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Gus’s Travels: St. Olaf College

‘Gus’s Travels’ is an ongoing series of articles written by sophomore The Fourth Crown contributor Gus Andersson. Gus spends one day each week at a different Minnesota college, bringing back insights on the cultural and educational differences between Gustavus and the week’s institution.

Week 1: Bethel University

Week 3: University of St. Thomas


Travels into Several Remote Campuses of the State. In Several Parts. By Gus Andersson, First a Gustie, and then an Explorer of Several Schools

St. Olaf College

Northfield, MN, May 2, 2014

It has indubitably been a rendezvous to remember here St. Olaf College! I disembarked from my ’96 Ford Fiesta near 9:00 in the morning, after encountering a most obdurate constable of the St. Olaf Department of Campus Safety, David H. Anderson. The gentleman stopped me due to the pitiable appearance of my vehicle, wondering what business the driver of such a proletarian automobile had on the windmilled, hallowed ground of jolly St. Olaf. After slipping into a Ralph Lauren cardigan to ensure the protector of pomp of my suitable fiscal background, I was allowed to enter campus; though my economy-class vehicle was towed to a detainment lot for non-BMWs/Lexi near the windmill.

Once on campus, I stopped to take a photograph of the windmill before sauntering to the Stav Hall refectory for a breaking of the fast. I supped on a light meal of smoked Norwegian salmon and capers on a bed of foie gras while reading a pamphlet about the college’s windmill. I then had the pristine pleasure of encountering sophomore student and Mathematics Major David M. Anderson, a schoolmate of mine from our Breck years and an ardent windmill enthusiast. David invited me to tag along to his Abstract Algebraics II course in the new windmill-powered Regents Hall of Natural and Mathematical Sciences. The third floor classroom presented a bucolic view of the college’s windmill. Though I was frequently overwhelmed throughout Professor David K. Andersson’s thrilling lecture on comparative analytics, the recurring pauses to remind the pupils of the prestige of the Department of MCS and the wind power that facilitates its excellence gave me time to get a taste of the theoretical basis behind this posit:

“If a 5’6 St. Olaf student attempts to walk through a 7’0 x 4’0 hallway after receiving a compliment (at t=0), at what point will his/her inflated head make contact with the wall?”

After leaving Regents, I dropped in Tomson Hall to call on the Department of Admissions for a tête-à-tête with a counselor. During my consultation with loquacious St. Olaf alumnus Dave R. Anderson, I listened in awe to a surfeit of information regarding the history, quantity, and quality of the limestone used in campus buildings. Intriguingly, the St. Olaf windmill is the only turbine in the country to be constructed entirely of limestone.

Following the two-hour-long presentation on limestone, windmills, and the limestone windmill, Mr. Anderson escorted me to a St. Olaf Choir concert in Boe Memorial Chapel. On the walk, I inquired about any athletic events on campus I might spectate that evening. The question seemed to have confused Mr. Anderson, who instead started rattling off the assorted vocal ensembles on campus.

The thunderous ovation from the audience as the famed St. Olaf Choir took the stage for their performance was immediately followed by a standing ovation from the audience celebrating their arrival on stage. After this 40-minute ovation, the choir took their final bows, and left to the sounds of the unremitting ovation.

The beloved campus windmill, which is primarily powered through hot air escaping the enlarged crania of the student body.

The beloved campus windmill, which is primarily powered through hot air escaping the enlarged crania of the student body.

Unfortunately, this outing was unable to present the archetypal St. Olaf weekend experience—all campus housing was closed for the weekend to allow the student body to attend spring Homecoming Weekend at Edina High School.

After a final period of reflection on the mysteries and grandeur of the campus windmill, I stopped in the St. Olaf Bookstore to purchase a keepsake of my time on campus. However, I foolishly neglected to prepare for the college’s firm policy of not tendering bills under $50. Dejectedly, I went across the way to purchase a consolatory slice of pizza from the student-run Lion’s Pause, but failed to meet the minimum BAC of 0.10 required for purchase.

Departing my Olaf outing with naught but a handful of brochures of windmills and blonde women in choir robes, I had time to cogitate on the differences between the institutions of Gustavus Adolphus and St. Olaf Colleges. Since my return to our hill, I have experienced a newfound burst of pride in our college’s values of modesty, frugality, and shutting the fuck up about alternative energy sources.

Make sure to join me again next week to read about my trip to St. Thomas University in St. Paul, MN!

This series is inspired by Jonathan Swift’s classic, Gulliver’s Travels.

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