All posts by Ryan Jay

Sept. 21: Film screening, “The Embrace of the Serpent”

The Minnesota premiere of “El Abrazo de la Serpiente” (“The Embrace of the Serpent”), will be 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Film Space, Founders Hall Auditorium. Admission is free.

This Colombian film was Oscar nominated in the Best Foreign-Language Film category.  Based on a diary, it is the story of Karamakate, an Amazonian shaman and last survivor of his people, and the two scientists who work together over the course of 40 years to search the Amazon for a sacred healing plant.

“I have seen this brilliant beautiful film and I highly recommend it.  You will be transported to a different time and place.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to see a movie in Film Space yet, this is your chance,”  says James Byrne, Screenwriting Program coordinator and
Film Space director.

The screening is hosted by Metropolitan State University, College of Liberal Arts, Film Space, and community partners, the Colombian Consulate (Chicago), Intergarción Cultural Colombiana en Minnesota, and Global Minnesota.

Sept. 22: Saint Paul Mayoral Candidate Forum

At Metropolitan State University, we believe it important to facilitate a campus climate of civic engagement and that our students become aware of what happens in their community.

The university prides itself on serving one of the most diverse student populations in the state of Minnesota, and student organizers are delighted to host this vital forum for our community. In advance of the Nov. 7 general election, Metropolitan State will host a mayoral candidates forum, 6 to 9 p.m., Friday, Sept. 22, in the Great Hall of New Main, Saint Paul Campus, 700 E. 7th Street.

Candidates confirmed to attend are:

The candidates are seeking the office that will be vacated by Mayor Chris Coleman, who has announced that he will not seek a fourth mayoral term and instead will run for Minnesota governor.

Matt Filner, associate professor of political science, will moderate. While the topics for discussion will vary, the event theme will emphasize higher education. Audience participants will be able to submit questions for the candidates. This will be a great opportunity to learn more about the mayoral candidates and inquire where they stand on issues that matter to you and your community.

The forum is free and open to the public. The university invites its community partners and neighbors in Dayton’s Bluff and Saint Paul’s East Side to attend. On-site ramp parking will be available at no cost. Contact the Metropolitan State University Student Senate at 651.793.1554 or for more information.

According to Student Senate President Dhibo Hussein, “As a student government organization, we recognize that every voice matters and that collectively our voices can have a profound impact. We also value the importance of making informed decisions, which is why we would like to equip our Metropolitan State University community with direct access to candidates to help aid in their decision making.”


Oct. 12: Metropolitan State University Annual Storm Water Meeting

Urban storm water runoff contains heavy metals including lead, organics such as pesticides, and nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus in threatening quantities that cause water quality problems in the receiving water bodies — lakes, streams and rivers.

Metropolitan State University is participating with adjoining cities and communities across the country to clean up storm water and reduce flooding in order to improve our public waters for recreational and environmental use. University efforts will be discussed at the annual Storm Water Information Meeting. Students, staff, faculty and community members are invited.

Jim Tiggelaar, PE, CCS, LEED AP, a civil project manager for LHB Corporation will be present to unveil the university’s plan and answer questions.

Time: 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
When: Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017
Where: Metropolitan State University
Science Center, Room 115

Feel free to bring your lunch.

Dash Grant provides emergency funds to students in need

Great Lakes logo

Car broke down and no money to repair it? Unexpected medical expenses making it hard to pay bills? Electricity or gas about to be shut off?  Undergraduate students who find themselves in a financial crisis which could put their academic success at risk can apply for the DASH Grant.

Metropolitan State University has received a $420,000 Dash Emergency Grant from Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates to operate and maintain a student emergency aid program. Emergency grants will be integrated into the college’s overall student success strategy with the goal of improving retention and completion rates. Metropolitan State is one of the first four-year universities to receive this grant.

“Thanks to the Dash Emergency Grant, Metropolitan State has the resources to provide modest emergency grants to our students in times of acute and unexpected need,” said university President Virginia Arthur. “Most of our students work while attending classes, and many have limited financial resources. That means that, even when the semester is going according to plan, our students struggle to manage work, studies, family, and other commitments. Any number of disruptions can occur—problems with health, family members, automobiles, jobs—and students suddenly find themselves unable to continue their programs. Often a modest supplement can make the difference between continuing to completion and stopping out, which often leads to protracted stopping-out and derails life plans and hopes. Great Lakes has zeroed in on a potent but solvable threat to student success.”

Students who qualify will receive a one-time payment of up to $1,000 to help relieve the stress of an unexpected financial hardship. For qualifications and  to learn more about applying for the Dash Grant, go to


Oct. 11: Sally Sudo to speak on WWII internment camps

The Department of History, Department of Ethnic and Religious Studies, and the Institute for Community Engagement and Scholarship (ICES) invite all students, employees and community members to an event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of a tragic chapter in U.S. history.

February 19, 1942: A Day the Constitution Died
Race, Gender and Citizenship—Incarceration of Japanese-Americans during World War II and Implications for Today

11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 11, Library and Learning Center, LIB 302, Ecolab

Guest speaker Sally Sudo will recount a first-person historical account of incarceration.

The moderator will be Dr. Kathleen Laughlin, Department of History. Light refreshments are provided.

New Ordway programs offer discounts to Metropolitan State students

The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts is launching a new family series this fall, featuring community-oriented programming and engagement opportunities. These programs come with discounts for Metropolitan State students and their children.

Performances: (10 a.m. lobby activities | 11 a.m. performance) 
• Saturday, Sept. 30 | Concert Hall: David Gonzalez’s bilingual tales from the Latino world

• Saturday, March 3, 2018 | Concert Hall: The Okee Dokee Brothers

• Saturday, April 14, 2018 | Music Theater: Mermaid Theatre’s “Goodnight Moon and the Runaway Bunny”

The Ordway Center is located at 345 Washington St., St Paul.

• “Play and Learn Lobbies” are activities in the lobbies for families that are educational, interactive, and encourage creativity one-hour prior to the performance. Many participating organizations create activities to coincide with their exhibits, upcoming productions, or their mission statement to get the word out about their programming.

• David Gonzalez will offer a bilingual interactive storytelling workshop for families with young children at 4:15 p.m.,  Friday, Sept.29 at at the Riverview Library, 1 George St. E., St. Paul. To RSVP, call 651.282.3115.

David Gonzalez and Okee Dokee Brothers will have a limited number of $5 tickets through the Community Access Program, as part of Ordway’s commitment to address barriers to participation that can restrict access to the performing arts.

Click the link for more information about Ordway’s new programs, and to get the discount promo codes.

Aug. 14: Proposed Wakan Tipi Interpretive Center site tour and information session

The  Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary  will host an information session and tour of the proposed Wakan Tipi Center from 6 to 7 p.m., Monday, Aug. 14, at the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary, 4th St E, St Paul. Lower Phalen Creek Project (LPCP) will lead the session and tour. LPCP is a developer and non-profit organization with a mission to strengthen the East Side and Lowertown communities by developing and maximizing the value of local parks and trails, ecological and cultural resources, and by rebuilding connections to the Mississippi River.

The Wakan Tipi Center will honor the Dakota sacred sites and culture as well as serve as a place for community gathering, stewardship activities, educational programs, and interpretive exhibits.  The center will inspire and inform audiences far beyond the thousands of school groups and visitors that already have found the sanctuary an urban and sacred oasis in the heart of the city.

Nestled between the ancient stone bluffs of Indian Mounds Park and the Mississippi River, the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary is an award-winning park located in the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area east of downtown Saint Paul. The area is home to towering bluffs, spring-fed wetlands, forests and prairies, the sanctuary includes the sacred Wakan Tipi Cave and remnants of Minnesota’s industrial past. Dakota people have called the area home for millennia, and numerous diverse cultures have settled here in recent history.

RSVP to attend the  information session and  tour. A light snack will be provided to attendees.  Take a few moments to complete our online survey, which assist in shaping the design, amenities, functions and operation of the future Wakan Tipi Center. Complete the survey for a chance to win $100 gift card.

For more information about the sanctuary and the Wakan Tipi Center visit, or call 651-288-8746.

The East Side Neighborhood Development Corporation is a co-sponsor of the event.

Student Health and Wellness Association seeks new membership

The Health and Wellness Association at Metropolitan State University is seeking new members to join its revamped student group.

On-campus health and wellness expos, health and wellness assessments, and discussions of positive campus behaviors and habits are just a few activities this group will facilitate and participate in.

Students already have free access to the Metropolitan State Fitness Center as part of their tuition. A discounted rate of $40 is offered to faculty and staff for the fall semester.

Those interested should contact Mitesh Rai at, or Jodee Fitgerald at

July 26: Metropolitan State Resource Fair

Metropolitan State University’s Student Parent Center annual resource fair will be from 2 to 7 p.m., July 26, Saint Paul Campus, New Main, reception area.

This is an opportunity for Metropolitan State University students to pick up donated clothing and household items, at no cost.

Items available at the resource fair include:

  • Baby/ children clothing
  • Adult clothing
  • Sporting equipment
  • Baby items

Tote bags are not supplied, so bring your own bags to carry items.

Volunteer opportunities in the community

The Minnesota Literacy Council, a nonprofit organization that provides educational services to children and adults is in need of volunteers to tutor adult immigrants and refugees who are learning English, help them build their language and literacy skills, and thrive in the United States.

Students are also invited to explore opportunities volunteering with learners who are pursuing their GED or brushing up on reading, writing, math, and computer skills.

Volunteers help with  tasks, such as helping a child with homework, reading a prescription bottle, helping an adult fill out a job application. It may not seem like much, but it’s important work, and makes a big difference.

This is an excellent opportunity for Metropolitan State students to help their neighbors achieve their dreams while gaining teaching experience and learning more about the people in the community.

No previous tutoring experience is necessary. Required training is provided. The only language requirement is the ability to read, write and speak English. Flexible morning, afternoon and evening opportunities are available throughout the Twin Cities. The time commitment ranges from two to three hours per week. Volunteers must be 18 years old, or 16 if volunteering with a parent or guardian.

The organization’s learning centers are across the Twin Cities metro area and volunteers can be matched to nearest locations.

Contact Wendy Roberts for more details: