Remembering Our Veterans

November 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

Veterans and community members read the names on the community memorial wall.

As we’re gearing down for the end of fall semester and heading into a holiday break that will be filled with family, friends, and lots of hot chocolate, we always need to remember and honor those that won’t have the privilege of doing just that this winter season. About two and a half weeks ago on November 11 was Veterans Day – a day dedicated to specifically honor those that have passed in the line of duty, those that have fought and survived, and those currently enrolled in the military.  I went to a public event that featured Vietnam veterans and their own personal experiences on the front lines of the Vietnam war.  All of the men that participated in the discussion were Purple Heart winners, and they all were part of the Purple Heart Organization of 53 members.  A couple of the men talked about the awful conditions they had to endure everyday – the unbearable mosquitoes with the possibility of Malaria, the sweltering heat and humidity, and the weight of six days of food and water plus weaponry was all very real to them.  One of the veterans even mentioned that their clothes would literally turn white from the accumulation of salt from their own sweat.

It’s almost unimaginable what they went through, and what all of the current men and women fighting for our country are doing right at this moment.  One veteran proclaimed that “It was an honor to serve this country, and I’d do it again,”, which perfectly demonstrates the true bravery, camaraderie, and selflessness of those that serve.  According to one of the Vietnam veterans in the presentation, letters mean ‘everything’ to a military person.  Just one letter may bring a ray of hope to someone that truly needs it.  Some of the men in the presentation also explained how after their service was over and the war finally ended, the Vietnam veterans weren’t well received when they came home to their own country.  It was a disgrace to call yourself a Vietnam veteran, and a lot of the American people looked down on them in shame, convincing most veterans to keep secret their past service in order to even get a job.  One of their missions is to keep this from happening with the current generation coming home from war, and to celebrate and honor their services unlike what the American people did when they themselves came home from war.

It’s especially important during this holiday season to keep those that have served and are serving in mind and to spread your thanks to them, even in just little ways such as donating money, sending a letter, or welcoming home a soldier.  One quote that really inspired me during the presentation was when one humble veteran proclaimed that “We survived when so many better men gave up their precious lives for us,”.  I know I have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season, including my own freedom.

– McKenzie Kline

Join in the Fun

October 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

Members of the WSU Rowing Club practice on the water.

As the Monster Mash heats up for Homecoming Week 2011, the sense of campus community becomes almost tangible. With the weather growing colder and the halfway point in the semester crawling by, it isn’t surprising that we look forward to a little distraction. A club fair will be held in the courtyard from 11am – 2pm this Friday, October 21 for those who wish to maintain that sense of community in their college life.

Need some good reasons to (re)visit the club fair? Here are the top three:

  • You know your schedule. Unlike the beginning of the semester, you know your schedule inside and out. Now you can find clubs with meeting times that work for your schedule as well as your typical homework/study load.
  • You like hanging out with friends, new and old. The club fair is a great opportunity to find something fun to do with the people you like to hang out with. And (even better) you will meet more people who share your interests by participating in a campus club or organization.
  • You have at least one particular hobby or activity that you like to do. Great! Hobbies and activities are great ways to relieve the stress of college life, which can help you lead a healthy lifestyle. Wouldn’t it be even more fun to do some of your favorite things with other people who also enjoy them? Think about it. You get to do your favorite activities, meet people and you get to step away from classes/homework for while. Sounds like a win/win/win to me.

You can join an Academic Club/Organization such as Athletic Training Club or Geology Club, a Cultural Club like Club Sri Lanka or the French Club, a Faith-Based Club like Chi Alpha @ the Edge or WSU Cru or even a Sports Club like the Fishing Club or WSU Hockey Club. And those are but a few of the choices.

Plus, if you can’t find a club that fits your interest(s), you and a couple of your friends can start your own club.

Discover more Student Clubs & Organizations.

Find out more about Homecoming 2011.

– Rebecca Lutz

Are Online Classes For You?

August 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

Students share a laptop.

It may be no surprise that in our technologically advanced era, WSU is offering more and more online courses. And while taking accounting or creative writing online may be tempting, online courses are not for everyone.

The following statements will help you to determine if online courses are right for you:

1. I am a responsible student. I do not need to be reminded about assignment due dates or dates for exams, and I know how to pace myself to get my studying/assignments done in time
Professors will generally give students a complete list of assignment due dates and exam dates in the course syllabus at the start of the course. After that, it is generally the student’s responsibility to remember to turn in everything and complete the exams on time.

2. I am willing to commit the time for an online course.
Online courses do not have set locations or times to meet, so it is the student’s responsibility to plan time to complete their coursework.

3. I have a reliable Internet connection, and I know where to get help in case something goes wrong.
The bonus to online courses is they can be done from virtually anywhere there is an Internet connection. This being said, students should be able to plan ahead for any issues that may result from faulty connections or other errors.

4. I will email my professor with any questions I have.
If you have a question about your online course, you need to email your professor. Professors understand how crucial communication is with an online course, and they will generally be checking their email every day to be sure they can provide the help you need to succeed in the course.

If these four general statements do not describe you, online courses may not be for you. For more information on online courses, refer to WSU Online.

– Rebecca Lutz

Get Ready for Move-In Day 2011!

August 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

Students hang out in a dorm room.

With Move-In Day on the horizon, some of you may be looking forward to it with boundless excitement. Others may be a little apprehensive. Whichever side of the coin you land on, here are some tips to help you get through the day:

  • Be patient. There will be a lot of students and parents looking for help on Move-In Day. You may find yourself waiting in quite a few lines (this includes the local department stores, too). Take a deep breath and remember things will quiet down.
  • Welcome Crew volunteers (the purple shirt people) will be on campus to help with parking, traffic control, checking-in and moving your stuff. If you need something, feel free to ask a Welcome Crew volunteer!
  • Meal plan changes need to be made in person at the Housing office. Plans can only be lowered within the first 10 days of the academic year, but they can be raised at any time.
  • Thinking about lofting? Talk to your RA upon check-in. They will help you get what you need to maximize your space.
  • Don’t be afraid to talk to your RA. RAs are not scary monsters. If you have a problem, tell them about it. They are there to help you out as you adjust to campus life.
  • Have some fun. Whether it’s a cool treat at the Lakeview or a nice stroll around one of Winona’s lakes, take some time to unwind with your family. (Note that local restaurants may be busy around lunchtime.)

Questions about moving in to WSU can be directed to Housing & Residence Life.

 – Rebecca Lutz

Top 6 Reasons to Buy from the WSU Bookstore

August 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

WSU Bookstore staff (like Amy Schmidtknecht, above) help you (and Josh Denzer, above) through the book-buying process.
Reason #5: Helpful WSU Bookstore staff

Fact: Textbooks are notoriously pricey. It’s tempting to buy them from the cheapest seller.  But before scouring the interwebs for the lowest prices, consider this:

  1. Students are guaranteed to have the correct materials. Sure, if you order the wrong edition of your Ecology book elsewhere you might be able to ship it back to the retailer, but you risk not having the materials in time to complete your first reading assignment.
  2. You can charge textbooks and school supplies up to $800 to your student accounts. This saves you from having to worry about how to pay for your textbooks now, so you can get right into studying.
  3. Don’t want to buy a book? The WSU Bookstore now offers book rentals.
  4. Textbook buy back is offered daily. This means you can get a little cash now and get rid of your clutter in one stop.
  5. Friendly staff work to help you through the book-buying process.
  6. All profits from the Bookstore go right back to you, the student, in the form of scholarships, offsetting Student Union fees and campus improvements.
Stop in the WSU Bookstore anytime between 8am – 5pm during the academic year.

Like the WSU Bookstore’s Facebook page for more information and for chances to win WSU gear.

Get Involved!

August 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

Three diversity club students relaxing outside.

WSU Diversity Club members chitchat on campus.

Feeling a little nervous about striking out on your own this fall? Concerned about making new friends or finding that sense of belonging? Student clubs & organizations
at Winona State University are a great way to get out, get active and start meeting new people who share your interests.

To help familiarize you with the many clubs and organizations at WSU, we will be spotlighting different clubs throughout the academic year, such as the Greek organizations and the Creative Commons Art Club.

In these spotlights, we will:

  • discuss what each club is about
  • address who can join
  • answer common questions
  • debunk myths surrounding the clubs

Whether you’re interested in joining one of WSU’s Greek organizations, immersing yourself in the arts or getting physical with some intramural sports, WSU has a student club or organization for you.

– Rebecca Lutz

PC Vs. Mac – The Eternal Debate

June 23, 2011 § 1 Comment

Students use both PC and Mac laptops in Winona State classrooms.

Winona State is a dual-platform university. PC or Mac? The choice is yours.

“Are you a Mac or PC?” I’m actually fairly certain I’m still human at this point so I can’t really answer that question fairly. I’ve worked at WSU Technical Support for eight years, five as an undergrad (five is the new four!) and three years full-time, and I still don’t have a good answer for that question.

The best short answer I can give is, “It depends on what I’m doing.”

As a musician/artist, my Mac is absolutely essential to my personal life. I’ve been a musician all my life, I’ve toured the country, worked at a recording studio, recorded hundreds of songs and collaborated with more musicians than I can remember, and all the successful work I did was on a Mac. Garageband is an effortless, easy way for me to record a quick acoustic demo of a song. The App Store is a fast, easy, affordable way to find great apps to help me record songs. It’s basically very easy to make something sound good, even if it might not be very good!

As a person who works out in the real world, my PC is absolutely essential to my professional life. My daily work consists of documenting my work in a database using different types of PC-specific software. I also have to deal with a majority of clients who use Windows based PCs. I have to set up Windows hardware and software on a daily basis and so a nearly instinctual knowledge of Windows is essential to my success in my daily work.

At home, I’m on my Mac to record a demo of an acoustic song with Garageband. Then I’m on my PC to play some video games on Steam. Then I’m on my Mac to edit footage of my band from last night’s gig. Then I’m on my PC to download some pictures from my cell phone via USB. Then I’m on my Mac to use Facetime video chat with my iPhone-using friend in Minneapolis. Then I’m connected through DisplayPort to watch some Netflix from my PC on my HDTV. Then I become a robot constantly attached to forty-five computers at once. Now that I put that stuff down on paper I realize I need to get outdoors more often… Sheesh!

Music students work on their Mac laptops.

Some majors recommend one platform over another. Check to see if your major has a preference: http://www.winona.edu/it/recommendations.asp.

My point here is to show that it depends on what you do. There are good sides and bad sides to each, but good and bad are subjective and vary depending on a number of, uh, variables. I may just be a computer nerd with too many computers or I may just be a jack-of-all-trades who can’t find his niche in one platform but my answer for the eternal question is still not a good one: When it comes to, “Are you a Mac or a PC?” I’m a bit of a hybrid!

At WSU the choice is yours! You can switch from one platform to another by emailing Techsupport@winona.edu or calling Tech Support at 507-457-5240 and asking to be placed on either the Mac Wait List or the PC Wait List.

Travis Norman

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