Category Archives: Community

July 26: Metropolitan State Resource Fair

Metropolitan State University’s Student Parent Center is hosting their annual resource fair 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

The resource fair doesn’t supply bags, so please bring your own bags to tote your items from the fair.

Upcoming Interstate 94 east metro ramp closures

Construction crews are making progress on the eastbound Interstate 94 pavement replacement. The old pavement is nearly completely removed, and construction crews are on track to begin pouring concrete for the new driving surface of the eastbound lanes this week.

As the project progresses, so does the need to adjust traffic restrictions to give crews the space to complete this important work.

Expect these changes in the coming weeks within the work zone:

  • The ramp from eastbound I-94 to northbound McKnight Road will close early Thursday morning, July 20. Anticipate re-opening both eastbound I-94 to McKnight Road ramps in August.
  • The ramp from Etna Street to southbound Highway 61 will close early Monday morning, July 24, through the end of August

Ramps are being closed to they may be repaved. Closure durations and time frames are all approximate and weather dependent.

What’s next

Anticipate final construction stage in early August. There will be additional lane and ramp closures (and openings) before the project is completed this fall.

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July 25: U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking town hall

Metropolitan State University will host the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking during a three-day visit to Minnesota for a regional meeting to discuss and deliberate ways to meaningfully engage survivors of human trafficking, as well as educate, empower and create awareness for those survivors.

Five members of the visiting council will meet with survivors in Minnesota, as well as with representatives from the Minnesota Human Trafficking Task Force, the Minnesota Department of Health, the International Institute of Minnesota, FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and state sheriffs and county attorneys. Over the course of the visit, from July 23-25, councilmembers will identify and discuss key objectives for the council’s 2017 report.

The regional meeting will culminate with a public town hall, 1 to 2:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 25, hosted at Metropolitan State University, 700 7th Street East, Saint Paul. Expected speakers include State Senator Foung Hawj of District 67, Saint Paul City Council member Jane Prince of Ward 7, FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Anne Saunders of the Minneapolis Field Office, Lauren Ryan, JD, director of Safe Harbor/No Wrong Door at the Minnesota Department of Health, and university President Virginia “Ginny” Arthur. The event is open to news media and will also be livestreamed to the council’s Facebook page.

The council was formed in 2015 under the U.S. Department of State to “provide a formal platform for trafficking survivors to advise and make recommendations on federal anti-trafficking policies to the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (PITF).”

The council is made up of 11 selected volunteers who are survivors of human trafficking. Its purpose is to provide recommendations to the U.S. government to strengthen federal policy and programming efforts that reflect the best practices in the field. The council meets in person three times annually. An initial report from the council was delivered last year.


  • In January 2009, the FBI identified the Twin Cities as one of 13 U.S. cities with a high incidence rate of child prostitution. (source)
  • By very conservative measures, a November 2010 study found that each month in Minnesota at least 213 girls are sold for sex an average of five times per day through the Internet and escort services. This number does not include hotel, street or gang activity. (source)
  • A November 2010 study found that on any given weekend night in Minnesota, 45 girls under age 18 are sold for sex through the internet classified websites and escort services. (source)
  • In 2010, investigators from three states determined that Minneapolis was the home base of a large domestic prostitution (sex trafficking) ring comprised of three generations of one Minnesota family that was prostituting (trafficking) mostly young girls across the United States. (source)
  • About 50 percent of adult women interviewed as part of a 2010 study focused on North Minneapolis stated that they were first traded for sex when they were under the age of 18, with the average age at 13 years. (source)
  • In just one 72-hour sting in summer 2013, an FBI-led operation rescued 105 children and netted 152 pimps in 76 cities nationwide, including four alleged pimps in the Twin Cities.

* “Get the Facts,” Women’s Foundation of Minnesota

Selected nationally, the appointees are from diverse backgrounds and bring personal experiences of human trafficking to the council. They were also selected for their ongoing work and leadership in their local communities against human trafficking.

