Maverick Moments

These stories highlight students, faculty, staff, and/or events from Student Affairs Offices fostering big ideas and real-world thinking on campus and in the community.

Student Health Services received the Underage Drinking Prevention Teen Influence Award

Student Health Services at Minnesota State University, Mankato has developed health education programs to help inform students about the dangers of high risk drinking – including House Party, an annual event that is held each fall. This spring, the House Party event received the Underage Drinking Prevention—Teen Influence Award from the Minnesota Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Chapter.

During the House Party event, students tour an off-campus house to witness mock college party scenarios, each of which is acted out by student volunteers, to help provide a realistic encounter one may have at a house party. After the tour, guides lead students to a “processing” tent where students debrief and discuss their reactions to the party scenarios. Also in the processing tent, volunteers provide statistics and information for students to think about in order to make safe, informed decisions.

Student Health Services partners with Residential Life, LGBT Center, Women’s Center, Health PROs (Peers Reaching Out), Residence Hall Association, Eta Sigma Gamma Health Honorary, Phi Delta Theta fraternity, Mankato Department of Public Safety and Lincoln Park Neighborhood Association to organize and promote House Party. This year, House Party attracted more than 400 attendees, which was the largest crowd in the event’s existence. Katelyn Anderson, a graduate assistant for Student Health Services who assisted in the coordinating of the event, stated, “House Party is a unique and engaging way to educate students on the dangers of high-risk drinking. It was rewarding to see how many students became involved with the planning of and attending this event and how important it is to them.”

Over the past couple of years, the Mankato Department of Public Safety (DPS) has become involved in the planning of House Party as well. In addition, they have invited the greater Mankato community to be involved. House Party provides an opportunity for the campus and the community to connect in an effort to educate one another while also creating a safer community.

“We in the Department of Public Safety look forward to the event each year,” said Commander Matt DuRose. “Often times, our interactions in law enforcement deal with enforcement rather than education; this event allows for the educational component to occur in a positive way … [Mankato DPS] know[s] that enforcement will get us nowhere unless there is education that goes along with it, and House Party is one of those times that we take advantage of the opportunity to encourage and foster good decision making.”

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is a nationally known organization that began in the 1980’s as an effort to increase awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving. Almost 30 years later, MADD is still sharing information about the dangers of drinking and driving, but it has also started focusing on preventing underage drinking with America’s youth.

Each year, the Minnesota MADD chapter hosts an awards banquet to honor those who have helped support the MADD mission and have reached out to educate others. “I’m honored to accept this award on behalf of the University departments, organizations and student volunteers involved with House Party, said health educator Lori Marti. It’s a wonderful, collaborative, educational event.

This story highlights students, faculty, staff, and/or events from Student Affairs Offices fostering big ideas and real-world thinking on campus and in the community.

 

Reece Hemmesch speaking at graduation ceremony

As another school year comes to an end, we say farewell to the students graduating. Each and every student at Minnesota State University, Mankato leaves an impression on the students, faculty and staff staying behind. Through involvement in the classroom and extracurricular activities, students are able to find a sense of community. Reece Hemmesch, a Mass Media and History double major, found an outlet for his passions by writing for the on-campus newspaper, The Reporter.

During Hemmesch’s time at Minnesota State Mankato and his appointment to The Reporter, he was able to grow and develop in a ways he wasn’t even aware of. In addition, he grew to appreciate and love Minnesota State Mankato and the greater Mankato community. “I had a tremendous experience,” he says. “It was one of the best decisions”. I have ever made.

However, Hemmesch’s experience did not come without hardships.

One challenge Hemmesch faced was his appointment to Editor-in-Chief. It was a difficult role to transition into after only having experience in writing and editing for one of the sections. After some reflection, he realized he was “able to push through it all [… and] end my tenure as a media leader on campus whose voice would be heard all throughout with every newspaper that was turned out.”

Hemmesch truly valued his experience with The Reporter and hopes that anyone who “was affiliated with our newspaper or gave it a read every Tuesday and Thursday saw me as a kid who worked hard with every issue to give the students of Minnesota State Mankato something informative and pertinent to read while also giving them a voice to share their ideas.”

