Friday, April 24, 2009

Highland heads home

By Ryan Briscoe
Cardinal Staff

After 32 years of service, Saint Mary’s University’s Provost Dr. Jeff Highland will retire this summer.

Highland, who has held a variety of positions at SMU including teaching, making music, interacting with students in co- and extra-curricular activities and administrating, will be moving to Seattle to fulfill commitments to his family.


“It has been a privilege to have such a unique opportunity to develop personal relationships with so many of the members of the Saint Mary’s family,” said Highland. “I have worked daily with faculty and academic administrators at the College and the graduate schools, support staff, maintenance folks, alumni, students and with four presidents.”

After arriving at SMU in 1977 as a professor in the social sciences department, Highland said he found an environment that he came to love.

“The best part about my professional life here at Saint Mary’s is that I was allowed to do all the things I enjoyed,” Highland said. “I could teach political science and public administration, I was able to be involved with music and campus life and I was given wonderful opportunities to do administrative work.”

Highland said what he will miss most is “the people: Saint Mary’s is full of wonderful men and women truly committed to the institution.” He spoke especially highly of two groups: Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and the Christian Brothers. He said the relationship he has formed with the men of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia “reflects the unique bond shared by those who make music together.”

Highland has also received recognition by the Christian Brothers. “Among the highest honors I’ve received is my formal affiliation with the Christian Brothers,” Highland said. “These men and the Lasallian charism they embody have been truly inspirational to me.”

As one of his last official acts as provost, Highland will oversee the spring commencements for both the undergraduate and graduates here at the Winona campus. This spring’s graduation will mark the passage of time for Highland in a radical way. Highland will emcee his last commencement ceremony, organize his files for the university archives and move back to his home near Seattle.

Highland said he is comfortable with the decision to retire. “It will be difficult to leave a campus and community that have been such an important part of my life, but I look forward to time with my mother and my family, and I know that SMU will continue to thrive in the years ahead,” said Highland. “I wish everyone the very best.”

Bookstore prepares for buy-backs

By Travis Fick
News Editor

The Saint Mary’s University Barnes and Noble bookstore has started to buy back textbooks from students in anticipation for the next semester, said Donna White, bookstore manager.

Each year, the Barnes and Noble bookstore buys back a certain percentage of textbooks from students in anticipation for the next semester. White said the bookstore purchases textbooks from students if the class is offered the next semester and if the professor has indicated that he or she would like to use the same textbook.


After receiving professors’ book orders, the Barnes and Noble staff then enters the information into a sales database that tells them the quantity of each textbook that was sold to students. “We will buy back a certain percentage of textbooks because we know that a certain percentage of students will keep their textbooks,” said White. “The average buy-back percentage is between 70 to 80 percent.”

The price the students receive is based on the prices from wholesalers, said White. Students who choose to sell their textbooks back to the bookstore will generally receive about 50 percent of the purchase price. However, if professors will not be using the textbook and if the edition has not changed, then students will receive 25 percent. Students are also able to check to see if their textbooks will be bought back by going online to the bookstore’s website.

Major concerns that White hears about the bookstore include that textbooks are overpriced, that the editions change too often and that the high ­­prices are a way for the bookstore to get extra money from students. White said textbook prices are set by the books’ publishers and are immediately marked up by the Barnes and Noble system. Other factors, such as the quality of paper, the printing process and ink used for photos and charts, can account for price markup on textbooks.

White said that edition changes are one of the most frustrating aspects of textbooks because students will often blame the bookstore and their professors for the new edition. “The common misconception is that publishers switch around chapters and call it a new edition,” said White. “Professors do not want the textbooks to change because they have formed their curriculum to the older edition. In certain areas, such as the sciences, new information and technology comes out that is added to the textbook.”

White has implemented the policy for employees to treat the customers the same way they would want to be treated, which is to show respect for the customer.

The bookstore would like to hear from students if they have any concerns.

High-speed railway could come to Winona

By Lauren Rothering
Copy Editor

The Midwest Regional Rail Initiative (MWRRI) is proposing a high-speed train reaching from the Twin Cities to Chicago, and some want a stop to be made in Winona.

According to the MWRRI website, “the goal of the initiative is to develop a passenger rail system that offers business and leisure travelers shorter travel times, additional train frequencies, and connections between urban centers and smaller communities.” The railway would span over 400 miles between the Twin Cities and Chicago, with 150 of those miles located in southeastern Minnesota.


