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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
The Winona State University RE Initiative, a group which supports survivors of gender-based violence, encourages members to dig through their junk drawers and forgotten spots in their house to find old, broken or functioning cell phones and accessories such as chargers, headsets and extra batteries. Even if someone has a pager laying around, Verizon HopeLine will accept it.
The Verizon HopeLine is a phone drive which collects those cell phones and accessories and are then used to help victims of domestic violence. Verizon provides the phones with 3,000 minutes to domestic violence organizations.
Donation boxes are available around campus in the main offices of Lourdes, East Lake Apartments, the Well in the Integrated Wellness Center, and the Student Activities Center in Kryzsko Commons from March 1 to March 31.
Once the RE Initiative finishes the phone drive, the phones are sent to Verizon. Verizon sends the phones to a recycling company who recycles the phones. Verizon uses that money to buy new phones to send to domestic violence organizations, according to Meagan Dorsch, public and external relations lead for Verizon and the HopeLine program in Minnesota.
The extra money from the recycled phones is used for grant money to nonprofit organizations, Dorsch said.
Brittney Leland, peer advocate from the RE Initiative worked to bring Verizon HopeLine to campus, along with PACT Graduate Assistant Mike Krug.
“I think it is needed because with my work in the RE Initiative as a peer advocate and educator,” Leland said. “I got called one time and one client was left with literally nothing and one thing she said would be helpful is a phone.”
To call a shelter to see if there is room, a phone is needed, it is an important tool to get people back on their feet, Leland said.
“[Phones] are the norm, those of us who have phones take it for granted and don’t realize how much of a privilege it is to have a phone,” Krug said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every four women and one in every seven men have experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner.
“Communication is the first thing victims lose,” Dorsch said.
Verizon began HopeLine in 2001, and since then have collected 12 million phones, with 700,000 in 2015.
HopeLine provided more than a dozen organizations across Minnesota with phones and grants in 2015. This number is looking to be very similar for 2016, according to Dorsch.
In 2015, $7,000,000 was given to domestic violence organizations. This money is the extra money from the recycled phone profits that Verizon receives. One of these organizations is Cornerstone, an organization that was established in 1983 to help victims of domestic violence in South Hennepin County and since has expanded to Northern Hennepin County and Minneapolis in Minnesota. They strive for reducing domestic violence, sexual violence and human trafficking.
Cornerstone has had a relationship with Verizon for a long time, and the two are partnered together, according to Courtney Poja, Director of Advancement for Cornerstone.
Poja said clients need safety, which is access to 911, help and shelters, a service support network, and stability once safe to rebuild their life. She also said the phones are used to achieve this.
Each client works with a Cornerstone staff member, and they decide who is in most need of a donated phone. 15 phones are given out every year, and Cornerstone serves 4,000 clients a year, Poja said.
In addition to giving out phones to victims, Cornerstone offers transitional housing options, help with rebuilding, therapy, help through the legal process, and operates a state wide crisis line to call to safety, according to Poja. Cornerstone also works with kids and has clinical services.
It’s awesome that Verizon does HopeLine, Poja said, she thinks it is really great that helping domestic violence victims is important to Verizon.
As of Friday, March 17, three phones and a charger have been donated on campus, according to Leland, which is slower than she expected.
Julie Chiasson, licensed practical nurse for WSU Health and Wellness Services donated a Tracfone that has been sitting in a drawer.
She saw the program in an email, and was appalled by the increasing amount of domestic violence. Chiasson is a member of the Women’s Resource Center, and wants to help out victims.
To donate an unused phone, erase all personal information and remove the sim card if possible. Bring it to any of the donation boxes around campus. They will be collected and picked up by RE Initiative members and locked away until they are sent to Verizon at the end of March.
Phones can also be donated at the Verizon store on Frontenac Drive before or after the March 31 campus HopeLine deadline. The phone and accessories can be from any provider, not only Verizon.
Eager students, colorful posters and free treats are at the forefront of every Winona State University club fair. These attractions, along with inviting games and cute animals, often lure students to tables — a tactic clubs use every year.
At a club fair, group members are present and strive to attract new recruits for two reasons: it is mandatory and necessary to avoid termination.
Winona State lists specific requirements for creating and maintaining official club or organization status. This includes having at least 10 student members, an updated roster and constitution, and participation in the fall club fair.
Joe Reed, Winona State’s Student Union director said the first and most important step in creating a club is the Student Senate approved constitution, which is often resubmitted if changes need to be made. This constitution must include at least one purpose of the club and membership, meeting and funding requirements.
