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Planning ahead, and it feels so good!

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Planning ahead, and it feels so good! Planning ahead, 'cause I understood. There's one perfect fit, and homework, this one is it. I am so so excited 'cause I'm planning ahead, hey, hey. (Do you get it? Did that work? Feel free to sing the previous lines to the wonderful tune of "Reunited" by Peaches and Herb)

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Anyways... We are coming down to it! There are only 5 weeks left in the semester, including finals week. And it's exciting, not because school is almost over, but because I feel like I have already learned so much, and there is still so much more to learn!

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Obviously, I'm very excited about my little calendar and all the planning ahead I've been doing with my highlighters.

I've got plenty of exams and papers due before school is over, but that's not a negative. I see it rather as a period of time when I get to learn so much about so many different things. In the next few weeks I have papers due on the following: the foreclosure crisis and its impact on North Minneapolis, the perception of HIV/AIDS in the U.S. and abroad, informal settlements in South Africa, and multi-family housing development in North St. Paul. As for exams, those will be on the various topics of global housing, management and development, residential construction, and international social work. Housing Studies is such a cool major as it is so diverse! I never get bored :)

Stay sharp :D
Karly, Housing Studies B.S.

What's Live/Work?

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This semester in Housing Development and Management, all of our coursework has revolved around live/work housing. But what is it? Live/work housing is workspace combined with living space, where work and home are unseparated. A common example is the artist loft; the artist works at home by creating a masterpiece right next to where she ate her morning bowl of cereal.

But, there are far more types of live/work housing than just this. A few of us will be presenting Monday and we'll be teaching the class about the different types and tenures when it comes to live/work housing. It is not always multi-family, leased, but also single-family detached ownership, multi-family Cooperatives, townhome conversions, and the list goes on and on...

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http://www.amirealestate.com/listing.asp?id=131

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http://www.loftsatbeacon.com/lofts/

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http://www.loftsatbeacon.com/lofts/

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http://www.johnlscott.com/Home/13138103/RTR/2104-RESORT-ST-Baker-City-OR-97814/

Above are some pictures showing how diverse live/work housing can be.

Stay sharp :)
Karly, Housing Studies B.S.

Guest Speaker!

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Guest speakers are the best! While lectures, textbooks, and homework are essential to the learning process in college, I believe guest speakers are too. Guest speakers allow those of us in housing studies a sneak peek into the complex world of housing. It is so cool hearing about potential career fields that we might enter into after graduation.

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In my Housing Development and Management course, the importance of guest speakers is fully recognized, with guest speakers coming in each week. Today, the Vice President of Housing Development at Aeon came to our class. Aeon is a nonprofit located here in the Twin Cities. Aeon develops affordable, multi-family rental units. You can learn more about them at http://www.aeonmn.org/, and check out their vision statement!

Stay sharp :)
Karly, Housing Studies B.S.

Calculating Heat Loss... and having so much fun!

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In my Systems Approach to Residential Construction course, we learn about how safe homes are built. We look at what is required in order to create a high performance house. The house is a system of interactions between occupants, the mechanical equipment, and the building structure.

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Courtesy of Professor Bob Seavey

We are currently working on a project where we are calculating a house's heat loss. With the blueprints as pictured below, we are measuring and calculating the area of various surface types such as concrete, wood, and glass. While it is a long and complicated task, it is actually a lot of fun.

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Stay sharp :)
Karly, Housing Studies B.S.

I got this? YES!

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Only a few more days until Spring Break! I am so excited :D

But there's work to be done first:

Monday: Housing Proposal Narrative due in Housing Development and Management
Tuesday: Midterm Essay on racial segregation in Detroit due in Cities, Citizens, and Communities
Wednesday: Midterm Exam in Global Housing, Midterm Exam in Housing Development and Management
Thursday: Midterm Exam in Social Work, Quiz in Residential Construction
Friday: REST :)

It seems like a lot, but I'll make it through!

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And a shout out to my little brother. Gunnar, you did a great job at the Minnesota Boys High School Hockey State Tournament. Very proud.

Also, check out the upcoming forecast. Is spring coming? Looks like it might be!

Stay sharp :D
Karly, Housing B.S.

Informal Settlement Upgrading

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Oral reports can be a little bit terrifying...

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But I got this. I am prepared. This week in Global Housing I am teaching the class about Informal Settlement Upgrading in South Africa. I am looking particularly at the Ruimsig settlement outside of Johannesburg. Before the process of informal settlement upgrading, these homes experienced flooding anytime it rained. But through the process of re-blocking, an un-invasive way of slum redevelopment, the iKhayalami not-for-profit organization, South African Alliance, Informal Settlement Network, and the community of Ruimsig addressed issues of flooding and overcrowding. Feel free to check it out for yourself at http://sasdialliance.org.za/projects/ruimsig/ and watch the video!

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Stay sharp :)
Karly, Housing B.S.

Balancing Act

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http://digitalphotopix.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/balancing-act-elephant1.jpg

It's a great balancing act schoolwork is! I am currently juggling three big projects. The first I have already told you about, the development proposal my Housing Development and Management class is making to the City of North St. Paul. The second, a presentation on housing issues in South Africa for my Global Housing class. The third, a research paper on homelessness and the use of public space in my Cities, Citizens, and Communities class.

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http://participaction.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/balancing-act-001.jpg

None of these projects would go very well if it was not for some of the resources here at the University of Minnesota. The library page is a wonderful site fully equipped with tools to find sweet articles and journals for my research projects. Homework is way easier when directed toward reliable sources, as opposed to me going crazy searching Google for hours and finding nothing. :)

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http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-EF3sDnojFrk/Tacjm_FkiXI/AAAAAAAAB4k/O42E_cGOJ6k/s1600/balancing_act2.jpg

With only three more weeks until spring break, I will make it through!

Stay sharp :D
Karly, Housing Studies B.S.

"Slumming It"

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For my Global Housing class, our instructor had us watch the documentary called "Slumming It". It followed Kevin McCloud as he spent two weeks in then India's largest slum, the Dharavi slum. This is the same slum as seen in the famous "Slumdog Millionaire" movie.

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http://www.abc.net.au/tv/programs/kevinmccloudslummingit.htm

Right in the city of Mumbai was Dharavi, a slum just one square mile big and home to 1 million people. Many of them lived in shacks formed from the garbage, children played next to rivers of toxic waste, and people got sick due to the very minimal sanitation.

Even though the people of Dharavi lived radically different lives from his westernized self, Kevin McCloud still enjoyed his time. Even amongst the filth, McCloud felt at home. It was an intellectually conflicting experience for him. While we see the slums and say that it is the wrong way to live and that is all bad, inhabitants of the slum see their home quite differently. There is no doubt that the people of Dharavi deserved better sanitation and clean water. But there were many aspects of their community that ought to remain. I encourage you to watch it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Im0tHRs9Bng. Even in all of the garbage, the people of Dharavi managed to form a vibrant, resourceful, and encouraging community. But please, watch it for yourself!

Stay sharp :)
Karly, Housing B.S.

Birthdays and Proposals!

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Today we celebrated the 19th birthday of one of the girls in our dorm. Even though college students don't have all that much spending money, I feel we did pretty well in the gift giving department, as represented by the photograph above. Happy Birthday Grace!

