P4K Support Helps Empower College Student

by: Emily DeWaard

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is jenny_rivera.jpg

Despite a “whirlwind” first two years in college, Jenny, a P4K student since 5th grade, is on the path to graduate in 2020, feeling excited and passionate about her future.

By her sophomore year, Jenny’s grades were starting to falter. Her classes were challenging, but most of all life at home was stressful. Her dad left and she watched her mother juggle medical bills, her health, and their family. Jenny was also helping care for her grandpa who needed transportation to treatments for bone marrow cancer. On top of it all, Jenny lived out of boxes at times because they moved houses.

“With my home problems and having to take a ton of hard classes when I was pre-med, it felt like trying to hold water in my hands, but it kept falling through,” Jenny said.

A graduate of Central High School, Jenny enrolled at UNO in 2016 planning to be a doctor because much of her family is in medicine. Jenny bounced around specialties from surgery to family physician and nursing, but she was struggling to find the right fit.

“P4K has been constantly encouraging me and telling me it’s going to be OK and that they’re always still there to help.”

“P4K has been constantly encouraging me and telling me it’s going to be OK and that they’re always still there to help.”

She’d started off college with a scholarship from P4K, but when her grades fell, she lost the scholarship for a semester. Despite not meeting the requirements anymore, Jenny said she knew P4K wasn’t giving up on her as she continued to receive support and help navigating her way out of academic probation.

While she worked hard earning money to pay for school out-of-pocket, Jenny also worked to bring her grades back up. In need of an easy A and another credit hour, Jenny tossed a social work class onto her schedule, but she gained so much more than a grade boost.

“Social work is so important, and I can help in so many ways with it,” Jenny said. “I always knew I wanted to help people as a kid, so that’s why I went through the medical phase because that seemed like the obvious path. But I realized I want more interaction with the people I help and to get to know them.”

Inclusive Communities, an Omaha nonprofit, has also been very impactful on Jenny discovering her passion for social work.

“They do three camps a year where we go stay for a few days to help students learn about social issues and work through issues,” Jenny said. “It’s so cool to see the transition they go through during that camp and it’s a big part of why I want to be a social worker.”

Jenny is grateful to Inclusive Communities, her social work professor, her mother, and her program coordinator at P4K for the help and support she’s received throughout school and personal hardships.

Since that tough semester and leaving pre-med to major in social work, Jenny got all As last semester and was on the Dean’s List for the first time. She’s also back on the P4K scholarship and is set to graduate college in fall 2020.

“I think I really needed to hit rock bottom to realize what I wanted to do,” Jenny said. “It sucks, but I really needed it. It taught me that I didn’t want to be in the medical field. Just because I needed that extra credit hour, I ended up finding my passion. If I didn’t hit rock bottom, I wouldn’t have known.”

Jenny is excited to finally know what she wants to do and complete her bachelor’s degree so she can jump right into pursuing a master’s degree.

“Having this passion is keeping me going and now I even want to take summer classes and stay busy. I really want it, so it’s worth it,” Jenny said.

Jenny’s experience taught her to manage her time well. She plans her days carefully and stays on campus all day to finish schoolwork. Studying with her sister, a fellow UNO student, has also helped hold her accountable. And, P4K has helped support and assist Jenny when she needed it.

“P4K has been constantly encouraging me and telling me it’s going to be OK and that they’re always still there to help,” Jenny said. “I haven’t had a lot of stability in my life and P4K gave me that. Also, Deanne [at P4K] is super supportive all the time and she always has the answers to my problem. Creating a connection and bond with a mentor is a big thing because of all the help and support it constantly gives you.”

Sustainability at State: Recycling, bikes prioritized on campus

SDSU’s campus is becoming more sustainable all the time and several strides have been made in this academic year alone to focus on sustainability.

Campus Sustainability Specialist Jennifer McLaughlin has set many goals to improve SDSU’s sustainability and has seen marked improvement across several of her focus areas, especially recycling.

This academic year saw the implementation of recycling bins in all offices across campus in January. Additionally, outdoor recycling bins are being added throughout campus, and students can expect to see recycling bins in every residence hall room this fall. McLaughlin plans to launch an educational campaign about how to use these bins so students can learn to recycle effectively.

Her goal for single-stream recycling rates on campus was to reach 25 percent by the end of June 2018. Single-stream recycling is items placed in the common blue recycling bins around campus, so this does not include recycling things like toner, ink and scrap metal.

In November 2017, the waste audit McLaughlin conducted found the single-stream recycling rate was at 13.25 percent. By February, it jumped to 16.5 percent after offices began receiving their blue bins. As of April, SDSU’s single-stream recycling rate has reached 20 percent.

