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.
As the holiday season approaches and I personally began preparing for food, family, friends, and fun, it came to my attention while working on a class project that not everyone is as familiar with this important time of year, namely the international students in our community. To bring the spirit of the season to attention, the Recreational Programming class put on a free Thanksgiving dinner at the VFW on Third Street on Monday, Nov. 18.
Our class created a classic Thanksgiving environment with all of the typical goodies and treats like turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie, but our aim for this event wasn’t to create a Thanksgiving dinner that we are all familiar with. Instead, we planned a Thanksgiving event to show the international students what this holiday is about since many of them have never had a Thanksgiving Dinner before.
I was fortunate enough to be the event coordinator and as coordinator I was responsible for the fundamentals of the event in finding the location, finding sponsors, and organizing and coordinating the committees in our class. While it was a big undertaking, the end result made it all worthwhile.
We had a turnout of between 40-50 students and community members, including dozens of international students, a majority coming from China and Japan. We were able to serve people a traditional turkey dinner with all of the fixings while providing a brief history of Thanksgiving and crafts and activities to inspire socialization.
I was extremely proud of the outcome of this event as we had rave reviews praising the quality of the meal and the opportunity to meet new people and socialize, particularly for the international students. It was a privilege to work on this event in that it gave us the opportunity to teach the international students about our culture and allowed them to teach us about their culture as well as we met each other over the meal. The event was a great unifier, bringing the community at large together in the spirit of giving and sharing as we were all able to learn a bit about the other’s culture over a Thanksgiving dinner.
I have found something that combines my passion for conservation with the opportunity to make a difference in my country…now if only I got paid for it!
American Conservation Experience, or ACE, is a conservation program through AmeriCorps that trains volunteers to, according to their official site, “undertake practical environmental restoration projects in America’s national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and other public lands.”
Starting in mid-May, I will be travelling to Flagstaff, AZ to work in either Flagstaff or in Hurricane, Utah for three months and will be doing an internship that entails hard labor conservation work. I will have to adjust from my cozy life as a Winona State English major, where the most adventure I seem to have these days is translating Shakespeare into an English that I can actually understand, to living, breathing, and being outside 24/7.
According to ACE’s website, “ACE is grounded in the philosophy that cooperative labor on meaningful conservation projects fosters cross-cultural understanding and operates on the belief that challenging volunteer service unites people of all backgrounds in common cause.”
Their goal is to take public wildlife areas throughout the United States and put people to work on them in order to create bonds and life skills. I will have the opportunity to work with people from around the world and create networks with others that are passionate about non-profits and conservation.
AmeriCorps has loads of programs with different purposes and directions for the large variety of people in America.
According to AmeriCorp’s main website, “AmeriCorps engages more than 80,000 Americans in intensive service each year at nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community and faith-based groups across the country,” and, “Members have contributed more than 1 billion hours in service across America while tackling pressing problems and mobilizing millions of volunteers for the organizations they serve.”
If you want to get involved with either of these programs or learn more information, see: http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps and http://usaconservation.org/.
People encircled the Smaug stage. Some were seated directly in front of it, listening intently and asking questions. Others milled along the side and back walls, eating sandwiches and glancing up occasionally from their laptops. Though some people were gathered in the Smaug for the explicit purpose of listening to Tuesday’s Trans* Awareness Panel, others just happened to be nearby. Regardless of how they got there, however, everyone had the opportunity to hear the stories from transgendered or gender non-conforming individuals, all of whom had their own unique perspectives to share.
This event was sponsored by Full Spectrum: Winona State University’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance, and was one of three events in support of Trans* Day of Remembrance on November 20. The purpose of the events was to raise awareness and understanding of trans* issues. Tuesday’s panel allowed audience members to ask questions of trans* individuals, which encompassed everything from “passing” as cisgender to familial relationships.
One of the panelist’s fathers even stepped forward to tell his daughter’s story through his own perspective. One of his main points was the importance of language. Although he had done extensive research about the history of transgendered or gender non-conforming individuals, he still struggled to navigate the territory of pronouns and proper labels. There are resources, such as these panels and websites like this one, that can help.
When I asked Jax Pugh, a member of Full Spectrum, what to do if I misuse these terms, Jax simply said, “Apologize and move on.” The most important thing, according to club members and panelists, is to simply be kind.
Trans* Day of Remembrance continued through Wednesday, which included another panel discussing the relationship between cisgender privilege and trans* issues. Later in the evening, a candlelight vigil was held in Windom Park to honor transwomen killed because of gender based violence. Though the purpose of these two days was to honor these transwomen, it was also an important opportunity to spread awareness of trans* issues.
