The Free Press, Mankato, MN


November 30, 2012

Our View: The value of diversity

Thumbs up: To MSU for continuing to build a strong base of international students on campus.

Since 2005, international student numbers have grown from 447 to 768, ranking MSU 38th nationally for international student enrollment.

The university has become more active in recruiting international students. But the best recruitment tool remains word of mouth. International students attending MSU tell family and friends back home.

The fact international students feel they are welcome, embraced and that they are getting a good education is a positive reflection on MSU and the Mankato community.

International students and their families contributed an estimated $16.2 million to the Mankato economy during the 2011-2012 school year.

But it’s the diversity they bring to the community — a sharing of their cultures and experiences — that is most valuable to the Mankato area.


Erosion control efforts offer a good start

Thumbs up: To the efforts of the Nicollet County officials and local environmentalists who have established and erosion-control project at Seven Mile Creek.

The Friends of the Minnesota Valley and longtime area environmentalist Scott Sparlin working with the county have secured $80,000 from Minnesota’s Legacy Fund to set up a streambank erosion-control system that should prevent sediment from getting into the creek.

The system uses plastic liners along the steepest ravines and ditches that empty into the trout stream. The plastic liner, a product of SmartDitch, protects the bank by covering it but also allows water to flow slower through its deep ribs. Ground Zero Services of Courtland helped install the project.

About $8,000 of the fund will be used for the plastic liners, and the rest of the grant will be used for similar projects at Seven Mile Park and possibly some projects to limit runoff from agricultural land near the park.

The efforts of the volunteer groups working with business and government show projects like these don’t always have to involve setting up a new agency. Erosion is one of the most critical issues for the Minnesota River and it’s a credit to these groups that they are doing something about it.

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