“It’s been really exciting to see the single stream increase,” McLaughlin said. “I’m hopeful we can reach that 25 percent by the end of this fiscal year [June]. I think between single stream and miscellaneous recycling on campus we can get there.”

The next waste audit will be conducted April 18 and give a better understanding of recycling rates and how effectively campus is recycling the correct materials and not throwing away things that could be recycled.

In the fall, McLaughlin said one of the most common non-recyclable items in bins are coffee cups. Though they are made of paper, the waxy substance on the inside makes them non-recyclable.

McLaughlin has also assisted in getting locations for toner and book recycling on campus. There are three locations for each of these. There’s a drop-off for both toner and books in the Rotunda Breezeway. For books, the other locations are in The Union and Larson Commons. For toner there are drop offs in AME 120 and Daktronics Engineering Hall 157.

Students have also been working to make SDSU more sustainable. Students’ Association 2017-18 Finance Chair Scott Simons spearheaded an effort to ban the use of Styrofoam products in food and dining on campus. SA passed a resolution showing their support of a ban of Styrofoam containers on campus two weeks ago.

Simons worked with Aramark to discontinue the use of Styrofoam to-go containers in the Market and at Panda Express. He said they also tried to get rid of the Styrofoam cups at Chick-fil-A, however, the company is contractually obligated to use those cups.

While Styrofoam is an effective and affordable insulator and conductor, Simons said its use in food and dining contributes to a large portion of waste in landfills and felt it was one way to help reduce environmental impact.

“It’s super important to improve the space you’re in to leave it better for next generations,” Simons said. “This is a simple thing everyone can do to help the environment. Sustainability can seem like a hassle but this is one easy step.”

The Student Sustainability Council has focused on educating campus on living sustainably this year through workshops and presentations on what can and can’t be recycled, according to junior dietetics major and SSC’s vice president Anna Barr.

This spring, the council has focused on coordinating the first ever “Big Event,” a one-day community-wide volunteer event. Volunteers will help a wide variety of organizations and businesses in the community, including things like planting a garden at Dakota Prairie.

In the future, Barr hopes to get plastic bag returns at the C-Store, and as a larger project, SSC has looked into composting. Though it’s a big project and will take time, Barr said it’s achievable.

Simons plans to continue reducing the use of Styrofoam on campus and SA President Allyson Monson expects there will be more environmentally-conscious action taken by SA in the future.

“Bike share programs are a common theme seen around the table with this new body as big goals,” Monson said. “I think there are so many senators who are passionate about this and want to be more sustainable.”

New SDSU housing to break ground this summer

South Dakota State is set to break ground this summer on a new housing complex. The $20 million southeast housing project is set to open Fall 2019.

Bonds for $18 million are already issued, and the rest will come from residential life, dining services, The Union and Wellness Center revenue.

Although enrollment numbers have been stagnant, Vice President of Student Affairs Michaela Willis said about 1,000 students surveyed last year showed a high demand for this style of housing.

“We’re really excited for this opportunity,” Willis said. “We wanted to better serve our juniors, seniors and graduate students and hopefully phase one will go well and if we see a demand we can do a phase two.”

While Willis considers the timeline “aggressive” for the facilities to be open by 2019, both she and Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Doug Wermedal agree it is doable.

The complex will likely be two buildings, housing approximately 220 beds for upper-level and graduate students, Willis said. Right now, a three-story apartment complex and maximum two-story townhouse complex are planned.

Units will be a mix of one and four-bedroom, including in-unit laundry and off-street parking. The estimated costs will be between $500 to $700 a month, according to Wermedal.

After conducting architect interviews in January, the university selected Architecture Inc. from Sioux Falls to design the structures. So far, one planning meeting has been held, Willis said.

According to Wermedal, the university will hold a design charrette in March, which will include sessions for campus groups and students to provide feedback on the designs over the course of two days.

The housing project has been in the works for almost 10 years, first starting in 2009. After debating whether to work with a private contractor, the university chose to move forward on its own.

“We decided the best option was for us to build it,” Wermedal said. “We knew, this way, we could offer more budget-friendly rental rates for students, and hold the cost down for students, as well as influence management a little more directly.”

The university was originally looking at the northwest side of campus, but through student feedback, decided on the southeast area for its closeness to The Union, Wellness Center, athletics facilities and the Performing Arts Center.

The new complexes will replace State Court family housing and State Village. State Village was closed in early 2017, and State Court will be removed this summer.

