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Foil the Freshman 15

Staying fit in the face of temptation.

by Jessica Tuttle

“What should I do with my free time in between work and classes? Where should I eat? What should I do on the weekends?” Your first semester of college isn’t just about choosing a major and the perfect schedule. Not only are you overwhelmed with meeting new people, starting classes, having roommates, and trying to navigate a campus and a new town, you’re trying to not lose sight of who you are and where you came from. In the first few months of all things new and different, it is important to stay mentally and physically well-balanced.

Dinning halls, dorm room snacks, downtown food trucks, late night pizza, BEER, house parties, tailgating, etc…there are endless ways to pack on the infamous “Freshman 15.” Luckily, Bozeman is one of the best places to stay in shape outside and all of it is so easily accessible from campus.

Finding time to incorporate exercise into your new routine can be tough. With more freedom than you’re used to, you’ll have to discipline yourself to take a break from the books and put the partying on hold if you allow some time for a quick walk, hike, run, or bike around town. Here is a list of some favorite nearby trails that are a short bike ride or car ride away:

Peets Hill
Sourdough Trail
The “M” Trail
Drinking Horse
Triple Tree Loop
Main Street to the Mountains Trail System.

Access Peets Hill at the east end of College Street toward downtown. This is the easiest to get to and a quick jaunt to the top. I recommend this at sunset to catch the golden fall glow on the Bridgers. Both Sourdough and Triple Tree trailheads begin about five miles outside of town and offer great views of Gallatin Valley. The College “M” trail and Drinking Horse are on the north side of town as you head up Bridger Canyon. It will take 15-20 minuets to get there and they’re each roughly three miles round-trip. Main Street to the Mountains is a whole network of local trails that connect from one end of town to the other and go through several scenic parks.

The view from Peets Hill never disappoints.

The view from Peets Hill never disappoints.

Even on the busiest of days, make time to hit these trails. You can be out anywhere from 30 minuets to a couple of hours on them. You might find that most trails are shared with mountain bikers, strollers, and dogs. You never know who you’re going to meet but it can be refreshing to see people other than your classmates. Sometimes you may be alone  and this could be the quiet time you need to yourself that you just can’t seem to find in all the buzz of campus life.

Sunset over Gallatin Valley from the Triple Tree trail

Sunset over Gallatin Valley from the Triple Tree trail

Spending time on the trails can rejuvenate your spirit, clear your head, and give you a good look around your favorite college town. Think of your runs as mental re-charges as well as calorie burners. One of the best things about living in Bozeman is the enthusiasm for outdoor adventure and the appreciation everyone has for living in such a beautiful place. Make some time to get off campus and explore the wide network of trail systems that the community has worked hard to create and maintain for us all. This is an amazing place to spend the next adventurous chapter of your life.

Bother to Bike

Things to remember as you get psyched to bike.  

by Caroline Miller

As you’re breaking out your short-shorts in this early-spring sun, perhaps it’s time to dig out another fair-weather item: the bike. Those breaks are itching to be tightened and the gears are ready to be cranked. Even if your bike has collected dust for years, it’s not too late – pump up those tires and give biking another chance.  Here are some things to keep in mind as you hit the streets this season.

Rules of the Road
Your bike isn’t the only thing that needs maintenance; be sure to tune up your bike etiquette as well.  Though it doesn’t have an engine or a radio, a bicycle is a vehicle. Therefore, when you’re on the road, you must obey the same laws as a car. Turn signals, lights, and obeying stop signs are not optional. It’s important to use hand signals when turning, so your hands must be free, not texting or taking selfies. To signal a left turn, extend your left arm straight out to the side.  For a right turn, use the same arm, but bend at the elbow and extend your hand upward. At four-way stops and uncontrolled intersections, you must wait your turn – cars may signal you to proceed, but don’t assume you have the right of way.

