Author: Rebecca Carcaterra

Printmaking workshop connects community with art

Students and community members of all ages gathered to get their hands dirty in the Shoger Printmaking Studio on Saturday, Oct. 24. The first-ever Free Ink Day! Printmaking Workshop was a resounding success, providing a fun, free opportunity to create art, enjoy community and, as the slogan went, “get inky.”

The workshop was hosted by Highpoint Center for Printmaking in Minneapolis, in conjunction with the Pace Prints exhibition currently on display at Flaten Art Museum.

Participants were welcomed into the studio to make a type of print called monoprints. The artists created images on Plexiglas plates with ink, using tools such as paintbrushes, q-tips, rags and stencil shapes. They then placed printing paper over their inked plate and ran it through the printing press to transfer the ink, creating a print they could take home after it dried.

Many participants were novices to printmaking, but there was plenty of help available: two staff members from Highpoint, three of the four fifth-year art apprentices, Associate Professor of Art John Saurer and the members of his printmaking class were all on hand to assist.

“A lot of people don’t know what printmaking is, so we like to do free events like this to kind of pull people in in an environment that is very easy to come into, very open,” Highpoint education and community programs manager Dana Lemoine said. “I think it’s really great for printers and people without a lot of experience to just have an opportunity to experiment.”

Making printmaking accessible to all skill levels is a big part of Highpoint’s mission.

“Printmaking can be expensive, it can be intimidating, and so opportunities like this are a good way for people to get some experience and see if they like it or not,” she said.

Highpoint does off-site programs, like the Free Ink Day, three or four times a year. The center also has a gallery that is free and open to the public, which shows a different artist’s prints every month, and an artist co-op where members of the community pay a monthly fee to use the studio.

For Sauer, who teaches drawing, sculpture and prints, the event was the perfect community outreach component to Pace Prints, an exhibition he is very excited about.

“I have been dreaming of this show for many, many years,” he said.

Pace Prints is the showing of work created in the Pace Printmaking Studio, a master print shop in New York City. St. Olaf students have been visiting that venue for over 30 years as part of the New York Art Interim, the vocational interim class that the St. Olaf Art Department takes every other year with 18 students.

“It invites artists to come in and create prints as fine art, and it’s related to their own work, but it’s always a transition into something unique and new for themselves,” Saurer said.

Saurer, along with museum director Jane Becker Nelson and Pace master printer Justin Israels, curated the show, which runs through November.

“This is the first time we’ve done this [event], I’d love to think about doing it again,” Sauer said. “It’s a lot of work. My current printmaking class is volunteering, acting like master printers, which is the impetus for the show- the show is about the collaboration between the artists and the master printer, so we’re sort of practicing taking on that role. It’s a lot of fun.”

Saurer was very happy with the turnout for the four-hour long event, which drew many families from Northfield as well as students.

“It’s well-received,” he said. “There apparently is a need for members of the Northfield community to come into the wonderful studio and have a productive, safe place to work, so we may do this again in the future, not just for college kids but for people in town.”

Marni Kaldjian ’17, a student in the printmaking class, agrees.

“There’s often this disconnect between the community and St. Olaf, and it’s a place where a large percentage of Northfield’s population lives,” she said. “It’s important to try to bridge that gap. Art is an incredible thing to build community with.”

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Campus initiative combats sexual assault

A new student movement swept campus this fall, bringing with it a flurry of changed Facebook profile pictures and a new campus-wide attitude of responsibility. The “It’s On Us” campaign was introduced this year by the Student Government Association SGA, in partnership with the Sexual Assault Resource Network SARN and the Wellness Center.

The campaign strives to educate the student body and raise awareness in order to create a campus culture that will not tolerate sexual assault and harassment.

The mission of the movement, found on the “It’s On Us” pages on Facebook and Oleville, is to “recognize that non-consensual sexual contact is sexual assault, to identify situations in which sexual assault may occur, to intervene in situations where consent has not or cannot be given and to create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.”

The movement is part of a nationwide “It’s On Us” campaign launched by President Obama and Vice President Biden, which has been endorsed by celebrities including Jon Hamm and Kerry Washington and implemented in schools across the country. SGA President Rachel Palermo ’15 and Vice President Nick Stumo- Langer ’15, along with Chair of the Wellness subcommittee Olivia Luther 15, planned to address sexual assault prevention this year, and thus were eager to join forces with the White House. They tailored the national movement to fit the needs of St. Olaf, with the help of SARN and the Wellness Center.

“The value of having so many different groups on the subcommittee means we can bring to light ideas and voices from different parts of the St. Olaf community,” said SARN co-chair Jo Treat ’15. “This is important because sexual assault can happen to anyone, not just one group of people.”

“It’s On Us” in part works to combat rape culture. Rape culture is defined as the normalizing and trivializing of sexual assault. This toxic cultural mindset ranges from victim blaming, in which the survivor of sexual assault is blamed for somehow bringing on or asking for the assault, to seemingly harmless jokes about rape.

The campaign strives to replace this destructive attitude with a culture that fullysupports survivors in the healing process and assumes shared responsibility for preventing sexual assault and harassment.

“If we do not tolerate rape and sexual assault on our campus, we can eliminate rape culture and prevent it from happening altogether,” Treat said.

“Although people may think that sexual assault doesn’t happen at St. Olaf, the reality is that it does happen, which is why we believe it’s on us to step forward and help our peers,” said Palermo. “Our mentality is that one is too many. If our campaign helps prevent even one sexual assault, or if it helps just one person feel comfortable enough to report something or seek resources, we will view our movement as successful.”

“Sexual assault is present in our community,” said Vice President for Student Life Greg Kneser. He stressed the need for students to personally intervene in a situation that seems like it may lead to sexual assault or harassment.

“Talk to your friends, think about this issue when you are in situations where you recognize that risk is present and take care of each other,” said Kneser. “Often people expect the police to handle it, the school to handle it, or assume organizations like SARN will handle it.”

Treat agrees about the importance of speaking up.

“When students have an awareness about this issue, that it can and does occur on this campus, they are more likely to step in when they see something happening and come forward if something does happen,” she said.

Students can join the campaign on social media by changing their Facebook profile picture to the “It’s On Us” logo, available through the “It’s On Us- St. Olaf College” Facebook page. There is a pledge available on the website, to express solidarity with the campaign’s goals and commitment to taking responsibility for sexual assault. There will be more ways to get involved throughout the year.

Graphic Courtesy of Carina Lofgren

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Professors book explores indie band Cloud Cult

English professor Mark Allister reads from his new book Chasing the Light: The Cloud Cult Story. The book chronicles the journey of the Minnesota indie band Cloud Cult. The band has played at St. Olaf multiple times and remains popular with the student body.
English professor Mark Allister reads from his new book Chasing the Light: The Cloud Cult Story. The book chronicles the journey ofthe Minnesota indie band Cloud Cult. The band has played at St. Olaf multiple times and remains popular with the student body.

English and Environmental Studies Professor Mark Allister has authored a new book narrating the inspiring story of Minnesota indie band Cloud Cult. Allister read from Chasing the Light: The Cloud Cult Story on Sept. 24, giving gathered students, faculty and community members a glimpse into his account of the beloved indie band.

Zaq Baker ’15 introduced Allister, who then read several passages from his book and answered questions from the audience.

“I began just as a fan of the music, like so many people, and then that was coupled with my admiration for their principles,” Allister said. These principles mostly involve environmental awareness. The band strives to be carbon-neutral, a commitment which includes recycling CD cases and planting trees to offset carbon footprint. But what ultimately intrigued Allister in writing about Cloud Cult was the unique relationship between the fans and the band, as well as the spiritual journey of founder Craig Minowa.

“Craig is one of the deepest thinkers about philosophy and spirituality and religion of anybody that I’ve ever known or read,” said Allister. “He had always been that way but then the death of his two-year-old son kind of plunged into something that made him go down the spiritual mystical path.”

Cloud Cult was founded out of tragedy. Minowa began seriously creating music as a response to the sudden death of his toddler son. Cloud Cult’s music addresses the pain of devastating loss, but also features powerful themes of hope and healing. This raw but uplifting emotional journey has attracted many fans.

Allister was flooded with responses when he asked for fan testimonies about Cloud Cult’s music. Allister included some of those emotional odes to the band in his book. One story that he shared at the reading involved a mother who drew strength to continue the bureaucratic adoption process by listening to the tender “You Were Born.”

The fact that Cloud Cult’s music creates such intense connections with its fans speaks to the maturity and emotional depth of its songs.

“Minowa knows that his idealism and optimistic spirituality are an easy mark, but he seems not to care,” said Allister, reading an excerpt from the book. He quotes Minowa: “I want to have real human emotion struggle in the albums. But there’s a difference between using music as a method for whining about everything and using music for confronting your problems with the intention of trying to figure out how to get better.”

This philosophy is part of what makes Cloud Cult so special. The band has always striven for something more.

“I think there’s a really big responsibility when you’re an artist with even a modest following, and that responsibility is to try to use that limelight to propagate goodness,” Minowa said.

Allister’s fascination with the band developed slowly before eventually emerging as a full-length book.

“First I thought I should just try writing a short piece about them, partly to see whether I was interested in spending weeks or even years on this project. I didn’t know whether I could write about music. But the deeper I got into the project, I realized there was a great story here that someone ought to tell,” Allister said.

He maintains that the book is not just for fans of the music, but is an amazing story in itself. For their part, Cloud Cult members are very grateful for the opportunity to have their story told.

“We are incredibly honored and humbled that Mark Allister would choose our story as a topic for one of his books,” said Minowa. “The attention, carefulness and intuition that he used in approaching this whole project has been something we are inspired by and have deep respect for. He is a beautiful being, and we are lucky to have run into him.”

Students interested in buying Chasing the Light: The Cloud Cult Story can contact Allister, and those wishing to hear more of his musical ruminations can tune in to KSTO on Wednesdays at 4:00 p.m. to hear his show Prof Rock with Mark Allister.


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Campus welcomes new pastor: Pastor Katie Fick joins ministry

The St. Olaf community welcomed a new member into its fold this summer. Pastor Katie Fick, recognizable around campus by her vibrant red hair and her kind smile, was recently installed as St. Olaf’s new associate pastor.

“From worship to pastoral conversations, learning opportunities to service projects, the associate college pastor is involved in every ministry of the St. Olaf student congregation,” College Pastor Matthew Marohl said. “Pastor Fick brings joy and grace and depth to all aspects of her pastoral ministry. I am thrilled to have her join our college ministry team.”

Fick grew up in Wells, Minn. She was involved with the Lutheran church throughout her life but wasn’t sure how to continue her interest in religious studies. She graduated from Augustana College in South Dakota with a degree in vocal performance and no certain plans about her future.

It wasn not until she worked an office job at a church that she realized her calling.

“I saw everybody’s roles in the church, and when I watched the pastors and the relationships they got to have, I realized that’s what I wanted to do. I really loved being able to have those real relationships, being a part of people’s lives,” Fick said.

Fick looks forward to nurturing those relationships with St. Olaf students. Her favorite aspect of the college is the engagement and enthusiasm of the student body.

“When I hand out communion, people are all smiling; they can’t wait,” she said. “The students are happy to be here, they’re engaged, they want to talk about their lives and their enthusiasm for this place.”

Fick is also enthusiastic about the college and how it complements her gifts and goals as a pastor. At St. Olaf, she is able to focus on two of her favorite pastoral duties – worship and in-depth relationships – without worrying about other duties like stewardship or fundraising.

“I got really excited when I heard about the opening at St. Olaf,” Fick said. “It’s such a vibrant worship life; there’s so many worship opportunities. And you get to be with students all the time. I immediately was drawn to it.”

Coming from a four-year position at a parish with a congregation of about 100 people, St. Olaf’s population of more than 3,000 students is a welcome contrast for the extroverted pastor.

While Boe Chapel identifies with the Lutheran tradition, Fick stressed that any student with any religious background is welcome to attend worship and come to her for advice and counseling.

When asked about which student organizations she sees herself getting involved with, she mentions the Secular Student Alliance with just as much enthusiasm as the multitude of Christian groups.

“What we really want our ministry to be is a hub of religious life on campus and a resource for all students,” Fick said. “We clearly provide Christian worship, but we want anybody to be able to come to us with questions about any kind of worship, and we can work to address those.”

She emphasized a spirit of openness.

“Anyone is welcome,” Fick said. “We’re part of the community – we’ll be at events, we care about students and we care about your lives here.”

This sense of community will serve Pastor Fick well in her ministry here at St. Olaf.

Student Congregation Council SCC Senior Representative Hannah D. Olson ’15 said that SCC is thrilled that Pastor Fick has been installed.

“We are excited to work with her. She and Pastor Matt already seem to make a great team,” Olson said. “She is enthusiastic and fun, and we are all happy to have her join the community.”

For those interested in reaching out to Pastor Fick, conversations with her are completely confidential. Her office is located directly underneath Boe Chapel. Her office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


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How to be a fantastic roommate

Congratulations, class of 2018. You did it. You navigated a whirlwind of admissions essays, financial aid packages and tearful family farewells, and now you’re here. Welcome to your new home. Now it’s time to meet the complete stranger you will be sharing a tiny room with for the next nine months. Good luck!

Meeting your roommate might seem like the scariest part of Week One. This person is somebody who you’ll be spending a lot of time with, and the only way your compatibility was measured was an online survey you totally filled out at the last minute. So if you’re worried about how to make the most out of a roommate relationship, here’s some advice from a seasoned sophomore.

DON’T: Judge your roommate before you even meet him or her. You may think that because you’ve already scoured your new roommate’s Facebook page and Twitter feed, you can be fairly confident you know everything about him or her. This is incorrect. The only thing on my first year roommate’s Facebook was pictures of cats and weird European bands, so I thought she was going to be incredibly weird. She is incredibly weird, and also smart and funny and a really great friend. Online profiles are always limited. A human being is much more than the TV shows he likes on Facebook, so hold off on drawing conclusions based on that first impression.

DO: Be tidy. Even if you and your roommate checked “messy” in the online survey, you probably do need to be neater at school than you are at home. Other people’s mess is so much more annoying than your own mess. Be considerate of each other.

And even if you and your roommate agree to a more relaxed organizational system, at least be hygienic. Absolutely no organic matter or rotting things – mold grows quickly and more easily in a dorm than you would expect. Dirty dishes count. If your room starts to smell nasty, not only will your roommate be irritated, but so will your whole corridor.

DON’T: Take your roommate’s things. You’re not actually siblings, despite the fact that you’re living together. Your roommate’s shoes might look really cute with your outfit and those cookies might look delicious, but always get explicit permission. The vast majority of roommate complaints I have heard have honestly been related to food stealing. College students take their dorm food stashes very seriously. Keep your hands to your side of the room, and accept what your roommate chooses to share with you.

DO: Have a plan in place for when you invite your Pause dance partner back to the room for some one-on-one time. No one wants that surprise. Before you offer a smooth “come over to my place,” make sure your roommate with has somewhere to crash and plenty of notice. This is total common sense. It’s amazing how many people don’t do it. Just send a quick text.

DON’T: Assume your roommate relationship defines all of your future friendmaking. If you’re not clicking, it does not mean you will never make friends. If you’re best friends, it doesn’t mean it will stay that way. Your roommate is just one person on a very large campus, and you can be in as little or as much of each other’s lives as you want.

You have four years here to make key friendships, so don’t put too much emphasis on this one. Even a total roommate disaster will just be a funny story by next semester.

In reality, adjusting to living with a roommate is surprisingly easy. It’s nice to have a familiar face to vent to at the end of a stressful day and to help you wake up on time for your morning class. Roommate living requires a little common courtesy and respect, but soon it will be second nature to you.

Whether your roommate is your lifelong best friend or someone you just wave to at graduation, it is worth it to try to foster the best roommate relationship possible.

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