Skip to main content

This week’s Hotline! includes the following articles:

• Alcohol education at VCSU
• Olson receives wellness award
• O’Connor exhibits ceramics work in Student Center
• Thanks for successful Viking Visit Day
• Vikings Sports: Week in Review
• What’s happening at VCSU and around Valley City...
• April Birthdays

The VCSU Hotline! online newsletter is published each Monday during the academic year. Deadline to submit articles (photos encouraged) is 4:00 p.m. the preceding Friday.

Alcohol Education at VCSU

Alcohol Education at VCSU
by Dr. Steve Shirley, Valley City State University President

The following article will appear in the Valley City Times-Record the week of March 31, 2014.

The March 21–23 Times-Record lead story focused on the establishment of a “beer pong” league in Valley City. There is undoubtedly much discussion to be had as to whether such a topic merits front-page, above-the-fold attention, but what I want to focus on here are the educational efforts Valley City State University has taken (and continues taking) regarding high-risk alcohol consumption.

VCSU regularly surveys its students to determine their habits of alcohol consumption. From the most recent data (Fall 2012), 87% of students reported they did not feel it was necessary to use alcohol to have a good time, and 30% indicated they do not consume alcohol at all. VCSU’s efforts with alcohol education have focused on responsible decisions and healthy lifestyle choices. VCSU’s alcohol education philosophy has not been on abstinence or suggesting a complete avoidance of alcohol, but rather efforts have been more realistic and centered on choices students make as well as encouraging smart decisions about responsible use of alcohol.

There are countless studies directly linking high-risk behaviors and bad choices by college students to overconsumption of alcohol. Many of these choices directly lead to actions resulting in students not succeeding with their education and ultimately failing academically and dropping out of college. Simply put, these poor decisions can have a very direct and negative correlation with academic success and future career success.

VCSU has taken a proactive role in working to combat some of these matters and partnered with our students about making safe and healthy choices. Dr. Erin Klingenberg, VCSU’s director of counseling services, has led many of these efforts working with students throughout campus. Every new full-time student at VCSU learns the CHOICES curriculum (acronym for Cultivating Healthy Opportunities in College Environments); this program is built on over 20 years of research funded by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). According to the CHOICES instructor manual, the mission of CHOICES is to educate college students about the effects of alcohol on their behavior, to promote self-evaluation of drinking patterns, and to facilitate the acquisition of effective coping strategies so students can make informed decisions and reduce their alcohol-related risk and harm.

It is important to acknowledge that any underage alcohol use is illegal; it is equally important to provide young people with accurate information and strategies for reducing their risk if they choose to drink alcohol. VCSU has taken the harm reduction approach to prevent college alcohol abuse and reduce both drinking rates and alcohol-related harmful consequences and high-risk behaviors (behaviors that include drinking games such as quarters, beer pong, keg stands, etc.). Beyond CHOICES, education is also provided by VCSU to our students through programs in the residence halls as well as with individual assessments.

There are also many efforts in collaboration with the Campus Activities Board for planning and hosting healthy alternative events on campus and throughout the community for students. These social events provide choices for students while also expanding the extracurricular programming in the evenings and on weekends. Additionally, VCSU has enjoyed a long and positive relationship with the Valley City Police Department, and we work hand-in-hand as needed when/if problems occur.

Alcohol misuse and abuse on college campuses across the United States poses a major threat to the overall potential and academic success rates of students. It is important that campuses continue remaining focused on these issues and working proactively to educate students about their choices and personal responsibilities. VCSU is proud of its efforts in these areas, and the university will continue working on this important matter with current and future students.

Olson receives wellness award

Olson receives wellness award
Al Olson, associate professor of education, was named an NDPERS Wellness Star of the Month for March 2014. Olson was nominated for the award by Jackie Owen, a colleague in the VCSU School of Education and Graduate Studies.

Said Owen in her nomination: “Al has been working silently and steadily for the past year at changing his eating and exercise patterns. I often see him stop working and take a walking break, down halls and upstairs. He has been making healthy food choices at lunch. Many of us have noticed the difference in what he is doing and how healthy he is looking now.”

Olson doesn’t consider himself a Wellness Star, but he does acknowledge some changes that have garnered significant benefits. “I am hardly a model for fitness or wellness,” he says. “When I received an email message that someone nominated me as a ‘Wellness Star,’ I was surprised. I read that my nominator noticed that I was doing little things like taking more walking breaks at work and losing some weight over time. I can say that part is true. Over the course of one year, I did lose 73 pounds.”

A family wedding helped motivate Olson, who says his plan was simple: “I needed to eat fewer calories and exercise more. I didn’t try to starve myself. I had more soup, vegetables, and fruit. I ate less cheese, butter, bread, and sweets. If I consumed too much pizza one day, I knew I had to be better for a few days. Just doing something simple like walking was important for me.”

Olson gives credit to prayer and the support of his wife, Trisa, and Steve, his brother, for his progress, but he says his work is not done. “I need another good spring and summer, because I still have more weight I would like to lose,” he says.

Congratulations on your award and your efforts, Al!

If you know an employee who is demonstrating a healthy lifestyle through exercise, healthy eating or smoking cessation, we encourage you to nominate him or her as a “Wellness Star of the Month.” Contact Pat Egeberg, VCSU health services director and worksite wellness coordinator, for more information.