And forgive me if the title of this blog is misleading. No one is engaged. But I am making a proposal :)

For my Housing Development and Management course, we have been given the task of making a housing development proposal for a nearby city. The confinements for such a proposal are that there must be between 12 to 60 units in the building, and that it includes live/work housing. Beyond that, we can envision whatever housing development we like; we get to unleash our creativity. I'll give you better details as the project progresses, including... what the heck is live/work housing?!

Stay sharp :)
Karly, Housing B.S.

A Time of Reflection

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In Housing Studies, what we do, believe it or not, goes beyond simply houses. One thing I love about it is that we consider communities. How are healthy communities formed? What makes a neighborhood bad? Does the physical environment of a neighborhood have a greater influence on the lives of residents than issues of politics, economics, and culture? How can we take what we have learned about communities and use it to actually benefit the lives of people?

Much of what we do is discerning reality. Some people say cities are unsafe places to live, while others say suburbs only produce feelings and actions of isolation. But what attributes would produce either of these results? The population of homeless single males is decreasing, while the population of homeless families increases. What causes such a reality? And if we find the cause of such outcomes, will it allow us to provide better housing for more people? I sure hope so.

Stay cheerful :)
Karly, Housing Studies B.S.

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The Importance of... a Daily Planner!

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I am that crazy lady pictured above expressing the importance of a planner with her face, as well as the importance of daily hygiene with her wet hair still wrapped up in a towel. But seriously, college life can be a blast, just as long as you've got your daily planner handy!

From Housing Studies projects to a variety of U of M student groups, there are so many things to keep track of as a college student. But don't fret, simply writing down a to-do list in a planner can make life so much EASIER. First semester, I had gotten into the habit of checking my U of M email often and writing in my planner. Second semester, well... I've got to pick up the good routine again. This past weekend, I kept a mental list of things to do, but all of it slipped my mind (including this here blog; my apologies for the tardiness). :(

:) But lucky me, good habits can be picked up at anytime. I shall return to my planner (the 2013-14 Gopher Guide), and prevent myself from feeling the stress of forgetting the good things like school work, student groups, eating, and hanging out with friends.

Stay sharp :D
Karly, Housing Studies B.S.

Cool Books?

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Yes, cool books! I have to say, I must be sitting pretty in my Housing Studies major because most of my required textbooks are books I would like to read anyway. For my Cities, Citizens & Communities class, we are to read The Origins of the Urban Crisis. The book looks at Detroit and addresses the pattern of racialized poverty in industrial cities. For my Global Perspective housing class, we are reading Planet of Slums. As described by The Times, this book "forces us, angrily, to confront the deplorable realities of slum existence and the limitations of slum policies in many developing countries."

It looks like my classes will be discussing issues that I am already passionate about and issues that are excruciatingly relevant, whether here, or halfway across the globe. Poverty is a bigger issue than often realized, and specific areas and people groups often get hit harder than others. "Overall, the number of people residing in slums has climbed from 777 million in 2000 to almost 830 million in 2010" according to the United Nations report at http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=34119&#.Ut3Nm7RMFLM.

Crazy me, but I am just so excited for school to be starting up again here at the U of M! This stuff is just so important.

Stay sharp :)
Karly, Housing Studies B.S.

Get me out of here!

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Get me out of here!
I can no longer stand it.
I must go home now.

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Above is an expression of my emotions in haiku form, as well as in picture form. As one can guess, I am tired of being away from school. I love my family, especially you mom, but I really wish to be back at the U of M now.

Now do not be confused. I am not that nerdy kid who was always studying during recess and who dreaded summer vacation. This break has been wonderful, I just can't wait to get back to school.

I have got many exciting classes to look forward to this semester, new friends to reconnect with, and freedom to return to. Only one more week :D :D :D

Stay sharp :)
Karly, Housing B.S.

P.S. My boyfriend sewed me the sweater that I'm wearing in the picture. Isn't he talented!

AAAS Minor

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To go alongside my Housing Studies major I have declared the African-American & African Studies minor. I will be starting some of my minor classes this next semester, and I am truly looking forward to it!

According to the Wilder Foundation, while the Black/African American population makes up only 5% of the adult population of Minnesota, they make up 38% of the homeless adults in the state (check the info out for yourself, click here). That is quite unbalanced. This is why I feel the AAAS minor would go appropriately with my Housing Studies major. There must be a better way. And from having already had a semester of classes with my Housing Studies professors, I know this is an issue that will not be ignored when it comes up. Topics in class have not shied away from the discrimination and issues certain populations face when it comes to housing. I love Housing Studies because it sees the real issues and addresses them, all for the benefit of real people.

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This is a scary image. Is it true? Do we sometimes ignore homelessness?
http://skepticalcubefarm.wordpress.com/2013/07/26/homelessness-gender-and-invisibility/

Stay sharp :)
Karly, Housing Studies B.S.

Home for the Holidays

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While I am so very happy to be home with my family, it breaks my heart that there are people out there this holiday season who won't have a home to go to. Because I am blessed with the comforts of a warm and loving home, I hear "there should be no poor among you"*, and I feel called to action. In the U.S., there is no doubt that we have the resources to house each and every citizen. And while I don't know how exactly to go about it, because much has been given to me, much I shall give away. "If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs"*.

However a student is motivated, I encourage them to get an education that goes alongside their already present skills and desires. For me, Housing Studies is most certainly giving me the tools to achieve my goal of meeting needs with affordable housing. It's the right fit.

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I hope all of you are enjoying plenty of holiday treats and quality family time!

Stay jolly :D
-Karly, Housing Studies B.S.

*Deuteronomy 15:4, 7-8

WINTER WONDERLAND

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It's finals week baby, and I've been studying hard. With all that knowledge that's been coming out of those books and straight into my brain, well, my brain needed a break. I'm not talking just a 30 Rock mini marathon, but rather, some real adventure, and fresh air!

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I went snow tubing today. (For those of you who don't know, snow tubing is like sledding, but way more epic). A group of us, including 3 Hawaiian kids who were unfamiliar with the concept of snow, had a blast hitting up the snowy hills today. Only in Minnesota* is that a study break :) It was pretty scary, bombing those steep hills in tubes, but it was just what I needed. All the excitement put me in the right mood for even more studying. Sweet! Fun can always be productive.

Stay sharp, warm, and stress free :D
Karly, Housing Studies B.S.

*I must confess, we were in Hudson, just over the border into Wisconsin. But no worries, there are plenty of snow tubing hills in the great land of Minnesota.


Much too cold, but that's alright!

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As a part of housing studies, we look at the ways in which people live. We ask, in their home are they living sustainably, affordably, comfortably? In the state of Minnesota where temperatures have been known to stay below zero for a month's time, people better be living comfortably in their homes.

I mention this because in the U of M residence halls, as residents, we need not fear the cold. On Saturday morning, as the temperature outside was -4˚F, I walked from my cozy, warm bed to the dining hall, without having to brace the cold! Now that's living comfortably. Especially since it was brunch too. I was warm, and I had too many yummy entrees to choose from. There were pasta dishes, chicken, scrambled eggs, hash browns, and even made-to-order omelets. I myself had pancakes with peanut butter on them; you can't judge me until you try it :)
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I hope you're staying warm and stress free as the holidays roll in.

