Thursday, September 29, 2011

SMU is "Going Google"

By Emma Stenzel
Managing & Advertising Editor

Saint Mary’s University will be transitioning its email platform to Google Apps, effective this semester for all current students, faculty, staff and administration.

Google Apps is a collection of messaging and collaboration applications that mirrors Google’s popular email service, Gmail. It is replacing Office-Logic Interchange Webmail after surveyed respondents expressed dissatisfaction with the outdated email server in a 2009 study.

The Google Apps platform offers six services, including Google Mail, Calendar, Talk, Docs, Sites and Video. These tools will offer several advantages that Webmail does not provide, including nearly 300 times more email storage, enhanced message organization, easy calendar and schedule sharing, instant messaging and more advanced mobile configuration.

Sarah Bearbower, information technology manager of academic systems at SMU, said she is especially impressed with Google Apps’ easy-to-use collaboration features.

“You get so much more from email and calendars with Google,” said Bearbower. “It will really allow users to take advantage of the collaboration features, which will make it much easier to work together with peers and faculty members.”

Bearbower said that SMU faculty and staff have already begun the migration process and will be fully switched to the Google Apps system by Thanksgiving Break. SMU seniors will transition on Oct. 18, followed by juniors on Nov. 1, sophomores on Nov. 8 and freshmen on Nov. 15. The process will be complete once graduate and professional students migrate by the end of the semester.

No email addresses will change after the transition; addresses will still end with “@smumn.edu”.

Bearbower said Information Technology will not move old email messages to the new system for students, but the HelpDesk will provide instructions on how to do so on its website.

For more information about the email transition, visit the HelpDesk website at http://techfaq.smumn.edu or contact the Winona campus HelpDesk at 507-457-7800.

Winona campus to build new residence hall

By Samantha Kleese
Cardinal Staff

In order to draw and retain students and improve its facilities, Saint Mary’s University has finalized plans for a new residence hall on the Winona campus.

The concept of the facility was approved by the SMU Board of Trustees last May. The site plan has already been filed with the City of Winona and SMU has sent out a request for construction bids.

SMU administration will reach its goal of beginning construction this fall with plans to have the building completed for the fall of 2012.

The new residence hall is to be built between the high ropes course and the New Village apartments. It will house sophomore, junior, and senior undergraduates during the academic year, as well as participants in conferences, camps and educational programs in the summer.

The new hall will include single-occupancy suites, double-occupancy suites and two-, three-, and four-bedroom apartments. There will also be lounges, study rooms and a kitchen to bring individual students together as a cohesive community and promote a learning environment.

The building is intended to have 141 beds in 45 units, with each room having a private bath. The residence hall will be air-conditioned and provide Wi-Fi Internet access.

SMU to celebrate centennial

By Andrea Allis
Editor in Chief

Saint Mary’s University is quickly approaching its centennial: 2012 will mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of SMU, and much is being done in anticipation of the milestone.

There will be several events to take part in, starting with a Cornerstone Commemoration Event on June 23, 2012, “to honor the initial cornerstone being laid in 1912,” according to the SMU centennial website. Other centennial events in 2012 will include Young Alumni and Cardinal “M” Club Weekend Sept. 7-9, a Chicago Centennial Event Sept. 22, and Family Weekend and Arts Commission Debut Oct. 5-7.

The main event will be the Centennial Celebration Weekend in June 2013. “This event will invite all former alumni, faculty, staff, Christian Brothers, seminar graduates [and others] back to campus and, for some of the graduate students, to campus for the first time,” said Bridget McCoy, centennial and special events director at SMU. She added that the event will mark the end of the centennial year and “ring in the next century of SMU, which is very exciting!”

More events will be posted on the centennial website as the time draws nearer and dates are set, including a specific celebration that will be designed by the students for the students.

Centennial Celebration planning began about two years ago when a Visioning Committee was formed. The committee included faculty, staff, alumni and students from “the major constituency areas [of] Winona, the Twin Cities and Chicago” to “create a vision around the Centennial Celebration,” said McCoy.

