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I Just Graduated, What Next?

Photo by Ka Vang '16.

Photo by Ka Vang ’16.

As we’re nearing graduation, if you’re graduating like me, you’re probably wondering: well, what am I doing next? That’s a good question, and I know I can’t answer that for you, but I can tell you what I’ll be doing next in order to improve the community (and world) of Winona, Minnesota!

During the next academic year, I’ll be working with Minnesota Reading Corps, which is a non-profit organization that aims to help all Minnesota children become proficient readers by the end of third grade. I’ll be doing this in Winona itself to help the Winona elementary children become better, passionate readers! In addition, I’ll be volunteering in the Winona community as much as possible!

If this is something you might be interested in, but you’re not comfortable with reading and you’re better at math, there’s also the Minnesota Math Corps, too!

There are plenty of other organizations that are good candidates for “gap years.” People often get involved with Peace Corps to go overseas and help people in need. The Peace Corps is aimed to help the people of interested countries meet their need for trained men and women, to help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the people served, and to help promote a better understanding of other countries and people.

If you don’t want to travel overseas and want to stay in the United States, consider AmeriCorps!

Why consider organizations like this? Well, they usually offer some kind of loan forgiveness and typically put your student loans on hold while you’re serving the community you’re in! All the organizations mentioned above do offer loan forgiveness and freeze at the end of your service. Not only that, you get to serve in areas of need on both a local and global level, and improve living conditions for everyone you come across. Besides, if you’re unsure of where you want to work in the future, or if you’re considering grad school, taking a year off to serve is a good way to do extra research on your next step! Giving back is one of the many ways that we can best serve our communities. You don’t need to have money to volunteer and serve!

Photo provided by PopSugar's post "61 Creative Ways to Decorate Your Graduation Cap."

Photo provided by PopSugar’s post “61 Creative Ways to Decorate Your Graduation Cap.”

Wherever you go, Warriors, think about how you can serve the communities that you’ll be in for either a few months or even years! You will make an impact in every area you’ll be in, so make sure it’s a positive one!

-John Otis

8 Reasons to Get Excited for Einstein Bros. Bagels & Caribou Coffee Coming to Campus!


Not that we don’t absolutely love Mugby and our Smaug right on campus for quick pick-me-up options, but what’s better than MORE options?! Einstein Bros. Bagels and Caribou Coffee are teaming up to bring the ultimate store to locations all over the country. And WSU campus is lucky enough to be one of the chosen locations! Next school year this addition will be added to the Darrell W. Krueger Library. Here are 8 reasons why this new addition is truly one to be thankful for.

(All photos taken from Caribou Coffee and Einstein Bros. Bagels websites)

 1) Endless breakfast options


Breakfast is ready to fit everyone’s morning cravings from egg and cheese bagels, to muffins, scones and oatmeal. No matter what you enjoy starting your day with, it’ll be available!

2) Lunch just got a little more interesting


Hot sandwiches and cold sandwiches along with a choice of soup and salads will have you excited to indulge in your favorite meal. The options are endless whether you want veggies or your fill of bacon – it’ll be ready within minutes!

3) More than enough ways to get your caffeine fix


Between Mugby and Caribou, you are sure to find your favorite coffee, tea or smoothie. There’s no wrong turn when it comes to a morning or mid-day boost to get you through those long, busy weeks!

4) Need a snack? No problem


Whether your snack consists of a sandwich or a sweet treat, Einstein’s and Caribou are sure to give you exactly what you need!

5) Something new and refreshing


During those weeks when you feel like you live on campus, it’s always nice to have a change in what you consume, am I right? These added options will definitely make it easier to call campus “home!”

6) The changing menus keep you on your toes


As seasons come and go and menus change, there will often be new and improved items for you to try! It’s easy to get sick of the old stuff after a while, but be it no more as both stores have forever changing or limited time options that really just make for a better excuse to spend money!

7) Something for everyone


No matter the allergy, religious practice or personal diet, there is sure to be something for each and every student at Winona State. Growing options don’t mean to take away from our previous choices, but rather make more accommodations for those who need them!

8) Perks and points rewards



As poor college students, nothing screams louder than “free!” or “discount!” So take advantage of both Caribou and Einstein’s reward programs. You get free birthday rewards along with special discounts and savers throughout the year.