The proposed plan includes stops in southeastern Minnesota, and many local Winona business partners, lawmakers, university administrators and citizens believe a stop should be made in Winona. A high-speed railway stop in Winona would mean easier and more frequent trips to the Chicago area for citizens of Winona and its surrounding areas.

Representative Tim Walz from the 1st District of Minnesota said in an April 19 press release that “the idea is to link what we’re doing to the interstate highway program and develop a sustainable, long term program going forward.” Minnesota, he said, is a central component to the expansion of railway transportation in this country.

If accepted, the MWRRI system could be open anywhere from seven to 10 years after funding is completed.

If anyone has comments on this topic, or wants to find out mor information go to Walz’s website at

Senate OKs funding for campus projects

By Karina Rajtar
Co-Editor in Chief

Each year, students, faculty, staff and administration can recommend capital improvements for Saint Mary’s University.

Capital improvements, changes made to the physical structure of the university, are done by both the university and the Student Senate. Anyone on campus can request a Student Senate capital improvement by filling out a form that is available to everyone or by contacting Jason Richter, assistant dean of students for activities, leadership and service.


“They (capital improvements) definitely impact students in a positive way,” said Richter. He said that printers in the residence halls, weight room equipment and just the general look of campus (often through landscaping projects) have been improved through requests.

Capital improvements done by the Student Senate are generally funded by the money taken from the laundry machines. This means that the senate usually has approximately $20,000 to use each year. This year, $40,000 was allocated to capital improvements, according to Richter, because of money left over from an activity fee surplus a few years ago.

The senate does capital improvements in two rounds, one at the end of February and one at the end of April. Richter said this is done so that maintenance requests that need to be planned for the summer can be passed by the senate early.

In this year’s first round, the senate approved $1,900 for four kayaks and paddles for the outdoor leadership office, $4,430 for recycling bins for outside around campus, $2,000 for landscaping around the new track and field complex and $6,400 for tables and chairs for the new gazebo.

Gleich elected senate president

By Amira Sadek
Cardinal Staff

When the 2009-10 school year comes around, the Saint Mary’s Universtiy Student Senate will have a new president after a close election on March 26.

Mary Gleich, junior political science and human services double major, was elected as the SMU Student Senate president for the upcoming school year.

For the past two years, Gleich has served in the senate as vice president of external affairs. During her freshman year, she was elected as a Skemp hall senator.


Gleich said her campaign was based on three priorities that she would like to see implemented next year. These priorities are: increasing student financial aid, promoting green initiatives and including more students in discussions about the university.

“In terms of green initiatives, I would like to see continued campus-wide support,” said Gleich, “as well as increasing participation for the development of greener alternatives.”

To become more involved in university matters, Gleich encourages students to seek out their class and hall senators and contact them directly with any concerns or problems. Gleich also expressed a desire to improve communication between a representative and his or her constituents by defining the representative’s responsibilities more.

As Student Senate president, Gleich’s duties will include running senate meetings, heading the Student Senate executive board and representing students on various university committees.

All students are welcome to attend the Student Senate meetings held every Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Salvi Lecture Hall.

Group protests discrimination with silence

By Robby McGuire
Cardinal Staff

Students might have noticed that campus was a little quieter on Friday, April 17, as students from the campus LGBTA -SAFE (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Allies - Supportive And Friendly Environment) club participated in the 13th annual Day of Silence.

The event is a student-led peaceful protest aimed at bringing attention to anti-LGBT harassment. Those participating must follow one rule, they must remain silent. The silence is intended to illustrate the silencing effect that harassment has on students perceived or known to be LGBT.


The Day of Silence had humble origins with a handful of participants at the University of Virginia. It is now a nation-wide undertaking encompassing well over 8,000 colleges and universities. This year, Saint Mary’s University joined that list.

Neil Heacox, the public relations officer in the newly formed LGBTA-SAFE, said that the club has been looking for ways to reach out to the LGBT community on campus.

“We decided that we needed to find the community and create a safe place for people who are LGBT or are questioning their orientation as well as educate the Saint Mary’s community,” Heacox said.

Heacox felt that it was time for the SMU campus to join the ranks of the many schools already involved. “Perceived gender expression is one of the top three reasons students report receiving harassment from peers,” he said. Over 90 percent of LGBT students report verbal and physical harassment, and almost one-third have missed school to avoid such harassment. “We can no longer accept these statistics; it’s time to take the initiative and change them,” said Heacox.

“One of the first problems we ran into was, ‘how do we explain the event to the people of Saint Mary’s while remaining silent?’,” Heacox said.

The solution was to carry a small printout and hand it to any students with questions. The club went above and beyond normal event protocol and created unique t-shirts. Most event organizers simply order the default t-shirt, available from the event website.

“We thought it would be a fun group activity and a creative way to promote the event,” said Heacox. “All in all, I thought people really liked it.”

Next year, the club plans to expand the event. There is some talk of scheduling an entire week to promote the issue, culminating in the Day of Silence. Heacox reiterated that the club events are open to everyone. He said that people are often afraid to support activities such as these for fear of being labeled.

“This fear is something that LGBT students live through for much of their lives,” he said. He added that if everyone could fight this harassment together, it would be much more effective. “So come out next year!” Heacox said.

Students win prizes for taking survey

By Karina Rajtar
Co-Editor in Chief

Saint Mary’s University saw a significant participation rate in students taking the Multi-Institutional Survey on Leadership, which will help the university develop programs and leadership initiatives for the upcoming year.


Jason Richter, assistant dean of students for activities, leadership and service, said that almost 49 percent of the campus took the survey. The goal was for 50 percent participation. Richter would like to thank all those who took the survey and said the results will be available no later than Aug. 19.

Six students who completed the survey were randomly selected to receive prizes. Bryan Kujawa, Sarah Weir and Paula Angst won $100 gift cards to Barnes and Noble, Cierra Lopis won the highest housing priority for her class, Kelly Olson won the opportunity to take a service trip without paying the fee and Zhe (Scott) Song won a dinner with Brother William, SMU president.

Vlazny Hall had the highest percentage of participants and will receive a pizza party.

Richter said there will likely be a presentation of the data at a Student Senate meeting in the fall.

Life after Saint Mary’s: Two seniors discuss their post-graduate plans

By Tamika Robinson
Feature Editor

With graduation near, the reality of completing college is setting in for many seniors who now have to plan for life after Saint Mary’s University.

Senior Renee Mompremier plans to graduate with a bachelor of science in biology in May. After graduation, she said her goal is to attend graduate school, get a master’s degree in nursing and become a widwife. For now, Mompremier plans to take a year off to work, gain experience, study for the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) and then apply to schools in Minnesota. She also plans to go to Liberia, where her family is originally from, in the winter and volunteer in orphanages for a month.


The planning process leading up to this point has been far from easy. “Deciding what I wanted to do with my degree has been the question since freshmen year,” Mompremier said. “My area has changed a few times as well as my intensions for my degree.”

She said she finally decided to think of what made her the most happy and to seek a job that modeled it. From a young age, Mompremier said she was interested in helping infants and volunteered at daycares and the Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. Her classes about the reproductive system and human development also interested her. All of Mompremier’s interests led her to her chosen path, she said.

While reflecting on SMU’s impact on her, Mompremier said she feels prepared for life after college. “The work load, expectations, as well as the challenges within both, I feel have prepared me for the world,” she said. “Coming here was a dramatic change as far as the level of diversity and the level of exposure many students have had pertaining to diversity. All of these lessons and more have prepared me as a scholar, employee and individual.”

She particularly notes her teachers in the Biology department with influencing her and feels that the best part about being a biology major is the appreciation for human life that students gain and the knowledge that they will make a difference in the lives of others. Mompremier also said that courses outside of her major, like English composition and extra-curricular experiences, have allowed her to explore other cultures and make connections with other students.

“All experiences are a means of learning and growing, so I would not change how things worked out,” Mompremier said about her college experience. “It gave me a chance to think intently about what I wanted to do and become, value my skills and want to help others.”

She said that she will take the values SMU has taught her - being determined to succeed, being unprejudiced to all kinds of knowledge and knowing when to ask for help - and integrate them with the knowledge she gains in the outside world. “I am ready to be a functioning member of society,” she said. “College is a period in our lives, not our life. There is more out there to see, do and become.

Senior Ruth Sobrevilla, who will graduate with a major in electronic publishing and minor in Spanish, plans to move back to her home in Chicago after graduation to get a job and gain experience in an environment where she can apply what she learned at Saint Mary’s University.

“I was kind of upset (with the idea of) going back home because it’s totally a new experience after being here in college for four years,” Sobrevilla said of her plans. “Everything is close. The gym is close, I have my friends here, and now I’m going back to Chicago (and) I’m going to be there in the real world.”

