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Battle the Homesick Blues

by Meghan O’Neal

You’ve moved into the dorms, said goodbye to your parents, and survived your first week of classes. After the whirlwind rush of the beginning of your new chapter in life, you finally have some time to wind down. And this is when the homesickness hits you like a toddler on roller skates.

Leaving home is hard, and whether you ventured to MSU alone or you came with a group of buddies,
sooner or later you’re going to ache for some sweet home cooking and a hug from mommy. It’s something everyone goes through after leaving home. When you start to feel down, here are some tips to keep the homesickness at bay.
Keep Busy
You’re in college, man. Left with no parents, no curfew, and a new sense of freedom, the only thing holding you back is your disturbingly light wallet. Never fear; the school provides more on-campus activities than you can possibly attend specifically designed to get you out of your dorm and meeting new folks. I know many of you may think that you’re too cool to attend an ice cream social in the basement of South Hedges. You’re not. Remember, the majority of the people in your dorms are looking for friends just like you. And what better way to meet someone than over a school-provided ice-cream sundae?
There are also many inexpensive activities off campus where you and your new ice-cream-social friends can go and get to know the town. Come to the Bozeman Bowl on Monday nights for cheap bowling and, for those of you over 21, cheap drinks. The place gets hopping, so be sure to get your lane early.

Explore Bozeman. You now live in the greatest town in the country. Get to know it. Don’t have a car? The Streamline Bus goes all over town and is completely free. And, of course, there is always the vast outdoor playground – and you don’t have to travel far to get there; the Main Street to the Mountains trails system is right off campus. Our motto isn’t “Mountains and Minds” just for kicks. Try a new outdoor adventure. The Outdoor Recreation Center offers rentals, classes, and general information on Bozeman’s outdoor activities. Drop by and try something new.

You do yourself no favors pining for home while drowning yourself in a bucket of half-melted Moose Tracks alone in your dorm. Get out, stay active, and you’ll soon forget all about your homesick woes.

                                                                Keep in Touch
Skype with family and friends to keep in touch

Now that you’ve established yourself in your new home, it’s important to keep in touch with those you’ve left behind. I’m not saying you should keep your nose attached to your phone while you text every kid you had a class with your senior year, but it’s important to maintain a connection with your besties back home. Plan group Skype dates once a week to swap college stories. Call your parents on the weekends to let them know what’ s going on. These connections are important and give you the boost you need in order to get through the week.

Keep Your Door Open

I know you’ve probably heard this from just about everyone, but there’s a reason. Keeping your door open shows that you’re willing to getto know your floormates. Remember, the majority of the people in your building are going through the same things you are: trying to meet new people, establishing their friend groups, and becoming comfortable with their environment. Don’t drop an opportunity to make a new friend. Even if you don’t become best friends with everyone who stops by, you will become more acquainted with the people you live with and gain a friendly reputation rather than getting a knock on your door because your RA hasn’t seen you in a few days.
Homesickness is difficult, and it’s okay to feel a little overwhelmed. You have to work hard in order to establish yourself and make Bozeman your home. Soon enough, you’ll find yourself pining for the Bridgersevery time you visit Mom and Dad, but until then, it’s okay to feel sad and scared and generally miserable. If you find your homesickness to be unbearable, there are resources to help. Visit the Counseling Center above Student Health Services. They provide free counseling for any student going through anything from slight homesickness to serious depression, so be sure to drop by whatever the need.