It’s important to keep in mind that by Montana state law, you must always be on the road; it’s illegal to bike on sidewalks.  When in dual-use areas (such as the Gallagator Trail), stay to the right, and when you pass someone, give a shout and let them know you’re there – this is not only courteous, but required by law. Montana law also requires a light when biking at night. This means a front lamp visible and a rear reflector, each visible at 500 feet.

A demonstration of the above signal rule.  It's not rocket science.

A demonstration of the above signal rule. It’s not rocket science.

Safety First
So what can you do to be safe? It starts with respect. Respect other drivers and make sure you are following the aforementioned laws. You are not entitled to the whole road just because you have the agility to dart in and out of people. Keep in mind, Bozeman police can issue citations for using your phone when biking. When you do make it to your destination, park in a bicycle rack (MSU may impound your bike if it’s locked to anything else). Later, when you head home, make sure you have a headlamp or flashlight. Make sure you register your bike with the City of Bozeman or University Police – should your bike get stolen, they can get it back to you promptly if recovered.  And wear a helmet, people, accidents happen.

A simple way to get your bike impounded on campus.

Why Yearn the Burn?
So if you don’t bike, why should you? Besides the health benefits – your calves will get yolked in just a few short weeks, and your lungs will thank you for the extra fresh air – there are many other advantages to biking. First, it’s an excellent way to relieve stress after a long day at school or work. Second, you reduce your carbon footprint. Third, biking can be faster than driving. As fun as it is to do laps around MSU parking lots, biking can get you to class or around town in a comparable amount of time. Lastly, you can spice up your daily commute by adding a leg on the trail – Bozeman is surrounded with bike trails also. (Mountain biking is yet another reason; click here for info on that.)

Score better parking than you’ll find in the SB lot.

Deals on Wheels
If you’re bike-less and don’t know how to get the tires spinning, there’s a variety of shops ready to sell you a fresh set of wheels. The Gallatin Valley Bike Club sponsors the Bike Swap in mid-April, where you can purchase a previously-loved bike from a fellow Bozemanite. University Police also holds an annual bike sale in where you can purchase a bike that has been impounded (so make sure you register your bike). If you want to clean up that bike that’s been sitting in your parent’s garage for 15 years, head to the Bozeman Bike Kitchen, where you can learn the necessary tips & tricks. Outdoor Rec at MSU also helps students learn bicycle maintenance. If you have the know-how already, just head down and borrow their tools.

One of Bozeman's many shops that will buy, sell, or fix up your ride: The Bike Peddler

One of the many shops that will buy, sell, or fix up your ride: the Bike Peddler, near Oak & Rouse.

Pool Paddling

Springtime’s free (indoor) outdoor-recreation opportunity.

by Kevin Kennedy

Does launching yourself down a thundering river in a tight tube of plastic, guided only by your courage and a double-bladed paddle, strike your fancy? If so, the Marga Hosaeus Fitness Center has the perfect activity for you.

Every spring and fall, the ASMSU Outdoor Recreation Program holds open kayaking pool sessions for those who want to get some paddle strokes in, knock the dust off of their roll, or try the sport of kayaking for the very first time. Best of all, the sessions take place in a warm indoor pool.


Pool session in full effect.

This semester, free open-boating sessions are held Thursdays at 6:30-7:45pm from March 19 to April 30 at MSU’s Hosaeus Pool, and you don’t have to be experienced or have your own equipment to partake in the fun—you will, however, need your CAT Card or Facility Use Pass. The Outdoor Rec program owns 10 whitewater kayaks that are stored at the pool and available on a first-come, first-served basis, so get there early if you need a boat.

For those with little or no experience, kayaking in a pool allows you to get comfortable in a boat, start learning basic techniques, and experience capsizing, all in a safe, warm environment. There are always experienced paddlers who are happy to show new boaters the ropes and help them with the basics.


There are even two lifeguards on duty.

If the thought of kayaking doesn’t appeal to you, don’t fret — there’s another option. Outdoor Rec also has a free stand-up paddleboard session Tuesdays at 6:30-7:45pm, April 14-28 at the Hosaeus Pool (CAT Card or Facility Use Pass required). Come try out one of their new paddleboards in the pool and get stoked for a long spring and summer on the lakes and rivers of southwest Montana.


And trips like this. Photo by Ryan Krueger.

For more info on outdoor programs, gear rental opportunities, and instruction, check out the ASMSU Outdoor Recreation website or head over to the Outdoor Rec building at 1401 West Lincoln, near Roskie Hall.

Stellar Study Snacks

Blueberries, healthy food for studying

Photo by Michael Stern, courtesy of Flickr / Creative Commons

Eating healthy and avoiding winter weight when stressed.

by Lea Brayton

The all-you-can-eat allure of the dining halls heralds endless amounts of cheese sticks and a well-stocked ice cream machine, making it easy for anyone with a meal plan (and an appetite) to overindulge—especially during the stress of mid-terms and finals weeks.

Studies show we reach for comfort foods and gain weight when stressed, but that doesn’t mean we have to. Trying new, healthy alternatives can be rewarding for your waistline and your study habits, keeping you as physically fit as you are mentally. Stock the fridge and pantry with these healthy and affordable snacks to help you stay focused and fit during the winter season, and avoid that desperate trip to Mickey D’s.

Instead of energy or coffee drinks:

Green Tea—Proven to improve brain function and physical performance, this stimulant is chocked full of amino acids and antioxidants that help repair cell damage… say, from too many shots at the R Bar last night. Drink it hot or cold, and add lemon or a small amount of honey for flavor.


Pop a Voke Tab for those late-night study sessions to keep you alert, naturally.

Voke Tabs—Locally produced in Bozeman, Voke Tabs are made of just three ingredients: guarana berry for caffeine, acerola cherry for vitamin C, and caffeine from tea leaves. These little guys pack as much punch as a full can of Red Bull, and improve concentration.

Cranberry Juice—Cranberry juice is rich in antioxidants and vitamin C and it’s known to stave off infection, relieve stress, and detox the body. Don’t mix up this sour drink with cranberry cocktail, which can be packed with sugar.

Senior Tip: It’s easy to confuse hunger for thirst, so keep a water bottle on your desk and make sure to drink as you cram. Staying hydrated will also keep you awake!

Instead of potato chips, Cheez-its, or Doritos:

Kale chips—These easy-to-make dried “chips” are much lower in calories than potato chips, and high in potassium so they keep your immune system healthy during stressful periods. Play around with flavors like salt and vinegar or dill, and enjoy that crispy kale-crunch.

Air-popped popcorn—A deliciously simple snack, popcorn is a whole grain, with fiber and antioxidants. We recommend air-popping to avoid the added butter, salt, and oils of microwaveable popcorn, and the sugar of kettle corn. Sprinkle smoked paprika on top, or mix in chopped chives.

Roasted chickpeas—Packed with protein, roasted chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, are one of most addictive healthy foods around, and for under a dollar a can, they’re super affordable. Drain, rinse and dry, toss peas in a small amount of olive oil, add spices (we recommend Cajun style), and roast under high heat (350 F) until crispy.

krave jerky

A good option for a healthier jerky.

Jerky—High in protein and super convenient, beef jerky can be a great finger-food between meals. Look for brands like Krave, that are low in sodium, preservatives, and fat to keep it healthy. Pair it with a low-fat cheese like mozzarella for a filling mid-day snack.

Senior Tip: Keep snacks separate from the desk, so your study area is for only that purpose. You can get up to go grab a snack when you knock out a page of that literature paper, or 10 calculus problems—but make sure you’re actually hungry.

Instead of dips and fattening processed spreads:

*Hummus with veggies—Low in calories, and certainly delicious, hummus is a great study snack. You can even make your own (see recipe). Try dipping with some of these super-veggies to pack in even more nutrition for your study session:

hummus with veggies

Hummus, made from chickpeas, is a simple and delicious dip.

