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June 2011 Archives

Looking for something to do with the remainder of your lazy summer days? Instead of spending another day by the pool, I would encourage you to visit the University of Minnesota' s Bell Musuem of Natural History. You will be able to travel into space among the planets and stars of the Minnesota Planetarium Society's ExploraDome!

The ExploraDome is a fun, interactive, and educational 3-D experience. Visitors enter the inflatable dome and can choose where to travel in the solar system, galaxy, and universe. You will be amazed at the information you gain about Astronomy and Earth Science through this virtual trip through space. Last semester, I took an Astronomy course as one of my science course requirements. On Galileo's birthday, students and other vistors were able to experience the ExploraDome for ourselves. It was so exciting to learn in this interactive environment--like playing a video game in class!

The Bell Museum of Natural History is Minnesota's official natural history museum, where more than four million specimens support ongoing research and teaching at the University of Minnesota. The museum strives to discover, document and understand nature and promote informed stewardship of our world. The museum is part of the university's College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences and welcomes nearly 85,000 visitors a year.

Public shows in the Exploradome will be available at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. on Aug. 10, 17 and 23. No reservation is necessary, and the ExploraDome shows are included with regular Bell Museum admission. Go check it out--the ExploraDome is worth the trip!

"Princeton Review's Guide to 311 Green Colleges" recently identified the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities as one of the greenest colleges in North America. Students at the U of M have the opportunity for classroom and hands-on learning in sustainability. U of M students are very active in addressing environmental issues outside of the classroom as well--there are currently more than 20 environment-related student groups are working hard to give new meaning to active enrollment.


One example of our environmentally active students in action is the Justice Jam, a student-run event in 2009 that addressed problems in the environment and how to prevent them. It's amazing what college students can do when they they have a passion for the environment! 


Check out the video below to learn more about Justice Jam, and then learn more about how to get involved through the Environment and Sustainability Portal on the U of M's web site.


During my freshman year at the University of Minnesota, I decided to get involved on campus by becoming a member of the professional business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi (AKPsi). Joining a student organization was one of the best decisions I have made so far as a student at the U of M. It has allowed me not only to meet new people and make new connections, but also to become involved with activities both on and off the U of M campus.


One of AKPsi's top priorities is providing community service in the metro area. For this reason, the students of AKPsi are organizing a golf tournament in honor of Tom Burnett Jr., one of the heroes of United Flight 93. The 10-year anniversary of the September 11 tragedy is coming up, and during the past decade AKPsi has continued to carry out Tom Burnett's legacy as an ethical business leader, former president of Alpha Kappa Psi, and proud alumnus of the University of Minnesota.


Through this golf tournament we hope to raise money in order to support the Tom Burnett Family Foundation so that they can continue to give to programs that add value to individuals and communities in the name of Tom himself. Today Tom's legacy lives on not only in our memories, but through various programs and scholarships that are aimed at citizenship, leadership, and community. All proceeds from the golf tournament will go to the Tom Burnett Jr. Foundation and the Alpha Kappa Psi Housing and Tuition Scholarship.


The Tom Burnett Jr. Charity Golf Tournament will be held on June 24, 2011 from 11:00 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. at the Les Bolstad, University of Minnesota Golf Course. The cost is $80 for registration, and this event invites participation and sponsorship on varying levels - people can sign up to play in the tournament, donate money or prizes, volunteer, or become a corporate sponsor.


Come join me and my friends on this classic summer Friday consisting of 18 holes of best-ball golf, a variety of competitions, great prizes, a free meal and beverages to top it off. I hope to see you there!

For more information on the upcoming event, check out the recent Fox 9 news article, view the accompanying video below, or click here for more information on registration for the event.  If you are interested in getting more involved, please contact Al Baker at al.baker.2013@gmail.com.

9/11 Victim's Fraternity Plans Golf Tournament Fundraiser: MyFoxTWINCITIES.com

Many graduates of the University of Minnesota say that their favorite part of college was studying abroad. Whether it is a three-week course or a semester-long international experience, studying abroad can expand your worldview and help you to gain a new perspective on another country. I know that I will be studying abroad at least once in the next three years. Although I haven't decided where I am going yet, I am very excited for my international experience!


