Category Archives: Opinion

After the ring…a Q&A with some of UNW’s engaged couples


by Kayla Floyd



Spring is here and along with the flowers coming up, so is some exciting news of engagements and upcoming weddings. Many students on the University of Northwestern – St. Paul campus have gotten engaged this year and here are just a couple of the more recent ones.

Lindsay Floyd, senior Electronic Media Communications (EMC) major and David Kalsow, senior EMC major.

1.)   When did you get engaged and how did it happen?

“I got engaged at Disney World in front of Rapunzel’s Tower over Christmas break.”

2.)   When did you first meet your fiancé?

“I met David when I was a junior in high school. We were set up by a friend. He knew her from Bible camp and I went to high school with her.”

3.)   What is your favorite quality about your fiancé?

“David is hilarious and easy-going. And he loves me a lot.”

4.)   How long have you and your fiancé been together?

“We have been together for five and a half years but there was a rough patch in there when we weren’t together because he went to another country. No big deal.”

5.)   Do you have any advice or final words?

“Advice: pick a venue and wedding date approximately five years before you get engaged … Final words: He is my crap bag and I will forever be his princess consuela banana hammock.”

Rachel Dougan, junior EMC radio major, and Aaron Sutton, training to become an electrician at Anoka Technical College.

1.)   When did you get engaged and how did it happen?

“We got engaged Wednesday, March 29th! We went on a walk at Minnehaha Falls park (neither of us had been there before), and just sort of wandered. Aaron kept stopping to talk in various spots and eventually he chose one and knelt down! He was very sweet and kept smiling the whole time we were walking around. I said yes of course. We just sort of stood there and laughed after that because I had gloves on so we had a moment of confusion before taking the glove off and putting the ring on.”

2.)   When did you first meet your fiancé?

“Aaron and I met the summer of 2013 when we both started working at Camp JIM.”

1.)   What is your favorite quality about your fiancé?

“Chose just one quality? That’s hard. I love how genuine and gentle Aaron is with people. He finds ways to connect with so many different kinds of people because he meets them where they are.”

4.)   How long have you and your fiancé been together?

“Aaron and I have “officially” been together for a year and a half. Unofficially, longer than that.”

Reagan Brakebush, freshman marketing major and Levi Haskins, graduated (not from Northwestern) auto technician.

1.) When did you get engaged and how did it happen?

“We got engaged in September at Minnehaha Falls. I really didn’t suspect anything that day, and it took me by surprise!

2.) When did you first meet your fiancé?

“We met as campers at Crescent Lake Bible Camp in northern WI many years ago.”

3.) What is your favorite quality about your fiancé?

“My favorite quality about him is that he can make me laugh and that he loves the Lord!”

4.) How long have you and your fiancé been together?

“We’ve been together for one year and nine months.”

5.) Do you have any advice for couples or any final things you’d like to say about your own engagement and future plans?

“My advice for couples is not to settle on the person you’re thinking of marrying, I would find someone who fits the qualities you want in a future spouse and try not to compromise on any of the important ones. Secondly, I wouldn’t rush into engagement. enjoy dating your boyfriend/girlfriend for a while, then get engaged and enjoy that period of life and planning the wedding! It all goes so fast and you only get to do it once! My wedding is in two months and I can’t believe how fast it’s coming up! I can’t wait!”

Katie Olson, senior kinesiology major and Forrest Tompkins, graduated two years ago with a pastoral ministry major.

1.) When did you get engaged and how did it happen?

“We got engaged over spring break. His family decided to take a vacation to Hawaii and asked me to come along. Of course I said yes. His family and I woke up at 6am one morning to catch the sunrise and walked along the beach. He then proposed on the beach!”

2.) Where did you first meet your fiancé?

“We first met during my freshman year of college but didn’t start talking until the beginning of my sophomore year.”

3.) What is your favorite quality about your fiancé?

“My favorite quality would be how adventurous he is. We are always visiting some new place or finding something different to do.”

4.) How long have you and your fiancé been together?

“We’ve been together for a little over a year and a half.”

5.) Do you have any advice for couples or any final things you’d like to say about your own engagement and future plans?

“Don’t spend all your time at college looking for your “soulmate.” I think once we start putting our focus on Jesus that’s when he places the right people at the right time into our lives.”

Jessica Cole, senior finance major and Tate, senior biology major at the University of Northern Iowa.

1.) When did you get engaged and how did it happen?

“Tate and I got engaged last June. I had been gone in Colorado for the week on vacation with my family and he took care of our horses all week. The night we got back he told me that one of our trees in our pasture had gotten struck by lightning so I went with him to check it out. As we got closer I noticed a path of candle lit jars leading to the tree where he had carved out a huge heart that said “Marry me Jess.” Then he proposed! It was perfect.”

2.) When did you first meet your fiancé?

“We met in summer drivers ed when we were 14. We were driving buddies and we didn’t talk to each other at all.”

3.) What is your favorite quality about your fiancé?

“The kindness and gentleness he shows to me and everyone else. Also his humor, he makes me laugh constantly.”

4.) How long have you and your fiancé been together?

“Since freshman year of high school, so about six to seven years.”

5.) Do you have any advice for couples or any final things you’d like to say about your own engagement and future plans?

“Tate and I are getting married in June back home in Iowa and then we are moving to Bloomington and Tate will be starting chiropractic school in September.I don’t really have any great advice, but Tate and I have been together for a while and half of it has been long distance, which hasn’t been easy. So if you’re in that long distance spot right now, I feel for you. The coolest thing I did was drive three and a half hours to surprise Tate at his school. Do fun, crazy thingsthat surprise each other!

“Another thing we really enjoy doing together is hanging out with our siblings. If you have siblings, especially younger ones, include them in the fun things you do together. Take them to the drive in, out to get snacks or just hang out with them around the house. Tate and I have a lot of younger brothers and sisters and some of our favorite memories have been spent with them! Our siblings are our best friends and it’s honestly the best thing ever. Having younger siblings, we all have a huge responsibility to set the example for them and what better way to do that then to include them in the fun things you do together as a couple”

La La Land: An instant classic

by Sarit Bridell  

Still from La La Land

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone on set of La La Land (photo courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes).

Love, life, and Hollywood

La La Land paints the classic story of what it takes to make it in Hollywood, with the added complications of falling in love. Directed by the talented Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) and produced by Black Label Media, the film has set new standards for what makes a great musical.

Read more ...

Women’s March: More than just politics

Protesters at the Women’s March in St. Paul at the Capitol building on Jan. 21, (photo courtesy of Victoria Downey).

Protesters at the Women’s March in St. Paul at the Capitol building on Jan. 21, (photo courtesy of Victoria Downey).

Protesters at the Women’s March in St. Paul at the Capitol building on Jan. 21, (photo courtesy of Victoria Downey).

By Jessica Thomas

The Women’s March on Washington took the United States by storm, drawing in millions of people nationwide—and even worldwide—to march and protest on Jan. 21, the day after the presidential inauguration. Despite controversy surrounding the event, there was a march in every US state and on every single continent as individuals marched in support of many varying causes.

Victoria Downey, a sophomore communications and public relations major at the University of Northwestern – St. Paul, said, “The march formed as a response to the election, but it was not a targeted anti-Trump movement. It formed out of a lot of feelings people had about the election, but it was not an attempt to change the election.”

Initially, the march faced controversies involving similarities to past civil rights marches and accusations of racism, but these issues were resolved. However, controversy remained.

“There are a lot of controversial aspects to it,” said Downey. “If you aren’t interested or involved in any aspect of the feminist movement, it can be easy to criticize, but it started as women feeling like they needed an outlet to respond to what they felt was blatant sexism regarding the election, and they wanted to let the new administration know that they care about these issues.”

“These issues” is a phrase which widely encompasses many social and environmental matters.

“Each woman came in with her own issues,” said Downey.

Issues addressed included education, clean air, the Flint water crisis, and the Dakota access pipeline. Of course, there were also marchers for the particularly controversial issue of abortion, which was the reason that many Christians decided not to attend the march.

“A lot of thought went into my decision to go,” recalled Downey, “A lot of prayer and internet searches and reading about it. How does it look for me as a pro-life person to go?”

However, she did eventually choose to attend the march. She continued, “I didn’t agree with every aspect of what people were marching for, but I think there’s a reason they chose to attend the march, and I was just interested … I feel like that’s where we need to be to learn and not force an opinion, just to sit and listen and be present and learn. That’s really why I decided to attend. I had a deep and sincere interest about what people were saying and what they felt and how they expressed it.”

Another objection that many people had towards the march was the concern that its purpose was to undermine President Donald Trump, a newly prominent authority figure in America.

To this, Downey stated, “I think when you’re able to listen to people, you realize that it’s not about Donald Trump. It’s about what Donald Trump stands for, and he said some things that are repulsive, and degrading, and crude, but it’s not just him.”

There were many contributing factors to the inception and spread of the march movement, but the election and inauguration were particularly inciting events. In the end, the women’s march was a success in terms of numbers in attendance – St. Paul alone reported 100,000 people.

“There were so many people there and it was really crazy,” said Downey, “And everyone I had an experience with was very kind. They thanked the police officers, at least at the Minnesota march.” Downey reported that after the march, the crowd gathered on the steps of the Capital to listen to a series of speakers.

One of the major speakers at the Minnesota March was Representative Ilhan Omar, the first Somali-American representative in the United States. Omar spoke about the importance of being involved in current events and discussed her recent trip to Somalia where women are still fighting for the right to be able to drive a car by themselves.

“It puts things in perspective and makes you think for a while,” Downey commented while reflecting upon the speech. As the United States of America transitions into a new period of its history, taking time to think upon current and relevant issues is a wise step that many Americans are choosing to take, regardless of which viewpoint they hold.

Donald Trump’s inauguration generated mixed feelings

 President Donald Trump and First Lady, Melania, walked down the streets of Washington, D.C. after the inauguration ceremony (photo courtesy of AP images).

President Trump and First Lady, Melania,  after the inauguration ceremony (photo courtesy of AP images). 

By Wes Muilenburg

Donald J. Trump was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2017 as the 45 President of the United States. The inaugural celebrations kicked off on the evening of January 19 with the “Make America Great Again” welcome celebration and concert, which featured noted and relevant artists such as Toby Keith and 3 Doors Down.

The oath of office and the inaugural address occurred at noon on the following day. The inauguration concluded with an inaugural parade and two inaugural balls. On the following morning, the Women’s March on Washington took place, which is believed to be the largest protest of the week, per the New York Times. The American people have mixed feelings about the inauguration. We may see political divisions continue to be evident in the response to the events of January 20th, even on University of Northwestern – St. Paul’s campus. Some students, such as senior Joe Keyport, think that the inauguration was “a mixed bag.” Keyport noted that this election was so drastically different that there was no way to know how UNW would respond–even on a naturally conservative campus.

The country’s response to Trump’s inauguration was even more varied and surprising. Some supporters of the president are not certain of his initial plans. One of the few things that Trump has made abundantly apparent is that his presidency will begin very strongly, establishing himself as a president of action.

A particularly significant aspect of the inauguration ceremony was the involvement of Franklin Graham, son of Northwestern’s second president, Billy Graham. Franklin Graham served as the prayer leader for the event. He followed his father’s history of serving as prayer leader for numerous presidents, including Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. He also prayed at George Bush’s 2001 inauguration.