  • Cucumbers—This crisp veggie contains an anti-inflammatory that improves memory and protects your nerve cells.
  • Carrots—Filled with fiber and potassium, carrots are a vasodilator so they bring your skyrocketing blood pressure down.
  • Grape tomatoes—High in vitamin C, grape tomatoes promote antioxidant activity in your body and fight off certain types of cancer.
  • Celery—A super low-calorie snack,  the magnesium in celery soothes the nervous system and calms your during high-stress periods.  

Almond butter with fruit—Lower in fat content, sugar, and oil than most peanut butters, almond butter is an all-around better choice. It’s high in iron, vitamin E, and magnesium, which boost your metabolism and keep you feeling full. Try dipping with these fruits: (or eating by the spoonful)

  • Apples—An apple gives your body as much energy as a cup of coffee, without the heartburn. Apple’s antioxidants fight aging in the brain, and the extra fiber keeps you full and able to study on, dude.
  •  Bananas—Stressed and depressed from hitting the books? Have a banana to make you happy! They contain serotonin (the chemical that balances your mood), so you smile as you learn. They’re also high in potassium which makes you more alert, vitamin B-6, and iron. Eat this yellow miracle food before an exam and find yourself relaxed and ready to ace it.

Greek yogurt with berries—Packed with probiotics to help kick bacteria’s ass and strengthen your immune system, Greek yogurt is an excellent snack for college students constantly exposed to germs. Eat plain or combine in a smoothie with berries and chia or flax seed, if you dare.

  •  Blueberries—Often called the world’s healthiest food, blueberries are high in vitamin C and antioxidants that support cognitive health so you don’t burn out while on the study grind.
  •  Blackberries—These plump berries keep your brain alert and clear, and their vitamin K content aids in muscle relaxation to keep you chill under pressure.           

Senior Tip: Carrots are a poor choice for third-floor library snacking. Don’t be that guy.

Instead of candies:

dried apricots

Dried apricots are sweet and healthy.

Dried apricots—Biting into a dried apricot is like the first tear into Swedish Fish, but 1,000 times more rewarding. Full of potassium and fiber, this sweet and healthy fruit is a “dessert” that you won’t feel bad munching.

Mandarin oranges—There’s nothing more convenient than popping a Cutie into your backpack before heading to the library.  Each sweet slice is bursting with calcium and fiber, and lowers cholesterol. Try dipping these in dark chocolate.

Frozen grapes—Frozen grapes are a sweet treat that helps you meet your calcium, vitamin C, and protein needs. Pop a few off the vine to savor a healthy and refreshing snack. Bonus—the chill from the grape keeps you alert!

Fruit leather—Pureed, layered, and then dried, fruit leather is a good way to bring fruit on-the-go. And, since it tastes more like a fruit roll-up than actual fruit, you can trick all your friends into eating a healthy snack, too. 

Senior Tip: Studying at the Co-op means you have access to lots of different healthy, local food options and the walk home or back to campus will give you a study break and a little fresh air to stay relaxed.

Instead of ice-cream and cakes:

Frozen bananas—We’ve already talked about what bad-asses bananas are. Try putting brown bananas in the freezer, and pureeing a few with a tablespoon of almond or peanut butter for a treat very much like ice-cream. Or, peel and dip a banana in honey and roll it in crushed nuts, then freeze it to enjoy later for a mouthwatering study break.

Cinnamon applesauce—A cup of cinnamon applesauce (best when chunky) is low in calories if unsweetened, and high in protein and fiber. Warmed applesauce is as comforting as a hot mug of tea, but even more delicious when it’s served with a cold scoop of frozen yogurt.

Senior Tip: It’s tempting to eat when bored, or as a distraction from studying. Try to eat on a schedule—a small snack every few hours to keep you fueled without letting you get hungry enough to binge on Pickle Barrel and barbecue potato chips.   

Instead of microwavable foods, frozen pizza, chicken nuggets, or Hot Pockets:

avocado with pepper

Avocados are versatile and delicious.

