Thursday, July 28, 2016

Gustavus Ranked Top 30 in the Nation

 Did you hear? Very deserved recognition for our wonderful institution! We know, as a private liberal arts institution, we strive incredibly hard to make Gustavus affordable.  If you're curious to see how much Gustavus will cost for you then fill out our Net Price Calculator on our website.  

   Gustavus Adolphus College has been recognized by MONEY Magazine for excellence in four separate categories in its 2016-17 Best College Rankings. The College ranks in the top 30 on the magazine’s lists of Most Affordable Private Colleges, Best Colleges for Merit Aid, Best Colleges that Add the Most Value, and Best Colleges You Can Actually Get Into. Gustavus is also listed as 74th overall out of 705 institutions on MONEY’s Best Colleges list.
    Gustavus ranks 28th on the list of the 50 Most Affordable Private Colleges, which comprises high-quality private schools that score best for affordability. Through financial aid packages or tuition prices, the total cost of a four-year education at colleges on the list is below the average for private colleges. Each of the colleges on the list also ranks in the top half of MONEY’s overall rankings.
    On MONEY’s list of the 50 Best Colleges for Merit Aid, Gustavus comes in at 29th. The list highlights colleges that have merit aid budgets, average at least $6,000 in grant aid per year, and award merit aid to at least 20 percent of undergraduate students. The College’s 29th place ranking is the best in Minnesota on the merit aid list.
    Gustavus ranks 28th on the magazine’s list of the 50 Best Colleges That Add the Most Value. MONEY uses what they refer to as “a comparative-value grade” to assess how each college helps students achieve better-than-expected outcomes based on their academic and economic background. The rankings take into account graduation rates, earnings, and student loan repayment data. Gustavus also ranks first in Minnesota on the added value list.
    For MONEY’s list of the 50 Best Colleges You Can Actually Get Into, the magazine compiled colleges with rigorous academics that admit at least 51 percent of their applicants. Gustavus, whose incoming class generally averages a 3.7 high school grade point average and 27 composite score on the ACT, ranks 22nd.
    Overall, the College is 74th out of the 705 colleges and universities on MONEY’s Best Colleges list. The methodology includes rankings based on quality of education, affordability, and outcomes, with each of the areas counting for one-third of the total score.
    “MONEY Magazine’s rankings focus on how outstanding colleges provide affordability and a strong return on investment,” Dean of Financial Aid Doug Minter ’79 said. “We’re proud to support students from all walks of life as they seek a challenging and rewarding educational experience on the hill.”

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Gustavus Explores Digital Humanities through Mellon Grant

Gustavus Adolphus College is using a three-year, $100,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon
Foundation to implement January Interim Experience courses that explore the digital humanities. The six courses offered this month emphasize collaboration, are project-based, and explore how digital
media shapes meaning and can be used to research and present to both academic and broad public audiences.

“Digital humanities offer opportunities for students to incorporate and utilize technology inside and outside the classroom,” said Glenn Kranking ‘98, professor of history and Scandinavian studies. “It’s not about re-imagining the humanities, but using modern tools to apply different lenses to analyze and show data.”

The six January Interim courses cover everything from “Food and Communication” to “Digital Literature: Editing and Publishing an Online Literary Magazine” to “Local and Global Depictions of the War on Drugs.”

Now in its first year, the Mellon grant is designed to support offerings for sophomore students entering their fifth semester. Gustavus elected to offer the courses during January term because it allows for intensive study and focus on the subject. The number of course offerings are scheduled to increase to eight next year and 10 in 2018. Faculty who wish to teach a January digital humanities course fill out an application and attend a weeklong summer workshop once they are selected.

“The digital humanities classes offer students an opportunity to develop through their coursework a reflective, integrative, and more focused understanding of the connections and possibilities underlying a liberal arts degree. This will be immensely helpful as students move toward graduation and beyond,” Associate Provost and Dean of Arts and Humanities Paula O’Loughlin said.