Head of the UNW College Republican Club, Nick Solheim, believes that Franklin Graham’s involvement shows the president’s desire for Christian support. “As I understand it, president-elect Trump wants evangelical support not only in the inauguration, but throughout the presidency,” said Solheim. Despite this, some are nervous about Franklin Graham’s relationship with Trump. They feel that the president has not exhibited Christian values on the campaign trail leading up to Election Day. Zach Hedner, a member of the UNW College Democrat Club said, “Even though the future is unclear, we must remain hopeful that God has a plan for this, and He will move through it.” No matter what, it’s important to be reminded that everything is in God’s hands. He will do what He knows is best.

What’s left after the bumper stickers wear away

Victoria Downey

Opinion Editor

Finally, we can talk about something other than politics. We expected what would feel like a collectivesigh the day after the election last November, and let’s get back to our real lives” was a common theme in conversations and late-night talk shows everywhere. Except, how do we get back to our lives after a never-ending roller coaster that seemed to be the past year and a half? How could we possibly move on from the topics that were brought up with so much pain during this election cycle? How could we possibly forget any of this, yet how could we talk about it any more? These are the thoughts that ran through my mind in the past few months.

It was a blustery cold day in Iowa in the winter of 1996, and Bob Dole had just lost an election to incumbent President Bill Clinton. A blond boy, who at the ripe age of six was in the habit of talking to his usually quietly listening dad, was scolded for referring to Bill Clinton as “Clinton” instead of the proper title, “President Clinton.” “Dad said something I’ll never forget,” said my brother Luke, “he said ‘You don’t have toagree with whomever the President may be, or what they may do, but you have to respect the office.’” My interest with politics comes from the discourse of my family. I have siblings who vote straight-ticket republican, vote libertarian, a democrat, and then one who didn’t vote at all. Before attending seminary, my dad was a high school government and economics teacher. He has always encouraged discourse between us, and we’ve all developed our own independent ways of seeing the world. Luke grew up to serve five years and three deployments in the Marine Corps under the Obama Administration, an administration he often disagreed with but speaks of with the highest regard. My dad religiously prayed for the Obama family by name every Sunday in our small congregation throughout his Presidency. I am confident he will do the same for the Trump family. January 20, 2017 quickly became one of the most conflicting and downright confusing days in American history.

With the inauguration of President Trump, it feels as though the country is more divided than ever. Rallies and protests in the streets, and hundreds of thousands women attending Women’s Marches all across the globe, far more than who attended the inauguration and its related festivities (well, depending on where you get your facts from). It’s hard to find a lot of place for respect. We’ve had a few weeks to put away our yard signs and scrape off our (let’s be honest, often rude) bumper stickers. It’s time to move forward, and let mutual respect heal that which works so hard to divide. Poitical respect comes in a variety of forms. Yet it is not all together different from other forms of respect. I attended the Women’s March out of a deep interest in what topics were being represented and the conversations that were sure to come with the event. You don’t have to agree with everyting someone says in order to respect them. Respect cannot come from fear, sarcasm or crude comments. Respect comes from listening and learning the stories of those around us. In respect for each other, we learn appreciation and the ability to be silent when realizing there are some situations we are not qualified to speak on. Let those that are qualified be the leading voices. This isn’t a reason to silence your own voice all together, instead it is a time to be aware of times where it is appropriate to be the listener instead of the speaker. I overheard someone claiming that they can, “respect the person but not the idea.” This is incorrect. Respect is not agreement, respect is seeing someone as an individual capable of building their own thoughts and trusting the journey they’re on to understanding the world around them.

The day after the election, my siblings and I received an email from our father explaining his inner conflict. In it, he said, “I see very difficult times ahead, but I see hope in Christ as God works out His plans in the midst of a confusing world for His glory.” As these stressful and confusing days continue, let us rest in the knowledge of an all-knowing and all-powerful God. Refrain from crass and crude words; instead, seek to unify and understand each other through respectful, intelligent discourse.


Victoria Downey is a second-year communications and public relations major from Charles City, Iowa. She loves sno-cones and has two middle names.


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