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Ever had an interest sea life, oceans, or ecosystems? We have the minor for you! The College of Biological Sciences has recently created a minor for Marine Biology. This new Marine Biology minor highlights the concepts of oceanography, sustainable use, and marine ecology using an intercollegiate curriculum.

What is unique about this minor is that the coursework is not restricted to the classroom or laboratory, but greatly emphasizes field trips, study abroad experiences, and internship opportunities in order to foster learning. Upon completion of this minor, students will have acquired the skills and knowledge "that will enrich their lives and provide a base for subsequent study in marine sciences."

A minor is a great way to enrich your education and learn more about a subject you are interested in. Minors can also help expand your knowledge on a specific area that also supplements your major. The University of Minnesota has over 110 minors that cover a large variety of subject areas.

For more information on the new Marine Biology minor, please visit http://www.cbs.umn.edu/students/cbs-minors/marine-biology. For information on our other minors, please visit http://www.catalogs.umn.edu/ug/. As always, visiting our campus and meeting with one of our admissions counselors is one of the best ways to get first-hand information about the U of M. To schedule a campus visit, please go to http://z.umn.edu/campusvisit.

As a senior theater major at the University of MInnesota, I've spent a lot of time around all three of our campuses. From being a part of two living learning communities--West Bank Arts House and American Indian Culture House--to having a jobs that took me between East Bank and St, Paul campuses, I've seen a lot of what the U of M has to offer. The different campuses that make up the University of Minnesota only add to it's diversity and opportunities, offering a variety of options for all students.

When I was a freshman, I lived in Middlebrook Hall and therefore my first encounter with the U of M was with the West Bank campus. All theater arts majors claim to live in the Rarig Center on the West Bank, the only building on campus that is solely dedicated to theater arts courses. Other majors that spend a lot of time on the West Bank are musical performance majors, dance and art majors, and business majors because the shining Carlson School of Management resides on one of the furthest edges of University of Minnesota.

Also, known as the "West Bank Arts Quarter," this side of campus is a quieter side with less people, but it's also a very interesting part of the U. The calm atmosphere makes it a great place to study or relax, but there is also almost always something to entertain. It's usually privy to occasional musical acts or performances in the amphitheater between Anderson and Ferguson Halls, letting everyone experience the many talented individuals that are a part of our Gopher family.

A short ways off campus there are a host of great restaurants, most boasting delicious ethnic foods, such as Afro Deli & Coffee. Afro Deli & Coffee has some of the most incredible dishes, a mixture of different African, Mediterranean, and American cuisine, with a great variety of meals that cater to a vegetarian's needs. Jewel of India also has a large slew of vegetarian options, along with being a haven of spicy cuisine. The closest Indian restaurant in proximity to the University, Jewel of India will fulfill even the most particular of Indian food cravings. The Red Sea restaurant has amazing Ethiopian food and a nice musical atmosphere. All of these restaurants allow you to order take-out, so on a nice day you can lounge outside on the West Bank while enjoying your amazing food.

The West Bank is a special part of the University. With a pleasant environment, lots of creativity, and delicious food, the West Bank Arts Quarter has a lot of offer every student who attends the University of Minnesota.

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Hello again!

I hope you're enjoying your summer so far - I've had a great start to mine. I wanted to share some of what I've been up to, and give you a preview of some of the great attractions and events that the Twin Cities has to offer!

A Weekend With Friends

I hosted visitors two weekends in a row - the first weekend two old friends came up from my hometown in Illinois to stay with me and enjoy the Twin Cities. My friends - Dave and Andrew - and I grew up and attended school together for nine years. Even though we attended different high schools, we have stayed in touch our whole lives. It was great to see them for a weekend and to reconnect.

They both have spent quite a bit of time in Chicago, so I knew they had high expectations for a fun weekend in the city. We started off with dinner at a delicious Minnesotan pizzeria, Pizza Luce. After that we went bowling at Bryant-Lake Bowl, a vintage bowling alley, restaurant, and cabaret theater.