The digital humanities are a natural fit for a generation of students who have been described as digital natives. “Our students are using technology every single day,” Kranking said. “This is a way that we can connect students’ technology skills with the academic disciplines and give them something to show to employers or graduate schools as examples of what they can do.”

One other benefit of the Mellon grant is that it exposes faculty members to the digital humanities. “It’s introducing professors to these ideas, approaches, and methodologies with the hopes that they will then bring the digital humanities back to their other classes,” Kranking said.

Kranking is also applying the digital humanities to his own research on the movement of populations from Estonia to Sweden. “I had all of the information before, but now I’m interacting with it in a different way and can draw different conclusions,” he explained. “By building a digital map, I can explore the dynamics of the migration, search by age range or profession, and visualize the data.”

“This is a new way to reach more people,” he continued. “Oftentimes the work of academics is consumed only by other academics. By incorporating digital projects, we can reach a broader audience.”

Visit the Gustavus digital humanities website to learn more.  

Article Courtesy of  Questions or concerns, please contact Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin,  

Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication

Thursday, June 30, 2016

#WhyGustavus Series: Politics of Housing and Homelessness FTS

For 16 first-year students, classroom learning gave way to a hands-on experience in homelessness
The annual Politics of Housing and Homelessness sleep out
seeks to educate the Gustavus Community
during a three-day sleep out this November. The sleep out, now in its 15th year, is an annual tradition for students in professor Richard Leitch’s Politics of Housing and Homelessness First Term Seminar (FTS). For the three days, participants were not allowed to use personal technology, shower, change their clothes, or purchase food. The annual event strives to educate the Gustavus community about homelessness and also to raise money and necessities for Partners for Affordable Housing in Mankato.

While the class participants get a firsthand look at homelessness, the event is also designed to educate the rest of the campus. “What we do with this sleep out experience is try to expose people to what the community off campus is dealing with, but also recognize that some people from our campus are dealing with these issues as well,” Leitch said.

One of the most important aspects of the sleep out and the class is that way that it pursues excellence by taking learning outside the classroom. The opportunity to learn more than just theory, statistics, and history of homelessness provides students with a more informed insight about the realities that affect a significant portion of our population, Leitch explained. “Having a three-day, three-night sleep out is certainly innovative, because if anyone has experienced a sleep out it is usually one night a week and less than 24 hours. The College has also been incredibly supportive of this event throughout the past 15 years,” he said.

The Politics of Housing and Homelessness FTS offers students the opportunity to explore the complexities of mental health, domestic violence, veterans affairs, and socioeconomics. “This course and the sleep out go beyond the surface of the issues surrounding homelessness,” first-year student Zachary Croonquist said.

Students participating in the sleep out don’t shower, change clothes, sleep in residence halls, or use personal technology.

Students participating in the sleep out don't shower, change
clothes, sleep in residence halls, or use personal technology
Throughout the course of the three-day sleep out many students were surprised by how difficult it was to maintain their classes, work, and extracurricular commitments without having the ability to sleep in their rooms or use their own technology. Class participant Viet Ha Nguyen is an international student from Vietnam. “I feel as though this sleep out has been difficult, but I have also learned a lot. Sleeping on the hard ground gets cold. I cannot imagine though what sleeping on the streets must be like,” she said on the second day of the sleep out.

Even though the experience was difficult at times, both Nguyen and Croonquist recognized the importance of the sleep out to truly understand the class. “It is easy to ignore and walk by homeless people. If you just for a second put yourself in their situation you will truly empathize and feel the urge to reach out and help,” Nguyen said. Croonquist offered advice for new students thinking about taking this course in the future. “Don’t let the sleep out hinder you from taking this course. We have had unique discussions every day. You can’t just read the description and expect to know everything. The experience educates you,” he said.