Hemmesch graduated from Minnesota State Mankato on May 10th and moved to St. Cloud, where he will be working as a media relations intern for the St. Cloud Rox, a collegiate summer baseball team. This is one example of many of students at Minnesota State Mankato who are pursuing big ideas with their real-world experience. After the summer, Hemmesch plans to pursue a career in the sports industry, where he can continue to write. He is ready and excited to take what ever curve ball life pitches to him next.

This story highlights students, faculty, staff, and/or events from Student Affairs Offices fostering big ideas and real-world thinking on campus and in the community.

Orientation Peer Assistants group photo

From left to right: Becky Osborn, Anna Haywood, MacKenzie Becker and Zoey Smith.

Summer is in full swing at Minnesota State University, Mankato. In spite of the rainy couple of weeks, students around campus are being active outdoors, training for upcoming sporting seasons, taking a few credits or assisting with New Student Orientation. Throughout the summer, various groups of new faces visit campus as they prepare for their transition to college. As some of you may recall, orientation is an overwhelming and exciting experience. At Minnesota State Mankato, the Orientation Peer Assistants (OPAs) lead and guide the orientation programs for new students and their parents. One senior, MacKenzie Becker, has thoroughly enjoyed her experience as an OPA because she is able to help students make the transition to campus.

The OPAs are constantly on the go during the orientation sessions. Throughout the summer, OPAs lead thousands of students through one and two-day orientations. During the orientation days, OPAs assist in current student and faculty panels for incoming students and their families. In addition, OPAs will host small group activities for the incoming students to get to know one another. For example, incoming students who stay overnight during orientation will partake in rec night where the OPAs lead friendly matches of dodge ball and other games.

During orientation, OPAs work around the clock to create a welcoming and warm environment for incoming students to feel connected. Becker says that it’s “great to be a resource and help influence new students” coming to Minnesota State Mankato.

Becker, a Mass Media major, was encouraged to apply to become an OPA because of her own experience transitioning to Minnesota State Mankato. She has enjoyed her OPA experience because she “loves working with people and helping them in any way she can.”

Becker was undecided about what major she wanted to pursue when she first came to Minnesota State Mankato. Because she had no idea what majors to even explore, her registration advisor encouraged her to sign up for the First Year Experience course. During this course, she was connected to her undecided advisor, Sara Granberg-Rademacker. With Granberg-Rademaker’s help, Becker started exploring various resources around campus to help narrow her interests.

In the spring of Becker’s second year, she came across Disney College Program, an internship program at Disney’s Corporate Headquarters in Orlando, Fla. After going through the competitive interview process and being hired as an intern, Becker completed her internship with Disney last spring. From January to May, Becker assisted in attraction operations, guest services, and daily operations.

As Becker moves towards graduation this upcoming December, she would love to go back to Disney and continue working in the Public Relations realm. Becker believes her experience as an OPA at Minnesota State Mankato will help develop transferrable skills that will carry into her professional career.

This story highlights students, faculty, staff, and/or events from Student Affairs Offices fostering big ideas and real-world thinking on campus and in the community.

From left to right: Becky Osborn, Anna Haywood, MacKenzie Becker and Zoey Smith

From left to right: Becky Osborn, Anna Haywood, MacKenzie Becker and Zoey Smith.

Ben Shakespear, a native of Sydney Australia, moved to Minnesota three years ago to enroll at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Although Shakespear is a long way from home, he has made a home here at Minnesota State Mankato.

Political Science major with a nonprofit leadership minor. Shakespear has become active in the international community, the Minnesota State Student Association (MSSA) and Greek organizations— all of which have provided practical learning experiences outside of the classroom.

Shakespear chose Minnesota State Mankato because of its thriving international student population and because of the Cultural Contribution Scholarship that is awarded to all international students who are able to maintain a 2.5 GPA and complete 25 hours of service hours to the local community each semester.

In addition to his involvement among the international community, Shakespear has been involved in MSSA for the last three years. He’s served as Senator, Vice-President and in 2014-15, he will be the Speaker of the Student Association. “A lot of people hear the words ‘student government’ and cringe,” Shakespear says. “But in all honesty this organization does some amazing things for students, including a free attorney during the school year, a rental textbook program, and a rental car service.”

Becker was undecided about what major she wanted to pursue when she first came to Minnesota State Mankato. Because she had no idea what majors to even explore, her registration advisor encouraged her to sign up for the First Year Experience course. During this course, she was connected to her undecided advisor, Sara Granberg-Rademacker. With Granberg-Rademaker’s help, Becker started exploring various resources around campus to help narrow her interests.