On Saturday we had a cookout with some of my friends from Admissions Ambassadors, a student group on campus that helps with tours for visiting prospective students, and then went to a concert at First Avenue. It was great to see them, and we definitely stayed busy with all that Minneapolis had to offer.



A Weekend With Family

The next weekend I hosted my parents and my younger siblings! I planned on the weekend well ahead of time and had a full itinerary prepared - my family doesn't travel to Minneapolis often, so I knew this would be the only chance I had for a while to show my siblings what the Twin Cities have to offer.

They arrived Friday evening and we started off with dinner at Buca di Beppo, a great family-style Italian restaurant located near downtown Minneapolis. After that we headed to a mini-golf course at the Walker Art Museum, featuring artist-designed courses and installations. The best part was I could use our mini-golf tickets for free admission to the Walker Museum for up to a week afterwards, giving me a chance to bring other friends with me to see some great exhibits.


We spent all day Saturday at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley, a quick 20-minute drive from Minneapolis. After grabbing some ice cream on our way back, we headed to Brunswick Zone XL just north of Minneapolis in Brooklyn Park for some laser tag and the arcade.

On Sunday, my family headed out after we grabbed breakfast at the delicious Keys Cafe and Bakery downtown, which is famous for its brunch menu.

It was a very busy and fun couple of weekends, and if you're looking for tips on what to do in the Twin Cities check out Minneapolis's visitor website! For information on the University of Minnesota's great location, see the Office of Admissions website.

Photo credits: Drew Coveyou

Hello, and thanks for stopping by our blog! My name is Drew Coveyou, and I'm a junior at the U of M from Ottawa, Illinois. I am majoring in Journalism, focusing on Strategic Communication and Advertising in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication in the College of Liberal Arts.

My path the University started when my older sister came to visit campus her junior year of high school. I was only a freshman but I got dragged along for the college visit with the rest of my family. Even though college wasn't something I was really thinking about, I fell in love with the Twin Cities campus right away and it was always on the top of the list of colleges I was considering.

During my senior year of high school I visited campus another two times and confirmed what I already knew - that the University of Minnesota was the place for me. I knew I wanted the traditional feel of a Big 10 campus, but at the same time I didn't want to give up attending school in a major metropolitan area; I knew that I wanted to have access to the arts/music scene and professional opportunities that a major city could offer me. The Twin Cities campus was the one place where I found both the Big 10 campus and the major metropolitan area.

I attended my first-year orientation session in the middle of June with my dad tagging along for a parent orientation session. There, I met some of my best friends to date. Looking back, orientation was the time when I really acknowledged that this place would be "Home" for the next four years, and I couldn't have been happier.

(Here's a video from my Welcome Week in Fall 2011!)

I lived in a Living and Learning Community my first year - the American Indian Cultural House. There, I met other American Indian students and was put into contact with many different resources on campus, including the Circle of Indigenous Nations, the Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence (MCAE), and many students groups such as the American Indian Student Cultural Center (AISCC) and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES).

I got my first job on campus through these connections at one of the above student groups, the AISCC. I had such an awesome experience working with the group to run our Center and plan events that I ran for the governing board the next year. After two election wins, I am now entering my second term as the group's Treasurer. My responsibilities include creating a budget, applying for grants, and general accounting of finances for the group.

Although I live off campus now, the sense of community I built that first year hasn't left, and now I am getting even more involved in my academic program and other on-campus jobs. I'm sure I'll have more to share about my experiences and plans in future posts - thanks for reading!

In the spirit of National Volunteer Week, I'd like to highlight the many opportunities available to stay involved and volunteer that the U of M has to offer. If making a difference in your community is something that is very important to you, you'll definitely find what you're looking for at the University of Minnesota. First of all, there are so many student organizations built around volunteer opportunities--I couldn't even count them all! I've picked out a couple service-based student groups to highlight, but there are literally hundreds.

American Red Cross Student Organization 

Their mission is to provide service for the community with regards to public health issues, especially relating to the University of Minnesota campus student population in collaboration with the American Red Cross. Services may include (but are not limited to) hosting speakers to advocate for a cause, running blood drives, and collecting for international relief.