Sobrevilla said that she tried to plan for her future and also tried to think positively about getting a job and not stress out.

Sobrevilla said she feels that SMU has also prepared her for life after college. “I feel like everything has helped me here, whether it was planning for homework, planning my schedule for events or searching for free time,” she said. “Classes have helped me, everything helped me (including) my friends’ advice. I feel that being active here in school, like in activities, helped me a lot.”

Activities such as attending Mass and community service made Sobrevilla realize what is waiting for her and that she also has to serve other people. “(Saint Mary’s) helped me religiously,” she said. “That’s how I grew here, not just professionally but also in my religious beliefs.”

Classroom experiences such as giving presentations, she said, also taught her how to be organized and calm her nerves when speaking in front of people.

Before coming to college, Sobrevilla said that everyone told her how difficult college life would be. “(They said) it’s so stressful, you have a lot of homework, you don’t have time for everything, but I feel that you do have time for everything,” Sobrevilla said. “You have time to get to know people, you have time to go to activities, you have time to go to church, time to go to the gym (and) time to do homework if you know how to prepare ahead of time. I think that is the main key.”

“If you don’t know how to prepare, then comes the stress and then thinking ‘I hate school,’ and ‘I can not do it,’ and ‘It’s so overwhelming,’” Sobrevilla said. “But you are the one who makes (college) overwhelming, so it’s all about learning how to schedule your life here in college.”

With graduation approaching fast, Sobrevilla said that she’s nervous about leaving because she is still searching for a job, but she said she is prepared in terms of knowing what she wants to do. “I know my plan,” she said. “I know what is my dream and my main goal, but I’m not so sure if it’s going to happen because it hasn’t happened yet. I don’t know if that’s the way it’s going to be, but do I have something planned out? Yes, I have planned something. Am I scared? I am scared just a little bit to go out there because now I have to apply everything I have learned from here to the real world and I’m not sure if I will do it the right way.”

Seniors give tips about making the most of college

By Sarah McDonough
Cardinal Staff

The graduating seniors of the Class of 2009 have gone through many experiences in which they have learned more about themselves and the world around them in their years at Saint Mary’s University. Here they give a little insight and advice on the DOs and DON’Ts of college:

“Utilize the Internship Office! When meeting with them, be clear with what you want to get out of the internship, and don’t settle for less. It can be intimidating communicating to a company (inquiring about an internship), but just remember you’re providing a service for them.”
- Rob Brewer


Extra-curricular activities
“When freshmen first get here, it’s ‘Oh my gosh, college!’ which can be stressful just focusing on class work, projects and tests, but it’s good finding other ways of relieving stress. Talk to friends and see what they are getting involved in. Go to the club fair at the beginning of the school year and see what’s out there. You don’t have to be involved with a lot. You can meet a lot of cool people with similar interests as you.”
- Emily Laurent

“Try to focus on yourself. Focus on what you want to be and what you want to do, and try not to waste your time on petty drama that comes with going to a small school. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Being in a relationship can be a distraction and sometimes become the person’s main focus instead of school work. But there are benefits to relationships, too. In a relationship you have someone you can lean on, depend on and be your best friend.”
- Margaret Walsh

Class work
“Make sure you go to class. I know it’s tempting (to skip) some classes, but usually you end up slipping. The fewer classes I went to, the harder it was to catch up, and that’s a rough game to play.”
- Gerry Lentino

Seniors’ gift to help spruce up library

By Danielle Larson
Co-Editor in Chief

As their Senior Class Gift, the Class of 2009 will be making improvements to the Fitzgerald Library.

Improvements will include adding more desks, larger tables, sound barriers, couches, chairs and more space for study groups in order to make a more comfortable study area.

Giving donations for the gift is a way for seniors to “show commitment and support for the continuing legacy of their school,” according to the Senior Class Library Fund brochure.


Each year, the senior class puts together a committee to come up with a Senior Class Gift idea. This year’s committee consists of 30 seniors.

Senior Class Gift committee representatives will be speaking with individual classmates about donations they would like to make and about the payment plan they want to use.

Committee members will be outside the cafeteria during lunches with donation cards. Seniors can choose their pledge amounts by filling out the card.

Seniors can also choose when they would like to start donating, whether they want to make payments over one, two or three years and whether they want to make annual, semi-annual or quarterly payments.

According to senior Mandy Haus, seniors can donate in honor of someone, a professor, department, club, etc. The honored party will be notified that someone donated in their honor.

Senior Class Library Fund brochures are available for anyone needing more information. Contact Bob Fisher, directot of annual giving, at with questions.

Exhibit displays seniors’ work

Left: Senior art show artist Ann Therese Kolaczkowski’s painting of a mountain scene.
Right: A painting done by Mary Margaret Gill, entitled “Baptism.”

By Becca Sandager
Cardinal Staff

Seven students are currently displaying their work in the senior art show at the Lillian Davis Hogan Galleries.

The opening reception for the exhibit, titled “Squaring the Circle: Constructing the Impossible,” was held Saturday, April 18. The show will be on display through May 9.


The exhibit features work from seniors Michael DeGidio, Mary Margaret Gill, Ann Therese Kolaczkowski, Natalie Nemetz, Samantha Oreskovich, Andrew Rath and Cassie Ward.

A mixture of paintings, drawings and film and digital photography, the students name many influences for their art. Rath’s series includes album art, posters and t-shirts for his band “Going Nowhere Fast,” while Gill’s collection is a combination of math, art and theology. Other pieces capture nature and the beauty of the outdoors, travels from the past year and displays of color.

“Squaring the Circle: Constructing the Impossible” is free and open to the public. The Lillian Davis Hogan Galleries is open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, call the Gallery at Ext. 1652.

Famous Dave’s founder to speak on campus

By Danielle Larson
Co-Editor in Chief

The founder of the Famous Dave’s restaurant chain, Dave Anderson, will speak on campus on Monday, April 27. The Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies is hosting the event.

Anderson’s presentation, titled “Me, Inc. – The Spirit of Entrepreneurship,” will be about his life stories and the lessons he has learned along the way.


Anderson has been through a lot in his life, according to Marketing and Public Relations Intern for the Kabara Institute, Catherine McDonald.

Anderson earned a master’s degree from Harvard, has advised two presidents, testified before Congress and the U.S. Senate and has experienced bankruptcy during his life.

His presentation will include Famous Dave’s appetizers, donated by Famous Dave’s of La Crosse, Wisc. After his presentation, the appetizers will be served outside the Performance Center on a first-come, first-served basis.

The presentation will be from 6 to 7 p.m. and will take place in the Page Theatre.

The event is free and open to the public.

‘Iron Chef’ concludes B.U.G.G.S. month

By Lauren Rothering
Copy Editor

The Common Room was transformed into “Kitchen Stadium” at the first Saint Mary’s University “Iron Chef” competition, held April 19.

Nine student and faculty teams made dishes using the secret ingredient, black olives. According to Amira Sadek, an organizer for the event, black olives were chosen as the secret ingredient both as a nod to Palestinian farmers who harvest olives and because the olive branch is a worldwide symbol of peace.


Three judges, Brother Stephen Rusyn, Dr. Gary Diomandes and Joe Piscitiello, rated each team’s dishes based on originality, taste, presentation and use of the secret ingredient.

The winner of the competition was Team One, consisting of JM Montecalvo, Nick Montecalvo, Kelsey Cowan and Sarah St. Laurent. They made homemade ravioli with goat cheese scallions and a four-olive cream sauce, with olive and basil ice cream for dessert.

The runner-up was Team Three, whose members included Gary Borash, Ryan Langr, Leah Hoglin and Sarah Mueller. Their menu consisted of Jimmy Dean wantons, stuffed chicken parmesan and chocolate olive cake, a favorite of the attendees of the competition.

There was also a competition among the teams to see who could sell the most tickets to the event. Team Six, composed of Ruth Sobrevilla, Aga Kadej, Radek Tomczak and Kuba Szymanski, won this portion of the competition, selling over 45 tickets.

Spectators were able to sample each of the teams’ dishes and also enjoy falafel sandwiches, hummus and tabouleh, a dish made from a variety of ingredients including parsley, mint, tomato, scallions and other herbs.

“Iron Chef” was a part of B.U.G.S.S. month, an effort to raise awareness and money for Bethlehem University Gaza Student Scholarships. Overall, Sadek estimates all B.U.G.G.S. month events, including the “Iron Chef” competition, raised around $1,500 for scholarships.

Movie review: prison movies

By Alex Conover
Sports Editor

There are countless movies that I’ve overlooked simply because I wasn’t old enough (or alive) to appreciate them when they were in theaters. Lately I’ve been looking back on some older flicks that I have enjoyed tremendously, and I feel a real obligation to share them with the Cardinal’s faithful readers. For this issue, we’ll be looking at a few classic films that take a closer look at a sometimes difficult topic: prison.