Shakespear’s involvement in MSSA has taught him the importance of civic engagement and advocacy. He has realized that MSSA “has been an extraordinary addition to [his] college experience” because he is able to join “a dedicated group of students lobbying [for their peers] behind the scenes at the administrative, state and federal levels.

Another organization Shakespear has joined is the Sigma Nu fraternity. His involvement with the Greeks has provided him valuable life lessons that can’t be learned from a textbook. He has been able to endure lessons and experiences of leadership, academics and social skills the life-long friends.

Shakespear can already see that his involvement in many different organizations on campus has impacted his experience at Minnesota State Mankato as well as his personal development. As he considers finishing his studies in the near future and what it will mean to be an alum of Minnesota State Mankato, he also sees how important alumni are to the University. “To the Alumni, thank you for what you have already done and what you will do in the future for this great institution,” Shakespear says. “The recent future has seen what started as a small teacher’s college and has expanded to become the top public university in the state of Minnesota, none of which could not have been achieved without all of you.”

Shakespear also has a message to share with the incoming students: “You are yet to realize what a fantastic University this is but you soon will, he says. “Minnesota State Mankato gives you the opportunity to join one (or more) of more than 230 registered student organizations, watch Division I hockey at its best, advocate, be a part of a massive social force with the Women’s and LGBT centers, find yourself, fall in love… and out… and then in again, change your community and the world, participate in a vast array of academic programs with experts from around the world and explore your big ideas with real-world thinking. Jump on every opportunity to serve your fellow students and your community—only then will you get the most out of your education here. Go Mavericks!”

As Shakespear waits for the upcoming academic year to begin, he is starting to look forward to what is yet to come. He mentions that he wants “to squeeze everything out of what’s left of my experience at Minnesota State Mankato—there are so many classes left untaken, so many Maverick victories yet to watch, friends to meet and discussions to enjoy.”

This story highlights students, faculty, staff, and/or events from Student Affairs Offices fostering big ideas and real-world thinking on campus and in the community.

Residential Hall Community Advisors group photo

For most students at Minnesota State University, Mankato, a new school year means a new set of courses with fresh, new faces. However, for Community Advisors (CAs) in the Residential Halls, a new school year means a whole new floor of neighbors and roommates. Amin Jalalzadeh, a third year veteran CA, could not contain his excitement regarding the new group of students on his floor.

The first day Amin arrived on campus, he was welcomed to his room in Crawford Hall with a door tag sharing his name and hometown. As an international student from Iran, this door tag was a great conversation starter with the new peers on his floor. After talking to his CA at the time, Amin appreciated all the knowledge and the experiences his CA shared. In addition, Amin was meeting many international students who were having difficulties adjusting.

Amin’s experience during his first-year on campus influenced his decision to apply to become a CA.

In his third year as a CA, Amin has had a great experience serving as a CA in the Residential Halls. “I rarely go someplace on campus where I do not recognize another person,” he says. “When I do see the people I know, I am excited because it makes me think of the great memories we have shared.”

Another great aspect of being a CA is that “you are constantly learning something new because your floor has individuals with a variety of different backgrounds,” Amin says.

This year, Amin is excited for the group of individuals living on his floor because they get along well, which makes his job easier. Over move-in weekend, Amin posted a list of all the events taking place so those who are interested in partaking could do so together. For example, the Residential Hall Association hosted a volleyball tournament. There was a large showing by the residents on his floor, Amin says it was a great way for them to get to know one another.

Another aspect of Amin’s job is serving as a resource to students. During CA training, the CAs visit various offices on campus so they can learn more about the services offered by each. In turn, Amin is able to share his knowledge and refer students to a specific office that will best serve the need of the student.

Amin is working towards earning a degree in Information Technology (IT) and a minor in Manufacturing Engineering Technology (MET); he plans to continue his education and pursue a masters in IT as well. However, he will forever be grateful for the opportunity to work as a CA at Minnesota State Mankato. He had a wonderful experience and he has made many contacts that he will carry into the next chapter.

This story highlights students, faculty, staff, and/or events from Student Affairs Offices fostering big ideas and real-world thinking on campus and in the community.