The university has been relocating those residents, Willis said. Many chose their own new housing options, or graduated and moved on from Brookings. Only about a third are coordinating with the university.

The project is considered the first phase of potentially more housing for upper-level students over the next five or more years.

Lucky Eagle Tattoo lands in Brookings

Nestled right between Party Depot and Main Street Pub is Brookings’ newest hidden gem: Lucky Eagle Tattoo Company.

Lucky Eagle moved to Brookings a few months ago from Watertown, setting up shop at 408 Main Ave.

Co-owners Josh Birrittieri and Dustin ‘DJ’ Eckman only met a few weeks before becoming business partners and opening shop.

“Josh wanted to expand and I was looking to start a new business, so we were both actually looking at this building for a shop and the landlord connected us,” Eckman said.

Birrittieri, originally from San Antonio, first opened Lucky Eagle two years ago in Watertown, where he not only worked, but lived — sleeping on an air mattress at night after closing.

Eckman, from Columbus, Ohio, also has experience operating a tattoo shop, having owned one himself in Sioux Falls prior. He also has a business degree from Lake Area Technical Institute.

“He’s the business one, I’m the free spirit,” Birrittieri said.

Since opening in Brookings, Watertown’s Lucky Eagle had to close its doors when the artist overseeing operations moved out of state.

The pair said it only took about three weeks from deciding to go into business together to opening their doors. Both have owned and operated tattoo shops in the past and had much of their own equipment, furniture and know-how to get a shop up and running.

While still working to build their clientele base in Brookings, Birrittieri said clients have followed them from Sioux Falls, Watertown and surrounding areas because of the shop’s time in Watertown and participation in regional conventions.

It only took four days after their soft opening at the end of January for their first customer to walk in the doors, Eckman said, and interest has been steadily growing ever since.

Junior sports management major Aristarchus Payton stumbled upon Lucky Eagle while eating downtown and decided to check it out. He ended up getting a tattoo from Eckman.

“He is very light handed and pays attention to detail,” Payton said. “My tattoo only took about 30 minutes and I am greatly satisfied. I truly trust him as an artist now.”

Despite its downtown location, Lucky Eagle isn’t in the business of tattooing drunk patrons, which is part of why they close their doors at 8 p.m.

Although they’ve only just opened shop in Brookings, Birrittieri and Eckman have their sights set on expanding.

“We want to be a company, Lucky Eagle Tattoo Company, not just a shop,” Eckman said. “We want to potentially be the first tattoo chain in this area.”

Lucky Eagle is the second tattoo shop in Brookings, and Payton is happy to see more tattooists come to town.

“Brookings is a college town, so each year freshmen come with aspirations to get piercings and hidden tattoos,” Payton said. “Having a local tattoo parlor with reliable artists is a big deal.”

Both artists specialize in traditional Americana style, characterized by bold lining, and harsh colors and dimensions.

Eckman leans toward neo-traditional, saying he has a “more modern flair” in his work.

He started out tattooing in gray and black, but wanted to dabble in color-mixing palettes. Lately, Eckman said, his passion has been oriental style tattoos, which he doesn’t get to do often.

“Oriental style tattoos are unrealistic realism — richer color palettes, accent with brighter tones and bring elements of nature into the tattoo,” he said.

Birrittieri’s gift in traditional tattoos is something Eckman said he can mimic, but not fully replicate.

Birrittieri’s inclination toward traditional styles is evident not only in his portfolio, but also his supplies.

Eckman, like many artists, uses disposable, one-time use supplies, while Birrittieri prefers to clean his in a steam autoclave. It takes a lot of extra effort and time, but Birrittieri enjoys what is becoming an “old-school” practice and being “self-sufficient.”

Innovation and technology have evolved tattooing in many ways beyond tattooing supplies, both Eckman and Birrittieri said.

“TV brought good tattoos into people’s homes,” Eckman said. “With shows like ‘Ink Master’ and ‘LA Ink,’ tattoos became more common and accepted.”

Technique has changed with technological innovation over the years Eckman and Birrittieri have been in the business.

“A lot of the artistry is being lost,” Birrittieri said. “It’s more of a printing business than artistry these days.”

Digital technology and design has made the tattoo industry much quicker, Eckman said. This is another area where Eckman and Birrittieri differ slightly in the way they work. Eckman can draw things by hand, but he also creates designs in computer programs, while Birrittieri prefers to do it all by hand.

An unique trait of Lucky Eagle is how they price tattoos. Their minimum charge is $50, and about $10 per square inch — they charge by the size and complexity of the piece, whereas most shops have a $100 minimum per hour, Eckman said.

