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Becoming a Leader

By Carmen McSpadden
Leadership can be an intimidating concept when you’re still trying out majors or formulating a career path. Yet, with a small and supportive class environment, the literary shoulders of giants to stand on, and local leaders as mentors and role models, a whole generation of MSU students are coming into their own—and empowered by an MSU certificate program that rewards students who think for themselves and do the things that they dream of doing.
The MSU Leadership Fellows certificate program (LF) does just this, adding value to all MSU degrees. The program incorporates self-study, service work, and experiential education to empower students to become positive agents of change. Every semester, the students’ “Personal Leadership Plans” tell the story further.

Innovative MSU programs tap into students’ potential to lead.
One student fellow supplemented her study of books by leaders such as Rudy Giuliani, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton with an initiative to make the MSU campus smoke-free. Two students grew their non-profit Tias y Tios organization by enlisting other students to help support the children of Spanish speakers new to the area. A Sustained Dialogue chapter, designed to air out contentious issues, emerged when several students identified a need and worked to make it a reality. These are just a few examples of how students are merging their interests with a new understanding of themselves as leaders.

Montana State University student Michael Edwards talks during a presentation by MSU Leadership students.
Becoming an MSU Leadership Fellow during your undergraduate or graduate education is a straightforward process. Take the three-credit “Leadership Foundations” seminar, the three-credit Leadership Capstone seminar (recommended for senior or junior year), and 12 leadership electives from a list of over 150 approved courses. Easily tailored to fit any major, LF recently added a one-credit “Leadership Exploration” class for first-year students.
To get involved in the MSU Leadership Fellows Program, contact Carmen McSpadden at or visit

A Guide to Filming Action Sports

By Duncan Williamson

Do you ogle your friends’ YouTube videos? Dream about being a powder-ripping star? With the accessibility of inexpensive cameras suitable for shooting action sports, it seems that everyone these days has a YouTube account, hoping to impress their friends and get millions of views. You may be asking, how do you separate yourself from the pack? Here’s a quick guide to getting ahead in the oversaturated world of amateur action-sports cinematography.

Step 1: the Right Camera
Any one of a dozen different cameras will suffice in the quest to become the next great action-sports filmmaker. But the right one for you is harder to find. First off, consider cost-effectiveness. Don’t go spending thousands of dollars on a camera with features you’ll never use and that will leave you too broke to actually get out and film. The perfect camera will match your budget and fit your skills at making videos. GoPro is the most popular choice, with a wide selection of options, ranging from $200 to $400 – can’t really go wrong here. GoPro even has a omplete package that will do, and go, wherever you need. 

If you’re on a tight budget, the Contour Roam is the way to go. With a few different trim levels, it can do most of the necessary technical things you will need as a beginner. The best part about the Contour is you can find it for discounted prices. 

In the end, it is up to you, but my suggestion would be a Contour for the beginning action filmmaker, and a GoPro for the next Red Bull athlete. 

Now Let’s Make A Movie
So you have a good camera and you want to go out and make a badass video. First make sure you have the essential accessories. Extra battery packs are always a good idea, especially for those long days on the slopes. The most avoidable problem is running out of battery life before you get the best trick of the day. Second, you need camera mounts. One of the best ways to ruin a video is with shaky, badly focused or directed shots. Also, make sure you have the right attachments for your camera. Both the GoPro and the Contour make a whole slew of mounts and attachments to get every shot you could imagine

Now let’s shoot. As YouTube videos attest, the first-person view is popular. With a simple chest or helmet mount, you can capture awesome footage that will make you feel like you’re right there doing it when you watch it. Don’t stick too much to one type of shot. Get creative with the mounts. Find cool angles and interesting ways to capture the action. And don’t be afraid to poach ideas from other videos – copying styles you like is good practice and will teach you what you like and don’t like, which is integral to developing your own unique style.

