The Cobber Connection - Concordia College News and Happenings from Comm 431 Students


December 15, 2010

Nice Job Cobber Comm 431 students!

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If you’re an avid areavoices blog reader, you’ve no doubt noticed how prolific The Cobber Connection blog has been in the last few days. The reason is simple: it’s crunch time. To refresh your memory, this is a class blog for Broadcast News Writing students at Concordia. I am the teacher. For the past several months, I’ve asked the students to post topics on our blog to familiarize themselves with blogging. After all, many broadcast journalists will have to write a blog to coincide with their news stories. What the students delivered impressed me. Their posts ranged from the serious (sexual assaults on college campuses) to the sublime (challenging our thoughts about diversity on campus), from the celebratory (Holiday Lights Parade) to the silly (why one student is obssessed with teacup pigs).  This blog will quiet down now as these students get their final grades and move on to other courses. But I hope other classes will follow their lead and start blogging! It was fun hearing from them!


December 14, 2010

Cobber Women’s Basketball

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The Cobber Women’s Basketball team hosted their home opener last Monday, December 6th. The Cobbers went into the game against Carleton with an undefeated record and blew past the Knights to an 81- 37 victory, moving their winning streak to 5-0. This year marks the first year since 1985 that the Cobbers have won their first 5 season games.

Leading the Cobbers to a big conference win over the Knights were Sophomore Tricia Sorenson with 18 points and Senior Erica Nord with 17 points.

Coaches Jessica Rahman and Rachel Bergeson look to a strong group of six experienced seniors to lead the team this season.

For game highlights and interviews with the Coaching Staff visit:

Cobber Women’s Basketball

Blog Post & Video by Karalyn Kester


What’s On Your Mind?

Do you remember the days when you didn’t know what the boy from your ninth grade biology class ate for lunch this afternoon?  Those were simpler times, I guess.

Facebook has changed our world in so many ways; I will find myself knowing things I never needed to know, filling my head to the brim with meaningless information, taking up space in my brain that probably could have been better used to store those acronyms and definitions while studying for finals…he had a tuna salad sandwich and Doritos, by the way.  That is totally going to help me with my finals.

Looking at my mini-feed, there are constantly status updates.  Maybe it is about the new video game you got, the number of pancakes you had this morning for breakfast, lyrics to your favorite song, or the way that you’re feeling at this exact moment in time. And now this exact moment.  How about now?  How do you feel right now? And we wonder why all of our homework isn’t done.  Sometimes I have fantasy sequences of people commenting what they really think about every pointless status update they see.

A. H. — could my life get anymore stressful!!!????? i totaly didnt need this to top off tests and finals!!

            A, I don’t know what you’re talking about, but I am assuming you are feeling a little bit stressed out.  Maybe you are even a tad bit overwhelmed?  Well, I have to say, just reading this status update makes me feel anxious and stressed out.  Thanks a lot for spreading this illness. P.S. I totally didn’t need this to top off tests and finals.

Z. H. — just took a 9 hour nap..

            Z, I’m sorry to hear that. I wish I could give you some of my sleep deprivation that I have tried so hard to achieve by only sleeping three hours in the last 48.  In the meantime I will shed the world’s tiniest tear for you.  Maybe you aren’t even complaining about the nap, but my lack of sleep has made me lack the ability to perceive things accurately.  Also, I officially hate you…it’s facebook official.

J. C. – weiners

            Really?  I cannot even make up a word for how …. I think you are right now.

A. S. –  so long, farewell facebook. I can no longer use you to delay my paper that needs to be written.

            A, you’ve got the right idea!  If only more people were as dedicated to homework as you are.  Just think of how beautiful the world would be if those constantly-changing-my-status-to-something-lamers would follow example and take a little break from facebook.  I am glad that I saw this on my news feed. Thank you for this breathe of fresh air.  I am going to do all of my homework right now.  What an inspiration!

“Dear life, please fast forward to Wednesday afternoon….Thanks!”  I wonder if this will really work…I am copying and pasting this to my status.  Maybe someone will see it, and it will happen. Wish me luck! TTYL. :)


Hmong New Year

As Cobber students got ready to leave school early to avoid the snow storm for Thanksgiving break. My friends and I were getting ready to be on our way down to the Twin Cities for the annual Hmong New Year Celebration in St. Paul Minnesota held at the Excel Center. Every single year during Thanksgiving the Hmong people celebrate their biggest holiday. It is a 3 day celebration starting the day right after Thanksgiving until Sunday. This event, like how the elders would say, is to bring in the New Year and let go of the old. The New Year involves traditional and modern competition in dancing and singing as well as a popular pageant for the girls. The pageant is one of the most important aspects of the New Year where girls show off their talent, self-design clothing, and their clan name. When I say clan name it is because there are 18 clan names in the Hmong culture, which is the last name. Girls and guys with the same clan name are not allowed to get married. It is a traditional rule within the Hmong culture.

During the 3 day event, there are also a lot of different food booths and a huge market area for purchasing traditional clothing, movies, music, and miscellaneous things. Not only is it for entertainment, but also for courtship. Back in the old days, parents would go to the New Year with their son and scope out the girl that they thought was best for their son. Some people call it “wife-hunting.” The courting starts off when a girl is chosen to play ball toss. A clothed ball is used to play a game of exchanging items and singing folk songs to each other. If the ball is a good throw and is not caught an item is exchanged. This way the boy and the girl can converse and get to know each other. The girl can refuse to ball toss if a boy asks and she is not interested. It is also not okay for a boy to ball toss with another boy because it is consider taboo. But it is okay for girls to ball toss with each other. The game can end whenever one wants to end it. This is a little bit about the Hmong culture and how its traditions are carried out. The Hmong New Year is an exciting and learning experience for those who do not know. This particular Hmong New Year in St. Paul is the most popular one aside from ones in California, Oklahoma, North Carolina, etc.

After a weekend of learning about the Hmong culture my friends and I were ready to get back to campus and finish our pile of homework.


International Student Organization Annual Festivals

Every single year the International Student Organization on campus hosts a festival for Concordia’s campus and extends it to family and friends out in the community. Two years ago in 2008, the “Cultural Runway” was known for its many fashion trends from all over the world. Many students showed off their culture by wearing traditional clothing. The colors were stunningly radiant and bold. And then just last year in 2009 the students got together with the African Student Union group and hosted an “African Night” with emphasis on traditional marriage ceremonies. The skits performed were a tremendous eye opener to the cultural customs of African wedding ceremonies.

This year the International Student Organization took a different twist to the annual festival and took us on an exciting “Tour Around the Globe.” The brochures were designed like plane tickets and the program of the show was like being on a plane ride, flying from each continent to another. They even involved turbulence during the airplane ride in bringing awareness to the Hmong Genocide. A variety of performances were showcased from many cultures.

If you have not been to the annual festival that Concordia’s International Student Organization holds every year. I strongly encourage you to seek it out next year.

Here is a YouTube clip from this year’s “Tour the Globe” of an old Irish love song sung by an international student from Irish accompanied by another student from Paraguay.

(click link below this)

Irish Song


A Piece of my Mind on Diversity

This past spring semester I was able to attend a diversity discussion group on Concordia’s campus. The students apart of this discussion group were handpicked from students involved in different organizations to students who were interested about the topic or students who just heard about it and tagged along with friends.

Many topics were brought up, such as students of color, sex, GLBT, religion, etc…

These discussions included particular things like how Concordia’s brochures have too many pictures of color students when the campus does not even have a show for it. Students did not like the fact that Concordia was advertising something that was not true about their campus. It is okay to have a few, but it was a false advertisement with too many photos of a student population that did not really exist.

A particular conversation I had with the small group that we broke into was when someone had asked, “Why don’t students attend the International Student Organization events or other cultural events as much? “Or one particular question that got me pondering “Why?” is when someone mentioned something like, “Why is it that the students who do go to those events, are majority students of color?” These kinds of events are put on to educate those who do not know about the different cultures, and to also celebrate the various cultures we have on campus. Yet the people who do attend are the ones who already know.

Example: When you are a student of color, you know you are a minority within the majority group. You also know how it feels like every day to be a minority. If you are in the majority group, when a cultural event happens, you may not want to attend, because within that event you will feel like a minority, you will feel uncomfortable with this feeling.

But we minorities feel this way every day. One event for you to attend a learning experience of our culture and it makes you uncomfortable, so you won’t go?

Hummm….do we have a problem here? I think so.

Diversity comes in many aspects and when we become uncomfortable we hide from it. But one will not know if one does not allow oneself to learn.

So, as students brainstorm about how to better diversity on campus and where to start for this change, just know Concordia cannot have diversity if you don’t make diversity.


America’s Culture of Sex

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America’s Culture of Sex

Mass media influences on American adolescents view of sexual behavior

           In the time it took for a single generation to pass, the internet and media have remade nerarly every aspect of modern culture, transforming the way we work, learn and connect in ways that we’re only beginning to understand.  Since the dawning of a new era known as Generation Z or the technology era, the aspects of American popular culture have been misrepresented.  Of course, Generation X is the television era, and Generation Y is teh integration of internet but this new era has seen something completely different.  They have seen the emergence fo mass media as a major source of information for people of all ages.  The most prominent information of all the mass media is of sexual content.  Sex can be seen in any place and on every surface.  It is on billboards, radio stations, personal books, school books, magazines, peers, movies, songs, and the televisions.  American media are the most graphically violent and sexual suggestive in the world.  Adolescents are engaging in various sexual acts with numerous partners because of the influence the media has on them.  In comparison to generations previous to this mass media surfacing, adolescent minds were influenced by parents, peers and by the education system.,  The influence the mass media can have on the perception of love, romance and sex has morphed alongside the effects the media can have on this new generation of young adolescents.  The misleading portrayals of human sexuality in the media is having an effect of how adolescents view dating and what  a responsible sexual relationship should be like.

          Adolescents live in a world where they are surrounded by images, lyrics, and symbols of a sexual nature.  Now, more than ever sex is at its peak in the media.   The idea of sexual content in the media is not an idea that is just surfacing with this generation.  “Sexual content in mass media has been around as long as mass media itself,’’ Arizona State professor Mary-Lou Galician, a researcher, author and media literacy advocate says. “The difference is the proliferation of it. We live in a 24/7 media world now. Take, as an example, the exploitation of Britney Spears, who is literally pulling off her clothes during her performances. Her real talent lies in being an objectified image. And it is an image, by extension, of our country around the world.’’  With a click of a button or flip of a channel, adolescents can easily upload or witness acts of a sexual nature.  Commercials use seductive images, sounds, and music grabbing the attention of the audience.  Movies and television are proof of the sickness of sexual addiction in society.

           Joyce Garity, the author of the essay, “Is Sex All That Matters?” agrees by saying that magazines, “Although intended to be mainstream and wholesome, trumpet sexuality page after leering page.” Magazines, music videos, television shows, and movies essentially give a message to the viewer that sex to be should be spontaneous and free in order to be fulfilling. 

The average teenager watches television for about 23 hours a week.  Thus today’s youth is spending more time in front of the television in one week than they spend in school.   While watching television, he or she is exposed to many sexual innuendos in the shows that he or she watches.  As parents and facilitators are trying to fight against sexual activity at a young age, everything they say is being contradicted by the programming the American youth is watching on a daily basis.  Out of all of the homes in America 98% (Nielsen Media Research, 1998) of them have a television set available for family use.   L Goodstein and M. Connelly say that 66% of the children in these households have a television in their bedrooms.   Amongst these children most of them watch about a half an hour more television a day than the children without.   This is allowing them to watch more television and be exposed to materials children should not encounter.   According to Brown (1990), “Adolescents are hungry for sexual information. This is a time in their lives where the formation of a healthy, sexual identity is vital to the mental health.”  The message the media establishes is of carefree sex with numerous parneters is okay and no emotional or psychological damage follows this unhealthy was of life.   But in all reality, adolescencts with a thrist for information, are reaching a sexual maturity at an earlier age than ever before. 

According to the Committee on Communications American Academy of Pediatrics, “The Media rarely promote medically accurate and health-enhancing images (Brown and Steele, 1996) and often presnet an influential and consequence-free portrait of sexuality in which abstinence among adolescents is rarely presented in a positive light.”

The media is a cost effective way to reach people all over the world. We seek out entertainment and pay close attention. When an audience identifies with a role model, they will imitate their behavior.

Now, more than ever sex is at its peak in the media. In today’s society, the young are able to view sex in daytime television and learn from the promotion of sex in the media. 

Most teens learn about sex from their friends. In a survey four out of every five teens say that they learned about sex from their friends. Teens see their friends as the most accessible form of information, because they can learn from their past experiences.

 The common message of the media is that sexuality can transform the lives of ordinary people into an unrealistic, fantasy world. This “sexual overload” as Joyce Garity stated, “does affect young adults.” Parents are the only lines of defense against this problem. They have a tremendous influence in preventing their children from being swallowed up by the harmful, persuasive influence of the mass media. But parents do not always feel sufficient in providing information to their children. “Fischer (1986) suggested that some parents’ lack of knowledge about sexual and reproductive functioning also may keep them from discussing sexuality with their children.”

The promotion of safe sex is another concern that our society needs to deal with. Fewer than 175 of 15,000 annual sexual messages viewed by younger adults will discuss contraception or safe sex (John Hopkins). If children are already sexually active, their practices are unlikely to change based on new information given to them. “Despite the lack of evidence that any abstinence-only program has successfully reduced the rate of intercourse among adolescents, the federal government has given states more than $50 million to promote the idea that premarital sex cause physical and emotional harm.” Daley, 1997 p. 49

How is the message of abstinence ever going to out way the message that sex is an acceptable activity for the younger generations?   This is not something new to television for adolescents, but it is something that is getting progressively worse and more acceptable to the general public.   Alarmingly, the reality shows that are on television today are infused with unsuitable sexual connotations.   Even the commercials use sex as a way to sell their products, even for the simplest of items such as a soft drink. The most unsettling thing about the commercials is that they use sex to advertise for miscellaneous items, but people do not take advantage of them to try to educate the youth about abstinence or to explain contraception measures and protective measures.

It is sad to think that television and other sources of media at one time was so astounding, informative and so entertaining, are allowed to pollute the air waves with programming that is inappropriate for audiences and whose primary objective is to make as much money as possible.  What they need to start considerign is the nation’s most valuable resource and the most influential people of the future – its children and adolescents.





It’s that time of year again!  No, not the Super Bowl.  I’m not talking about Christmas.  I am talking about the greatest shopping holiday-after-a-holiday ever: Black Friday. 

My family has never done Thanksgiving the way everyone else does.  The whole family doesn’t get together and have a big dinner or anything.  My family is never even in the same state for Thanksgiving.  You see, every year over Thanksgiving, my dad and brothers drive out to Montana to hunt with my grandpa and other men in my extended family.  They go hunting for elk and stay in a cabin in the mountains.  It’s a tradition.  This leaves my mother, my sister, and myself, alone at home for the holiday. 

Thanksgiving Day always changes for us.  One year my grandma might have us over for lunch, the next year we might be staying the night in Grand Forks, ND and having fettuccini alfredo for dinner instead of turkey at the Blue Moose. 

“Come, Lord Jesus. Be our guest. Let these gifts to us be blessed. Amen.”   We are forever thankful for our family, but when it cannot be together, we learn to start our own tradition:  Operation save money and be done with ALL Christmas shopping.  Challenge Accepted.

Thursday, November 25, 2010: 

8:00 pm  Happy Thanksgiving!  The earliest store opens tomorrow at 12:00 midnight, but our first stop will be opening at 3:00 am.  This means we had better be outside those doors by 2:00 am if we want to get to the good stuff.  We’re pretty hardcore, so we decide to stay up and map out our plan of attack.

Friday, November 26, 2010:

1:00 am  It is 1:00 am and we are on the road.  It will take exactly 47 minutes to get to Grand Forks, ND if the weather cooperates.

2:00 am  It is butt-freezing cold outside and stores don’t open for another hour.  We wait outside in line with at least fifty other people.  We are hard-core.

3:00 am  Kohl’s opens its doors.

3:30 am  We run into Target.

4:00 am  We hit Macy’s

4:15 am  Sear’s

4:30 am  J.C.P!

5:15 am  We go to Victoria’s Secret and then Bath and Body Works.  There are so many people.  Almost every store in the mall has big signs that say “50% of everything in store!”  But that isn’t a part of the plan. 

5:45 am  Cabela’s.

6:10 am  We hit the wall.  We sit at a booth in Perkins, trying to figure out what to eat for breakfast, or dinner, or whatever.  We are too exhausted to be hungry, but we need strength for the hour drive ahead to get back home.  We are no longer on a time schedule.  We just need to fix our messed up sleep schedule. Sitting there like zombies, we wonder why we put ourselves through it. 

The truth is, this is our tradition.  We’ll be back next year!


My Obsession…

I have a confession.  It’s a little silly, but I get so excited about what I’m about to tell you that it makes me want to squeal with delight.  Seriously, I go hog wild.  I get about as happy as a pig in the mud.

…any ideas yet?

I absolutely 100% adore pigs.  But not just any pigs – Teacup Pigs.

Chris Murray introduced Teacup Pigs to Britain in 2006.  Before they hit big in popularity, Murray had named them Pennywell miniatures.    The pigs were so tiny at birth that they could fit inside of a teacup, hence why Murray changed the name to Teacup Pigs.

Teacup Pigs only grow to weigh about 65 lbs and a height of 12”-16” tall, as stated by Laura du Toit at  Some of them have been bred to be even smaller than that, about 15-29lbs.  Check out for ultra mini piggies.  Perfect for dorms, right?  I can only wish.  But one day when I get my own apartment or house, you better believe that I’m getting a Teacup Pig right away.  Well, as soon as I can manage anyways.  Even though the wee little piggies are cute and miniature, they carry along a huge price tag.  I’ve seen Teacup Pigs cost anywhere from around $1,000 to almost $6,000.

So what are the benefits from owning a Teacup Pig?  Because when I tell most people that I adore these fine little swine, they look disgusted.  The most common reaction is, “A pig…really…?  Aren’t pigs supposed to be gross and dirty?”

Nope.  According to the research I’ve done on the internet, apparently Teacup Pigs are supposed to be very clean.  And intelligent, adorable, mini-sized, etc. etc. etc.

One thing I’m not quite sure of is how healthy a miniaturized pig can be.   I’m not a scientist by any means, so that will be something I’ll check into when deciding to get my pig.

Plus there are so many different colors of Teacup Pigs I’ll take a very long time deciding.

I’m definitely not an expert on Teacup Pigs.  I just like them a lot and hope that one day I’ll have a little piggy to call my own.  And surprisingly, not too many people know about these miniature pigs.  I think a common misconception is that pigs are huge and disgustingly dirty.  But that’s not always the case.

Except for these messy little fellas.  But admit it, that’s CUTE.

So in case you’re looking for unique pet ideas, research Teacup Pigs.  Even though they’re a little pricey, I’m sure they are well worth it.


Bell Tower Blues

Concordia is a school that is rich in tradition. The traditions of the school are what make it everything that the college is today. Most football players are asked why they chose Concordia and the majority of the guys, including myself, will quickly point to the strong traditions of the college. I am personally a guy who is very big on tradition. I have many traditions and rituals that I follow in order to get myself through the many dreadful weeks of school. One tradition that I do weekly is a Monday conversation with my favorite campus security guard. Another is that after a long weekend of partying, I take a Sunday trip to Grand Junction to start my week off the right way.

Tradition is a big part of my life and I appreciate the sacredness of traditions, BUT there is one cobber tradition that really grinds my gears. This tradition is the alleged “Bell Tower Curse.” This curse is foolish and nonsense. I am okay with the chipper and super cheesy three day long freshman orientation; I wore my beanie with pride. I love it when the beast is unleashed at the annual homecoming bonfires. I cheer along loudly doing my part in unleashing the beast. But the idea that if a student decides to walk under the bell tower alone they will be doomed and never find love is preposterous.

I do not know much about love, my experience is very limited and has taught me that love just hurts, but I know there is more to it than that. I know that there is much joy brought to many people’s lives all across the world through this powerful emotion. I wanted some advice on love, and at a Lutheran school, what better place to look than the Bible. I figured that it could help shed some light on this situation. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” WOW! That is the love that I am looking for. But could something so patient and kind, so unproud and not easily angered really withhold itself from you just because you decide to walk under the bell tower alone? I do not think so. This tradition is false, and to prove it I have walked under the bell tower alone several times. Perhaps this is the reason I do not have a girlfriend :/.. But more likely it is a decision by choice. The bell tower curse is incorrect, contradictory to the entire belief system of our school, and it gives me the bell tower blues.
Ernie puttin it down