“Regardless of my financial situation, I’m not going to take money from a customer,” Eckman said. He said artists could potentially abuse the by-hour rule to make more money. “That’s not how we operate. We do it for the customers.”

New Year’s Eve flood in Student Union causes thousands in damage, displaces staff

The Student Union sustained thousands in damages after a frozen pipe burst and flooded the administration offices in the 150 suite behind Information Exchange over Winter Break.

The cost of damage is still being assessed. Ballpark figures have suggested between $35,000 and $50,000, but could be more, said Keith Skogstad, associate director of The Union. Insurance will cover up to $50,000 and remaining costs would come out of pocket for the university.

While campus was quiet and empty on the morning of New Year’s Eve, water had begun trickling from a sprinkler head in Assistant Director of Event Services Mark Venhuizen’s office until, finally, the frozen pipe burst. Because water was dispensing from the fire emergency pipe, it triggered the fire alarm, alerting University Police at 9:37 a.m.

Within minutes, the water flooded so deep in Venhuizen’s office that Skogstad, who’d arrived on the scene, couldn’t open the door, according to Venhuizen in a video he shared. The waterline left visible on file drawers measured 12 inches, Skogstad said.

Skogstad rushed to shut off the main water supply, but in the short time from UPD responding to the alarm and Skogstad arriving, the water had wreaked havoc on the offices.

“Most of Mark’s office is totaled,” said Jenn Novotny, senior director for The Union. “We are still waiting to find out if our office furniture can be fully restored.”

According to Director of Campus Maintenance Jim Weiss, crews had already evacuated furniture from the 16-room office suite and begun damage control by 10 a.m. Not only had the water flooded through the offices, it flowed onto Main Street, encroaching on the Market. It also seeped through to the lower level, causing damage in storage spaces and a maintenance room below.

Staff and local crews worked until about 4 p.m. that day cleaning up and salvaging what they could. The water was powerful, damaging and found its way into unexpected places.

“Mark’s desk was over here (across the room from the burst pipe), and his pencil drawer, which was closed, was full of water,” Skogstad said.

The cause is still unknown and difficult to trace exactly, but investigations suggest it may have been a result of exhaust fans being left on, allowing cold air to enter and freeze the pipe. Skogstad said this is inconclusive, though.

The wall between Venhuizen and Novotny’s office was the only structure with significant damage and may need to come down. Venhuizen’s office took the worst of it as it was a pipe in that room which cracked. The rest of the suite primarily suffered surface-level water damage. Some decorations, documents, furniture and equipment were lost and carpet will need to be replaced as well as new baseboards.

Since the flooding, employees previously housed in the office suite have been temporarily displaced, working in other locations or mobile until repairs are completed. For Novotny, who has been in her office for 13 years, this has been a bit of an adjustment.

“When I work with students I don’t imagine it’s so hard to be mobile because I see them do it all the time. I have a little to learn in the area of flexibility, but I’m surviving it,” Novotny laughed.

University Police aided in preventing a similar incident in the Einstein’s-Weary Wil’s vestibule only one day after the 150 office incident. According to Weiss and Skogstad, a line froze in that area as well, causing another leaky sprinkler head. A UPD officer making rounds through the building noticed it, though, and the main water line was shut off while a plumber made repairs, avoiding another incident.

“The floor and a couple ceiling tiles got wet but thankfully it was nothing major,” Weiss said.

Due to the record stretch of cold weather, Weiss said he heard reports of incidents similar to the office flood occurring throughout the state in the same weekend.

“It’s not as common to happen in an interior space like Mark’s office, but it does happen; and we’ve had other, minor, water-related issues in a few other campus facilities, too. It just happens this time of year,” Weiss said. “I guess that was our going away present for 2017.”

The Humane Society needs our support year-round to avoid financial crisis

In November, the Brookings Humane Society made their financial struggles known to the public. If they couldn’t raise enough funds, the Humane Society feared their doors would close by the end of the month.

After a few weeks, the Brookings community raised enough money to support the Humane Society through February, until their next major fundraising event.

We, at The Collegian, were thrilled to see our community come together and support the Humane Society. However, we hope this is not the end of strong community support for the Humane Society. We hope to see these efforts continue.

The Brookings Humane Society is operating with less money and they need our consistent support now more than ever. Brookings City Council awards an annual grant to help the Humane Society operate, but this year that funding was cut.

Now, the Humane Society heavily relies upon community support, donations and their monthly fundraising events. These events, usually partnering with local businesses, are a great time to help support the Humane Society as well as get to know their staff and other community members. Sometimes, you might even get to meet some of the furry dwellers of the Humane Society.