A new and exciting addition to the U of M's learning abroad options, the Learning Abroad Center will now be offering Freshman Seminars Abroad. Students who take advantage of this program attend the seminar on campus for most of the spring semester, with a study abroad component during spring break. Freshman Seminars abroad are 3 credits at the 19xx level and fulfill a liberal education requirement. For the upcoming year, these opportunities are offered in Paris, France; Accrra, Ghana; or Scotland & England, United Kingdom.


The University of Minnesota's Learning Abroad Center is a leader in providing innovative international learning experiences that expand and redefine the world for a diverse population of students, colleagues and staff. There are more than 300 opportunities in more than 70 countries available through the University of Minnesota's Learning Abroad Center! With the variation in length, level, academic focus, teaching format, language requirements, and cost between the many programs, I have no doubt that there is a study abroad experience that is right for any student.


Additionally, The Learning Abroad Center offers a full range of advising and support services to students. They are there to help select the best program for you, as well as give advice on financial, academic, and travel planning.


It's never too early to study abroad. The Freshman Seminars Abroad are a great way to prepare for a longer study abroad program later in your college career. Freshman Seminars vary by program, and are typically around $2,500-$3,500. Financial aid and scholarships are available, and Freshman Seminars Abroad are considered part of students' spring semester course load. The application deadline for incoming freshmen students is November 1, 2011, and there is a 20-student cap to each Freshman Seminar Abroad, so act quickly!

This summer, University of Minnesota All-American diver Kelci Bryant and her diving coach Wenbo Chen will be heading to the Summer World University Games. Bryant, a junior at the U of M, is a two-time NCAA champion. She also competed in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Now, she is moving even further in her diving career to participate in the FINA World Championships in Shanghai this month.

Following the World Championships, Bryant will participate in the Summer World University Games Shenzhen, China on August 11-23. Bryant is one of only 12 divers on the roster, and half of these divers are from Big Ten schools in the U.S.A. Bryant will compete on both the 1-meter and 3-meter springboards.

Bryant's coach, Wenbo Chen, has had plenty of experience coaching both national and international competitions. He has coached for the Chinese national team (1983-91) and for the U.S. at the 2006 FINA World Cup, 2007 World Championships and Pan Am Games, and 2008 Olympic Games. Chen was also the head of the USA Diving program from 2005 to 2009.

If you would like to learn more about the Summer World University Games, click here. Kelci Bryant is pictured below, doing what she does best. I wish her the best of luck this summer!


The College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities is a great place to learn about new cultures and new languages. Whether you are interested in continuing with the language you've began in high school or starting an entirely new language, the College of Liberal Arts has a number of options for you. From Akkadian to Urdu, CLA offers more than 30 languages to study with great opportunities to get connected with other students who share an interest in the same language.

Our Living-Learning Communities allow for student to live with other students with similar academic interests in an environment that fosters academic growth. Students are also able to draw from the rich cultural diversity of Minneapolis and St. Paul and gain real world experiences in different languages and cultures.

For students who want to take their languages to a native setting, the University of Minnesota offers more than 300 study abroad opportunities through our Learning Abroad Center - a great way to imerse yourself in a culture and language. The College of Liberal Arts even offers opportunities for students to get paired up with a native speaker through the TandemPlus program.

Whether you are intersted in just getting started with a foreign language or enhancing your pre-established skills, CLA can be a great fit for you!

I hope you're all having a great summer so far! There is so much fun to be had during this season in Minnesota. Besides going to the beach, hanging out with friends, and working, I am also taking a summer class on the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus this season.

Some of you may wonder why I would add schoolwork to my summer vacation, but I'm glad I registered for this class. My decision to sign up for a summer class was easy. First of all, I knew I wanted to stay in Minneapolis over the summer. Many of my friends are staying in the city or nearby, I have a great job right on campus, and I have housing in Dinkytown. I figured that since I was going to on campus, I may as well complete one of my graduation requirements.

I am a Marketing major, but I have recently decided to minor in Communications, which is why I chose Comm 3401: Intro to Communication Theory for my summer class. Taking a class is the perfect way to find out if a field of study is right for you. As it turns out, I really enjoy my class, which is exactly the reassurance I need in order to follow through with my minor. The class is about communication history and logic of scientific/communication theories in interpersonal, small group, organizational, intercultural, and electronically mediated communication.

