Minnesotans find community on campus

Lee Nelson knows from memory that Minnesota has 11,842 lakes. This passion for Minnesota makes him and Sophia Munic driven co-presidents of Minnesota club.

Both first years and Minnesota natives, Munic and Nelson were disappointed to see that Minnesota club was not present at Log Jam this year. They took matters into their own hands. They contacted the club president, Katie Singsank, a very busy senior, and she agreed to give them leadership of the club.

Under their leadership, the club has visited Seattle to see the Minnesota native band Hippo Campus play. The club got to meet the band and they had a “prideful conversation about Minnesota,” Munic said. Next, they plan to hold a Minnesota-themed movie night.

While it seems like there is a surprising number of Minnesotans on campus, Andrew Marshall, Assistant Director of Admission and the man responsible for recruiting students from Minnesota, said the University doesn’t do anything in particular to attract from that region of the country.

“[Admissions] does not do anything in particular in Minnesota. It has always been a place of great interest among students, so we do spend a lot of time there actively recruiting (visiting high schools, attending college fairs and hosting programs), but not unusually so when compared to other areas from which we draw a lot of students,” said Marshall.

On average, the University receives 30 students from Minnesota each year.

“The three coastal states are always the top three on campus. Colorado typically leads the next group of states represented on campus, with Minnesota and Hawaii trading spots five and six,” Marshall said. “Minnesota shares several qualities with Puget Sound and the Pacific Northwest that make it an attractive place to land for students.”

“It’s a big draw to high school students [from Minnesota] to come here because of this unique community. [That community] is not found everywhere,” Nelson said.

The club aims to maintain the Puget Sound-Minnesota connection that was so appealing to Nelson and Munic when they were making their college decisions.

Though Minnesota is one of the most common states for students to come from, it is far away from Puget Sound and the club helps Minnesotans experience a sense of familiarity and community.

“Every time I meet another Minnesotan it’s like finding a long-lost cousin,” Munic said.

The club is comprised mainly, but not completely, of Minnesotans. Only about 25 of the 100 people on the e-mail list are from Minnesota, although 10 of the 15 people who attended the first meeting were Minnesotans.

Minnesota’s active bike culture, arts and music scene and many natural areas are a few of the things that make Munic and Nelson proud of their home state. They urge students to join Minnesota Club to participate in activities with these themes.

“Minnesotans are a lot like people from the PNW. They share a love of the outdoors and thoughtful pastimes, like painting and music… you don’t have to be a Minnesotan to enjoy these things,” Munic said.