After that, the 15-person Centennial Celebration Committee was formed, also comprised of faculty, staff and both undergraduate and graduate students. The Centennial Celebration Committee has been meeting for the past year “to formulate the concrete plans” for the celebration’s events, McCoy said.

Currently, McCoy said, there are 12 working groups that will complete the planning and execution of the Centennial events.

For more information on SMU’s Centennial Celebration, visit the centennial website, www.saintmary’s100.com.

9/11 anniversary brings memories for SMU community

By Jake Schild
Cardinal Staff

A group of Saint Mary’s University faculty and staff gathered in the Toner Student Center Sept. 8 to discuss how the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks affected them personally and how they felt the U.S. military handled the situation after the attacks.

Dr. Rose Beal, a professor of theology at SMU, was working in Washington on the day of the fatal attacks. She explained how shocked everyone was after the attacks.

“For many it was the first time people actually felt they had a human enemy,” Beal said. “We’ve never had to suffer that kind of territorial attack. It was unfathomable.”

She also conveyed how difficult it was for Americans not to immediately turn their fear into anger.

“People really had to wrestle with the tension of, ‘How do I forgive this enemy? How do I pray not only for the people in the World Trade Center, but also for those involved in the mission?’” said Beal.

Dr. Wes Miller, a professor of sociology at SMU, had a brother-in-law living in New York at the time, and Dean of Campus Ministry Dennis Gallagher was teaching at a Catholic high school in New York.

Miller, who was teaching a global issues class at the time, said he felt a need to change the class curriculum after the incident and bring up more multicultural ideals.

“It was a seriousness in that class amongst students and myself,” he said.

Miller also felt as though he saw little “heroics” all throughout the day, explaining that there was a sense of community on campus that came out of the attacks. Beal also mentioned this, noting that “we were there to support each other, to pray for those who suffered losses.”

In terms of U.S. military action after the attacks, almost all of the forum participants were doubtful that exactly the right methods were used.

“One of the issues we continue to deal with is strategic planning,” said Beal. “We perceive war as a solution, yet we are still intentionally na├»ve about the costs of war.

“You think it’s going to be like a Bruce Willis movie, and it’s not. It never has been. Until we come to terms with that, we will continue to contribute to the problem.”

Both Gallagher and Dr. Jim Rodgers, a professor of history at SMU, said that the U.S. might have been too confident in their subsequent attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Before 9/11 there was a patriotic feeling that we were the most powerful nation in the world and peacekeepers,” Gallagher said. “We were used to quick actions. We thought we could just solve things because of our power, our money, and our might."

“We’re used to ‘American exceptionalism,’” said Rodgers. “We’re finding out the hard way that maybe we’re not as exceptional as we thought. Maybe all the military hardware is not a solution to these problems. We have to take a much longer-termed view. We’re not used to that. We’re used to short fixes: getting it over with and withdrawing. That’s not really the way the world works.”

Rodgers also said that capturing one terrorist leader is much different than bringing total democracy to both Iraq and Afghanistan.

“We can accomplish killing [Saddam] Hussein, but it’s much harder to make a free and democratic Iraq. We need to quit running these objectives together. We need long-term nation building. We’re not very good at that.”

Jim Bedtke, vice president for the College, and Dr. Jeff Walter, an SMU counselor, thought also that our invasions on both Iraq and Afghanistan could’ve been executed differently.

“We’re becoming a breeding ground for some of that same behavior we so despised, suffered on 9/11. How do we deal with that?” asked Bedtke.

Said Walter, “Punishment doesn’t work well to shape behaviors.”

Guatemala SOUL trip inspirational for all involved

By Kassondra Burtis
News Editor

Guatemala had ten new visitors last May as nine Saint Mary’s University students and one faculty advisor took part in a 12-day trip sponsored by the Campus Ministry program Serving Others United in Love (SOUL).

“It was an amazing experience,” faculty advisor Dorothy Diehl said. “Being able to meet the people and hear their stories was something I couldn’t have learned from a book.”