O’Connor exhibits ceramics work in Student Center

O’Connor exhibits ceramics work in Student Center
An exhibit of the wood-fired, thrown ceramics forms of Shawn O’Connor, visiting artist at the University of North Dakota, opened in the Front Porch Gallery in the VCSU Student Center March 27 and runs through April 11. The gallery is open Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.

A Maine native, O’Connor holds an MFA from Syracuse University. On hand for the gallery opening and a reception on March 27, O’Connor demonstrated and spoke about his work in the Ceramics Studio on campus Thursday morning.

Thanks for successful Viking Visit Day

Valley City State University hosted the fourth and last Viking Visit Day of the year this past Saturday, March 29, and it was a success! Thirty-three prospective students attended with their families, including a fair number of high school juniors already looking at VCSU for the fall of 2015. Fourteen faculty members, representing academic areas throughout campus, visited with these students and their families. Music auditions were held in the afternoon.

New this year, we have speakers featuring different pieces of campus life during the Welcome Session. This weekend, Sam Stover talked about the new exciting things going on at the library and the Common Read, Marcia Pritchert spoke about Financial Aid, Chris Redfearn shared information about the Music Department, and Kim Hesch organized the Alumni Board members, who also spoke about their experiences at VCSU. All were well received by our guests.

Thank you to all who participated in Viking Visit Day! The time taken out of your Saturday is much appreciated and well worth it to give our prospective students and their families a great experience at VCSU. And for everyone behind the scenes who help us promote and prepare for Viking Visit Day, we couldn’t do it without you.

Vikings Sports: Week in Review

Vikings Sports: Week in Review
VCSU Baseball
Games @ Dickinson State
Saturday: Dickinson 6, VCSU 4
Saturday: VCSU 23, Dickinson 8
Sunday: VCSU 9, Dickinson 1
Sunday: VCSU 5, Dickinson 0
Vikings are now 12-19 overall and 3-1 in Frontier/North Star play.

VCSU Track & Field
The March 29 meet at Dakota State was canceled. The Vikings are now scheduled to open the outdoor season on Saturday, April 5, at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D.

VCSU Volleyball
VCSU athletic director Jack Denholm announced the hiring of Adam Longmore as the 11th head volleyball coach in school history. Longmore will take over the Viking volleyball program in mid-April. He replaces Susan Kolbow, who resigned in January following four seasons as Viking head coach. Longmore has worked the previous six seasons as an assistant coach at Southern Utah University, an NCAA Division 1 school.

Scheduled Upcoming Events
Saturday, April 5
Track & Field @ Augustana College (Sioux Falls, S.D.)
Softball vs. University of Jamestown, 1/3 p.m. (VCSU home opener)
Baseball @ University of Jamestown, 1/3 p.m.

Sunday, April 6
Softball @ University of Jamestown, 1/3 p.m.
Baseball @ University of Jamestown, 1/3 p.m.
Golf @ Dickinson State, noon MDT

Monday, April 7
Golf @ Dickinson State, 9 a.m. MDT

What’s happening at VCSU and around Valley City...

Monday, March 31

Pay Day

Tuesday, April 1

April Fools’ Day

Wednesday, April 2

Thursday, April 3

Friday, April 4

Saturday, April 5

Viking track & field @ Vance Butler Invitational, Sioux Falls, S.D.
1 and 3 p.m. Viking softball vs University of Jamestown, VCSU softball complex
1 and 3 p.m. Viking baseball @ University of Jamestown

Sunday, April 6

noon MDT Viking Golf @ Dickinson State
1 and 3 p.m. Viking baseball @ University of Jamestown
1 and 3 p.m. Viking softball @ University of Jamestown

Monday, April 7

Adrianna Boychuk, senior exhibition opens, VCSU Art Gallery, McCarthy Hall 3rd floor (April 7–18)
9 a.m. MDT Viking Golf @ Dickinson State

Tuesday, April 8

Wednesday, April 9

High School Region 2 instrumental competition at VCSU
2 and 4 p.m. Viking softball @ Mayville State University

Thursday, April 10

High School Region 5 vocal and instrumental competition at VCSU
4 p.m. Viking baseball vs Concordia College, Charlie Brown Field

Friday, April 11

Deadline to file an application for fall semester internship
6:00–7:30 p.m. Adrianna Boychuk exhibition reception, VCSU Art Gallery, McCarthy Hall 3rd floor
7:30 p.m. General Student Recital, Froemke Auditorium

Saturday, April 12

Viking track & field @ Dakota Duels, Fargo, N.D.
1 and 3 p.m. Viking Baseball vs Dakota State, Charlie Brown Field
2 and 4 p.m. Viking softball @ Presentation College, Aberdeen, S.D.
3 p.m. Valley City and Jamestown orchestras, Valley Voices, Youth Choir, Vangstad Auditorium

Sunday, April 13

Palm Sunday
National Library Week begins
noon and 2 p.m. Viking Baseball vs Dakota State, Charlie Brown Field
1 and 3 p.m. Viking softball @ Presentation College, Aberdeen, S.D.
4 p.m. Epworth Choir Sing, Epworth United Methodist Church