Since I was a little kid I loved to be active and play sports. I got involved at an early age with organized sports including football, basketball and baseball. Once it was time to move off to college, I was a bit worried about not being able to keep athletics as a part of my life. I was not nearly good enough to play sports at a college level, but lucky for me, intramural sports came as a great option!
Through my college years at WSU, I have been involved with intramural basketball, and it just so happens, it is intramural basketball playoffs this very week! What is so great about intramural basketball is that it is divided into two leagues: A and B. A-league is for those athletes that consider themselves able to keep up with very competitive and seasoned players. B-league is for those who enjoy to play ball in a social setting, with more an emphasis on fun, rather than the outcome of the game. I myself am a B-league player, and proud of it.
My team consists of 8 guys that all met in our freshman dorm, Lourdes Hall. We have a pretty tight bond, and playing on a team together in B-league for the past 5 years gives us the chance to hang out on campus and be a part of the WSU student community. Our team name (tongue and cheek to say the least) is “The Red Shirt Seniors” and pokes fun at our 5th year senior status. We have a pretty good chance at making a run in the playoffs this week, we just got to make some big shots down the stretch.
If basketball is not your cup of joe, WSU offers many different options to fill up that competitive edge. Football, softball and volleyball are probably the most popular, but soccer is becoming more of an attraction each year. Intramural sports at WSU have benefited me with a fun way to stay in shape, and also a great activity to do with friends each year.
With only two weeks left of school, tensions are high. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got numerous tests, papers and presentations due before the end of next week. I had almost reached a breaking point yesterday, when I was sitting in the Smaug and suddenly felt like the yellow walls were slowly closing in on me, but then I was given a handful of bubble wrap.
This timely and helpful gift was a part of Anti-Stress Fest on Tuesday afternoon in East Hall. The event brought in a collection of clubs from around campus, but was hosted by Winona State’s Active Minds club. They had a table with club information, more bubble wrap and anti-stress rocks in the middle of the room. Around them, there was a half circle of tables with hula-hoops, free Chartwells apples and a station for making stress balls.
RunnerUp Comedy Troupe performed around 11:30 and, when I arrived around 2:30, Anime Club was dancing. There were also Health and Wellness advocates present, along with representatives from Bedsider and SEMAC to promote safe sexual behavior. There was even a collection of beanbag chairs set up around a movie for those who just needed to sit for awhile.
Overall, the event was both fun and relaxing, and Active Minds co-presidents, Gretchen Haga and Alex Paulson, were pleased with the event’s success. Active Minds has only been around for one semester, so they were happy to see that so many clubs and individuals came to support them. But if you weren’t fortunate enough to make Tuesday’s event, don’t fret! Active Minds meets once a week and focuses upon mental health awareness. Though their meetings have been on Monday evenings at 6pm, contact Gretchen at firstname.lastname@example.org or like their Facebook page for more information about next semester’s meetings.
Although tensions are running high at this point in the semester, I walked away from Anti-Stress Fest feeling a little bit better. Perhaps it was because of the information I learned about stress management. Or, perhaps, it was because I was destroying a sheet of bubble wrap as I returned to conquer the walls of the Smaug and my homework.
For more information about the national Active Minds organization, please visit: www.activeminds.org
It’s likely you’ve heard of eating disorders, but you might not know are the warning signs of these dangerous diseases. Eating disorders– predominantly anorexia and binge eating– are more prominent on college campuses than most people think.
Heading to college is a time full of transition—you’re interacting with new people, you’re responsible for yourself and you have to adapt to a new environment. While this time is fun and exciting, it is also a time of vulnerability. That’s what makes students more vulnerable to eating disorders as they enter into college.
This is a topic that hits close to home for me since one of my best friends developed anorexia during high school. Without knowing the warning signs, I didn’t even realize she had the disease until she had to be admitted into treatment. That’s why I believe that knowledge of these eating disorders is so incredibly important—it can mean the difference between catching it early and years of treatment, or even the difference between life and death.
So, what are the warning signs?
I want to make the point that these signs do not automatically mean that someone has an eating disorder. These are simply common signs among people who do have these illnesses. If you see these signs in a friend, talk to them gently and express your concern.
If you have an eating disorder, or suspect a friend of having an eating disorder, you can stop by Counseling & Wellness Services in the Integrated Wellness Center 222, or call 507-457-5330 to make an appointment. You can also find a lot of information and support at the National Eating Disorder Association website.
The holiday season is once again upon us and excitement is filling the WSU campus. It is the time of year where college students like you and I grow tired of our own cooking or the food in the cafeteria and look forward to heading home to our families to a long awaited, home-cooked meal.
With all the excitement of going home, it is easy to forget an important aspect of what Thanksgiving is about, being thankful for what you have. With all of the daily stressors that impact our lives, it is difficult to truly think about what we really have to be grateful for. Taking a step back and being grateful for what you have is something that is stressed around this time of year, and trust me, we all have things in which to be grateful for.
If you are reading this, then you are fortunate enough to have access to technology and the Internet. If you experience the stress of daily schoolwork, then you are fortunate enough to be in school. If you have plans to spend the holiday eating with friends and family, then you are fortunate enough to have loved ones that you can enjoy the day with.
Unfortunately, many people do not have the luxuries that many of us have. There are many that do not have money for food, shelter, or access to even basic living accommodations that we take for granted. As one can imagine, this time of year can be very difficult for people in need.
I feel that it is important to acknowledge how truly important it is to reach out to these people and help them have the enjoyable holiday we all deserve. Helping those in need, especially this time of year, can have a very positive and meaningful impact on someone’s life. This can be done with something as little as donating or as big as volunteering your time for a good cause.
There is no one reason that I can tell you why you should volunteer because I feel that it is personal decision. Many people find religion as a motivator to give, others find that they just want to help out a fellow human being, and others take personal pride in giving. No matter what reason motivates you, the impact will still be the same. Volunteering brings people together, builds a sense of community, and truly makes an impact on the lives of people who need it.
The positive affects also don’t extend only to others however. Personally, volunteering and donating can give a sense of motivation and self achievement, help you meet a variety of people, introduce you to new hobbies and even help boost your career opportunities.
There are many opportunities to get out there here in Winona. For example, the Winona State Student Council for Exceptional Children Club is working with the Kids First Daycare Center is hosting “Stock the Shelves at Kids First” in order to provide underprivileged children in the area with items such as baking mixes, frosting, sprinkles, etc. In addition, the Special Education department is hosting a book drive for local children. There is a box in the Gildemeister Office where all books and items can be dropped off.
The Housing and Residence Life Office has set out collection bins in the residence halls for their annual Toys for Tots drive. There will be many more drives like these taking place through the rest of November and into December.
If you would like to volunteer your time, there are plenty of opportunities located locally here in Winona. Habitat For Humanity, the Winona Parks and Recreations Department, and many other organizations are located here that would love additional hands to help out.
Whatever way you would like to get out there, getting involved and helping others is something that can make lasting impacts on everyone in the community. ‘Tis the season to be happy and to make others happy as well.
It’s that time of year again and we’ll be stuffing ourselves with Grandma’s mashed potatoes, Mom’s pumpkin pie, and Dad’s prized turkey that he swears is his best one yet. We all know the holidays are a hard time on our stomachs, because let’s be honest, we can’t get enough of that delicious home-cooked food.
Typically, the average American consumes approximately 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat during a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, and that’s not including breakfast, lunch or the snacks along the way. Also, studies show most Americans gain 1 to 2 pounds during the holidays.
The reality is nobody wants to be diet conscious with all of their favorite foods around. I mean, I love jellied cranberry and gravy, but I don’t want to pack on the pounds because I ate four full plates of food. So I was curious what I could do to eat a little healthy on the holidays and this is what I found:
Honestly, even if you don’t want to substitute your foods or eat more veggies, just remember to indulge but not stuff yourself full. We all want to fit in our pants the day after Thanksgiving, and the slice of pumpkin pie with delicious whipped cream isn’t going to kill you.
Be safe and have a tasty Thanksgiving!
There’s one hot topic on campus and that’s sex–but it’s not about the partners, positions or dirty details. It’s about how to have safe sex in college. Lately there have been many campus events focused on promoting safer sex for students, so what’s the big deal?
College is typically seen as a time of freedom, and often students choose to experiment with drinking, drugs, and hookups. And it’s all fun and games, right? Wrong. Hooking up with a sexual partner without asking about their sexual experience could lead to sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) and nobody wants those. Not only that, you need to think about the barriers you’ll be using to prevent pregnancy.
We all know that abstinence is the best answer for prevention of STI’s and pregnancy, but not everyone wants to wait. Whether it’s with a boyfriend or girlfriend, an old friend or a new found acquaintance, you need to be prepared to ask some important questions.
Now, I understand that all of these questions might be hard to ask, but they are essential for your own sexual health. I mean, could you imagine telling your future husband or wife that you have an STI from a fling you had in college, or telling your parents that you’re pregnant or got someone pregnant from a one-night stand?
Luckily for Winona State students, many of these options are available through Health & Wellness Services. For more information on these barrier methods or more information on sexual health, contact Health Services or visit Semcac.
Whatever type of birth control you use is up to you, but it is never ok to let a sexual partner talk you out of using any at all. If a guy says he is too big for a condom, run away as this absolutely proves he is lying!
Protect yourself and your partner(s) from STI’s and pregnancies by always practicing safe sex.
He is only 2 years old, he never graduated with a degree, and he likes to spend his free time digging holes and chasing squirrel. Yet still, he is an important member of the Winona State Counseling and Wellness Services team, despite the fact that he isn’t even human!
His name is Winston and he is a 2-year-old Blue Heeler/Rat Terrier and a certified therapy dog. His job here at Winona State is simple, to make you happy. The goal for Winston is to help students reduce stress, curb anxiety, feel more relaxed, and in general, put a smile on your face. With a wag of the tail and a smile on his face, being greeted by Winston can turn even the most burly, cold-hearted man into a squealing toddler on Christmas morning.
It was on a warm summer’s day, early in the semester when I first had the pleasure of meeting the one and only Winston. I recall fondly that I was doing some last minute review for a test I had the next hour. Suddenly, I was snapped out of the midst of hysteria by a familiar, wet nose of a dog. I looked up to find Winston looking excitedly at me, like a beam of sunshine peaking through the clouds on a gloomy day. Although our time together lasted but a few minutes, the thoughts of my impending academic doom slipped away as I played with the happy dog.
Nothing quite has the ability to brighten your day quite like the company of a dog.
If you would like to meet Winston, he is on campus in Counseling and Wellness Services once or twice a week with his owner, Lynda Brzezinski. If you see him on a walk around campus, feel free to say hi! Or if you can set up an appointment to visit Winston by contacting Lynda Brzezinski at email@example.com.
Whether it’s due to a barrage of exams, a flood of papers or simply the heat of homework and creeping deadlines, we all know college can be very stressful at times. One simple thing people forget to do is take time to relax and find peace of mind. A great solution to this is mindful meditation.
What is mindful meditation you ask?
Mindful meditation is a western, research based form of meditation derived from a 2,500-year-old practice called Vipassana or Insight Meditation. This type of meditation allows you to develop the ability to focus on your inner and outer experiences with acceptance, patience and compassion.
“Mindfulness is a quality, which human beings already have, but they have usually not been advised that they have it, that it is valuable, or that it can be cultivated. Mindfulness is the awareness that is not thinking but which is aware of thinking, as well as aware of each of the other ways we experience the sensory world, i.e., seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, feeling through the body.”
Basically this means through mindful meditation you can focus on a more positive life outlook and become more attuned to your life experiences and emotions.
That all sounds good, so how do you try it?
Here are the basic steps:
If you don’t want to practice on your own time there is a Mindful Meditation Group that meets in Memorial Hall Dance Studio, every Monday from 12-12:50pm. There next meeting is on Monday, November 4th.
The benefits of mindful meditation include:
Ok, so maybe you’re still skeptical of mindful meditation, but watch this TED talk about mindfulness and reflect on your life. How “one” with your body are you? Are you living in the moment and living your life to its full capacity? Mindful meditation can help you fix the disconnect between your mind, body and potential.
I encourage you all to try mindful meditation, whether on your own or in a group like the Mindful Meditation Group at WSU. You may or may not like it, but mindful meditation could be the answer to relieving your stress and creating a better life for yourself.
There’s nothing like a little blood donation on Halloween – but I’m not talking about vampires. From October 30th to November 1st, Winona State will be hosting a Red Cross Blood Drive in East Hall. Winona State has received multiple recognitions for being a school of large contribution.
Blood donations are always needed so get out and help those in need! High school and college students contribute up to 20 percent of the Red Cross’s donations.
Every day patients from all around the United States need more than 44,000 units of blood! This blood is used for treating a variety of diseases and used in important procedures such as cancer, leukemia, sickle cell anemia, organ transplants, heart bypass, and so many more.
What does it take to donate you ask? You and your blood. Donating is actually pretty simple. All you need to do is:
The blood donation process only takes about 5-10 minutes on average and about 30-45 from registration and recovery. And let’s face it, who doesn’t want free cookies and juice for doing a good deed?
Every donation made saves three lives. And not only do you influence the lives of the patients, but also their friends and family. All blood types are needed and who knows whom you could be helping!
Now if you are still skeptical and are thinking “I’m afraid of needles” or “I don’t like to see blood” let me tell you…STOP! It’s okay to be afraid and it’s okay to be uncomfortable. The people’s lives you help are worth it.
Personally, I’m deathly afraid of needles and I faint if I over-think the process of donating, but that doesn’t stop me. One of the best things you can do is helping others, and that’s exactly what you are doing by donating.
If you are afraid (like me) just let the nurses know beforehand and they will be more than helpful. All of the volunteers and workers will support you and aid you through the whole process to make sure it’s enjoyable (and that you don’t faint or freak out).
If you do want to donate book an appointment here:
Click “search zip code” and type in 55987, then go ahead and schedule an appointment to donate!
Or just drop by East Hall on:
Remember you are a hero, and don’t forget to grab a sticker for your donation!