The Winonan

Augsburg University students stop in Winona on canoe trip

Jorge Ornelas, Features Reporter

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Aug. 24 marked the fourth launch of Augsburg University’s semester on the river. Augsburg has given students the opportunity to spend a semester on the Mississippi River to learn and experience the nature and history of the river.

Students attending this semester range from sophomores to seniors. All the students are in canoes paddling towards Memphis, Tennessee. The journey will take 100 days to complete. Students are enrolled in communication, history or environmental classes depending on their major. Professional staff and university faculty also assist the students.

As the students travel down the river, stopping only to camp, they visit different organizations and facilities such as the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Pathology Lab and the National Eagle Center. On these stops students are able to learn about the Mississippi’s importance to the environment and culture around.

Due to weather, the students had to face constant storms and even a broken canoe. They arrived on Sept. 9 to Winona, setting camp at Prairie Island campgrounds. Faith Moua, a sophomore; Rosario Gail Garcia Bartolo, a junior; and Dwayne Williams, a senior, are students on the trip who spoke about their experiences.

Bartolo explained how the students were divided into fractions and each fraction has a certain duty.

“I know it sounds cheesy, but I really have enjoyed the people on this trip, I didn’t think I would become good friends with them,” Bartolo said.

Faith added, “Last night, my group had to cook dinner and some of us are not used to tasks like that, and we messed up the dinner. We had no other choice but to eat the very, very buttered noodles we had made, and everyone ate it, I think it was because we had nothing else and we were starving.”

Each canoe carries four members, various equipment and each member is required to paddle, but not all students “pull their weight,” as Williams explained.

“Like man we are a team, and if everyone pulled their weight, some things could be different. I know that we just started, but you could really tell when someone really doesn’t want to help,” Williams said.

From bucket showers to setting up camp, these students will continue their trip to Memphis, in the most adventurous way possible. Learning the importance of the Mississippi River and its impact, these students will live along the river until the end of November.

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Augsburg University students stop in Winona on canoe trip