-Lauren Reuteler

10 Reasons Why Trees Matter: Celebrate Arbor Day

Trees are tagged around campus promoting Arbor Day and the benefits of trees. (Photo credit: Jesus Cazares '17)

Tagged trees on campus promote benefits and the celebration of Arbor Day. (Photo credit: Jesus Cazares ’17)

As the trees begin to bloom into the beauty that engulfs our campus, it’s important to realize that they do much more than stand tall and look pretty. Without trees, the world would not be in existence. Recognize Arbor Day today and learn about what our trees do for us each and every day! #WhyTreesMatter

(All of the following facts provided by the Arbor Day Foundation)

1) Trees help clean our air


  • Trees remove pollution from the atmosphere, improving air quality.
  • Roadside trees reduce nearby indoor air pollution by more than 50%.

2) Trees contribute to our health


  • In New York City, trees save an average of eight lives every year.
  • Office workers with a view of trees report significantly less stress and more satisfaction.

3) Trees provide us with oxygen


  • One large tree can provide a day’s supply of oxygen for up to four people.

4) Trees help clean our drinking water


  • Forested watersheds provide quality drinking water to more than 180 million Americans.

5) Trees provide much-needed cooling


  • Trees lower surface and air temperatures by providing shade. Shaded surfaces may be 20-45 degrees cooler than the peak temperatures of unshaded materials.

6) Trees help reduce the effects of climate change


  • Trees absorb carbon dioxide, removing and storing the carbon while releasing the oxygen back into the air.

7) Trees help us save energy


  • Trees properly places around buildings can reduce air conditions needs by 30% and can save 20-50% in energy used for heating.

8) Trees provide vital wildlife habitat


  • In British Columbia, Canada, more than 80 wildlife species depends on trees.

9) Trees help reduce crime


  • In Baltimore, a 10% increase in tree canopy corresponded to a 12% decrease in crime.
  • Among minor crimes, there is less graffiti, vandalism and littering in outdoor spaces with trees as a part of the natural landscape than in comparable plant-free spaces.

10) Trees are a good investment of our public dollars


  • Every dollar spent on planting and caring for a community tree yield benefits that include cleaner air, lower energy costs, improved water quality and storm water control and increased property values.

Arbor Day

To get involved in the Winona community, join the 2016 “Why Trees Matter” event that will be held Friday, April 29 from 9:30am – 3pm on the WSU campus.

WSU’s Arbor Day events includes learning how to plant and protect trees, and celebrating the recognition of the Landscape Arboretum at Winona State. School children are also invited to take part in numerous hands-on activities, and participants will have the chance to take home a tree or shrub!

For more information on this year’s event and about WSU’s trees on campus, read the Winona Daily News article contributed by Jim Reynolds, co-chair of the WSU Arboretum and Land Stewardship Committee and Winona State Professor Emeritus of sociology.

-Lauren Reuteler

Enjoy Outdoor Activities in Winona!

The weather is heating up and there is no better way to take advantage of it than to go outside! The changing season brings more options to get active outdoors rather than staying cooped up inside. Here’s a list of things you can do this summer that are great for your health and will help you fully enjoy the sunny and warm weather:

1) Take the wheels for a spin


This is my personal favorite thing you can do outside because it’s an effective and amusing workout. You can bike in the nice weather as both a form of transportation and leisure. This way of transportation is good for the environment, an awesome calorie burner, a muscle builder and something you could do to cut down on gas money as well. Check out Winona’s map of city bike trails, other bike trails and Winona County bike loops!

2) Take a stroll


You could have a friend tag along on a walk and just talk about life or you could go by yourself and listen to your favorite playlist. It won’t even feel like you’re exercising. Otherwise, power walking is a great workout option! Hiking is also a fun activity as well! The Sugarloaf hiking trails provide a way to get some fresh air and a workout all at the same time, and you can enjoy the beautiful nature and scenery!

3) Run, Forrest, Run!


Some people would much rather go for a run or a nice jog over a walk. It’s another wonderful way to get active outside with plenty of positive benefits. Keep in mind running is a major stress reliever when you’re feeling the weight of life stressors. On May 14 there is a Bluffview Explorer 10K Run and 5K Run/Walk in Winona to raise money for the Bluffview Montessori School PTA. Sign up online, and mark your calendars for other races in Winona this summer and fall!