Peppered avocado with hard-boiled egg—Avocados are packed with healthy fats and fiber, and this creamy fruit is a filling alternative for a frozen meal. Simply slice in half, remove the pit, and fill the divot with a halved hard-boiled egg. Top with black pepper and salt.

*Baked parsnip fries—More of a desert than they are a meal, these “fries” are only a little more time consuming than baking a frozen pizza. Get the full recipe to enjoy these next time you’re studying for that e-chem exam.

Tuna and whole-grain crackers—Impress your girlfriend with tuna salad study “sandwiches” on whole-grain crackers for a quick but satisfying meal to keep you full while you cram. Just replace the mayo with plain Greek yogurt to keep this protein-packed snack healthy.

Senior Tip: It’s easy to reach for something quick and convenient when under pressure to get work done, but taking a small break to cook a healthy meal can help your body de-stress and get the nutrients it needs to keep chugging along. You can’t live on ramen and beer forever, despite what your roommate thinks.  

With all these snacks available at Town and Country, the Co-op, the Bozeman Winter Farmers’ Market, and other area grocery stores, there’s no reason not to keep a few on hand for your next study session.

*Recipe for at-home hummus: Shape magazine has an excellent guide to easy at-home hummus. We recommend the Classic, but instead of tahini, which can be expensive, just use plain Greek yogurt!

*Recipe for parsnip fries: There is nothing more delicious than hot-from-the-oven fries—especially when they’re covered in natural peanut butter instead of salt and oil.

Starting Stronger

Insight into the MSU Convocation Committee’s selection for 2014

by Isaac Lorton

It’s not easy for someone to inspire nearly 3,000 first-year college students. It’s not easy to speak at the MSU Fieldhouse in front of 7,250 people. But, it was easy for the Montana State Convocation Committee to choose this year’s speaker, Shiza Shahid. Shahid, a 24-year-old Stanford graduate and education activist, embodies everything the Convocation Committee desires.

Shiza Shahid ConvocationFor example, committee chair David Singel explains, “The combination of valor to [defend education] and… someone the same age as the students was really exciting to us.”

During her studies at Stanford, Shahid, a native of Islamabad, began to closely follow Malala Yousafzai. She lived in Mingora, just north of where Shahid grew up. Malala spoke out for formal education of women as many female institutions were destroyed and girls barred from schools. Malala blogged about the oppression under a pseudonym for BBC News and publicly defied the Taliban by protesting the bombings of female schools and the murders of their students.

While on break from Stanford, Shahid arranged a young womens’ conference for 30 girls, including Malala. The covert meeting was to discuss the continued promotion of female education; as a result, the two young women became close friends and remained in contact after the conference ended.

Malala Fund

Before they became international activists, they were friends

In 2012, Malala’s school bus was stopped by a Taliban member who asked for Malala by name then shot her in the head. She was flown to England for extensive treatment, where Shahid rushed to her support. Despite her injuries, Malala survived and remained committed to spreading her message of education for all. Shahid immediately began managing the media frenzy while Malala recovered, becoming the co-founder and CEO of the Malala Fund, an international organization that promotes female education. Since then, Shahid has been named on TIME and Forbes magazines’ “30-under-30″ lists, as a young adult making an international impact.

The story of Malala and Shahid will make students and community members think about how important education is and the opportunities MSU students have—and why they shouldn’t take them for granted.

Photo Courtesy Malala Fund

Shiza Shahid will speak on August 25 at the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse

“We want [the message to be], ‘Let’s think seriously about education. Let’s think about what you want to be doing here for the next four years,’” Singel said. “We want the students to understand all of the opportunities available to them. [The convocation] will sharpen the focus and deepen the appreciation for education.”

The committee also invited local nonprofit organizations to attend the event to promote MSU students becoming involved in the Bozeman community.

“This is a community event,” Singel said. “It is an event, where we as a university, and as the Bozeman community, are welcoming the students to Bozeman and to MSU.”


The Malala Fund advocates female education and empowerment

Shahid demonstrates the world’s diminishing cultural boundaries as she, a Pakistani female, is the CEO of an international nonprofit.