“A Clockwork Orange” (1971)

This futuristic epic, directed by the legendary Stanley Kubrick, is a terrifying look at government control. Alex DeLarge (played by Malcolm McDowell) is a punk who leads a street gang that he calls his “droogs.” Their idea of fun is getting tipsy off of chemically-enhanced milk and going for “a bit of the old ultra-violence.” His fun comes to a screeching halt when he gets caught in the act and is submitted to an experimental behavior-modification technique. I highly recommend this title, although I must warn you that it is highly graphic and a little disturbing.

“Shawshank Redemption” (1994)

I looked into this movie after looking at the Internet Movie Database’s ( Top 250. I saw it at the top of the list, and I can’t say that I disagree. Starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, it is a tale of a young banker who is wrongfully convicted of a life sentence. He thrives socially within prison life and finds something to live and hope for within the walls of his prison cell. “Shawshank Redemption” was nominated for seven Oscars and likely launched Morgan Freeman’s prolific narration career.

“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975)

Another top-10 pick from the IMDb’s list, this title likely launched the career of Jack Nicholson. As criminal Randle P. McMurphy, Nicholson does an extraordinary job of portraying an assumedly normal man who scams his way into a mental institution. Serving a short prison sentence, McMurphy figures that such a place would be more comfortable than a work farm. Once he spends a bit of time there, he soon develops close friendships with many of the patients. The head nurse of the institution, however, aims to make McMurphy’s stay as difficult as possible. This movie was also the first motion picture appearance for now-accomplished actors Christopher Lloyd and Danny DeVito.

First outdoor track meet held

By Pat Howard
Cardinal Staff

On Friday, April 17, Saint Mary’s University had its first-ever outdoor track and field meet. The Phil Esten Challenge was hosted by UW - La Crosse but held at SMU due to construction on their own new facility. Eight teams competed in the meet.

The SMU men’s track team finished fifth overall, and the women’s team finished out the day in seventh.


The head official, or “starter,” arrived later than anticipated, pushing events back roughly an hour, but that did not seem to keep the spirits of the athletes down.

The atmosphere at the track complex was overwhelmingly positive. Spectators and athletes alike from various schools were making positive remarks throughout the event, which lasted roughly seven hours.

Standout athletes included sophomore Ryan Wockenfus, who finished third in the javelin event with a throw of 42.06 meters, junior Teri Heinzen, who placed fourth in the 100 meter dash with a time of 12.72 seconds and fifth in the long jump with a leap of 5.01 meters, and sophomore Brittany Kuehn, who finsihed the 400 meter with a time of 58.96 seconds.

The spirit of teamwork was best displayed in the men’s 800 meter run, as sophomore Benton Kodet and senior Marty Howard ran together against strong competitors such as UW - Stout’s Justin Verhulst. Kodet set a new personal record with a time of 2:02.73, and Howard finished with a time of 2:03.39.

Tarheels’ title run places priority on experience

By Alex Conover
Sports Editor

Even if you don’t like the North Carolina Tarheels, you can’t help but admire their cohesiveness.

After winning the NCAA men’s basketball title game on April 6, UNC completed what was an incredible March Madness tournament; they won every game by double digits, something that hasn’t happened since Duke did it in 2001. The Tarheels did it all with a well-rounded starting lineup that included three juniors and two seniors.


Some NBA draft experts have said that UNC had up to six players on this year’s roster that have first-round talent. A few of those players, including 2008 National Player of the Year Tyler Hansbrough, tested the waters last year but opted to return to UNC to make a title run. In my opinion, this is the ideal college basketball championship team: a group of battle-tested veterans winning it all with experience and great teamwork.

Players returning to school is not only good for college basketball, it’s good for the NBA. After a rash of players skipping college basketball altogether, NBA commissioner David Stern instituted a rule in 2005 requiring prospects to be at least one year removed from high school. This was a great move, as it prevented foolish entries from prep stars that simply needed more time to develop. For every Lebron James there’s a Korleone Young or Leon Smith – high school players who were hyped but were drafted low and ended up in European leagues.

There are still plenty of college basketball players declaring early; however, it seems that you just can’t keep some players in college. Stars Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant and Chris Bosh all enjoyed success as “one-and-dones” (elite prospects who only played their freshman year in college). Out of the first seven picks in last year’s NBA draft, five were college freshmen.

