Smiles replace stress at pre-finals celebration

by Jenniffer Wise

It was the lull before the storm.
To give students a chance to relax one last time before finals next week, the Minnesota Student Association and the Coffman Union Program Council Friday brought comedy, reggae, bluegrass and judo to the first annual End of the Year Celebration at Coffman Union.
Program Council adviser Rachel Leatham said the celebration is intended to bring diverse communities together in a casual atmosphere.
Chad Taylor juggled chainsaws while the Africana Student Cultural Center barbecued, and the Judo Club practiced on mats in the sun for more than 100 people. Urban Renewal and Tamu Tamu played music at dusk and the movie “Weird Science” was shown in the CMU Theatre to end the evening.
“Everyone must laugh,” said event participant Stan Hollman. “If we walk around frowning, we’ll get all wrinkled.”
Kristin Westholm, an elementary education junior, held a carrot in her mouth while Taylor sliced it with his “razor-sharp knives of death.”
“If you see a chainsaw coming for your head, you will want to run for it because there’s two more coming behind it,” said Taylor, who juggled three chainsaws.
The University YW handed out flyers on sweatshop labor and political prisoners.
“With more focus on getting a job, we go into the world without knowing what the world is,” said Angie Anderson, a College of Liberal Arts senior. Next year’s Program Council President Michael Holland, who organized the event’s two bands, said it was good to see people relax.
However, by evening, when the two bands performed, the number of participants dwindled to about 10.
It was hard performing to the small crowd, said Urban Renewal guitarist Ed Munafo, who added he was happy to give something back to the University.
Tamu Tamu rhythm guitarist Yusef Shalita said the campus has so many activities going on that if a band catches a few ears, it is doing well.
“Even if there’s no people, I’m happy for the few we have so they can hear a different style of music,” said Siama Katuzungidi, lead guitarist. “Music goes down in the winter, but in the summer everything is alright.”

— Staff Reporter Ken Eisinger contributed to this report.