Bienvenido, Bienvenue and Welcome to Learning a Second Language

a quote from Nelson Mandela about the importance of language

Rest in peace, Mr. Mandela, you magnificent man!

For the past 3 summers, I have worked at the Miller Brewery back home in Milwaukee, serving beer samples to people on tours of the brewery. One of the greatest benefits of working at the brewery (other than being paid to serve people free beer) is that the brewery tour is a very popular tourist destination for many people visiting the city and many of our guests were from other countries.

One day I met a family from Chile who were visiting the United States, so, as Spanish major, I saw the opportunity to test out my Spanish skills and struck up a conversation with them. They invited me to sit at their table and hang out with them, and after 30 minutes, we were telling jokes, laughing and having a great time all in their own language. This seemingly small experience was one of the most fun moments of my life. Although I was only sitting around a table and having a fun conversation, it was the connection that I created with this group of people while speaking their language that made it so special. It is for that reason that I have continued to study new languages.

Learning a second language opens up a whole new world of possibilities for yourself. The cognitive benefits alone have been shown to stave off Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, improves cognitive function allowing for easier multi-tasking and increased attention, as well as broadens our hold on language, improving the way we use and understand language (even our own). Now I can go all day rattling off reasons why learning a second language can help you mentally, but, in reality, it is not the sole reason why language knowing a second language is incredible.

In my opinion, the coolest part of knowing a second language is the new world of social opportunities that it opens up. You can do something as simple as order food at your favorite Mexican restaurant, or you can have big adventures by traveling and exploring the world. Being bilingual empowers you to break down barriers and allows you to connect with a wider range of people from different cultures. Just like my connection with the group from Chile, these interactions will help you build life-long memories and friends.

If you are interested in learning a second language, there are foreign language classes offered through Winona State. In my opinion, taking even the entry-level class provides you with a wonderful insight into new languages and even cultures. Now, of course these are all great opportunities, but let’s be real– we’re all busy college students and adding 4 credit language courses may not be a feasible option. Memorizing animals for French 101 along with the muscles in your hand for Anatomy and Physiology is not something many of you can fit into your schedule. Luckily, there are many resources and opportunities out there that can you can work into your schedule if you are interested in casually learning a second language.

  • Duolingo: My favorite language teaching website and app! I’m currently using it to casually pick up on some French. Duolingo provides free language lessons in Spanish, French, German, Portuguese or Italian for anyone of any skill level in a fun, interactive way.
  • MIT Open Courseware: Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers free online courses throughout a variety of subjects (incredible, huh?!).  They offer foreign language courses in a number of different languages from Spanish to Japanese.
  • BBC Languages: This website offers visitors valuable, free language learning programs and opportunities.

¡Buena Suerte! (Good Luck!)

–Caleb Bednarski

The Dos and Don'ts of Longboarding

courtney on her longboard

While longboarding is fun, it can also be dangerous.

Longboards are appearing all around campus, and so are trips to the emergency room. According to an article at, “Longboarders are at much greater risk of head fracture, traumatic brain injury and bleeding inside the skull (intracranial hemorrhage) than skateboarders.”

I myself have fallen off my longboard several times, but the embarrassment of falling on campus doesn’t match the possible bodily injury that could happen.

Here are some DOs for staying safe on a longboard:

  • DO skate in the street. First of all, it is illegal in most states to skate on a sidewalk (same with bicycles). That being said, if you plan to skate in the road, you must abide by all road rules that bikes and cars do; you must indicate turns, stop at stop signs and lights, have lights- in order to be safe and legal. However, the roads in Winona are not particularly safe for longboarders. There are lots of potholes, rocks, gravel and glass that make many of our streets difficult to ride.
  • DO ride like you drive. Ride with traffic if you can. Indicate your turns and stop at all stop signs and stop lights.
  • DO ride in groups. This increases visibility and assistance if someone falls. Do not obstruct traffic in your group, however.
  • DO ride in bright colors. Drivers aren’t trained to look for longboarders like they do for bicyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians. Avoid getting hit by an a person opening their car door, or hit by a car by being noticeable.
  • DO ride around the lakes. The lakes have been recently paved and ensure a smooth ride! It is safe, as long as you avoid other pedestrians!
  • DO ride in (empty) parking lots and on campus. These open spaces without cars or cross streets are good for practice and goofing around. There are fewer chances of collisions here, but your risk of falling and get hurt remains.
  • DO wear protective gear. Helmets, wrist guards and knee pads will aid in your riding experience. Slap some stickers on your helmet if you feel like a square– better safe than sorry.
  • DO wear shoes. It may be tempting to ride barefoot, but the Winona streets will cut up your feet. Keep flat shoes on when riding, and make sure they are fastened or tied properly.
  • DO take care of your board. Check the wheels and pay attention to the looseness or tightness of your trucks. Know how to fix them with the proper tools when you need to.
  • DO stay in control. You are not the only one on the road. Know that if you goof off or try to show off, you are not only risking your life, but others’ safety as well. You are responsible for damages if you cause an accident so leave tricks, experimenting and risk-taking to safe, closed off areas.

