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ISSUE 119 VOL 11 PUBLISHED 2/24/2006

Image makeover

By Executive Editors
Executive Editor

Friday, February 24, 2006

Just over three weeks ago, President George W. Bush delivered the State of the Union, addressing a variety of issues pertinent to our country today: Iraq, the economy and national security. While the College is not fighting a war (Norwegians just wouldn’t do that) or experiencing external threats of any kind (unless you count the Carleton students sleeping in tents to beat us in the energy competition), many issues remain that deserve our attention at the beginning of a new semester. Thus, we offer our State of the College, in a non-partisan fashion, of course.

Last semester, we reported several events that seemed out of the ordinary for our typically quiet and secluded campus. First, burglaries (yes, we checked the dictionary on that one) plagued residence halls from September through November, the majority of the incidents involving iPods and unlocked rooms. Second, at the annual Cereal Bowl a group of St. Olaf students made offensive comments and gestures towards students from our cross-town rival, Carleton; after an extended debate our Senate issued an apology to their student body. Third, Northfield residents, complaining of excessive noise from students living off campus, considered local legislation to limit our access to off-campus housing in the community. Such issues lead us to wonder if our Ole image is changing and in which direction it is going.

Are we rebelling like children in the hope that President Thomforde will not leave us at the end of the year? Are we attempting to leave behind our inherent “Minnesota niceness” and act like crazy college students? Whether such events represented intentional or anamalous decisions on the part of our student body, they did, in fact, create one positive result. All of these events spurred cross-campus and inter-community dialogue.

As we look toward second semester and all of the lofty goals we hope to pursue, we also have the opportunity to continue dialogue and communication with each other, our professors and our administrators. Do you want to study in the library on Sunday mornings? Are you wondering whatever happened to those “honor pods” from last year’s roomdraw? Are you still waiting for the one-card system? Are you tired of hearing about sustainability? Why does Buntrock Commons smell weird? In order to get answers and institute change, we must bring our questions and comments to the table in the forums already set up for that purpose, whether it is in Senate, in the Messenger or in the classroom.

Our newly evolving identity as a student body is characterized by a drive towards environmental activism and social service. This weekend, we host the Globalization and Social Responsibility Conference, and students plan to participate in the ongoing Hurricane Katrina relief efforts in Mississippi and Louisiana during Spring Break. Using what we learned last semester, we can develop our identity even further by simultaneous keeping one eye on the world and one eye on campus. We hold the ultimate responsibility in improving our quality of life on campus. In these next four months, let’s start the dialogue and make changes.

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