SEED Performance Art is a Winona based professional performing arts integration that intends to get audiences emotionally and physically involved in artwork. Their upcoming show, “Blank Page” is their fifth installment of their Experiment Series, where they will be addressing the topic and personal instances of date rape. The SEED program consistently commits to bringing two or more art forms together to create a more affective, enriching and unique sensory experience for audiences. In this performance, spoken word will be complimenting movement and dance. The script for this piece was compiled by written experiences ranging from date rape to consensual sexual intimacy interactions by Winona community members, including Winona State University Students. It addresses five different shifting elements of sexual encounters:
The performance is a mixture of negative and positive experiences of sexual intimacy, but primarily addresses the issues surrounding date rape, in hopes of generating discussion amongst the community. The SEED webpage states, “Through artistic devices, SEED hopes to boldly continue the conversation of sexually based violence vs. consensual sex.”
It is no doubt that audiences will experience a variety of emotions while in attendance. “Dance is the most physical of arts. Dance really speaks at the nature of the problem; you can feel it by watching. Dance is the missing element of the spoken word aspect- it brings it to life,” says Pedro Pablo, a Junior Mass Communications/ Public Relations Major and dance minor at WSU, of his experience participating dancing in this performance.
SEED’s mission of juxtaposing two art forms actually creates a harmony. The words bring the dance to life, generating the emotion and blueprints for movement. The movement aspect, in turn, brings the words to the foreground, where audiences can physically see the words in action. Together, words and movement create a unique and powerful experience where audiences experience the emotional, physical, psychological and power dynamics of date rape and as well as positive sexual intimacy.
The artistic director, Claire Richards, has worked with Winona’s Women’s Resource Center and Women’s and Gender Studies professors Tamara Berg and Mary Jo Klinker in order to organize and appropriately craft the message. It is vital that we have art forms that address the personal lives of our community members. The personal is indeed political, and the art form helps make a discussion of the issue at hand more approachable and close to home. This performance will have a resounding impact on how people view rape, and hopefully how they talk about it.
For example, instead of victim blaming, one would hope the accountability goes towards the aggressor and I begin think about the ways we blame victims and how they feel. Pablo adds, “we’re trying to say that sex is beautiful and sacred and you take away everything when you don’t have consent.” This indeed is the overall message of this upcoming performance that will surely leave an impression on the community. Hopefully, people will feel moved so that they can intervene in situations or help those effected begin to heal.
“Blank Page” is being performed tonight and tomorrow, March 6-7, at 7pm in Tau Center on WSU’s West Campus (511 Hilbert Street). Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students (with an id).
Ever wonder what your Winona State Student Senate actually does?
Well, Senate is a group of elected students from the Winona State student body that meet once a week to discuss university issues, from department fees to club funding to general issues we think students might be facing. As a recently elected Senator representing the senior class, I have realized that I had no idea what Senate really did. The Student Senate actually has a lot of power to change not only this university, but also the whole MNSCU system by presenting and discussing our ideas with other universities. Meetings are filled with student voices trying to decipher student opinions as best as they can.
To help organize these various opinions, Senate divides itself into committees to address all student issues such as Public Relations, Student Services and Academic Affairs. A new addition to this list of committees is the Inclusion and Diversity Committee, which started this semester.
Senator Christopher Veeder started the Inclusion and Diversity Committee to help students feel safe and valued.
“The goal of this committee is to find ways to make sure all students feel that their values and ideas contribute to the universities community,” Veeder said. “And to make sure all students feel safe to be who they are on campus.”
Veeder started the committee because he and other students felt that diversity issues were not being addressed on campus and that these issues could be better solved in a committee setting, where issues could be discussed and given success plans.
“It is important for Winona Student Senate to have this committee because far too many students are not feeling welcome and some are even being harassed for who they are,” Veeder said. “It is time for Student Senate as well as for the university to respond to make WSU a welcoming and safe space for all.”
The Diversity Committee is currently trying to help the KEAP Diversity Resource Center receive sustainable funding that will help the KEAP Center hire employees and provide them with the resources they need to help students. The KEAP Center has currently been moved on campus in the old Winonan room (the room that is now the temporary Book Store) and has funding for the rest of the semester, but not for the coming years.
