Our View | Support our Bahamian brothers and sisters

“Our view” is prepared by the Executive board and should be considered the institutional voice of The Record.

Brandon Spratt, Editor-In-Chief — [email protected]
Cullen Trobec, Managing Editor — [email protected]
Ben Pults, Managing Editor — [email protected]

Nick Swanson, Opinion/Editorial Editor — [email protected]

On Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019, Hurricane Dorrian struck the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas as a Category 5 hurricane. As the storm continued its path through the Bahamas, homes were lost, families were separated, 50 people perished and $3 billion of property in the Bahamas was lost.

Many Bahamians call St. Ben’s and St. John’s home, with 68 Bahamian students currently attending our institutions. For whatever reason, they chose St. Ben’s and St. John’s and it does not really matter why they decided to come to small liberal arts institutions in the middle of central Minnesota, where the winters are unforgiving. Maybe it was because they were told of the institutions’ pride in promoting a welcoming community and wanted to see what these places had to offer. But what does community mean? Everyone feels good when they talk about building a strong community but tossing the word around deteriorates the value of the word when we do not act it out in our daily lives.

The community at St. Ben’s and St. John’s should create a sense of fellowship where a person can see themselves in someone else. See yourself in a student from the Bahamas, see them in your daily lives and then think about how Hurricane Dorian’s effects have impacted their lives. Our students from the Bahamas deserve to feel they belong, as they are the St. Ben’s and St. John’s community just since much as someone who has lived in Minnesota all their life. It is our imperative; it is our duty to support those who are in our family.

There is no need to qualify the Bahamian community’s presence with accomplishments or accolades, the many that there are, for that is not necessary in this moment. But rather, realize their country—their home—could have been your home too.

Imagine if the place where you grew up was flooded, devastated by an act of nature and you were studying in a foreign country with a six-hour plane ride away from where you grew up. As a St. Ben’s and St. John’s community, we must support our brothers and sisters.

Please consider donating funds or goods to the St. Ben’s and St. John’s Bahama relief fund. Donations can be made either online on the institutions web page or by dropping off goods in Murray Hall. Not everyone can support the Bahamas through a monetary donation, but everyone can offer support to someone from the Bahamas affected by Hurricane Dorian.

Asking how someone is doing can go a long way toward making people feel like they belong. Keep the 68 students of the Bahamas on your mind. Do not intrude when it is not appropriate, but do something when you can.

Do not be indifferent; be human.

Reader Letter | We must act swiftly to combat climate change

Dear Editor, 

We are in the midst of a climate crisis, a critical climate catastrophe.

“Our house is on fire,” as Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish student puts it.

The youth get it; while ‘adults’ remain paralyzed by politics, youth are taking action, organizing over 500 climate strikes across the globe from Sept. 20-27.

On our campus today, this Friday, we are uniting with these global youth strikes. Join us in dialogue through round-table discussions and activism through art!

Activities will be occurring from 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. in Quad 264 for discussion, then 3:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. in Gorecki Fireside for a sharing of climate stories.

If you are unable to step away from that $300 class with a “no tolerance” policy for absences, show solidarity by being silent, wearing green or yellow and taking this time to register to vote.

Addressing the climate crisis requires urgent action to radically, change our current relationship with the earth.

We have 10 years left before the climate crisis is irreversible and personally, that is one deadline I do not want to procrastinate on.

Danielle Voss ‘21
CSB junior

Opinion | CSB/SJU needs more fitness accommodations for non-athletes

By Farrad Williams
[email protected]

As I think about the success of our alumni and start to reflect on what I want to accomplish in my future after this year, two questions come to mind: how well did our alumni take care of themselves when they were students? And how well am I taking care of myself now?

As we tackle multiple classes and become involved in a variety of clubs, sports and jobs, it’s important for us to take care of ourselves—to feed our bodies and souls mentally and physically.

Some athletes may have the physical portion of taking care of their bodies covered as they may train and practice every day for football, track, soccer, rugby, etc. These athletes get priority in our athletic facilities, especially the fitness center, making it difficult for non-athletes to find the right time to take care of their bodies.

