​expensive time of year, I’d like to share some of my insights.

Mono­price: The Bar­gain Brand

To start off, one name every­body should know is Mono­price. Why? Because they are the cheap­est sup­plier of power cables I have seen.

Some­thing as sim­ple as a USB phone cable can run upwards of $10 at Best­Buy or Wal­Mart, whereas Mono­price has them avail­able for under a buck. They are, in gen­eral, of slightly lower qual­ity — mine rarely last more than six months. But, thanks to chil­dren and pets, our cables often don’t last that long any­way. You can also find HDMI tele­vi­sion cables, Cat5 net­work­ing cables, and aux­il­iary audio cables for dirt cheap.

Mono­price also has the best bargain-​bin ear­buds I’ve tried. For $7.50, you will find a pair of ear­phones that sound as good as a $50 pair from Tar­get — ditto for over-​the-​ear head­phones. Unlike my phone cable caveat above, how­ever, these ear­buds don’t break on their own. When­ever I’ve had to throw a Mono­price ear­bud in the trash, it was because it has the mis­for­tune of being mis­taken for a mouse, not because it broke from nor­mal usage.

Desk­top Com­put­ers are Bet­ter Powerhouses

Today’s lap­tops are ultra-​portable: sleek, light­weight, and even easy to carry in a purse. Yet, the unfor­tu­nate con­se­quence of this trend is that today’s lap­tops aren’t any more pow­er­ful than those from five years ago.

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Running with Lavender Bridge in the Rainbow Run

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Met­ro­pol­i­tan State’s LGBTQIA stu­dent group, Laven­der Bridge, was on hand at the Rain­bow Run and Pride to sup­port an impor­tant mes­sage: love always wins. This impor­tant direc­tive was felt as I ran with the exu­ber­ant crowd.

As an active run­ner I look for fun 5 and 10K races to run year round. Shorter “fun runs” give oppor­tu­nity for com­mu­nity involve­ment. The Rain­bow Run is one such race, rais­ing under­stand­ing and build­ing stronger ties with the LGBT pop­u­la­tion. Now more than ever, it is impor­tant for us to build love and com­pas­sion for every­one in our com­mu­ni­ties. That is what Twin Cities Pride and the Rain­bow Run is all about.

Dressed in their best mul­ti­col­ored regalia, run­ners lined up on Boom Island — where the elec­tric energy started. As we ran along Hen­nepin Avenue the excite­ment built, with the Rain­bow Run par­tic­i­pants pre­ced­ing the Ash­ley Rukes GLBT Pride Parade. Police were direct­ing traf­fic, cheer­ing run­ners on, and freely hand­ing out high-​fives for will­ing tak­ers. Spec­ta­tors cheered as run­ners and walk­ers passed along the parade route. It was clear from the large crowd lined up on Hen­nepin and the mas­sive amount of sup­port that Pride is an impor­tant tra­di­tion. The mes­sage of love at the fin­ish line was clear when I hugged and high-​fived strangers who, after the run, felt like friends I’ve known for years.

The Rain­bow Run is an exam­ple of a shift in soul in the Twin Cities. In the short period of time since gay mar­riage legal­iza­tion, con­tention towards gay mar­riage has not been at pre-​2012 lev­els in the media for some time. The run also shows how much work needs to be done. Just the fact that it exists sig­ni­fies a bit­ter­sweet com­bi­na­tion: the pride of a minor­ity being able to express them­selves is the sweet. The idea that the same minor­ity of LGBTQIA still have a point to prove for a major­ity in which nuance is often lost on a con­stant, exhaust­ing edge is some­what bit­ter tast­ing. With proac­tive orga­ni­za­tions like Metro’s Laven­der Bridge, the next gen­er­a­tion of activists can flour­ish with deep vigor.

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Student Organizations and Activities: What are you missing?

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Would you like a FREE steak din­ner? Would it be fun to win gift cards and other fab­u­lous prizes? Do you enjoy com­pli­men­tary cof­fee and cook­ies? How does a no-​cost canoe trip appeal to you? What are your thoughts about con­certs with no charge? Do these give­aways sound too good to be true? Well, in this case, they are realities.

