The Ink Spot The Student News Site of Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Cambridge Mon, 09 Mar 2020 20:17:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Student-Written and Produced “Unexpectedly Wholesome” Play Lives Up to Its Name Mon, 09 Mar 2020 20:17:23 +0000 Five ARCC theater students collaborated to create the script and performance.  

By Lexi Murphy
Staff Writer

On January 31 – February 9, 2020, Anoka Ramsey Community College (ARCC) hosted a play on the Cambridge campus called “A Cambridge Production, unexpectedly wholesome” written and acted by Anoka Ramsey Cambridge theater students.  

These students had different reasons to join the production: loved to create stories, loved theater, needed a credit, friends were involved, and wanting to improve abilities. The writing and the production were a collaborative piece by five students. 

Katherine Skoretz and her theater students during the Q&A session after their February 9 performance. Photo Credit: Lexi Murphy

This collaboration was made possible because of the director, Katherine Skoretz, who worked with the students in creating the stories featured in the playShe coached them and gave ideas for them to research. An example of this research is a diary from the 1800s, which gave them the title of “Unexpectedly wholesome.”  

In the early days of writing, student Mackenzie Marvin admitted, “[T]he very first draft was ungodly boring.” But, with much patience, they persisted, and the script got better with every rewrite; however, it still wasn’t what they knew it could be. After much consideration, Marvin knew the best way to make it better was to make it a comedy.  

The comedy idea worked well but generating interest during the audition process was more challenging. Marvin explained, “Yeah, it’s boring, but wholesome. So, we picked the boring content and made it a parody. . . There was no audition process! Nobody came. It was so sad, at least I for one lost hope on the spot.” To compensate, the four actors played multiple roles during the performance.  

Despite their small size, the cast walked away from their experience with positive memories. One of the actors commented, “My favorite was the 4H scene. Just being a character that’s just so disheveled and doesn’t want to do this anymore.” Another actor explained, “I liked being the grandma. Old lady sits in me really well.”  

One of Marvin’s highlights from the performance was the singing and dancing zombie bit. It was one of our shots at dark humor, and we pulled it off quite well. We came up with the scene during improv exercises early in the production.  

She explained that the creation of this scene was the result of a theater skills exercise. Nick Stromquist, the guy who played the zombie in the improv and in the play, we began the improv scene for the first time, the Nick just started singing and dancing, everything rhymed, the melody was on point, and I yelled, “Get the knife!” and chased the zombie with an imaginary knife and all was chaos, the zombie started singing about not wanting to get stabbed other than singing to us about not jumping off a bridge, it was chaos and havoc, other drama club students were looking on laughing and crying, and we loved it. 

The infamous Cambridge Walmart rock. Image Credit: Walmart Rock of Cambridge via Facebook

Not only did the play include a zombie, it also included the infamous Cambridge Walmart Rock, which is a well-known boulder in the local Walmart parking lot. “People do run into it because as you turn into the parking lot, like, you kind of don’t see it, and you might turn too far and go right on top of it. There is like a Facebook page that you can go that says, ‘another victim down’ whenever someone crashes into it.” Director Skoretz explained.  

After the performance, the cast held a question and answer session to connect with the audience and describe more about the process of creating this product, from beginning to end. Marvin described her involvement in the play and its importance to her future goalsMy interest began with acting, then writing, then directing, maybe producing. It goes down the line. That’s why I wanted to join, I wanted to be part of the process, for once. 

As the production has come full circle, perhaps other theater students involved echo Marvin’s sentiments about the experience. “The process was amazing, hilarious. It was so fun. We cried laughing every day. I would gladly do it again.” 

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Student on the Street – What Class Are You Looking Forward to for Spring Semester? Tue, 17 Dec 2019 18:48:05 +0000 Students share their most anticipated courses for January.

By Asher Ward
Staff Writer

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The Amazon Rainforest is Burning, But Is That Good or Bad? Tue, 03 Dec 2019 14:15:48 +0000 In the heart of this dilemma is Brazilian President Bolsonaro, self-nicknamed Captain Chainsaw.

