Celebrating Community with St. Paul

Rosanne-Bump-w-VulcansIf you were planning a pull-out-all-the-stops, 10-day, outdoor party in January for thousands of your friends, where would you hold it? The Caribbean? Arizona? Of course not! You’d plan it in St. Paul, Minnesota! And you’d call it the St. Paul Winter Carnival.

Rosanne2Planning events like the St. Paul Winter Carnival is what Rosanne Newville Bump ’92 does for a living as President and CEO of the Saint Paul Festival & Heritage Foundation—with support from the community, of course—and from plenty of volunteers, who work tirelessly behind the scenes. Honored to be part of the festival’s history, Bump loves brainstorming regularly about what “fun factors” to add to the next year’s event. For example, this year’s event included three parades, a half marathon, an ice- and snow-carving competition, the country’s largest jigsaw puzzle competition, and an outdoors Birthday Bash in Rice Park to celebrate the festival’s 130th birthday. As part of the fun, Bump partnered with Kemps Ice Cream to provide Birthday Cake Ice Cream samples for all attending. In addition, this year’s festival included a performance, also in Rice Park, by roots-rock band GB Leighton. Standing outdoors on a lovely winter evening with 1000+ others, singing along with the performers, near the ice castle and sparkling trees (all lit), was “magical,” says Bump.

StPaul Winter CarnivalBump has learned that, each year, about 20% of the carnival plans are unlikely to go as planned, primarily because of unpredictable weather, so she and her colleagues need to figure it out as they go, making for “some adrenaline-filled days.” Unusually warm weather leading up to this year’s event meant that, in order to build the ice palace (this year, a mini version), ice had to be purchased, instead of harvested from local Lake Phalen. Even so, the palace still included the king’s chair, a light show, and TV monitors. Continue reading “Celebrating Community with St. Paul”

An Auggie Finds His Calling

Jay Matchett
Photo credit: Zoya Greene.

For Jay Matchett ’08, ’13 MAL in his current job, all the pieces have come together. His long-held interests in politics, sociology, and human rights have coalesced into a vocation that couldn’t feel more right. Since he took on the directorship of Our Neighbors’ Place, a multipronged social service agency in his hometown of River Falls, Wisconsin, he feels he can convincingly say: “This is where I’m supposed to be.”

Our Neighbors’ Place is an organization Matchett watched grow from its infancy to serve a great need in for people who found themselves homeless or in need of transitional housing.

“It’s been exciting, exhilarating,” he says, of his four months as director, serving his community and engaging the complex issues surrounding poverty and homelessness.

Drawn to Justice

His attraction to social justice was born early and instinctively. A lifelong passion to do something about the cause of poverty began as a child. On a trip to Tucson, he saw an older person pushing a shopping cart alone on the sidewalk. He couldn’t understand why that would ever happen. He never forgot it.

His mother was a teacher, and he would volunteer in her classroom. There, he saw that not all kids were equipped for school—they were hungry or didn’t have boots in the winter.

As a young person he knew intuitively, “This is not right.”

Then, in middle school, as part of his preparation for Confirmation, he spent a night and served a meal at a homeless shelter. Even in that short time at the shelter, he saw that they had more in common than differences. “They like the Packers; they’re just like us,” he remembers thinking. “That just changed my world.”

And the idea started to germinate: How can I make things better for folks? In college, he was drawn to sociology and political science because he wanted to change things. Continue reading “An Auggie Finds His Calling”