Dur­ing the school year, Met­ro­pol­i­tan State Uni­ver­sity holds spe­cial events for their stu­dents. These gath­er­ings pro­vide many ben­e­fits beyond the free­bies and fun. As a Metro State stu­dent, you have an oppor­tu­nity for expe­ri­ences beyond the class­room. Attend­ing a uni­ver­sity event is an excel­lent way to sup­ple­ment your learn­ing. You can also join a stu­dent orga­ni­za­tion to enhance your skills.

When you par­tic­i­pate in extracur­ric­u­lar activ­i­ties, there is a chance to grow. Many stu­dents con­nect through net­work­ing, meet­ing new peo­ple, and going to dis­cus­sions, where they dis­cover use­ful infor­ma­tion. They also increase their expo­sure to real-​world pos­si­bil­i­ties. Stu­dents are often exposed to projects where they apply con­cepts from their stud­ies, and can also find ful­fill­ment through vol­un­teer­ing and com­mu­nity involve­ment. These are all poten­tials for you when get­ting involved in stu­dent happenings.

As a new or exist­ing stu­dent, you may not know of options that are avail­able to you. Some­times these oppor­tu­ni­ties are well-​communicated but remain undis­cov­ered due to the clut­ter of infor­ma­tion that exists. Unless some­one directs your atten­tion per­son­ally, you may miss your chance to do some­thing inter­est­ing. To avoid this occur­rence, you could proac­tively seek out these mag­nif­i­cent opportunities.

If you are on the main cam­pus, take the time to look at the post­ings — on a big bul­letin board — in the library entry­way. This board is a go-​to spot for up-​to-​date fly­ers. You can also find noti­fi­ca­tions in the hall­way between the library’s first-​floor com­puter lab and the bookstore.

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Business Highlight: The Goat Coffeehouse

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The Goat Cof­fee­house, for­merly known as the Danc­ing Goat, is largely immersed in its cul­tural sur­round­ings. Walk­ing dis­tance from Met­ro­pol­i­tan State Uni­ver­sity, this young busi­ness was estab­lished August of 2014 and, accord­ing to co-​owner Ben Hos­field, resides in the old sher­iff build­ing off of 7th Street. They get their name from an Ethiopian leg­end about a goat herder who acci­den­tally dis­cov­ered a cof­fee plant. This appeals to many seri­ous cof­fee drinkers, as it is a story about how cof­fee came about.

The story is painted on the wall behind the reg­is­ter and has been part of the inspi­ra­tion for the busi­ness. As you walk in the door the ambiance exudes the essence of East St. Paul, a con­cept the own­ers, includ­ing Hos­field, put much thought into. Great seat­ing includes a delight­ful patio and high-​top café tables on the ground floor, while the upstairs boasts wing­back chairs, sofas and end tables; this pro­vides many types of study­ing sit­u­a­tions for students.

Great atmos­phere is just one of the count­less fea­tures this local, inde­pen­dent cof­fee­house has to offer Metro State stu­dents. They spe­cial­ize in espresso and cof­fee drinks served hot, blended, or iced, along with teas and fruit smooth­ies. Their menu also includes break­fast and lunch with fresh ingre­di­ents and afford­able prices. Metro stu­dents get 10 per­cent off with their Metro ID.

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The Maze of Metro

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From its begin­ning, Met­ro­pol­i­tan State has had a unique edu­ca­tional style, with its uti­liza­tion of com­mu­nity class­rooms and fac­ulty. With classes spread across the metro area, at times, this can present logis­ti­cal chal­lenges. But even if one mas­ters the high­ways, maneu­ver­ing the hall­ways, floors — and tun­nels — can be tricky as well (it was quite some time before I knew even where the old cafe­te­ria was located).

Hav­ing attended Metro State a few years now, I still remem­ber my first day, and class, at the Dayton’s Bluff Cam­pus. After park­ing in the lot (now the new park­ing ramp), I mean­dered my way through St. John’s halls to the library sky­way. I then took the stairs to the library’s 3rd floor, work­ing my way down another hall­way to the back cor­ner room for my Math­e­mat­ics of Sus­tain­abil­ity class. It turned out to be a sweet spot, with a view of down­town St. Paul and planes fly­ing in to the air­port, but get­ting there took some twists and turns.