Time to Edit
Once you’ve completed a killer day filming, its time to put a video together. You can do this with simple programs like iMovie for Mac, and Windows Movie Maker for PC. The first step is finding an epic song that fits your footage – play around with different songs and styles until you have something that matches the pace and tone of the day. Once you have a song picked, start editing. Make sure you cut to the music, or in other words, make it fit. This will make awesome shots look even better when they go along with the music. Don’t forget to play with editing and vary the speeds of shots or transitions. If you’re new to editing, don’t get fancy – just make a simple, clean-cut video. Get creative after you’ve got some experience under your belt. 
Photo by Ryan Krueger

After all this is done, you should now have a YouTube-worthy video to show off to your friends. The best thing about this is that with a very low budget you can make awesome videos and progress your skills as both a filmmaker and an athlete.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll whip up a video worthy of the Coldsmoke Awards or the Backcountry Film Festival. Get your gear, set your plans, and get out there!


GoPro YouTube Page

Duncan Williamson’s pages:

Keeping the Resolutions

2014 has arrived, and chances are you’ve made a resolution or two for the coming year. Whether it be better grades, losing weight, or finding better relationships, it’s a great time to make those changes you’ve been putting off until now. Problem is, though, many fail to keep those resolutions. Fear not; we’ve compiled a few tips for keeping those resolutions as you head into the new semester.

The “drinking more than everyone else” resolution should be reconsidered.

Don’t expect to completely reinvent yourself.

“New year, new me” is a delightfully overused Facebook status this time of year, but that attitude alone sets you up for failure. It’s all too easy to make the mistake of taking on too many resolutions; and it can create a domino effect when one does not work out. So instead of resolving to attain a 4.0 GPA, lose 50 pounds, get a better job, save a thousand dollars, and discover the fate of the Amelia Earhart; choose one or two and give them your all.

Set goals that can be gauged.
“Do better in school” is certainly an admirable resolution, but also incredibly vague. How can your success be gauged? Instead, set a specific goal to attain. Try to choose a goal that can be achieved with incremental success along the way, so if the goal is to improve grades; keep track of your individual assignments along the way to keep your eye on the prize.

“I passed Econ!”

Keep the resolutions reasonable.
Ambition certainly isn’t a bad thing; it’s what keeps our world moving forward. Sometimes, though, we overestimate ourselves as we set our resolutions, and feel the sting of failure when they don’t work out. Carefully consider what you think is within your power to accomplish. Instead of shooting for bench-pressing 400 pounds by the end of the year when you have yet to break 200, pick a goal inbetween. Besides, if you surpass what you expected to do, soldier forward and you might just accomplish what you never thought you could.

Slow and steady for reaching those resolutions, don’t go overboard.

With all of that in mind, here are some helpful articles for common New Years resolutions:

Weight Loss
Shedding Those Winter Pounds
Working Out for Credit
Avoiding the “Freshman 15″

Improving Grades
Senior Advice

Frugal Use of Money
Frugal Fun

Start Now for a Future Career
Bozeman-Area Careers

Do you have any tips for keeping resolutions? Let us know in the comment section.

The Bridger Bowl Cloud

by Christine Rogel

Why Bridger gets so much snow.

Every so often, a blue light flashes on top of the Baxter Hotel, alerting anyone within view of the tallest building in Bozeman that snow is falling at Bridger Bowl. The light—a repurposed airport runway strobe that flashes for 24 hours when the ski area receives at least two inches of snow—was installed in 1988 and played an important role before the era of the Internet. It’s related to an isolated weather phenomenon affectionately called the BBC, or Bridger Bowl Cloud,which descends like a blanket over the east-central Bridger Mountains and leaves behind a prodigious amount of snow.

“Because of the BBC, we’d get these isolated snowstorms and get a Screen-Shot-2013-12-10-at-2.03.07-PMbunch of snow in the mountains, but nothing was going on in town, so people wouldn’t know,” says Doug Wales, marketing director for Bridger Bowl. “So in the ‘olden days,’ the flashing blue light is how people would become aware it was snowing at Bridger.”

According to Eric Knoff, an avalanche specialist with the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center, the BBC is a “sneaker” and can drop up to 36 inches of snow at Bridger, while only one or two inches end up in town. Don’t be fooled by the clouds pouring over the ridgeline and seeping into the valley—the true BBC is the one that drops loads of snow,” says Knoff.

