The student weekly of St. Olaf College
Manitou Messenger: Seniors preview Regents complex

Seniors preview Regents complex

By Emily Koester
Staff Writer
Friday, May 9, 2008

Along with the traditional fanfare of the graduation ceremony and Senior Week, the class of 2008 has an extra bonus to look forward to: an exclusive tour of the new Regents Hall of Natural and Mathematical Sciences. Board of Regents Student Committee member and public relations representative Alissa Broz '08 noted the significance of the building for seniors. "It's good for seniors to see it because it shows the college is advancing after us," she said of the $64,377,000 facility. "We're lucky to have this as students and as future alums."

Tours of Regents Hall, led by members of the facility's design team, will be held May 9 from 4 to 6 p.m., and on May 13 from 5 to 7 p.m. Tours will depart approximately every 15 minutes during those times.

Regents Hall is currently set to win an award from the U.S. Green Building Council (UGBC) for its extraordinarily eco-friendly construction and design. UGBC ranks buildings nationwide based on six major areas including sustainability, energy and materials. Regents Hall has qualified for 40 points so far -- or enough for the new hall to reach at least the second highest status of Gold. "We hope to get Gold, and there are 15 additional points in the construction phase we can apply for," said assistant vice president for facilities Peter Sandberg.

The building's sustainable elements include motion-sensitive light, the use of recycled and local materials during construction, and a green roof designed by St. Olaf students. Tinting in the science center's windows maximizes natural light while minimizing ultraviolet rays, thus ensuring that study spaces don't overheat. "It's not only a beautiful building, but it's bringing up the standards for science buildings in the area," said BORSC public relations representative Kate Hagen '09.

Other features of the new center include a reception area, a coffee shop run by Bon Appetit and study spaces that overlook Norway Valley. The entire building spans 195,000 feet.

Tours on May 9 and May 13 will last approximately 45 minutes and will include ice cream. Both Broz and Hagen expressed hope that a substantial amount of the senior class would tour even though they will not be using the completed science center next year. "[Regents Hall] will change how the campus functions," said Hagen. "It's good for seniors to be a part of that shift."

Among other events for seniors to look forward to is, of course, the annual Senior Week that will follow finals. Beginning on May 21, this year's theme is Week One Hundred and Twenty. "We thought it might be fun because we talked about having ideas that invoked the week one experience," said Emily Holm '08, who co-chaired the Senior Week committee along with Keisha Hohenstein '08 and Eric Friday '09. "We kind of want Senior Week to be a combination of nostalgia & and also embracing your status as a senior by doing things you wouldn't normally be able to do on campus."

The week will include a St. Paul Saints game, Valleyfair, tube rides on the Cannon river, a dinner with professors, a Johnny Holm Band concert, an ice cream social, an outdoor movie, professional massages and busing to and from Minneapolis establishments. Students had the opportunity to buy $50 wristbands that would cover the events and transportation.

"When people buy a wristband, they are getting a fantastic deal -- they are paying for only a small portion of the money we spend for Senior Week," Holm said. "Busing is hugely expensive," she added, noting that so far the best deal the Student Activities Committee (SAC) has found for busing is around $12,000.

Holm was pleased with the number of wristbands sold. "We sold 450 wristbands on the first day," she said, adding that that was a greater number than the Class of 2007 bought during the entire spring.

Seniors will notice some changes in this year's Senior Week. The trip to Valley Fair and the tube ride on the Cannon River are completely new.

"Some people wonder about why some activities were chosen over others; there was a ton of surveying done, so none of these decisions were arbitrary," Holm said. After polling seniors outside Stav Hall and sending online surveys to two years of Olaf alums, the Senior Week committee decided to cut both casino night and the indoor water park, noting that both activities got very mixed reviews.

"There were a few good reviews for casino night, but it was far outweighed by negative feedback & some students weren't comfortable with gambling, they didn't want to spend the money right before graduation, it was too long." She said, however, that the water park might be a option for a rainy day activity.

"Another thing we've tried to do is be accommodating to people in music organizations & there still might be some conflicts, but we still tried to have some alternative Senior Week options," Holm said. SAC is hoping to have a staff and faculty talent show as well as an outdoor movie night as just a couple of these options.

Students can still buy wristbands for $75 at

The Manitou Messenger is a student publication of St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn. It is published weekly during the academic year except during vacations, exam periods and interim. The cost for one year's subscription is $45.00. Postage is paid in Northfield, Minnesota. Manitou Messenger
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