“The key element is to have the constitution approved by Student Senate,” Reed said. “If you are recognized by Student Senate, you’re a club. This is usually the first step when creating the club.”
Reed has been working with student clubs and organizations at Winona State since 1989. During his time at the university, the number of clubs has increased from 85 to 222. Reed said growing numbers could be attributed to interest in more athletic and academic based clubs.
Both Reed and Tracy Rahim, associate director of Student Activities & Leadership, work closely with clubs and organizations. At the beginning of the academic year, they have to educate new club leaders.
“We have a lot of the same issues every year because we have to reinvent the wheel. You have new officers and there is a lot to learn. It keeps evolving and we are here to keep it going,” Reed said. “Tracy keeps everyone in check.”
With 222 clubs in Winona State’s directory, the Alliance of Student Organizations oversees all these organizations and removes inactive clubs from the list. According to ASO Director Megan Grochowski, nearly 30 clubs have been removed from the directory since she assumed her student position in fall 2016. She said she receives two or three requests a week for the creation of new clubs.
Reed said the best way to maintain a club after its creation is to continue recruiting members, which is why club fairs are hosted several times a year.
Winona State University has a long history, and there are professors currently on campus who can tell that history since they have taught at the university for many years.
According to Assistant Director of Human Resources Sandra Reed, the average length a professor will stay on campus is 12.2 years. The longest employed professor in history was Joseph Foegen, professor of business administration and management, who worked at Winona State from 1958 to 2009, and the current professor who has been at the university the longest is Marvin Wolfmeyer, professor of economics, who has taught since 1969.
Winona State was the first established normal school west of the Mississippi, founded in 1858. Since then, it has evolved into a nationally recognized university, with a mission “to enhance the intellectual, social, cultural and economic vitality of the people and communities we serve,” according to the university’s statement.
The joy of learning and sharing that knowledge with students brought Mark Young, professor of marketing, to Winona State, who decided to stay because he enjoys the campus, and thinks the community is a good place to work and live.
Young has worked at the university since 1980, starting when he was just 23 years old.
He recalled the time when the marketing department was on the third floor of Somsen Hall, with no air conditioning.
“We would have the windows open on a hot day, and a bee would fly in,” Young said. “Students would scramble.”
Since then, marketing has been moved to the first floor of Somsen. In addition to this change, Young remembers parking on the campus when there had been streets through campus instead of sidewalks. It was more of a downtown atmosphere, Young said.
“Physically the campus has changed a great deal, the buildings have been very significant,” Young said. “The library, the science engineering building and the wellness center, have shaped wheat we think of the campus and how we interact with the students and the campus.”
With a great facilities crew the grounds have improved, Young said, with the addition of trees and plants, and in his opinion, Winona State became one of the prettiest campuses in the country.
Besides the physical facilities changing, the technology has also changed, according to Young. Campus has gone from having a couple of computer lab rooms, and using punch cards for running computer programs, to now having laptops, iPads, phones; and technology has transformed how students learn, Young said.
With the evolution of technology, classrooms have become more interactive and less traditional-lecture style, Young said. For instance, the marketing classrooms no longer have desks that stare at the professor, but round tables.
“We now have a much diversified, very high quality faculty,” Young said. “We have a higher level quality of faculty that has more emphasis on staying current, active and engaged with students and with their disciplines.”
Community interaction has also changed since Young began at Winona State.
“When I first came, it seemed like the community thought of us as a sort of ivory tower,” Young said. “There was a lot of negative press with the student conduct back and forth downtown; and in those early years, there was talk about closing the university down.”
In 1982, Young did an economic study, on the impact of Winona State on the economy. Back then, it was a 59 million dollar impact, and once that was recognized, it reshaped the relationship between the community and the school.
The study showed how tied the university and the community are, and Young said relationship is not only economical but it also involves theatre, art and athletics. He sees that especially in the college of business, and its relationship with local businesses. An example of this would be the Wincraft Super Bowl Day, which exposed students to what the company has to offer. Fastenal Day is also approaching, which will bus students over to have tours, Young said.
“Almost every area has seen extremely positive changes,” Young said. “The environment is what you make it, but it provides opportunity to what you need to do.”
Young has had numerous opportunities to leave, but has not found anywhere he would prefer over Winona State.
“I am here because of choice. I think you would find that across the college, long tenure faculty. Once they come they enjoy it and stay,” he said.
Young finds motivation in helping students realize what their goals, dreams and ambitions are. He enjoys providing the encouragement, knowledge or reference to start them on the right track.
“After years of doing that, you start seeing some of that payback and their success. A lot of my students now are in the peak of their careers in upper level management positions, and impacting different companies,” he said. “There is that kind of intrinsic motivation of helping others but also what you get back as a faculty.”
Similarly to Young, John Vivian has been connected to Winona State for almost three decades. When Vivian first arrived at the university in 1982, there was not a journalism department, but there were journalism classes in the English department starting in 1966. He was the first chair of the mass communication department, which started in early 1980s by pulling courses from English and speech and borrowing faculty.
The university has seen some notable changes under various leadership, and some of them have been extraordinary, according to Vivian.
When he first started teaching, the first president who changed campus during his time was Tom Stark, Vivian said. The university faculty had run the previous president out of town and the administration was dealing with a new union, which caused a lot of tension. Tom Stark was chosen as president in 1983, and he had one goal: to make peace.
Vivian said Stark was good at that; he was a former superintendent. He was a horrible university president, though, who was smiley, a backslapper, and made people feel good, Vivian said.
Stark died in office of a heart attack while still fairly young. He achieved his goal and made the university more peaceable and faculty learned how to act together, Vivian said.
The next university president was Darrell Krueger, who was president for 14 years from 1989 to 2005. Krueger had a great sense of democracy and free expression, according to Vivian, and he let the university govern itself.
Krueger is the one who gave the university the motto, which has changed over the years to what it is now, “A Community of Learners Improving Our World.”
He fell asleep often, Vivian said. He fell asleep when Governor Jesse Ventura was on campus giving a speech and a photographer for the Winonan took a photo of him.
“He had some problems, perhaps narcolepsy. There was a story about him falling asleep while driving his car on Huff and Sarnia, and somebody had honked to wake him. Maybe he worked long hours and was tired,” Vivian said.
Krueger was good for the university, and Stark got the place settled down. The president after Krueger was Judith Ramaley, who was terrible, Vivian said. She arrived after being fired from the University of New Hampshire, because she cancelled the hockey season after the hockey coach lied to her about something, Vivian said, and they asked her to resign and she did.
“She was such an unpleasant human,” Vivian said. “She wanted to establish an academic stamp on the university, to make it more intellectually respectable. That is an insult to the community, we’ve always had some fine scholars here.”
Ramaley hated the press, she was a control freak, and she was snarley,Vivian said. She would go to conferences, as presidents do, and hired a limo to bring her to the airport at the university’s expense. Now there is a rule stating one cannot rent a limo using the university’s money, Vivian said.
The current president is Scott Olson who took over for Ramaley after she retired in 2012.
Vivian has a lot of respect for Olson because his stamp isn’t all over the place. Vivian said he listens, watches, and deals with crisis situations well. He puts his students first, and there is no covering up problems. If there is a problem, it is addressed; and he knows this well because he is a journalist, according to Vivian.
“The students focus on classes, but the quality of the university is very much a product of the leadership,” Vivian said.
Students keep Vivian motivated, and he enjoys keeping in touch with past students and seeing their achievements.
He never teaches a class the same way twice, because there is no perfect way. Vivian said some teaching styles work well with some students, and not well with others. Vivian’s teaching is fueled by his textbook writing, and one of his textbooks is going into its twelfth edition this month.
Before coming to Winona State, Vivian worked at the Associated Press and was tired of working odd shifts and hours.
One Thanksgiving evening he had friends over, and was confiding in them how unsure he was of continuing his current position at the AP. He then decided to pursue teaching. His first teaching role was at Marquette University, and he has not regretted teaching since. Vivian went to New Mexico State University to build a journalism program with a friend who was department chair. It never worked out, and he came to Winona State.
“Winona State is a high quality institution for its size and considering its roots as a teachers’ college,” Vivian said.
Vivian plans to stay here for the rest of his career.
“They’ll have to carry me out,” he said.
During the same year, Winona State welcomed another mass communications professor.
Originally from India, Daniel worked for an international radio station in Ethiopia and became acquainted with broadcasting before coming to the U.S. At the time, the company was shutting down and he had the choice of staying in Africa or studying in the U.S. for higher education.
“I had always wanted to go to the U.S., even when I was a little boy. This was a good chance for me,” Daniel said.
In 1977, when he was 29, Daniel flew to the U.S. to start his college path at Southern Illinois University, where he stayed until 1981.
As an international student, he had to find a job right after graduation if he wanted to keep staying in the U.S. Daniel said when he was first applying for jobs, he was offered to teach at SIU for one year in the mass communication department.
Daniel said he was scared at first because he had never taught and thought he could not measure up to the other teachers. He was diffident but excited to have a possibility to stay in the country. When the other teachers showed their support and encouraged him to try to teach, Daniel decided to gratefully accept the offer.
After two semesters, Daniel said he had to start applying to other places because the position lasted one year only. He then applied to 47 universities and got six offers out of all the applications he had sent. The job offers were from universities in California, New York, South Dakota and other states, Daniel said.
“The one thing that made me want to come here is that Winona State gave me a chance to teach and manage a radio station also. That’s what attracted to me,” Daniel said.
In 1982, Daniel began his teaching journey at Winona State University and managed the KQAL radio station half the time and taught the other half in the department of mass communication. In 2008, Daniel switched to full time teaching.
When Daniel first started teaching at Winona State, the campus had a different appeal. Many structures were replaced and renovated. For instance, Daniel said there were tennis courts where the library is currently located and the library used to be in Maxwell Hall.
Daniel said the university population was 4,300 students in the 1980s, but the university knew there was a high need to grow. Because the university needed more space to fit more students, Daniel said, officials started buying more lands and homes and it expanded all the way to West campus, that used to be a residential college.
When technology was entering people’s lives, Daniel said he had to adapt his style of teaching consequently. Between 1991 and 1993, Daniel said, the departments became computer-oriented, which represented a big change from typewriters.
“It was hard. In those days, faculty did not know how to use the computers and had to learn everything from scratch,” Daniel said.
In 1992, Daniel bought his first desktop Macintosh, which sat in his house for eight months because he did not know how to use it. Little by little, he gained more knowledge on the use of computers and started applying the new resources in his classes.
“Once you start making mistakes, the rest is all history,” Daniel said.
Daniel is now a retiring professor who has taught general mass communication courses, from Mass Media theory to International broadcasting.
Not only did he adapt to technology changes, but he also had to mold himself with the times, as well as his thinking and perspectives. When it comes to teaching, Daniel said he has never compromised academic discipline through his career.
“Students should know when they come here that studying in a university is a privilege, not an entitlement,” Daniel said. “Every single student is important to me.”
Daniel said he tells students he believes in them and adopts a strict teaching style because to him, they do not represent students only, but they represent a piece of America’s future.
When students disagree at his thinking because their way of life is different than his, Daniel’s goal is always the same; bringing the students to a certain level of excellence. After 35 years of teaching, Daniel said students have kept him motivated to do his job.
“One day after students graduate, they will be part of this society. I can’t let them fail, because if I do so, I fail myself,” Daniel said. “I only want to be part of successes.”
Sometimes, Daniel said his position as a second language professor became challenging and he found himself in situations of disrespect from students and others.
When he was still a growing professor, he received complaints from two students who were involved with the national broadcasting society and quickly became his ‘enemies,’ he said. They approached the Dean and explained the problems they had with Daniel’s behavior as the advisor of the society.
Daniel said he showed his paper records and all the proof he could to demonstrate they were wrong. Throughout the conversation, the Dean said there was a problem of miscommunication and language barrier among them. Her response made Daniel feel disrespected, Daniel said, but he still maintained his position and said he had learned English as a second language, instead of simply picking it up, so she was not qualified to correct him.
“Abuse can knock you over but if you have confidence in yourself, you will make it through,” Daniel said.
Daniel said teaching can have its ups and downs, but it is also creative and it requires taking a big responsibility. Many times, students write back to him after they graduate and thank him.
“That’s my reward. If the students are honest with themselves, they will appreciate what I do,” Daniel said.
The professors all came with different motivations, backgrounds and experiences, but they all have similar reasons for staying at Winona State. Over the years, the university has gone through major changes, and professors like Young, Vivian and Daniel had to shape their teaching and methodologies to meet new demands. As they are retiring soon, new faculty will take their place and continue to shape the university.
When Darrell Krueger began his presidency at Winona State University in 1989, he had big plans for the campus – plans that earned him the title of “absolutely crazy.”
The vice president of university advancement at the time, Gary Evans, said he and Krueger would often walk around campus, speaking to people and looking at the grounds. During the early 1990s, the streets bordering the university ran through the campus.
“I remember he and I were making that walk one day when he stopped and said to me, ‘We need to close all these streets,’” Evans said. “I remember saying specifically to Darrell, ‘You’re absolutely crazy… the city of Winona will never allow that to happen.’”
Krueger said he simply saw the need for the campus to match its surroundings.
“The river and bluffs are so beautiful, yet the campus had streets all the way through it,” he said.
Evans said once Krueger developed what campus would look like without streets, resources were needed to make it happen. After people began to support Krueger’s vision, Winona State went to the state university board for an allocation, and it was approved.
Since then, campus beautification at Winona State has been of high importance to faculty, staff and students.
While Krueger took the initiative to change the campus, he said when the first street was transformed into a wide sidewalk, “People started to see other possibilities.”
Over the next few years, donations were received from alumni, community members, faculty and staff to further beautify the campus. Krueger said some of the most well-known and enjoyed elements on campus were donations: the benches, gardens near the Performing Arts Center and Gildemeister Hall, Lauren’s Pond, gazebo and many trees.
After Krueger retired as Winona State’s president in 2005, Evans, who left Winona State in 1998, said the campus fell into “pretty serious neglect.” Eight years later, Evans returned for a three-year stint as interim vice president and heard the current president, Scott Olson, discuss the beauty of the campus in a university meeting.
“It was no question – the campus was, and is, beautiful,” Evans said. “The fact also remained that it was a pale resemblance of its former self.”
Olson made sure a budget was available for the maintenance department to transform the campus back into its previous state and maintain its beauty.
Evans explained upholding the image of Winona State to future Warriors as an “extremely important component” to future enrollment.
“It’s been proven over and over again that prospective students that come to look at Winona State are stunned by the beauty of campus,” Evans said. “That, combined with the beauty of the community, is responsible for recruiting a great deal of students to the university.”
As Olson began to place emphasis on the appearance of the campus, Jim Reynolds, a now-retired Winona State sociology professor, was placed as co-chair of the WSU Landscape Arboretum Committee.
According to Reynolds, the Arboretum is concerned with campus beautification as well as developing the campus to be representative of the diverse southeastern Minnesota biome.
The Arboretum’s goal is to promote this unique landscape on Winona State grounds, create opportunities for the campus to be used as a living classroom and laboratory, continue to develop the native species on campus and model ethical use of land and practices.
Reynolds said a big accomplishment for the committee was appointing an Arboretum director and landscape architect, Lisa Pearson, who has a “wealth of experience.”
At the start of January 2017, Reynolds passed his committee chair position to Pearson and Allison Quam, a Winona State faculty member. These women now manage a staff that includes a senior groundskeeper and horticulturist, turf and irrigation specialist, certified arborist, and student landscape workers.
Evans recalled a Winona State maintenance employee (Bill Meyer, a now-retired groundskeeper) telling Krueger, shortly after the street transformation, that he thought Winona State was close to having every tree native to Minnesota on the campus grounds. This thought turned into another campus goal for Winona State.
As the number of native trees grew over the years, a complete tree inventory has recently been done of the campus. The inventory reveals there are more than 1,500 trees on Winona State’s campus comprised of 143 species. Reynolds said it is important to maintain diversity in the university’s tree stock.
“We don’t want to develop a monoculture of one type of tree,” he said. “That’s not healthy.”
Two years ago, a rapid restoration of the entire university landscape was conducted. Reynolds said the majority of the funding for these significant expenditures came from a settlement with the DuPont Corporation.
Prior to the restoration, Winona State had used lawn fertilizer from DuPont that was mistakenly toxic to trees. Reynolds said Winona State lost around 100 trees due to the use of this fertilizer, and Winona State received a sizable settlement from the corporation in the nationwide lawsuit. The Arboretum used the settlement for the restoration, which involved hiring a Rochester firm to assess and prune the trees across campus.
Reynolds said the rapid restoration was “such a mammoth undertaking that our staff just wouldn’t have had the time to do. It involved a couple dozen people from firm devoting an intensive amount of time.”
The time and effort the university’s Landscape Arboretum has put into planting and maintaining the trees on campus, combined with involvement in Arbor Day activities, earned Winona State recognition as a Tree Campus USA the past three years.
In an effort to educate the public and its students about the trees on campus, the Arboretum sponsors tree tours in the summer and fall months. Many of the trees on university grounds display a label with its respective popular name, scientific name and a QR code to scan and give smartphone users more information and photos about the species of tree.
