Category Archives: College

New Winona apartments to upstage other housing options

The residential scene in Winona caters to different groups of people, predominantly college students from August to May.

A new downtown apartment complex called Main Square Winona is aiming to be the updated hub for business professionals and the wealthy in town.

From a third-floor balcony, a view of Winona’s downtown amenities can be seen.

According to Tom Hoseck, Main Square Winona’s lead property manager, the complex will have two primary buildings: the Landmark on Main and 5th Streets and the Cornerstone, which is on Main and 4th.

While Landmark is housing with one, two- and three-bedroom units, Cornerstone also has space for retail offices.

Amenities like a fitness center, rooftop terraces and meeting room will be shared between residents, Hoseck said.

Speaking about the draw for living at Main Square, Hoseck mentioned proximity.

“Living here gives people everything they could need within walking distance,” Hoseck said. “Plus, we’ll be adding conveniences for residents like an orthodontist, hair salon and a walk-in clinic. We want people who live here to feel like they never have to leave.”

A complex marketed as luxury must live up to that in rental prices.

An average one-bedroom rental in the Landmark building runs $1,300 per month For the Cornerstone building, a one-bedroom suite begins at $875 a month.

In a city that’s predominantly college students, how do these rates stack up to dorms?

And would the apartments appeal to college students?

According to Paula Scheevel, Winona State University’s director of housing and residence life, the dorms are a better price.

Unlike the price of the new apartment complexes, the rates of dorms were decided by the original cost to build and maintain the dorm.

In WSU’s Quad, which is a building made up of four separate other dorms, an average room is $2,800 for the academic year.

While college students pay off all charges in chunks, the average rent would come out to $350, per the housing and residence life yearly budget.

They also have stipulations through the MinnState system that all dorms must be built to withstand 100 years of residents and be paid off in 20 years.

Because Scheevel has been in her position for 16 years, she also has data on retention rate in the dorms.

“Thirty percent of people who live in res halls are returners, and that adds up to about one third of the overall student population,” Scheevel said.

She expounded on why she thought the university had those numbers.

“It’s ultimately about the value of the dollar. Our convenient location, dining plan and community in res life makes it a top choice.”

In terms of how the dorms stack up to the new apartments, Scheevel said she didn’t think Main Square Winona aimed to be for college living.

Paula Scheevel posing in her office space for housing and residence life
Paula Scheevel, director of housing and residence life, stands in her domain in Kryzsko Commons where students can apply to live on campus and inquire about other aspects of campus life.

“To my knowledge, the complexes are geared toward those who are well-off and looking for housing not directed at college students,” Scheevel said.

To live in the Cornerstone, which is the cheaper of the two luxury complexes, for one school year, it would be a 150 percent increase over residence halls at the university.

And that’s just an average dorm room cost.

By comparing the cost of Main Square Winona to the most upscale dorms on campus, Kirkland-Haake, an average room in the four-person complex is $3,650.

Calculated out, monthly rent from a dorm to this luxury complex would increase by 91 percent.

Depending on where you live, you get what you pay for.

Question is, who’s willing to pay that much?

Finding A Voice

I wake up, It’s Thursday.

The Winona State University women’s basketball team leaves today at 3:30 p.m. for games in Marshall, Minnesota and Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

I, being the radio guy, cannot miss the bus as the men’s team does not arrive before the start of the women’s game.

Time to pack my bag and prepare for the fourth weekend on the road this season.

I’m a bit nervous as I’ve never really got on talking terms with any of the players.

They all do their thing while I sit there quietly and mind my business.

I’ve covered the WSU basketball teams for three years while working at the campus radio station, 89.5 KQAL, so you’d think I’d have a better relationship than this.

It’s just not the case.

I get to the bus stop, say hello to Coach Scott Ballard, and take my seat.

I’ve debated sparking conversation, but I don’t feel like the team is interested in my small talk, plus I feel like they discuss basketball enough as it is already.

Hours later, we arrived in Marshall.

They eat their team meal together at Texas Roadhouse or Pizza Ranch, I usually eat off to the side, then we head to the hotel for the night.

I’ve said two words since the start of the trip.

Team meal at Pizza Ranch in Marshall, Minnesota.

Being secluded and keeping to myself isn’t what I’d like to be doing, it just happens.

The nerves of saying something stupid or sitting where someone else wants to sit triggers my anxiety.

My boss and longtime radio professional Doug Westerman explained that it’s not unusual for radio personal to be introverts off the air.

“They just want that high energy ‘Hey everyone! Blah blah blah we got a great day in store for you!’ then all of sudden you’re walking down the hallway and they give you a nervous ‘hi.’”