Now for the DON’Ts:

  • DON’T ride while wearing headphones. Headphones are great to set the mood, but restrict your safety and ability to know what’s going on around you. You need to always be aware of what’s in front of you and in your periphery, but also know what is behind you. If you MUST listen to music, ensure that you are constantly looking around you.
  • DON’T ride under the influence. There are clear problems, such as loss of balance and coordination coupled with impaired decision-making, with riding while drunk or high, not to mention you probably won’t be any good.
  • DON’T bomb Garvin Heights. You won’t be able to stop your longboard unless you fall. Or are hit by a car. Garvin is the biggest hill in Winona, but also the most dangerous for longboarders. A friend try to ride it and ended up losing all the skin on his back. He was lucky he wasn’t hit by a car coming around the blind corner.
  • DON’T grab cars to hitch a ride. It’s illegal and unsafe. However, being pulled around the lakes by a bicyclist friend is actually really fun and safe :)
  • DON’T leave your longboard unattended. I once had mine stolen after I left it out on the porch at a trusted friend’s house. Just like bikes, longboards are lucrative target for thieves so keep a close eye on your board.
  • DON’T ride wet. Avoid riding in rain or after it rains. Your wheels won’t like the rain, and neither will your board. If your feet are wet, the top of your board will get slippery, which is begging for an accident.

If You Fall

If you follow these safety tips, you will be less likely to have any accidents. But if you do fall, don’t get up right away. Assess your injuries: does your head hurt, did you black out, does it feel like something is broken? Hopefully you are not riding alone and your friends can assist you. If you are alone, try to call for help on a cell phone or shout. If you are in the street, try to scoot to safety if you can. If not, make yourself well lit (such as using the flashlight on a cell phone) and make yourself as big as possible so people in cars can see you and help instead of hitting you.

If you only remember one thing from this blog post, know that you are not invincible. In fact, we are all subject to cuts, broken bones, head injuries and even death. You must know and accept these liabilities before you ride and be smart the way you enjoy this fun sport.

Happy riding, Winona!

–Courtney McCaw

Messy House, Messy Mind

an illustration from The Hobbit of dragon Smaug on a pile of gold

Smaug has nothing on me at my messiest!

All right everyone, it’s group activity time. I want all of you to picture for a moment the state of your homes, especially your bedrooms. For those of you currently at home, this task may be simplified by taking a moment to look around.  Stop whatever else you’re doing just for a few seconds and just take in your environment.

Have a good image in mind?

Those of you who just pictured a comfortable, organized space with visible floors and no dishes in the sink, feel free to pat yourselves on the back and go back to your regularly scheduled blog-browsing.

Those of you who just grimaced as you realized that you still haven’t taken the laundry out of the basket this week or have a pile of cereal bowls in the sink that is starting to make the Tower of Pisa look insignificant may benefit from a brief jaunt down Sophie’s memory lane.

For many, many years I was definitely one of you guys. I was the type of girl who lived out of a suitcase even when I had a closet full of hangers at my disposal. I let books and homework pile up on the floor until I had to choreograph a very specific jumping pattern in order to reach my bed, and I hoarded enough cups, bowls and glasses on my desk that I put Smaug and his gold to shame.

My excuses were always the same: “Sure it’s a mess but it’s my mess” and “It’s a specific type of chaos that I can thrive in” or even “Yeah, it looks bad but I know where to find everything I need.” I lived this way in my single dorm for my freshmen and sophomore years and when I got roommates as a junior I just contained the disaster to my own room and didn’t let it bother them. I figured that would be good enough.

However, at the beginning of last semester I moved into a single apartment. As my class workload increased and the rest of my free time was being devoted to my new job, I realized that the controlled chaos was no longer as manageable as I thought. Halfway through the second month I realized that I’d never actually developed any reasonable cleaning skills. The clever hopping to my bed became a tedious path that I could barely navigate as I stumbled to bed after class and the bowls around my desk were frustratingly unavailable as I woke up early for work and needed a quick breakfast.

Without me even realizing it, my home environment had become just as stressful as my school and work.

It was then that I decided something had to change, but I couldn’t just undo years of perfect chaos. I had to develop a plan.

I started slowly by cleaning each dish immediately after using it. Later, I dumped my laundry on the bed so I’d have to put it away before I slept. Every time I stepped on something I picked it up and put it on a shelf. Each task was small in its own way, but it made a difference over a couple of weeks.  Slowly, the mess began to unravel and my cute little efficiency apartment actually became visible.

It wasn’t an immediate change, and now that I’m two months away from graduating, I’m finally in the habit of just putting things away as I finish with them to the point where I don’t even think about it anymore. I even bought a vacuum cleaner for myself. Seriously, I was actually excited when it came too. I am officially that person.

When I come home from class or work to a clean apartment it makes everything feel simpler. I can focus on homework without constantly hearing my mother’s voice saying “You should really take out the trash, Sophie.” My apartment actually feels like a sanctuary instead of a cave I rent for sleeping.

I obviously can’t convince some of you lovers of chaos that having a clean home can lend to a clear mind but I will vouch for it till the ends of the earth. Just starting small with a little floor-pick-up here and there is enough to give it a go.

Just know that your environment might be affecting you more than you realize, and even if the pile of socks by your bed says otherwise, you definitely have the power to control it.

Keeping your space clear can be a quick fix to help keep your stress maintained and it can be the first step in creating an environment that actually feels like home.  At the end of a long day sometimes that’s the best comfort in the world

Unless you count hot chocolate, of course.

–Sophie Kaplan

Hear That? Your Running Shoes are Calling

guy running on indoor track

Whether you prefer the outdoors or inside, now is the time to shake off the winter blues

As March raced to a close, we finally started to feel the air begin to warm, hear the birds chirping and see the grass replace snow. So I guess that means spring is here at last!

With the frigid days and dark evenings of winter behind us, we are beginning to crawl off the couch and away from our Netflix queues to take advantage of the new season. I’ve been seeing more and more people flock to the Wellness Center and the lakeside running trails to take in the sunshine and fresh air and to assess the damage the long winter has done to their levels of fitness.

For those of us that let winter get the best of them and are starting off back at square one, lacing up those running shoes and getting back out there can be a little difficult. You may be thinking, Where do I start? What should I be doing?  How do I get motivated? Luckily, it seems like the folks in the IWC know how difficult this can be and has given us students some great resources and sources of motivation to help us get back out there and get on the course back to healthy activities.

For those of you are not sure where to start, the Fitness Center offers free fitness programs that you can download and use to get in a routine. These workout programs vary in length, number of days, and the type of workout you are looking to do and are a great place to start after a winter of binge-watching Netfix.

If you need some external motivation, just remember that your friends are likely MORE than willing to tell you when you are slacking. Working out with a friend can be much more fun than going alone, so it can be a great motivator that will help you stay on track. If you can’t find anyone, Health and Wellness Services has can hook you up with a workout buddy.

For those of you that are living in the residence halls, Prentiss-Lucas Hall and the Quad are currently putting on various wellness challenges over the month of April. Talk to your RA about joining and try to help your floor get the most hours in the gym. A little competition can give you some motivation to get out there as well.

I’m writing this from under the covers of my bed, so clearly, I’m not perfect with this either. However, the urge to get rid of layer covering my stomach (10 pizzas in the last 6 weeks will do that to a guy) is starting to get to me. Luckily I don’t need the extra pudge to stay warm anymore.

Best of luck to all of you!

–Caleb Bednarski

Date Night in Winona

A map of Minnesota with a heart over the city of Winona

Awww, love is in the air here in Winona <3

Empty pockets are no excuse to deny your loved one a memorable Valentine’s Day. If you’re rummaging your brain for some romantic (yet relatively cheap) date nights in the Winona area, look no further. Here are some ideas on on how to keep your significant other (and wallet) happy on this national day of love.

The Active Date

If the Olympics have you convinced that your skating skills are just as amazing as a trained athlete’s, why not show off for your date? The Lake Lodge Recreation Center offers ice-skating, broomball and snowshoeing to all members for a small fee of $5 for a yearlong membership. The Lodge also provides a cracking fireplace to warm those frozen toes and maybe provide a chance to scoot a little closer… #cuddletime

The Studious Date

Sometimes, a good book and a steamin’ cup of coffee is absolutely necessary on a cold winter’s night. So why not enjoy a fictional tale together? Head on over to the Winona Public Library and swap each other’s favorite novels. Spend the night by the fireplace (or space heater) and get lost in the written word together.

The Classic Date

Dinner and a movie is never bad idea. Downtown Winona holds many different restaurants and diners just begging to be explored. I say Acoustic Café is a must-try for all Winona students. You and your date can split a hot hoagie and get to know each other in the cozy atmosphere. Then you can walk over to the Winona 7 Theatre to catch the latest film. Looking for a romantic comedy? Take your date to That Awkward Moment, a story about three friends dealing with modern day relationships starring Zac Efron.  (Because you can never go wrong with Zac Efron. Never.)

The Thrifty Date

Make Macklemore’s song come alive and try shopping in a few thrift stores over the weekend. Whether it be a “brown leather jacket that you found digging” or a broken keyboard, the adventure of thrifting is sure to make a memorable date for you both. Make things more interesting by setting a spending limit of $5 and see if you can make an entire ensemble with that price. (Trust me; it can be done.)

The Artsy Date

Check out some local talent by attending WSU’s own “Dancescape” performance on the Main Stage of the Performing Arts Center from Feb 13 to Feb 15.  Come and support your fellow students as they dance their hearts out onstage. Tickets are $8 for students; a very reasonable price to impress your date with your knowledge of the arts.

The Culinary Date

Take a night off from the caf, put your culinary skills to good use and make yourselves a homemade dinner! Whether it be just a simple box of mac-and-cheese or just some fluffy pancakes, nothing says romance more than a full, satisfied belly. Brownie points (mmm…brownies) to those who lay a picnic tablecloth on the ground and pretend like it’s already summer vacation.

The Dreamy Date

Grab yourselves a cup of hot cocoa, notepad and pen and start writing down your bucket list ideas. With school, work and extracurricular activities always demanding your attention, it’s important to keep in mind the personal goals you have set for yourself. Whether that be backpacking across Europe, learning a new language, starting a blog, or getting that high score on Flappy Bird, it’s always exciting to see these goals written down and finding out what you each aspire to do with your lives. Because a couple who dreams together, stay together.

–Melissa VanGrinsven


5 Ways to Deal with Grief in College

Two young women wearing fake mustaches

My friend Claire (left) and I (right) being our usual silly selves sophomore year of high school on choir tour in Chicago, just a few months before she was diagnosed with cancer.


You’d think that exams, group projects and working several jobs would be enough stress to juggle but then the universe throws something at you that makes all of those other major stressors seem miniscule. College is hard but even doing simple things like a four-page reading assignment can seem next to impossible when you’re dealing with the loss of a loved one.

My senior year of high school I lost one of my best friends to cancer. I thought that going to college would make the pain much easier—new situations, new people, a new environment. However I found that when I got here as a freshman a year and a half ago, it was just difficult in different ways.

Although death is a natural part of life, it’s never easy when someone close to you dies. Sometimes you see it coming and sometimes you don’t—neither is easier than the other. While it takes time to come to terms with death, there are things that you can do to soften the pain. Here are the things that have worked for me:

  • Be patient with yourself—Expect that some days will be surprisingly easy and other days will be much more difficult.
  • Lean on people when you need it—Your friends care about you and are more understanding than you may realize. This is particularly difficult when your friends are dealing with the same grief and you’re not sure if they are ready to talk about it. My best advice is to let them know you’re ready to open up about it and gauge their reactions.
  • Find small ways to commemorate that person—Grief is tricky because when you miss the person who has passed, you can’t just call them up and see how they are. I’ve found that doing small things helps you feel closer to the person you’ve lost. For example, I have a necklace I wear everyday that reminds me of my friend who had cancer. Sometimes I’ll listen to songs that remind me of her as well. Little things like that can help, especially when you’re having a rough day.
  • Don’t be afraid of counseling— Winona State has great counseling services and the best part is that it’s free. You can do individual or group counseling. Eunie Alsaker, a counselor on campus, runs Grief Group each semester. I wasn’t too sure how I felt about group counseling but I joined Eunie’s grief group last year and found it to be extremely helpful. It was nice to meet people that understood what I was dealing with and I even made a couple lasting relationships from that experience. If you’re interested, you can email Eunie at
  • Last but not least, take time for yourself—In order to adequately deal with any sort of difficult experience, you need to take the time to process it. Remember to take care of yourself too.

 –Kim Schneider

127 Hours in Your Dorm Room

The Cat and the Hat with a quote from Doctor Suess

So said every WSU student…

The light of the phone lights up your face as you check it again. “0 new messages” it says, the same as it said 5 minutes ago. You now have become familiar with every square inch of your dorm room as you pace back and forth, walking the 15 feet from the door to the window like an Olympic swimmer doing laps in the pool. You have memorized the number of dots on the ceiling, every millimeter of the crack that lies above your bed and every unique pattern of the ice crystals that have formed outside of your window. Hours pass, and after the 12th Netflix re-run episode of “How I Met Your Mother,” the panic begins to set in. The cold grip of winter has trapped you in your room for far too long, and now, it’s time to make some radical decisions!

Now let me stop you before you resort to cutting your arm off because we have all been there. With the recent stretch of -30º days, going outside isn’t much of an option. It is easy to feel trapped inside with no place to go. On a normal summer day, you can just go outside and find an endless world of entertainment, but in your 15×20 foot dorm room, your options are a little more limited. Some creativity is required to keep that boredom at bay.

Those of you who are the creative type, now is the time to get out of here and use that good ole imagination to your advantage. But for you left-brained people out there, worry not because I have your favorite thing in the world, A LIST! All it takes is one good idea to ward off the boredom and here are some ideas that can get you started when you are feeling a little stir crazy in your room (aside from homework. That would be ridiculous :) )

  • Rearrange your room. A little change can be a good thing once in a while, and changing your room layout can get your mind working and revitalize your living space.
  • Watch a documentary. Instead of watching another episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” you’ve seen 20 times (I know it’s the episode where McDreamy takes his shirt off, but hear me out), why not use Netflix to get your mind working with a documentary? I highly recommend Blackfish or I Am.
  • Clean out some of your junk drawers. Think you never go anywhere now? Just wait until you find that old Pokemon game in your drawer.
  • Work out.  Just kidding– could you imagine!?! But for real, working out in your dorm can be an option with Youtube workout videos.
  • Get involved in your Residence Hall. Your RA is always putting on fun events in your residence hall. Take advantage of them!  You can beat the winter boredom, become involved in your community and make new friends.
  • Learn a new skill. The internet can do more than tell you who from your high school is pregnant or married. Think about the one thing that you have always wanted to learn to do and do it! You can learn just about anything on the internet.

Given the past couple days, I know that being trapped under a boulder in the Utah desert seems like a better deal than being trapped in your dorm. However with this list and some imagination, you don’t have to feel trapped in your room anymore.

Good luck everyone and stay warm!

–Caleb Bednarski

Finding a Fit at FRFF

The Frozen River Film Festival 2014 poster

I spent my first couple years at WSU perfecting the art of being a high-functioning hermit. I was never one to leave my door open in the residence halls or to seek out those who did. I made a comfortable amount of new friends, but for the most part I existed in a fairly narrow bubble of college life. Now, as a senior in my final semester, I look back on those two years and lament my unwillingness to push myself in new directions. College is a perfect environment for expanding your bubble, and luckily for us our campus provides a plethora of bubble-expanding activities, one such being the Frozen River Film Festival.

I attended the FRFF as a class assignment a couple years ago and since then have eagerly awaited its arrival on campus each winter.  Every year the festival features a wide range of films and documentaries that cover issues surrounding politics, philosophy, nature and in general how we can connect with our world in more rewarding ways.

Since my first visit to the festival I’ve seen a film highlighting the hidden side of the New York underground, the culturally fascinating story of a Japanese family of famous Sushi chefs, a cautionary documentary about the state of honey bees in our country, and a heartwarming piece about a high school class performing Shakespeare. At each of these films I found myself participating in discussion with strangers I’d just met and asking questions I’d never even considered before. I got something completely different out of each film.

Film Festivals such as FRFF are perfect for us as students because we are able to see in countless ways how to expand our own bubbles. Maybe a film on kayaking will inspire you to conquer one of our lakes when spring comes (“Cascada” by Skip Armstrong and Anson Fogel). A film on northern Uganda could push you to participate in our global community in a new way (Forgive Me Mother by Heidi Lindvall). Or perhaps an animated short about procrastination will encourage you to finally finish that story you’ve been working on (Silent Voices by David O’Brien). Each film brings something different to the table. This coming week, I recommend going to see at least one film that sounds interesting to you.

The next step is to go to one that doesn’t sound interesting at all.

A significant portion of college life is structured around the idea of discovering yourself and what you value in life. The film makers who will be on campus this week have, for the most part, already figured that out for themselves. I’d say it’s worth a go to see what exactly they’ve discovered and see how exactly you can apply it to yourself.

The Frozen River Film Festival will be on campus from January 22-26. Go forth and expand that bubble!

–Sophie Kaplan

Intramurals: Team Sports for Everyone

guys stand around in the gym before a basketball game

The Red Shirt Seniors warm-up a little before their intramurals basketball playoff game.

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.​

–Dominik Biebighauser

Beat Stress with Bubble Wrap


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 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:

–Olivia Wulf