After talking with friends and other peers on campus who are not athletes, I realized several things. I realized non-athletes on campus do want to take care of their bodies by working out in our fitness center, but often cannot due to reserved practices for athletic teams. Practices usually take up all equipment in the center.

I also learned that non-athletes want to work out, but may feel uncomfortable working out with athletes who may be in better shape. Some students, including myself, have even been told to leave the fitness center due to scheduled practices. This may lead to students, faculty and staff giving up on taking care of their bodies physically.

Non-athletes who don’t feel welcomed in our fitness center are essentially forced to obtain memberships to other fitness centers in the area. This means students are spending extra
money to take care of their bodies while simultaneously spending thousands of dollars to attend our institutions. Since students and their families are paying a substantial amount of money to attend these institutions, they should be able to take advantage of all facilities on campus.

As I advocate for non-athletes to gain more time and access to our fitness center, I am not saying our athletes should be banned from using the fitness center and other athletic facilities completely. I think they should continue to use it as much as possible for two reasons: to take care of their bodies and to continue to provide the service of playing games to our community. Something we all appreciate.However, non- athletes shouldn’t have to worry about finding a specific time that may not fit into their schedule because the center has been reserved for a football practice. I highly encourage our administration to find funding for expanding our fitness center or creating a new facility for non-athletes. Our athletic facilities need to be more inclusive to our non-athlete students. As stated on our school’s website, the fitness center is open to all students, alumni and parishioners.

When students are given the opportunity to take care of themselves physically, we are also able to take care of our minds. Studies in recent years have shown that when people are physically active, this can impact their mind and allow them to think more clearly.

Physical exercise can also relieve stress and help those on campus who may suffer from depression and anxiety.

I know the suggestions I’ve provided will be expensive and will be long-term. I hope our administration takes some immediate action on helping our students take care of their bodies physically.

In order to reach the success level of our predecessors and go beyond, we need to be given the gift of self-care in the present in order to return this gift and so much more in the future.

This is the opinion of Farrad Williams, SJU Senior 

Opinion | We need to fight for the climate now so we have a future

By Cathy Nguyen
[email protected]

Millions of people around the world are walking out of their homes, classes and workplaces to join the Global Climate Strike today. You can stand in solidarity by attending the programs on campus, including round-table discussions, quilt square making and an open mic.

The Global Climate Strike is an international movement calling on politicians everywhere to take the action needed to address the climate crisis. Greta Thunberg is a Swedish environmental activist who inspired young people to go on climate strikes. They are asking everyone to join them today to demand for change.

“Why should I be studying for a future that soon will be no more, when no one is doing anything whatsoever to save that future?” Thunberg said.

Ale Gallardo, a CSB senior environmental studies major, brought attention to the movement when she shared it with her friends in Climate Action Club.

“Ever since I got here on campus, I felt that we were too quiet as a community about the problems that we face. I wanted something where students can get involved and [create] dialogues on the things that are important to us,” Gallardo said.

Climate Action Club has been working tirelessly to make this day meaningful to the CSB/SJU community. They decided to step away from protesting because they wanted to create a safe and open environment for students to get involved.

“[I want to] get people hyped up to mobilize, especially with the upcoming elections and making sure we’re choosing leaders in our community that are going to recognize and take action on climate change issues,” Gallardo said.

Students, faculty members and staff will facilitate round-table discussions from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Quad 264 on climate justice, politics, impacts of the climate crisis and imagining the future. In Gorecki Fireside from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., students can decorate quilt squares, listen to volunteer orchestra students play hear President Mary Hinton speak and share their climate stories.

Julia Abell, a member of Climate Action Club, said, “Everyone’s welcome no matter how much you do or don’t know about climate change because everyone’s voice does matter.”

If you cannot attend the events, here are ways to stand in solidarity: Stay silent in class; silence represents the lack of dialogue and action taken needed to save our futures. Wear yellow or green; strikers are using these colors to brand the global movement. Spread the word; make an announcement in class, share on social media or encourage peers to take action.

The strike provides an opportunity to bring awareness to our institutions, invite more people to take a stand and grow the climate movement. I encourage everyone to step up, step in and think about why climate change matters to you.

Leo Cumplido, a member of Climate Action Club, explains why he is climate-striking.

“It speaks a lot when kids are doing such actions. They recognize this is their future, too,” Cumplido said. “I really want to stand in solidarity for the kids who are stepping out of class, really protesting or just striking about it because they know that this is their home.”

This is the opinion of Cathy Nguyen, CSB Senior 

Opinion | What Plato can teach us about social media

By Connor Smith
[email protected]

For those who know me, it probably doesn’t come as a surprise that I’m not much of a fan of social media. I am willing to acknowledge that there are benefits of healthy social media use, but I firmly believe the cons vastly outweigh the pros.

The three most popular, and in my mind most dangerous social media sites are Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, so these are the sites I will focus on throughout this criticism. To help me, I will enlist the help of a Greek philosopher named Plato. Perhaps you’ve heard of him. Perhaps not. But what is most important here is his concept of reality.

According to Plato, the physical world that we see and interact with everyday isn’t the most real world. Instead, the purest form of reality exists in the mind, in an imaginary realm where
imperfections are nonexistent and the physical nature of things is irrelevant. Whether you know it or not, Plato’s view of the world is incredibly influential in the way you view the world, as his beliefs have percolated down through the centuries in the minds of actual societal influencers such as Martin Luther, America’s founding fathers and even your friends who call themselves “spiritual” but not “religious.”

Now let’s look at Instagram in my opinion the most dangerous of the three-headed monster that dominates the realm of social media. The process is simple; you create an account, upload pictures, follow your friends, make it known that you like their pictures and maybe, if you’re lucky, they might do the same for you. From the moment you create an account, you enter a reality that closely resembles that of Plato’s “spirit world.”

It might seem like you’re harmlessly looking at pictures of your friends and of your friends’ friends and of your friends’ friends’ friends, but what you are really doing is witnessing an alternate version of reality, a reality that doesn’t consist of the imperfections that life ever so reliably bestows upon us. If you can’t see the harm in that, you’re probably a lost cause.

Not unlike Plato’s understanding of reality, the world of Instagram and social media are incredibly dangerous, as they allow us to escape from the physical world, the real world, where things actually happen and where people actually exist.

The more we escape to this false realm devoid of pain and imperfection, the less we are able to fully participate in our real lives, where the lows are unbounded, but so are the highs.

The ability to escape may be tempting to pursue, but I can assure you tying yourself down to reality is more than worth the effort.

This is the opinion of Connor Smith, SJU senior

Opinion | Field of dreams fulfilled at CSB

By Mary Dana Hinton
[email protected]

As I was cheering for the Bennies at a recent soccer game, I began recalling all it took to make our new St. Benedict Athletics Complex possible.

When we first decided to invest in new athletics fields at the College of St. Benedict, our goals were many: fulfilling an objective of our strategic plan to support the holistic and transformational development of women; providing usable spaces for our student athletic teams to compete; and, building women’s leadership skills, as participation in athletics correlates with later professional success.

I also envisioned the Athletics Complex as a gathering space.

A place where the community could come together and experience women’s excellence in sports and our Benedictine hospitality.

A place where young girls and boys could be inspired by sportsmanship and team play.

A place where St. Joseph community members could take part in our college’s life and traditions and be a part of who and what we are.

A place where we could see our past reflected in the Sacred Heart Chapel dome, our present on the field and in nearby student housing and our future in the many young children and families who attend our games.For the past year it has been great to have the facility up and running. But, at this recent soccer game, even more than having great space, it was
incredibly heartening to witness a dream realized.

Women were lifting up other women on the field and in the stands; Johnnies came over en masse to support Bennie athletes; neighbors from St. Joseph laughed with returning alums and the families of our athletes.

Clearly, the facility and the game brought us together, but collectively we are more than mere spectators: we are a community.

It’s not every day you see a dream realized. And, as I had the privilege of observing our dream fulfilled, I recognize my obligation to thank all those who made the dream possible.

To everyone who took time to help us build community on that sunny August day and make our long-held dream possible: thank you.

This is the opinion of Mary Dana Hinton, CSB President