How could someone be an introvert and be on the radio where you talk for hours?

Pat Broe, former KQAL Program Director and Sports Director, described the flipping of the switch from off-air to on-air as being trapped in a corner with no way out.

“There’s something about when that red light comes on that you have to start, you can’t do anything but be that person,” Broe said. “You’re trapped in a corner, you are live on air, there’s thousands of people listening to you, and you have to figure out a way to entertain them.”

Sounds pretty intense, but I found that to be accurate.

Waiting in the hotel lobby until the team leaves for their shoot around.

In the morning I checked out of my room at 11 a.m.

I sit in the hotel lobby until we leave for the game at 3 p.m.

5 o’clock rolled around and I plugged in the comrex, got my mics into position, and waited for my producer Ryan “Baby Shaq” Mandli to send the call my way.

“That’s going to do it for the Warrior Tip-Off Show as Buck Wallert is waiting in the R/A Facility in Marshall Minnesota, take it away Buck,” Baby Shaq said.

And I picked it right up with, “Welcome to the R/A Facility over here in Marshall Minnesota as we have a good match up in store for you tonight as your Winona State Warriors take on….”

Like that flip of a switch, I was in a zone.

Calling the Tip-Off Show before the women’s game in Marshall.

From saying two words in almost an entire day, to rattling off names, stats, and match up history, you would think I knew these players their whole lives.

Anything to paint the best picture possible for the listeners back home, as according to Doug Westerman, “radio is the theatre of the mind.”

Not talking at all, to saying thousands of words, then right back to not talking after the game bothered me.

It just didn’t make sense.

Mike Martin the original KQAL radio jock and now the guy who keeps the radio station going, met with me the next day and explained how radio gives you confidence.

“It makes you think on your feet, spontaneously, and being kind of a shy kid, you’re doing it in a room by yourself, so that kind of helps too,” Martin said. “You’re talking to people, but they aren’t right in front of you. You’re by yourself, but you’re not talking to yourself, there’s maybe hundreds of people.”

Thinking of the amount of people listening to me makes me even more nervous, do I sound okay? What if I say something I shouldn’t or panic?

And panic is just what I did the first time on air.

Pat Broe reflected on the first time we were thrown into the spotlight.

“It’s a day you and I will never forget.  I was producing and co-hosting, you were hosting, and neither of us knew what the heck we were doing.  TJ Leverentz and Tyler Jeffries kind of just gave us the keys and let us go and let us fail, and we did,” Broe said.  “I think we went to commercial 25 or more times; we didn’t turn our mics off one time, and there might have been a word that the FCC doesn’t like that got on the air.  Basically, anything that could have gone wrong went wrong.”

That was just over three years ago.

Now when I go on air, I have fun with it, take it and run.

Notes or no notes I was going to think of something.

“It’s so funny too, I thought I was prepared for that day, I thought I had enough information to put a show together, but I was not even remotely close,” Broe said.  “Now putting together a pregame show is easy.”

But it’s not always as easy as he says, when you’re having a bad day, you still have to be happy go lucky on air.

Martin explained this well when talking about his experience as a disc jockey.

“I had been just having a horrible bad day or something, and I was just grumpy…. Then I flip the mic on and immediately I’m cheering and I gotta play the role, I gotta play the radio guy,” Martin said. “Flipped the mic off again and went back into grumpy mode. This other guy in the control room with me said ‘how did you do that, how did you just change personality like that.’ And I’m just like ‘hey, that’s what they pay me to do.’”

I receive $20 for each game I call, as well as the free hotel rooms and couple of meals.

But, the radio has given me a voice, so I’d say I’m living the dream.

Winona State parking causes frustrations for some

Winona State University has seen a limit on the amount of parking permits given to students along with limited space to park which for some leads to frustration. 

Winona State Parking Services have a cap on the number of parking permits they sell for residential and commuter parking lots. 

For residential lots, with silver, green, tan and maroon parking permits, the cap is the same as the number of spots the university has in those lots. 

All Winona State parking permits have to be hung on the rearview mirror of vehicles at all times while in a Winona State parking lot. Failure to have the permit hanging could result in a parking violation.

For the silver, green and maroon lots, the annual price of a parking permit is $155. The tan lot parking permits are $85 because there are conferences often at the Tau Center which is where the tan parking lot is. 

For commuter lots, the gold and purple parking permits, the cap is a little more than the number of spaces in those lots. 

Alisha Syrmopoulos, Winona State’s Parking Services office manager said they do that because people do not stay in the lot for long periods of time. 

Gold parking permits are $225 per calendar year. Purple parking permits are $105 per academic year. 