Hiking the ridge

Bozeman Slang

by Drew Pogge
Every town has a vernacular: a local lingo, idiom, or dialect.  For instance, in the Northeast, an ordinary ice cream cone is called a “creemie.”  Gross.  But Bozeman is no different and unless you want to sound like a creemie-slurping fool, study up before heading downtown.  Here are some terms you need to know.
Ridge Hippies earn their turns
Ridge Hippies—locally envied dirtbag ski bums who devote their entire lives to skiing Bridger Bowl’s famed steeps.  Also: sculpted, chiseled, and otherwise modified-looking hipsters who “fake bake” between yoga sessions and mugs of yerba mate at the Ridge Athletic Club.
Hunting Season—the specific time of the year in which it’s legal to kill some kinds of game animals.  In Montana, that time is, well, any time you want.
Bozeman Blight—a beloved part of northeast Bozeman that is undergoing large-scale renovation and improvement.  Also refers to the fact that the growing season for fruits and vegetables in Montana is approximately four days a year.
Cougar—a predatory cat native to the mountains of Montana.  Also, a predatory middle-aged women native to divorce courts, expensive rug galleries, and Plonk.

Downtown Bozeman
 
Downtown—in Bozeman, it’s the place to meet friends.  It’s also the title and infuriatingly redundant chorus of a 1965 “oldie” that radio DJs continue to play only because it’s fun to watch 
Belgradian—a resident of nearby Belgrade (also: Belgradite, Belgradonian, and “Mel”), and a blue-collar, beer-based beverage.
The Barmuda Trianglesounds like an area of the North Atlantic Ocean in which suspicious numbers of vessels and artcraft have vanished without a trace.  But it actually refers to the triangular configuration of the Molly Brown, Scoop Bar, and the Haufbrau, where suspicious     numbers of brain cells and inhibitions have vanished without a trace.

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Blue, Gold, and MSU Spirit

by Julie Kipfer

MSU has a loyal fan base of students, alumni, and friends in Bozeman and around the state. “Go Cats!” signs decorate businesses, MSU banners are displayed downtown, droves of people attend games, and everyone wears blue and gold on Fridays to express their MSU spirit.

The 2013 Gold Rush t-shirt design.
MSU’s colors—blue and gold—reflect our signature blue skies and golden sun. They elicit a sense of pride for everyone on campus, and serve as a rally point for Bobcat athletics.
“Our fan base has a huge impact on the Bobcats,” says Drew Ingraham, marketing director for Bobcat Athletics. “Players love to see fans getting into the game. And when they see the stands full of our school colors, they get energized.”
Wearing blue and gold is a symbol of pride and a simple way to unite students, faculty, staff, and community members. We wear our colors each Friday before a game day to show our spirit and support to our athletes.

Bobcat Spirit Checklist:
  • Get your Gold Rush shirt
  • Participate in homecoming activities
  • Attend any and all MSU athletic events
  • Give CHAMP a high-five
  • Take a friend to the game
  • Hike to the “M”
  • Join the SBC (Student Bobcat Club)
  • Send the family some MSU gear
  • Decorate your residence hall or apartment
  • Be a respectful fan!


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Frugal Fun in Bozeman

Big fun on a small budget.

Bozeman is an expensive place for college students—with so many yuppie tourist traps, it can feel impossible to do anything fun. With that in mind, we’ve gathered some of the best, most legitimate Montana activities that can be done for a very small dent in your bank account. Here’s a guide for a super fun day in Bozeman—for just $25.
BREAKFAST
On our small budget, it’s safe to say you should procure your own breakfast. How about that box of stale Lucky Charms sitting on your dresser? Mmm… tasty.
Price: Free!







ACTIVITIES
Weather permitting, there are several fun Bozeman things to keep you occupied for a minimal price. 
If it’s sunny, why not go bridge jumping? There’s a fantastic spot up Gallatin Canyon called Green Bridge that’s both deep and safe. Follow Hwy. 191 as it twists and turns through the canyon. Right before you hit Big Sky, you’ll see it on the right: it’s a green bridge with a nice parking lot on the other side of the river. (This is the trailhead for Deer Lake.) This spot is popular among the natives—be prepared to rub elbows and watch where you jump. 