The Humane Society is well-integrated into our community through their partnerships with businesses for fundraising and their cheerful presence at public events. A humane society is an integral part of any community, because they lessen the number of stray animals, as well as vaccinate and spay and neuter animals.

But the Brookings Humane Society goes above and beyond those services and is a particularly special part of our community. They support our students by bringing animals to socialize with us on Main Street in The Union during Midterms and Finals Week. They can also be found at the Farmer’s Market during the summer.

Considering their tireless work to support our community and care for our animals, the least we can do is offer our support in return.

For our staff, the Humane Society is where our pets have come from. It’s where we go when we are stressed and want the emotional relief our furry friends bring.

We, at The Collegian, encourage others on campus and in the community to remember the Humane Society, not just when they are in times of need, but always. As a staff, we hope to do our part and support them in the future, and we hope others will make this commitment, too.

Whether you donate HyVee receipts, dog food, cat litter, an hour of your time, or some spare cash, the Humane Society is grateful for community support and they depend on us to help our animals thrive.

ROTC’s space is being infringed upon

In 1965, South Dakota State and the Army forged a contract stating that the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program requires offices, storage rooms, a gym floor and classrooms used exclusively by the program.

Since then, SDSU has impeded upon that contract at least three times.

Most recently, by drilling into the floor of the gym in DePuy Military Hall and setting up cubicles for the Department of Economics.

Now, when ROTC needs to complete necessary training, they jump through hoops to complete standard practices in their program.

ROTC needs special permission to bring training equipment to athletics facilities, like the Sanford Jackrabbit Athletic Complex (SJAC), and they also must be escorted by the University Police Department to bring training materials there — all while having a facility of their own that regularly isn’t their own.

We, at The Collegian, understand there are growing pains during construction, renovations and expansions our university is experiencing right now. However, we also feel there must be a better solution to prioritize the cadets who will be the future military leaders of our country.

At the very least, we feel our university should be able to uphold their agreement to provide the facilities and resources necessary to train cadets.

Ideally, our Editorial Board feels the next fancy new facility on our campus should be for ROTC.

Realistically, we believe ROTC deserves to have their space to themselves.

We believe the Department of Economics department could have been given a better temporary home than a gym.

We believe drilling holes into the gym floor and setting up cubicles and computers in the only training facility ROTC has is shameful.

We also believe ROTC deserves more autonomy in decisions about their facilities.

When the university works to update its contract with the Army soon, we, at The Collegian, hope ROTC gets to call the shots on their own program and their own facilities.

At the least, we hope ROTC will be shown the respect it deserves and has earned.

Exercise cultural and social awareness in selecting a Halloween costume

We’ve all seen it.

A girl in a faux leather dress and a Native American headdress.

A guy in blackface.

Someone else dressed like Jesus or a Muslim person.

Halloween is a time for creativity and fun — to dress up as a character or object and celebrate the spooky season. It, however, is not a time to play dress up with someone’s identity, culture, religion or sexual orientation.

While many often argue it can be considered a sign of respect to dress up in a costume portraying another culture or religion, we, at The Collegian, disagree. Others may say, “It’s just a costume, don’t take it so seriously.”

But a costume inherently makes a caricature out of something. It trivializes important aspects of their culture or religion.

Semehar Ghebrekidan is a graduate administrative assistant for the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Access. She recently created an online graphic for the office: “Do’s and Don’t’s for Halloween,” a guide to dressing for Halloween appropriately and respectfully.

“A costume is not a skin color. It’s not a culture,” Ghebrekidan said. “This is a matter of appropriation — it’s about making those things into a costume when they’re a part of someone’s identity.”

An important factor to consider when choosing a costume is whether or not the portrayed identity is a member of a culturally or socially oppressed group.

For example, a five-year-old girl dressing as her favorite minority Disney princess, regardless of the little girl’s race, is not a situation of cultural appropriation or belittling of the minority group of that princess.

Ghebrekidan also said this doesn’t mean a white man cannot dress as Drake, his favorite rapper, just because the man is not black. But he can do it in a way that does not degrade Drake as an African-American man.

That is, the man should find a way to portray himself as Drake without needing to do blackface.

We believe one of the biggest problems with inappropriate Halloween costumes is that people often do not consider what impact their costume may have.

Additionally, retailers selling Halloween costumes should be held accountable for the products they market. Seeing a costume appropriating another culture in Walmart or on Amazon normalizes that behavior and makes it seem commonplace and acceptable.

It isn’t.

Dressing up as “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” isn’t acceptable.