Although I’ve attended sev­eral classes at Mid­way Cen­ter, I still get tripped up, with hall­ways that either dead-​end or appear in unex­pected places. I once walked twice around the perime­ter. On the first lap my class­room was right where I left it; the sec­ond — I walked right by it, and would’ve kept going if my walk mate hadn’t stopped. Maybe it’s the hallway’s tri­an­gu­lar out­lay. Maybe it’s just my knack for get­ting turned around at times when I’m indoors. (I don’t know if I’m alone in this; per­haps I should carry a com­pass to class.)

The loca­tions at Min­neapo­lis and Brook­lyn Park’s Law Enforce­ment Center’s present chal­lenges as well, either indoors or out — partly to do with their shar­ing of space with Min­neapo­lis Com­mu­nity and Tech­ni­cal Col­lege and Hen­nepin Tech­ni­cal Col­lege. For­tu­nately, Metro State’s web­site pro­vides out­door maps to the four main Metro loca­tions, and also to the numer­ous other sites around the Twin Cities.

And, floor­plan maps are also avail­able — in PDF for­mat — for some of the main cam­puses; thanks to the cre­ative, extra-​mile effort of track­ing them down by Phil Fuehrer, interim direc­tor of stu­dent devel­op­ment and programming.

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Skyrocketing Tuition Largely a Result of Massive Subsidies, Artificial Demand

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In a Let­ter to the Edi­tor pub­lished in the June/​July 2016 issue of The Met­ro­pol­i­tan, Ed Day reit­er­ates a com­mon refrain about why tuition increases at pub­lic, non-​profit col­leges — as well as for-​profit, pri­vate col­leges — con­tinue to out­pace inflation.

The con­ven­tional wis­dom from school admin­is­tra­tors — and Day — is that once upon a time, peo­ple paid for col­lege with the money they earned from their sum­mer jobs. Then, over the course of the next few decades, pub­lic fund­ing for higher edu­ca­tion was slashed. These dra­con­ian cuts forced uni­ver­si­ties to raise tuition year after year, which has forced mil­len­ni­als and even non-​traditional stu­dents to take on crush­ing stu­dent loan debt. Then, we all lived at home with our par­ents unhap­pily ever after.

If Day is talk­ing about total state appro­pri­a­tions per stu­dent, then, yes, they are some­what lower than they were at their peak in 1990, accord­ing to an April 4, 2015 New York Times op-​ed by Paul F. Cam­pos, a Uni­ver­sity of Colorado-​Boulder law pro­fes­sor. That said, Cam­pos notes that appro­pri­a­tions per stu­dent are still much higher now than they were in the 1960s and 1970s. “State appro­pri­a­tions reached a record inflation-​adjusted high of $86.6 bil­lion in 2009. They declined as a con­se­quence of the Great Reces­sion, but have since risen to $81 bil­lion. But, these totals do not include the enor­mous expan­sion of the fed­eral Pell Grant pro­gram, which has grown, in [2015] dol­lars, to $34.3 bil­lion per year from $10.3 bil­lion in 2000.”

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Student Organization Profile: Nursing Student Organization

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Ayurveda is an ancient Indian method of nat­ural heal­ing. Mod­ern self-​help gurus, such as Deepak Chopra, are rein­tro­duc­ing this prac­tice. Today, the prac­tice of Ayurveda is becom­ing more pop­u­lar. Join­ing this new health move­ment is the Nurs­ing Stu­dent Organization.

Last June they held an Ayurveda Sem­i­nar, where they pre­sented Reiki Mas­ter Tanya Boigen­zahn Sowards of Thai Yoga Body­work. Reiki Mas­ters teach heal­ing meth­ods, and prac­ti­tion­ers of Ayurveda believe in the prin­ci­ple of bal­ance. If peo­ple are bal­anced, they will show pos­i­tive behav­ioral traits, such as good mood, energy, friend­li­ness and dis­ci­pline. If peo­ple are unbal­anced, they will show neg­a­tive behav­iors, such as anx­i­ety, insom­nia, dif­fi­culty focus­ing and irri­tabil­ity. There may also be phys­i­cal symp­toms of imbal­ance. Ayurveda prac­ti­tion­ers help oth­ers restore their health by edu­cat­ing them on diet, herbs, aro­mather­apy, mas­sage, music and med­i­ta­tion. Stu­dent activ­i­ties like this one help peo­ple learn more about healthy lifestyles.