Stay sharp :D
-Karly, Housing Studies B.S.

Free College =D

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As a junior and senior in high school, instead of taking the normal 11th and 12th grade classes, I took classes at the local college. I took part in PSEO (Post-Secondary Enrollment Option). I took my classes at the college, the credits that I earned fulfilled high school requirements, and I got some college education for free, all at the same time! So by the time I graduated from high school, I had already completed my generals for college. If this at all sounds like an option for you, look into the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC) too.

PSEO turned out to be such a good option for me because I already knew what I wanted to do-help people find safe and affordable housing. I also already knew that I wanted to go to the U of M to major in Housing Studies. And even though I'm a freshman, because of PSEO, I'll be graduating in just 2 years. It's all around very cool because Housing Studies is very practical, everybody needs a house, and the job outlook is very positive. If you're interested, check out the following site. http://www.careerhelp.umn.edu/majorinfo/housing.html

I hope everybody was able to enjoy Thanksgiving with their families, whether at the adults' table or the kid table.

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Stay sharp :D
-Karly, Housing Studies B.S.

Thankfulness

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I hope all of you will enjoy the pleasure of spending this Thanksgiving with loved ones. I know I'm very blessed to be spending it together with my family and my boyfriend's family (don't worry, they've already met, it won't get too crazy). I'm thankful for the wonderful relationships I have, for the food that I get to eat every day, and for the education I'm receiving here at the U of M. There's another thing I'm thankful for, that I haven't told too many people about, so get ready...

This summer I'm planning on doing an internship abroad in London. Whoa man, I'm thankful for such a crazy awesome opportunity! With the help of my advisor, I came across a program on the Study Abroad site (check it out!). If everything works out, and I end up going, I'll be doing a 6-week internship in an area of work related to Housing Studies. I think it'd be sweet to intern at a homeless shelter, or somewhere where they helped people get into low-income housing.

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I can definitely see myself there! Some day soon :) http://www.umabroad.umn.edu/programs/europe/london/

The biggest road block right now is the whole money deal, but good thing the University is so eager to help in that area, with more than $500,000 in scholarships awarded to students studying abroad. So I'll start practicing my British accent straight away! ;)

Stay sharp :D
-Karly, Housing B.S.

Working is fun!

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The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities is a pretty big school, and that's so cool for so many reasons. Not only does that mean variety, diversity, and room for great personal growth, but it also means lots of student jobs!

There are so many things to be done on such a large campus, which results in so many on-campus jobs for students to choose from. I work in the dining center, and I love my job!

Working in the dining center has been sweet because it is a short, indoor walk from my dorm room, I get free food, and the people, especially the managers, are super nice. Also, I have learned a lot since being there. I ask a lot of questions, being relatively new to the food prep line of work, but no one has minded yet. It is definitely a happy environment to work in. And if anybody's interested in getting an awesome job like me sometime in the future, they can find info at the University Dining Services job site.

And remember, I am very happy with my job, but I thought this was funny. So enjoy. :)
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funny-pictures.funmunch.com

Stay sharp :D
-Karly, Housing Studies B.S.

Gruppenprojekte! (Group Projects!)

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At this time in the semester, group projects are a big deal. Professors are putting us to the real test. Have we actually gotten it, the point to their class? Are we able to regurgitate more than facts? Can we creatively take what we have learned and expound on it?

Not only do we get to answer all of those questions with a "Yes!", but we get to do it in community with other people. And I know that group projects can sometimes sound like a drag, but as I've been in college a while now, I've learned that they are such precious opportunities! Four brains are way better than one.

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http://centralvalleymoms.com/2011/06/01/tutoring-vs-brain-training/learning-rx-four-brains-jpeg-2/

In my sustainable housing class, we met in our semester project groups, and my goodness, I almost cried! It was so cool!!! My group was brainstorming and coming up with all these neat ideas for the project. It's so sweet when group projects work out as intended.

Also, I hear that in the real (professional) world, all people ever do are group projects. I'm very pleased to have a taste of them as a Housing Studies student.

Stay sharp :) and warm! :D
-Karly, Housing Studies B.S.

SUIT UP!

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Not many similarities can be made between me and Barney Stinson of "How I Met Your Mother". But last Monday as I prepared for the Government and Nonprofit Career Fair, I suited up!

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As I stared off into the distant sun, I contemplated all that my suit had done for me.
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http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/barney-stinson/images/31132859/title/barney-stinson-wallpaper

Let's get real. While it was important for me to look professional in front of potential future employers, suiting up is not what prepared me. Rather, I went to the College of Design Career and Internship Services website. As I've mentioned before, it's full of valuable resources. Since a career fair is just like a bunch of mini interviews, one after the other, I watched the site's video on interviews. Feel free to watch it for yourself! http://www.careerhelp.umn.edu/interviews.html.

Upon leaving the career fair, I realized that it could have been a lot scarier if I hadn't known what I wanted to do. Because I know that I want to work directly with families looking for low-income housing, I was able to weed out many of the organizations that were at the fair, and then focus on the ones that I liked. In the future, I could see myself working for a handful of the employers that I met at the career fair, and it's really exciting that a Housing Studies degree could do so much for me!

Stay Sharp :)
-Karly, Housing Studies B.S.

Field Trip!

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Field trips aren't just for children... Thanks to the U of M's Housing Studies program, this past Friday 18 of us, undergraduate students, grad students, alumni, and professors, hopped on the yellow school bus once again for a tour of four of the area's multi-unit housing sites. To be more specific, all of the housing we looked at was designed to meet the needs and interests of elderly persons who are living independently. The different housing sites consisted of a public housing high-rise, a 55+ resident-owned cooperative, and two HUD Section 202 properties (check out this website to see how they are making available more low-income housing for elderly persons: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/housing/mfh/progdesc/eld202).

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Before the bus tour, I had never given much thought to the housing needs of elderly persons. And what was really cool about all of these sites, not only did they take care of practical needs, such as wider doorways and easy-to-maneuver showers for the residents, but each of them created an inviting atmosphere for a healthy community. In the pictures above, one can clearly see the fun the residents were having in the company of their friends.

Stay sharp :)
-Karly, Housing Studies B.S.

Black Shoes and Interviews

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This past week I got out my fancy pants and my black shoes; I was getting ready for an interview! But I wasn't the one who was being interviewed. Rather, I interviewed a project manager at PPL. Project for Pride in Living, Inc. (PPL) is a nonprofit that works with lower-income individuals and families. PPL helps communities by developing affordable housing and providing services such as childcare and job training. Feel free to learn more about them at www.ppl-inc.org.

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My interview with the project manager was an informational interview. (I learned about these from one of the advisors at the handy-dandy career center on campus.) I asked her what PPL was all about, what her job as project manager looked like on a daily basis, and other questions along those lines. I thought it would be a little bit scary, but it was actually a lot of fun! She gave me a lot of advice.

The career center website, http://www.careerhelp.umn.edu/interviewprofessionals.html, gave me all of the tips I needed going into the informational interview. And so I have started networking! Which means, and so I have started making friends in the professional world of housing!

Stay sharp :D
-Karly, Housing Studies B.S.