As Malala said, “Education is neither eastern nor western. Education is education and it’s the right of every human being.”

The 2014 freshman  convocation is a public event and everyone is welcome. It will be held on August 25 at 7:30 pm. For ticket information visit

Mountains & Mingling

A weekend of hiking, biking, and friends in Bozeman.

by Tyler Gobin

It’s an energy that’s inexpressible. It’s filling tip jars and trailheads, it’s revealing bike paths and bombarding the breweries. It’s spring in Montana.

When Bozemanites are asked about their favorite season, most will say winter or summer, and unfortunately spring gets forgotten. It’s no surprise: winter has its powder, and summer, its absence of school. But spring is what fuels the summer fun – there’s a certain energy released after winter casts its last spell.

The M up to Mt. BaldyThat energy gives people more choices of what to do, and when to do it. Those unwilling to give up winter can hike up and get in a few more turns on the Bridgers, Beartooths, or Gallatin ranges. Those who prefer to cross-train on bike can tour their way around the valley and get into the mountain trails. The amount of activities to pursue multiplies with the time to do them.

In spring, the sun graciously hangs in the sky longer each day so we may enjoy time outside at our favorite bars, coffee shops, and restaurants. Live music fills the streets and the population is back to a sustainable level as college students leave and give us room to breathe. The sun is spring’s best friend and either one would not be complete without the other. It motivates people who hid during the winter to get back outside and enjoy the adventures to be had. There’s much to say about spring in Montana, but even more to live.

Last weekend exemplified this unique spring spirit. It was filled with wilderness adventure and social activities right on Main Street. The outdoors highlight was a trek to the top of Mount Baldy, high in the Bridgers above town. Baldy offers incredible views of the Beartooths, Crazies, and Gallatin mountains. It was straight up as I climbed to the ridge where the trail continued over multiple faux peaks and ended with one last push up an open, steep slope of scree. The hike up was a thigh burner, lasting an hour and a half and gaining more than 4,000 feet of elevation from the “M” trailhead, but the reward at the top was phenomenal. I was lucky enough to enjoy the scenery from the summit on a bluebird day. It consistently amazes me how isolated I can feel while still being so close to Bozeman – and given the hunger you’ll feel after such a hike, the short drive back is nice.

Mt. Baldy, M trail, Bozeman, MSU, Montana State University

A view from the top of Mount Baldy

On Saturday night I joined some friends at  a new Indian restaurant called Saffron Table. The tiny eatery is wedged between the Roost and the Round House on W. Main. It has a small bar, small menus, and what will become a small garden, but big atmosphere. We dined, drank, and laughed our way through the evening with our friendly waitress; the owner of the establishment even joined the fun. Bozeman needed some Middle Eastern cuisine on its plate and Saffron Table delivers with authentic flavors, colors, and textures.

There are a lot of things to do in the Gallatin Valley regardless of the time of year, but no season gives you the options that spring does. Whether you’re an outdoors addict, music buff, or foodie, spring’s inimitable bounty contributes to each and every aspect of life in Bozeman – so don’t wait for the temperature to max out. Instead, get out there and make the most of Bozeman’s best season.

The Strange Saga of Clarence Mjork


by Pat Hessman

He may not hold the legendary status of Champ Bobcat, but the scraggly scamp dubbed Clarence Mjork (pronounced mee-york) is one MSU icon you should know about. You’re probably wondering, just how did this strange hobo become an enduring MSU icon?

For starters, he never attended MSU. In fact, he wasn’t a real person. The native of fictional town Endgate, Montana hails from a 1933 prank orchestrated by the Montanan, the college’s now-defunct yearbook, in which editor Dave Rivenes, Chris Schlechten and Bill Rider created an entirely fictitious yearbook, and Mr. Mjork (played by Rider) took center stage. All throughout the yearbook, Clarence was inserted into photographs of teams and clubs holding woman on his laps, showing off a giant fish, and even hanging from a lamp. He was ascribed membership to over 25 clubs, held the adviser position for all four class levels, and worked six positions at the Exponent alone. One page even claimed there were eight individuals at MSU named Clarence Mjork who all hailed from Endgate but were completely unrelated despite their identical appearances.

