I got a call last week from a young lady named Christina McDaniel, a Winona State University student working for a WSU online publication called Winona 360. She wanted to talk about the blog and write a little something for their community newspaper found at www.winona360.org. Whooooooeeeee! That was exciting~
Now, first of all, when I say “young lady” I mean like younger then me, although I admit I was called “young lady” not very long ago when I was over at Watkins Manor, but the person who said it was probably about 100. Anywhoo… Christina is a journalism student who heard about the blog and we had a nice chat about my ramblings here.
But I was doubly excited about the interview because I think it just illuminates one of the things that is so great about Winona – our vibrant universities. Blessed by not one but two four-year institutions and one technical college, Winona is infused year round with youthful energy and the signs of it are everywhere, including Winona 360.
I had to admit I had no idea what Winona 360 was when Christina called, but I looked at the site after we were done and I have to say BRAVO! It is an enterprise that takes bright minds, curious souls and great writers and melds them together into a website that celebrates Winona much as this blog does. It is an online newspaper produced largely at the hands of journalism students, and I have to say it is constructed as well as professional enterprises I’ve seen, and in some cases better.
But we shouldn’t be surprised by this. Winona State University has a long history of elevating this community, and even owns a piece of the credit for making this town truly a great tourism destination.
Take, for example, the Great River Shakespeare Festival. It is a world-class festival that draws thousands each summer, but were it not for WSU’s Performing Arts Center we’d all be sitting on the grass in the park to watch these unforgettable plays. Can you imagine Hamlet’s gripping battle with Laertes and Claudius punctuated by the sound of a car horn somewhere and a gaggle of angry geese who want their grass back? Yeah.
Winona State, with its 8,600 or so students, can also take a lot of credit for the existence of hip little coffee shops like Blooming Grounds, Mugby Junction and Acoustic Cafe, for trendy pubs like Ed’s No Name Bar, and for the fact that you really can’t swing a stick in this town and not hit a great artist performing somewhere.
In fact, it would be pretty hard to imagine what this river town would look like without that beautiful campus and the vibrant energy that flows into Winona from it. So in case no one has told you lately, thanks, WSU, for helping make this town so awesome, and thanks, Winona 360, for helping to tell people about it.