The council includes Bukola Oriola, a spring 2017 graduate of Metropolitan State University. In 2016, she was appointed to a two-year term on the council. In that year, she attended an inaugural meeting in Washington, D.C., with the council and then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. She also serves as the council’s secretary.

Other councilmembers to attend are:

  • Harold D’Souza; a survivor, spokesperson, and advocate. D’Souza is a senior supply chain associate for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, a position he has held since 2008. He is also a co-founder of Eyes Open International, a founding member of the National Survivor Network, and is active with End Slavery Cincinnati.
  • Ronny Marty; an independent consultant and speaker to combat human trafficking.
  • Flor Molina; founding member of the Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST) Survivor Leadership Program and a member of the National Survivor Network. She has advocated for policies to combat human trafficking since 2002.
  • Evelyn Chumbow; a project assistant at Baker & McKenzie LLP. Since 2014, Chumbow has been an advocate with the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST). She was recently awarded the Presbyterian Peaceseeker Award for her efforts to combat human trafficking.

Oriola, a Nigerian-born journalist who came to Minnesota in 2005 to meet her husband for the first time, was instead held hostage and forced into labor in his Ramsey home, and suffered mental and physical abuse over the next two years.

Oriola has spoken about her experience since 2009. In September 2016, she traveled to her native Nigeria to speak out about the problem of human trafficking. Over 11 days, she met with university students and the international media there to tell her story and experience as a victim of human trafficking and to bring a different understanding and dialogue about the forms that human trafficking can manifest.

Aug. 12: Fiesta Latina

Join the local Saint Paul community on Saturday, August 12, from 11am to 4pm, at CLUES St. Paul, to celebrate the richness of Minnesota Latinos at the 2017 Fiesta Latina event.

This is a free, family-friendly community festival which celebrates Lain culture through arts, health and wellness, fitness, food, and entertainment.

For more information, click on the link to see the promotional poster:  Fiesta Latina Poster_Updated July


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:

July 15: Rondo Days

Metropolitan State University joins its community partners to celebrate the 34th Annual Rondo Days on Saturday, July 15. Rondo Days commemorates the rebirth of the Rondo neighborhood following the construction of the Interstate 94 corridor.

On behalf of the Enrollment Management Team, Multicultural Affairs, Institution for Community Engagement and Scholarship Office and the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Metropolitan State encourages the university community to participate.

Stop by the Metropolitan State University booth, which will be  located in the tent area D #1, near the stage.

Free transportation to the event is  available through Metro Transit.

July is Alcohol Awareness Month

July is Alcohol Awareness Month! Join the university in spreading awareness by participating in a variety of activities. Healthcare and Wellness Services is offering opportunities which include:
  • Substance abuse self-assessment tool (e-CheckUpToGo
  • Mothers Against Drunk Driving Speaker, 4 to 5 p.m., July 17, Student Center, Room 101
  • Alcohol use and prevention talk, 4 to 5 p.m., July 12, Student Center, Room 101
  • Wear Red Day, July 17
  • Smoking Cessation Classes 3 to 4 p.m. each Thursday, SJH 254
 Be aware that Zipnosis, the telemedicine platform has changed its name to OnCare. If you have already used Zipnosis, you will not need to re-register. The new link is
For new users, please remember to register using your university e-mail address and Star ID, and use the following link:


For more information, contact: Jodee Fitzgerald Health and Wellness Services 651.793.1552 |

Donations needed for Student Parent Center Resource Fair

The Student Parent Center is collecting clothing items to distribute at a Resource Fair on July 26.

The collected clothing, household supplies and other items will be freely available for Metropolitan State  student. Student parents are also able to get school supplies for their children on that day.

Please donate items you might ordinarily take to Goodwill. Shoes, even old, yucky ones, can be donated to Good in the ‘Hood, the nonprofit that purchases food for our food pantry. Donors may also purchase new school supplies or personal care items, which are greatly appreciated. The Student Parent Center has fewer resources this year to purchase those kinds of items.

Items needed include:

  •  Clothes (infant to adult; gently used and clean)
  •  School supplies (new)
  •  Shoes
  •  Sporting equipment
  •  Personal care items (new)
  •  Cleaning supplies, household items
  •  Baby items, diapers, toys
  •  Food
Donation Bin locations:
  • Saint Paul Campus:  Gateway, Food for Thought, Student Center, Library and Learning Center
  • Midway Campus– Security desk and Gateway area
  • Minneapolis – Third floor near Information desk
  • LECJEC – next to first floor elevator

July 26: Disability Rights March and Rally


The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) was signed into law by President George H. W. Bush on July 26, 1990. The landmark provision in the ADA protects the rights of Americans with disability as a civil right, similar to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

This year, to celebrate the 27th anniversary of ADA, a march and rally is being held on Wednesday, July 26 at the State Capitol grounds in Saint Paul. (See details below.)

In her office on Metropolitan State’s Saint Paul Campus, Kristen Jorenby, director of the Center for Accessibility Resources (CAR) at Metropolitan State,  discussed the significance of this event.

Jorenby said that Metropolitan State’s CAR is participating in the event. She said she was surprised whence heard she had been selected to emcee the event.

“I’ve been tapped for a lot of things but never been asked to be an emcee.” Jorenby said. “I’ve been involved with the community a number of years. I sit on the board of Access Press, so people know me from there. I used to spend quite a bit of my time up at the legislature, so I’m known up there, too.”

Regarding the event’s significance, Jorenby said, “Given the current political climate, the community is really concerned about cuts to healthcare; their ability to remain independent and cuts to transportation funding. We have problem within the system that continue to exist. ADA is a huge civil rights act. And this [event] is really a chance for people to celebrate that and reassert that they have this civil right, and they are not going to let them be taken away.”

On how Metropolitan State fares regarding accessibility issues for our students and staff with disability, Jorenby said that the university’s commitment to the issue is part of its mission statement:

“The university will provide accessible, high-quality liberal arts, professional, and graduate education to the citizens and communities of the metropolitan area, with continued emphasis on underserved groups, including adults and communities of color.”

Jorenby also emphasized that this is a shared responsibility of everyone here at the university, and that the issue is not just about physical access. Access to documents, websites and classroom materials are also critical to enable accessibility for all.

Over the years, CAR has provided training on universal design that has taught faculty and staff members how to make courses and documents universally accessible, and has held several workshops such as, “How and When to Disclose Hidden Disability Panel.” CAR also launched the Read & Write software last spring through D2L. The software is a multi-use tool available for free to all students and faculty to help them with reading, writing and language learning. Jorenby pointed out that this speaks to Metropolitan State’s commitment to create an accessible educational environment that makes life better for all of our students.

Some of the ways students, staff and faculty members at Metropolitan State can continue to stay engaged to improve the quality of accessibility for all is by taking part in these workshops and trainings organized by CAR. Students are also encouraged to volunteer to become peer notetakers every semester.

Everyone is welcome to contact CAR directly with any questions, concerns, or if they just want to get linked up to different resources either internally or externally.

WHAT:            Disability Rights March & Rally
WHEN:           Wednesday, July 26, 2017
TIME:              1 to 4 p.m.
1 p.m. Gathering and orientation at the Minnesota History Center
1:30 p.m. Disability Rights March to the Capitol
2:30 p.m. Disability Rights Rally in the Capitol Rotunda (featured speakers and entertainment)

Accommodations for the orientation and rally include ASL interpreters, CART, and audio description.

For more information or to confirm audio description services or to request a reasonable accommodation not listed above, please contact Cindy at ADA Minnesota, 651-603-2015 or email, by July 7, 2017.

Disability Rights March final flyer

Speakers to talk about their experiences with mental illness

On June 29, 4-5pm, on Metropolitan State University’s Saint Paul Campus, Student Center, Room 101, two speakers from the National Alliance on Mental Illness will be coming out to talk about their experience with mental illness and with attempted suicide. They will also be discussing what can be done to raise awareness about mental illness. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for the average age of male students.  View the men’s health flyer below for more details.


Questions? Contact:
Jodee Fitzgerald
Founders Hall 240D