By Savanna Rayer
Staff Writer

Do you know who Captain Chainsaw is? The president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, gave himself this nickname as a result of his role in the current fires burning in the Amazon rainforest. This nickname has helped to call into question what the possible motives might be for his support of allowing fires to rage in the Amazon rainforest since late August.

The fire that has been burning for months. Image Credit: Mashable

The Amazon rainforest is in South America, with about 60% of it located in Brazil and the rest spanning into eight other countries, including Peru, Ecuador and Guyana. In total, the rainforest is about 2.1 million square miles. Inside this large piece of land holds many indigenous species and people who use the land for survival.

The fires are alarming to those who depend on the land because typically the Amazon rainforest would not have naturally occurring wildfires due to its high moisture level. Officials believe the fires were deliberately started but say that it’s difficult to determine what or who may have started them and why.

Some speculate that President Bolsonaro started the fires so he could clear land for cattle. Bolsonaro denies that claim and instead believes that nongovernmental organizations are responsible, trying to make him look bad. Other theories suggest that global corporations like McDonalds and Walmart are involved.

More locally, Anoka-Ramsey students say they are mostly unaware of the Amazon rainforest fires. Nearly 2/3 of students polled recently said that they consume current events media often, but rarely see updates about the ongoing fires. ARCC geography instructor Amy Lilienfeld helped to clarify the reality of the fires, stating that the fires are “deliberate burning associated with slash-and-burn agriculture,” which is a process during which vegetation is cleared out by fire and then the layer of ash creates a quality fertilizer for crops.

Indigenous people searching for supplies to help their village. Image Credit: The Independent

Lilienfeld explained that this method is commonly used in Mexico and Central America, so it wouldn’t be unusual for this to be a possibility in Brazil and that it might not be as harmful as others suggest because “indigenous people need to grow food!”

Regardless of the initial reason for the fires, there is not a clear way to stop the fires in Brazil. Bolsonaro says he won’t accept money or resources from other countries because Brazil is “not to be colonized,” even though the G7 offered $20 million in aid. With Bolsonaro’s pride and the fire burning at the rate of about a football field per minute, time is of the essence.

Lilienfeld says that if the fires continue to burn, it probably won’t affect the oxygen in the atmosphere because the rainforest acts as a CO2 sink, meaning that organisms take carbon dioxide from the air to store for photosynthesis and when the plant dies, the carbon dioxide goes into the soil. However, the smoke from the fires could cause immense air pollution, which is already damaging life in the area. According to Lilienfeld, the biggest threat to the Amazon Rainforest is climate change.

Even with all this information, it’s difficult to know what to conclude about the fires burning in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest. Perhaps the fires will dissipate soon and maybe even result in some positive benefits for the area.

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Student on the Street – What Is Your Favorite Thanksgiving Food? Mon, 25 Nov 2019 15:15:52 +0000 Students share which foods they are most looking forward to for this week’s holiday.

By Asher Ward & Dylan Patton
Staff Writers

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State Legislature Decisions Lead to Tuition Increase for Students Wed, 20 Nov 2019 14:00:34 +0000 Anoka-Ramsey will be impacted by inadequate state investment in higher education.

By Axel Kylander
Staff Writer

This summer, Anoka-Ramsey’s administration decided to raise tuition by three percent. This decision came after a lengthy process of analysis, budget consultations, advocacy in the state legislature and an assessment of the projected financial health of the college that pointed to a tuition increase being necessary to maintain services in the aftermath of inadequate state investment.

The Minnesota State Board of Trustees, who were part of the decision-making process regarding the tuition increase. Image Credit: Minnesota State

The 2019 legislative session was a funding year for the State House and Senate to determine a budget for Minnesota for 2019 to 2021. As part of this process, the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities requested $246 million in funding in order to keep tuition flat and maintain services provided to students at public two- and four-year colleges and universities in the state.

The Star Tribune reported that Minnesota State colleges and universities ended up receiving “roughly a third” of the requested funding. This led to the Board of Trustees, which oversees the entire college system, to vote to allow its member schools to increase tuition up to 3% for the 2019 – 2020 academic year.

