Tag Archives: Winona State University

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.

What Winona State University does for the community

Everyone always talks about what communities do for universities but not what the universities do for communities.

Winona is no stranger to that.  It is a thriving community with plenty of support for the three colleges and universities in the area.

At Winona State University there are at least 180 cubs and student organizations on campus. These range from sports clubs, Greek life, academic clubs, honorary societies, faith-based clubs and diversity organizations.

For most of these clubs and organizations, community service and philanthropy work is a significant part of how those clubs run.

The president of the university, Scott Olson, said, “First and foremost, community engagement is a great way for students to learn. It allows us to put theory into practice and allows students to try out different settings and professions to see how they might dedicate their lives.”

One subset of campus organizations where community service is an important aspect to is Greek life.

Lindsay Marosi-Kramer, an activities director on campus, said, “Our seven organizations all have both national and local philanthropies, many groups require students to host volunteer hours while not many have actual relationships with outside places like Greek groups do.”

According to Marosi-Kramer, during the 2018-2019 school year, the Greek community volunteered more than 800 hours in community services.

Students can walk off most WSU sidewalks and be in neighborhoods or in close proximity to local businesses.

Some community members have opposing opinions when it comes to living in a town with three colleges.

A Winona man who lives nine blocks east of campus, who wished to remain anonymous, said he didn’t appreciate having college students as neighbors.

He has lived in Winona his whole life and only left when he went to college.

“It’s not that I hate college students,” the man said. “I just don’t like living with around them.”

He brought up how high school and college students would leave garbage on his lawn or how loud college student neighbors are.

He said it was extremely difficult to find housing since “20 percent of each block” was rented to students or would only be rented to students.

“I do appreciate there are students and groups who will go around and clean up the garbage, especially after big events,” he said.

Kendra Weber, WSU’s director of Student and Community Engagement, arranged the clean and sweep after homecoming.

“If we know a certain amount of this is going to happen, what can we do?” Weber said.

The first year she held this event, around 30 people showed up and they ended with around 40 bags of garbage.

In 2018, the event had about 90 people sign up to pick up trash and more than 100 participants showed up.

An event like this has both community and university involvement. Weber directs the event and buys pizza for students who volunteer. The American Legion has allowed the group to use their space for free and the city allocates certain stop signs for the group to set the bags of garbage.

Chart from www.mnstate.edu that covers the financial benefits and engagement that is done between the community and Winona State University.

Olson has had community members reach out to him regarding students.

“Most of the comments I get from members of the community are very complimentary to WSU students, Olson said. “Probably the largest volume of negative comments I hear are about students walking across Main or Huff without looking up at the traffic, but I only hear this a dozen times a year or less. There are often concerns around Homecoming, but lately students have really been careful to be safe and respectful while having fun.”

In 2013, the university applied to get the Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the advancement of teaching.

To be considered for this classification, the university had to have proof of engagement and co-existing with the community.

In 2015, Winona State University was awarded the Community Engagement Classification.

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.

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.”

New painting installed in Baldwin Lounge

A new painting by a Winona State University faculty member was put on display in a campus building on Friday, April 22.  

ChunLok Mah, chair of the Winona State art department, showed off his painting entitled “Storm: Before and After” in Baldwin Lounge of Winona State’s Kryzsko Commons student union building.  

Mah said his piece walks the viewer through the emotions of a storm starting at the left and going to the right.  

In his artist statement, Mah wrote about what the piece means to him.  

“The emotions were a collision of past and present experiences that reminded me of all the harsh, bitter and difficult events that I fought for years that often resulted in bittersweet endings,” Mah said. “It was like having an epiphany of life condensed in one moment.” 

The painting is about 17 feet wide.  

Joe Reed, Winona State’s student union/activities director, bought the painting from Mah after President Scott Olson told him about the piece.  

The total cost of the painting and instillation was $4,800. 

Guests at the reception listen as Mah speaks about his piece. He described the brush work as “tough raw brush strokes” to give a feeling of anxiety.

“Storm: Before and After” was on display at an exhibit when Reed first saw it. Reed said the display of the painting did not do it justice.  

Reed wanted to find a good place in Kryzco Commons for the painting.  

“We are walking around Kryzco and all of a sudden it hit me…Baldwin,” Reed said. “Since the renovation to the bookstore and this edition it was always a dark room and now we got all these windows.”  

Mah said there were some difficulties during the installation process. 

“The chosen design proceeds to post many challenges like lack of proper lighting, wall dimension, weak drywall, and thermostat outlet position, during the installation,” Mah said. “We made some major tweaks so the artwork fits seamlessly to the setting.” 

At the reception, Mah said he hoped students would see the painting and talk about what it means to them.  

Mah said he used raw brush strokes to evoke anxiety from the viewer.  

At the conclusion of Mah’s speech he asked those in attendance to talk about the feeling the painting evoked 

Guests at the reception in Baldwin hall admire “Storm: Before and After. One of the guests pictured said for her the painting show optimism because if in the darkest part there is still light.

Hedi Ryan, Winona State art and design office assistant, talked about the feelings the painting evoked.  

Ryan said she saw the painting as a metaphor for how to approach life. She said because there is still light in the darkest photo, which for Ryan shows optimism through good and bad times.  

Baldwin Lounge, where the reception was held, is a quit study place for students.  

Reed said he took the purpose of the space into consideration when he was planning the reception.  

Reed said to him as with students he views Baldwin Lounge as a place for studying.  

“Because to me, as is the students, Baldwin is kinda like a sacred ground for study time,” Reed said. “It’s appropriate we have the reception there and Friday would be a good day because it’s the least used.” 

When Reed arrived at the reception, he walked up to students studying at the tables and explained what was going on and apologized for the inconvenience 

He also told studying students to help themselves to refreshments.  

Mah is honored to have a piece in the Kryzco collection.  

“Joe’s proposal and the location choice was a dream come true to me,” Mah said. “It turns out to be better than I thought.” 

For more information about ChunLok Mah or to see more of his art visit:

https://www.winona.edu/art/faculty.html

http://chunlokmah.com/

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

Annual senior art show kicks off with “Fluid Studio”

The culmination of four years of dedication to art will be on display at Winona State University during the last two weeks of the 2019 spring semester.

The annual Senior Art Show will feature work by students graduating on May 10 or who will be graduating in the fall, all majoring in art, art education and design.

Roger Boulay, the Gallery and Art Collection Coordinator said the addition of the design students is new to the show this year which brings a new element to the exhibition.

“They’re presenting a range of work; some have altered photographs, some students have designed their own patterns that will be printed,” Boulay said. “One design student is making clothing, he’s really interested in fashion so he’s making his own jacket that will be laser engraved with text on it.”

The show opens on April 29 and features six students with a show called “Fluid Studio,” that will deal in color and the challenge of a group show.

Student observes art
Sophomore Zayle Swope observes Olivia VanDenBerge’s instillation piece “Garden of My Heart” in Watkins Gallery on Tuesday, April 30.

“It’s a little bit tricky in a group show when you have six different artists with six very different points of view to find one theme that really encapsulates everyone,” Boulay said. “So Fluid Studio is meant to speak to that conundrum of a group show.”

The second week will focus on the remaining six students starting May 6, the theme for that show is “Roots,” which explores where people are from, ideas of home and self-portraiture.

Kieran McDonnell, a senior majoring in studio arts is in the “Fluid Studio” exhibit.

McDonnell expressed his excitement on showing his work in a gallery that has featured many nationally and internationally known professional artists.

“To be in the same space as them is really an honor, but this show is really a wonderful opportunity for us,” McDonnell said. “Our show is based around our perception of how we’ve grown as artists…everyone in here has worked hard and we are all looking forward to seeing this show come to completion.”

“Fluid Studio” was originally going to feature the students’ first self-portrait alongside a current one, but for spacing reasons that element was cut from the first show.

This element will be featured in “Roots,” allowing gallery viewers to see the progress of each student and compare the two works.

In Boulay’s class, students create a professional portfolio and learn how to install , so they will be installing the exhibit in the Watkins Gallery.

Students hang art work
Jesse Peterson (right) hangs “Self Care Girlie” with the help of her classmate, Kieran McDonnell, in Watkins Gallery on Friday, April 26 as part of her exhibition in the annual Senior Art Show. Peterson and McDonnell are participating in the first week of the show titled “Fluid Studio” which runs April 29 through May 1.

“It’s entirely up to the students to design and install their own exhibition,” Boulay said. “I’ve taught them how to install their work and now it’s up to them to get everything organized and decide how everything is going to look. It’s also really exciting for students who are graduating to have an exhibition in the gallery during commencement, so they can bring their families through and look at their work.”

The Watkins Gallery is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with extended hours on Wednesdays.

For additional information about Watkins Gallery and the exhibit follow these links:

https://www.facebook.com/wsuwatkinsgallery/

www.winona.edu/art/Exhibitions.html

https://www.winona.edu/art-galleries/visit.asp

2019 Warriors Season Preview

Coach Sawyer previews the 2019 Winona State Warriors Football Season.

The Winona State University Warriors football team started spring practice in preparation for their upcoming 2019 season.

The Warriors, who missed the playoffs in 2018, finished 8-3 and are returning 17 starters from last year’s team.

The 2019 team will have 15 practices including the spring game on April 27. The Warriors, who lost 14 starters to injury during the 2018 season, are looking to put an injury-plagued season behind them.

Senior linebacker Nick Pridgeon, who suffered a knee injury in the second game of the 2018 season, said his goal for 2019 is to stay healthy.

“Really just comeback strong,” Pridgeon said. “Just really finish out the season.”

Pridgeon said he should be cleared from his ACL injury by mid-summer.

Tom Sawyer, WSU’s head football coach, said the future is bright this year.

“The silver lining is a lot of other kids got experience,” Sawyer said. “We got all of those kids that were injured they’re all back, plus the experience our other kids got.”

For three years, the Warriors have been in a trend of getting speed up front. Now, with more scholarship money, they were able to put the money to get higher-profile, larger athletes for the offensive line.

Winona State Warriors offense huddles up after doing practice drills.

“Two years ago, we signed four kids, last year we signed five,” Sawyer said. This year, the Warriors have five additional guys coming, putting them over the 300 pound-average mark.

The Warriors, with their rebuilt offensive line, know they have a job to do, which is to be physical.

Joe Holtzclaw, offensive line coach, said his close-knit unit will be different.

“We want to protect the passer first and foremost,” Holtzclaw said.

When running the ball, Holtzclaw said the offensive line is physical by nature.

On the defensive side of the ball, defensive assistant Lee Pronschinske, said he wants his group to continue flying around and cause turnovers.

“We always want to communicate, disrupt the ball and create turnovers,” Pronschinske said. “That’s big when the defense can get the offense the ball back on a short field.”

Pronschinske said he is already seeing the linebackers and defensive backs causing turnovers in practice.

“We haven’t been too handsy because we’re playing against our own teammates, so we don’t want to get too physical, maybe cause an injury,” Pronschinske said.  “We’ve been playing off a little bit that way, but it’s still been nice to see our guys fly around.”

Pridgeon said the defense has to focus on their technique and it all starts with attention to detail and accountability.

“We have a young group but a lot of talent,” Pridgeon said. “A lot of leadership in the young group as well. Really our main focus going into the season is trying to do the best as we can and reach our full potential.”

Sawyer said he wants the preparation and planning to be right, to give them their best chance at a win.

“We just have to make sure we’re planning right, preparing them right and give us the best chance to win,” Sawyer said.

The Warriors start their 2019 season at Maxwell Field Saturday, Sept. 7, against Wayne State College of Wayne, Nebraska.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.”