4) Go to the park


Many local parks, including Winona’s, have basketball courts, soccer fields, baseball fields and tennis courts available to the public to use. Playing sports as a hobby is an amazing way to get a workout in and have a blast with your friends while doing it. Throw around a Frisbee or play some football…the choices are endless if you have the space. The Willows Disc Golf Course provides an 18 hole course on East Lake Winona and a 9 hole course on the West Lake. Grab some friends and play!

5) Channel your inner mermaid/merman


Whether it’s a community pool or a waterpark, swimming laps or running around a waterpark is entertaining way to burn some calories while getting vitamin D. In Winona, the Bob Welch Aquatic Center is open in the summer for swimming for $5 a day, and there will be a FREE pool party concert Friday, July 15!

6) Pick up a paddle!


If you want to take to the waters, the Lake Lodge Recreation Center in town offers canoeing, kayaking and paddle boarding for a year-long membership of $15.

7) Get your blade or board on


Going for a rollerblade or skateboard ride is another excellent way to get moving in the nice temperatures. If you don’t know how to, give it a try and learn! Who knows, it might end up being one of your favorite activities. If you’re looking for a fun location to blade or board, the Winona Skatepark is a great option! The new Anthem Skatepark and Board Shop is located at 800 West 5th Street.

I hope this gives you inspiration for some ways to get out of the house and get some exercise. For more options, visit the Winona Park and Rec website. Enjoy the beautiful weather, Warriors!

Allison Mueller and Kassidy Jackson

Inclusion at WSU: A “Project of Choice” Showcase


​In March, WSU students in SPED 425 (Inclusion in General Education Classrooms) had the opportunity to showcase their “Project of Choice.”  Students picked a topic related to inclusion and a format in which to share the information. The Inclusion Event was an opportunity for WSU students to share their projects and discuss inclusion with other WSU students, professors, community members and local educators.

A few reflection quotes from students after the event:

“I also loved sharing my work with everyone, it allows me to gain greater ownership for my research and feel as though I am truly advocating for inclusion.”

“It was worthwhile to inform others on a topic that they may or may not have known before, especially when the audience members asked questions that led to discussions.”

“I just really appreciated this opportunity to share ideas and concepts with a broad audience and to get so much positive feedback was an added bonus!”

“It was really interesting to walk around the room and see people’s passions and beliefs come alive in their project and information that they shared.” ​ 

-Amy Olson, assistant professor

John’s Declassified Moving Out Survival Guide

As spring semester is wrapping up, it is time to think about where you’re moving to next. Whether you’re moving home for the summer, moving to summer housing on campus, or moving off campus, it’s important to move efficiently and smart!

If you’re anything like me, you want to know what you’re getting into before you get into it. And that’s okay! When it comes to moving out, it’s a bit nerve wracking. You’re balancing finals as well as trying to clean and pack up your belongings. That’s why I prepared this little guide, which is a spinoff of my guide to moving back to school posted in July, so you can make moving out less of a hassle and much easier!

Here is John’s Declassified Moving Out Survival Guide:

  1. Start packing early – a few weeks early. Start with packing things you know you won’t use the rest of the semester.
  2. Think about purchasing vacuum seal bags for storing clothes and bedding, it’ll compact everything into a nice size!
  3. Rubbermaid containers will be your best friends! Use them to contain your items! Otherwise, use boxes and start storing things.
  4. Label, label, label your boxes with what they’re containing!
  5. Make sure to sign up for a checkout time as soon as you possibly can with your RA. Don’t be that one kid who signs up late and their RA is hounding them to sign up. Be an adult and sign up early.
  6. Make sure you’re early to your checkout time. If you’re ready to go before your checkout time, see if your RA would check you out early. If your RA is like me, you’ll earn bonus points – and they’ll probably gladly check you out earlier than planned!
  7. In your res hall room, make sure your room is cleaned to the point where someone could move in the next day. If you’d have something to complain about if you were moving in the next day, it’s not clean enough.
  8. If you’re going to be late to your checkout time, let your RA know in advance. Seriously.
  9. If you have items and non-perishable food that you do not want to take with you, ask your RA where you can take those items so they can be donated to other people in need.
  10. Before you check out, if you need any work orders completed (burnt out light, etc.), make sure to let your RA know in advance!

If you have questions at all during this process, find your RA, go to the front desk of your building, or contact the Housing and Residence Life office. They’d love to help you out!

Best of luck on your finals! Have a great summer!