The Ayurveda Sem­i­nar is an exam­ple of the pro­grams that the Nurs­ing Stu­dent Orga­ni­za­tion brings to Met­ro­pol­i­tan State Uni­ver­sity. To help you find out more about this orga­ni­za­tion, The Met­ro­pol­i­tan con­tacted the pres­i­dent of the Nurs­ing Stu­dent Orga­ni­za­tion, Mar­garet Olatun­bo­sun. In the inter­view, Olatun­bo­sum describes this stu­dent orga­ni­za­tion and her per­sonal rec­ol­lec­tions as a member.

1. What are the goals of your organization?

The goal of the Nurs­ing Stu­dent Orga­ni­za­tion is mul­ti­fold: cre­ate rela­tion­ships with inter­nal and exter­nal orga­ni­za­tions; offer lead­er­ship and orga­ni­za­tional skills to stu­dents involved; and pro­mote well­ness to all stu­dents through cam­pus events.”

2. How long has your orga­ni­za­tion been on cam­pus? How many mem­bers belong to your group?

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East Side Enterprise Center—Community Connector

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East Side Enter­prise Cen­ter (ESEC) is a non-​profit orga­ni­za­tion that pro­vides a vari­ety of com­mu­nity ser­vices to St. Paul’s east side. Groups such as Dayton’s Bluff Com­mu­nity Coun­cil (DBCC), Latino Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Cen­ter (LEDC), and East Side Area Busi­ness Asso­ci­a­tion (ESABA) were already active in the com­mu­nity. While these non-​profits were serv­ing immi­grants and minori­ties in such areas as hous­ing and busi­ness devel­op­ment, they were, for the most part, doing so autonomously. This was the cat­a­lyst for found­ing ESEC.

At a DBCC meet­ing, board mem­ber (and now pres­i­dent) Tong Thao recalled an idea he pro­posed, “All of these non-​profits essen­tially do the same work, why don’t they all work together?” Spurred on by this, Deanna Abbott-​Foster, DBCC’s exec­u­tive direc­tor, devel­oped a rela­tion­ship with LEDC and Mario Her­nan­dez, its chief oper­at­ing offi­cer. Fos­ter and Her­nan­dez spear­headed the efforts for the cre­ation of ESEC, which opened its doors at 804 Mar­garet Street in Novem­ber of 2014. This put groups such as DBCC, LEDC, ESABA and the Local Food Incu­ba­tor all under one roof. The fol­low­ing March, Thao came on board as facil­i­ties coor­di­na­tor for ESEC.

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Urban Canoeing and the Importance of Wilderness

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For most Min­nesotans, canoes are objects of con­sid­er­able child­hood mem­o­ries. Water and lake activ­i­ties are favorite past-​times for peo­ple in our north­ern state. From our mem­o­ries of pad­dling bliss to our adult years, one thing doesn’t seem to change: it is our love of the water.

We wait through a long, ardu­ous win­ter for spring and sum­mer to arrive. Crav­ing vit­a­min D from the sun, we look for out­door adven­tures to fill up our warm months. Being stu­dents, money is typ­i­cally an issue when plan­ning our out­ings. This year, the Uni­ver­sity Activ­i­ties Board planned a free day trip for stu­dents to canoe at Tay­lors Falls, Min­nesota. The school pro­vided the trans­porta­tion, meals, and canoe equip­ment for the trip. Make sure to check your stu­dent email and Orgsync to find out more about upcom­ing activities.

Some other fun ways of get­ting the best bang for your buck is to sign up for an annual Wheel Fun Rentals pass. This pass gives you 50% per­cent off of all rentals from the com­pany at Lake Nokomis, Lake Cal­houn, and Min­nehaha Falls. This is a great way for peo­ple who bus or bike com­mute to have afford­able out­door fun with­out hav­ing to buy a pad­dle board or canoe. Dis­count web­sites such as Groupon and Liv­ing Social also have deals on out­door activities.

With such con­sid­er­able resources from the both Stu­dent Life and around the metro area, we at The Met­ro­pol­i­tan have been reflect­ing lately on the impor­tance of tak­ing advan­tage of this and sup­port­ing parks and wilder­ness. Even if most of us never have a Walden expe­ri­ence via the spirit of Thoreau, we are sur­rounded by wilder­ness and parks. The pre­vi­ous para­graph gives an intro­duc­tory gaze into such vastness.

After all, when Twin Cities’ natives talk about “going up north,” many times they are trav­el­ing to a city less than an hour away.

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