Author: Shannon Cron

Give athletics a chance

“You want to do what?” my roommate said as we chatted over Skype.

One month away from starting our sophomore year of college, we both felt excited to go back to campus without the Week One jitters. Last year we made new friends, met great professors and created numerous cafeteria creations that are to die for. In other words, we knew our way around, and we were more excited than ever to be Oles.

Until I decided to join cross country.

“Yeah, I think it will be fun!”

“Why?”

She had a point. Anyone observing my decision would be confused.

“Now we’ll be heading to Skoglund Athletic Center,” my tour guide said to me when I was a prospective student.

“Oh, that’s okay. We don’t need to go there,” I responded.

“Are you sure?” he persisted, as any good tour guide would. “It’s an excellent facility.”

“I’m a theatre major,” I deadpanned.

He understood and politely continued.

So why would I want to join cross country? For as many times as I was asked that question – which was understandable, considering I had never run on a team before – I didn’t have a precise answer. To tell the truth, I surprised myself. I’d been running on my own for years, and I wanted someone to keep me company. That was the simple reason, which wasn’t enough to satisfy most people. So instead I clarified why I WAS NOT running cross country.

1. Not because I wanted to be the best.

Please, I didn’t even think I’d be remotely good. My goal was to survive. Even as a self-proclaimed optimist, I knew cross country practices would be far from similar to a jog around my neighborhood while listening to musical theatre and choreographing opening numbers in my mind.

2. Not because I was going through a mid-college crisis, causing me to change my identity.

This decision was not a catalyst for my transformation from theatre major to athlete. My idea of fun still consisted of writing, blogging and drinking dark roast coffee, thrift shopping and vegetarian cooking. I brought a book about the history of the United Nations to a Twins Game and I’m proud of it.

3. Not for “fun.”

Even after I finished the season – yes, I made it through the whole season – I still didn’t think running 12 miles was necessarily fun. In order to think sweating, panting and pounding is fun you’d have to go by a very convoluted definition. However, I imagined that the challenge of running 12 miles would have rewarding and refreshing effects.

I was right about the challenging part.

Between running for hours each day and the intensity of races, my body hurt more than it did after tech week for a theater performance. There were definitely times when I thought about how easy it would be to quit and how stupid this whole idea was, but after one encouraging word from a coach or a thought about how much I’d pushed myself, I didn’t regret a single minute of it.

Even though the team placed second in our conference and some of my teammates placed in the top ten at nationals, all forty-some members of the team practiced together. My coaches pushed each player and respected each player the same, making everyone feel part of a successful, close-knit team. I wasn’t just another body; I was a student, an athlete and the person who tried to tell funny stories during warm-up runs.

Cross country tested my commitment, drive and stamina – physically and mentally – all the while boosting my self-esteem and keeping my outlook on life positive. If I could run eight miles of hills at 6 a.m. and go about the rest of my day smiling, I knew I could finish anything. And that was the best part: I knew I could do it. I realized that my experiences as a St. Olaf athlete weren’t just about the time I spent with the team; they impacted my entire college career.

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Oles win nine straight, claim first round bye

Day at the Capitol inspires political involvement

Fifteen Oles put on their best suits and made their way to St. Paul to participate in the annual Day at the Capitol event on Wednesday, Feb. 27. A program run through the Minnesota Private College Council, Day at the Capitol offers students a chance to learn how to lobby their legislators.

“Specifically, we go to the Capitol to voice our support for the Minnesota State Grant Program, which helps around 90,000 students across the state pay for college,” Political Awareness Committee PAC Coordinator Kevin George ’13 said.

The proposed budget of the grant would be able to help more students in the program than in the past.

“The governor has proposed an $80 million increase in funding to the grant program, by far the largest single increase in its history,” George said. “This would open up opportunities to expand the program, helping students whose families have slightly higher incomes, as well as including non-traditional students.”

The Minnesota State Grant program currently assists nearly 500 St. Olaf students as a part of their financial aid. “We were allotted $1.4 million in state assistance, freeing up that money to be used toward other scholarships or other academic investments,” George said. “Additionally, because the money doesn’t have to be paid back, it really can make a difference in many students’ ability to pay for school.”

The day consisted of training sessions about how to properly lobby, informational lectures about the Minnesota State Grant Program and meetings with representatives and senators from the students’ respective districts. In addition, attendees wrote literature in support of the Minnesota State Grant Program to be given to government officials, including Gov. Dayton.

Alyssa Berg ’15 chose to attend Day at the Capitol because she is interested in learning more about the legislative process, especially on the local level.

“I had a very good experience,” Berg said. “I am always amazed by the ease of access to our representatives and senators. It’s great you can go to their office and state your opinion on a given issue.” Berg met with Kathy Brynaert, her district representative, taking the opportunity to discuss the Minnesota State Grant Program.

