Author: Elizabeth Jacobson

Ole women open season in Colorado

Basketball team wins two, drops one as first years make debuts

While some Oles headed home over break, the St. Olaf women’s basketball team headed to Colorado for the 2012 Thanksgiving Classic. The women opened their season with a game against Colorado College on Nov. 21, winning 80-51. On Nov. 23, the Oles faced Lewis and Clark College, losing 73-59. The Oles were able to bring home a second win with a 65-56 victory over Ohio Wesleyan University on Nov. 24.

First years made their debut appearances as Oles, while veteran players who were previously injured returned to the court.

“It was exciting to be back on the court as I was hurt last season,” Maddie Ehrich ’14 said. Brittany Webber ’14 and Elise Raney ’14 also returned from injuries.

Guard Kim Cerjan ’16 scored 16 and 21 points in her first two college games on Nov. 21 and 23. Center Nikki Frogner ’15 came up big against Ohio Wesleyan College, scoring 20 points.

“The games were a good challenge for us, especially our second game against nationally-ranked Lewis and Clark,” Captain Mackenzie Wolter ’13 said. “We did a lot of good things out there as a team, but more importantly, we really found out what we needed to work on and improve in order to become one of those top-tier teams.”

The Oles returned from Colorado with more than simply their two wins.

“We are confident that we can learn from the mistakes we made in our first games and do the little things that will make us a really tough team to beat,” Wolter said.

These first few games preview what the rest of the season will likely look like for the team.

“This season looks very promising,” Cerjan said. “We have a large roster and each player is capable of producing positive enforcement on the court.”

The team begins MIAC play with three away games, the first on Nov. 28 at Saint Mary’s University. The Oles’ first home game is on Dec. 5 against the College of St. Catherine.

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Party at the polls

As the election approaches and the polls continue to fluctuate, many St. Olaf students prepare to vote for the first time on Nov. 6. The St. Olaf Political Awareness Committee PAC – along with party-specific student organizations on campus – encourages students to actively and intelligently participate in the election.

With a mission to provide the student body with an unbiased source for political information, PAC has put on a variety of events to increase the level of the political conversation at St. Olaf.

“In regard to the election, PAC has prompted us to put on events like Candidate Town Hall: an opportunity for undecided voters or anyone that wanted to come and ask questions about the positions of each of the four most prominent candidates,” PAC Coordinator Kevin George ’13 said.

Additionally, PAC brought in political speakers such as Zach Wahls and Bob Woodward – both well-attended events – but most importantly, worked to register as many students to vote as possible.

“Easily the most important thing we’ve done so far is our drive to register students to vote,” George said. “It is a fundamental goal of our organization.”

PAC successfully pre-registered between 200-250 students, and in combination with the efforts of Students for Barack Obama STObama, students are well-informed about the formalities of the voting process.

“So many students wanted to register to vote on campus or had questions about how they could request an absentee ballot from their home state,” STObama Volunteer Coordinator Olivia Slack ’15 said. “Voting is your civic duty as American. Our democratic system as we know it today wouldn’t function without people participating in the political process by voting.”

For first-time voter Ben Swenson-Klatt ’16, excitement about voting extends beyond civic duty.

“To me, voting in this election is more than just believing in a political party,” Swenson-Klatt said. “Basic human rights are being voted for which I think shouldn’t even be an issue in the first place. I have friends that will be affected if certain amendments pass. I believe very strongly in equality for everyone – the chance to love someone or the ability to vote, so I’m trying to do everything I can to stop them.”

With so much buzz about the election coming at students from different directions, PAC remains one of the few organizations – on or off campus – that transmits political information without an agenda.

“We don’t exist to convince you how you should feel about a specific policy or candidate, we exist only to give you the best information possible for you to make your own decision about, which is an invaluable resource,” said George.

Zach Westermeyer ’15 appreciates PAC’s unbiased approach, noting that the media does not always present the truth about politics, especially around election time.

“All the partisanship prevents the government working for the good of the people like it was created to do, and instead turns into a giant campaign to make the other side look worse, Westermeyer said. “On the bright side, election season is a reminder of the fact that we live under a free, democratic government. Educated voting is important because you are exercising your right to an opinion from your perspective on who should lead this country.”

Although election season can be a long, tiring process, the excitement on campus about the election remains evident.

“I do think students are excited to vote this year,” said George. “There has been a lot of energy on campus the past few months, and I expect that to carry through to Election Day next week. We have a fairly politically aware campus, and students do show interest, as they are involved in a wide variety of political causes and organizations.”

College Greens

A new political organization on campus, College Greens focuses on informing students about the Green Party’s presence in the upcoming election, as well as promoting the party’s key values.

“Ecological wisdom is really important to us, focusing on environment problems and environmental justice,” College Green’s President Lauren Kramer ’13 said. “We are also going to focus on environmental justice issues happening in Northfield community, and we might host local environmental activists just to get out the word for environmental justice.”

As far as other events, College Greens took part in PAC’s candidate panel and hopes to table in front of the Caf and host speakers to discuss non-violence and their involvement with peace movements.

College Democrats

With a focus on student involvement. College Democrats has been and will continue to organize phone-banking, door knocking and tabling outside the Caf.

“The purpose and goal of the College Democrats is to help St. Olaf students become informed about local candidates, as well as giving people the chance to become politically active and volunteer [at] events, as well as for candidates,” Greta Johnson ’14 said.

The organization is working to spread the word about the importance of voting for candidates running for office as well as amendments. “Although we focus on the Democratic platform as a whole, the proposed Marriage and Voter ID amendments on the ballot this year in Minnesota are important to us,” Johnson said.

Students For Liberty

Also a new student organization this year, Students for Liberty is a non-partisan libertarian organization on campus.

“Students for Liberty is a new organization and our main focus is discussing issues that pertain to liberty,” Treasurer Kristen Stenehjem ’15 said. “We will mainly be discussing topics that are relevant to the election between now and Nov. 6 to give our members better insight into how to form their opinions to maximize liberty and freedom.”

The group understands that there is still work to be done following the elections.

“We are planning on continuing the conversation of liberty and how it will change in our country after the outcome of the elections,” Stenehjem said.

Students For Barack Obama

As the name indicates, Students for Barack Obama STObama is working towards the goal of re-electing President Obama.

“STObama has been working hard to register and contact voters and recruit volunteers for Get Out The Vote,” Volunteer Coordinator Olivia Slack ’15 said. “STObama’s goal is to contact 3,000 voters during the Get Out The Vote four-day period.”

Between tabling, phone banking, hosting debate-watching parties and dorm canvassing, STObama has been quite active on campus.

“We table outside the Caf every Wednesday during lunch. During tabling, we register people to vote, have them sign ‘Pledge to Vote’ cards and just generally inform people about the upcoming election and answer any questions students might have,” Slack said.

College Republicans

Hoping to share Republican values with the St. Olaf Community, College Republicans has been in contact with several of the candidates that are representing this district, including Mike Dudley, Kurt Bills and John Klein.

“Two weeks ago Brian Wermerskirchen – a local candidate currently running for the Minnesota House of Representatives – came in and chatted with us about his campaign, his platform and what he has been doing in the community,” College Republicans’ Chair Matt Mittelsteadt ’15 said.

College Republicans plans on tabling in order to support the Republican Party’s candidates on both a local and national level, while also publicizing their organization.

“Last year the organization wasn’t too big, but we are really trying to make it well-organized this year so we have a bigger impact,” Mittelsteadt said. “After the election we are hoping to meet with some of winners of the local elections, asking them to come in and speak at St. Olaf.”

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Gaga’s spirit applauded

According to the National Eating Disorder Association, 80 percent of all 10-year-olds are afraid of being fat. But in a world where fashion models and celebrities define and create the social norms, what is “fat” anyway?

Recently, the press berated Lady Gaga for weight gain, and Lady Gaga fired back. On Sept. 25, Lady Gaga launched Body Revolution 2013 on her site Little Monsters, hoping to inspire bravery. Lady Gaga posted a picture of herself in just a bra and underwear on her site with the caption, “Bulimia and anorexia since I was 15.”

Gaga is encouraging her fans to do the same and join the Body Revolution by posting photos of themselves that celebrate their triumphs over their insecurities. Gaga’s father even joined the revolution, with a picture of his belly posted on the site. It is about time that a celebrity, or just anyone for that matter, said something about body image.

Lady Gaga is nothing near fat. In fact, she is the opposite of fat. In videos, dancing scantily clad, Lady Gaga looks too thin to me. So, when did it become okay to nit-pick someone’s appearance publicly?

Of course, Lady Gaga is not the only celebrity who has come under the microscope of the media. Several other stars have endured the same criticism, but Lady Gaga is taking a stand. By firing back at the media and encouraging her fans to embrace their bodies, Lady Gaga is sending a positive message to her fans.

The average American woman is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 140 pounds; a typical model is 5 feet 11 inches and weighs 110 pounds. Paging through a magazine or watching television implants this vision of perfection at unrealistic standards. So, if this definition of beauty is so thin, how does one change him or herself to fit it?

Looking at magazines, or even just watching television, it is extremely hard to find a celebrity with a body similar to mine. The pressures celebrities face to be thin is transferred to the fans they have and the people that see the articles calling 130-pound celebrities fat. I personally feel pretty bad when I’m reading a magazine and see a person who looks healthy called “fat,” and I can’t be the only one.

I get that having a model’s body is never going to happen for me. But when all I see in movies, on television and in print are models or model-thin actresses, how am I supposed to feel about my body? The media paints a picture of this one type and size of perfection that is airbrushed and, for the average 5-foot-4-inch American woman, unattainable.

Gaga’s response to the media was admirable. Eating disorders are too common in the present day and age. Today, 13 million people binge eat and 10 million women are battling anorexia or bulimia, according to the National Eating Disorder Association. In a world where eating disorders are so prevalent, any message that seeks to spark a body revolution is a good one.

Gaga’s reach extends to such a large group of people that this Body Revolution could do some good. The champions of all things different and beautiful alike, Gaga’s Little Monsters are a varied group. Not everyone is going to want to post a provocative picture of him or herself online in an outward display of bodily pride, but hopefully Lady Gaga’s revolution isn’t just about baring all online.

This revolution is about self-confidence and self-loving because the change in body and self image comes from within. Lady Gaga’s empowerment is just the first step.

Elizabeth Jacobson ’16 is from Duluth, Minn. She majors in social work.

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Men’s soccer falters against St. John’s

Despite late comeback, Oles unable to top Johnnies in 2-1 loss

The St. Olaf men’s soccer team, occupying fifth place in the MIAC, faced seventh-place St. John’s University on Sept. 29 at Rolf Mellby Field. Despite a comeback at the end of the game, the Oles were not able to top the Johnnies, losing 1-2.

Shelby Goudey ’16 was among the fans that turned out to support the home team.

“It was a great break from homework to get out, enjoy the sunshine and cheer on our Oles,” Goudey said.

Although the Johnnies took the win, the Oles outshot them 20-5. Mackenzie Lund ’14 and Ryan Johnsrud ’14 led the team with four shots each.

The Oles came out strong offensively. Within the first four minutes, the Oles had three shots on goal. However, the Johnnies were first on the scoreboard after Alex Nierderloh’s shot in the 12th minute.

“St. John’s came out with a lot of energy and kept it up most of the game,” Aaron Stets ’16 said.

At the start of the second half, a Johnnie penalty kick made the score 2-0.

Playing only 10 men, the Oles were able to rally as Nick Lund ’15 scored his second goal of the season, 28 minutes into the second half, assisted by Claudio Barboza ’16.

In the final minutes of the game, a shot by David Rosenthal ’14 hit the side of the goal and deflected to the opposite side. Had an Ole been available for the rebound, the game could have gone into overtime.

“I thought the game didn’t go as well as we hoped for,” Nick Lund said. “We definitely had our chances to put them away, but we didn’t capitalize and it cost us in the second half. We fought as hard as we could, but sometimes the score isn’t what you want.”

“We are looking for some strong wins in the rest of the conference season, which will give us a shot at getting to the national tournament,” Stets said.

In the meantime, the men claimed a formidable – though non-conference – victory over Bethany Lutheran on Oct. 2 in Mankato, Minn. Nick Lund led the Oles with two goals in the 10-1 rout. With the victory, the men’s record stands at 6-4-1, 2-1-1 in the MIAC.

The St. Olaf men are away for the next two games. The Oles play the University of St. Thomas on Oct. 6 and Augsburg College on Oct. 10.

“I am really looking forward to the rest of the MIAC games this year because every team in the conference is a good team,” Nick Lund said. “It is always a battle to the end of the regular season.”

The Oles return home on Oct. 13, facing Macalester College.

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Glorious Misfortune reaches celebrity status

For four sophomores at St. Olaf – Brandon Berger, Stina Nesbit, Sam Adams and Helen Paolo – “glorious misfortune” is much more than some beautiful bad luck.

“We are a four-person musical group that focuses on tight group harmonies,” Nesbit said of Glorious Misfortune, the band that she, Berger, Adams and Paolo formed last year.

Dovetailing off of Nesbit’s answer, Paolo added that the group also focuses on putting on a fun show. They are just four people who jam out and make music together.

The friends realized their shared interest in music as first years living in Ellingson. Together the group of four grew as people, through rough times and also through good times. That growth through struggle and success is where the name originated. The name came up at dinner one night, and it stuck, according to Paolo.

The group has been together since March 10, 2012. “We formed because of an Ellingson coffee house talent show,” Nesbit said.

“Our music is acoustic, folk-inspired. We are folk alternative, we can be rock and jazzy because of our eclectic tastes,” Paolo said. “Our harmonies are influenced by choir.”

The Glorious Misfortune meets each Tuesday, Friday and Sunday for about an hour and a half. Since they are all from different places, practicing during the summer was difficult, but now they are getting back into a routine.

“We constantly have material in the works,” Paolo said. “Some practices we just jam out and other times we brainstorm, get an idea and just flow.”

Figuring out the instrumentation is their first step. “Usually one of the boys brings a chord progression, and then they think through the chorus and the bridge of the song,” Paolo said. “Then we improvise melodies and just goof around until we find something we like.”

“We write the lyrics last. First we all say what the song means to each of us, and then we write as a group,” Nesbit said. “We veto or say yes to things we like or dislike. It is a really communal process.”

Their songs loosely follow a formula. “We have a chorus, and then we break it down to highlight individual voices and instruments,” Nesbit said.

“We have been really lucky,” Nesbit said. “We have been able to play at places like First Ave and will be opening for Delta Rae.” They have also played several events on campus, including a performance at the Poetry House, the Vote No rally and a performance in Stav Hall over Homecoming Weekend. The group is hoping to release a professional recording around Christmas, so keep your eyes peeled for news of their album.

Each of the four members has a long history with music. For Nesbit, there is no precise year or age when she became involved in music. “I have been singing my whole life. When I was 7, I started doing musical theater, and in high school I did choirs,” Nesbit said. She got interested in music because of “The Sound of Music” and theater. “I always have found it better to sing emotions, rather than saying them. It’s what I feel most alive doing,” Nesbit said. With The Glorious Misfortune, she has been able to perform at several different venues. “The best part of performing is the fact that it is the most vulnerable I am, and in that sense it is really freeing. It is also just really fun,” Nesbit said.

Paolo has been singing since she was a little kid. “There are home videos of me when my parents were still using baby monitors. I would sing before doing anything else,” Paolo said. “It really started with my parents. They had me take piano lessons but they knew I loved singing and switched me to voice lessons in fourth or fifth grade.” Paolo’s interest in music came from the fact that there were no other musicians in the family.

Music has always been a part of Berger’s life, too. “I started music when I was very young. I was always singing when I was growing up,” he said. “My parents used to sing together to me. I have a really musical family, not trained necessarily . . .. Music has been in my life ever since I can remember.”

Berger played the alto saxophone and percussion in band and was also in the choir. “The best part of performing is interacting with the audience. It doesn’t mean anything that we are performing, in that moment, you are one. That cohesiveness evokes the best feeling ever. Making the crowd feel close to how you feel is a job well done,” Berger said.

Adams has been involved in music for quite some time, but began with the piano rather than the guitar. “I have been playing the piano since I was 4. I started the guitar in high school,” he said. “I was nerdy with not a lot of friends in high school, so I played a lot of guitar.”

His interest in music started with his family. “My mom always forced me to play piano. My brother plays bass, and we would jam for hours after school. We play music together all the time,” Adams said. “My brother goes to Carleton, so sometimes I go over there to jam.”

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