A First Term Seminar (FTS) is a course that is uniquely structured by the faculty member to educate new Gustavus Students and create skills for them to utilize throughout their college experience.  FTS courses promote both an empathetic examination of the values of others and the development and articulation of one's own values as part of a liberal arts education that encourages responsible use of knowledge.  Indeed, a focus on values permeates the FTS Program, shaping the program's goals in writing, oral communication, critical thinking and advising.  To learn more about the program at Gustavus visit the FTS Website.  

Direct Link to the Article:

Article courtesy of, written by Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin,  

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Essence of Social Media...

While we never want to be impersonal, social media helps us communicate efficiently with you, one of our recruits. Through these outlets we can provide you a glimpse of many aspects of our Women's Soccer program here at Gustavus, which helps us build a connection and relationship with you. Developing a strong relationship is one of the most important parts of our Gustavus recruiting process, and in order for us to strengthen this relationship we need to learn more about one another.

Through which outlet should you follow us, you ask? Each of our social media outlets provides a different glimpse into our soccer programs. We try hard not to post the same exact material on each site to ensure you are able to truly learn about everything we are. So, here you go, follow away!

Outlet: Team Blog
Description: What you are reading now! A more in depth glimpse into our program including game recaps, players of the week, community service projects, facts about Gustavus, the best of St. Peter, academic strength of our student-athletes, recruiting tips and more. Plus our wonderful #WhyGustavus Series.  We have now added a subscribe here button so you automatically get notified when we write a new post!

Outlet: Twitter
Handle: @gustavussoccer or
Description: Real-time view of our soccer program. See pictures, motivational quotes, videos, game scores as they are happening. Highlights from practice, nutmeg games in hallways, roommates twinning, are just to name a few. 

Outlet: Instagram
Handle: @gustiesoccer  or
Description: We just started this up again after a 3 year hiatus (and it never really was much to start).  So who knows how we will use our instagram account, but there is one thing for sure, you don't want to miss out on it.

Outlet: Facebook Page
Description: Larger version of Twitter. More detailed descriptions and write ups, bigger pictures, longer videos, more details about community service projects. Plus, more photo albums rather than individual pictures.

Our social media outlets: They capture the extraordinary experience of our Women's Soccer program.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

#WhyGustavus Series: Perry the Corpse Flower

If you head to the third floor of the greenhouse in the Nobel Hall of Science you will find Perry the Corpse Flower.  Depending on when you are visiting, Perry could look like a pot with dirt in it, a tall green shoot that resembles a tree or a blooming flower.  That's how unique Perry the Corpse Flower is and Gustavus is lucky and privileged to own one.  

Back in 1993, Chemistry Professor Brian O'Brien received a corpse flower seed which he named Perry.  Professor O'Brien along with dozens of students, meticulously cultivated Perry over years 14 years until it bloomed into a maroon and dark-purple flower in 2007.  Perry's first bloom attracted more than 7,000 visitors to see the rare event.  Perry was in full bloom again a week ago, June 2-3rd.  Check out the timelapse video of the amazing bloom below: 

So what exactly is a Corpse Flower and why is it so rare?  The Corpse Flower is a 7-foot tall tropical plant that can be found in the rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia growing naturally. It is the largest unbranched inflorescence in the world, with the name coming from the repulsive scent it emits during the hours after it blooms. It is rare for a corpse flower to bloom, with only 122 plants known to in the entire world, and Perry has bloomed every three years consistently since it's initial bloom in 2007.  

Here are some other interesting facts about Perry the Corpse Flower: 

Why does the flower not look like a normal flower? 
There are no petals on the Corpse Flower.  Petals are typically important for flowers to attract pollinators.  Instead of petals, the Corpse Flower uses it's odor, which resembles that of rotting flesh, to attack flies and carrion beetles who pollinate the flower.  