It’s hard to predict when the mysterious cloud and its revered powder-pouring abilities will occur, but January tends to be a good month for the cloud. During some seasons, the BBC appears half a dozen times, and during others only once or twice, according to Knoff. Last season, despite the thick cloud that frequently obstructed the view of the mountains from town, there was only one cycle of the BBC, when a white blanket fell over the mountain and the Bridgers saw 30 inches of snow in just a few days. It’s times like these, says Knoff, laughing, that “Big Sky has BBC envy.”

The BBC’s beloved snow load is actually not caused by a cloud at all, but rather a weather event called “upslope precipitation,” says Megan Vandenheuvel, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Great Falls. The snow starts to fall when a cold, moist northwestern air flow moves through the canyon and is forced upward by the unique geography of the mountains, creating precipitation in the higher elevations.

Regardless of how it forms or what it’s called, the BBC and its isolated snow showers are, at least in part, responsible for the current location of Bridger Bowl. The weather pattern was considered when the ski area moved from its lower elevation at Bear Canyon in the mid-1950s. It’s a unique phenomenon related to the particular geography of the mountains, and interest in the “cloud” is representative of the enthusiasm locals have for the landscape and the outdoors.


Start Now for a Future Career

by Erin McCormick
What do Boeing, Micron Technology, the USDA, the Peace Corps, and Montana Fish,Wildlife & Parks all have in common? Probably more than you think, especially when you consider that each regularly recruits MSU students for internships and full-time employment. The recruiting season for employers starts as early as the beginning of September for May positions. This means students need to plan to attend early recruiting events by preparing their resumes in advance, researching organizations, and watching for open positions.
As the experts on campus for career-related information, MSU’s Career, Internship & Student Employment Services team stays updated on what employers are looking for by keeping in regular contact with hiring authorities. Our office also hosts several career fairs each year to connect these employers with qualified students, in addition to offering free coaching and advising services, resume critiques, practice job interviews, and job-search assistance. We also have an exclusive job-search portal ( which offers one-stop searches and applications for full-time jobs, student employment, internships, and volunteer experiences. Students can also sign up for interviews and receive advance notice of which employers will attend upcoming career fairs.
Planning early and gaining experience pays off with employers. Employers report that they’re looking for students who have built their resumes while in school by holding leadership positions in clubs and activities, working, doing internships, and even conducting research. In fact, most employers indicate that internship experience is the number one reason they will offer a new college graduate a position with their organization.

Even in a tough economy, employers say they are hiring. But students need to be well versed in their abilities to be competitive. Generally speaking, MSU students are highly qualified for jobs due to their work ethic, trustworthiness, and academic training. By planning ahead, gaining valuable internship and work experience, and putting together a competitive application package, students can get the jobs they want when the time comes.

Erin McCormick is the assistant director of the Career, Internship & Student Employment Services department at MSU. For questions or assistance, call 994-4353 or visit here. 

Pet Perfect

by Patrick Hessman

If you’ve moved into your own apartment or house, you may be looking at the opportunity to have an animal friend in your life again. That year in the dorms without pets was terrible, wasn’t it? Don’t just go out and grab any animal, though; each pet has pros and cons of its own. Here is a handy guide for commonly accepted pets in most apartments, so you can bring an animal friend into your life.


Let’s get this out of the way now: Most apartments and many houses forbid dogs. Dogs may be the animal that was expertly bred to be the perfect pet, but most landlords don’t appreciate the mess and noise they make. On top of that, dogs need outdoor space you may not have available, and many require daily exercise you may not be able to easily provide. Yet if you do brave the search to find a dog-friendly rental here, it will all be worth it to have man’s best friend in your life. If you do plan to get a dog, consider adopting. There are many dogs out there who need a home, and will love you just the same. Also, be sure to clean up after your poochno one likes stepping in the presents they leave behind.

Unfortunately, for many of the same reasons they prohibit dogs, most landlords are not cat-friendly. They tend to dislike cats for the smell they leave and their kitty trails of destruction. In fact, it’s probably easier to find a dog-friendly apartment in Bozeman than a cat-friendly one. Yet still, they’re out there, so there’s still the possibility of having your own meme generator in your college years. You might just adopt the next Grumpy Cat pictured below.

