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8 Ways to Prepare for the Early Spring

Well, we saw that our beloved groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, didn’t see his shadow Tuesday morning, thus predicting an early spring. Ironically we found ourselves in the midst of a #snowpocolypse… but once winter gets its last snowfall out of the way, all we can hope for is blooming flowers and longer days. Here are ways you can prepare for the early spring:

1) Exchange your snow boots for rain boots

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Of course, don’t put those snow boots away until our blizzard snow has moved on, but as the weather warms up and the snow melts away, we are going to have a collection of puddles all over town that your rain boots are just waiting to jump in.

2) Stay focused

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As most of us know, the better the weather gets, the easier it is for us to procrastinate on our schoolwork. However, as the groundhog predicts, better weather is on its way quickly so make sure you keep your head in the game and don’t let yourself get too behind in school. You’ll definitely regret it as finals week approaches at its famously fast rate. Make sure you are aware of ways to relieve stress as you start to feel the pressures of spring semester!

3) Get a leap on spring cleaning

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Most of us will be moving out of our houses/apartments or even graduating so why not spend these winter weeks cleaning out your stuff so that you have less to pack and more time to enjoy the spring weather outdoors! If you’re looking to put your old things to good use, consider donating your unwanted items to the Jamaica travel study that SPED students are embarking on over spring break.

4) Get off Netflix and hit the gym

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We all know that during the holiday season it’s hard to stick to our healthy eating and exercise routines, but soon summer will be here and we will want to feel at our best! Use this time to grab a friend and enjoy a zumba class or shoot some hoops so when the sun comes back at its strongest we can enjoy Winona’s beauty and get outside! For ideas, check out WSU’s Wellness Blog and Pinterest board.

5) Make your summer 2016 bucket list

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Every summer we make our mental bucket list of places we’d like to visit, people we would like to see or new things we would like to try. So why not take a pen and paper (or for you Pinterest lovers, create a new board) and create that list. If you’re in Winona for the summer, check out WSU’s Pinterest boards “Around Winona” or “Tour Winona”– there are many hidden gems that you’ll want to take advantage of before you graduate!

6) Get out those shades and that sunscreen

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The sun is returning! You can say goodbye to those gray clouds that seem to consume the sky on any given winter day, but we can see the yellow lining! (see what I did there?) Coming from someone who burns just thinking about the sun, you can never be too careful as we approach sunny weather. Not to mention the sun will sneak up on you as you’re driving to classes or home from work and with chances that the snow will still be here a while, don’t let the white reflections blind you.

7) Start mentally planning your garden

Sometimes college students can do adult things too, right? I know I look forward to growing my own veggies and bringing in my favorite flowers to spice up my apartment in the spring. If you have free time plan what you’d like to buy or a garden you’d like to start. It can save you money and tastes way better than buying produce at the store!

8) Don’t procrastinate looking for that internship

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We all do it. We know we have to get in gear and start searching for the right internship before the deadlines creep up on us but don’t wait too long. You’ll want options so that you’re just as happy with your internship and they are to have you. If you need more tips and tricks on how to find the perfect internship, check out WSU’s “Warrior Professional” Pinterest board.

Lauren Reuteler

A Day in the Cleats of a Rugby Player

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The Winona State University women’s rugby team, the Black Katts. (Photo contributed by Kari Jordan)

Rugby is not your typical extra curricular activity. Our rugby team here at Winona State has made it into the National Final Four the past five years in a row, have competed in the National Final the last four years and claimed the title as National Champs in 2013. As exciting as that sounds, you may be wondering, “What even is rugby?” I often find myself wondering the same thing, so I took it upon myself to ask a few of my friends who are on the team what life is like in the cleats of a WSU rugby player physically, emotionally and mentally.

Just like playing any other sport in college, a rugby player’s typical day can be quite the balancing act. Kari Jordan, a freshman on the rugby team, describes her typical day of balancing homework, practices, sleep, lifting and games as “stressful and exhausting.”

Kari added, “It is hard to take care of your body during the season because you are just so exhausted and your body really takes a beating.”

Many times throughout the semester Kari and her teammates had to study on the long bus rides to and from games while running on very little sleep. Cassie Schultz, a junior on the rugby team, commented, “Sleep is very scarce during the season.”

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The Winona State University women’s rugby team, the Black Katts, competing on the left. (Photo contributed by Kari Jordan)

If you do not know much about rugby, like myself, you may be thinking about how awful this all sounds; why would anyone want to play rugby? Well, despite the few negatives that go along with each rugby season, there are actually many positive things that make all of the hard work and dedication worthwhile.

Even though the lifting programs, tackling drills, and running a mile or more at the beginning of each practice does not sound enjoyable, the benefits of being in amazing shape makes the countless drops of sweat totally worth it. But why do players continue to put themselves through this?

When asked to describe what she loves most about rugby, Cassie said, “Our rugby team here at Winona State is like a family. We are all really close friends and there is no drama. It seems like the stress that rugby brings actually draws us closer as a team.”

The Winona State University women's rugby team, the Black Katts. (Photo contributed by Kari Jordan)

The Winona State University women’s rugby team, the Black Katts. (Photo contributed by Kari Jordan)

It is extremely rare to find a group of girls working together every day that can say there is no drama within their team. Incredible. Think about your group projects from last semester for a second; think about all of the conflicts that arose and the drama that was created from those conflicts. Now imagine what your project could have been like without the drama. You may be thinking, “Wow, that sounds quite nice. We could have accomplished so much more.” I believe that is exactly how these Warriors consecutively make it to the finals. They set a goal for themselves, focus on it, work together, and become a family through all of it.

Although we all may not understand the technical rules of rugby, we can still take away some transferable and valuable lessons by putting ourselves in the cleats of a dedicated rugby player. From this you have seen that goal setting, hard work, dedication, sacrifice and having a team mentality are all things that lead to positive outcomes. Whether you are chasing after a championship or an ‘A’ on your group project this semester, I want to encourage you to set aside the drama and focus on working together towards your common goal so that you will not only achieve success, but also gain a family.

Erin Kloepping

Reality Check: Tweak Your New Year's Resolutions

The first week of classes in 2016 are finished, and a daily routine has been established. The campus and gym are buzzing with the return of students. Many eager students are visiting the IWC and swiping their ID’s hoping to attain New Year’s resolutions. Resolutions themselves are a nice way of goal setting, however most resolutions are rather unattainable. This can be partly due to unrealistic expectations. Here are some common resolutions modified to make them easier and manageable.

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“Lose 10 lbs. in 2 months” to “Go to the gym three times a week” or “Get 30 minutes of physical activity daily”

I absolutely detest weight loss resolutions and I never make them for myself. These weight loss resolutions are so demeaning and when you step on the scale and don’t see the number you’re looking for, it’s frustrating. It’s easier to quit when you realize what you’re doing isn’t causing pounds to fall off. Well, let’s stop with the weight loss resolutions and modify it to focus on physical activity in general. Exercise has so many positive benefits including an increase in energy, being less stressed and being happier thanks to the release of endorphins. So focus on getting physical activity daily, whether it’s in the IWC or not.

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“Save Money” to “Take $50 from every paycheck to put towards savings”

Sometimes resolutions are so broad that they’re hard to fulfill. Saving money is a huge resolution I hear daily. Instead, focus on how much you want to save. Do you want to go somewhere for spring break? Purchase a new digital camera? Take portions of your paychecks to put toward a savings account. That way you can still have a weekly coffee outing without being broke.

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“Be Less Stressed” to “Take out 30 minutes daily just for myself”

College is overwhelming – that’s a no brainer. So, focus on taking 30 minutes out of your crazy schedule to do something for yourself. Whether that’s coloring, reading a book or going to a yoga class, these minutes will be beneficial. It’s okay to take time out for yourself because it helps to relax. If you’re not at your best, studying won’t help much. So take a break and relax and then return to studying at the library.

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“Eat Healthier” to “Cook a meal twice a week” or “Have a serving of any vegetable every day”

Eating healthier is another very broad resolution because eating healthy has a different definition to everyone. Cooking home meals tend to be less caloric versus going out to eat. So, try and cook a meal with some friends and throw in some broccoli while you’re at it. Stir-fry is an awesome meal to make that’s pretty healthy and tastes amazing.

