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The College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences is offering a class this fall that is concentrating on one of the biggest news headlines of the year: the Gulf oil spill. This class explores technical and scientific issues of the spill, along with ethical and societal implications. If I was a student, I would definitely put it on the top of my "must take" classes for 2010.

At the University of Minnesota, our students are not only learning about events that have happened recently--say, 5 or 10 years ago--they are also learning about issues that the world is facing at this very moment in time. The class is being lead by Ph.D. student Robert Gilmer. Robert went on a 10-day trip to the Gulf of Mexico to see, firsthand, how the spill was affecting New Orleans and the Mississippi River Delta. Here is a video of him explaining his plans for the class:


Here is a link to Robert's blog that he created during his trip down to the Gulf. 

Last week was a very busy and fun-filled week at the University of Minnesota. The memories from homecoming 2010, "Paint the Town Gold," will go down in U of M history. It was extra special for me this year because I was on the committee that helped plan the events!

The homecoming festivities started on Friday, October 1, with the scavenger hunt. Students traveled around campus to find artifacts, take pictures, and perform tasks, all related to the U of M.

Our second event, Thank U, was held on Sunday, October 3. Teams of students did various service projects around the Twin Cities to thank the greater community for supporting the U of M. The service projects were centered around cultivating HIV/AIDS awareness and education.

The homecoming kick-off event, Gopherfest, was held on Monday on Northrop Plaza. We had free pizza, games, and prizes. Gopherfest also included the T-shirt swap, in which students brought old t-shirts to be given to a clothing drive in the exchange for a new homecoming t-shirt.

The Cheer Competition was also on Monday. Teams from various student groups across the University of Minnesota showed off their school spirit and talents on stage in the Superblock. Big Ten network star, Melanie Collins, was one of the judges along with U of M spirit squad coaches. Check out this video from Big Ten Network about the Cheer Competition (featuring our very own Admissions Ambassadors!).

Tuesday night we held a flag football tournament. Teams brought their "A-game" to Bierman Field for some fun and friendly competition. The Big Ten network joined us again, this time to help coach the Admissions Ambassadors. Check out this video from Big Ten Network about U of M Flag Football

There was a blood drive on Wednesday in Coffman Memorial Union. All donations were given to the American Red Cross. The Lip Sync Competition was also on Wednesday. This was an exciting night for me because I was an emcee! Teams showed off their dance moves while the other emcees and I got the crowd going with the Minnesota Rouser.

First place Lip Sync team: The Golden Ticket

Homecoming 010.jpgFriday was the highlight of my homecoming week. It started out with a great U of M tradition, the homecoming parade, on University Avenue. The parade featured our alumni marching band, student groups, and even Mayor R.T. Rybak. Here is a video from last year's parade to give you an idea of what it's all about:

After the parade, students and alumni gathered on Gateway Plaza in front of McNamara Alumni Center for the pepfest. During the pepfest, we gave out awards to the top teams in every division of the competitions and also announced the 2010 homecoming king and queen. The pepfest ended with a speech from our athletic director Joel Maturi, a performance by the marching band and spirit squad, and a blast of fireworks!

Following the pepfest, 7,000 students crowded Williams Arena to see famous hip-hop artist, Kid Cudi. He was a great performer and it was an awesome concert. Hopefully the homecoming concert will become a long-lasting tradition at the U of M.

Kid Cudi on stage at Williams Arena

Homecoming 015.jpgThere was a football game Saturday to cap off the week. The Gophers put up a good fight, but weren't able to defeat the Wildcats this time. Students and alumni still cheered their hardest and showed off their Golden Gopher pride.

Homecoming continues to get better and better with each coming year. I'm looking forward to coming back as an alumna!

By Dorothy Cheng

The Bell Museum of Natural History is opening a new exhibit on October 16 called "Sustainable Shelter: Dwelling Within the Forces of Nature."  This exhibit will focus on innovative building technologies and strategies. There will be a number of different components - graphics, computer games, mock shelters - but I think the most exciting part of the exhibit will be the ICON solar house.

One of the competitive project teams in the College of Science and Engineering is the solar house team, which competed in the Department of Energy's Solar Decathalon in 2009.  Students from the College of Science and Engineering, College of Design, and College of Continuing Education worked together for two years to design and build a solar house on campus. 

In the summer of 2009, they transported the house to Washington D.C., where they competed in a solar decathlon. The U of M's ICON solar house took first place in lighting design, first place in engineering, and fifth place in the overall international competition.

Now, this house is being reconstructed across the street from the Bell Museum to be a part of their exhibit. I wasn't on campus last year to see the ICON house when it was initially built, so I'm really excited to walk through it!

Check out this video to learn more about the design and construction of the house:

By Matt Sabongi

The summer before my senior year here at the University of Minnesota, I was able to volunteer on medical mission trip to Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Along with 18 other U of M students, I worked for a non-profit company called VIDA Volunteer as a medical assistant traveling to underserved communities around the two countries for 20 days. Within these communities, we provided basic healthcare with the assistance of a licensed physician. We learned how to perform a basic physical examination, write patient charts and prescriptions (in Spanish), administer shots, and much more. Without a doubt this was the most rewarding experience I had as a student. I had always dreamed of what it was like to be a physician. This experience actually made that dream a reality!

 This video was made by the College of Biological Sciences. Check out the photos taken by yours truly!

The group of students I traveled with were part of Minnesota Medical Leaders, a pre-medicine student group here at the University of Minnesota. If you are interested in going to medical school, I would highly recommend this group. Not interested in medical school? The University of Minnesota has tons of pre-professional organizations for students of all interests. Make sure to check out our students groups website for listings of all our student organizations.


By Hilary Baril

My entrepreneurship professor shares a lot of real-life examples to help students understand concepts we learn in the class. Now I know why my professor always mentions Steve Flagg, an alum of the Carlson School of Management. After Flagg graduated from the U of M, he started a little shop in downtown Minneapolis selling hard-to-find bike parts. His unique idea took off and there are now over 50,000 Quality Bike Parts (QBP) dealers in the world. He recently received the Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the University of Minnesota. Read the full story here. Success stories like Steve's make me feel confindent about going out into the job market with a degree from the U of M! 

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