Tag Archives: MSU Mankato

Art for Social Change at MSU Mankato

By Maria Ortiz

Art can be an important part of civic engagement. It can shape or clarify our understanding, beliefs, and attitudes.  At Mankato State University, professors Mathew Willemsen and Harlan Bloomer ask students in their courses to work on practical projects that could be utilized in local or national campaigns on a variety of issues.

Students design logos or images as well as motion graphic campaigns that utilize their skills as visual communicators to effect change in our society or to portray specific messages (see examples in the slide show below). Here are links to three examples of motion graphic campaigns created by MSU students 1 | 2 | 3.

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There are over 100 design majors and a motivated AIGA student group. If organizations need assistance in developing print collateral material they can contact Professor Willemsen at matthew.willemsen@mnsu.edu.


Band Formed at MSU has Roots in Community Engagement

By Maria Ortiz

Parallax is a popular independent Indie/Hip Hop band that has been described as a gritty, funky, mid-western take on urban rock. The band formed in 2005, while its members were students at Minnesota State University, Mankato (MSU). They include: Chance York, from Minneapolis, Tyler Jensen, from Minnetonka, Marcus Skallman, from Chanhassen, and Eric Burton, from Maple Grove. The band’s lyrics are relatable, speaking to a broad range of personal life experiences about family and relationships, to the betterment of the world.

On Sunday, April 25, 2010 Parallax will partner with the Minnesota Alliance with Youth for a Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) event at Mall of America. GYSD is an annual campaign that celebrates and mobilizes millions of children and youth in the effort to improve their communities each day of the year through service and service-learning. Established in 1988, GYSD is the largest service event in the world and is now celebrated in over 100 countries.

Parallax seems to be the most socially aware band I have ever met. Every band member has been involved in some sort of service or volunteerism in the past and plans to be involved in the future. Whether through their congregation, school, or on their own, these individuals see the benefit in doing something for someone else or something else. Marcus describes service as, “something you feel passionate about, a selfless act.”

Chance was an AmeriCorps member involved in the Reading Corps where he worked at the Nellie Stone Johnson Community School (K-8) in North Minneapolis. He also studied abroad in Mexico and Ecuador where he was able to help youth with their homework and English skills.

Growing up Tyler was involved in Tree House a faith based, non-profit organization that provides the space to have fun, meet friends, discover faith, overcome pain, serve others, and be empowered to succeed. While at MSU Tyler also took Graphic Design courses that involved service-learning. He was able to use his talents to design posters and images as advertisement for several non-profits in the Mankato area.

Marcus has taught affordable drum lessons to youth and given free lessons to those who were not able to afford lessons. He also plans to continue this in the future.

Eric is passionate about service and its importance both in terms of personal development and as a form of education, with its ability to reach individuals with multiple styles of learning. Eric described service-learning as an exciting way to engage youth and get them involved in different and creative ways. While attending MSU Eric helped to initiate a cooperatively operated bike shop open to students and residents in Mankato. The shop focuses on fixing bikes, bike safety, and cycling awareness. In Eric’s words, this was an opportunity for “an exchange of knowledge.”

Being involved in GYSD is an opportunity that Parallax sees as a chance to share their creativity, their talents, and their art. Seeing as this is a new audience for Parallax they only hope that they inform and inspire others as well as act as positive representatives of their trade. These people, Chance, Tyler, Marcus and Eric are more than just band members; they are living examples of passion. As they develop their music to reach out to all ages and demographics, they also reach out to help others realize their talents and passions. They are simply good people.