Tag: weekly column

The Love Column

When our parents bought their first mobile phones in the early aught’s, they were used exclusively for emergencies. Now we assume that our friend is having an emergency if they don’t respond to a text within fifteen minutes.

Most of us carry computers in our pockets that are more powerful than the machinery that was used to put people on the moon. Technology is changing and we’re changing with it.

Our cellphones have become extensions of ourselves. Most college students can’t go anywhere or do anything without their mobile device.

Though they enable us to have quick, reliable communication with people outside our immediate vicinity, cell phones negatively impact how we interact with those around us. Whether we’re texting, checking our Facebook or swiping on Tinder, cellphones consume our attention, even when we are engaged in a good personal conversation. It’s distracting and frustrating for a group dynamic when one or more people are so engrossed in texting that vibrating ringtones interrupt every other word.

It seems that we use cellphones as everything except as a phone. In terms of efficiency, this doesn’t make any sense. Mobile phones were created to improve our communication, but they have regressed it instead.

When we type text messages, we have to engage much of our focus. We use our eyes to watch the screen for typos, engage our thumbs to type and put our concentration on developing a succinct message.

We’re fooling ourselves if we think that we can still be present while doing all that. When the response comes, we again revert our attention away from our surroundings back to the screen in our palm. This back and forth can go on for ages. This takes time away from quality interactions with friends and family members, not to mention paying attention in class.

Why not call? It may seem old fashioned but it’s much quicker and more personal than texting. Telephones are remarkable; we have the ability to hear the voice and expression of friends that are miles away. Quality of conversation is also higher because you are completely focused on that conversation with the person on the other end the whole time.

By calling people, we can connect at a more human level without all the hassle and misunderstanding that plagues texting. We have all had those awkward experiences of someone interpreting a text message in a way that we did not intend.

We also don’t irritate the people around us by being distracted for long periods of time, like we do when we when we are texting have you ever worked on a group project with one of those people? It’s the worst. A one minute call accomplishes the work of ten minutes of texting.

My challenge to you this summer is be conscious of how often you text. If you’re doing it to make plans or flirt, consider dropping a line instead so that you can showcase your personality.

Rather than just typing little quips, make plans to get together. Face-to-face interaction time is seriously declining among our generation, in both amount and quality.

Spend that time being present with the people you love rather than letting your phone distract you with what’s far away or coming next.


Are you an expert on all things romantic? Let everyone on campus benefit from your fabulous advice! Email mess-ae@stolaf.edu for more information on becoming one of our love columnists for next year’s Manitou Messenger.

-the A&E Editors

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St. Olaf Sentiments

When I was younger, at a sleepover, my parents would come to pick me up and I would beg for another hour because I felt like it hadn’t been long enough. Now, after a four year sleepover, it’s still not enough.

My dad used to say, when I was in the process of picking a college – and, eventually, when I chose St. Olaf for real – that I “drank the Kool-Aid.”

The idea of college doesn’t become real until you have to hug your parents goodbye. Walking out of that gymnasium, trying to look brave, I found myself surrounded by teary-eyed freshmen. There was a crying girl walking next to me. Being unequipped to handle this situation I looked for anyone to help me. I made eye contact with the boy on the other side of the crying girl. That boy from Wyoming turned into one of my best friends.

I didn’t hold back the tears. Actually, as soon as I moved to the Hill, I hardly ever held back the tears. I drank the Kool-Aid and surrendered myself to the wild emotional adventure that the next four years became. St. Olaf became the best thing that ever happened to me, simply because of the hundreds of thousands of everyday moments I’ve gotten to share with friends and classmates and teachers and all the people I’ve met along the way.

She didn’t hold back the tears. The first day on a Hoyme window seat – back when Hoyme still had window seats – on the second floor we didn’t hold back the tears. Later that day, in response to one of her questions, I told her, “if this friendship continues, I’ll tell you.” Little did I know.

He told me the next day. The friendship continued. I don’t even remember what I asked anymore. Probably something personal about an old girlfriend, or something like that. We met more friends, shared cookies that somebody’s mom sent along for move-in, watched Paranormal Activity 2 in a dorm room and marched down Ole Ave with a pack of other Hoyme babies to experience our first Jesse James Days.

It’s weird to think about. If, tomorrow, I packed up my things and moved to a new “St. Olaf,” and sat on a window seat with a complete stranger, what would I say about the last four years? I’ve been to class, I’ve done hours of homework, I’ve learned a lot I hope but the things that stick out, the things that are window seat worthy are the almost imperceptible moments. The Jesse James Days, the Pause pizza, the poop jokes and the people you’ve shared those moments with.

Do you remember the first snow at St. Olaf? We built a fire in the Hoyme lounge back before they remodeled the building and made it bright and updated like some sort of hotel and baked cookies and read books and nobody could stop smiling.

That was one of those rare moments when I realized I was living through a lasting memory while it was happening. Remember the first time we went sledding? It’s funny that most of our memories involve snow. We took trays from the caf and made long sled chains, I tried snorting snow and we took too many pictures of us trying to look “cool.”

How about the time we spent a Saturday trying to film a St. Olaf themed version of The Breakfast Club? Or the night a whole bunch of us ran naked through the baseball fields when nobody else was around? We watched Lutefest die. We watched Cherry Berry open and then close. We went to probably at least 25 Pause dances – some super fun and some awful. We knew Hoyme when those window panes were red. We lived on campus before road signs and roundabouts arrived. We watched potstickers in the Caf take a leave of absence, and we happily welcomed their return. We elected civil servants, defeated some Minnesota amendments, attended demonstrations, started conversations about sexual assault and had open dialogues with one another. As Oles, we have grieved, celebrated and worshiped together.

– belisle@stolaf.edu and pelegano@stolaf.edu

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Student of the Week

Name: Tess Halac ’15

Majors/Concentrations: Sociology and Anthropology, Womens and Gender Studies concentration

Activities: Team member and Captain of Fun for Durga Ultimate, Secretary for SOLAS St. Olaf Leaders Abolishing Slavery and Volunteer Coordinator for STO Talks

Tess Halac was the Volunteer Coordinator for the fourth annual STO Talks. STO Talks debuted in 2012 as the college’s version of TED Talks. Halac was an intricate part of STO Talks’ success this year, working tirelessly behind the scenes. She spoke to the Manitou Messenger about annual lecture series.


Q: What does STO Talks offer the St. Olaf community?

A: STO Talks gives St. Olaf a chance to hear some of our community’s most exciting and innovative ideas from a wide array of fields. It also provides a vehicle for Oles to give voice to an idea that they are passionate about or think the campus needs to hear.

Q: Why are you involved with STO Talks?

A: I am a member of STO Talks because I believe in its mission — connecting Oles aroundpowerful ideas that stimulate thinking, reflection and action. I attended the very first STO Talksconference during my freshman year and was blown away by it; my goal as a committee memberis to give that experience to other people.

Q: What future do you see for STO Talks?

A: In terms of STO Talks, I hope to see the conference grow – we have even discussedcollaborating with Carleton and/or Northfield community members as a way to further diversifyour talks and foster connectivity and collaboration. We hope to continue to familiarize studentswith the conference so that it can become a highly anticipated annual event. As for St. Olaf, Ihope that STO Talks can initiate and encourage important dialogue and positiveaction throughout the campus. Change starts with an idea, and I hope the STOTalks conference can be a meaningful platform to set it into motion.

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Music on Trial: May 1, 2015

In many ways, the music industry acts as a microcosm of society. For example, the widening gap between the rich and poor in America is seen also in the widening of income distribution in the music industry. With the rise of illegal downloading, revenues for musicians now come from concerts. Yet, big name artists are capturing more revenues from ticket sales just as the top one percent of Americans are capturing more wealth.

Fortunately, not all shifts in the music industry mean bad news. In fact, some shifts reflect greater acceptance. One genre in particular is poised for a gradual shift of greater inclusion: rock and roll.

Rock music, for the most part, has been a male-dominated industry. When people think of rock music, old names like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd come to mind – classic all-male bands. Even though newer bands such as The White Stripes and The Black Keys, and indie rock bands such as Radiohead break away some distance from the tradition, they still cling to the old formula of white men playing rock music. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. Some genres such as punk rock were built by strong, female voices. Old names like Pat Benatar and new names like Sleater Kinney and Savages come to mind. Yet, by and large, rock music remains a male dominated genre.

However, this decade and the ones following it will belong to women in rock. We are already seeing more female-fronted bands take the spotlight. They give voice to an experience that was, at first, largely silent in rock music. This shift comes from the fact that as older generations age, they take their perceptions and tastes with them. On the other hand, our generation brings with it a greater appreciation for more varied voices.

This change means that we will see more female rock artists because we want something different; we want to see someone besides white men on stage rocking out, because that’s been done before, time and time again. Besides, the rising female artists in rock music, well, rock. They change the genre and push its boundaries with their new, fresh approaches to rock music. Their lyrics make us think about life in ways we may not have noticed. Their approach to rock gives us hope and helps us define our generation. Their music speaks to us, and we won’t stop listening anytime soon.

This shift will consist of not only more all-female bands but also multi-gendered bands. Soon we’ll even start to see male-led bands backed by all-female musicians. More importantly, this shift reflects a greater shift among our generation overall. Our generation will be one of greater inclusivity, built on the pillars of equality by giving voice to those who traditionally have had none. Here are some rising female rock bands that you need to listen to right now:


Swedish for “strong woman,” this Scandinavian band pulls out riffs reminiscent of 1980s British rock. The lead singer belts out powerful lines in a voice that is comparable to a force a nature. The band’s lyrics serve as a big middle finger to strong, domineering men who take advantage of women.

Songs: “No Mercy,” “Asleep,” “Witness.”

Sheer Mag

Not only does this hard-rocking Pennsylvanian band remind one of AC/DC, but the lead singer also breaks down the perceived conventions of female beauty. We should no longer expect female musicians to be of stunning proportions that are unrealistic at best. Instead, they should be human. She rocks her look and has one of the most unique rock music voices in the industry today.

Songs: “Hard Lovin,” “Fan the Flames.”

Cherry Glazerr

This Californian lo-fi garage rock band takes notes from St. Vincent in its aesthetics, but relinquishes nothing in its delivery. The lead singer’s voice ranges from calming and beautiful to wretched and ripped with emotion. Released when the band members were still in high school, the group’s first album explores the stereotypes of teenage girls and breaks down each one, one chord at a time.

Songs: “Had 10 Dollaz,” “White’s Not My Color This Evening,” “Trick or Treat Dancefloor.”


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St. Olaf Sentiments: May 1, 2015

In the past three semesters, I have produced food waste a total of five times in the Caf. In that total, I am not including when I have tossed peels, rinds and used napkins because they are nearly inedible. I have and will argue to the bitter end that such technicalities do not account as food waste in any meaningful way.

Wasting clearly edible food by virtue of one’s eyes being larger than one’s stomach, however, is a subject on which I silently fume, and is the basis of my sentiments today.

My reasons for being angry over food waste are not new. We are lucky to be living in the abundance of St. Olaf College, and that should not be taken for granted.

Soon, my class, the class of 2015, will graduate and realize more fully the struggles off the Hill, perhaps one of which is how 14.3 percent of U.S. citizens are food insecure. Our ample choice and access to nutritious food is a blessing that many do not possess.

Thankfully, St. Olaf composts 100 percent of its food waste and uses it in many ways on campus. Yet, this is an energy intensive process, and the required resources are better suited elsewhere. Continued food waste compounds into an unnecessary demand that, although dealt with sustainably at St. Olaf, still requires our action and energy.

Most likely, Oles are aware of these reasons. Yet, it is difficult to enact a change on a large scale. Altering our food waste is a collective problem, and a small amount of uneaten food by any single individual a few times per week does not make an appreciable dent in the 175 tons of wasted food composted by St. Olaf every year. It is also easy to grab too much with our buffet-style eating, to receive too much from an apathetic Caf worker or to dislike what appeared, at first, intriguing to our eyes. Yet, I would argue, it is not hard to combat these pitfalls.

You can ask for specific amounts to ensure you do not get too much at any line, nor from the server. I consistently ask for a scoop-and-a-half of eggs at breakfast, and its specificity gives an amount generally consistent with my appetite. In addition, if a new food appears delicious, ask for a small amount so as not to feel the need to choke it down later if you indeed dislike it.

These suggestions are clearly not exhausting, and there are surely better solutions for change waiting to be discovered or implemented. Possible solutions are not within my area of expertise, but they are my concern. Until we develop new ways to reduce food waste, perhaps the best method of prevention comes from a reminder such as this.


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Proposed SGA Constitution changes put to the vote