Yes, he is a movie character, but he is representing a race of six million people killed during World War II.

Dressing as a Native American person isn’t acceptable.

Yes, they were characters in old Hollywood films, but that costume represents thousands of lives taken, land desecrated and decades of cultural oppression.

We, at The Collegian, urge everyone to carefully consider the potential impact of their Halloween costume this year. We all have the same goal: to enjoy Halloween in creative attire.

Just don’t play dress up with a person’s identity this Halloween.

Master’s in human biology paves different path to medical school

Students interested in the daunting task of attending medical school now have another path to help them get there.

The Department of Biology and Microbiology offers a one-year, 32-credit master’s program in human biology. The program emphasizes professional development, preparation for medical school and allows students to explore career paths in the medical field.

Assistant Professor Greg Heiberger is the coordinator for the program and said it’s the first of its kind in the state and immediate region.

“This type of program has been a national trend over the past 10 years, but the closest one is in Kansas City or Denver,” Heiberger said. “The cost, size and cohort feature of ours is its advantage.”

The program offers courses and topics covered in medical school to “give students a leg up” when they get to medical school, Heiberger said. The idea is to prepare students for success in medical school by using the same pace and intensity, giving them even more well-rounded knowledge than their undergraduate degree.

Most programs similar to this one cost around $30,000 to $40,000, whereas South Dakota State’s costs $15,000, according to Heiberger.

The program was approved by the South Dakota Board of Regents in May and began this fall with six students enrolled. The small class size gives students a close support group with other students and stronger relationships with professors and advisers, Heiberger said.

LeAndre Kennedy, a first-year graduate student in the program, said he benefits from the increased personal interaction.

“In undergrad, most classes were at least 100 people and it was harder to have a connection with many classmates, especially the professor,” Kennedy said. “In this program, we all want the same things, so it’s a lot of helping each other out. We meet a lot and we are forming legitimate friendships and it’s really working to our advantage.”

Kennedy said it has been “great to build relationships with people in the world we want to be in,” by meeting with professors and advisers weekly while also shadowing professionals.

Another student in the program, Austin Walz, said he’s been logging hours shadowing in hospitals and is looking forward to potentially observing surgeries during Winter Break.

The program does not require a traditional thesis. Instead, students write a research paper on a topic of their choice. Kennedy and Walz said this was special to them as they could research topics they were passionate about.

Walz, striving to work in oncology, focused his paper on a potential therapeutic drug for cancer. As a former athlete, Kennedy’s dream is to become an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine and he was able to research chronic traumatic encephalopathy. CTE, discovered more frequently in athletes during autopsy, is brain degeneration likely caused by repeated head traumas.

“It’s cool to have that opportunity to explore our own interests in our research,” Walz said. “With traditional science master’s programs, you just kind of jump on board with what your adviser is doing in their research.”

Biology and Microbiology Department Head Volker Brozel said he values the program and believes it is viewed favorably by medical schools looking at candidates.

“I am excited about it. I hope students will find it valuable,” Brozel said. “It is a tall mountain to climb, but I think that’s consistent with wanting to undergo medical training. The two go together.”

Committee remembers traditions of Hobo Week

Thirty-five years ago on Hobo eve, the Hobo Day Committee united hands and ascended the 180 steps to the top of Campanile at midnight — a Hobo Day tradition. They prayed for a safe, fun and successful Hobo Day.

Recalling the event, Doug Wermedal, a member of that committee, was overcome with emotion.

“That’s the first time I became aware I was doing something more than just having fun with friends,” said Wermedal, associate vice president for student affairs. “I can still feel the power of what we were doing for campus. Then, I was, like I am now, overwhelmed by the bigness of the thing. I was just an undergrad kid having fun with my friends, I did not have a sense that I was part of a tradition going back to the 1910s, that would extend until I had my own kids.”

Many of the events in place then have been around since the beginning of Hobo Day, and are still celebrated 105 years later.

Most of today’s staple Hobo Week events are time-honored traditions going back to the early days of Hobo Week. Rally at the Rails, the event to kick off every Hobo Day, started in 1907, according to Hobo Day Committee Grand Pooba Anna Chicoine.

“It started during the Night Shirt (parade). On Friday night, students walked to the railroad station, met the opposing team to welcome them to town and rouse them up a bit,” Chicoine said.

Alongside Rally at the Rails, Bum-A-Meal is a long-standing Hobo Week tradition. As students would make their way back to campus from the railroad, Chicoine said they’d stop at houses with their porch light on to get a can of soup. Once everyone returned to campus, students gathered to have a meal together over bonfires with the food they collected from community members.