The group took a couple tours and traveled to a few different cities throughout different parts of the country and got to spend time with children at an orphanage.

Jamie Cooper, student leader of the group, noted some key differences in the international trip to Guatemala as compared to other domestic SOUL trips taken throughout the school year.

“Well the obvious difference is that you go to a different country,” Cooper said. “Another big one is that the Guatemala SOUL trip is not meant to be a service trip. It is meant to be more of an educational trip about social injustices in other countries.

“It is supposed to open people’s eyes and hopefully inspire them to preach what they witnessed and spread the awareness.”

And that’s just what it did for Diehl.

“Standing on the hill and watching the people working in the dump and hearing a woman talk about how she helped save some orphans during the civil war is something that will stay with me forever,” she said.

It was an eye-opening experience for all involved, and both Diehl and Cooper encouraged others to sign up for the trip in the future, even if they don’t speak any Spanish.

“Even if you haven’t had any Spanish, you will benefit from the experience,” Diehl said. “The happiness on the faces of the children as we played games with them at the orphanage showed that you don’t need words to communicate with someone.”

“It’s a life-changing experience in some way or another,” Cooper said. “You will not have any regrets.”

Students show school pride during Cardinal Days

By Morgan Stock
Cardinal Staff

The Saint Mary’s University Student Activities Committee (SAC) always does its best to present students with fun activities on campus.

This year, SAC presented Cardinal Days, a sort of “homecoming week” that provided events and activities for students and invited them to show off their Cardinal pride.

“Since we don't have a football team, we try to do other things throughout the week to generate school spirit,” said Connie Budin, president of SAC.

This year’s Cardinal Days incorporated different dress-up days and gave students chances to win prizes like SMU water bottles, pens and notepads for their attire. Monday was “Wear Red Day,” followed by “Professional Dress Day” on Tuesday. SAC also sponsored a Tug of War contest Tuesday evening, which took place by the Gazebo. The winning team was awarded a $100 gift card to Godfather’s Pizza.

The Big Red Cardinal made an appearance on Wednesday in the cafeteria during lunch hours, and the movie Bridesmaids was shown in Salvi Lecture Hall in the evening.

Thursday was “Thrift Store Treasure Dress Day” and an afternoon presentation of “Can I Kiss You?” was held in the Page Theatre for freshmen.

Friday concluded Cardinal Days with the band The Morning Foreign in the Toner Student Center Game Room.

Each event was free to students and gave them an opportunity to have some fun and show their Cardinal pride.

Look out for more free and exciting activities presented by SAC throughout the year.

English welcomes new professor

By: Ellie Duening
Cardinal Staff

The Saint Mary's University English department is excited about the addition of new faculty member Dr. Erin Clark.

Clark takes the place of Dr. Jenny Olin Shanahan, who left SMU’s English department two years ago, and teaches English Composition, Introduction to Literature, and Dimensions of Literature.

Clark said she most looks forward to the capability and the enthusiasm of the wide variety of students here. And according to English Department Chair Dr. Carolyn Ayers, the students' reaction to Clark's teaching has been "overwhelmingly positive."

Clark said she is also excited to carry out her passion for African American and Holocaust literature.

“The most important task the humanities can accomplish is preparing young writers to communicate with the world around them,” said Clark.

Usually, the hiring process would take place over the course of an entire school year, but in this case it took place over the summer. Before hiring Clark, the English department requested approval to search for a new professor and once it was granted, a short-term search was begun, said Ayers.

Clark was among around 100 interested applicants, according to Ayers, and under a normal timeline, this opening would have generated around 300 applicants. Once the available position was defined, a search committee was formed of English department faculty and professors from different fields, Ayers said.

The committee screened the 100 applications and selected 12 to interview via telephone, said Ayers, and of these, three applicants were chosen to come to campus for a day and to visit and interview. The applicants were then interviewed in a more formal setting, allowing the search committee, the dean and the director of administration to gain a more elaborate understanding of the candidates, Ayers said.

