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Community Voices, November 2016

The holiday season is here in full swing and it’s a wonderful time to stop for a moment and be thankful for all that we have.  Too often we get caught up in the day to day hustle and activity of our busy schedules and lives.  There is an abundance of good happening around us that we should stop, acknowledge, and be thankful for.

This past month has certainly been one that has given us much to ponder and reflect upon. We experienced a national election that saw the power of democracy raise a myriad of questions, debates and outcomes.  America is a remarkable melting pot of people, ideals and beliefs that has and will continue to thrive for generations because of our diversity in all of these areas.  Here in Minnesota we are proud to be from a state where thousands rallied to raise millions in financial support for various non-profits as part of Give to the Max day; an effort that was kicked off here in Marshall with community leaders, volunteers and students raising awareness of the valuable non-profit resources locally that need our support.  Our local community was lifted up when nearly 300 SMSU student athletes took to the streets of Marshall to volunteer as part of SMSU Athletics’ annual work-a-thon.  They raked leaves, cleaned gutters and gave of their time to assist those in our community who needed a little extra help.

Here on campus we have much to celebrate and be thankful for.  We often see the headlines of athletic achievements and theatrical performances or music reviews, but there are many more student and faculty works that don’t get the headlines. One such example was SMSU’s “Fresh Check Day,” a mental health and wellness fair hosted by our Counseling and Testing Center to raise awareness of the struggles that many college students face.  The interactive event helped engage students in an upbeat and positive way to address some of the internal issues they may be facing and to let them know that they have support.

Finally, I take great pride in knowing that the faculty and staff at SMSU truly care and are fully invested in their commitment to educate and serve our students.  This week we concluded our annual Campus Fund Drive, a fund-raising event led by the SMSU Foundation whereby faculty and staff contribute to support SMSU scholarships and programs.  I am proud that to date, 60% of our employees have financially given back in support of our students. What an incredible testament to the commitment of the people at SMSU and their commitment to our students!

We all have much to be thankful for and simply taking a moment to reflect and be gracious can be very fulfilling personally.  Don’t hesitate to make a gift to a local charity or go out of your way to tell someone “thank you” for a job well done.  That gratitude may very well find its way back to you.


Published in the Marshall Independent on Saturday, November 26, 2016.

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