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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Emma Edelen

Questions, answered by Grange

What is the focus of your organization?

The Grange is a national organization that has a broad range of focuses in each community, but our chapter focuses on bettering our community both on campus and in the Greater Mankato area. One event that we are doing monthly is a Park Pick-Up and Potluck which has numerous benefits to the community – we clean up an area (a different park every month) as well as provide a place for people to get together and enjoy each other’s company without wifi!

When did your organization start on our campus? How many members do you currently have?

Our President, Emma, had been dreaming of bringing a Grange chapter to MSU since she started here in 2013 because she missed the sense of community that her Grange back home provided. We talked about it extensively, held informal meetings in January of 2016 and became a Recognized Student Organization. In September of 2016 we were re-chartered through the National Grange and we have officially been recognized as a Collegiate Grange – only the second in existence currently.

How often do you meet? What offices do you offer within the chapter?

We hold meetings monthly as well as park clean-up events and additional community projects throughout the semester. Our offices include the standard President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer as well as Steward, Assistant Steward, Lady Assistant Steward, and three Graces (Flora, Pomona, and Ceres). These positions are all traditional to the Grange and have a 150 year history of particular responsibilities. We would be glad to explain any of these if you are curios! Feel free to come to a meeting or one of our events.

What are your goals?

The goal of the Minnesota State Mankato Grange is to improve our community through service, education, and networking. The Grange has a deep tradition of fighting for equal rights and this organization was founded with the notion that having women in office was a necessity, which is why 4 of the offices of a Grange chapter must be held by women. Each Grange chapter has local goals as well as national directives and our Grange is highly focused on being involved in the community and encouraging students at MSU to be active in the betterment of their local area.

What impact do you want to have on society/individuals?

Locally we provide opportunities for students and community members to serve their community with events such as Park Pick-up and Potluck as well as hosting food drives and card making events. On a state and national level the Grange offers resources for learning effective ways to lobby and a platform to voice opinions on issues that are important to members. There is a lobbyist in Washington D.C. employed by the Grange and any issue that is pushed through the local, state, and then national level is able to be presented in a professional and meaningful manner that elicits an actual response from elected representatives. The Grange is non-partisan, so any issue that a local Grange feels is important is equally as likely to be presented.

What is the greatest achievement your organization has received?

Being recognized and chartered by the National Grange is the greatest distinction our RSO has had so far, but we do not perform acts of service in search of recognition – our greatest accomplishment will always be bettering our community.

Has your organization created awareness? And for what?

Our organization has lecturer programs which are to provide educational, fun, or talent oriented programs that are individualized to each Grange. These programs are to promote awareness and self-reflection of one’s character and talents. The lecturer programs can range from backyard chicken keeping to groundwater awareness or can be more entertainment or craft based. Each lecture program is different and all are open to the campus and the community.

How do you join?

All of our events are open to anyone on campus or in the community, but becoming a recognized member of the Grange means committing to attending meetings each month as well as paying small annual dues to help support the local, state, and national chapters. All students are welcome to join our OrgSync and can like our Facebook page to keep informed about our events and meetings.

Why should someone want to join your organization?

The Grange is a wonderful way to promote positive change in your local community as well as network throughout the country. There are many opportunities in Grange to better yourself through leadership, public speaking, education, and involvement. While our chapter is a collegiate Grange but the Grange also has junior programs as well as young adult and adult programs. People of any age will find a way to better themselves and become more involved in their community by joining the Grange.