Anoka-Ramsey students have experienced a 3% tuition increase this year. Image Credit: Anoka-Ramsey Community College

“The State didn’t do us any favors.” Summarized Don Lewis, Anoka-Ramsey’s Vice President of Finance and Administration, regarding the college’s budget situation.  He characterized the “big picture” of the college’s finances as stable and able to maintain its status quo while exploring new options. Lewis called this “a half-step better than staying afloat.”

However, Lewis also noted that the day-to-day operating realities of the college pose “much more of a challenge.” He said that the appropriated funds were “not sufficient” to meet the operating costs of the college, thus shifting more of the college’s expenses onto students.

Of the 2020 – 2021 academic year, Lewis said that the state’s funding allocation for colleges is likely going to be “worse than this year.” If the legislature does not make an increased investment in higher education, the Board of Trustees and college administrations will once again have to weigh the option of increasing tuition, causing what would be, for many students, an even greater barrier to affording and graduating from college.

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Student Life Assumes Hosting Duties for Annual Halloween Dance Sun, 03 Nov 2019 22:45:10 +0000 “Fright Night” was a success during its first year being hosted by Student Life.

By Canada Groshens
Staff Writer

On Friday, November 1, Anoka-Ramsey held a “Fright Night” Halloween dance on campus. In past years, a Halloween dance was hosted by the environmental club. However, this year with the e-club disbanded, the student life department stepped up to the plate. Cambridge campus student life coordinator Elise Kazmerzak and the four-student event planning team organized the event. The main attractions of the event included pizza- a staple of campus activities – and a costume contest for which the first prize was a $50 dollar Coffee Corner voucher.

There were many balloons decorating the dance floor, and students hit them up into the air.

There were many fun and creative costumes showcased at the dance and students expressed excitement about entering the costume contest. First place went to Taylor and Tyna, for their costumes as Rem and Ram from the anime Re: Zero. Second place was Madelyn with her Molly Ringwald costume, and third place went to Alyssa for her Forest Elf costume. There was also a dance contest, and while many students were shy about dancing in front of people, there were some great contestants and Taylor and Tyna took the cake for this contest, as well.

Kazmerzak said she thought the dance was a success, students gave positive feedback and seemed to have had fun. The event planning team wants to continue to host a Halloween dance in future years, and hopefully involve other student organizations. They also hope to expand to attract attendees from outside of the college.


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Unsurprisingly, Games Were the Main Attraction at “Wanna Play a Game” Event on Campus Thu, 31 Oct 2019 20:00:35 +0000 The Student Life office hosted a Halloween-themed event on Halloween day for students to enjoy free food and games.

By Jesse Mishler
Staff Writer

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Annual Blood Drive Draws Community Members to Campus Tue, 29 Oct 2019 17:07:30 +0000 Student Nurses Association promoted the event because donating blood is a simple step that can help others.

By Jesse Mishler
Staff Writer

Supplies were set up in room E250 for the blood drive event. Photo credit: Jesse Mishler

The American Red Cross set up the annual blood drive on campus on October 28 for anyone to donate blood from the community or the campus. The Red Cross was set up to donate blood because blood is needed and campus was a convenient spot for anyone from the community to donate.

Student representatives Eponine Roue (left) and Jillian Yerges (right) from the Student Nurses Association helped to host the blood drive. Photo credit: Jesse Mishler

Eponine Roue and Jillian Yerges, nursing students from the Student Nurses Association, explained that hosting the event on campus was a convenient way to get the word out and that every person can donate blood and can save a life. Blood is always needed and donating is not much of a hassle to do. “It’s a really good thing… It’s a big crowd,” said Yerges.

If you missed the blood drive this year, be on the lookout for the blood drive next year

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Student on the Street – What Are You Looking Forward to for MEA Break? Tue, 08 Oct 2019 22:09:22 +0000 Students share their plans for October 17 and 18 when there will be no classes at Cambridge campus.

By Jesse Mishler
Staff Writer

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Transfer Fair Highlights Opportunities for Students Thu, 19 Sep 2019 21:53:33 +0000 Twenty-nine college and universities promoted their programs September 17 and 18 at Cambridge campus.

By Asher Ward
Staff Writer

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