What causes the odor?  How does it spread? 
The major components detected in the odor are the sulfur-containing compounds dimethyl disulfide and dimethyl trisulfide.  The plan actually uses energy reserves to warm itself to temperatures comparable to human body temperature.  The warmth allows the compounds in the odor to volatize more easily.  Aka: the warmer the corpse flower gets the smellier it gets.  

How does this inflorescence pollinated? 
The female flowers are on the bottom of the spadix and open first, the male flowers are then on top and open after the female flowers.  Because the male and female flowers open at different times they do not pollinate themselves.  So, when the flies and beetles are attracted to the bloomed corpse flower, they make their way down to the bottom of the flower and then crawl upward (think of a fly trapped inside a window).  As they crawl to the top of the flower they pick up pollen from the female flowers and cross fertilize it with the male flowers.  

Who spread the seeds? 
The seeds are quite large, usually around marble sized and are spread by Hornbills, tropical birds.  The Hornbill will eat the seeds and then spread the inner seeds through the excretion. 

How long does a Corpse Flower bloom for? 
Usually the corpse flower only blooms for 48 hours.  It takes a lot of energy to hear up the flower, which is needed to release the aroma and attract the pollinators, hence the short bloom. 

What is the lifespan of the Corpse Flower? 
About 40 years! 

How many species of Corpse Flowers are there? 
More than 170, all typically found in the tropics.  Some of these have odors that are much more pleasant such as: carrots, anise, chocolate, banana, fruity, or lemon-like.  

Where else has this plant been grown and flowered? 
When Perry bloomed in 2007, it was the first flowering corpse in Minnesota.  Currently, University of Connecticut and University of California-Davis has plants that are approximately the same stage as Perry.  Before 2007, the most recent flowering event was at Kew, the world-renowned botanical garden in London. 

What good is the flower?
Species such as the Corpse Flower are used for food and medicine worldwide.  The corn (root system) and leaf stalks are boiled and eaten.  The corms have also been used to treat stomach ailments, fever, swelling, and diarrhea.  The flower is toxic if not prepared properly! 

More question?  You can learn more at:

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

A Snippet of our Program Philosophy

  We tell every single one of our recruits that this is not a one-sided recruiting process.  Just as we need to make sure we are recruiting and bringing in players who are going to make our program better on and off the field, it's equally important that our recruits make sure Gustavus is a great fit for them as individuals.  In order to do that we strive to build a strong two-way relationship with our recruits and provide you with as much information as possible about Gustavus and our Women's Soccer Program.  This is why we created the #WhyGustavus Blog Series (if you haven't checked it out, make sure you scroll down to see the first few posts and check back for new ones every third Thursday).  This is also why we want to give you a small taste of our Program Philosophy.  We hope you believe in the same ideas and concepts and would love to get you to campus to delve into our philosophy even further!

Gustavus Women's Soccer Program Philosophy (a snippet)