Wellness Center welcomes new counselors

By Jenna Capelle
Cardinal Staff

Two new counselors joined Saint Mary’s University’s Jay Johnson Wellness Center staff last August.

As new faces on campus, Drs. Holly Courtenay and Jeff Walter are anticipating meeting as many students as possible as the school year moves forward.

Walter hopes that students do not hesitate to use the counseling services provided at SMU.

“Students should know that you don’t have to be in an extreme crisis to meet with a counselor,” said Walter.

On a typical day, Walter meets with individuals and couples for counseling, attends meetings, teaches a College Success Strategies class for the Path to Academic Success (PASS) program and gives presentations about different mental health topics, in addition to many other responsibilities. Last week he gave a presentation about overcoming the fear of public speaking.

“I like that my job at [SMU] keeps me on my toes,” said Walter. “I’m not doing the same thing every day.”

Courtenay says she is inspired by how many students utilize the Jay Johnson Wellness Center on campus. She enjoys meeting with students one-on-one and helping them with their problems, consulting with faculty and staff, giving presentations and starting ADHD testing, among other responsibilities.

Throughout the school year, Courtenay hopes to implement new kinds of programs like stress reduction activities and art therapy.

“I’m a huge advocate of art therapy,” said Courtenay. “I think the students would greatly benefit from it.”

According to Courtneay, students’ lives can become hectic when juggling classes, athletics, club activities and social events, and sometimes they can forget to take care of themselves. Courtenay hopes to help students stay healthy.

“Students sometimes forget that mental health is as important as physical health,” said Courtenay.

Outside of their cozy offices, the counselors are advisors of two clubs on campus. Courtenay is the advisor of the new club “Advocates 4 Abilities,” which strives to bring awareness about different mental and physical disabilities. Walter is a co-advisor of the Yoga Club, which meets on Mondays and Wednesdays in the dance studio at 7:30 p.m.

Students who are interested in using the Jay Johnson Wellness Center’s facilities can visit the office located in the basement of the Toner Student Center across from the Residence Life office. Appointments can be made at the front desk or by emailing the counselors at jwalter@smumn.edu or hcourtenay@smumn.edu.

New Student Senate president to lead SMU

By Connie Budin
Cardinal Staff

Student Senate President Bob Rousseau has new and bright ideas for the students of Saint Mary’s University.

Rousseau has compiled an impressive list of credentials leading to his role as Senate president. His experience with leadership began in high school at Cretin Derham Hall High School in Saint Paul, Minn., where he served on its Student Senate’s activities committee his junior year and student life committee his senior year. He was also band president.

As a sophomore at SMU, Rousseau acted as the Senate representative for Gilmore Creek Hall. His junior year, he was a member of Senate’s executive board as vice president of student life, a roll in which he worked with Chartwells Campus Dining and SMU’s Vice President for Student Development Chris Kendall on student issues.

This year, Rousseau was elected as the first male Senate president SMU has seen in four years.

“I’ve never wanted anything more in my life,” said Rousseau.

Duties as president include running Senate meetings and serving as a liaison between the students and administration. Rousseau said he is excited to make an impact on campus and help students.

One way Rousseau plans to impact the university is to create more connections with Senate. He said people often feel that Senate is intimidating, but he plans to change this perception.

Through the involvement of senators and executive board members attending the meetings of clubs and organizations around campus, Rousseau hopes to create a connection that will generate a positive atmosphere between the two parties.

“I want to let them know we care and are present and available for them to contact,” said Rousseau.

Other changes Rousseau plans to implement include volunteer work throughout the Winona community and a food committee with Chartwells.

“We’re going to try to go back towards being a more eco-friendly campus,” said Rousseau. He said this idea has great potential to draw more student involvement on campus and come up with constructive solutions for problems.

Rousseau emphasized that students are more than welcome to attend Senate meetings Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. in Salvi Lecture Hall, located in Saint Mary’s Hall.

He also encouraged students to become involved as additional hall representatives or class officers.