Peeking Fall Colors and Pretty Houses

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I love fall. I love walking around, looking at trees, and hearing the crunching leaves beneath my feet. And I love that I get to experience it all on my beautiful U of M St. Paul campus, as well as in my homework assignments. For two of my Housing classes we get to go out into different neighborhoods and look at the houses. No surprise, as a Housing Studies student, I love looking at houses too!

For my Housing and Community Development class, the lovely Dr. Ann Ziebarth is having us conduct a neighborhood housing assessment. It's really a fun project. Last Friday my project partner and I walked about a neighborhood close by and analyzed the homes. Each house exhibited unique architecture, and they were such beautiful homes! This was especially so as the leaves of the surrounding trees began turning. I'm no photographer, but I took some pictures anyways. Enjoy!

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I hope that you're enjoying the fun fall colors out there!

Stay sharp :D
-Karly, Housing Studies B.S.

Looking with Creative Eyes

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Housing Studies is such a wonderful major in the College of Design. While it does not require any ability to draw, paint, sculpt, or have color sense, it is still artsy in the way that it encourages a creative mind. Housing students are called to observe people, policy, and places, with an unhindered, imaginative thought process.

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I get to think in such a way in my "Learning from the Landscape" class. This is the design class I enrolled in as a part of my major required courses. It definitely stretches my mind to think creatively. Recently I was given an assignment to observe the landscape and behavior of people there in the courtyard outside of the U of M Wilson Library. My homework was to people watch, as silly as that sounds. But it was cool to analytically see how different people used the space. I am not sure how I felt about all the students walking by with their head phones in, but it was pleasant to see a professor laying in the grass talking to his wife on the phone.

There's so much more to see when one begins to look.

Stay sharp :)
-Karly, Housing Studies B.S.

Internships... already?!

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It's the fourth week into my college career, and I already have internships on my mind. I must! I'm a freshman, but I took advantage of PSEO (Post Secondary Enrollment Options) and came to the U with 50 credits. So basically, as I have reached sophomore and a half status, credit-wise, it's about time.

I am eager to gain experience in my housing studies field. As it is a diverse major, with concentration areas in community development and policy, housing technology, management and finance, selected populations, and sustainability, there are many opportunities to search through! I am grateful that the U of M provides me with the tools to face such a task.

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Above is McNeal Hall, where the career center is located. http://www1.umn.edu/twincities/maps/McNH/

This past Friday I visited the Career and Internship Services in Saint Paul, and a very helpful specialist and I got down to business. She helped me with my resume, explained to me what Linked In was and what informational interviews are, and most importantly, we began the search for internships! I am on my way.

I will keep y'all posted on my journey to a summer internship.

Stay sharp :)
-Karly, Housing Studies B.S.

At last!

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I'm Karly, and for the last 13 years I've been a Minnesotan. The University of Minnesota was a natural choice for this very reason. Minnesota is a great place to be! There are many things you can do here from swimming in 10,000 lakes and playing in the snow (don't worry, it's not here yet), to going to Twins games and shopping at the Mall of America. I also chose the U of M because of their Housing Studies major.

When I'm not keeping to my studies, I like to sing, play guitar, and make my own earrings. I also love spending time with family, even if it's just a silly run to the thrift store with my sister. I'm interested in volunteering as well. I enjoy helping those with fewer resources. And in looking ahead in life, I'm particularly interested in bettering the situation for those transitioning from homelessness to low-income housing. This is why I chose housing studies.

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I will be blogging throughout the year about my academic adventures here at the U, so feel free and add z.umn.edu/cdesblogs to your bookmarks!

Stay sharp :)
-Karly, Housing Studies B.S.

THIS IS IT!

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PalladianHourglassz.tifThe big week has finally arrived everyone, and it's already half over! I can hardly believe it - only a few days left of regularly scheduled classes before my last round of final exams... and then commencement on May 18th at Mariucci Arena (due to Northrop Construction). As I sit here and think about it all, it seems surreal. However, my week up to this point has been rather chaotic as I've been scrambling to get everything finished up before the end of the week - multiple group projects, a giant timeline poster, a thirtysomething-page final research and analysis paper, an internship report and subsequent presentation, and a few other things that need final touches. It really is all coming down to this next few days, but I'm so close to the end of it all that the stress is of little concern at this point. Thinking back on it all, I should have expected this level of madness to ensue, taking a full course load, working two part-time student jobs and interning several days per week. All in all though, I'm glad I put in the hard work and powered through to the end - the whole experience has been the hardest I've never worked for something this hard in my twenty-two years of existence and it will feel quite gratifying to walk across that stage and earn my Bachelor of Science in just a matter of days.


As all of this aforementioned ridiculousness was in full swing this past few weeks, I've been completely at a loss for freetime, which I had originally planned on using to do a bit of job searching. That's what I got this degree for, right? Well, I have taken a very limited number of brief homework/working/eating/sleeping breaks to fill out a few job applications which struck my interest, but if there's one thing I've learned as a jobseeker its that finding a job is a full-time job. On the bright side, it is evident that there are definitely jobs out there for housing students and I will fearlessly continue the job hunt until my work pays off.

Life is happening!!!

Jesse LaMaack
B.S. Housing Studies

Cheers, Mr. Mayor!

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rybak00876.jpgToday I gave a commemorative speech to my public speaking class honoring the mayor of Minneapolis, R.T. Rybak - a great man and true go-getter. He's been our faithful mayor since 2001 and is currently serving his third consecutive term in office. Rybak is definitely one of my local heros, and most of us here in Minneapolis were sad to hear that he will not be seeking re-election for 2014.

R.T. Rybak has been progressive from the start, and is most known for his initiatives which have visibly reduced crime rates in the city, created a flow of new jobs, and assisted in the creation of affordable housing units for low-income households and families. He's also gained national attention as an activist and beloved local leader. While his popularity was thought by many to land him a role in higher political office, he stated in an interview in 2011 that "local government is the last standing functional form of government in America and possibly the world." He's also a genuinely great guy to be around - probably the only mayor who has crowd surfed at a major public event (Trampled by Turtles at First Avenue in 2004).

Have a great week everyone!

Jesse LaMaack
Housing Studies, B.S.

The Prevalence of Poster Projects

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asdasfhjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj.PNGmeridianposterr9898.PNGHere in the College of Design, there are many skills a typical housing studies student will develop by means of repetition - and the creation and presentation of large-format posters are definitely one that we all have in common. As you can see, I've made my fair share of posters over the years. Regardless of one's chosen thematic concentration or minor field of study, poster projects are an academic endeavor which can be expected nearly every semester in the housing program. Posters in housing studies classes and allied coursework (such as architecture, public policy and environmental sustainability), are usually the end product of a directed research topic - a visually appealing layout of images and data, combining personal research and course materials.

postercapmodhousingg.PNGPersonally, I view poster assignments as a fun and gratifying way of using my creative talent to communicate thought-provoking ideas or information. A completed poster is a visual display of the hard work, research and intellect I put forth on a particular project - and a statement of my personality and creative abilities. While the housing studies program is mostly considered to be a less design-intensive major (relative to the other College of Design programs), posters are one of the design elements that most housing students become very familiar with during their time in the program. civengggposterrrr.PNG

From coursework integration and directed research to creation and presentation, the acquired skills we gain from poster assignments are valuable not only to our academic portfolios, but also to our future careers.


That's all I have for this week, stay tuned for upcoming graduation-related posts - commencement is just a few short weeks away!