“[Kathy Brynaert] was very receptive to what I had to say and was willing to engage in a discussion about the topic,” Berg said. Other students encountered state lawmakers that were not in support of the program, exposing them to different points of view on the issue.

“My representative said he was not in support of the program because of the potential tax increase,” Alec Paulson ’16 said. “But, it was still a great experience to learn how to lobby, especially being at the State Capitol.”

Overall, the 15 Oles returned to campus well-informed after a successful, politically engaging day at the Capitol.

“I’d say the day was a success,” George said. “Most of the students were able to meet with their legislators as scheduled, and most found support for the program. There will always be naysayers, but the program generally receives bipartisan support in the legislature, and we saw that play out while we were there.”

Not only did Oles get to offer their support on an issue that impacts many of their fellow students, but they also gained field experience that will be beneficial in the future. “Learning how to approach your legislators is an important skill in making your voice heard now and later in life, and that’s something this day teaches,” George said.

cron@stolaf.edu

× Featured

Oles win nine straight, claim first round bye

Day at the Capitol inspires political involvement

Fifteen Oles put on their best suits and made their way to St. Paul to participate in the annual Day at the Capitol event on Wednesday, Feb. 27. A program run through the Minnesota Private College Council, Day at the Capitol offers students a chance to learn how to lobby their legislators.

“Specifically, we go to the Capitol to voice our support for the Minnesota State Grant Program, which helps around 90,000 students across the state pay for college,” Political Awareness Committee PAC Coordinator Kevin George ’13 said.

The proposed budget of the grant would be able to help more students in the program than in the past.

“The governor has proposed an $80 million increase in funding to the grant program, by far the largest single increase in its history,” George said. “This would open up opportunities to expand the program, helping students whose families have slightly higher incomes, as well as including non-traditional students.”

The Minnesota State Grant program currently assists nearly 500 St. Olaf students as a part of their financial aid. “We were allotted $1.4 million in state assistance, freeing up that money to be used toward other scholarships or other academic investments,” George said. “Additionally, because the money doesn’t have to be paid back, it really can make a difference in many students’ ability to pay for school.”

The day consisted of training sessions about how to properly lobby, informational lectures about the Minnesota State Grant Program and meetings with representatives and senators from the students’ respective districts. In addition, attendees wrote literature in support of the Minnesota State Grant Program to be given to government officials, including Gov. Dayton.

Alyssa Berg ’15 chose to attend Day at the Capitol because she is interested in learning more about the legislative process, especially on the local level.

“I had a very good experience,” Berg said. “I am always amazed by the ease of access to our representatives and senators. It’s great you can go to their office and state your opinion on a given issue.” Berg met with Kathy Brynaert, her district representative, taking the opportunity to discuss the Minnesota State Grant Program.

“[Kathy Brynaert] was very receptive to what I had to say and was willing to engage in a discussion about the topic,” Berg said. Other students encountered state lawmakers that were not in support of the program, exposing them to different points of view on the issue.

“My representative said he was not in support of the program because of the potential tax increase,” Alec Paulson ’16 said. “But, it was still a great experience to learn how to lobby, especially being at the State Capitol.”

Overall, the 15 Oles returned to campus well-informed after a successful, politically engaging day at the Capitol.

“I’d say the day was a success,” George said. “Most of the students were able to meet with their legislators as scheduled, and most found support for the program. There will always be naysayers, but the program generally receives bipartisan support in the legislature, and we saw that play out while we were there.”

Not only did Oles get to offer their support on an issue that impacts many of their fellow students, but they also gained field experience that will be beneficial in the future. “Learning how to approach your legislators is an important skill in making your voice heard now and later in life, and that’s something this day teaches,” George said.

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Oles win nine straight, claim first round bye

Awkward Ole tales

Although we may pretend embarrassing moments don’t happen to us Oles, the opposite often proves all too true. In fact, St. Olaf’s small size and inclusive campus usually heighten the awkwardness of any given situation – sometimes to the point of social anxiety or emotional stress.

If you accidentally crank a bookshelf into the boy from choir, the only open spot in the reference room will be the one next to him. If you and the girl from biology share a Pause dance you’d like to forget, you’re sure to see her when you’re the only two walking across the quad. If you trip walking up the stairs to Stav in front of your secret crush, you are guaranteed to see him or her at breakfast next week – probably the one day you don’t bother to blow dry your hair or forget to wear deodorant.

It’s just our luck.

Maybe it’s the stress of organic chemistry, delirium from staring at a philosophy paper for six straight hours or years of ridicule as a high school choir kid, but this unfortunate reality affects us all.

As a person who experiences awkward situations more often than most, I’m proud to say I’ve learned to handle them with grace – or at least I try. Here, I take you through an embarrassing yet painfully average day for me, proving laughter is the best medicine.