The key to New Year’s resolutions is to make them specific and attainable. To the gym goers who are striving for physical activity, don’t give up! Physical activity has numerous benefits to the mind and body. I wish all of you luck in completing your newly improved resolutions!

Mariah Kaercher

Prepare Yourself! Winter Break is Almost Here

Photo credit: Shannon Bolte '13

Photo credit: Shannon Bolte ’13

It’s the most stressful time of year (I hope you read that to Andy Williams’ It’s the Most Wonderful Time of Year). With finals right around the corner, it is hard to think about anything other than homework, exams and, of course, break—a wonderful month without papers, exams and homework. However, it is important that you do not forget to prepare for break. This includes cleaning your dorm room or house/apartment, saying goodbye to your WSU family and keeping yourself healthy.

One of the most important things you should clean in your room or house/apartment is your fridge. No one wants to come back to a fridge full of moldy food or have to smell it. Your roommate(s) will not be impressed. Even if you will be here over break it wont hurt to clean out. Also, if you are going home, do not forget to unplug your mini fridge (if you have one) and your other electronics! If you are not going to be here what is the point of leaving stuff plugged in and taking up all that electricity. Lets be real, electricity is expensive so why not save a couple bucks? Your wallet and your roommates will thank you.

On top of this, remember to keep yourself healthy. You have heard it all before: get enough sleep, drink plenty of water, eat breakfast and other meals, take breaks, blah blah blah. It’s all easier said than done but even doing two of these things will help you. Especially the sleep thing, because next thing you know you are tearing up because you spilt your Redbull during an all-nighter, and your friend is staring at you like your crazy. And yes that actually happened to me, but let’s move on. Time management is key! Be sure to set aside time to study for each of your exams and make sure you actually use that time study. I promise you don’t want be the girl who almost cried over spilt Redbull. Also, be sure to schedule breaks for yourself. If you spend all night studying you are actually retaining less information than you would by breaking it up. Trust me, nobody wants to be sick for the holidays.

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Another thing to do before you leave or your friends leave is say goodbye to everyone in Winona, even if you’re swamped with studying during finals week. Your friends here have probably become your second family. They are the people you’ve seen pretty much everyday the entire semester, and now you are not going to see them for a whole month. While a month without school seems like no time, a month without your friends seems like an eternity. Try studying together so you can hangout and be productive at the same time. If you get distracted too easily by that, take study breaks together. Get your group together and go to dinner or have a movie night. Take one last hike or drive up to Garvin. It’s getting really cold outside but the view is worth the trip! I’m not saying you should completely avoid your schoolwork, but taking your mind off of it for a little bit never hurt anyone. After all, these are the kinds of things you will remember from college, not the topic of your seven-page research paper you just pulled an all-nighter to complete.

Any who, get back to your homework, cleaning, hanging out with your friends, or studying – whatever you are doing; but be sure to keep your best interests in mind heading into winter break!

Kayla Severson

7 Tips For a Healthier Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year. We get a much needed break from classes, get to see family and friends, and there is deer hunting and Black Friday shopping. Oh, and don’t think I forgot the best part of it all: FREE FOOD. I don’t know about you guys, but free and food are two of my favorite words, especially when the food is free. However, I can’t help but notice my metabolism isn’t as fast as it used be and the holidays are famous for being an unhealthy time of year. So here are few tips to healthier Thanksgiving:

1) Exercise before dinner

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Now, I’m not saying you should do a full 30 minute workout or anything like that, but there are other things you can do. Go for a short walk or play a quick game of football with your family. Both of these allow you time to bond and catch up with your family. It also kills time before dinner, so the wait does not seem as long.

2) Eat breakfast

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You know what they say, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” and that includes Thanksgiving. In the past I have skipped breakfast on Thanksgiving as a way to cut back on eating, however this can make you eat more. You are so hungry by the time dinner rolls around that you eat more. Breakfast can help you avoid overeating.

3) Position yourself well

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What do I mean by this? When you finally sit down to eat, do not put yourself by dessert or the candy bowl. They are just going to be more tempting and easier to sneak. If you are across the table, the temptation will be limited.