Circle of Giving (COG)
COG's principle activities are health focused group volunteer projects, workshops for leadership development, fundraising for a scholarship fund, serving as mentor for local youth, and helping members develop service projects based on their interests, such as health disparities in minority groups.

Colleges Against Cancer
Colleges Against Cancer is dedicated to eliminating cancer by spreading awareness and education through volunteer work in the community. Through cancer education, survivorship, and advocacy programs, all University of Minnesota college students have the opportunity to make a difference in the fight against cancer.

Biology Without Borders
Biology Without Borders is a student organization that leads students on annual global volunteer trips while connecting students with resources and making them advocates for global and social change. Their goal is to promote ethical volunteerism, and community-based and sustainable projects in underserved areas, both locally and globally.

Orphan Kitten Project
The Orphan Kitten Project helps local shelters by fostering orphan kittens (newborns to 8 weeks old) while providing hands-on animal experience to veterinary students.

Students Against Hunger
Students Against Hunger's mission is to aid Kids Against Hunger in significantly reducing the number of hungry children locally and globally by providing a community service activity that is meaningful, fun and memorable. Through enlisting members and volunteers from the University community, they package nutritious meals researched by food scientists in order to battle death's grip on over 40,000 children who die each day due to malnutrition, starvation and hunger-related diseases.

For a complete list of service-based student groups, check out: http://sua.umn.edu/groups/directory/index.php?group_by=category#Service

In addition to service-based student organizations, the University of Minnesota also fosters community service through offering service-learning courses. Service-learning courses incorporate community involvement into the coursework--students learn by participating in community service projects. Homework for these classes involves working with community-based organizations, which compliments the classes' readings, lectures and discussions. Wouldn't it be great getting to volunteer and earning class credit for it at the same time?

If you're passionate about volunteering, the University of Minnesota's Community Service Learning Center is a great resource to help you find what you're looking for. Check it out! http://www.servicelearning.umn.edu/

It's officially the week of Spring Jam! Spring Jam is an annual three-day music festival on campus, which includes live performances, competitions, free food, and other special events all in the celebration of the coming of spring and the end of the school year. The entirety of Spring Jam is completely planned and put together by a committee U of M students. (A great opportunity four our students to build event-planning experience!) 

There are always amazing artists - both big names and local bands - that perform during Spring Jam. The big headliners last year were New Boyz, The Cataracs, and Prof. Jessie James (my favorite artist at Spring Jam last year) made an appearance at an afternoon concert too! This year's headliners are Greg Bates, The Kicks, and Mat Kearney. I wouldn't call myself an avid music and concert fan, but nothing beats fist-pumping, dancing, belting out lyrics at the top of your lungs at outdoor concerts with thousands of other fellow Gophers. Did I mention that all Spring Jam events are completely FREE for U of M students?

Spring Jam isn't only about the concerts, though. The days are also filled with many other fun, free events. For example, this year's events include free yoga classes, blood drives, dance competitions, a Battle of the Bands competition between U of M bands, outdoor film screenings of Silver Linings Playbook, and more! Take a look at the Spring Jam schedule to see a complete list of this year's special events.

I love the U of M not only for its great academics, but also for all the awesome opportunities to have FUN, like Spring Jam! So, Future Gophers...imagine yourself as a current U of M student counting down the days until you get to experience three straight days of celebration at Spring Jam festivities. Sounds enticing doesn't it?



Photo credits: http://springjam.umn.edu/

Today I'd like to put the spotlight on a great opportunity for students who are interested in a career in advertising: the U of M's National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) team, Chariot. Chariot recently won first place at the NSAC District Competition on April 13th, which means the team will be representing the University of Minnesota at the national competition in Phoenix this year! Read on to learn more about NSAC and how you can get involved.

What is the National Student Advertising Competition?
Each year corporate sponsors give the same case study to NSAC teams around the nation. The case studies relate to the company's product or service and advertising situation. The corporate sponsors are often big name companies--past sponsors have included Coca Cola, JC Penney, State Farm, and Nissan. Within each school's team, students are then responsible for researching, developing, creating, and pitching an advertising campaign to a panel of judges at a district-level competition. 