Sustainability parking permits are available for students who live in the sustainability house for $155 and Circle or Grey parking permits are offered for motorcycles and mopeds for $35. 

Winona State Parking Services also offers a blue parking permit for those with a state-issued handicap permit for $105. 

Faculty, staff and students have the ability to purchase handicap parking spaces provided they have a state issued handicap permit. The Winona State handicap permits are $105 per academic year.

Winona State meets ADA regulations when it comes to handicap spaces but Syrmopoulos said she receives complaints that the amount of spots is not enough. 

Syrmopoulos said she gets complaints about not having enough handicap spaces. 

With a handicap parking permit, the permit holder is able to park in any open spot on campus. Syrmopoulos said even if someone cannot find a handicap spot Parking Services stills wants to get them as close as possible. 

Syrmopoulos said they do the best with what they have. 

“We are kind of landlocked. You kind of got to work with what you have and use the space,” Syrmopoulos said. 

This is why not everyone who applies for a parking permit will get one. 

Syrmopoulos said there is a stack of applications from faculty, staff and students who want a parking permit for this school year.  

The process Parking Services use to decide who gets a parking permit is first-come-first-served. 

Syrmopoulos said there have been professors who go into the Parking Services Office and tell the student workers they should have priority to get a parking permit. 

“I have had faculty sit here and yell at my students and tell my students that they should have priority to these parking permits because if it wasn’t for them the university wouldn’t even be running,” Syrmopoulos said. 

She said her response to these professors has been that if there were no students there would be no need for faculty. 

“It’s a co-op effort,” Syrmopoulos said. 

First-year Winona State student, Kalli O’Brien said she believes the process of getting a parking permit is fair. 

She does not agree with the cap on residential parking. 

“I live in Sheehan and I’d say I have parked in that parking lot in front of Sheehan less than 10 times for sure,” O’Brien said. “It is so frustrating because I do morning shifts and walking far away in the morning when it’s freezing out sucks.” 

At the beginning of the semester, O’Brien was almost going to give up her parking permit because she did not believe it was worth the money. 

After talking to her parents O’Brien decided to keep the parking permit because she knew in the winter she would be happy to have it. 

Another aspect of the parking permit that frustrates O’Brien is when students in residential parking spots have a permit but never move their car. 

“I live on one of the top floors and my roommate and I look down and we can see the cars that have been there for weeks,” O’Brien said. “Why do you even have a car if you’re not using it?” 

O’Brien said she believes students who use their cars on a regular basis should be the ones with the parking spot right outside the building. 

O’Brien said she would not recommend getting a parking permit to anyone because it is not worth the amount of money. 

“Alternate side parking it’s kind of a hassle but it’s more of a hassle doing [a parking permit] and wasting your money,” O’Brien said.

Jacob Bleess and the Need for Speed

By Zach Bailey

As he left class on a cool, Friday afternoon last fall, Jacob Bleess knew the big day was finally upon him. He dropped his backpack off at home, grabbed his gear and began getting in the zone for later that evening.

He walked past the grandstands, ready for what that night might bring him. After putting on his gear, he took a couple slow breaths, then slid his helmet on. He took one last look at the packed grandstands.

Then he ignited the engine to his racecar.

Bleess, a senior business administration major from Chatfield, Minnesota, is one of hundreds of Winona State students who would consider themselves “nontraditional student-athletes.”

A nontraditional student-athlete is a student who participates in a sport that is not university sponsored, or is not a varsity level sport, such as club sports like rugby and hockey, or, in Bleess’ case, stock car racing.

Bleess was initially introduced to the fast-paced world of racing at the age of 10, when his father first got him into go-kart racing. After two years behind the wheel of a go-kart, Bleess began feeling the urge for more power, the need for speed.

Bleess moved out of the go-kart industry and hopped behind the wheel of a full-sized “B-Modified” stock car, four years before he would be legally allowed to climb behind the wheel of a full-sized car on the road. He continued to race his B-Mod for the next four years, then moved his way up to the top stock car class in the “A-Modified” division, where he has remained since.

Stock car racing, otherwise known as dirt track racing, is similar to NASCAR racing in which a pack of cars race counterclockwise around a track. The main difference between the two is swapping out the traditional asphalt of NASCAR to a mixture of dirt and clay, as well as the various body styles and build of the cars.

Bleess can be seen weekly throughout the April-October season at local tracks such as Mississippi Thunder Speedway in Fountain City, Wisconsin, and Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minnesota.

A majority of his races are in the area, but it is not uncommon for Bleess to go farther south for the racing series, traveling to places such as Oklahoma, Nebraska and Kansas, among others.

Even though a majority of the racing season takes place over the summer, the first and last couple of months do take place during the school year, which can make things difficult for Bleess.

“We go down south during the summer, but while in school we stay close to home so I can do my homework and go to class,” Bleess said. “All that fun stuff.”

Along with a few months of actual racing, the off-season can also be a busy time for Bleess, as he uses this time to swap parts on his car and make sure everything is ready to go come spring.

Though his racing schedule is more open than that of a traditional student-athlete, Bleess said there are conflicting schedules at certain times of the year.

“There are conflicts with school and racing, but school does come first,” Bleess said. “If it’s a big event, though, I go racing first, then do school work as needed.”

As a nontraditional student-athlete, there are many perks that Bleess and other athletes do not receive because their sport is not university sponsored.

Justin Loehr, the associate athletic director of the Student-Athlete Success Center, said that the main disadvantage to being a nontraditional student-athlete would be the resources the students do not have available to them.

Along with various sports scholarships, there are also other resources that nontraditional student-athletes could be missing out on, such as the Student-Athlete Success Center.

“[The Student-Athlete Success Center] helps student athletes in many ways,” Loehr said. “They hold weekly academic meetings with first-semester athletes, and athletes under the required GPA, as well as make referrals to tutoring services, access services and help with both career and major exploration.”

Along with the missing resources available, both agreed that there are other struggles to being a nontraditional student-athlete, such as professors’ reactions to missing class.

“It depends on the individual professor and how student communicates with them but being a part of a university-sponsored event helps (when missing class for a sport).”

Bleess had similar things to say about different professors’ willingness to mark him excused for missing class.

“I try not to skip class; school comes first,” Bleess said. “Some professors don’t mind (skipping class for racing), but some do.”

In the end, however, it is not all challenges.

“I don’t have weekly meetings to go to like a football player would. I mostly get to pick my own times to race and work on the car,” Bleess said. “I can do schoolwork whenever I want, and put in the amount of hours I want to put in. I can pick and choose which races to go to, and when to take a break from school to work on the car.”

 

 

Zach Bailey is a senior marketing and mass communication-journalism major from Winona, Minnesota. He is the editor-in-chief of the Winonan, the Winona State student newspaper, as well as a member of Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity. In his free time, he enjoys racing motorcycles, playing guitar, reading and watching movies. He hopes to one day work for the New York Times and become a published author.

On-campus food shelf aids students

A food shelf at Winona State University has become increasingly successful with the help of numerous university and community resources.

The Warrior Cupboard, located in the university’s Integrated Wellness Complex, began operations in fall 2017.

Kim Zeiher, academic advisor and student leadership coordinator for Winona State’s TRIO program and one of the minds behind the Warrior Cupboard, talked about the initial reason for starting the food shelf.

“There were people on campus who were reporting that they saw the challenges students were facing with regard to food insecurity and then how that, in turn, caused challenges to academic success,” Zeiher said.

Zeiher added students within the TRIO program, as well as across campus, were choosing to buy textbooks over food.

Before the Warrior Cupboard came to Winona State, Zeiher said she had already created a “mini” food shelf for students within the TRIO program.

“They see food as you make choices about and so it had to do with either eliminating meals out of the day or eating low-quality food with poor nutrition,” Zeiher said. “We were talking about, ‘Well, how do we solve that problem?’”

The TRIO food shelf became a temporary solution for students, so creators of the Warrior Cupboard could rally faculty and staff for a larger, long-term food shelf.

Director of Integrated Wellness and another mind behind the Warrior Cupboard, Kate Noelke, explained how the university got a better idea of how many students were in need of food.

“We did a survey in the spring of 2015 asking the Winona State student body who would utilize this service if we had it on campus, how would you utilize, what is the current situation of your financial needs, your security or insecurity with regards to food,” Noelke said. “What we got was up to 40 percent of our population of students have experienced food insecurity in the last month.”

Kate Noelke, director of integrated wellness at Winona State University, oversees the Warrior Cupboard student food shelf.

After the survey, Noelke, Zeiher and other faculty and staff members started campaigning for an on-campus food shelf.

Grant money was given by the WSU Foundation to create a space on campus for the Warrior Cupboard and with the help of the Vice President of Student Life and Development, Denise McDowell.

Noelke said it is important to note the Warrior Cupboard is only meant to “fill in the gaps” for students who are hungry. She said, however, she can help students who use the cupboard access services within the Winona community if they are in need of additional support.

The Warrior Cupboard’s primary partner outside the university is Winona Volunteer Services.