Price: Free! (Gas will be about $7.)
If it’s cloudy or cold, why not hit up a museum? The Computer Museum south of the Fieldhouse is well-known nationally for its fantastic collection of all things computer. Admission is free but there is a suggested donation box. Another fantastic Bozeman museum is the Pioneer Museum right next to the courthouse downtown. This old building used to be the prison and there are plenty of stories of daring escapes and dangerous outlaws. 

Price: $0-5

LUNCH
Check out local eatery Bagel Works for some fresh and delicious bagels. They offer a spread of specialty cream cheeses and 14 different kinds of bagels. With bagels in hand, take a leisurely stroll over to Cooper Park and relax under the pine trees. Or if you’re feeling sporty, put your lunch in a pack and hike the M. When you get to the top, munch your lunch while surveying the beautiful Gallatin Valley.
Price: $2-5 depending on how fancy you’re feeling.

ON-CAMPUS OPTIONS
Head back to school to partake of some fun activities just a stone’s throw from your dorm, so you stumble home half-asleep when the day’s done.

MSU Rec Center

The Rec Center in the basement of the SUB has tons of fun activities discounted for students. Head downstairs for bowling, shuffleboard, or billiards. If you go during Happy Hour, Monday-Thursday 3-5pm, everything is discounted even more than before. 
Price: $4 bowling, $3.60 per hour for billiards and shuffleboard during happy hour.







Procrastinator Theater
After tiring out your arm bowling, walk upstairs to the Procrastinator. This student-run theater is a great place to enjoy movies at a fraction of the big-theater price. The new Procrastinator seats 200 people and has digital sound capabilities. It’s a great way to spend the evening of your super fun day.

Price: $2

Total: If you’ve done the most expensive things, this whole day still only cost $23. Bravo!

By now, you’re probably exhausted from all the fun you’ve had: go to the dining hall, pig out on the meal plan your parents paid for, and relax. College is about having the most fun you can in four years. Hopefully, today will go down in the books as one of the most fun—and possibly cheapest—days in your college career. 
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Bozeman by Bike

A sense of calm overtakes me as I pedal down the trail. Birds call to one another in the trees, a cool wind blows through my hair, and the scent of wildflowers fills the air. The stream trickling alongside the trail underscores the rhythm of my spinning wheels. It’s a beautiful summer day in Bozeman and I couldn’t have picked a better way to spend it.

A trail sign marking the way

This is what you get when take a ride on the Main Street to the Mountains trail system, 60-some miles of trails scattered across Bozeman proper. This massive network sprawls from the base of the Bridgers on the north side of town all the way to the foothills of the Gallatin Range to the south. And it’s all maintained by the Gallatin Valley Land Trust (GVLT), a local nonprofit dedicated to protecting and maintaining public-use land around Bozeman. These trails provide convenient transportation, recreation, and a connection to nature, which helps bind together the outdoor-oriented culture of southwest Montana. Besides establishing trails for public enjoyment, GVLT’s mission mirrors Bozemanites‘ passion for getting involved and supporting their community, as much of their success relies on the hard work of volunteers to continue its trails program.

The Langohr climbing boulder 

Because they pass through neighborhoods and commercial districts, the Main Street to the Mountains trails comprise a scattered and intermittent system. In some places, sidewalks and short jaunts connect the gaps; look for the signs marking re-entry (see picture above). The trails are also broken up into named sections, which you’ve probably heard people talk about: Peets Hill, the Gallagator, Sourdough. The trails are used by all kinds of people in the community: runners, hikers, bikers, climbers, kids, young people, old folks, and of course the ubiquitous Bozeman dogs. No motorized vehicles allowed, so you’re guaranteed a relatively quiet and relaxing experience. Mostly flat, this trail system is suitable for everyone, and if it’s biking you’re after, any old bike will do—no fancy equipment needed.

Being new to Bozeman, I’d been told to pay extra attention to traffic and other hazards; but these trails allow me to travel all over town without having to worry too much about cars.

I needed a rest,  and so did my partner

Although it’s pretty routine for Bozemanites, a day on the Main Street to the Mountains trail system is an “adventure” for me – I’m from Malaysia and had never done anything like this before. I was nervous and excited and all I carried with me was the new GVLT trail map.  My starting point was the near the Museum of Rockies; it that took a while to figure out where the entry was, because the sign is different from the standard one. Luckily, a biker came out from the trail and I knew I was on the right track. I took the trail south, made a turn, biked north to the Bozeman Public Library, turned south again, and finished up at the MSU campus. (See the map below for the full route.)

Although I got turned around a few times due to missing trail signs, I managed to catch all the trails—with the help of my map and some friendly joggers. I was so grateful to one helpful girl, I wanted to give her flowers; but GVLT’s trail safety and etiquette guide discourages the plucking of these beautiful plants. Which is good, as the pretty wildflowers are one of the most enjoyable sights while walking or biking along the trails.

Another interesting aspect of this trail system is how it traverses local neighborhoods, which made me feel like I was constantly crossing the divide between civilization and nature.

One of the many pretty scenes

The most striking aspect of my ride was the quietude—I felt so peaceful and relaxed. Most of the sounds come from nature: flowing creeks, chirping birds, buzzing insects, and leaves rustling in the breeze. Still, the occasional encounters with other trail users made me feel safe. When I needed a rest, I lounged on one of the many benches alongside the trails and enjoyed the sights and sounds of nature.

Throughout my day’s journey, I not only got myself outside for fresh air and exercise, but I also learned a lot more about Bozeman—its people, its geography, and its natural environment. It taught me that Bozeman is a unique place with its strong connection between community and nature. I can’t wait to do it again.

Biking the Main Street to the Mountains trail system is a great opportunity to explore Bozeman and remove yourself from the busy world. If you’re up for a relaxing, educational, and inspiring in-town adventure, grab your bike and hit the trail. You’ll be glad you did.

My journey along the Main Street to the Mountains trails

I highly recommend the above map for any trail user, and it’s available for only $2 at GVLT’s website and at local retailers. Check out the video below to get a full rundown on this map. For more information on trails around Bozeman, read these articles on the Outside Bozeman website.

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Celebrating Bozeman

by Meghan O’Neal

If there’s one thing Bozemanites love, it’s having a good time. Whether we’re adventuring outside, kicking back with friends, or taking in the simpler things in life, we know how to enjoy what life has to offer.Bobcat Fest perfectly reflects this Bozeman attitude.
 
Celebrating the last day of classes and the start of summer, MSU students and members of the Bozeman community came together this Friday for a fun-filled party in the street.
 
The weather could not have been better for an block-party type event. Bobcat Fest attendees dug their shorts and sandals from the back reaches of their closets to enjoy one of the first true spring days Bozeman has had this year. Bozemanites wandered around picking up swag from various booths, meeting up with friends, dancing in the streets, and standing in mile-long lines for free hot dogs and hamburgers.
Immediately I was drawn to the music coming from the stage set up at the end of the street where Cure for the Common provided the entertainment. Everyone—from older folks to the tiniest dancers—played in the streets, saying goodbye to the winter blues and welcoming the summer sun. The area in front of the stage was thick with crowds, but it didn’t matter—the party was everywhere.
The entire crowd felt the pain of the pizza-eating contestants as they bravely crammed giant pizzas down their throats. When time was called, the agony was clearly etched on their faces as they attempted to keep the pizza safely in their stomachs. None of the contestants succumbed to the massive amounts of pizza and spared the audience of a disgusting food reappearance, though the water guzzling and dry heaving made that option questionable.

Montana State University and Bozeman work together to create a larger community that benefits both students and locals alike. Bobcat Fest allows everyone in Bozeman to celebrate that union, as well as setting the atmosphere for summer in Bozeman. As a precursor to summer events such as  Music on Main, Bobcat Fest brings the community together after a long, cold winter.


For more photos, visit the Downtown Bozeman Facebook page.

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It’s a Wheel Steal!

by Meghan O’Neal

It’s springtime in Bozeman, which means Bozemanites everywhere are putting away the ski gear and dusting off the old bikes—or if you aren’t lucky enough to possess wheels of your own, wishing you had an old bike to dust off. If you’re looking to trade in your old bike for something fancier, or if you want a new, inexpensive ride,now is the time to make those dreams come true.
 
Bike Swap
The annual Gallatin Valley Bike Club Bike Swap is happening this Saturday, April 20, at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds. Drop off your used gear on Friday between 4-7pm; there is a $1.00 consignment fee per item, and 15% of the sale goes to the Gallatin Valley Bike Club, a local non-profit which works to provide activities for cyclists around Bozeman. An appraiser will be available to help price your gear. Sale hours on Saturday are 8-9am for volunteers and Gallatin Valley Bike Club members only, 9-11:45am for the public, and 12-1pm for the discount sale period. Whether you want to purchase a bike at a ridiculously low price, or need to get rid of old gear, the bike swap is an event you don’t want to miss. Contact [email protected] for more information.
Want an inexpensive bike while supporting a local cause? The Bozeman Bike Kitchen devotes itself to providing simple transportation to all members of the Bozeman community. Bozeman hosts a thriving bike culture, and the Bike Kitchen believes that everyone in Bozeman deserves a bike. The organization fixes old bikes and gives them away to those who need them. Donations, old bikes and parts, and volunteers are always welcome. Bike Kitchen volunteers work for free bikes and parts, depending on how many hours they put in. Some bikes are also available for sale. The Bozeman Bike Kitchen is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-8pm, and they can be reached at 852-2096.
If neither one of these deals work for you, there is always the trusty thrift store. Bozeman has a plethora of these bargain meccas scattered around town, and you’re sure to find a steal of a deal for your new-used wheels. Second Wind Sports provides gently used sporting goods at reasonable prices. Pawn Depot/Nu2u also provides good finds. It may take some digging, but when you find a deal here, you’ll feel like you’re stealing. Their selection changes daily, so if you don’t find what you need today, be sure to check back later!
Whether you’re a poor college student or a strong member of the community who wishes to give a little of your time, Bozeman offers a variety of awesome bike deals and donations. Join the barrage of Bozeman bikers and steal some wheel deals today!

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Quick Credits

Campus on a warm summer day

Four reasons to stay in school this summer
by Sarah Canfield

Most college students cringe when they hear the words “summer” and “school” in the same sentence. Summer break is, after all, a break—time to chill out and forget about the demanding load of schoolwork from the past year. But before you decide to sleep in and screw off for three months, allow me to explain how earning a few extra credits this summer may be a good idea after all—and how it’s not nearly as unpleasant a prospect as it seems right now.

Nature: the original classroom

1) MSU’s summer session offers unique and interesting courses, many of which integrate extensive field time into the curriculum. Geology, botany, and fish & wildlife management are just a few classes that offer academic credit and immersion in southwest Montana’s natural environment—which is one of the reasons you chose Montana State, right?

Recovery is possible

2)  Spend a little too much time on the slopes this winter? Use summer classes to bolster your grade-point before fall semester rolls around. With a little dedication, in a scant six weeks you can restore that parent-approved GPA you enjoyed before your wayward attempt to minor in skiing.

3) Plan to stay in town and work? Maybe, but maybe not -Bozeman’s the fastest growing city in Montana and the job market is tight. Consider opting out of the seasonal job searches and take the fast track to a degree (and a real job). Taking just a couple classes each summer session can bump that spring graduation to fall. This would conveniently allow you to have a degree under your belt—or should we say helmet—right about the time the chairlifts at Bridger and Big Sky start running.
Summertime and the livin’ is easy
4) Fall semester can be hectic, especially your first couple years. Taking a few choice credits in the summer can ease you into the academic environment more slowly, improve your study skills, and give you a jumpstart on fall coursework. Campus is less crowded and there’s a laid-back vibe that makes the whole process that much more tolerable.