Now we’re getting into the rental-friendly domain of the pet kingdom. Birds can often be negotiated on rental leases because they are primarily cage animals. This is a lot more appealing to a landlord than a free-roaming poop machine. They make nice scenery and can come to be affectionate eventually; but also consider bird calls can be as shrill and annoying as their singing can be beautiful—don’t say I didn’t warn you when Paulie starts shrieking at 2am the night before a major exam.

Birds also claim the “Most Stylish Pet” award.

Reptiles, Fish, and Amphibians
Even if you’re staying in the residence halls, reptiles and fish are an option. Since a tank is even more contained than a cage, most landlords will be okay with a scaly/slimy friend joining your new home. They may all be interesting animals to watch and always look cool, but unlike mammalian and bird pets, these animals will never come to be loving or affectionate. Reptiles also can carry salmonella, so be sure to buy from a reputable pet store.

Who says reptiles can’t be cute too?

Something else to consider about reptiles would be their long lifespan: If you plan to travel after graduating, you may have a lizard or turtle that still has decades to live, so be prepared to make accommodations.

Pocket Pets

In many ways, these small mammals are the compromise of pets that are both contained yet still loving. A trip to PetSmart presents you with hamsters, gerbils, chinchillas, mice, and my personal favorite, rats. These animals always make a cute conversation piece and rats in particular come to be very loyal and loving animals. They often take some time to acclimate to you though, as rodents haven’t been as thoroughly domesticated as dogs or cats have, but even wild rodents have shown some pet-like tendencies.

Why are people afraid of these things again?
The downside to many small-mammal pets is their short lifespans; they won’t be with you as long as a dog or cat will. As a rat owner, I can attest to the heartbreak that comes from having such a dear friend for such a short time, but they’re worth every minute you have with them.

Few people deny the wonderful effect pets bring to your life. Just make sure to do the research beforehand, and always clear a new addition with your roommates and landlord. Little else is more heartwarming than an animal that thinks you’re the entire world.

Roommate Relations

Keeping things happy on the homefront
by Dan Tang 

After hours of sitting through lectures, trying not to fall asleep, I head back to my room to study for a test… only to find my roommate “having fun” with his girlfriend. He asks me to give him some time. Being a considerate roommate, I decide to grab a cup of coffeeand study in the living room, but the coffee I made this morning is gone. Eventually beaten by the Sandman, I fall asleep on the couch, which ultimately leads to a bad test score the next day.

Sound familiar? What can you do when your life is messed up by a bad roommate? Here are some common roommate issues and how to deal with them.

1. Cleanliness is a concept lost on your roommate. Your roommate’s personal area looks like a jungle, with clothes and junk everywhere. The botany department stopped by last week to take samples.

Advice: Set the standard and provide a model. Clean your part of the room in front of your roommate, putting things in order and moving his stuff out of your own space. Strategic sighs and subtle head-shaking can go a long way here. Chances are, he’s simply oblivious; make it clear that you appreciate a clean environment, and that his slovenly ways annoy you.

2.  “Can I borrow everything?” You come home to find your mountain bike covered in mud, your best shirt missing, and your razor covered in hair. 

Advice: Make a point of asking to borrow something of your roommate’s, again to set the standard. Make it clear that permission is required, not optional. If needed, create a “sharing list” that defines what’s okay to borrow and what’s not. If that doesn’t work, electrify your hangers.

3. “Do you mind if my friends come over for a while (read: forever)?” Your roommate seems to think you like hanging out with her spastic friend Muffy as much as she does.

Advice: Be as accommodating as possible in this area, especially if you want to have your own friends over once in a while. If it becomes an issue, the best course of action is to establish visitors’ hours – evenings, weekends, etc. If your roommate violates them or is abusing the system, speak up – silence is consent. In extreme cases, consider a small party the night before she has a big test. She’ll get the picture.

4. The bathroom is your roommate’s second bedroom. You often wonder if your roommate is drowning or sleeping in the tub. You also fear that you’re doing permanent damage to your bladder by holding it so long.