The mission of NCAA Division III athletics is to provide student-athletes with an opportunity to excel on the field, in the classroom, and within the greater community.  Our program philosophy emanates from this mission and is grounded in encouraging and supporting our student-athletes to be the best individuals they can be in all aspects of their lives.  Our success as a program is not measured solely by a win-loss record, but by all the accomplishments of our women’s soccer players.  This is achieved by building a team culture that develops the individual assets of each player and prepares the team to succeed at the next level, with a simultaneous understanding that the game, program and athletes are constantly evolving. 
            First and foremost, we believe in developing students of the game.  For our program to succeed at the highest level, each individual within the program should have a strong understanding of the game as a whole: know how to develop rhythms and movement, possess the ability to think and adjust on her feet, and appreciate each position’s and student-athlete’s role and responsibilities on and off the field.  The best way to accomplish this is to develop the all-around soccer player.  To be a great forward an athlete needs to recognize the perspective of a goalkeeper, the vision of a defender and the movement of a midfielder, as everyone connecting and working together on the field is key to accomplishing our program goals.  It is through the asking of questions that engage players in the analyzing and dissecting of the game and the exposure to situations that force them to read their surroundings and make quick decisions that this understanding is reached.
            For our approach to prove successful, it is important to develop a relationship and rapport with the players where they respect and listen to their coaches and fellow teammates, while feeling comfortable voicing new ideas and concerns.  We believe in having a two-way dialogue allowing players to share ownership of the objectives and goals of the program, emphasizing leadership development, and improving mental toughness.  By providing athletes with ownership of plans, decisions and goals, their motivation and effort increases. We strive to think about our athletes and find time in our days to talk to every player as we feel this is vital to the program’s success both on and off the field.  It is critical to not confine one’s relationship with players to soccer alone as it is our responsibility as their coaches to help them achieve excellence in all aspects of their lives. 
            Ultimately, soccer is an expression of creativity, intelligence, teamwork, communication, leadership skills, competitiveness, and athletic skills.  To achieve greatness on the field, each player needs to be comfortable expressing their abilities and passion for the game. The more comfortable players feel with one another and their skills, the more ownership they take of the program, and the more they will hold themselves and their teammates accountable.  By empowering student-athletes, inspiring them to strive for excellence, engaging them in their collegiate athletic experience, developing them as leaders and encouraging them to learn and work hard in all aspects of their lives, we strongly believe the Gustavus Women’s Soccer program will be able to compete on a conference, regional and national level.

Want to know more? Contact us: 
Head Coach Laura Burnett-Kurie, 
Asst. Coach Benton Frayne, 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

#WhyGustavus Series: Fair Trade College

Did you know back in December 2015, Gustavus Adolphus College became the first college or university in Minnesota to be designated a Fair Trade College/University by Fair Trade Campaigns, an organization consisting of fair trade groups from across the globe. Gustavus is the 30th college/university in the United States to earn the designation.

After two years of work by a collaborative team of students, faculty, and staff, the College has met the requirements for the certification, which is shared by other notable institutions including Pomona College, Creighton University, and Villanova University.

“The fair trade designation shows that our values are in line with being a part of the global community. It’s about being conscious of the impact that we all have,” Gustavus senior and president of Fair Trade Gustavus Abigail Nistler said.

Margo Druschel, director of the academic support center, has been involved with the fair trade movement since 2009. After attending a national Fair Trade Campaigns meeting in New Jersey a few years ago, Druschel brought the idea back to Gustavus. “It became really clear to me that many other faith-based colleges and universities were choosing to have fair trade groups on campus,” she said. “Fair trade aligns very much with our core values of justice and community.”

Beck Hall is certified LEED Platinum by the U.S. Green Building Council
As a Fair Trade College, Gustavus will strive to use responsibly sourced products and make them available in its dining facilities, book store, and to offices and departments across campus. The College will also support students, faculty, and staff as they work to create educational programs and increase awareness of fair trade.

“We’ve been exclusively purchasing fair trade coffee, tea, and bananas along with some chocolate and textiles,” Director of Dining Service and the Book Mark Steve Kjellgren said. “As a Fair Trade College, there will be a higher vigilance for our campus purchasing, which is an incredibly helpful tool for those of us in the business of purchasing and providing for Gustavus. Our community will be more informed of possible fair trade options than a single department manager, director, or purchasing supervisor could.”

Chaplain Brian Konkol, who advised the Fair Trade Gustavus student group, explained why the designation is important for the College. “Every college is a community of consumers, which means as a church-related college we are particularly challenged to consume not merely in response to our desires, but as an expression of our values,” he said. “I’m delighted that Gustavus is putting its values into action for the sake of the world in this generation and beyond.”

The Fair Trade College designation is one of many initiatives on campus that support sustainability, including Beck Hall’s LEED Platinum certification, Big Hill Farm, the composting facility, and solar panel installations on six campus buildings. Visit the Gustavus sustainability website to learn more about these programs and facilities.

Direct link to article:

Article courtesy of, written by Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin,