Southeast Tech kicks off new yearGrace Kargbo commutes 45 minutes to an hour every day from Cottage Grove, Minn., to attend classes at Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical in Red Wing.
By: Sarah Gorvin, The Republican Eagle
Grace Kargbo commutes 45 minutes to an hour every day from Cottage Grove, Minn., to attend classes at Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical in Red Wing.
“In the winter, you can only imagine,” the nursing student said.
But Kargbo isn’t the only one. Nearly two-thirds of students at Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical commute into Red Wing every day for class. That means many students don’t get much of a chance to interact with each other outside of class.
“We do have a lot of commuters,” Erin Flaherty, director of communications, said. “You don’t always see a lot of opportunity … to mingle and see each other in a casual setting.”
But with the start of the new school year, Southeast Tech’s Alumni Association gave students a couple hours to do just that when it hosted the annual welcome back picnic Thursday.
“I think it’s a great idea,” first-year student Crystal Carpenter said. “Everyone gets to be together.”
Over hot dogs, hamburgers, baked beans and sides, the students chatted, registered for prizes and got information about services the college and outside organizations offer.
The United Way, Mayo Clinic Health System in Red Wing, the Southeast Tech student senate and Wells Fargo, among other groups, had informational booths set up around the picnic area.
Jessica Preb and Maggie Edmison, both of Frontenac, agreed that the picnic was a good idea, and not just because they got a free lunch.
“You get to meet new people,” Preb said.
“It’s awesome that they do this,” Edmison said. “It’s awesome to come and sit and hang out.”
New start for Alsop
It’s not just the students who were getting a new start when classes began again Aug. 27.
Becky Alsop officially started her position as associate dean of students Feb. 1. While she said she’s pretty much settled into her new role, this is the first time she’s starting a new school year in it.
“It’s different because I didn’t have summer break,” Alsop said. “I didn’t come back to the school year.”
Before accepting the associate dean position, Alsop was a faculty member for Southeast Tech, teaching English, study skills, biology and career planning for six years.
“I don’t work as much with students,” Alsop said of her new position. “I work more with faculty support. It’s more of a behind the scenes, more of a support role.”
That daily interaction with students is especially hard to give up, Alsop said. In her previous position, Alsop said it was really obvious that she was helping her students on a daily basis.
“You feel it every day. You’re touching these 20 lives every day,” she said.
But Alsop said her new position allows her to do the exact same thing, just on a larger scale.
“Sometimes you don’t feel it as much, (but) I can impact more students than I would have if I would have been in my class,” she said. “Being an administrator, maybe you get to help 500 students a day.”
Alsop is based in Red Wing, but travels a couple times a week to the college’s Winona, Minn., campus.