4) Portion Control

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Speaking of limits, another helpful tip is to keep your portions limited. Choose smaller portions to avoid overeating. It seems like every year my Dad tells me, “Your eyes are bigger than your stomach,” meaning I always take more food than I actually eat. Because I am so stubborn I do my best to eat all of it to make a point. This is absolutely unnecessary and I will try to avoid it this year. You should also try to choose equal portions of turkey, vegetables and whatever else your family has to offer. This way you can eat from all the food groups!

5) Eat slower

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This may seem silly but it really is helpful. With all the excitement of a home cooked meal and your Grandma’s homemade stuffing, you may eat faster than you realize. This also results in overeating. If you eat slower than your stomach can recognize, then you become full quicker.

6) Skip the soda

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Instead of grabbing a Diet Coke or a Mountain Dew, reach for a glass of water instead. Soda is really unhealthy for us; according to my doctor, the equivalent is consuming a cup of sugar. He has a PhD so I didn’t question him. But a cup of sugar is kind of gross if you think about it. If you don’t want to give up all the delicious food, this tip is for you.

7) Don’t feel guilty

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Finally, if you do eat too much or take a second and third helping, don’t feel bad. Personally, I set out to eat better every holiday season, yet every year I give in. Granted half the time it is because I’m trying to avoid the question none of us want to answer. You know, the “What are your plans after graduation?” I don’t know yet, okay everyone? Anyways, I may give in every year, but I also get better at following these tips every year. I mean it is Thanksgiving after all and it is a day for eating!

Kayla Severson

Friends 'Til the End: How to Deal With Conflict

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With finals just around the corner, it is a stressful time for everyone and sometimes tensions run high. This can lead to problems in your friendships. Maybe you snapped at your friend because you are under stress. Maybe you are roommates and you had a huge fight over something stupid, like not doing the dishes. I don’t know your situation and it is none of my business, but I have definitely been through my share of friend drama.

Based on past experience, the best thing to do right away is give yourself, and your friend, space. Allow yourself to calm down and collect your thoughts before talking to your friend again. It is only fair to give them a chance to do the same.

The next thing to do is confront, but do not blame, your friend. After you have collected your thoughts and feel like it is time to move past the issue you should go talk to your friend. Make sure they are also ready to talk, and then tell him or her your side of the story. Or tell them what they did that bothered you. Also, listen to his or her side of it. If you start by accusing your friend before you hear his or her side it probably will not end well. As my mother would say “put yourself in their shoes and see how you like it from where they’re standing.” As much as it annoys me, she is right.

 

Apologize, apologize, apologize! I cannot stress enough that apologizing is important. Lets be honest here, we’re not in high school anymore, so who cares who says sorry first? If you want to work things out with your friend then just say you are sorry. Let them know you care. If you are like me then you are super stubborn and think you are always right. However, right or wrong, I apologize. At the end of the day it is your friendship that matters – not who has the best argument.

Do not forget to be honest. It might be awkward at first, but it could prevent a fight in the future. Your friend or roommate is not a mind reader and do not realize they have said or done something that has upset you. Tell them. You don’t have to be rude; just pull them aside and explain how you feel. Maybe even make a pact to always be honest in the future.

Finally, move on. Do not dwell on a problem after it has been discussed and worked out. You will most likely just get annoyed and angry all over again, which is not good for anybody. Like I said earlier, at the end of the day your friendship is what is important.

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Cue Toy Story’s “You’ve got a friend in me.”

Kayla Severson

Put Down the Turkey Leg, it's Time to Run!

Thanksgiving – a time of thanks, eating, football, family and running. Yep, you read that right; Thanksgiving has become one of the biggest running days of the year, according to a post in The New York Times.

My family typically keeps it traditional. We usually have most of our family over for the feast. Lots of turkey, stuffing, pie and laughs are shared among us. The past few years we have added a new tradition: the Turkey Trot.

My friend (right) and I at the 2014 Turkey Trot. Start a tradition with your friends and family and start running!

Me (left) and my friend (right) at the 2014 Turkey Trot. Start a tradition with your friends and family and start running!

The Turkey Trot is a run hosted all across the country that takes place Thanksgiving morning. You can also choose to walk it! It can be a distance anywhere from a 5k all the way up to a 10k. The races are often tied to a fundraiser or food drives for local charities. The one hosted in my hometown goes to the local food pantry.