John Otis

Blogging for Beginners

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 4.46.17 PM

One of my biggest regrets from college is not recording my experiences. I started keeping a daily journal my junior year, and it’s fascinating reading through it again. It feels like I’m reading back in time and allows me to reflect on my experiences. Since journaling, I have started my own blog on WordPress, called Bizarre Brunette. I also blog for WSU’s blog (duh) and for Twin Cities Geeks. Blogging is one of my favorite stress-relieving hobbies and I have discovered how much I love to write. So if you have ever thought about starting a blog, but don’t know where to start, this post is for you!

The first step in creating a blog is figuring out the website you want to use. Tumblr is a rather common website to start out with. It’s really easy to create an account and it’s also really user friendly. I had a Tumblr at one point, but I ended up deleting it within a couple months. For me, Tumblr feels a little too much like a social media site versus a personal blog. So I suggest starting with Tumblr, but then moving to another website. I absolutely love WordPress (FYI: The WSU blogs use WordPress). WordPress is a little more complicated to use, but there are tutorials everywhere on how to do certain things. It’s free to create a blog, but you’re limited on blog layout options. I don’t pay for WordPress because I don’t have that many followers to make it worth it, but with time I may consider it.

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 4.45.34 PM

The second step is choosing a name. I feel like this is the hardest part about blogging can be coming up with something creative and catchy. Also, changing your blog title is normal. I had first started out with the Geeky Iceskater. It felt wrong to me, but I’m not creative at all. My friend came up with the Bizarre Brunette and that title was quirky and perfect. Asking friends for help can give you some creative aspect into what your blog title should be.

Finally, make sure to share your blog! Part of the fun of blogging is knowing that people are reading it. I share my blog posts on Facebook & Instagram. I also am apart of a variety of different Facebook groups where I can share all of my new posts. Networking is the best way to get followers for your blog and to gain more views.

Blogging is a fantastic stress release and a great way to improve the quality of your writing. I highly recommend creating a blog because going to college for your undergrad only happens once. Don’t let memories fly by!

 -Mariah Kaercher

Rock Your Health!

Take advantage of the rock wall on campus! (Photo by Ka Vang '16)

Take advantage of the rock wall in the Wabash Recreation Center! (Photo by Ka Vang ’16)

This blog post is to all those people who want a change of pace in their workout routine. For me, I get tired of the constant gym routine and I like to switch it up every now and then. One of the latest fitness trends is rock climbing. Rock climbing can be a physically and mentally demanding sport that can test mental toughness and endurance and without proper knowledge, it can be dangerous. But many people don’t realize the benefits that it can have.

Many don’t think of rock climbing as cardio, but according to an article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the cardio and energy exerted in rock climbing is similar to running at a pace of 8-11 minutes a mile. It requires an increase in a range of motion, which will also increase the flexibility of the climber.

As well as strengthening both your upper and lower body, rock climbing will strengthen your mental health. By figuring out the routes to take to ascend, whether indoor or outdoor, you are learning problem solving skills. Just like any other exercise, rock climbing reduces stress. By increasing levels of norepinephrine, a sense of ecstasy can be felt through the reaching, climbing and leaping.


Winona is a great place to enjoy some rock climbing. We have our very own rock climbing center in the Wabasha Recreation Center that has nearly 6,000 square feet of climbing surface, 32 top ropes, two bouldering walls, belay edge and a traditional climbing anchor practice wall. The center is open to all. And if you are itching to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather, the OREC has open climbing on Tuesdays at Sugarloaf.​

Hannah Peterson

YOU Can Help Earthquake Victims in Ecuador

Photo taken from Samaritan's Purse International Relief's website.

Photo taken from Samaritan’s Purse International Relief’s website.

For those of you that read my blog post earlier this semester about my most recent trip to Ecuador, you know how the country of Ecuador holds a very special place in my heart. Saturday night I was on top of Garvin Heights when I received an alert on my phone that an enormous earthquake shook Ecuador. In magnitude, the earthquake was a 7.8 at the epicenter followed by more than 100 aftershocks, landslides and collapsed buildings and bridges. Today, Thursday, CNN announced that more than 570 people have died, and, according to Ecuador’s Risk Management Office, “155 people remain missing, and 7,015 injured. It also announced that almost 25,000 people remain in shelters.”