District competitions are held each spring in 15 districts throughout the U.S. The winners of each district then get to move on to the national-level competition and pitch their advertising campaigns to judges and the executives of the sponsor company. We're wishing the best of luck to Chariot when they compete at Nationals in June. Way to represent the University of Minnesota!

Getting involved at the U of M
Joining a student group can be one of the best ways to make your college experience a great one. If you're interested in advertising, joining Chariot can help you make friends and connections with other advertising and marketing students, network with professionals, gain relevant advertising experience, and make a difference in the advertising strategies of real companies!

Chariot doesn't only limit its members to students majoring in advertising. The club currently has students interested in marketing and graphic design as well. If you think you'd be interested in joining Chariot, you should definitely check out their website at http://umnsac.com or email them at nsac@umn.edu.

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Guest blog written by Sara Straskowski, a current student in the Carlson School of Management

Students Today, Leaders Forever (STLF) is a student group that was started by four freshmen students at the University of Minnesota in 2003. With the mission to "reveal leadership through service, relationships, and action," STLF engages students from all over the country through its Pay It Forward Tours. A Pay It Forward Tour is a community service road trip that travels from city to city doing various service projects. For college students, "the Tour" is scheduled each year during spring break; there are also tours available for high school students at various times throughout the year.

This spring break, I participated in my third college Pay It Forward Tour. The experience never ceases to amaze me! My freshman year, I travelled to Memphis; my sophomore year I went to Dallas; this year, the destination city was Atlanta, Georgia. For the last two years, I was a participant on the Tour, but this year I took a leadership position in STLF, and planned the Tour along with four other students who soon became my best friends. 

We left from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities on March 15. Our first stop was Kansas City, Missouri, and our first service project was landscaping for the Gillis Center, a home for boys in the area that helps at-risk children and families. We even got to play a game of dodge ball with the boys who lived there! Next, we stopped in St. Louis, Missouri, where we were able to do some tourism at The Gateway Arch and the City Museum. We helped the St. Louis community by cleaning up the streets around the city and writing letters to soldiers overseas. The third city on our adventure was Bowling Green, Kentucky, where we volunteered at Community Action of Southern Kentucky (a nonprofit agency that provides a wide range of human services to the residents of the area). We made event decorations for them as well as cleaned up the office space they use every day. After Bowling Green, we stopped for tourism in Nashville, Tennessee. It has been my dream to visit the Music City forever, and I can't believe I was finally able to be there! Our next stop was in Merryville, Tennessee, where we painted and did gardening work at the Boys & Girls Club of Blount County, a non-profit organization dedicated to the development of boys and girls in a safe and caring environment. On our way to our last stop, we toured the city of Gatlinberg in the Smoky Mountains. The area was absolutely beautiful! Last but not least, we stopped in Charlotte, North Carolina to serve at Samaritan's Feet; we readied the shoes that will soon be sent across the U.S. and the world to those who can't afford to buy their own. After our service project, we went to the U.S. National Whitewater Center to go zip-lining and rock climbing--one of the most memorable highlights of our trip!

We finally made our way to Atlanta, where we met four other buses of students that had each had an amazing Tour as well. We did one final service project together; the 140 students served at the Mary Scott Nature Park doing a variety of jobs such as creating a children's "forest play" area and removing invasive species throughout the park. After the service project, we were able to do some tourism in Atlanta and see the city. I was sad that the trip was nearly over, but I had a fantastic time exploring Atlanta with my new friends!

The memories I made on this trip are unforgettable, and the 43 friends I made throughout the nine-day experience will be held close to my heart for years to come. Every single one of the participants on my bus amazed me more each day; they are the most compassionate people I know! I encourage you all to check out the great opportunities that are offered to you every day, such as the STLF Pay It Forward Tour. It changed my life forever, and I will always be proud of my decision to get involved at the U of M with Student's Today, Leaders Forever.