The NBA is doing a great job of moving up their minimum playing age, and it could definitely continue to rise. College basketball will continue to benefit from these rule changes, as it keeps better players in college longer. Although underclassman declarations are still “en vogue,” I feel that UNC sent a clear message this year: it’s still cool to stay in school.

Ropes course promises to challenge

Ropes course instructors finished their course training over spring break. Intructors used spring break to prepare for this summer’s opening to the public.
Above left: Sarah McDonough climbs a 50-foot pole to set up equipment.
Right: Greg Freeman poses while rock climbing during training.

By Sara Eisenhauer
Cardinal Staff

The Saint Mary’s University ropes course will open to the general public June 1. The course will facilitate team bonding, leadership training and self-confidence building through a variety of physical challenges.

According to Davey Warner, outdoor leadership coordinator and ropes course manager, the university built the course to stimulate excitement about leadership opportunities among the student body. Construction on the $85,000 project was completed in December, and instructor training was finished over spring break in order to prepare for this summer’s opening.


“The ropes course is another way to educate people, both at Saint Mary’s and the larger community, through experiential education,” said Warner.

With help of the instructors, participants will learn to build team and personal skills on the high and low ropes courses. The low ropes course encourages teamwork and trust by walking on cables and swinging logs, while the high ropes work to boost individual self-confidence through the use of zip lines and 35-foot climbing poles.

Vanessa Grams, junior and ropes course instructor, sees the ropes course as an educational tool for groups and a way for people to test their limits. Grams said it was a challenge to actually complete the course while training. “I did things I didn’t know I could do,” said Grams.

Warner agrees and said the course challenges people to “do things they have never done before and realize that they can do it.”

Most of the ropes course was funded by donations and pledges, but the course still is not completely paid for. The low ropes course was also funded by the senior gift from the 2008 graduating class.

Reservations for the course begin May 1 and should be made through Davey Warner in the Office of Outdoor Leadership.

You know you can get that at Hy-Vee, right?

By David Hajoglou and Joe Tadie
Guest Writers

This year, a group of students, faculty and staff made maple syrup on campus in the traditional (and very slow) way. We started gathering wood for the boiling process in November. In March we tapped five maple trees and started collecting sap in one-gallon containers.

During this time we built the furnace, split the wood and collected 12 gallons of sap. In a dilapidated shack in the bluffs, it took 10 students 12 days to boil down the sap into one quart of syrup. This quart of syrup took a total of 61 man hours to produce.


If we paid the laborers the Federal Minimum Wage ($6.55/hr), that quart of syrup would be worth $400. What this means is that Hall Director Brendan Dolan, who paid $35 for this quart of syrup at the Taylor Richmond Benefit Auction, will be receiving a bill for the remainder!

In the years I have been making my own maple syrup, curious onlookers, noticing the onerous character of this process, ask a variety of questions, ranging from “what are you doing with that hatchet?” to “how much sap does it take to make a gallon of syrup?” or “how long does it take?” These question are easy to answer: 1) trying not to cut myself; 2) it takes 40 gallons of sap for one gallon of syrup; 3) a long, long time. The question I find very difficult to answer is the inevitable question, “You know you can just get maple syrup at Hy-Vee right?”

When I hear such a question, I realize that I too have developed a lot of questions as a result of my involvement in this process. My questions are less rhetorical and more about food sources, especially in their agricultural, economic and ecologic implications. Here are a few I would ask in return:

Where does the maple syrup at Hy-Vee come from?
Does the purchase benefit Minnesota (or other US) producers or Canadian producers? What kind of energy inputs are required for their processes? How do these operations dispose of their waste products?

Because I practice maple syrup making in the way that I do, I can answer ALL of these questions. I can take you directly to the five maple trees that are the origin of my maple syrup. I am not contributing to an international trade deficit (one may even say that I am lessening the burden on the international trade deficit by consuming my own syrup). My energy inputs are both renewable and local. All of my waste products (excepting the smoke from the fire) are recyclable and are, in fact, recycled.

One goal of our maple syrup project was to educate ourselves about the nature of food production. We now understand a fraction of the complex process that is required to make food. My hope is to get people to think critically about where their food comes from. Making food yourself may have some real benefits over buying it at the store. Finally, to answer all of those perplexed spectators, I know I can get it at Hy-Vee, and do you know you can make it yourself at home?

Should we really be silent?