- Jesse LaMaack
Housing Studies, B.S.

All Kinds of Busy

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sketchupScreenshpt.pngWith only one month of school left in my undergraduate career, time sure is flying by quickly. That being said, I am keeping plenty busy and there's no time for the senior slump. With a robust variety of classes this semester as I finish up my final requirements, I've been doing all sorts of schoolwork lately. In Design in the Digital Age, my classmates and I are learning various methods of digital modeling like SketchUp, Revit, and Kerkythea. I'm not use to these sorts of courses being a housing studies student, but I'm finally starting to get the hang of it (for the most part). The whole experience has definitely given me a different perspective on housing design, and I'm glad to have learned how to use these various technologies.

spchhhhhh.jpgOutside of my design-intensive courses, I'm also taking a public speaking course to fulfill my communications requirement. Being in a class of mostly freshmen and sophomores, the housing knowledge I've gained over the years has been used in almost all of my speeches. Although it's a relatively small class, I feel like I've educated my peers on the various dimensions of housing and communities - which I hope they can take with them and use in a positive way moving forward with the rest of their education here at the U.

Happy Spring!

Jesse LaMaack
Housing Studies, B.S.

Internship Update

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HLlionee.pngAs I've mentioned in previous posts, I've spent the past few months interning for a Minneapolis-based nonprofit tenant advocacy organization called HOME Line. I mostly answer incoming phone calls from Minnesota renters and provide them housing-related legal advice under supervision of a licensed attorney specializing in state landlord-tenant law. I'll admit that it took some time to become familiar with all of the cases and statutes that govern our rental housing arena, but I eventually became a fluent speaker in the language of tenants rights. Most of what I use at work is outlined in the book "How to be the Smartest Renter on Your Block," which was written and published by HOME Line attorneys.

Best of all, I'm applying my housing knowledge and communication skills to help others who are often in urgent need of legal help. I get the opportunity to speak directly with so many different people from all walks of life and hear their stories, which are always at least moderately interesting. I feel that my experiences at this particular internship will definitely benefit me professionally one day, especially if I end up taking work at a nonprofit housing agency or property management company - just in time for graduation next month!

Hope all is well with you and your housing,

Jesse L.
Housing Studies, B.S.


Pic:http://www.homelinemn.org/wp-content/uploads/book/book-72dpi(web).png

Housing Prevails in my Elective Coursework

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Despite being enrolled in only one housing studies course this semester as I finish up my architecture minor and thematic technology coursework in the School of Architecture, I've been learning about, designing, studying, and researching a variety of other various housing-related topics in these courses. PRINT THIS ONE.png
Besides being relevant to my major and interests, I'm also getting the opportunity to apply my design and creative skills in a much different setting and approach, which has me learning all kinds of new technological tools ranging from light Adobe Illustrator work to complex modeling programs that continue to occupy a relatively sizable chunk of my time. Although it took a while to get a hang of things, I'm now a fairly competent user of SketchUp and steadily improving.

Overall, this semester has been a lot less time hitting the books at a library and more time in the Rapson or McNeal Computer Labs. However, recent assignments and final project details in my Architecture Since 1750 course has brought our small focus group together in a way that puts aside our discussuions on the design of the huge timeline we've been thoughtfully piecing together - the new information that we uncover both in class and in our case study examples seem to strengthen yet further complicate the our final thesis. It will be interesting to see what happens in upcoming weeks as we move into the modernist era of the course.


Take care and happy April everyone!

Jesse LaMaack
- Housing Studies, B.S,

Off to See Some Mansions

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Spring Break has passed and the final stretch of the semester has arrived at last. With school back in full swing, tomorrow is the time to make one of the assigned personal field trips for my Architecture Since 1750 course. This trip will be an essential part of an important group project my peers and I have been working on since week two of the class.

By the end of the semester, each small group of students will have created a detailed timeline outlining the evolution of a specific type of architecture over the past few centuries. Per my request, I was placed in the group researching historic residential architecture - we're all working together surprisingly given our busy schedules.

semple_mansion_party_01_.jpgvandusenGrn.jpgAnyways, tomorrow afternoon I will be trekking over to the Stevens Square Neighborhood of Minneapolis to check out a pair of late 19th century mansions which have been more recently converted into private event spaces for weddings and other sorts of lavish get-togethers. The first will be Semple Mansion, a boastful Beaux-Arts style residential structure completed in 1901. The second will be the Van Dusen Mansion just down the street. The Van Dusen Mansion is probably my favorite large home in the Twin Cities - it is completely cladded with Pink Sioux Quartzite which gleams in the sunlight. Overall, two very impressive structures.

I'm only required to visit one site for the assignment, but I figure I'll go above and beyond this time since the two mansions happen to be less than a block away from one another. Senioritis has not overcome me just yet!


Jesse LaMaack
- Housing Studies, B.S.


pics: http://studio306.com/semple-mansion-birthday-celebration/
http://rivertowninn.wordpress.com/2010/07/11/rivertown-inn-welcomes-new-sister-property-the-van-dusen-mansion/

Thoughtful Classroom Discussions

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Because of the small and personal nature of the housing studies program, there are a lot of unique advantages offered to students who want to get the most out of their education. One of my personal favorites are the consistently small and interactive classroom settings. After a few years of primarily housing studies courses, my current lineup of mostly larger lecture hall courses outside of the department has was a bit of a shock at first.
I am taking one housing class this semester, though - Rural Housing Issues with Dr. Ann Ziebarth. Because there's only a handful of students enrolled in the course, we've gotten to do a lot of neat activities together as a class. One day we met at the HGA Gallery in Rapson Hall for a guided tour of the Rural Design exhibit by Dewey Thorbeck, and on different day received a guest lecture from representatives of the Housing Assistance Council via Skype.
Lately, classes have been more of an interactive discussion about the course material. Personally, I feel like it is a more enlightening and in-depth way of learning opposed to other more formal classroom settings. Below is one of the mind mapping activities we created together recently to collect key points of a book we've been reading about rural housing in Great Britain.

MindMapHSG5484.JPG

Hope you all are enjoying the lovely weather.

Jesse
B.S. Housing Studies

Weekly Wednesdays

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Happy Wednesday everyone! As the Spring 2013 academic term continues on at a steady pace, I though this week would be a good one to share with you all what a typical Weekday is like in my shoes. I would describe my weekly schedule as "action-packed" and Wednesdays are no exception.

JEsseLaMaackRapsonFeb2013.jpgOn busy days like these I usually try to wake up around 6:30am to get ready for the day, check my planner, and drink 2 cups of coffee before getting on the bus going westbound to the East Bank of the Minneapolis Campus. After the short bus ride, I brave a 4-minute walk outdoors (it's been quite cold lately) and arrive at my first daily destination - Rapson Hall, room 100 for a course called Design in the Digital Age. Without getting into too much detail, it's an architecture course focused on designing with the latest technology which we will likely use again one day in the "real world." I recently made the image below for a short assignment in the class using SketchUp software.  

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After Design in the Digital Age, I quite literally sprint out of Rapson to the nearest Campus Connector bus stop and hopefully make it to my Rural Housing Issues class in McNeal Hall on the St. Paul Campus in around twenty minutes. I probably should have planned that out better during registration, but I usually make it on time. After Rural Housing Issues, I grab a quick bite to eat and hop back on the Campus Connector en route back to the West Bank Minneapolis Campus!

