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UWRF receives grant for theory project

November 9, 2006

The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) recently awarded UW-River Falls with a $10,000 program startup grant as a part of its Bringing Theory to Practice Project at colleges and universities across the country. According to the AACU Web site, the project aims to explore and promote how engaged forms of learning requiring active student involvement and reflection contribute to the resiliency and health of students. In order to secure the program startup grant, two UWRF staff members applied for a $2,500 mini-grant. Terry Brown, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Alice Reilly-Myklebust, director of Student Health Services and Counseling Services, co-authored a proposal for the mini-grant, which was offered last fall through the AACU. Also included with the mini grant was a $2,000 institutional enhancement grant, which was used to purchase copies of a book coauthored by Harvard University professor Richard Kadison, titled, “College of the Overwhelmed: The Mental Health Crisis and What to Do About It.” The books were used in addition to the $2,500 mini-grant to run two discussion groups that talked about students’ mental health issues, which were facilitated by UWRF psychology professor Brad Caskey. Groups included students, faculty, staff, community members, public health officials and police officers. A portion of the mini-grant was also used to host Kadison, who is chief of Mental Health Services at Harvard University, on the UWRF campus last January. Kadison used the topics covered in the discussion groups as a springboard to address members of the UWRF community about the effects of mental health issues on college students, as well as possible ways to remedy the problems.

Student wins award for work in district

A UW-River Falls freshman received national recognition at the National FFA Convention held Oct. 25-28. Amy Robak, a conservation major from Foley, Minn., was named the national winner in the area of Environmental Science and Natural Resource Entrepreneurship-Placement. This award was presented to Robak because of her progress for the past two years working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) within the Benton County Soil and Water Conservation District. In these two short years, Robak went from overshadowing others, sorting papers and filing to working one-on-one with landowners developing nutrient management plans. Two years later, Robak has used Arc-view software to lay out different conservation practices, performed irrigation pivot checks, taken soil and manure samples, scouted crops, performed tree flagging, planned and installed new shelterbelts, and evaluated drainage ditches. She will be working with the NRCS during semester break and spring break before going full time in the summer.

Family to perform native songs, dances

Fast Horse, a Minnesota-based Lakota performing family, is the next act in the Wyman Series at 8 p.m. Tuesday in the North Hall Auditorium. Skillfully interweaving story, music and dance with history and present perspectives, the Fast Horses entertain and educate audiences of all ages. The performance is free for UWRF students, $5 for adults and $3 for individuals 18 and under. Tickets are available at the door beginning at 7 p.m. Fast Horse performs the Northern Plains Traditional Woman’s Dance, the Stomping Buffalo Dance, the High-Flying Eagle Dance and the Roving Round Dance, as well as a mixed array of rare and common Native American songs and dances. Tribal people around the world have always expressed their subconscious through song and dance by bringing their dreams into reality by painting, sculpting, beading, singing and dancing. As accomplished dancers and singers, Fast Horse preserves their heritage through the old ways of their culture. The Wyman Series is sponsored by the UWRF Student Entertainment and Arts Committee and the Diversity Awareness Committee, both part of the Leadership Development and Programming Board. Funding for the series is provided by segregated student fees. For more information, contact Student Services and Programs at 715-425-4444.

Courts sentence former RF man for rape

In a decision released Nov. 2, a state appeals court upheld a former River Falls man’s conviction and sentence for raping and holding a young woman against her will. Joseph P. Hipler, now 24, is serving a 10-year prison sentence at Stanley Correctional Institution. He was convicted of one count of first-degree sexual assault and one count of false imprisonment for events that occurred March 29, 2003 in River Falls. According to reports, the woman, who lived in the same building as Hipler, came to his apartment to help clean up after a party held the night before. The two and another man had drinks and talked about going to another party. The woman testified that Hipler threatened her and her family, dragged her back to his apartment, held a gun to her head and then held her down and raped her. She reported the attack about a week later. Following a two-day trial, a Pierce County jury found Hipler guilty. Judge Robert Wing sentenced him to 10 years in prison followed by 10 years extended supervision on the rape count and three years in prison and three years extended supervision on the false imprisonment count.

Student named National Beef Ambassador

UW-River Falls freshman Londa Johnson was recently named the fourth place National Beef Ambassador. Johnson also received a $250 scholarship. She competed in the national competition held in Minneapolis in October after being named the Minnesota Beef Ambassador last fall in conjunction with the Minnesota Beef Expo. More than 20 other state beef ambassadors competed for five national ambassador spots. The contestants were judged on a five to six-minute speech and a one-on-one interview with a panel of judges. As a National Beef Ambassador, Johnson will travel the country promoting agricultural as well as the beef industry.  Johnson is majoring in dairy science with a pre-vet option hoping to one day be a large animal veterinarian.

Briefs compiled by Leah Danley