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When I think back to registering for classes as an incoming first-year student, I remember being overwhelmed with literally thousands of course options. Luckily, my academic adviser had some tips to get me headed in the right direction. One great opportunity that my adviser encouraged me to consider were freshman seminars.

Freshmen seminars are small classes (capped at 15 students) that concentrate on developing a deep, multidementional understanding of a unique topic. These classes are taught by some of our top faculty members and are generally regarded as some of our most interesting course options. The College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) offers a number of different freshmen seminars each year. Here are a few examples of the  seminars that are being taught this year through CFANS:

CFANS 1905 - Antioxidants: How Do They Protect Your Food and Your Body?
This seminar reviews how changes take place in food and biological systems in the absence and presence of antioxidants, concentrating on what antioxidants are, how they act, and how they protect food from deterioration and the body from deteriorative changes.

CFANS 1942 - By the Harvest You Shall Live
This class looks into how human survival is dependant on "the harvest," and how human society has transformed the way that we gather food. This seminar will include field trips to hunt and gather on natural sites using 1840 technology.

BBE 1906W - Technology and Business of Bioenergy and Bioproducts
With the growing concerns about climate change and the declineof oil reserves, there has been considerable interest in renewable energy. This class looks at the vision for a bioeconomy of the 21st century. They take an integrated approach into looking at the utilization of our natural resources for not only energy, but also for products that we use such as biocomposites.

FW 1901 - Carp and Culture
The common carp is both reviled as a pest and revered as an almost mythical creature. This course explores the interactions between humans and the common carp. Along with class discussions, students will dissect carp, exercise in gyotaku (fish printing), visit the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and attend two field trips including a carp collecting trip on the Mississippi River.

Information about all of our freshman seminars can be found in the 2010-11 Freshman Seminars Handbook.

By Dorothy Cheng

The University of Minnesota has the largest study abroad program in the nation. This means our students have countless opportunities to study, research, intern, and work abroad in almost every corner of the world. 

The College of Science and Engineering strongly encourages all of our students to travel abroad, whether they take classes, work, or just have fun and experience new cultures.

When I started college, I knew I wanted to study abroad but it wasn't on the forefront of my mind. I didn't start planning it until the middle of my second year. At that point, I was working on a double major and I had a full class schedule. I was applying for full-time summer jobs and considering taking classes over the summer as well. I didn't have time to leave the country for a semester, a year, or even a whole summer. I was really happy to learn about study abroad programs called Global Seminars.

Global seminars are three-week programs which take place during May term. I left for my global seminar the day after my last spring final and got back two days before summer classes and my summer research job started. I was able to take an electrical engineering class in China! I traveled with about 19 other U of M students and two professors. Here are some of my fellow CSE travel companions on the Great Wall:

great wall.bmpThat was an incredible view! We spent three weeks traveling through China, starting in Beijing, then taking a train to Shanghai, and a bus to Shenzhen and Hong Kong. We spent about a week in each city. 

While we weren't checking out the sites, eating delicious food, and exploring markets, we toured nanotechnology labs at major universities. As a math and statistics student, I didn't know anything about electrical engineering before taking this class. Nanotechnology is a fascinating subject. I not only learned about a new culture, I also learned about a new field!

My favorite university that we toured is the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.  The campus is beautiful, and due to weather in Hong Kong, is very open and breezy. The university is also built right on the sea so there are amazing views. I was warned not to go swimming in the water though - beware of sharks!

HKUST 2.bmp

Global seminars are a great way to get an international experience if you have a busy schedule! I would definitely recommend beginning to plan your study abroad your freshman year. You can read about planning ahead for study abroad on the CSE website. If you want some more information about studying abroad in your major, you should visit our Learning Abroad Center website.

Happy travels!

One of the things I love about going to the University of Minnesota is its diverse student body. Our campus is home to students, faculty, and staff from many different countries, backgrounds, and cultures. 

We come to college to learn from professors and experts, but we also have much to learn from each other. The U of M is a place where you can explore other cultures and celebrate your own. Of our 600+ student organizations, over 100 have a multicultural focus! We also offer academic studies in African and African American Studies, Asian American Studies, Chicano/Latino Studies, and American Indian Studies. 

Come experience our diverse and vibrant campus community for yourself! You and your family are invited to the fourth-annual Experience Minnesota: An Open House for Multicultural Students on Saturday, October 9, 2010 on the U of M campus. You can register online or call us at 612-625-0000 to sign up.

Here are some more details about what you will do at the event:

  • Learn about majors, student life, and financial aid and scholarships.
  • Tour our historic campus in the heart of the Twin Cities.
  • Submit your application for admission at an optional Application Workshop (high school seniors only).
  • Meet current U of M students and hear about their performances.
  • Tour our student cultural centers, see a step performance by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and hear spoken-word group Voices Merging.

I have worked at Experience Minnesota the past two years and will be there again this year. It's a ton of fun, and I hope to see you there! 

By Hilary Baril

The University of Minnesota Marching Band, also nicknamed the "Pride of Minnesota," recently entered a contest to win a $25,000 scholarship. The band is competing with many other college marching bands across the country to create the best rendition of the "Hawaii Five-O" theme song. Take a look at this video from WCCO's Kerry McNally to learn more:


Next week is the University's homecoming and I could not be more excited! Especially because this year, I'm on the homecoming committee. Our committee has been planning homecoming events since last March and working hard to get people excited for it. In August, we were at the Minnesota State Fair passing out promotional items such as backpacks, pins, and water bottles to people that stopped by the University of Minnesota booth. During Welcome Week, we announced the artist set to perform at the homecoming concert, Kid Cudi.

Homecoming is a great tradition at the University of Minnesota. It starting in 1914 with the theme "Back to Campus." This year, our theme is "Paint the Town Gold," which is about exemplifying the strength, power, and leadership of the University of Minnesota. There are many events and competitions throughout the week to celebrate our school and our alumni!

Campus-wide scavenger hunt: We are kicking-off homecoming this Friday with the scavenger hunt. Students, staff, and alumni explore campus, traditions, and receive prizes.

Thank-U: Thank-U is an event happening on to celebrate community service. Competition teams are given various service projects to do around campus and the Twin Cities that are relative to the service theme. This year's global service theme is HIV/AIDS awareness and education.

Gopherfest: This is one of the events that I helped coordinate! It is a festival held on our Northrup Mall. There will be food, sumo suits, a Velcro wall, and a dunk tank.

Cheer competition: Teams have been practicing their routines for weeks for the cheer competition. They perform stunts, original cheers, and dance.

Flag football: The flag football tournament is one of the biggest and most competitive events of homecoming.

Lip sync competition: Lip sync is always a ton of fun, and draws a huge crowd. Teams put together a song and dance routine. Students must tell a story with their performance and tie it in with the "Paint the Town Gold" theme.

Parade: Students, staff, families, and alumni gather around University Avenue for the parade. The Greek teams line University Avenue with their house fronts, which are huge pictures that cover the front of their houses made out of tissue paper stuck into chicken wire.

Pep fest: This is the other event that I helped plan. At the pep fest, we will give out awards for the competitions, the band and spirit squad will perform, and we will announce the homecoming royalty. There will also be notable speakers, such as President Bruininks and Joel Maturi (our athletic director).

Concert: Last but not least, the homecoming concert! This is new even for 2010, but we hope it becomes a tradition. Everyone is excited to see American hip-hop artist Kid Cudi perform.

And last but not least...

Football! The Golden Gopher football team will compete with the Northwestern Wildcats to complete the week's activities. Stay tuned into the blog as I cover the events throughout the week!

To learn more about homecoming, visit http://www.homecoming.umn.edu

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