A little of this, a little of that

Summer? What summer?

That’s the consensus of those you run into on campus as the focus zeroes in squarely on August 21, when incoming freshmen arrive for Gold Rush Days at Southwest Minnesota State University.

Gold Rush Days are a time when students can learn more about the university, meet fellow classmates and participate in activities that will help them successfully make the transition to college.

One of the great traditions of the university is having all sorts of help greet incoming students and their parents as they arrive for Gold Rush Days. It was started by the late Doug Sweetland, the seventh president of SMSU. It has grown considerably since then.

Mustang athletic teams, along with faculty and staff and community members, will all join together to help Class of 2018 members move into the residence halls. That first day of college is both an exciting and nerve-wracking time for both students and parents and this Move-in Day tradition helps ease those fears. If you want a shining example of Minnesota Nice, come watch what happens on Move-in Day as students from across the Midwest and beyond are greeted with open arms.

Oh, and if you’re looking for something fun to watch at noon on Aug. 23, come out to campus to witness the annual mud volleyball tournament. It’s quite entertaining.

SMSU has an economic impact of $141 million and an estimated 1,898 jobs in the region. SMSU students contribute in so many ways to southwest Minnesota. This is their home for four years, and they can be found not only on campus, but also in the community working and volunteering and adding to the quality of life we all enjoy.

Take time to welcome them to Marshall!

Twenty-one students from Taiwan were guests at a farewell picnic this past Thursday. They have been at SMSU for a year earning their MBA degrees as part of a first-time program coordinated by Cori Ann Dahlager, director of the Graduate Office.

“The students come here for an entire year, starting in August,” she said. “They transfer in four credits, and earn their MBA’s here. It’s been a lot of fun getting to know them and their culture in this process. I think it’s gone extremely well, and next year will be even bigger.”

Next month, another group of MBA students from Taiwan will arrive. That group numbers 39, almost double the first group.

“The students like their SMSU experience,” said Dahlager. “They like the size of the campus and the community.”

They come here through an articulation agreement between SMSU and three Taiwan colleges – Minghsin University, Chien Hsin University and Shih Chien University.

“They had contacted us,” said Dahlager. “They had a similar agreement with another Minnesota college but it wasn’t quite the fit they were looking for. They wanted a smaller school that was safe and they wanted their students to live on campus to get the full Midwest experience.”

There were some emotional moments Thursday as the students, the professors who instructed them and the staff that assisted them joined for one final meal.

The Taiwanese students are part of an SMSU international student population that numbered 126 in the spring semester 2014. Those students represented 26 countries.

Michael Kurowski, coordinator of International Student Services, said his office is seeing a broader number of countries represented this coming fall.

“We will have students coming from Russia, Poland, Georgia, Armenia and Canada, along with countries that we normally have international students from, such as Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Nepal, Nigeria and Korea,” he said.

Kurowski said it looks as if the international student numbers will be up, a positive development for his office, the university and the community.

International students go through so much to attend college in the United States, and we’re pleased they have selected SMSU. Some come from cities that have millions of people and experience some cultural adjustments when they arrive. Kurowski and his staff help them acclimate to life in the United States in general, and Marshall, in particular.

Please take the time to welcome our international students to Marshall.

It doesn’t matter where the students come from ? near or far ? when they arrive on campus, they join the Mustang family.