“Another part of that is the Bum Fire on Tuesday night after Bum-A-Meal, which we added back last year,” Chicoine said. “It brings students back together after going out in the community. We serve hot chocolate, the cheer team comes, the Bum Band comes. It’s a lot of fun.”

Digital Library of South Dakota (DLSD)
Students eat bum stew by Coolidge Sylvan Theatre on South Dakota State College campus (1957). After welcoming the opposing team at the railroads, students got cans of soup from home’s with porch lights on and made bum stew over bonfires back on campus.

For 2014’s Grand Pooba Scott Deslauriers, Bum-A-Meal “rises to the top” of his favorite events leading up to Hobo Day.

“The opportunity to meet a family one doesn’t know and enjoy a meal around a table is an incredibly unique experience,” Deslauriers said. “Bum-A-Meal fulfills a central goal of Hobo Day, which is to connect the university and the community.”

The Hobo Day parade is unbeatable for Wermedal, though. He reminisced about hobo-mobiles and the committee working together to push the Bummobile through the parade when it was less than functional. It felt like the entire town and student community came together for the parade, Wermedal said.

Digital Library of South Dakota (DLSD)
SDSU Pride of the Dakotas marching band leads the 2002 Hobo Day parade on Medary Avenue.

Before the big day, there’s Hobolympics, formerly known as the Great Hobo Race, on Wednesday night. This will be the second year of the revamped Hobolympics, followed by the Bum Over Thursday, an event dating further back, in which students build a shanty village out of cardboard boxes.

On the morning of Hobo Day, the grand pooba is headquartered at “Pooba Corner,” Deslauriers said, which is the intersection of Medary Avenue and North Campus Drive.

“The ability to literally see the work of more than a year of planning and implementation by the entire committee come together creates an intense pride and humility in contributing to this more than a century-old tradition,” Deslauriers said.


High cost estimates stall student union renovations

The results are in from the Student Union space study but they don’t promise a full renovation — yet.

In fall 2016, Students’ Association presented a proposal to the South Dakota Board of Regents for an expansion of The Union. SDBOR declined the proposal, citing stagnant enrollment numbers at South Dakota State.

In response, SA allocated General Activity Fee (GAF) dollars to fund a space study of The Union to evaluate how to meet student needs in the current footprint of the building. Last spring, Cannon Moss Brygger Architects (CMBA) visited campus for a few days and held open sessions with students, faculty, staff and student organizations to hear concerns.

According to Jennifer Novotny, executive director of The Union, the primary concerns discussed in these sessions were moving the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) to the main level of The Union, bringing student organizations together in one, collaborative space and upgrading the Volstorff Ballroom.

After these meetings, CMBA presented SDSU with several concepts for possible renovations of The Union. However, these concepts came with a much higher price tag than anticipated — between $5 and $10 million.

In the cost opinion from CMBA for one concept, it would cost $224 per square foot to renovate the lower and main levels of The Union, which is a total of 26,360 sq. feet. This alone totals nearly $6 million. To renovate the 12,200 sq. feet VBR, it would cost $180 per sq ft, which totals more than $2 million. This brings the total of option one to $8 million, not including projected costs for needed technology updates in the VBR, as well as food service and dining needs. Those would bring the total to just over $10 million.

So, now what?

Vice President for Student Affairs Michaela Willis said there is still a plan in place and work is being done to achieve a renovation.

“I do see that there is a path forward,” Willis said. “We may have to be a little more creative and it may take a little longer for the end result, but there is a path forward.”

Willis said they may look to accomplish the renovation in phases of priority, starting with the Office of Multicultural Affairs, then a collaborative student organization space, followed by VBR upgrades.

Renovations could be funded through the GAF increase, Willis said.

“This past spring, SDBOR approved a GAF increase, which will get (maintenance and repair) dollars for The Union and Wellness Center by investing 2 percent of the building’s value back into the building itself every year,” Willis said.

“That’s $1 million every year in The Union and $150,000 a year for the existing portion of the Wellness Center,” Willis said. “We haven’t been doing quite that much in those areas, but with the GAF increase we have a steady stream of funds to do that.”

For now, Novotny said conversations among student groups and their stakeholders will continue and the steering committee for The Union will still meet regularly.

“We hope a timeline will be put into place this semester. Something will happen,” Novotny said. “I’ve seen a lot of cool things while I’ve been here and a lot of great strides. As long as students continue to give feedback we’ll be on the right track.”

The steps toward renovating The Union go back about five years when the GAF strategic plan was put together. Student voices have propelled these plans from the get-go, Novotny said.