By Ryan Briscoe
Cardinal Staff

The LGBT Day of Silence has served to bring attention to anti-LGBT behavior in order to create safer learning environments since 1996. Participants in the event used April 17 as a day to draw attention, through personal silence, to the discrimination many students have suffered because of their sexual orientation.


Keeping all of this in mind, I think this is a good moment to set aside one or two ideas - which are charged with a militant political agenda and often associated with the LGBT Day of Silence - in order to consider larger problem, one which the Day of Silence draws attention to. This larger crisis is the fight for basic respect among fellow human beings. Regardless of your personal views concerning homosexuality and the lifestyles associated with it, the dignity shared by all human persons is never to be over-looked! Concisely put, the harassment of gays is disgusting and has no place in a society that claims to be civilized and free.

Do not for an instant think that our beloved university is exempt from the cultural practices in which it is acceptable to show aggression toward homosexuals. In its simplest form, this violence can take the form of a joke or name-calling but often accelerates to property damage (which has happened at SMU) or even physical confrontations (heaven-forbid!). It is abhorrent to think that members of our community could be treated by their peers in such a way.

This day is not focused on a certain acceptance of a way of life, nor is its purpose to condone the acts of certain individuals. Rather, it is a day to recognize the reverence we owe to our fellow human beings. Disagreeing with an individual’s lifestyle or his or her choices - and even respectfully voicing that disagreement - is radically different from actively persecuting those who may think differently from you. You don’t have to remain silent about a lifestyle you disagree with, but you MUST initiate a dialogue based in charity and fed by compassion. Furthermore, be especially conscious to always separate the judgment of an action from the judgment of an individual.

Actions that are provocative, insolent and discourteous in their nature have to stop! Recognize the worth and personhood of those around you, and act in a manner that demonstrates your understanding of the value of all individuals.

Staff Spotlight: Ellen Bergler

By Amira Sadek
Cardinal Staff

Ellen Bergler, the administrative assistant in the Jay Johnson Wellness Center, enjoys working with students.

Bergler does all the scheduling for the center and tries to get to know all the students by name. “I want to be able to know their names and know who they are and to be able to stop in the hall and say ‘hey,’” Bergler said.


Bergler said she really cares about the students who come into the center as individuals. She said that they will not be overlooked when they come in for help, and the wellness center staff will work hard to resolve students’ issues.

Bergler has had a lot of experience working with students; she began working for SMU in 1996. She has worked in the financial aid and residence life offices and has been in her current position for two years.

Club Corner: Men’s lacrosse

By Ashley Acosta
Cardinal Staff

If the past few weeks are any indication of what is to come, then Saint Mary’s University men’s lacrosse fans have something to look forward to.

Splitting from the Winona State team four years ago, the SMU men’s lacrosse team, the Hilltoppers, is in its third year of competition.

A member of the Great Lakes Lacrosse League, the team’s roster is comprised of 13 players, with six of those being upperclassmen.


“The biggest thing we need to work on is team chemistry,” said freshman captain Ben Banse. “With so many new players, we haven’t played together much, and we need to talk to one another and help each other out.”

With many first-time players, the young team has been diligently practicing for two hours, two times a week for the past three months, focusing on game strategies and fundamental skills.

After a 0-5 start to the season, the Hilltoppers have won four of their last five games.

Junior Tim Jorgensen credits their success to their teamwork.

“We work well as a team,” Jorgensen said. “If someone messes up, we don’t get mad at each other. We help each other out.”

The team’s laid-back atmosphere is also seen as a positive.

“We take things seriously, but we don’t take things too seriously, and we have fun,” Banse said.

Their relaxed atmosphere goes hand-in-hand with how the team is put together. As it is one of the few clubs without tryouts or a participation fee, players of all skill levels are encouraged to go out for the team.

“Being on the team, you get to travel to other schools and experience what it is like to be part of a team,” Jorgensen said. “It is like a varsity college sport, but with a more laid-back atmosphere.”

Early in the season, a large portion of practice time was spent on filling out forms and other administrative paperwork. Jorgensen admits that the team has not practiced as much as they should because of high demand for the RAC and the lack of an alternative facility.

With all these obstacles behind them, the team is looking forward to the Great Lakes Championship Tournament in late April.

The two-day tournament, held this year at UW-Stout, hosts all 40 teams in the Great Lakes Conference. Each team is put into a bracket, and the Hilltoppers are hoping to make it to the second day of the tournament and end their season with a .500 record.

“We just want to show others that even though we are a small private school and we have a small team, we are out here to compete,” said Jorgensen.