As people sat around the Smaug on Tuesday afternoon, whether listening intently or peering over laptops, each of us learned something. Personally, I realized there’s still a lot for me to learn. Although it’s important to understand the multiple perspectives within the trans* community, and although I want to learn more about topics regarding gender and identity, I think the most important advice really is just to be kind to all people.
For more information about Trans* Day of Remembrance or Full Spectrum, please contact Jax Pugh at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s not very often that a venue in Winona sells out admittance.
However, for Caroline Smith, a twenty-five-year-old musician from Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, and her band (originally named Caroline Smith and The Good Night Sleeps), tickets were sold out to their November 14th show at Ed’s No Name Bar, where they enthusiastically debuted the new music on their new album, Half About Being a Woman.
Her band has gone through some changes since their last appearance in Winona last spring, dropping “The Good Night Sleeps” off of the band name and changing up their musical genre. Initially an indie folk/rock/pop band, Caroline Smith’s new sound is R&B. Winona has been a faithful following of Smith, who has performed at Winona’s spring music festival, Midwest Music Fest, as well as other annual appearances at Ed’s No Name Bar and the Winona Arts Center.
During a Meet the Artist Event held on Winona State University Campus, fans were able to meet Caroline Smith and her band mates Jesse Schuster and Arlen Peiffer to ask them questions about their band, their change in their music and their experience in the music industry. The band said several factors initiated the change in band and sound. Smith said of the new sound, “[I wanted to do] Something I would like, something I would listen to.” Smith said she has been very influenced by early 90’s R & B, including artists like TLC, Erykah Badu, Layren Hill, Jill Scott, Beyonce, and D’Angelo.
When asked about the message of the new album, Smith softly and eloquently replied, “Something happens when you’re a woman and you turn twenty-five… You don’t worry about [things like] how thick your hair is anymore– you begin to embrace yourself.” Half About Being a Woman has a more “honest,” “personal” and “empowering” message, according to fans. Smith herself says the album does feel more “honest” and it “sort of reflects the advice I give to my girlfriends.”
She also says that the message was unintended, however, and just wanted to make an album “to make people feel good.” That night, Caroline Smith delivered an entertaining, talented and super-soulful performance at Ed’s No Name Bar, to an energetic and engaged crowd.
When asked how music improves our world, Smith said that through her personal experience as a female artist, she is often testing boundaries by simply being a woman. Smith said she has faced adversity in being a female artist.
“A woman as a leader is questioned,” she said, recalling how at some shows, the sound and light tech guy comes up to shake hands with the male members of the band first, indicating their belief that the guys are in control. She says things like this push her to be “more assertive,” which is important for any emerging front-woman artist looking for respect and acknowledgment.
She says she is “fascinated by feminism,” and has inspired fans to find empowerment in her female message. Smith says she was stopped while shopping when a fan come up to her telling her she has “helped her get through a tough break-up.” That “Walking on Strong” (a track on the new album) became an empowerment anthem for her.
Smith’s advice to local artists and bands that want to improve the world is to work together and have good communication. She says it is important to allow each other to do individual projects for growth, happiness and fulfillment. In fact, several of her band mates are in other bands. She heavily emphasizes the fact that artists shouldn’t “have rivalries” which can hinder relationships and the art. Instead, she advocates a sense of community and communication, where everyone can speak, experiment and create in a healthy and productive way.
Despite the new changes, Smith and her band have, like many other bands, encountered artistic differences in producing the new album. The band talked about how they often rewrote, rerecorded, introduced and cut songs from the new album. Smith was asked about how they resolve inter conflicts in the band, “If you don’t like an idea, don’t just say no, propose what you’d like instead.” This is good advice not just for artists, but anyone in a community who need to collaborate to get something done; this wisdom allows everyone to have their opinion and vision heard, considered and included.
Music has an ability to move us and improve our lives. Half About Being a Woman, in my opinion, is empowering, soulful and honest. One of the most lively and fun songs on the album is “Magazine.”. “The song,” Smith said, “is about squashing social norms of being a woman” and explains that woman are expected to look a certain way and do domestic things in order to attract and keep a man. She shakes her head and smiles, “The video”, on the other hand, “shows happy women smashing these societal norms.” The video shows women of different sizes, shapes and colors dancing in their underwear, eating unapologetically and ripping apart a bed and smashing a guitar.
I really enjoy when an artist can use their art and their vision to promote societal change, which improves our world. Even if it is unintended, Smith sends a message to women to love and embrace themselves. She wants women to “Walk off Strong,” which is a title of one of the songs on her new album, which you can buy on her website or on iTunes.
In order to grow, change often occurs. Through this new album and musical direction, Smith proves that change can be good, and one must follow their heart and be true to themselves when creating art and following passions. Smith has been committed to promoting positivity, and wants to help others by taking time to talk with fans about the path to success. Her commitment to her fans, her music and her art inspires others, and we can use this inspiration can help us improve our world.
On October 31st, Winona residents were greeted at the door with the smiling, spooky and masked faces of trick-or-treaters, but some were surprised when greeted by WSU athletes who were not there for candy.
On Halloween, WSU athletes rang the doorbells of residents to collect canned goods for the Winona Food Pantry and Winona Volunteer Services. I am a senior on the cross country team for Winona State and I was extremely excited about the generous response we received from the Winona community.
Ringing the doorbell of Winona residents, dressed in Winona State cross country gear, my three teammates and I were greeted with very giving and caring residents who responded to our request for canned goods with a smile after the shock wore off. Going door-to-door collecting cans and filling our bags with non-perishable food gave us great satisfaction as well as those whom we visited and donated.
As this was our second year of the event, many residents remembered us and mentioned what a wonderful impact our efforts would make on the community. We thought this event was a great way to be able to interact with members of the community that support us in our athletics as well as make a difference in helping those less fortunate.
In only two hours, we collected 3,700 canned goods this year! Even though the event was a huge success, we are looking forward to topping that number next Halloween.
As college students, it’s universally accepted that we don’t have much disposable income. We work jobs that pay minimum wage. We scrape underneath couch cushions, behind tables, and under parked cars in search of change. We inwardly weep every time we’re forced to visit the bookstore for yet another textbook. So, even though this is considered the season of giving, how can we be expected to make donations to charitable organizations? And even if we do, are our sparse contributions even worthwhile?
GiveMN.org believes that they are. The website sponsors a number of different non-profit organizations within the state and gives these folks an online presence to both spread information about their missions and receive monetary donations. According to their homepage, the site has generated more than $75,000,000 for the state of Minnesota alone. It was launched by the Minnesota Community Foundation in 2009 and, since then, has helped numerous schools and nonprofits
This week, the website is sponsoring an event called “Give to the Max Day” on November 14, 2013, and you may find a few of your favorite schools or non-profits are participating. There are community non-profits, like the Friends of the Winona Public Library, the Winona Arts Center and Winona Health Foundation. Local high schools and middle schools are also represented, along with numerous churches and even an organization called the Winona Clown Club. If you visit the site, you’ll also find a few WSU organizations, like the Winona State University Foundation and the Lutheran Campus Center. All of these non-profits are promoting their mission for Give to the Max day in the hopes that everyday people, like us college students, will donate. Throughout the day, sponsors of GiveMN.org will give grants and match donations, especially to those organizations with the most activity. That means that even a donation of ten dollars could become something huge.
Give to the Max Day is a reminder that, even though you’re giving from your own pocket, paycheck or couch cushion, your donation is part of a bigger movement. Even if you’re only able to give a little, it can mean a lot to these organizations. Although donations are always welcome for these non-profits, Give to the Max Day is the perfect opportunity for college students, who are usually starved of cash, to make a little mean a lot.
It’s crazy for me to think that there are people out there who can’t read this blog post.
According to a 2003 survey done by the Institute of Education Sciences, 6% of people in Winona County lack basic literacy skills. That might not seem like a lot, but that’s roughly 2,250 people out of 37,493, which is the population the survey gave Winona County. Put another way, 1 out of every 16 people is illiterate, so if the average class size 30 students, two of your classmates wouldn’t be able to read at an age-appropriate level.
And this is in Minnesota. Other states, like Alabama, Georgia, New Mexico, and Texas had numbers in the 30% range, and even a few in the 40% range. Many states have counties in the 20% range, while the highest percent in Minnesota is 12% illiteracy.
Though this survey is a bit outdated, there is still a surprising amount of illiterate people in the United States. So, what can one do about this epidemic of illiterate peoples in the United States?
Winona State’s English Club YAWP is hoping to bring attention to the epidemic this year with Literacy Week events. YAWP will be celebrating Literacy Week during the week of November 11-15 and all are welcome to come and participate.
Secretary Alex Paulson will be giving a presentation on the literacy epidemic. He is also hoping to get a couple of guest speakers in to give a variety of presentations to YAWP members and hopefully other students around campus.
Posters will be put up around campus giving specific dates, times, and locations of the speakers.
YAWP also wanted to go and read to elementary students in the Winona area, but unfortunately won’t be able to during Literacy Week this year. Volunteering to read to youth or elderly is always a great way to promote literacy.
YAWP is hoping to make Literacy Week an annual event on campus, though, to help bring awareness to the issue.As students at a public university, it’s important to remember how lucky we are to have had the education opportunities we’ve been given and to, in turn, reach out to others in our community and try to give them the same gifts we’ve been given.