“As long as we are working towards something and having a conversation, I’m for it,” said Rousseau.

Though the role as Senate president is challenging and a great responsibility,
Rousseau said he is enthusiastic and excited about this year at SMU.

“I care about this place and connect with people around campus,” he said. “I want to make it the best it can be, and that comes down to caring and having the ambition to follow the dreams you have for it.”

New faces in business department

By Meg Beerling
Feature Editor

This year Saint Mary's University welcomes two new professors to the business department, Drs. Malcom Gold and Derek Jackson.
Gold currently teaches two sections of Business Statistics, two sections of Microeconomics and one section of an international business class. Jackson teaches several accounting courses, which is his specialty field.

Gold taught at the University of Wisconsin, Marshfield, for two years before coming to SMU, and Jackson was an adjunct professor at Virterbo University in La Crosse, Wisc., for the last three years.

Both Jackson and Gold said that they love the small class sizes here at SMU. Gold said that the small-school atmosphere is something he values for both teacher and student. Similarly, Jackson, a Viterbo alumnus, said he appreciates small class sizes and that it is a “more personal, more impactful way to teach and to learn.”

Gold said the best part of the job is a simple answer for him: the learning. “Education is a positive externality,” said Gold, meaning that the individual or firm making a decision does not receive the full benefit of the decision; the benefit to the individual or firm is less than the benefit to society. Gold enjoys being able to influence the student population, even if it is just a few students, because those students can then go on to influence others.

Jackson said the hardest part of the job is the time commitment. “I want to do a good job,” he said, adding that teaching full time at SMU is a lot different than adjunct teaching one day per week.

Both Gold and Jackson said that they are excited to be here, and they look forward to getting to know people and facing new challenges.

New improvisation class offered

By Raquel Romo
Cardinal Staff

The start of this academic year also meant the start of a new class offered at Saint Mary’s University, as an improvisation class became part of the SMU theatre department’s curriculum.

This class allows theatre majors who have taken Introduction to Acting to also learn the art of acting on a whim. SMU senior Maggie Allexsaht, a current student in this class, said, “It is a really good class and the great part is we only meet four times in one semester in the month of September.” The class met for the last time on Saturday, Sept. 24.

The class is not exclusively for theatre majors; all students are welcome, pro
vided that they have passed Introduction to Acting.

Guest professor Patrick Sutton was described by Allexsaht as “a really great instructor [who] really knows how to make [students] think and get into [their] roles.”

SMU freshman Ashley Curry, who is considering adding the class to her schedule, said, “Improv. is my favorite type of theatre because it releases my inner thoughts and lets me connect to people more.

“Improv. feels different from regular theatre because you are able to step outside of lines and blocking and everything with structure.”

Contact the Registrar’s Office for more information on when this class is offered.

Prints in art gallery support Japan

By Julianne Bartosz
Copy Editor

Saint Mary’s University’s Lillian Davis Hogan Galleries are displaying printmaking pieces that aid tsunami and earthquake relief in Japan.

Printmakers from around the world have contributed to the exhibit, titled “Inspired by Japan: Aid Through the Art of Printmaking.” The exhibit is being shown internationally by a group of artists who together formed the Baren Forum. They gathered with the goal of helping the Japanese victims of the tsunami and earthquake of 2011. The Baren Forum will aid victims by selling its prints and donating proceeds to MercyCorps in collaboration with Peace Winds in Japan.

The pieces in the gallery have been made by woodblock printmaking, many in the traditional printmaking Japanese style. Woodblock printmaking is a relief matrix, meaning areas showing white when printed are cut away from the block used. The design of the print is the original surface level of the block. The block is then inked and pressed firmly on desired material to make a print, a challenging task because the design of the print is cut in reverse to create a mirror image when printed.

SMU’s Art and Design Department Chair Preston Lawing created one piece on display in the gallery. His piece is called “Kamakura Omikuji” and displays a tradition practiced when visiting a Shinto temple. The description of his piece in the gallery explains the tradition and notes that his print’s message is, “We do not accept this disaster as our fate, and we will continue to be strong.”