Keep in mind, this yearbook was created about seventy years before Photoshop became commonplace. Rivenes worked closely with Schlechten to carefully plan photographs and splice negatives to insert Clarence into so many pictures. Making the feat even more impressive was that the trio created the parodic edition of the yearbook in secret while Rivenes oversaw the rest of the yearbook staff’s creation of a standard yearbook that ultimately went unpublished.  By the time the prank came to light, university president Alfred Atkinson realized it would be too time consuming and expensive to recall the yearbooks and print the legitimate edition, and thus, Clarence Mjork’s Montanan became the official yearbook of 1933.

ppb4fac480Orchestrator of the Mjork prank, Dave Rivenes, found success in a broadcasting career after college.

Nearly eighty years after this prank, Mjork still makes the occasional MSU appearance. In 2003, a man dressed as Mjork was named marshal of the Homecoming parade. He reappeared in the MSU Exponent on the cover of its 2010 April Fools edition, and periodically appeared on a video segment dubbed “Clarence Mjork’s Apocrypha.”

Mjork shares his opinions on gingers.

Clarence Mjork may not be the best-known icon of MSU, but his humorous legacy will undoubtedly persist for years to come. He remains a great reminder that one should never take themselves too seriously, especially at college. Even if the Montanan published its last edition in 1991, Mjork seems to keep finding ways to return time and time again.

Major Profile: Graphic Design

by Katie Rodriguez


As a graphic design student at Montana State University, I have the privilege to work hard and play hard in this beautiful place we call Montana. The vast outdoors are great for obtaining natural, free inspiration. The beauty and outdoor opportunity of Montana have really had an impact on my design style. With the strong community-feeling of Bozeman, you are able to see locally produced designs everywhere you go, from the morning coffee shop menu to farmer’s market products, local breweries, and strolling through Main Street’s local shops.

The graphic design program covers numerous periods of art history, and you will work in a variety of media and materials throughout the four-year program. As a graphic design student, you will have access to the School of Art’s vintage letterpresses, computer lab, studios, and other facilities. You can also expect to take basic and advanced course in topics like design principles, motion graphics, sculpture, and illustration.


In a four-year program, friendships are created during late night mounting jobs, last minute printing problems, and five-hour computer classes. Some of my closest college friends I have were made in class. The creativity and originality of every student creates a fun, competitive atmosphere. Every year, senior students and professors visit a nearby city to see top design firms, advertising agencies, and in-house design departments. This year we visited the Boulder/Denver, Colorado area. It was a definite highlight of my senior year and some great memories were made.


My advice for a design student at MSU: don’t have a specific style. Explore and create as many directions, possibilities and techniques as possible. Even though this can be frustrating in the short term–few masterpieces will be developed–the freedom to be able to utilize a whole array of strategies will be incredibly helpful as a professional. While in school, I don’t think it’s helpful to use one’s time to develop an original formal language; this can all be done later.

There are so many classes available for graphic design majors to take. Ceramics, letterpress, metalsmithing, sculpting, printmaking, and independent study opportunities are all great options.

Visit the Graphic Design major info page to learn more.

Interested in interning for design at Outside Media Group? See our internships page for more details.

History of the M

by Kira Stoops

The M Trail in all its glory.

The whitewashed M at the mouth of Bridger Canyon seems to symbolize Bozeman itself, welcoming travelers from a western perch at 7,000 feet and looming peacefully over the entire town. Technically, however, the huge letter stands for Montana State University, and was bought by the hard labor of the enterprising class of 1918.

In the fall of 1915, MSU sophomores pledged to create a monument to the university. Drawing up a proposal and wrangling a U.S. Forest Service permit, the students earned a day off of class, and 60 young men trudged up Mount Baldy to kickstart the project. In one day, they carefully drew outlines for the 240’ x 160’ letter, pried rocks from the hillside, and carried them by hand to fill in the site. When the snows cleared in spring of ’16, they returned to whitewash their masterpiece.

The M Trail is repainted yearly.

From then on, whitewashing the M became a ritual for MSU freshmen. An honorary society of seven senior men called the Septemviri was established in ’20 to safeguard campus traditions. Alongside a sophomore unit called the Fangs, the two societies prohibited freshman from dating until the M had received its annual coat of lime.

A women’s counterpart to the Fangs emerged, the Spurs, and eventually the two groups joined into one: the Fangs and Spurs. (This past year, they changed names once more to the more descriptive and humdrum “Student Alumni Association”.) Over time, the Fangs and Spurs, alongside various athletic groups, gradually accepted the responsibility for the upkeep of the M, returning annually to re-lime the letter and collect trash along its two approach trails.

Still, by the late 90s, the M needed more than another coat of paint. Led by the late Torlief Aasheim (former director of Montana Cooperative Extension Service and graduate of ’37), university employees, alumni, and community members organized a major restoration of the landmark. They raised $100,000, promptly redesigning and paving the trail’s parking lot, replacing fallen rock, and repairing and improving the trails.

The M Trail offers spectacular views of the valley only a few miles away from the city.

Since then, a new tradition launched at the renovated M. In honor of the first football game of the season in 2007, the Spurs and Fangs lit candles outlining the M, letting the symbol glow into the night.  The candle ceremony seems to honor a caption from the 1918 MSU yearbook: “May the ‘M’ stand long as a symbol of our loyalty to Montana State and a reminder of what a united class can accomplish.”

Want to learn more about the M Trail? Visit Outside Bozeman’s guide to the trail.

Working for the Winter

by David Tucker

College is expensive and employment options are limited for students. Don’t panic. Look no further than Bozeman’s most abundant resource: the mountains, and more specifically, Bridger Bowl.  

Less than 20 miles from campus, Bridger Bowl offers something for everyone. Whether you are new to skiing and snowboarding, or think you have what it takes to instruct, something will suit your strengths and interests. But don’t take it from us—let current MSU students and Bridger employees be your guides.
Of all the jobs at a ski area, the most competitive is probably that of instructor, so if you want to teach, take Grace Benge’s advice and apply early. Grace is a freshman at MSU working part-time at Bridger on weekends. “The best perk is the free ski pass,” says Grace, “but the lively social scene is also nice. I made new friends and definitely plan on coming back.” While free skiing with new friends sounds nice, it’s not all fun and games. “You’ll be tired, so don’t plan on working after skiing. Manage your time and get classwork done before instructing.”
Another tough day at the office.
If you’ve skied Pierre’s Knob at all this year, you probably remember the red-hatted dancing machine, Caitlin Marquez. Caitlin is a sophomore at MSU and spreads cheer everyday by showing off her moves while she bumps chairs as a lift operator. “Positive attitude always” is her mantra, which she tries to stick to no matter if it’s -20 or pouring rain. “I don’t know where life’s going to take me, but for now, it’s pretty cool working here at Bridger Bowl.”
While many jobs at the resort involve spending time outside in the cold, there are also great indoor options. Take it from Dylan Lien, an MSU freshman who works in kitchen of the Saddle Peak Lodge. “We get a free ski pass, a shift meal, and free drinks.” Free skiing and free food? Doesn’t get much better than that. If you do decide to work at Bridger, heed Dylan’s advice and take the employee bus— that’s free also.
Working hard to ski hard.
It may not seem like it now, but next year is looming on the horizon. As you think about what classes to take, and what major to pursue, don’t forget to plan on winter employment. Check out Bridger’s employment options at and we’ll see you on the mountain.

David Tucker is a snowboard instructor at Bridger Bowl and an assistant editor at Outside Media Group, publishers of the MSU Pocket Guide.