With the winter storm that dumped approximately six inches this past weekend, many people stay indoors, especially with the frigid drop in temperature.
Middle schools, high schools, and universities closed due to the weather.
Now, when it gets to be 30 below, it is not the smartest to be outside as skin can get frostbite in a matter of minutes.
While some cover themselves with blankets when winter hits, others thrive in these winter storms and colder temperatures.
With the surrounding bluffs and trails, there are all sorts of things to do.
There are public skiing and snowshoeing trails behind St. Mary’s University and ice climbing up the bluffs, near sugar loaf rock
According to Tia Fields, president of the rock climbing club at Winona State University, even the climbers get outdoors.
“It’s actually a really fun time climbing outside,” Fields said. “Everyone expects you to have to really break up the ice with the ice axe. You’re really holding your body up on like half an inch of the blade.”
There are safety concerns when using ice climbing equipment.
“The ice axes also have to get sharpened and they become really freaky to just be holding your body up on such a sharp, basically, weapon,” Fields said.
If climbing up a wall of ice might be a little out of comfort range, ice skating, cross country skiing or even snow shoeing might be a better option.
The city of Winona has built a public ice rink in Levee Park in downtown Winona. It is a low maintenance rink, so it has been covered in snow.
There are a few ice rinks made out front of the Lake Lodge Recreation Center.
The Lake Lodge, which is open from 4-7 pm on weekdays and on weekends from 1-7 pm, is host for many winter activity needs.
For winter activities, the lodge rents ice skates, hockey sticks and snow shoes.
According to Paul Merten, a front desk worker at the lodge, this year has been “pretty consistent” with people renting out equipment.
Matthew Lenett, another desk worker at the lodge, said as long as the weather is pretty consistent, people show up. Lenett said the lodge tends to be most popular on the weekends.
Visitors can rent snow shoes for 24 hours, Lenett said, “A lot of people go to holzinger (Holzinger Lodge)” and use the trails that are behind the lodge.
Exactly 200 years ago, in 1818, Mary Shelly’s iconic Promethean creature was brought to life when her novel was first published.
In celebration of the 200 anniversary of “Frankenstein” being published, Winona State University is hosting a variety of events throughout January and February.
The events began Jan. 24 at 8 a.m. in WSU’s Science Laboratory Center atrium with a live reading of the entire 1818 edition of the novel.
The nearly eight-hour event hosted a constant influx of audience members, ranging from none to double digits at different times.
According to Dunbar, althogether there were an estimated 75 to 100 attendees.
The live reading was the brainchild of Ann-Marie Dunbar, an associate professor of the English department and director of the events.
“The bicentenary of Frankenstein’s publication gives us a great opportunity to celebrate one of the most original and fascinating novels written in English,” Dunbar said. “A novel that is just as relevant today as it was in 1818.”
The reading featured most of the University’s English department faculty, including Paul Johnson, an English and Film Studies professor.
Johnson performed the first few chapters of volume two with enthusiasm, creating voices for the characters, making the event that much more noticeable for the students passing through the atrium, many of whom stopped for a moment to listen.
Johnson is the planner of the film series that is a part of the “Frankenstein celebration” at WSU.
The film series began off on Monday, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. in the Miller Auditorium at WSU with a double feature of the 1931 film “Frankenstein” and it’s 1935 sequel “The Bride of Frankenstein.”
“For those of us who love the novel and love the tale and love Mary Shelly’s composition of it,” Johnson said, “simply being able to bring that to life for a day is a really rich source of enjoyment for us.”
The film series is the most expensive of the events, costing between $1,600 -$1,800 for public performance rights according to Johnson.
According to Dunbar, the English, Art, Mass Communication, and the University Theme committee are all sponsors working for and donating to the project.
The double feature began with an audience of about 75, most of which were students attending for class.
After an intermission between the films the audience decreased to about 25.
Brittney Bluhm, an English and Film student at the university attended both features having read the book recently but never seeing the films.
Bluhm said that she liked the venue, but especially enjoyed watching the films together.
“I think that we could have had the five-minute intermission quicker. It was more like a 10 to 15-minute intermission,” Bluhm said.
Zachary Zaboj, an independent studies student who attended for class said he was surprised at how much was changed from the book to the films.
Johnson said he thought the first few events went well, the audience sizes being more than satisfactory.
Frankenfest will continued Feb. 19 with the next film in the series, “Young Frankenstein,” at 7 p.m. in WSU’s Miller Auditorium.
As Winona State University’s spring commencement nears, graduating students are faced with the reality that they will be on their own. This thought is scary for most graduates, and for those who have traveled from other countries to pursue their degree as Warriors, it can be even scarier as they leave their four-year home.
According to WSU’s Director of International Services and Cultural Outreach Kemale Pinar, 300 international students attend Winona State representing 45 countries. Of these students, 39 are graduating this semester. Insight into four of these students’ backgrounds, Winona State involvement and post graduation plans, illustrates the process international students might endure as they remain thousands of miles from home following their time at college.
Busy streets, hectic sidewalks and tall buildings was not the big city vibe Takiul Alam was looking for when exploring college options outside of his home country of Bangladesh. After living in the capital of Dhaka with a population of more than 18 million, he wanted the opposite.
According to Alam, he found what he was looking for in the city of Winona – beautiful surroundings, a much smaller population and snow.
Still, none of these features were a true selling point for Alam. For him, it was about the scholarships.
Although he was leaning towards attending college in the U.K., Alam made the decision to attend Winona State after receiving scholarships that covered 75 percent of his tuition. Now, after three and a half years of study, he will graduate with a degree in computer science.
Alam claimed he never felt homesick after leaving Dhaka, and the biggest thing he had to adjust to was the difference in food.
“The food is pretty bland,” Alam said. “Back home, we use a lot of spices to cook, so that was the biggest obstacle.”
For his first two years at Winona State, Alam served as president of the International Club. This gave him the opportunity to share his culture’s food in the annual International Dinner as well as enjoy dishes from other countries.
Alam’s lack of homesickness will benefit him after graduation, as he has no intention of leaving the U.S.
In March 2016, Alam enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves. He said his basic training date keeps getting postponed, but he hopes to begin training by the end of this year.
Money once again played a large factor in one of Alam’s life decisions, as he enlisted to receive money towards tuition as well as citizenship after passing basic training.
Since his enlistment, Alam said he is unsure what will come next for him after he graduates, but he does know he would like to live in Minnesota.
“My plans are up in the air until I know when I go to basic training,” Alam explained.
With his mom and two sisters supporting his decisions from back home, Alam said he will continue to enjoy the Minnesota snow and wait for the next phase of his life to unfold.
A software developer position at Pearson VUE in Bloomington, Minnesota awaits Rachel OuYong after graduation. Instead of feeling first-day jitters when she arrives, OuYong will see familiar faces when walking into the corporate headquarters.
OuYong is a WSU computer science major and math minor from Hong Kong. She said she came to Winona State after she traveled to Minneapolis to visit her aunt, who is a WSU alumna. After then journeying to Winona and receiving a tour of campus, OuYong said she wanted to attend.
“The town is very different from where I grew up,” OuYong said. “As a city, Hong Kong is like New York. I wanted a big change and decided Winona was a good place to be.”
Throughout her four years at Winona State, OuYong has been involved on campus through the International Club, as a worker at WSU’s Tech Support Center and as a student researcher for the Computer Science Department.
During her junior year, OuYong attended a job fair in the Twin Cities through Career Services. This visit resulted in a summer internship for OuYong at Pearson VUE, and six months after her time in Bloomington she was offered a full-time position beginning after graduation.
While landing an internship and accepting a job offer is high on OuYong’s list of greatest accomplishments, she said attending the Grace Hopper Celebration twice ranks first.
“That conference is the world’s largest for women in computing,” OuYong said. “That was probably the highlight of my four years of college.”
OuYong’s undergraduate research with her advisor led her to present the project “Predicting Lung Cancer Outcomes” at the conference. This project carries over into her senior capstone, as she focuses on Data Storage Of Lung Cancer Treatment Outcomes Predicting Tool in collaboration with Mayo Clinic. Her research poster is on display in Watkins Hall on Winona State’s campus.
Wasil Chisti’s journey to Winona State includes a series of missed deadlines.
Chisti said his father encouraged him to leave home in Dhaka, Bangladesh to “get a better education from a better country.” He looked to attend school in Canada, where a few of his family members and friends live. After missing the application deadline by a few days, he said his mother suggested he “try the country next door.”
In 2012, Chisti attended a college in Missouri to study engineering and two years later decided to transfer to Mankato State University.
“I just couldn’t see myself graduating from there,” Chisti said.
He had plans to apply to Mankato State, but missed the deadline. Chisti changed his major to business administration and attended Rochester Community and Technical College for one year before transferring to Winona State and changing his major to human resources. He said he changed his major after realizing how much he had worked in customer relations since the start of high school.
At RCTC, Chisti said he took a class because he thought it was transferrable to Winona State, but he learned too late this was not the case. This forced him to stay another year at Winona State to earn his degree.
“It worked out,” Chisti said. “Whatever happened, it happened for the best.”
At Winona State he was hired for a paid internship with the College of Business startup, which he also receives credit for. Chisti has served as human resource manager for the group since last October, which involves recruiting, screening and interviewing students on campus for jobs.
Chisti said after graduating he looks to secure a job, and it does not have to be “the most attractive.”
“I can go into a job five days a week and not be the happiest person there,” Chisti said. “But the paycheck can make me happy.”