While my class schedule is empty for several hours at this point in the day (around noon), I'm still in a slight rush upon arrival at the West Bank because the bus to my internship isn't going to catch itself! I take MetroTransit Route 22 to 35th Avenue & Cedar Avenue in South Minneapolis and walk a block or two to the HOME Line office (a statewide nonprofit tenant advocacy organization). My time there consists of speaking with Minnesota renters who have legal questions about their housing. Usually, I'm always being of help to someone, which is a nice feeling.

Then back to East Bank Campus for a quick dinner and my one-day-a-week Intro to Public Speaking class from 6:00 - 9:00pm in Ford Hall. Pretty self-explanatory what happens in that class, but I will say that our lecturer is amazing and I'm actually learning a lot about how I present myself to the public (former Gopher Tour Guide here). After speech class, I usually go straight home and watch Netflix in my bed. Wednesdays are my day off of serious homework endeavors for obvious reasons.

Well, time to start my day. Cheers everyone!

Jesse LaMaack
- Housing Studies, B.S.

My Student Housing History

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Although student housing isn't necessarily my area of expertise, I've had a variety of different experience as a tenant of Minneapolis student housing. This week, I thought it would be fun to briefly share them all with you all.

Pioneer Hall

76169234pio.jpgMy first and most memorable housing arrangement as a student was Pioneer Hall, an on-campus residence hall on the superblock. Highly recommended. Freshly separated from my parents and hometown, I was assigned a random roommate (who I continued to live with as a sophomore) in a two-bedroom suite. It was awesome and to make it even better, the dining center was right downstairs.

6th & 6th

Then came sophomore year. Our lack of apartment rental experience led my friends and I to the most ridiculous apartment I've set foot in - our old place on 6th Street & 6th Avenue Southeast in the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood near Dinkytown. Although it was situated in a charming and historic area of town, our six-unit apartment building was in pretty bad shape. Our apartment stood out among most others - its most notable features being the odd layout of everything along one never ending corridor, and boarded up porch windows. Overall though, rent was pretty cheap and it kept warm in the winter...and it definitely had character.

Chester's Palace

9167stxxzzz.JPGCome junior year, my roommates and I packed up and moved across I-35W to the edge of Dinkytown. Dinkytown, as you may well know, is the heart and soul of off-campus life. Five of us leased a HUGE house with five bedrooms, and also welcomed a black lab puppy named Chester to the family (hence Chester's Palace). Long story short, we quickly learned just how messy a house can get with five college-aged guys and too much living space, and a puppy. Almost impossible to keep clean. It was fun while it lasted, but that house will not be missed.

Southeast Talmage

My current residence is a little farther away from campus on Talmage Avenue Southeast in the Southeast Como Neighborhood. Our big group of five decided it was best to split up to avoid the unmanageable nature of five-bedroom places, which led us to choose a lovely 1970s duplex on the railroad tracks. The trains can be loud at times, but I'm mostly use to it by now and the apartment is quite nice. It is also conveniently situated on MetroTransit's Route 3 bus line which drops stops on East and West Banks of the Minneapolis Campus going westbound, and St. Paul Campus going eastbound - perfect for my trips to and from school!

Have a good week everyone!

- Jesse LaMaack
Housing Studies, B.S.

Exploring Rural Design

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Greetings readers! Hopefully February has been treating you well. It has been a crazy busy past few weeks as the semester kicks into full speed alongside my work and internship obligations - but busy is good! This week I'd like to share with you all my recent research and learning experiences in the area of rural design. Rural design is something you may not have heard of before, largely because it is considered an emerging design discipline focused on addressing issues in rural areas by means of research-based design principles. Basically, rural design seeks to pursue an equitable balance between the human uses or rural lands and the natural ecosystems that exist in the area - a "best fit" between human use and natural functions. Coming from a rural area, I personally find this emerging area of design to be both challenging and environmentally responsible.

rurdezz.jpgLuckily for my fellow students and me, our very own College of Design in partnership with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences is at the forefront of this research-driven design discipline and is home to the Center for Rural Design (CRD) - "CRD is an award winning, multi-disciplinary research and design studio that empowers communities to find innovative solutions to problems in rural Minnesota, the Midwest, and globally."

I've been doing a lot of research and related work on rural design as I am currently taking a course called Rural Housing Issues taught by housing studies professor and CRD faculty member Dr. Ann Ziebarth, who provides our class with a wealth of knowledge and insight on the topic. Very interesting stuff!

Hope you all go out and learn something new today!

- Jesse LaMaack
Housing Studies, B.S.

Thinking back to the very start of our new housing construction craze around the U of M campus, it seems like just yesterday that the large fenced-off mud pit on 15th Avenue & 4th Street Southeast rose from the subsurface and became Sidney Hall - the big, fancy, modernesque new apartment building that boastfully became the pinnacle of elite living in Dinkytown. Sydney Hall was a huge hit and the units filled up faster than most expected. From that point on, the rest is pretty much a blur of new off-campus apartment buildings going up everywhere...and I mean everywhere.

It shocks me to say with almost absolute certainty that since the Sydney Hall project was labeled a huge success, the development and construction of new off-campus student housing has not stopped - not even for a week or two between projects. Developers flocked to the area to buy up any undeveloped or distressed land close to campus...and have rather quickly added added hundreds, possibly thousands of brand new apartment units for students willing to pay for a little extra amenity.

WaHu-RENDERING-1.jpgToday, the development frenzy continues at full strength and seems to now be extending into all marketable student neighborhoods around the U, and developers seem to be getting stronger with every new multi-million dollar building they complete. I'm a housing studies student and I literally cannot keep track of them anymore...it almost seems out of control. Students are talking a lot about it too, and each person seems to have their own opinions on the impact it will have on the area. Truth be told, it's impossible to tell at this point whether a "housing bubble" is about to burst before our eyes or if the new units will assimilate in a positive and equitable way.

Regardless, the nature of the whole situation is simply unprecedented and the U of M area is being redesigned and redeveloped - both on on off campus - at a faster rate than anywhere else in the metro area. I personally like the new and changing scenery, it's exciting to be a housing student and watch these massive structures go up in passing every day from start to finish.

Wishing you all a fantastic first week of February - we've sure been having perfect weather for long and productive library sessions!

Jesse LaMaack
Housing Studies B.S.

Preparing for my Internship

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HLmn.pngLife has been busy this past week as I've been getting acclimated to my new school and work schedule, and getting trained in at my new internship at HOME Line, a statewide nonprofit tenant advocacy organization headquartered in Minneapolis. Soon, I will be speaking directly with tenants and offering legal advice (under the watchful eyes of several attorneys on staff) regarding various rental housing issues. Although this is a volunteer position, I will receive course internship credits which will count towards my housing studies degree, and a great deal of experience as well. I'm excited to get going and use my skills to help others!

WillMitchDay_L.jpgThis past Saturday, the upcoming HOME Line interns/volunteers (mostly law students) and I attended a day-long training session at the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul. The organization's attorneys took turns guiding us through the basics and specifics of Minnesota landlord and tenant law from the application to move out/eviction procedures. It was both interesting and enlightening, and it was a good way to get to know the attorneys we will be working under. I also got to know a few new people, which is always nice.