“We worked with Sandra Burke, who is the executive director at Winona Volunteer Services, to come up with the strategic plan and to identify the need and make sure that we still have that permanent connection for students who are coming and needing food here to get to Winona Volunteer Services if their needs are more severe than what the Warrior Cupboard can do,” Noelke said.

Noelke said Winona Volunteer Services is not the only resource that helps keep the Warrior Cupboard at Winona State.

She said through a social media, grassroots-style fundraiser close to $1,000 was raised and split between the Warrior Cupboard and Winona State’s on-campus garden, SEED Garden.

Noelke added Winona State students, faculty and staff, have contributed money and food to the shelf.

“We also have individual student clubs and organizations that will go and do a tabling event and say, ‘We’re collecting donations for the Warrior Cupboard.’ We might get $5 or we might get $50, but quite frankly, every dollar counts,” Noelke said.

Creators of the Warrior Cupboard have also worked with the WSU Foundation, so faculty and staff can contribute a percentage of their paycheck to the food shelf.

“There are several faculty emeritus and some staff and faculty on campus now that donate their actual earned income to this service every two weeks, which is pretty awesome,” Noelke said.

As of this month, Noelke added she is now able to purchase food for the Warrior Cupboard at a discounted price through Winona Volunteer Services. She said the WSU Foundation’s non-profit status helped make this possible for the Cupboard.

Noelke emphasized the Warrior Cupboard is not designed to provide students three meals a day, week after week. The goal is to “fill in the gaps” for hungry students and connect them with off-campus resources if they need further help.

The Warrior Cupboard still has some minor issues to work out, according to Noelke. She said she is certain the Cupboard’s team will figure these things out.

“We’re still getting our hands around what the actual need is because it may be that we continue as we have been,” Noelke said.

She said a small number of Winona State’s nearly 8,000 students use the service.

“Right now, we have 80 students who have access to this space,” Noelke said. “It may be within a year we have 1,000 students that need access to this space and then our fundraising efforts will have to reflect sort of how we support the amount of students that are taking advantage of the actual service.”

Noelke said despite having a few things to work out with the Warrior Cupboard, she is excited to watch it continue to grow.

“We have distributed 3,500 pounds of food and have donated, I think, close to $2,000 and this is individual donations,” Noelke said. “It’s been incredibly humbling, I think, to see this thing get up and running.”

Student Senate comments on election data and process

Student Senate Elections are a tradition on most campuses.

The Spring 2019 election for the Winona State University Student Senate was no different.

Ben Ellgen, newly elected Student Senate president said the Senate considers 10 percent of the student body voting to be a success, which is about 800 students out of about 8,000 students.

According to the Spring 2019 election data 904 Winona State students voted.

Of those who voted in the 2019 election a total of 796 students voted for the treasurer tickets and 804 voted for the president and vice president tickets.

The graph above illustrates the total number of voters over the past four elections. The two Spring elections are when the executive board and the constitution revisions are voted on.

Ellgen commented on the voter turnout for the Spring 2019 election.

“I frankly was a little disappointed. I love Senate and I know the good work it can do,” Ellgen said. “I would have liked to see more people participate. Especially in a contested election.”

In the Spring 2018, election the candidates for the executive positions ran unopposed.

For treasurer in Spring 2018, 916 people voted for the position, 120 more people than the most recent election.

The president and vice president ticket in the Spring of 2018 had 923 people who voted, 119 more people than the most recent election.

This graph illustrates the number of total votes versus the number of votes for each executive position during the executive election years. In both of those elections the total number of votes is more than the votes for the executive positions.

The lowest voter turnout was for the Fall of 2018. 466 Winona State Students voted in the election.

The elections are not only used to elect student leaders but also to have the student body vote for changes to the constitution.

Christina Melecio, current Student Senate president said in order to approve any constitution changes Senate, needs 10 percent of the student body to vote and the majority to approve it.

The Spring of 2018 vote was close to not passing with 811 votes.

Melecio said there are two rules for candidates that are talked about more because they are the rules most often broken.

“The first one would be no campaigning within 25 feet of the Senate office,” Melecio said. “Then there is no spending more than $250 per ticket.”

For example, the president and vice president run as a ticket, meaning they run together. They have $250 to spend together.

The $250 is for posters, buttons, stickers or anything else the person running feels they need for their campaign.

Nicole Ruhland and Ben Ellgen described their experience with the process when they ran for president against each other in the Spring 2019 election.

Ellgen said the process of the election was long but rewarding.

“It was a lot of time, lot of late nights, a lot of going out to clubs, a lot of interactions,” Ellgen said. “It is definitely an intensive process. But, at the same time, it’s really rewarding.”

Ellgen said it was a humbling process.

“Honestly, it is not fun that week or two. But, again, it is so rewarding to get out into the Winona Community and it is such humbling process,” Ellgen said.

Ruhland said the process was interesting and she learned a lot about herself.

Ruhland has never campaigned like this before. She said she was not used to talking about herself and what she wanted to do.

She did learn she can public speak and said she appreciated meeting so many people.

“I got to meet a lot of people and that was exciting,” Ruhland said. “It also made me realize that I can do public speaking. It’s scary but it is possible.”

For more information on the Winona State Student Senate:

https://www.winona.edu/studentsenate/Media/WSUSA-Constitution.pdf

https://www.winona.edu/studentsenate/Media/Bylaws.pdf

https://www.winona.edu/studentsenate/default.asp

“Robert A. DuFresne Performing Arts Center” dedication gathers community

A crowd of more than 50 people gathered on Winona State University’s campus on Monday, April 29, for the unveiling of the newly named “Robert A. DuFresne Performing Arts Center.”

Dufresne, who passed away in 2015, was president of Winona State from 1967-78, and was president during the construction of seven buildings on campus, including the PAC.

The dedication event began with various speakers, and was followed by refreshments in the PAC lobby.

University President Scott Olson spoke on the impact DuFresne had on the university as a whole, and on himself.

“He was a friend and mentor to me, and he was also a hero to me,” Olson said. “It’s entirely fitting that we gather here to remember Bob DuFresne and everything he meant to this university, and at last recognize what he meant to us.”

President Scott Olson speaks about the impact Robert DuFresne had on Winona State University at an unveiling event on Monday, April 29. The event was the official renaming ceremony of the building as the newly-named “Robert A. DuFresne Performing Arts Center.”

DuFresne’s wife and son, Barbara and Jeff DuFresne, also shared comments at the event.

Barbara DuFresne spoke mostly about her husband’s time as president of the university, as well as his time with Winona State after his presidency.

Jeff DuFresne focused on how fitting it was for the PAC to be named after his father, stating that he “was always a great supporter of the performing arts.”

Barb DuFresne, wife of Robert DuFresne, speaks about Robert DuFresne’s time as university president during the renaming ceremony of the “Robert A. DuFresne Performing Arts Center” on Monday, April 29.

The proposal for the name change, which had initially been brought up in December of 2017, was written by three former Winona State faculty members: Jim Reynolds, a retired sociology professor, Gary Evans, retired Vice President of University Advancement and George Bolon, a retired physics professor.

“This is a long overdue recognition, and entirely fitting honor,” Reynolds said. “This is a legacy that I think should be honored and celebrated.”

Bolon also spoke on how fitting it was for the PAC to be named after DuFresne, not only for his love of the performing arts, but also because the PAC was the first building to be constructed during DuFresne’s tenure as university president.

Bolon concluded his speech with thoughts about DuFresne.

“We are all better persons for having known Robert A. DuFresne,” Bolon said.

Following the speeches, the building was dedicated with the unveiling of a new sign by Olson, Reynolds and Barb DuFresne.

A crowd of more than 50 students, faculty and community members gather at the newly-named “Robert A. DuFresne Performing Arts Center” at the renaming ceremony on Monday, April 29.

Sustainability Fair

Winona State University held its first Sustainability Fair where students could talk to students, community members and businesses about sustainability.

The fair was February 27 and was held in the East Hall of Kryzsko Commons from 4-7 p.m.

Leah Dechant, a Winona State student and student worker for the sustainability office was one of the main planners of the fair.

“I always notice that students don’t really know much about sustainability,” Dechant said. “Or that we live in such a great area called Winona with all these options, they’re all local, organic, sustainable businesses, or companies that provide environmentally friendly options.”

She said the fair was designed to create a place for community members as well as students, faculty, and staff to get together in one place with a common theme of sustainability.

The fair showcased sustainable practices and ideas in and around Winona State.

There was no fee to attend the event and the booths were set up without a registration fee. Free snacks were also set out for people to enjoy and there was live music.

Jeanne Franz, a sustainability advisor and professor at Winona State said that Dechant reached out to people and businesses, and said, “No fee. If you want to come, please come.”

A banner was on a table being signed by people who came to the fair. One signature meant one pledge to live more sustainable.

Christie Hill signing to pledge to live more sustainable.

Franz said 12 years ago, Winona State signed the president’s climate commitment that by the year 2050, Winona State will be carbon free or carbon neutral.

This means Winona State will not produce carbon more than is being consumed by the university.

Franz said Winona State has begun taking steps toward this goal.

Dechant said that there are other things that she would like to see on campus as well.

“I would love to see more sustainable technologies, buildings and projects on campus,” Dechant said.