Christian Kolby from Oslo, Norway said he would have never considered himself a leader three years ago.
“Today, I am the most respected College of Business leaders,” Kolby said.
He said Winona State’s College of Business offers a lot of opportunities for students to expand their skills, which is what he did and will continue to do.
Kolby, an economic and political science major and global studies minor, said he served as a “normal” college student his first two years at Winona State, as he earned good grades but was not involved on campus. His junior year he joined the Economics Club and was pitched as VP of finance, allowing him to work alongside administrators for the College of Business and gain experience.
“The dean will ask me if he needs people, so that’s rewarding,” Kolby said.
After a liking for the Minnesota Vikings led Kolby to search for Midwest colleges that fit his budget, he considered Winona State as an option.
He said, “I applied, got accepted and never really looked back, and it worked out.”
Kolby explained how a scholarship program for international students allowed him to pay in-state tuition, saving him thousands of dollars per semester. He said this, combined with Winona’s small-town feel, moved him to choose Winona State over other colleges that accepted him, such as the University of Minnesota.
Using his club involvement with the College of Business to build his resumé, Kolby is interviewing with companies including WinCraft and Fastenal, as the semester concludes. His ultimate goal is to permanently live in the U.S., staying in Minnesota for now.
“If opportunities arise elsewhere, I’ll pack up my bag and go,” Kolby said. “But, Winona will always be my second home.”
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.
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.”
Students and professors peacefully protested and marched at Winona State University on Thursday, April 23, at the annual “Take Back the Night” event to give victims of sexual assault a safe place to speak out and be supported.
The event started at 6 p.m. in the WSU Student Union with survivor and victim stories of sexual assault. Many participants told their stories. They were given a flower and received hugs from people in the audience afterward.
After the speakers, Women and Gender Studies (WAGS) professor Tamara Berg thanked them for telling their stories.
“I can see the victim and blame culture coming out in the survivor’s stories,” Berg said. “It’s not your fault and by telling your story, you’re starting to change the culture.”
Many of the victims said they were blamed for the assault and many said they felt it was their fault after it happened.
“It’s unbelievable that survivors tell their stories because they are painful to retell,” Berg continued. “It doesn’t matter how much you drank or what you wore, it’s not your fault.”
Winona County Attorney Kevin O’Laughlin attended the event and listened to the stories. He spoke to the victims and thanked them for having the strength to tell their stories.
“We’ve come a long way, we have a long way yet to go,” O’Laughlin said. “As a representative of the criminal justice system, thank you. Please share your stories with law enforcement. If you have the courage and strength to tell your story, you help me hold offenders accountable. Sexual assault is not the victim’s fault.”
The second part of the night was a march through campus, to Broadway, over to Main Street and then back to campus. Winona State students Bobbi Jo Wrona and Emily Homan led the march and chants. As the group passed by the Quad residence hall, students yelled at them. The group marched on.
The Winona Women’s Resource Center director, Diana Miller, said “Take Back the Night” was organized by the center more than 30 years ago. Miller said the attendance wasn’t very large and it got more attention when Winona State took it over. The average attendance is about 80 to 100 people. Last year’s attendance numbered 200 people, Miller said.
“It’s the most important event for the Women’s Resource Center. It’s an opportunity for everyone who is interested in advocating to get involved,” Miller said. “We honor survivors and have a spirited march at the end. It’s meaningful and emotional for everyone.”
Miller said she loves this event because it raises awareness and gets advocates motivated to get the hard work done.
“We just keep going and advocate on,” Miller said. “Advocating is hard work.”
Many students attended the event because they themselves were survivors of sexual assault.
Child Advocacy Studies minor Ashley Murphy said she attended because she was assaulted and is an advocate.
“It’s important to give people a voice and have a safe place to talk,” Murphy said.
Two students are making a poster with pictures for the event to get more people to come next year.
Social work junior Andrea White said FORGE (Fighting for Our Rights and Gender Equality) funds the event for the food, flowers and the clothesline project outside of Minne Hall.
“I loved the turn-out. I’ve been attending since freshman year, but this is the first year I spoke out,” White said. “You can see the victim blaming culture is really pervasive in our society, there were people yelling from the Quad.”
White said the goal is to get more people to come and create a community where we support each other.
“It’s a unique opportunity and there’s so much more to it when you sit in that space and listen to their story,” White said. “I think next week it will be on everyone’s mind at one point.”
Junior social work major Madeline Mowery said she attended this event her freshman year because it was required for a class. Later, she made WAGS her minor and is the FORGE secretary.
“This year’s event went really well, I think it was the best one so far because I was involved with the planning and appreciated it more,” Mowery said. “I really liked it and made it my minor.”
Community Health junior Leah Peterson said she loves the empowerment the event gives.
“I came because I spoke last year and I have a friend who has been a victim of domestic violence,” Peterson said. “I know a lot of victims and I came to support them.”