The exhibit will be open through Sunday, Oct. 2. More information about the
exhibit and the purchase of pieces can be found online at http://barenforum.org/japan/index.html.

Student music groups to perform Family Weekend

By Krista Barnes
Cardinal Staff

The Saint Mary’s University choirs and Concert Band will be performing for Family Weekend, Saturday, Oct. 1 at 2 p.m. in the Page Theatre.

Dr. Patrick O’Shea, director of both the SMU Chamber Singers and Concert Choir, said there are “250 students on campus involved in some sort of music. This concert is almost like a sample concert for our Lessons and Carrols Concert on Dec. 10.”

The Concert Choir will be performing songs in French, as well as pieces from Gilbert and Sullivan. The Chamber Singers will be performing Swedish pieces, in addition to a song called “Sing to the Lord”. The Women’s Choir, directed by Lindsy O’Shea, and the Concert Band, directed by Dr. Janet Heukeshoven will also be performing.

Tickets for the concert will be $10 for adults and $5 for seniors and students. For more information, visit www.pagetheatre.org.

Jazz Ensemble, Combo to play Family Weekend

By Trisha Stachowski
Arts & Entertainment Editor

The Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combo I will be performing a concert in the Figliulo Recital Hall on Friday, Sep. 30.

According to Dr. John Paulson, director of both the Jazz Ensemble and Combo I, the groups have been preparing for this concert since the start of the school year. “We’ve got our selections pretty well picked out,” said Paulson. “Jazz Combo I is going to start things off with three selections and then the [Jazz Ensemble] has five or six that it will play.”

The jazz groups have been involved with Family Weekend since Paulson started teaching at SMU 30 years ago, and “it was going on before then, so probably since the beginning of the music department,” said Paulson.

“We had a good crowd during Family Weekend [last year],” said SMU sophomore Katy Kosiek. “Usually we perform in the Page so it was a very confined space for Family Weekend, but it was good.” Kosiek, a member of both the Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combo I, will be playing solos during both performances. Kosiek said the audience of last year’s concert was a good mix of students, siblings and parents of the students performing.

Tickets for the concert are $5 for seniors and students and $10 for adults. Tickets can be purchased at the Page Theatre.

In addition to the Family Weekend concert, The Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combo I will be teaming up with the jazz groups from Winona State University for a concert to benefit Somalia. It will be held at Signatures Event Center in Winona on Thursday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m.

Said Paulson, “Its an idea I got to do for a fundraiser for Somalia. There’s so much starvation and suffering and I just couldn’t stand it. I usually try to get the groups off campus at least once before our concert in December.” For more information, on the benefit concert, visit the Signatures website at www.signatureswinona.com.

SMU volleyball rises to new challenges

By Keotta House
Cardinal Staff

Despite having a 21-10 record last season, the Saint Mary’s University volleyball team was left out of the NCAA Division III national tournament.

Head Coach Mike Lester said this year’s squad is starting with a clean slate.

“The team went into this season with a completely different attitude,” said Lester. “We have a lot of talented players, a lot of great incoming players.”

Despite graduating seven players at the end of last year, the remaining returners, two seniors and five juniors, keep the team a close-knit group, Lester said.

“As much as I hate to say it, we as coaches don’t have to work as hard anymore,” Lester said. “The upper classmen have taken the reigns and have made the new girls feel part of the team.”

The team has already started the season with a pair of triple victories in the Ground Round Sugarloaf Classic at home and in the Endicott Tournament in Boston, Mass.

Tournament victories aren’t enough for the Cardinal volleyball team, according to senior captain Amy Kujak: “We want to finally win a national championship, that’s our goal.”

Winning is not the only key to a successful season for the team, and they intend not to become one-goal oriented.

“If the team can look back and say they had fun, they made life-long memories and they played their hardest each and every time they stepped on the court, then they have had a successful season,” Lester said.