Franz said, “A few years back the students voted themselves a green fee which has helped fund the sustainability office including a full-time person, Nathan Engstrom, whose job is completely devoted to sustainability.”

One exhibitor talked about what you can do with certain spices and home remedies for ailments.

He had made his own kombucha that he shared, as well as showed his dried herbs and spices that he had collected and foraged.

Exhibitor showing table of home remedies.

Dechant’s table was handing out reusable water bottles and seeds participants could plant.

Leah Dechant (left) with fellow students handing out reusable water bottles.

“It’s not a hobby or lifestyle anymore,” Dechant said. “We need to change our ways.”

Mountainfilm travel-study gearing up for another round

In the week leading up to and including Memorial Day weekend, Winona State University’s film studies department will be hosting a travel-study in which students are given an opportunity to visit Telluride, Colorado, and experience the annual Mountainfilm Film Festival.

Not to be confused with the town’s other film festival, the aptly-named Telluride Film Festival, Mountainfilm is documentary-based, curating nonfiction stories that explore topics like the environment, culture, recreation, political and social justice issues and more.

This will be the second year in a row for the travel-study.

The students and professor of the 2018 travel-study to Telluride pose in the town [Photo supplied by J Paul Johnson]
English and film studies professor J Paul Johnson, who is co-leading the travel-study with former director of the Frozen River Film Festival Crystal Hegge, said he hopes students will learn from the festival and the course.

Johnson said a festival like Mountainfilm provides attendees with a chance to see a breadth of career opportunities.

“Novice-level understanding of film is typically predicated on people being aware of … somebody who’s hitting the headlines with big breakout blockbuster films …,” Johnson said. “What many people don’t understand … is that there are thousands and thousands of jobs in this industry at all levels …”

According to Johnson, Mountainfilm teaches people that film jobs burrow deeper than what is displayed on a teaser poster.

“There are people who are deeply invested in and working hard at the production of films,” Johnson said, listing grips, gaffers and sound technicians as examples, while also adding there are jobs in filmmaking that do not “necessarily involve being the director of ‘Avengers: Endgame’ or ‘Black Panther.’”

Another important concept students learn is even the best in the industry start at the bottom.

This concept was amplified during the 2018 travel-study to Mountainfilm when students had a chance-meeting with Barry Jenkins, director of the 2017 Academy Award winner for Best Picture “Moonlight.”

Johnson said Jenkins, like all students of film, started at the bottom and worked his way up.

“He remembered very well being at the start of his career,” Johnson said. “He remembered getting to go to a film festival for the first time, getting to meet a few directors, going up to a couple of others, tapping them on the shoulder, asking if he could have a minute of their time. He was superbly gracious with students and talking about that.”

Johnson said he believes those who attended the 2018 travel-study returned with a greater appreciation for filmmaking.

“I guarantee students came back awed … by that experience and really motivated by it,” Johnson said. “I think if you talk to any of them who went there last year, I’m pretty confident that that is what they’ll say.”

Film student Brynn Artley, a sophomore who took the travel-study in 2018, agreed with Johnson.

“I had a ton of fun, highly recommend the trip,” Artley said. “We saw a ton of different films in the span of three or four days. We wrote up reviews, we made blogs about it. It was just a lot of fun.”

While any student can register for the course, Johnson said film majors and minors are ultimately given precedence over others.

“We have a built-in selection system, in that it requires a 2.5 GPA,” Johnson said. “We do give priority to declared film studies majors and minors.”

Johnson added a vetting process would only take place if the course had more students than necessary.

Twelve are enrolled.

“We rank and evaluate applicants if we have more than 20,” Johnson said. “I would not at all be displeased if we had so many people wishing to go on this program that we had to make those kinds of decisions. That would be a good problem to have. But right now … I’m pretty comfortable with where we’re at.”

A caveat of the travel-study is the price.

Despite her taking the travel-study this year, Brittany Bluhm, a senior double majoring in English writing and film studies, discussed her past financial constraints and how they kept her from taking the course and attending the festival last year.

“I was hung up on rent and a lot of medical bills,” Bluhm said. “I was like, ‘There’s no way I can come up with $500 (the confirmation deposit) to stash toward the trip.’”

Senior Brittany Bluhm prepares for her first visit to Telluride by reading about the town

According to the brochure for 2020’s travel-study to Telluride, the cost fluctuates around $3,000, which includes tuition and student fees for the three credits linked to the program, as well as roundtrip airfare, transportation during the program, lodging, breakfasts and dinners, admission and event fees for all educational activities and the Study Abroad administrative fee.

The price is discounted, as well, as Bluhm said students taking the course will be volunteering with film screenings and other activities.

While she was unable to go last year, Bluhm said she understood the reasoning for the price.

“I think, because our film program is relatively new, I can understand why it’s maybe a little bit more expensive,” Bluhm said. “I anticipate the school will contribute more in the future as long as this trip keeps on going.”

According to Johnson, while more people would logically bring the price down, that would also mean jeopardizing the level of attention he is able to give in his instruction for the course.

“The price—the bottom line for the trip—would go down if we had 20 people instead of 12,” Johnson said. “I wouldn’t be opposed to having 16 students or even 20 as the cap … but it would be a different experience for me, a more complex one, and I don’t know if my students would get the individual attention that I know they will get with 12.”

Johnson said the price of the travel-study is lower than other travel-studies offered by the school.

“Any travel-study is an expense,” Johnson said. “Our travel-study to Mountainfilm is about half the expense or less than any of the international studies … Normally to travel abroad, earn three credits, over a period of one to two weeks, it is going to set a student back probably about $6,000. The price for our students, including the tuition, air travel, lodging, festival expenses, etcetera, is about $2,600.”

Johnson said he and co-leader Hegge do everything they can to keep the expenses as minimal as possible.

“That’s why, for instance, I cook,” Johnson said. “Because it’s a lot cheaper than having people eat-out in what is kind of a Tony-resort town where prices for that kind of thing are expensive.”

Cost aside, Johnson said he was satisfied with last year’s study and said he hopes this year’s is a repeat.

“There’s not really anything that we aim to do differently this coming year than we did last year,” Johnson said. “We just hope to replicate what we’ve done. It is a really nice experience for students to be able to do this … We have a really good partnership with Mountainfilm, and it’s a great destination for people to be at.”

Sexual assaults on campus down or up?

By: Nicole Girgen and Madelyn Swenson

Editor’s note: The content of this article may be triggering if you have been or are sensitive to sexual assaults.  

According to Winona State University’s Annual Safety Report, cases of sexual assault reported on campus are down from six in 2016 to three in 2017. Chris Cichosz, Winona State’s director of security, Lori Mikl WSU’s Title IX coordinator, students apart of the Gender Based Violence (GBV) organization and the annual campus climate survey say it doesn’t mean the assaults are down.

Mikl said just because reports are down on campus does not mean that sexual assaults are not happening as often. Cichosz and GBV students agreed.

“I don’t think the prevalence of sexual assault is down at all,” Mikl said. “I just think that students are right now a little more leery of coming forward.”

Mikl said the decrease in reports could be because of a few factors.

Mikl said one factor is how reporting assault is portrayed in the news media. She said there is backlash for victim/survivors who are coming forward.

GBV students, Molly Sarbacker, Jacob Hansen, Tom Cameron and Emma Severson said they agree with this statement.

Increasing reporting: a video message

Mikl and GBV students also said some circumstances may contribute. Including: fear of coming forward, outing the aggressor and the stigma behind sexual assaults.

Molly Sarbacker, junior student a part of GBV, has been through the process of reporting through the university.

When Sarbacker went to the Title IX office, she had GBV coordinator Heather Gerdes go with her, a service that the organization provides to anyone.

Sarbacker said the process was traumatizing.

“I think that it’s a traumatizing experience to go through reporting and to share your story over and over and over again,” Sarbacker said.

According to Mikl, all decision makers and those on the panels that hear the case are trained in how to do so.

The reporting process itself is different for everyone.

A victim/survivor can report to security, a resident assistant (RA), a trusted friend, the police or others.

According to both Cichosz and Mikl, the way most victim/survivors report is through an RA or security.

Cichosz said there is always room for improvement in the process and he is open to feedback from victim/survivors who have gone through security.

“There is always room for improvement,” Cichosz said. “I think letting victims know what their options are, I think we can always do better at getting that information out there.”

Jacob Hansen, a sophomore student a part of GBV, said there is a universal “red zone” where most assaults occur.

The red zone starts in September and goes through Thanksgiving. There is an increase in reports, for many reasons.

How to help intervene: a video message

Hansen said some of the reasons are the first football game, homecoming, welcome week and the warm weather leading to more parties.

The U.S. Department of Education may be making changes to the Title IX rules for campuses.

These would include more rights for those who are accused of committing a sexual assault.

Tom Cameron, a sophomore student a part of GBV, said he has high hopes for the future.

“We can’t really say any specifics so far just because this information is still in the works and we are still figuring out how we can go about this,” Cameron said. “But the future is looking good. We can say that for sure. We’re definitely brainstorming everything we can and all the options for right now.”