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It's Women's History Month! The month of March is dedicated to paying tribute to the generations of women who have made invaluable contributions to society. The University of Minnesota's Women Center sponsors a number of Women's History Month events every March that include workshops, speakers, discussions, and more. These programs are designed to increase awareness and encourage actions that support women's and gender equity. Take a look at the complete list of events - you may find some that you're interested in attending.

The University of Minnesota also features a number of student groups on campus related to empowering women. If you're interested in getting involved on campus, I would definitely recommend checking out some of the groups listed below:

Women's Student Activist Collective

"The purpose of the Women's Student Activist Collective is to empower women, transgender, and gender non-conforming people to make positive changes in society by eliminating interrelated inequalities that produce oppression, with a focus on gender and sexuality."

Women in Medicine

"Women in Medicine is composed of University of Minnesota Medical Students as well as physician/faculty advisors and mentors. WIM is primarily involved in organizing networking and social events for female medical students and female physicians. WIM also sponsors lunch lectures to educate medical students on a spectrum of women's health issues."

Society of Women Engineers

"The primary focus of the Society of Women Engineers is to support and encourage women in science and engineering fields. SWE provides support, leadership opportunities  outreach experiences, community involvement, teamwork skills, and personal/professional development for females in science and engineering."

Women in Physics and Astronomy

"We provide networking opportunities for women graduate students, research associates, and faculty in physics and astronomy. We sponsor an annual luncheon to encourage relationships with women alumnae, an annual outreach/information session for female undergraduate physics majors, coffee meetings with female faculty, and discussions with visiting female physicists. We also work with other IT graduate women to promote and plan events for all women in IT."

Women of Virtue

"We have weekly bible or book studies where we learn about who Jesus is and what it looks like to be a woman of God. We also have weekly contact tables and occasional seminars where we seek to share the truth of Christ with others."

Women's Outreach and Leadership Force (WOLF)

"The Women's Outreach and Leadership Force, as a part of the Women's Center, works to connect individuals and organizations with resources, offer leadership development and educational programs, and advocate for systemic policy, structure and climate change. We also engage in regular campus and community service and outreach activities."

Black Motivated Women (BMW)

"BMW is an organization that serves as a vehicle in educating our community on all aspects of being a black woman (from all nationalities) in today's society. We plan to stretch beyond the University of Minnesota campus and serve both our campus and the community through forums, events, and volunteer service."

Undergraduate Women in Business

"Our mission is to empower undergraduate women through the integration of education, support, philanthropy, and professionalism to become the business leaders of tomorrow.We hold speaker meetings once a month on a variety of professional development topics, have monthly volunteer and social events, and a signature networking event once per semester. We also hold general member meetings once a month that focus on personal and professional development."

Viivncaus-Hmong Women's Group

"Our objectives include holding open discussions about balancing culture, education, and relationships to promote success in this dynamic environment. We focus on providing a safe space to raise cultural awareness of Hmong women in the context of retention in higher education and the importance of diversity. We also focus on career success strategies, relationships amongst families and friends, as well as networking with resources on campus and the wider Twin Cities community."

Chemical Engineering and Material Science (CEMS) Women's Group

"CEMS Women's Group is a collaborative effort by CEMS women to increase communication among the women in our department and our communication with women in science and engineering who are currently in working in industry, academia, government agencies, or national labs."

Do you have a dream to someday write and publish your own book? Perhaps you are a fan of local authors? The First Books Reading and Discussion may be an event for you!

On Thursday, March 14, three MFA alumnae of U of M's Creative Writing Program will be speaking at the Weisman Art Museum on campus, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Here's the best part: all three of them have recently published their own books! At the First Books Reading and Discussion, the three alumnae will be reading excerpts of their books as well as speaking about their paths to publication. 

The event is free and completely open to the public, so bring some friends! Since you'll already be here, you can even schedule a campus visit, or just explore on your own to get a feel of what campus life at the U of M is like.

This is just one of many cool events offered on the U of M campus that cater to students' diverse interests. Click here to learn more about this exciting event and to read bios of the authors who will be there.


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