Round one of intramurals running smoothly

By Matt Wagner
Cardinal Staff

Intramural athletics have begun at Saint Mary’s University, and with heavy enrollment between all four of the sports, the level of competition has risen.

With the first session consisting of sand volleyball, flag football, basketball, and ultimate Frisbee, there is plenty to keep intramural participants occupied, with games occurring one to two times per week.

“Our team participated in a sand volleyball tournament during Welcome Week and did pretty well, so I figured we would sign up for the first session of intramural volleyball and see how it goes,” said freshman Jake Holzer, captain of French Toast Mafia. “The competition is a little bit more intense than I had thought it would be, but we are still a strong contender.”

Returning upperclassmen seem confident in their playing abilities, not only due to their familiarity with the sport, but also with knowledge of their fellow upperclassmen opponents. Many are convinced that a championship t-shirt is in their future during this intramural season, especially SMU sophomore Matt Traxler, who is leading the team Kick Some Ace.

“Of course we are going to go undefeated. We have yet to lose a game,” said Traxler.

His teammate, SMU sophomore Ryan Menden, added to Traxler’s comment: “There is some fierce competition this session, but I think we will come out on top.”

While the players involved may reveal their competitive side every once in a while, the coordinators and referees have noticed a sense of sportsmanship and character displayed by the intramural athletes.

“It never seems to get too competitive,” said SMU sophomore Denard Covington. “Everyone seems to be having fun and playing nicely; I haven’t seen anything too crazy so far.”

The first session of intramural sports will soon come to a close, with winning teams of each sport being crowned champions. And although many teams will fall to what may be heartbreaking losses, the competitiveness of intramural sports at SMU will continue through the upcoming sessions.

What’s college without some Frisbee, right?

By Nick Bravos
Sports Editor

As a spectator, ultimate Frisbee has an electrifying effect on me, and hopefully I’m not the only one whose eyes are glued.

Two weeks ago, you probably noticed something odd about campus. Those who passed by the practice soccer field might have asked, “Why are people wearing goofy-looking jerseys, sprinting back and forth chasing a Frisbee?” Perhaps the more pertinent question is “Who would willingly do that from 9 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon?”

The answer is simple: the MUTS, Saint Mary’s University’s ultimate Frisbee club. The MUTS hosted the First Blood Tournament Sept. 17 and 18 to kick off their fall season. Winona State University’s team, Experience, came out on top, turning in a solid 6-0 record on the tournament.

This year’s First Blood Tournament, the second annual, attracted seven teams regionally, with teams from Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota in attendance. It is the largest tournament the MUTS have brought to our home fields. The MUTS have hosted other multi-team tournaments in the past, such as HalloWinona, in which SMU and WSU pool together fields to accommodate the massive tournament of nearly 80 teams.

First Blood was a tiring weekend for the MUTS this year, to say the least, ending Saturday and Sunday with 2-2 and 1-1 records, respectively. “Concluding with a 500 record against other experienced opponents [like Saint Cloud State University, Michigan Technological University, and Wartburg College] is a great achievement,” said junior captain, Adam Billings.

There’s a common theme about SMU sports with the coming of each year, whether it’s a varsity or club sport. Pressure is put on the returners to step up and prove they can pull their weight in a newfound leadership role. That is definitely the case with the MUTS this season, especially after losing nine seniors last spring, who were part of the original 14 that founded the team.

There will always be gaps that need filling at the beginning of a season when team roles haven’t yet been established. Said Billings, “This had led to incorporating many freshmen into our main lines. It's impressive that this year's freshman have stepped up and already made an early impact on the team.”

Ever since the club’s birth in 2007, the MUTS have become more eager each year to compete in tournaments. This season, they’ll lace up for 10 tournaments, six in the fall alone, compared to last year’s seven-tournament season. The MUTS will also be scrimmaging WSU’s team every Friday.

If there’s one thing I know, it’s that competition – in any sport – is the fastest way to progress in overall ability and situational know-how. And if it’s competition the MUTS want, they’re going to get just about all they can handle.