While strides have been made in beautifying Winona State’s campus, Reynolds explained the Arboretum is a long-term project that will continually evolve. This includes using an organic approach to maintaining the university’s landscape, transitioning away from commercial flowers to more native plants of southeastern Minnesota and developing a river landscape feature in the central part of the main campus.
Reynolds said these changes would enhance students’ learning in the landscape as an outdoor classroom and appeal to the public.
“We want to see Winona State’s campus become a destination point for travelers passing through the area,” Reynolds said.
Today, as tourists, community members, students, staff and faculty walk the sidewalks on campus to admire the bio-diversity and beauty, Evans emphasized the importance of Krueger’s definitive words during their stroll on campus in 1989.
Evans said there is no question that removing the roads was “the first critical step in beautifying the campus.”
While Krueger may have started the campus beautification initiative, he said it has taken “a whole community to make the Winona State campus as beautiful as it is now.”
Krueger said, “I’m very thankful to have been able to serve and have the support we had during those times from the city, state, faculty and staff, and the students. The students led a lot of these changes.”
Reynolds said the Landscape Arboretum Committee would like to see more student-engagement regarding projects related to their academic programs. He suggested there needs to be a new culture and attitude on campus about maintaining the landscape.
He said, “Everyone has to pitch in on this. Not just the landscape staff, but students, faculty and staff as well.”
With a tight budget and recent cuts, Evans said this is a threat to the Landscape Arboretum, just as any program.
“I would hate to see any less spent on campus beautification than is currently being spent,” he said. “I certainly hope that campus beautification is never again allowed to become deficient.”
In front of the Winona State University Darrell Krueger Library, there is a large stainless steel square with the words from four different quotes of founding fathers of the city of Winona.
They were installed in 1999, during President Darrell Krueger’s term from 1989-2005. Since then, thousands of students and faculty have passed them by without notice or acknowledgement.
“All I wanted to do was make sure that those forefathers’ words that were so inspirational and set a standard for the university would be preserved,” Krueger said. Krueger repeated the four quotes in his inauguration speech.
Over the course of 16 years, do students still know what the words say?
Senior Allison Bergsbaken said she did not know what the words said.
“I once tried looking at them but it was super sunny outside and the metal was too bright to read them,” Bergsbaken said.
“That was a very unusual thing. They’re very hard to read in the stainless steel plaque that’s on the ground, so I had them put the words up on each of the pillars around them so people could read them more easily,” he said.
Looking down on the words from the third floor of Minne, English major Katie Kelly said she used to know what the words said, but does not recall them.
Adrienne Rische, another English major, said she did not know what the words said.
“And the students started using the bench designs for skateboards to jump on,” Krueger said. “I think they’ve done something about that now. They were getting all scratched up because of the skateboards jumping on them.”
The first quote is from 1859 Minnesota Lieutenant Governor William Holcombe’s speech and says the establishment of Winona State University is “an improvement in education” that will “increase the prosperity, elevate the character and promote the happiness of the nation.”
The second quote is from WSU’s first president John Ogden’s inaugural address in 1860 and says if the school succeeds, students will leave this institution with physical, intellectual and moral improvements that will help them succeed in society.
The third quote is from E.S. Youmans, a Winona County lumber baron in 1864 who said “the state needs a [normal] school.” He said he would be ashamed to live in a state that does not value education.
The fourth and final quote is from 1879-80 Minnesota Superintendent of Public Instruction, D.S. Burt’s First Biennial Report, which said the benefit of a college culture is good and those who receive a college education will receive those benefits.
Burt compared the university to an “engineer who plans our bridges,” “pilots who guides the steamer into port,” a “chemist who assays our ores” and a “linguist who translates foreign literature into our language” and concludes with the state benefitting from supporting the school.
“Well I think it set the standard for the university and I have a sense of what the forefathers, the founding fathers of Winona thought what the university of Winona would be,” Krueger said.
Krueger said Winona State is holding up to the quotes’ meaning.
“It’s starting to be recognized as a quality institution and it’s maintained itself through the years. It’s certainly has produced a lot of wonderful leaders and a lot of professional people and a lot of wonderful teachers, mothers and fathers and wonderful educators,” he said.
Krueger said he hopes students are reading, internalizing and remembering them.
“I think they need to be brought back to life,” Krueger said. “When they were just in books, I don’t think many people would have seen them or appreciated them. They merited being prominently shown on our campus and I think they are.”
Krueger compared the quotes to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
“That needs to be remembered and those words need to be implanted in the minds of our students and faculty at the university and the community,” Krueger said.