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ISSUE 117 VOL 3 PUBLISHED 10/3/2003

Letters to the Editor

By Melanie Meinzer
Contributing Writer

Friday, October 3, 2003

Dear Mess Editors,

I was happy to see the news of switching to Peace Coffee in the Cage made the front page of last week’s Mess. I love sitting in the Cage these days and hearing wonderful words like “fair trade,” “organic,” and “social responsibility” in conversations. One of the first days it was being served I overheard a Cage worker explain Peace Coffee to a professor buying coffee. His response was, “Well, it’s about time we grew a social conscience!”

Peace Coffee is an example of social consciousness, and it’s also environmental. More importantly, it’s a story that shows how students can change campus culture. Just take a look around at the Peace Coffee advertisements around campus – all put up by members of the Environmental Coalition to celebrate and promote a product we care about. Indeed, the Environmental Coalition has been working to get Peace Coffee on campus for over a year now. The Environmental Coalition sold bags of Peace Coffee throughout last fall as well as re-usable Cage mugs to promote less paper cup waste. Katie Harrod ‘03, who now works for Peace Coffee Inc., spent her senior year passionately promoting the product, giving out free samples in her classes and at events where we brought in environmental speakers. Peace Coffee has been around Olaf for a while.

The main decision-maker was Hays Atkins, general manager of Bon Appétit, who told me that there were several factors involved in the switch. First, he personally believed in what he calls “the ethics of Peace Coffee.” Secondly, Fair Trade costs are very competitive. Hays also liked the Peace Coffee connection because the company president is Scott Patterson ‘92.

I see a lot of hope for St. Olaf beginning to make changes toward sustainability. Student involvement and awareness are essential parts of the process. A lot of the changes may be small and go unnoticed, but Peace Coffee is just one sip in the right direction. So, stop by the Cage and taste the effects of “brewing social change,” or get involved and brew some yourself.

– Elise Braaten, ‘04

Dear Mess Editors,

Thank you for your article, “Nursing Major Scrutinized,” addressing the reconsideration of the nursing major. Students ought to be informed of such issues that affect not just two percent of the campus, but the entire student body. I am a senior nursing major, so this issue directly affects me.

Instead of going to the University of Washington which is five minutes from my house, ranked as the top nursing school in the country by U.S. News and World Report, and where my boyfriend attends, I chose to trek 2,000 miles to a tiny liberal arts school where I knew no one. I chose St. Olaf specifically for its reputation of having a good liberal arts nursing program. Nursing isn’t found at most colleges, let alone small liberal arts colleges. I have been able to grow in many ways here with the variety of classes and activities while studying the art and science of nursing.

Plenty of universities and technical colleges around the country emphasize the technical aspect of nursing, but if nursing were strictly technical, then nurses wouldn’t be “caring and compassionate individuals.” It’s more than giving shots and doing dressing changes. Nurses play multiple roles in the client’s care: teachers, client advocates, caregivers, counselors, and research communicators, to name a few. In order to rightfully carry out these roles, it’s essential to be well-rounded through a liberal arts education.

My classmates and I understand that the nursing major is expensive; classes are limited to only declared majors, and it has a small faculty-student ratio. However, there are many other ways the college can save money. For example, last week construction workers built a 20’x10’ cement platform outside my honor house in order to place garbage cans. There are a variety of similar expenses that should be ranked lower than an academic program.

Every major at this college is important, from the church organ major to the exercise science program. We need talented organists to play beautiful music in our churches. We need PE teachers to teach primary prevention to elementary students so that they can avoid obesity and heart problems later in life. That said, I ask that all these issues be considered when President Thomforde goes to make his decision about the importance of revamping the nursing major at St Olaf College.

– Annika Dragovich, ‘04

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