As I read about the devastation, I could not help but think about the utter shock, pain and fear the people of Ecuador are faced, and continue to face. You see, when a natural disaster like this happens in the United States it is devastating, but it is not as extreme as it is in countries like Ecuador. For most people in Ecuador, they lost everything Saturday night. They do not have emergency savings accounts or insurance to cling to in times of despair. The only thing the people of Ecuador have now is hope, and for many Ecuadorians that hope is fading fast.

Me looking out over Quito, the capitol city of Ecuador, during my trip to this country that was recently devastated by an earthquake.

Me looking out over Quito, the capitol city of Ecuador, during my trip to this country that was recently devastated by an earthquake.

It is crucial that we act quickly to bring aid and relief to help those in desperate need. After reading about this disaster, it is my hope that you will feel compelled to help the people affected by the quake, and that you will commit to joining me in prayer for the healing and restoration of Ecuador. Furthermore, Ecuador is currently in need of food, water, blankets, clothing and so on. If you would like to help meet the physical needs in Ecuador, you can give financially to the following organizations that are providing relief efforts:

Although many of you reading this blog are most likely broke college students, you can still be of help. As many of us are starting to pack up our dorms, houses and apartments, we are going to find things that we no longer want or need. In that case, there are people in the area that may be interested in buying those unwanted items from you! There are many groups on Facebook you can find where you can sell your things. Wazoo’s List, which is run by WSU, is one of those groups where you can buy and sell unwanted items to people in the area. After you rake in some cash, you can donate that money to relief efforts in Ecuador, listed above.

Another way you can support Ecuador is by going on Amazon and buying one of their support T-shirts for only $19.99.

A profile photo Facebook made available to users to raise awareness and support for earthquake victims.

A profile photo Facebook made available to users to raise awareness and support for earthquake victims.

Thank you in advance for helping support the country that is so near and dear to my heart. You are making a difference in so many lives just by sharing the news and asking others to join us in prayer for Ecuador. My heart is broken for the people of Ecuador right now, but I believe that together, we can help bring hope and restoration to the country Ecuador. #PRAYFORECUADOR #FuerzaEcuador

-Erin Kloepping

9 Tips to Beat the Heat With No A/C


We’re finally breaking away from the chilly Minnesota weather and moving into the blistering heat of summer. For those of us living in the dorms or off campus with no air conditioning, we are not looking forward to this. If you are like me and struggle with the heat, here are a few tricks that can be used in any living situation to help you make it through the long days and nights with no A/C:

1) Put your sheets in the freezer before bed

Do this at least 30 minutes before you go to bed. Obviously this wont keep you cool all night but it will provide you some relief. This also works with a shirt. When I lived in the dorm my bed was lofted and I was too lazy to take my sheets off and then bring them back to bed with me so I used a shirt instead.

2) Sleep lower

Heat rises, so if you have a lofted bed try sleeping lower or on the ground if possible. This actually helps more than you think! Freshman year my roommate and I moved our mattresses to the floor for like a week because it got so hot.

3) Use Freeze Pops / Fla-Vor-Ice

You can eat these childhood-favorite popsicles or lay a bunch of them across your pillow or mattress to work as a bigger ice pack. I started doing this in the dorms and still do it today. Fact: it works best if you leave them connected so you don’t accidently drop a few between your wall and mattress.

4) Cold showers

This is one of the quickest ways to bring your body temperature down. Plus, you are also washing off all your nasty sweat from the day.

5) DIY air conditioner

I actually did not know about this until my friend told me to look into it for this blog. Basically, all you have to do is put a shallow bowl or pan full of ice in front of a fan. The breeze from the fan will pick up the coldness to create a cooler draft! Pretty neat, huh?

6) Drink a bottle of water before bed

Water will help you stay hydrated through out the night versus waking up dehydrated at three in the morning. No one wants to get out of bed in the middle of the night, especially when you are hot and sweaty.

7) Keep curtains and blinds closed

This will help block the sun from shining into your room and keep it a little cooler.

8) Cool down your pulse points first

Do this to cool down quickly. Your pulse points are your neck, elbows, wrists, behind your knees and ankles.

9) Literally do nothing

Weird concept in college, right? If I take a break longer than five minutes suddenly I’m like two weeks behind. However, if you take a few minutes to just lay on your bed all sprawled out, then your body will cool down faster. You probably need a break from all your studying anyways.

Kayla Severson