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Takin’ A Break

by Meghan O’Neal

Upcoming finals mean endless days in the library pulling your hair out, subsisting primarily on energy drinks and protein bars, and attempting to keep it all together as you pull your third all-nighter this semester. With insanity ready to take hold at any moment, you must never underestimate the power of a quick study break. Try out these quick and easy study breaks within walking distance from campus that afford sure-fire cures to the study blues and bring you back to the grind with new motivation.

Procrastinator Theatre
Living up to its name, the Procrastinator provides inexpensive entertainment for a quick respite. Missed a movie in the theaters? This theater, located on the second floor of the SUB, usually shows films recently released to DVD at only $2 a ticket. Films are played daily (except Wednesdays) at 6:30 and 9pm. Call 994-5827 for show listings.

You don’t have to go far to ease your studying pain. Pop on down to the first floor of the SUB to enjoy a game of billiards, bowling, or shuffleboard with a few of your friends. Or, kick back and watch a show on one of their big-screen TVs. You can also rent a Play Station 3 by the hour. Hanging with a few of your peeps with some friendly competition will take your mind off the books for a while, and after an hour the stack of homework won’t seem so daunting.

Hosaeus Fitness Center

Exercise fuels mental activity, so if you find yourself in a study rut, MSU’s fitness center offers a wonderful way to rid yourself of excess energy and give your noggin a rest. With so many activities to choose from, such as a climbing wall, racquetball, ping pong, basketball courts, a swimming pool, exercise machines, and more, both workout junkies and those less inclined towards intense exercise (myself included) will find something that suits their fancy.

Museum of the Rockies

A study break does not always mean a break from learning. Be sure to check out the new Taylor Planetarium at the Museum of the Rockies. With state-of-the-art technology, the recently renovated Planetarium brings their celestial productions to a higher level. You can also visit rotating exhibits such as the current Rainforest Adventure (through May 5), or enjoy old favorites, like the Siebel Dinosaur Complex. 


Hike Peets Hill
As spring rolls around, it becomes more and more difficult to remain inside and attempt to put a dent in the schoolwork load. So, why should you? Bozeman offers a variety of quick hikes and trails in town! Just a quick walk off-campus, hiking Peets Hill presents an easy little jaunt and rewards hikers a beautiful view of Bozeman. Drop the books and enjoy the teasing sunny spring days Bozeman sporadically provides. The directions are easy enough; continue east on Grant (in front of the SUB) until you reach the trailhead located at Grant and Willson.
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Bug Appetit!

by Brian Varner

Most of us would only consider eating insects in two scenarios:lost  in the woods and starving to death, or rip-roaring drunk and on a dare. But as our culture becomes increasingly aware of the damage caused by commercial food production, we’re constantly challenged to seek out sustenance that’s produced more responsibly and closer to home.

And if good taste, nutritional value, and ecological sustainability are among the primary considerations of your food selections, the source may be all around you.

At MSU’s 25th annual Bug Buffet last week, informative presentations accompanied by samples of locally produced honey demonstrated the crucial role and benefits of bees, while MSU Catering Services presented appetizers, entrees, and desserts offering varying degrees of indulgence to the adventurous eaters in attendance.

The Galleria Cocktail (pictured at left), featuring “land shrimp”—which have more protein, calcium, iron, zinc, thiamine,  and riboflavin per serving than beef rib roast—was a particularly eye-catching option, and the well-received quesadillas, stir fry, fritters, and desserts made less conspicuous use of insect ingredients.

“I wouldn’t know what I was eating,” said one surprised diner. “It tastes really good.” This unexpected approval was the general consensus by all those in attendance.

For more information about edible insects, visit http://www.foodinsectsnewsletter.org.