If you would like to address any issues to the Inclusion and Diversity Committee, you can contact Veeder at CVeeder12@winona.edu. The committee also meets Mondays at 5 p.m in the Student Senate office, which is in Kryzsko Commons. To bring any other issues to Senate in general, please contact email@example.com or drop by the Student Senate Office at any time!
On Valentine’s Day, everyone is usually either out with their significant other or in their rooms eating chocolate and watching sappy romantic movies on Netflix. Usually I’m the latter of the two (ha-ha!), but this year, I had the opportunity to do something completely different. I ended up spending my evening helping out at a dance for people with disabilities sponsored by Project Compass. I was able to help provide them a fun enjoyable Valentine’s Day while also enjoying it myself! It was a very unique, rewarding experience that I would definitely want to be a part of again which is definitely possible as Project Compass holds dances every month, not just on Valentine’s Day.
Project Compass is an organization that provides people who have disabilities the chance to meet new people, get more involved in the community and have a great time. They offer multiple classes and services to fulfill the needs of people with both developmental and physical disabilities. Some of their services include:
The founder of this program, Helen Newell, has been running this program for twenty four years and still is enjoying every moment of it. When I asked her how it was rewarding to her, she responded, “Working with the participants and most of them, all of them, are my friends, many I’ve known for 24 years.”
The dances, in particular, are a part of Project Compass that Winona State University is very involved in. Multiple different clubs from our campus including the Student Association of Social Workers (which is why I was there), Circle K club, Student Council for Exceptional Children, and Recreation, Tourism and Therapeutic Recreation club all volunteer to help host a dance each month. Each dance costs $10 for a participant of Project Compass to attend, but with the $15 scholarships awarded to nearly every participant quarterly, they always have the chance to go to a dance. A lot of people go to the dance, from ages 16 to in their seventies and eighties.
At the dances, participants receive pizza that Dominoes generously donates, fruit, cookies and a pop of their choice. Then after they’ve had time to socialize and eat for a few minutes, the DJ starts playing music that everyone wants to dance to. People from age 16 to age 80 will be out on the dance floor. The clubs and organizations that host the dance also get the chance to interact with and get to know the participants of Project Compass.
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to get to know a few of the people who are involved in Project Compass. I met a man who is blind and has the best sense of humor ever. He has a huge heart for people and loves making new friends. I asked another man how he liked the dances and he said he loved them and enjoyed dancing with his girlfriend. In addition to these friendly gentlemen, I met a lady who kept making a happy, high-pitched shriek, which I learned was her way of expressing how much fun she was having at the dance. It was nice to see how happy people were when they won door prizes even though they were just simple prizes and nothing too fancy. Talking with different participants and seeing people from our own club dancing with them was pretty special. The joy and happiness on so many of those participants’ faces was worth all the planning and hard work that we, as a club, put into hosting the dance.
Currently, Project Compass has at least 700 people with physical or mental disabilities that go to their events throughout the year. Some people go to events once a month, and others will go 4 times a week. Helen, program director, said that while Project Compass always have a fair amount of volunteers, she loves seeing new people volunteering. A new volunteer just needs to go through a short training session and then they’re free to help volunteer at different events such as dances. I would definitely recommend this volunteer opportunity especially to people looking into special education, social work, or anything that deals a lot with human interaction. You not only get to meet new people, but you get to help make their lives better and have a great time doing that. My experience at this dance was so wonderful and I can’t wait until the Student Association of Social Workers hosts the next dance for them!
At one point, someone will stand up and yell, “MY VAGINA’S ANGRY!”
Before that, an old lady will profess her love for Burt Reynolds.
Later, we will laugh about something someone shouldn’t have taken swimming.
The Vagina Monologues, written by Eve Ensler, is a play of bodily experience, identification and empowerment. It is based on interviews that Ensler conducted with women across the globe, where she inquired about their life experiences being women. Not only do interviewees talk about their physical vaginas and their relationships with them: how they view them, frustrations and joys they find comes along with them; but they also go into depth with their experiences as women. The play is sectioned into individual monologues, each performed by different WSU students. Some of the monologues are funny, some sad, and some are lighthearted and fun. The wide variety of expression and emotion feels like a roller-coaster ride of experience.
The purpose of The Vagina Monologues is to raise awareness around gender based violence. After all, one in six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape, and 10% of sexual assault victims are men. Also, in the Kissi District of Kenya, 42 percent of women report having been”beaten regularly” by their husbands. This is just to name a few jarring facts that represent the different acts that occur that are considered violence against women or gender based violence.
The Vagina Monologues is paired with Ensler’s “V-Day” campaign, where the profits of the performances will be donated to a local Women’s Resource center and Ensler’s V-Day campaign. The local performance at WSU will donate part of its proceeds to the Women’s Resource Center of Winona, the rest to the V-Day spotlight campaign.
I have participated in The Vagina Monologues all five years that I have been a student at Winona State University. The experience moved me so much that I became a gender studies minor, became an advocate and pledged to be a life-long advocate committed to ending violence and empowering all people. I had always enjoyed theater growing up, but The Vagina Monologues was different. Seeing it, being in it, I found it moving, engaging, and it demanded that I actually do something. It is a play that one cannot walk away from without some sort of personal and social introspection. This is a very affective form of activism.
The Vagina Monologues is about more than just talking about a single experience, and has expanded to be more encompassing of identity. In fact, Ensler has recently revised her play to include the emotional and physical violence that so many transwomen experience. The identification and category of gender is widening, and so is awareness about the violence against those who identify on the woman side of the identification spectrum.
This year’s performance will feature monologues written by Winona State Students. The Vagina Monologues intends to give victims, survivors and communities of women a voice. No longer will women shroud in silence about the violence, harassment, sexism, and discrimination that they experience. They no longer will accept the statistics. They will notice what violence looks like and what behaviors, actions and judgments perpetrates it.
The Vagina Monologues is activist theater, intending to move audiences to doing something to end violence against women. Whether it is standing up to someone who made a rape joke, participating in speak outs like Take Back the Night or donating time, energy or resources to social justice, every bit of activism helps end the cycle of violence. One can be inspired to make lasting social change, and it can begin by absorbing activist theater.
The four performances will be held in Somsen Auditorium on:
The month of February is National Canned Food Month! So, why canned food? Well, I don’t know about you, but when I think of canned food I think of the mushy peas and creamed corn my grandparents used to make me eat. But, it turns out that canned food is much more than that; they are also a donation staple for food shelves.
Canned foods are often inexpensive and have a very long shelf-life, which makes it perfect to donate. Canned food remains safe if the container remains intact, regardless of the expiration date.
Canned foods are also surprisingly nutritious.
“Canned foods – and dishes made with canned ingredients – are nutritionally similar to cooked fresh, according to research, and perhaps more so if fresh foods aren’t handled properly,” according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website. Canned fruits and vegetables can be great sides and can be added to salad, soups, pasta and even pizza.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics site also said that are also “convenient, portable, quick.” Canned foods already cooked, often only needing to be heated, which means they’re quick and easy for a meal on the go.
Since these foods are surprisingly healthy and long lasting, it’s a great idea to donate them. Food shelves throughout Minnesota are struggling to serve their communities’ needs as hunger has doubled over the last five years. In 2012, Winona area food shelves had 28,273 visits.
The Winona Volunteer Services’ Supplemental Food Shelf is one place that supplies food to “residents with limited resources” and is always in need of donations of food, money and time. This month, consider what you can give to help make your community more full and satisfied.
February is not only the month of love, but it is also National Cancer Prevention Month. Over half of all men and one-third of all women in the United States will develop cancer during their lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society. These people could be your grandpa, mom, sibling, family friend, teacher, anyone. Cancer effects more than it’s patients, it effects our entire community which is why we need to help in every way we can.
Winona State Warriors are teaming up with local health establishments to help the fight against cancer for the second time. Starting February 11th, WSU Health, Exercise and Rehabilitative Science undergrads plan to help cancer patients from Gunderson Lutheran Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders along with Winona Health on their road to recovery and healthy living.
This program provided by Winona State students lasts 12 weeks and is intended to help patients maintain or improve their strength, endurance, flexibility and wellness following treatment.
“Each survivor is assigned one or two personal student trainers. We start our morning by taking resting blood pressure and heart rate, and then warming up with some basic lymphedema stretches. The students lead their survivors through a 40 minute individualized exercise regimen, which includes aerobic, resistance and balance exercises. Oftentimes, the students will do the exercises along with the survivors,” said Kasia Kilijanek, in her reflection on the program in her blog post.
Though we could see these routines as minor for the average individual, these exercise programs help the confidence and overall physical health of cancer survivors. “Without this program I don’t know if I could have done it all by myself,” said Mary Rohrer, past participant. “Exercise in a group–all of whom have experienced the same disease–is a double dividend in giving me the motivation to not only get moving but keep moving!”
At Winona State, we are a community of learners dedicated to improving our world, and this program is an example of the difference we can make. These students are giving others a second chance at a happy and healthy life.
You may be shocked to learn
These unfortunate facts, among others, do not discriminate geographically. They are nation-wide as well as in our own community. Reading these statistics, its hard not to feel anger and sadness when looking around campus. 1 in 4 of your female classmates, teachers, faculty and workers will experience this atrocity in their lifetimes. But as the statics show, women are not the only victims. Statistics continue to show Trans* individuals experience and are in danger of assault and harassment. Men are also not immune to sexual and domestic violence. The statistics continue to show that many humans will experience sexual violence in their lifetime. This is unacceptable.
Luckily, there are services in Winona that help assist anyone in need. If you feel moved to help people devastated by rape, sexual assault, intimate partner violence and domestic violence, there is an opportunity to reach out and help people heal. Winona State University, in partnership with the Women’s Resource Center of Winona, offers advocacy training and certification as University credit, but more importantly, a volunteer opportunity to assist the community.
The course through WSU is a 45- hour advocacy training course, where employees from the Women’s Resource Center, Winona Police Department, Winona Courthouse and Winona Health collaborate to train students how to function in the community as an advocate. Advocates have lots of responsibilities, including manning a 24-hour hotline, physically going to the hospital, police station or court with victims, and providing timely support and resources to victims. The Women’s Resource Center of Winona takes very seriously the tasks of an advocate. They provide
In my own life, I have had close friends as well as strangers approach me online, on campus, at bars, in bathrooms and in the library with their stories of assault. Each person is unique–some are looking for resources, some are looking for comfort, some are looking for what to do next. As an advocate, I am trained with the proper responses that address each individual’s needs. I have seen the devastation and dark places left by assaults, but I have also experienced their inspirational journey of healing.
It is possible to help someone move from victimhood and despair to a place of hope and healing. It takes a lot of courage, compassion and strength to be an advocate, but the rewards of helping a community is priceless.
On Tuesday, April 22nd, Winona State University and the Women’s Resource Center will be hosting its annual Take Back the Night, a public speaking-out against sexual violence where victims, survivors and those who love them have the opportunity to tell their story, express their feelings, and be amongst a community of people who desire justice and healing. I will be posting a blog post in early April with more details.
Here you can read more about the application and responsibilities of an advocate.
To enroll in the class, please contact Tamara Berg, head of Women’s and Gender studies at firstname.lastname@example.org
To talk with an advocate, please call:
The WRC is located at 77 E 5th St, Winona, MN 55987-3517.
“Style is Political” –Cynthia Enloe in Globalization and Militarism
On December 4th the Women’s and Gender Studies 220: Power, Privilege and Gender class presented their final projects in the Kryzsko Student Activities Center. These projects examined the role of privilege and oppression in individual fashion choices. Overall, the intent of educating peers was successful, with approximately 30 visitors. Here is what each group had to say about their projects.
Examining Cultural Appropriation
For our class action, we put on an (Un)Fashioning Power fair, in which we addressed the issue of cultural appropriation. We attempted to raise awareness and educate our peers on the issues with cultural appropriation. Cultural appropriation is taking elements such as clothing, designs and accessories from oppressed cultures and using them to make profits and as fashion statements without fully recognizing the complex history behind the people who really own these elements. On a micro-level, we taught people about the issue and made them aware of how these things occur in our everyday lives, even within our own community. On a macro-level, we informed people of the main issues occurring throughout the country, including examples from every day fashion, sports mascots, pop culture and Halloween costumes. A lot of people had never heard of cultural appropriation before and weren’t sure why it was an issue, so we told them it was an issue because it enforces negative stereotypes of specific cultures, and it also devalues the experiences of the people whose culture we are appropriating.