Of course, many people are motivated by the meal later on. Why feel bad about stuffing your face if you ran a 5k earlier in the day?! So lace up your shoes, find the nearest Turkey Trot by googling your location and create your newest family tradition!

Hannah Peterson

Tips to Managing it all as a Student

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I am exactly 1,148.6 miles from home. I came to Winona State to study Graphic Design and Dance. I came to Winona to be independent. To do all of that, I had to take on three jobs. To do all of that, I had to move off campus as soon as possible. To do all of that, I had to learn how to juggle it all. So what is my secret? Sometimes even I don’t know that.

I currently work for the Web Communications Department on campus where I am also second in command of the blogs. I also work at the College of St. Teresa in their Alumni Office. I haven’t been working much there, but will get calls to shovel snow when it comes. And finally, I also work at Hyvee in their kitchen.

I am currently taking only 14 credits, but most of my days still end at around 4pm. Most of my days consist of waking up at around 8am and going to my Web Comm job for our 9am meetings. I stay till noon, then go to lunch, only to head to my 1pm class that goes till 4. Not too bad, right? But that’s only Monday and Wednesday. On Tuesdays I have class from 9:30 am till 8pm with only an hour and a half break to quickly eat and get some kitten snuggles. Thursdays are better with me ending at 5pm, but on those days not much gets done. And Friday is my work day. I used to work from 9am till midnight but my schedule changed.

And somehow with all that work, I still find time to hang out with my roommate and play with my cat.

One of my biggest piece of advice to someone with a busy schedule would be to let your place of work know when you start to get busy with homework. School comes first, especially when you are paying a lot of money to go to it.

Also, don’t put things off till last minute. I am still trying to kick this habit since I know that next semester will be even harder since I might have to actually find a fourth job (yikes!). I will also be taking around 17 credits, all of them being gen ed courses. To top it all off, I am becoming the crazy cat lady my father told me I would be, and getting another kitten this week (hopefully – the Humane Society hasn’t told me if I have been approved yet).

But honestly. Don’t stress. I tend to be more productive when I am relaxed and not stressing than when I am super stressed. Take a breath, put on some classical music, make some hot cocoa and believe that you can get it all done in the short 13 hours we have in a day (taking out the time to sleep and eat). And don’t forget to reward yourself when something good happens, like getting a really good grade on a hard test or just making it through a really tough week. There are plenty of ways to keep yourself motivated, so find what works and keep at it!

We will get through this together!

Rachel Adam

Tricks, Treats and Smart Choices: Halloween Guidelines

Pumpkins are everywhere and every shelf in the store has skulls on it. There can only be one explanation: its Halloween. This means eating tons of candy (somewhat) guilt free, shamelessly taking a questionable amount of selfies in your costume and spending 10 minutes rounding up the crew to try and get a decent group photo of you all dressed up. But, you should still be as safe as possible and keep in mind how you are acting on this fun-filled day.

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When it comes to social events, go have fun dancing and mingling. But be careful. Go with a group of friends that won’t leave you behind or let anything happen to you. It’s a good idea to have a meeting place designated if your group gets split up – even though everyone will undoubtedly have their cell phone glued to his or her hands anyway. You never know when a phone might die! We all know that tends to happen at the worst times.

Also, keep in mind that certain costumes may be offensive to some people, even when you think otherwise. That being said, keep in mind what pictures you are posting to social media during Halloween. Who knows, in a couple of years your future boss could be scrolling through your Facebook and find a picture of you wearing a giant penis costume, and next thing you know you don’t have the job.

To sum it up, everyone should have tons of fun on Halloween. This doesn’t mean that common sense and good judgment calls should be thrown out the window. Stick with your friends, be mindful of how you are presenting yourself and have fun with the new slo-mo, fast-forward and rewind filters on Snapchat while in costume!

Rachel Adam  and Allison Mueller

 

Sexual and Relationship Violence is Real...What Would You do to Help?

In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Winona hosted Megan Rae, the director and author of the play “When….”  Last Monday I attended Megan Rae’s production, which was held in the Somsen Hall auditorium.