I arrived at the cafeteria around 11:30 a.m. I decided to reward myself for resisting the tater tots by dousing my salad in French dressing and Goldfish YOLO. However, I encountered more than a few difficulties while pouring the Goldfish, and experienced a momentary – and involuntary – breakdown.

“These, ah … these things, they’re, ah, uh … ah, I don’t know,” I said to the person I thought I knew but did not behind me in line.

Apparently unable to formulate coherent English, my breath grew heavy as sweat dribbled down my back – it was gross. Ready to give up, I gave the dispenser one last shake. The Goldfish came rushing out, landing on the floor, on the person behind me and between the buttons on my shirt.

“Sorry,” I said to the poor person witnessing my struggle.

We both looked at each other, looked at the excessive Goldfish and laughed.

“No problem,” she said, picking a Goldfish off of my scarf.

Clearly not mentally equipped to handle the Caf, I ordered a cheese cup at the Cage – apparently, it was one of those days. I handed the cashier what I thought was my ID card.

“You can’t pay with this,” she said, holding up my Lifetime Fitness card.

Oops.

“Sorry,” I said, handing her a crumpled five-dollar bill, “I’m really tired.”

“You want some coffee?” she asked jokingly.

“Please,” I said, chuckling along with her.

Later that day, as I walked up the staircase with my friend, I tripped a little bit. In other words, I completely ate it.

“Wow, drunk at 6 p.m. on a Wednesday?” I heard the person behind us mutter.

1. I was 100 percent sober.

2. I took precautions by holding the handrail.

3. Yes, it happened regardless.

My friend tried to console me, but failed to contain her laughter, as did I.

By embracing the moments that make me cringe – by laughing at myself – I get through those I-can’t-believe-that-really-just-happened-I’m-never-coming-out-of-my-dorm-room-again moments. And you know what they say: As the following Oles confirm, the worst moments make the best stories.

cron@stolaf.edu

Andrew Lindvall ’14

“I’ll meet you upstairs,” I said to my cute Caf date score.

So focused on keeping my plate steady, I unknowingly walked into the railing as I rounded the corner. Fortunately, because I possess such acute reflexes, I avoided spilling my food – using only one hand. Impressive, I know.

However, I lost track of the rest of my body in the process. Tripping, I attempted to catch myself by grabbing the railing, but overestimated my reach. My entire arm got stuck between the railing at the wall, keeping me captive in a kneeling position in the stairwell.

I watched numerous Oles walking by me – it was the 5:30 p.m. dinner rush, of course – either laughing, clapping or pretending not to notice. Frantic, I tried to free myself, but because the railing had jammed my elbow, I remained helpless.

After struggling for nearly 15 minutes, a Stav worker finally rescued me.

“This wasn’t in the job description,” he said as he lifted my arm over the railing.

Wincing with pain, I thanked him and continued up the stairs – plate of food still in hand.

My date was still waiting for me. Nice.

Eric Crees ’15

As if navigating the cafeteria as naive, over-eager first years isn’t awkward enough, my roommate and I could not locate our friends. We walked aimlessly around the first level, scanning the cafeteria – what I like to call the “creep sweep” – and avoiding eye contact at all costs. But, I mean, I played it cool.

As we ventured up the stairs we felt a fine mist hit us. We briefly acknowledged our concern, but ultimately chose to shrug it off, and continued walking up the stairs.

As we turned the corner to head up the second set, we looked up and saw the source of the mist: an Ole lunging towards the railing with puke violently flying out of his open mouth.

Speechless, we stood in utter disbelief for a few moments before fully realizing that chunks of puke landed in our food, clothes and hair.

Whimpering, we went to get a fresh plate.

Amanda Tveite ’15

Exhausted after a long day of class, I trudged through the snow back to Larson for a pre-dinner nap. I thought about taking the stairs for about seven seconds, but considering I live on the 11th floor, I opted for the elevator. Although I was in a daze, it was hard to miss what happened next.

Waiting for the elevator with a somewhat anxious, extremely sweaty first year, I sensed him looking at me. I looked over to acknowledge him, but he spontaneously started coughing.

“It really is flu season, huh?” I said.

I waited for a response, but obviously, due to his uncontrollable cough, he could not speak. I pretended to fix my hair and turned away. When the elevator arrived, the awkwardness increased exponentially.

Clearly in the middle of making out, a couple in the elevator paused briefly when the doors opened. I walked in standing as far away from the lovers as possible, and the sickly first year bolted towards the stairs.

As soon as the doors closed they went right back to their PG-13 canoodling.

Awesome.

And by that, I mean, gross. I understand your need for affection, but it’s Tuesday afternoon. You need to learn to contain your passion.

Kristine Kroker ’15

“Hey, you!” I said to the boy making a panino.

I stood there waiting for him to respond, but after a minute or two of standing by the salad bar smiling to myself, I concluded that he did not hear me. My voice doesn’t tend to carry well in noisy settings, so naturally, I decided to yell louder. And wave. With both hands.

“Hey! Hey! Look, I remembered who you are!”

I’d met this boy the previous week, and he didn’t think I would say hi to him after our initial meeting.

“Oh . . . yeah,” he said, looking confused.

There was a tense pause. The only sound I could hear was the panini maker sizzling. I let out a lingering giggle to fill the silence.

“Yeah, I remember you too?” he muttered.

He did not remember me because as I later found out, this person was not the boy from the previous week. Two months have passed, and he continues to say hi to me. I’m not sure if this is a sign of blossoming friendship or pity, but either way, I see him everywhere. Constantly.

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Oles win nine straight, claim first round bye

Saving the world, Ole by Ole

Student groups sponsor charity event

Opening with Michael Bublé’s “I Just Haven’t Met You Yet,” Oles Auctioning Oles offered students the opportunity to purchase dates with the Ole of their dreams or to hang out with their friends, while also supporting the Ole Global Medical Brigades’ efforts to build educational clinics in Honduras.

Sponsored by Oles For Global Health OGH and Ole Global Medical Brigades, the auction took place on Nov. 11 in the Pause. Comprised of 30 live auction items and 13 silent auction items, the event raised nearly $900. “It’s a really exciting and unique way to raise money for a good cause,” Julia Wolter ’15 said. “Although all the contestants seemed a bit nervous, they were excited too.”

As the lights dimmed and the music continued to play, the contestants took the stage one by one, answering questions including class year, major and favorite pickup line. In hopes of being bought by someone in the audience, Charlie Liggett ’16 offered up his personal favorite pickup line: “Unlike the silence, you’ll remember me.”

Additionally, many of the contestants were asked to describe their ideal date, with popular answers ranging from walks in the natural lands to snowshoeing to drinking hot chocolate in the Cage. “I speak Japanese and Spanish,” Gabriel Trejos ’14 said. “I can help you with your Spanish homework if you buy me!”

Shaina Rud ’14 appealed to the audience with a childhood anecdote. “I used to pretend I was a dog when I was little,” Rud said.

The intensity increased when Brian Adams ’15 and Lauren Freisinger ’14 attempted to outbid each other for a date with Holly Williamson. Starting at 10 dollars, the bid continued to rise by three to five dollars until the final price reached $30, making Freisinger the winner.

“I’ve never been to an auction before, so I didn’t know exactly what to expect,” Freisinger said. “The silence was a little bit intimidating, and I felt a little nervous to speak up in front of everybody, but I also know that bidding would encourage more people to participate. Plus, once I got some competition, I got super into it and the nerves went away. It was fun competing – and winning!”

In the end, the most popular silent auction items were a photo shoot with Holly Williamson ’14, private boxing lessons with professor Gordon Marino, dinners with professors James Demas physics, Jean Porterfield biology, Ka Wong Chinese/Asian studies and David Van Wylen biology.

“The silent auction offered a lot of exciting items,” Wolter said. “It’s stuff you can’t just go out and buy yourself.”

OGH started planning the event two months in advance, working on collecting items for the silent auction, recruiting people to sell themselves and coordinating the logistics of the event.

“In order to plan this event we spoke to professors, advertised – we had wonderful photographers that took awesome, sexy pictures of our contestants – [and] worked cohesively with Medical Brigade,” said Adams, a member of the OGH leadership committee.

By combining forces with Ole Global Medical Brigades, OGH was able to help a fellow student organization fund a medical mission trip, while also promoting a cause its own organization believes in.

“This event was important to us because it allowed us to fuse interests with the incredible members of the Ole Global Medical Brigades,” Adams said. “We donated the money to them, and they will use the money to finance sustainable Charlas – clinics that teach public health concepts – to children and adults in Honduras.”

In addition to building the clinics, the trip participants plan to host education sessions, training locals to keep the clinics up and running, as well as act as a go-to outlet for questions concerning the clinics.

“A clinic is like a Band-Aid,” said Greta Richeson ’14, a representative from Ole Global Medical Brigades. “It’s a solution for a problem, but it doesn’t prevent future problems from occurring.”

In an effort to create a long-term solution, Moriah Novacinski ’14, who will be traveling to Honduras with Ole Global Medical Brigades, recognizes the importance of the education sessions as a step towards better global health.

“It is crucial to provide the educational sessions because our short stay with them through the medical brigade is only a Band-Aid on a much bigger problem,” Novacinski said. “By sharing knowledge with their community, we can hopefully provide a longer-lasting solution to some of the health issues they face.”

cron@stolaf.edu

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Oles win nine straight, claim first round bye