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Celebrating student voices

By May 3, 2022September 16th, 2023No Comments

By Allison Campbell-Jensen

Student Advisory Board member makes a point

Richmond Kinney and Student Advisory Board member Srihita Raju

“Your voices really do matter in the Libraries,” Carissa Tomlinson, Director, Student Experience, Learning, and Outreach, told members of the inaugural Student Advisory Board on April 20.

While the crew had to move inside Walter Library to celebrate their year of suggestions and successes with a “picnic,” they had plenty to celebrate and much to reflect upon. They also offered their experiences with safety in the Libraries and around campus for all with Alfredo Hernandez Jr., head of Libraries’ safety and security efforts.

Made up of undergraduate students, the Student Advisory Board includes Madisen Rogers as “our honorary Student Advisory Board member” because she joined a little later in the school year. Tomlinson. added that she wanted everyone to know that, as members of SAB, each person has had an impact on U of M Libraries’ policies and practices.

The Student Advisory Board continues next academic year. As a few people are stepping off the board or graduating, Tomlinson points out that the Libraries is seeking new recruits to serve. Interested students (or faculty and staff with names to suggest) are encouraged to learn more about the SAB opportunity online — and to apply.

SAB members are influencers

Jakob and Madisen with Alfredo

Jakob Christopherson and Madisen Rogers with Alfredo Hernandez Jr., head of Libraries’ safety and security efforts.

SAB member Natalie Paulson, who formerly served the U community as a Peer Research Consultant, said: “My student group rents out the Toaster,” a space for entrepreneurship and gatherings in the basement of Walter Library. While she appreciates all the Libraries’ branches, she particularly likes the brand-new spaces occupied by the Health Sciences Library as study getaways.

Everything old has been new and exciting for Darby Ronning, who first encountered the treasures of the Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine while on a tour of the campus.

The Wangensteen Library was founded by outstanding U of M surgeon Dr. Owen Wangensteen, who was born in Minnesota in 1898, earned his M.D. at the U of M, and later led the Department of Surgery from 1930 to 1967. The library named for him continues to build upon his original collections of books, artifacts, and (one-time) ephemerals, with an additional, more recent focus on Asian ways of understanding health and medicine..

So far as a researcher and as a student employee, Ronning has completed one research project and one exhibit in her work at Wangensteen. Plus, she has found time to contribute to the Libraries through service on the SAB.

Wilson Library is a favorite for Jakob Christopherson to use. “I hang out there between classes, when I have a weird half-hour break.” He likes to find a spot where he can hide out and do some homework or just chill.

More of a coffee shop person usually, Madisen said she goes to the Libraries’ spaces “if I need to really concentrate.” She is a Libraries intern, through the MN Transform program, who focuses on social justice in the Libraries. After her term ends this summer, she may move to another city with her partner, as she explores options for her future.

“I’ll be paying my own bills,” she explains to Christopherson. “I’ll do what I want.” Whatever that ends up being, we have high hopes for her and the other members of the board. We can’t wait to hear more about the bright futures she and the other outstanding members of the SAB are anticipating.

Their futures may not be clear yet — but they appear bright for these talented, engaged young people.


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