“When…” is an interactive play written, produced and performed by WSU students about sexual and relationship violence. Overall, the play was a very realistic portrayal of some of the violence that happens in our society today. The performance was broken up into three scenes that were all scenarios based on true experiences.

In the first scene, a verbally abused wife (standing) searches for a friend to listen to her experiences.

In the first scene, a verbally abused wife (standing) searches for a friend to listen to her experiences.

The first scene portrayed an abusive marriage where the wife was constantly being verbally abused by her husband, and eventually physically abused. The wife was desperately searching for a true friend to just listen to her, but no one would.  Instead, all of her so-called “friends” just gave their input on her marriage and told her that she had made a mistake or that she was fine, that she needed to get over herself. All of the reactions by her friends in this scene were examples of what not to do as a friend in this kind of situation.

After the scene was over, Megan Rae walked around the auditorium and asked people in the audience what they would do if they were one of the wife’s friends in this situation. From the audience’s feedback, we came to the conclusion that the best thing to do as a friend in this situation would be to listen to the wife, and ask her what she wants to do instead of just telling her what we think she should be doing. At the very least you could tell the wife, “The decision is up to you, but I can give you options.” This way she is not feeling blamed, and she doesn’t have to feel like she has to please everyone else.

According to the National Coalition of Domestic Violence, every nine seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten, and women between the ages of 18-24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner. What we need to realize is that these facts are real even here in Winona. As much as we don’t want to think about these things, it is extremely important that we do so we are prepared to handle a situation like this in the best way possible.

Scene two focused on bystander intervention as a bar fight breaks out.

Scene two focused on bystander intervention as a bar fight breaks out.

The second scene consisted of a bar fight between two individuals. Meanwhile, the bystanders are gossiping about the fight and egging or cheering them on. I think it is safe to say that all of us have witnessed this type of situation at some point in our lives. But the question is, will you step in? This scene really focused on bystander intervention and how important it is to not only step into a situation in an attempt to help, but also determining when is the right time to step into a situation.

Megan Rae once again cut the scene when the fight was at its climax and asked the audience “What would you do?” The audience came up with many insightful ideas, but this time Megan asked them to come up on stage and act out their ideas to see if they would work or not. The improv was quite entertaining, especially when one of the ideas wasn’t successful. Megan explained the key to success in trying to break up a fight like this is to remember the three D’s: Direct, Distract, Delegate. Through trial and error we found that being a distraction was one of the most successful of the three.

The third and final scene also illustrated bystander intervention as a party scene leads to sexual assault.

The third and final scene also illustrated bystander intervention as a party scene leads to sexual assault.

Lastly, the third scene was at a college house party, but the focus of this scene was on sexual assault. The plot consisted of a guy putting a drug in a girls drink as an attempt to convince her to go upstairs and “take a nap” with him. All of the girl’s friends that were at the party witnessed what was happening, yet didn’t step in and stop the guy from leading her upstairs. This is another situation that is commonly seen on college campuses, even here in Winona. This is real!

Again, this scene really emphasized bystander intervention. When the scene ended, Megan asked the audience, “What would you do?” A few people from the audience went on stage once again and demonstrated how they could step in as a bystander and attempt to stop the horrible situation that was about to unfold.

Alcohol is the #1 drug used to facilitate sexual assault. Therefore, the best way to avoid this from happening to you is being aware of what other people are putting into your drinks, or just not putting yourself in the situation to be vulnerable in the first place. Be smart about what you are doing when you go out with your friends. Decide who you want to be before you are in the situation.

Overall, this play was one that really made me think. It made me think about what I would do if I were to encounter any or all three of these scenes, and if my ideas would actually be successful. The truth that I took away from this play is that these situations are REAL. It is one thing to know that this is real, one thing to agree that what was going on in these scenes was and is wrong, and one thing to TRY! There is no perfect solution to any of these situations, but the worst thing you can do as a bystander is to not try.

There are many ways that you can take action and help people who have become victims of sexual and relationship violence. To find out how to get involved here on campus, check out WSU’s RE Initiative, a program that “supports survivors of gender-based violence and works to create a culture of respect and responsibility.”

                                                                                                –Erin Kloepping