What does a “slut” wear? What is a “slut”? Is “slut” a gendered term? Should “sluts” be ashamed of themselves?
Our feminist curiosity motivated us to ask our peers and community to answer these questions about “slut-shaming,” a term coined by contemporary feminist authors to describe the various ways culture shames sexually active women. In our group, we defined “slut-shaming” as presumed or real sexual activity; women behaving in ways which do not conform with unspoken expectations of women’s purity; can include access to birth control, sexual activity, social interactions/associations, being raped/sexually assaulted, choices for clothing and fashion.
In our presentation, our goal was to ask our audience to define “slut” on a sticky note and compare the answers. We discovered that there was not one clear definition of “slut”, rather as many definitions as there were people. Some common themes we found in the definitions included “promiscuity,” and “the way a woman dresses”, which clearly fit the definition of slut-shaming; this also allowed us to explain how “slut-shaming” leads to dehumanization of women and the justification of a “rape culture.” On the bright side, we were able to share activism taken against “slut-shaming” and help each individual re-evaluate their own definition (and use) of the word “slut.”
The action we educated our peers about was militarism in fashion. Enloe states in Globalization and Militarism that “Style is political.” We branched off that and showed our peers how fashion is political. We talked about the origins of khaki, camouflage and the bikini. This ties with how our society follows the path of least resistance by normalizing militarism, in this case the history behind our clothes.
We also discussed and challenged our peers on their awareness of government spending and how tax-paying citizens are affected. After posing questions to our peers, we were able to give them a peek into how much money goes towards military funds. On a micro level, our peers were able to see the amount of dollars spent in tax dollars toward past wars. On top of that, we had a resource available for peers to see past war costs across the United States, on a macro level. 57% of the 2014 fiscal year discretionary spending will be towards the military, and only 6% towards education systems. Out of the thirty people who attended our presentations, the majority of our peers were shocked!
Globalization: Consumption and Production
We chose to make a power point and a poster board explaining how globalization is tied to sweatshops. We showed popular brand names such as Nike, Adidas, Old Navy and Walmart to get people’s attention. We chose to take the “Path of Greater Resistance” to make people aware of how we can attempt to improve working conditions and low wages that go behind the making of clothing (Allan Johnson, Power, Privilege, and Difference). We were able to connect with our audience by being able to show where some of the clothing they were wearing was produced and consumed. We hope by taking part in this action that we were able to make people aware of the many sweatshops around the world.
A new club will be sprouting up on Winona State University come spring semester. The WSU Cooperative Club is currently developing in hopes of improving the world for many students. Cooperatives, or co-ops, are business that offers products and services like any other but the members of the co-op are also the owners and focus on working together rather than making a profit. The emerging co-op club welcomes the Winona State community to join in order to “instill a deeply entrenched sense of community, responsibility, and humanism.”
The club wants to share resources in a non-hierarchal manner in order to address economic injustice. Ideas for the club include a co-op fee (about $3) that would fund a community cupboard.
According to the first draft of the co-op constitution, “The Community Cupboard shall be a system of goods available to all club members who pay the Co-op fee. The community Cupboard will be readily available on-campus with a lock that all members who have paid the Co-op Fee will have the combination to. Members from within the Winona State University community who have not paid the fee may be granted temporary access to the Community Cupboard if they ask permission of a paying member of Community Organizer.”
The purpose of the community cupboard is to provide essentials or school performance objects that some may struggle to regularly buy or afford. This could include things like toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, socks, hats, mittens, pencils, paper, markers, notebooks, calculators, clothes, and non-perishable foods. Donations will always be welcome.
Other things the Co-op Club would like to do are potentially host potlucks and provide sustainability education. The club will be organized non-hierarchically, where leadership roles can be rotated so that all will have an equal opportunity to host meetings and organize events. The long term vision for the Co-op club is to eventually create a Co-op housing unit where people can live together sharing resources, space, talents and perspectives.
There is a heavy emphasis of improving the community together, no matter of one’s identity. It is open to all those who want to be in it, and will always welcome ideas for events, club activities, educational experiences and helping the community.
For more information or to be on the email list, please email Kaylee Jakubowski at KJakubowski11@winona.edu.