University Program Council President Cole Hinz is a member of the steering committee for this project and said his focus is to bring student feedback.

UPC’s priority is getting a student engagement hub for students to collaborate and create “synergy among student orgs,” Hinz said.

After looking at concepts and providing feedback since spring, Hinz said it’s exciting to see the focus be narrowed to two concepts that will lay the groundwork for the future.

“I enjoy sitting on the committee,” Hinz said. “It’s been a good experience working with other student orgs on a solution that can lay out the future of our Union.”

Kool Beans: home business to downtown destination

Twelve years ago, Kool Beans Coffee and Roasterie owner Kurt Osborne started roasting his own coffee on his stove top, and later his garage. Today, he’s serving Brookings from a coffee shop in the heart of downtown.

“I read a story about how you can roast your own coffee in the top of a popcorn popper and the interest just grew from there,” Osborne said. “Pretty soon people were asking about buying it so we bought a small home roaster. In May 2012, my partner Joy Nelson and I formed Kool Beans. Until now, we’ve been working out of the garage.”

Osborne met Nelson in 2012 at Joy Ranch in Watertown. Together, they turned Kool Beans into a fully-operating business.

Kool Beans began building in their downtown location in March and opened a month ago. Their shop features some personal touches, like a Hobo Day mug collection and Osborne’s father’s and grandfather’s letterman jackets in a shadowbox on the wall from their days as athletes at South Dakota State.

The shop is a collaborative, local effort, with glossy wooden countertops and tables built by the Ugly Duckling downtown. The baked goods served at Kool Beans are produced and delivered fresh daily by Carlie Appletoft, owner of CC Bakery and Bread.

“We get a lot of comments on the space that it’s welcoming and inviting. To hear that feedback is great,” Osborne said.

Before establishing Kool Beans as a coffee shop, Osborne could be seen on weekends at the Brookings Farmer’s Market offering pour over coffee. Kool Beans was also found in downtown locations such as The Carrot Seed and Threads of Memories, as well as Mission Coffee House at First Lutheran Church.

Kool Beans offers coffee from 12 countries around the world, 22 flavors in brewed coffee, espresso, French press and a pour over bar. The shop also features nitro cold brew, which is a cold brew coffee on tap from a keg. 

“The nitrogen bubbles are smaller than O2 bubbles which adds volume and creaminess to the coffee,” Osborne said. “It’s a new trend in the coffee business, we really wanted to have it from the get-go.”

Kool Beans roasts all their own coffee in-house with two brand new roasters.

“We still have the one in the garage for a backup, but we wanted people to be able to watch us roasting in the shop,” Osborne said, pointing out the viewing window and counter outside the roasting room.

Sophomore human biology major Cole McDougall has already established himself a regular at Kool Beans since its first week in business. He said he’d never had their coffee before their shop opened, but it’s already a staple in his week.

“It’s definitely some of the best coffee I’ve ever tried, and I love coffee; I’m definitely a coffee connoisseur,” McDougall said. “It has its own homey feel. It’s got so much character compared to other coffee shops. That’s the big thing that drew me in and kept me coming, especially since they do everything themselves by roasting their own coffee.”

Although Kool Beans is only open until 6 p.m. daily, Osborne said there will often be events in the evenings keeping the shop open later, and groups are also welcome to inquire about renting the space for events.

Kool Beans’ first public event is this Friday, Sept. 22 from 6 to 8 p.m. for the first day of fall. Osborne said they will be serving pumpkin cold brew and pumpkin baked goods.

Kool Beans is also looking forward to national coffee day on Sept. 29 and participating in “Sip ‘N Shop” with other downtown businesses, as well as Hobo Day on Oct. 14. Osborne said he’d like to host educational events about coffee, like “coffee around the world.”

“Helping people enjoy coffee in a lot of different ways makes it all worthwhile,” Osborne said. “It’s been fun. We have a really talented crew. It’s a good vibe and a good place to work. It’s been a pretty diverse crowd of college students, business people and families with kids playing in our ‘Kool Kids Corner.’”

One of Osborne’s employees, Erin Hollmann, moved to Brookings during the summer and was in search of another job outside of the school year when she isn’t teaching. She stumbled upon Kool Beans right before the shop opened and said it was “all hands on deck” to get things up and running.

Learning to make lattes and various drinks typical of coffee shops was a result of many YouTube tutorials and customer feedback, Hollmann said.

“It’s a really nice environment as a worker or as a customer,” Hollmann said. “You will be treated like family here, and however specific people’s needs are, we will find a way to meet them.”

Kool Beans is open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Students can bring their student ID for $1 off coffee.