Stay posted for updates!

- Jesse LaMaack
Housing Studies, B.S.

My Last First Day & the Gopher Way

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Thumbnail image for Atmoshpere.MN.0113The Spring 2013 academic term has arrived and the Twin Cities Campus is once again bustling with activity as I join the masses for my final semester as an undergraduate. Despite the mildly uncomfortable and persistent sub-zero [ºF] temps, campus life has returned from winter break as tens of thousands of U of M students and faculty made their way back to campus. The start of my semester coursework began this morning with my only Tuesday class, Architectural History Since 1750 at the Bell Museum Auditorium on the East Bank of the Minneapolis Campus. Tomorrow's agenda isn't so leisurely - starting in the early morning with Design in the Digital Age on East Bank and Rural Housing Issues on the St.   Paul Campus, and ending with Intro to Public Speaking on the West Bank that night. I'm sure it will be quite the adventure.

skywaystunneszMany of us students, especially in the College of Design, tend to cover a lot of ground in one day getting from place to place on our vast campus , and beating the cold is a foundational part of foot traffic for those who get to know the Gopher Way. The Gopher Way is an extensive network of tunnels and skyways that link campus buildings and parking structures. While some of the tunnels/skyways are simple yet efficient human transport corridors, other more heavily trafficked parts of the Gopher Way are somewhat airport-like in layout - wide pedestrian concourses lined with coffee cafes, effectively linking entire areas of campus. 

Getting to know the layout and design of the whole thing can be tricky at first, but well worth the effort on absurdly chilly days like today - and taking to the tunnels is very much in the Golden Gopher spirit!

- Jesse LaMaack
Housing Studies, B.S.


pic: https://www.facebook.com/Atmosphere?fref=ts

Exploring Career Resources at the U

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With less than a week of break left before spring courses begin, I've been trying to use at least some of my free time productively. My first move was scheduling an advising appointment with Wanda, my wonderful academic adviser. Throughout the past few years in the College of Design, advising appointments with Wanda have always been enlightening. Not only am I advised on the various ways of approaching my degree program, but also introduced to the impressive variety of campus resources available to me. As graduation draws near, here are a few adviser-certified career resources I've been either exploring or revisiting lately:

CreerIntServ.JPGCareer and Internship Services is the primary career preparation and exploration resource for housing studies students, and provides detailed information on career possibilities/trajectories based on data provided by housing studies alumni. Some of the information includes alumni job titles & career profiles, salary & employment statistics of housing graduates, words of advice from alumni, past internship sites, and more. Aside from all of the online information Career and Internship Services provides us, they also have knowledgeable career counselors available by appointment at their conveniently located offices in McNeal Hall.hsgresc.JPG

GoldPASS is another useful job searching tool available to all U of M students and recent grads. Simply put, "GoldPASS is the U of M's online database to help connect students and alumni with employers, volunteer organizations, and internships across the country." While I've used GoldPASS in the past to search for internships and part-time student positions, I'm now taking a closer look at potential entry-level professional openings to begin my career with. Fingers crossed! GoldPasz.JPG

Jesse LaMaack | Housing Studies, B.S.

Rest & Rejuvenation

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Mpls.MississAhhh, winter break feels great. I've been getting out of the house and office as much as possible to enjoy the city and the company of my friends. In many ways, this is my favorite time of year. While summer breaks for many students take a lot of planning, moving, and other somewhat intense lifestyle changes - winter break is pretty much the opposite. After the immediate cultural holiday celebrations, new year begins and working folks get back on with their regular lives. For U of M students, however, the end of the holidays still leaves us with three weeks of relative freedom before starting back up with a fresh new academic term of new courses and new daily pattern of life.

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As exciting as that sounds, I'm very much enjoying the added rest and freetime winter break has brought me. Outside of work, I now have more time to not only relax and socialize, but also get back in the loop with my personal interests. As I hadn't had much time during the school year to keep up with my favorite group of musical artists, the Pretty Lights Music record label - I've been busy enjoying their artist's most recent albums and singles, which they graciously provide us fans free of charge on their website. Listening to their new beats for the first time always puts me in an upbeat mood and will eventually become the background music of spring semester study sessions. Gramatik and Michal Menert (album artwork below) are my favorite artists in the label to listen to while studying, and their newest albums did not fail to disappoint.

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With these bits of my life being the most exciting events of my winter break so far here in Minneapolis, I'm quite content with a few more weeks of similar activity.



- Jesse L.
Housing Studies, B.S.

New Year, New Routine, and Gopher Hockey

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9324_1110526484996_5107553_n.jpegReady or not, 2013 has finally arrived. While starting a new year is always an exciting and often refreshing experience as a college student, 2013 will definitely be unlike any other. For roughly 5,000 U of M students including myself, this is the year - we are the Class of 2013. The "M" formation on the right is our freshman class during Welcome Week 2009! Seems like just yesterday we were all meeting each other for the very first time. For those of us graduating in exactly four years, there's only one semester left before commencement ceremonies begin in late May. Regardless of the many possible paths I may choose to take following my final semester here in the College of Design, 2013 is sure to be a year of final chapters and new beginnings. It sure will be a rollercoaster ride of a year, but I'm excited nonetheless.

While new years has figuratively served as the beginning of the end of college, so to speak, my favorite part about this time of year is the relaxation that is had during winter break. Sure, I take in about twice as many hours at my campus job, but thats pretty much the biggest stressor in my life right now which is fine with me. School is great, don't get me wrong, but winter break feels like bliss after several solid weeks of final exams and term projects.

293524_10151330347277943_515365805_n.jpgAnd on a final note, have you all heard about Gopher Hockey in the news recently? Just a few days ago the Gopher Hockey men's team hosted the Mariucci Classic and defeated Boston College (BC), the nation's top-ranked college hockey team. The best part about the game wasn't just the victory itself, but also the fact that we dominated the rink with the final score being 8-1, Gopher victory - bumping us up from fourth to number one in the nation. So at the present moment in time, BOTH the men's AND women's Gopher Hockey teams are ranked first in the nation. I am so glad that my dad got me season student tickets this year! Go Gophers!


Best wishes for the new year everyone!

- Jesse L
Housing Studies, B.S.

Pic (hockey): https://www.facebook.com/GopherAthletics

Winter Break has Arrived!

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IMG_4076.JPGI am pleased to announce that I am completely finished with my fall semester coursework and Winter Break is finally here! Although the work started piling up at the end as it always seems to, I powered through it and am very satisfied with my hard work. I definitely underestimated how much research I had compiled for my final projects until it was all laying in a pile on my floor - it was a tad overwhelming but somewhat organized (to me at least). CIMG6339.JPGThe final thing submitted marking the end of my semester was a brief yet concise summary explaining the formation, hazards, and mitigation of ice dams that form on rooftops during the winter season, caused by unwanted heat rising through attic ceilings and melting the snow on the exterior. Ice dams have potential to cause major damage to the house and also can become a source of mold and mildew which is no good! Preventing them can save a lot of potential problems. Thankfully, I was able to refer back to a handy little diagram I drew a few years back in my Systems Approach to Residential Construction class, and was able to get my final assignment submitted quickly and painlessly.

Outside of my exciting end-of-semester news, I am continuing to work for the next few days at our new office on the East Bank Campus that CBS Student Services recently moved to (which I mentioned a few weeks back). It is freshly renovated and in a convenient spot on campus, so I already love the change in scenery. At the end of the weekend I will be heading back home to southwestern Minnesota and spend a week or two with my family and relaxing. Hope you are all staying warm, it's getting cold out there!

Jesse L. - Housing Studies, B.S.

Finals Week Begins

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It's a big week for students here at the U as final exams begin and social lives are put on hold. Aside from a few finals early next week, I've been spending most of my time on a term paper and group research project in my Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) course. MY group mates and I are working hard assessing, modeling, and comparing the life cycles and carbon/greenhouse gas emissions of two different commercial roofing materials/treatments: a PVC-laminated poly membrane called Dura-Last made from recycled post-industrial waste, and modular LiveRoof "living" green roof system. Some of our inventory modeling work is shown below - as you can see, things are starting to get complicated. Although it can be frustrating at times, the application of course material to a group project l is where we really start to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for LCA and its allied sciences. Hopefully, I'll be able to apply it in the real world one day.

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backyardsnowyyy.JPGOutside of the school craziness, the weather must've been feeling wild and threw us all a deceivingly beautiful "welcome to MinneSnowta" snowstorm. Although the outdoor conditions throughout remained mostly calm and picturesque (large fluffy snowflakes gently falling and now wind), the precipitation went steady and strong for longer than most people realized. After what seemed like days of constant snowfall, the temperatures dipped into the low teens - turning roads into ice skating rinks overnight. Traffic was absolute mayhem for a good part of Monday morning (not exaggerating) before city workers were able to melt the ice on main roads. The whole thing was a pretty dramatic seasonal transition for all of us, but the first big snowfall is always a fun time for us Minnesotans, assuming your car didn't get towed during a Snow Emergency.

homeelinz.PNGOn a final note, I am pleased to announce that I was recently offered an internship at HOME Line, a Minneapolis based nonprofit tenant advocacy organization - offering free legal advice to renters across Minnesota. Much of my position there will be focused on their tenant hotline helping renters with tenant problems and legal issues. I'm super excited about the opportunity and feel that it will be a great way to broaden my housing policy knowledge and use it to empower others. Although it is an unpaid internship, I will be receiving required course internship credits for my time there and working at my regular campus job on the side. I start this coming January, stay posted for future updates!


Jesse LaMaack - Housing Studies, B.S.

Work-School-Study-Sleep-Repeat

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I feel that I can speak for most U of M undergrads when describing this week as a true challenge in the area of time management - finals are right around the corner and most of us have other projects and deadlines to take care of first. In other words, it's crunch time. There's no doubt I've succumb to the mechanically operating work-school-study-sleep-repeat routine that get caught up in at this time of the year. While it may not be the most balanced or wholesome means of existence, a structured and productive daily agenda is to be expected when cruising through the home stretch of academic term - there is an end in sight!

SeanJesseDec5.jpg The recent cold snap that sent all of us for a loop yesterday brought less than favorable outdoor conditions, so instead of traveling to campus and back for our scheduled library session, my friend Sean (senior, School of Journalism & Mass Communications) and I set up a makeshift study nook at my place and were able to remain studious for several hours (not usually the case for me when studying in a college residential environment). While I seldom study at my house (or friends' places) because of the numerous distractions that tend to present themselves, I will note that our current home in the SE Como Neighborhood is a far more favorable study environment than some of our previous residences - my freshman residence hall (Pioneer Hall) being a good comparative example. Pioneer was great - loved every minute of it - but it was in no way an ideal place to get serious homework done, which was okay since the Biomedical Library was in the tunnel system just across the street and open late.

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In other news, the office I work at part-time (College of Biological Sciences Student Services) will soon be moving from Snyder Hall on the St. Paul Campus to Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) on the East Bank of the Minneapolis Campus! I'm pretty excited for the move; it will work perfectly with my schedule for the upcoming Spring 2013 academic term. It will also be convenient for CBS students who don't spend much of their time on the St. Paul Campus, and overall easier to locate with MCB being on Washington Avenue (the main drag of East Bank, light rail coming soon!). I also have an internship interview coming up next week for the upcoming Spring term, fingers crossed!


Jesse - Housing Studies, B.S.



pic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MCB_Minnesota_6.jpg

Helpful Technologies

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Hello again everyone, hopefully you all had a terrific Thanksgiving! As winter break looms, its getting to be that time of the semester where group projects are taking over and we are beginning to apply our skills we've learned so far this semester. Balancing three group projects at a time can be trying at times, but a few key pieces of technology provided to my by the U of M has been making my academic life a bit more manageable. First and foremost on my list of helpful technologies came about just a few years ago when our student email server "GopherMail" was integrated with Gmail from Google. If you aren't familiar with Gmail, Google Drive/Docs, and Google's other programs - I can assure you that it makes life as a college student a lot easier. It can be used as a regular email inbox, a much more secure substitute for Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel - and most of all, it provides us students with file sharing capabilities (below) so group projects can be worked on by everyone involved live from our own computers. That way, all group members can be connected and conversing without having to butcher our schedules by all having to meet in one place (often a hassle for many of us College of Design students who are always back and forth between Minneapolis and St. Paul).

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Another technical tool that has come in handy is the Excel-based GREET Life Cycle Analysis modeling and calculation program one of my professors recently provided us with. I know, boring, I would have agreed just a few weeks ago - but, it has proven to save our group a lot of time when it came time to conduct our own LCA, so it is much appreciated. Another technology I've been revising recently from last year's map design course is ArcGIS, which is essentially geographic information software which turns data and metadata into maps. It's a good skill to have learned because sometimes certain projects or findings could be better explained visually as a map, and ArcGIS allows me to make my own maps to convey the data that I choose. So yay for technology! It is making my week go by a whole lot smoother.

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My Final Round of Courses

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Tomorrow marks the day of my final round of course registration before graduation! It feels like just yesterday that I registered for the very first time at freshman orientation, and here I am today planning out my final semester as an undergraduate. While I have usually felt overwhelmed with tons course options during registration season, I'm now left with a fairly structured list of classes to take to complete my degree. Together, they fulfill the remainder of my housing technology concentration and architecture minor, plus intro to public speaking, which is one of those courses I've been putting off for a while. Here is the tentative list of course I plan to register for:

- COMM 1101: Introduction to Public Speaking
- HSG 5484: Rural Housing Issues
- ARCH 3412: Architectural History since 1750
- ARCH 4150-005: Multifamily Net-Zero Seminar
- ARCH 5550-002: Multifamily Net-Zero Studio Module

I'm most excited for the Multifamily Net-Zero Seminar & Studio Module. Together, they are a special pair of courses for upper-level students and will essentially be the capstone courses of my academic career - combining the most important elements my degree - housing, residential technology, architecture, and sustainability.

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The 2011 Princeton Net-Zero project and the 2012 Northside Net-Zero project (above) are some of the past studios that have come from this course. It will be quite a bit of work, but it will ensure that I get the very most out of the little time that I have left in the College of Design. Saving the best for last.

Jesse - Housing Studies, B.S.


renderings: http://habitat.energyandarchitecture.org/, http://www.energyandarchitecture.org/NSNZ/

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