I am glad I chose to take a course this summer. I am able to focus on one class instead of several, and I am able to study by reading my textbook outside and enjoying the sun. I am also only in class for eight weeks, and when the class ends I will still have plenty of summertime to enjoy. Based upon my experience, I encourage you to consider summer class if it is an option for you in your future. I'm glad that I did!

One of the best ways to make a smooth transition from high school to college life is to become involved on campus. The University of Minnesota has more than 600 student organizations for students to become involved with to make new connections and enjoy new experiences. Click here to see a complete list of all the amazing opportunities available to meet new people and develop a new hobby. With a range of sports groups, volunteerism, Greek life, and music, you're sure to find something you can become passionate about at the U of M. In the fall, most organizations work hard to get the word out about their group. Be sure to pay attention and keep an open mind when you are looking for ways to become involved on campus!

A great organization to check out is the We Are...Minnesota Spirit Initiative--a student-run organization with a mission to lead the University of Minnesota community in fan participation, school spirit, and positive behavior. If you're one of the many incoming freshmen who is looking forward to college and the opportunity to join in the Golden Gopher spirit, then the We Are...Minnesota Spirit Initiative may be for you!

The We Are...Minnesota Spirit Initiative features many "Spirit Sections" for several of our Gopher athletics teams. "The Rooter Club" is the spirit section dedicated to inspiring spirit during Golden Gopher football games. The Rooter Club is composed of about 100 members who will lead and coordinate the cheers and chants for the student section. This is a great opportunity to increase your sense of pride, spirit, and belonging in the University of Minnesota. You also gain admission to front-row seats with your free maroon t-shirt, and the chance to be a part of a time-honored tradition. The Rooter Club works with the band and spirit squad to keep the student section going and makes TCF Bank Stadium one of the best football stadiums in the country.  I know that I will be part of the student section this fall, and I look forward to the Rooter Club keeping the winning spirit alive!

The We Are...Minnesota Spirit Initiative features spirit sections for other Gopher athletics teams as well, such as "The Ice Box" for Men's Hockey, and "The Barnyard" for Men's Basketball. If you're an enthusiastic student who loves sports, check out the We Are...Minnesota Spirit Initiative and help initiate new traditions, reward positive fan behavior, create a welcoming and exciting environment for all who attend Gopher Athletic events, and create a more unified atmosphere for University of Minnesota student fans.


One of my favorite things to do in the summer is listen to great music outside and enjoy the sun. This is the season for great concerts featuring amazing bands. Luckily, The Summer Music Festival at Northrop (SMFN) is brought to campus by Northrop Concerts and Lectures each year! The SMFN is a free summer concert series that features popular local bands as well as U of M student bands. By going to any of the events that are offered at Northrop, students and visitors have the chance to see some of the best musicians in the Twin Cities, right here on campus.

Listed below is an overview of some of the events. I know I will be going to at least a few of these concerts! Visit the Northrop Memorial Auditorium website for more information on these and other events. With a line-up filled with all different types of music, you're bound to find something you love at Northrop this summer.

  • Friday Night Live (July 15): The biggest blow-out event, featuring the hottest names in Twin Cities hip hop with Sims from Doomtree and Bight Club.
  • First Ave: TOO MUCH LOVE on Campus (Dates vary): Featuring beats from DJ Sovietpanda from this popular dance party.
  • Movies and Music (Dates vary): The night begins with a concert, and ends with a movie on Coffman Plaza.
  • Noon Concerts (Dates vary): The historic hallmark concerts held on the Northrop Plaza for a refreshing mid-day break.
  • Flash Mob: A surprise performance with a chance to win a free iPod Touch.
  • Northern Spark (June 4): Chris Kallmyer's kick-off concert of the all-night arts festival on the Mississippi River Flats.
  • Voices Merging Summer Open Mic (July 29): The U of M student spoken word group's Summer Open Mic.
  • St. Paul Concerts (Dates vary): Presented by Student Unions & Activities. U of M students perform over the lunch hour at the St. Paul Student Center Garden Terrace.


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