Advice: Communicate your needs and coordinate schedules. Your roommate obviously enjoys his private time and doesn’t want to be disturbed; chances are he’ll choose a time to linger when he knows you won’t be banging on the door. A rubber snake dropped into the shower works great, too.

Remember that communication is key, and that the best way to deal with all types of situations is to discuss the situation and negotiate. As the old saying goes, honey attracts more flies than vinegar – be nice, not confrontational, and things will usually work out. If not, you can always get a real snake.
Life is great when you have good roommates. 

Working out for Credit

by Sarah Canfield

We all know how dreadful the gym can be, especially when there are countless distractions to keep you away. That huge pile of homework you’ve been putting off or all your friends heading down to the cafeteria for free ice cream can be more appealing than the gym.
Some will argue that just getting to the gym is the hardest part—but the actual act of burning a few hundred calories isn’t necessarily a walk in the park, either. It’s uncomfortable lifting weights and running on the treadmill, sweat pouring down your face, with an extremely buff football player strutting around you lifting more than your own body weight. This uneasy feeling of being at the gym got me thinking, “I’m sure there’s a more productive way to work out with fewer wandering eyes watching my shirt turn from light gray to charcoal.”
A great workout accompanied by good friends and loud music.

I’d heard of taking skiing, snowboarding, billiards, and bowling for credit and wondered if this list of “activity” classes offered any high endurance courses. After a quick search on the webpage, I found a list of 16 activities courses, ranging from Beginning Yoga to 5/10K Race Training. Scanning the list, Power Cycling – Indoors caught my eye. My hobbies include sports like skiing, trail running, hiking, and yoga, so having strong stable legs is essential. I thought, “What better way to prepare for a powder day at Bridger Bowl, while receiving MSU credit, than with a mandatory cycling class?”

During the first class we learned the proper bike set-up and did a light workout. The girl-to-guy ratio in the class was about 15:1, which was perfect; the fewer attractive guys staring at me while I drip sweat, the better. It seemed like the class was going to be a relatively easy credit. However, on the second day, the instructor wasted no time breaking us in. After a five-minute warm-up we were climbing hills, sprinting, and jumping till we couldn’t feel our legs. The next day, walking to class was a challenge and sitting-down was even harder. I’ve always been an avid athlete, so being this sore came as a surprise. As the weeks kept on, the class grew smaller as people dropped out, and my legs became accustomed to the constant torture. It was an awarding feeling transforming my body with a workout routine I’d never have chosen on my own.
After a year of cycling class I was ready to take on Granite Peak.

The class is not lax—only three non-participations are allowed, no matter what the reason, and the 4th and 5th non-participations have to be made up. After that, you’re out of the class. Students must also pass one bike set-up test and one written test. 
Be warned: this course is addictive. I started this class the fall semester of 2012 and I’m still participating in it. My roommate and I have taken it together for the past two semesters; having a partner makes it more enjoyable and easier to attend. For more information on how to get involved in any activity course visit the MSU website


by Caitlin Sundborg

It’s inevitable. Eventually your parents will get sick of you avoiding their phone calls and will show up on your doorstep. Avoid the circling hour and a half of  ”I don’t know, what do you want to do?” and show your parents a side of Bozeman they can actually appreciate.
Whether the cash is flowing from your parents’ wallets or your own, Bozeman and its surrounding areas offer an abundance of activities to get your “bond on.” 
Tour the campus you will call home for the next 4 years
  • Hike the “M”—and make sure to check it off your Bozeman Bucket List—at sunset for a family photo shoot, or hightail it up to Hyalite for a full day of pictures.
  • Tell your parents to “park it” and “shop till you drop”. Stroll down Main Street and please mom and dad with cool shops like Schnee’s, Girls Outdoors, and Zocalo Coffee House 
  • Utilize your temporary influx of income and chow down. For an affordable full belly, start your day with Nova Café, head to Community Food Co-op for some mid-day munching, and dive into Dave’s Sushi for dinner.
  • Last but not least, tour the campus. Your parents will appreciate being able to at least picture where their money is going.
Big Sky
Hop in the car and take the parents for a ride. It’ll give them a chance to pester you about what you’re doing with your life, and in between questions you can show them the alpine beauty of Big Sky.
  • Explore the Town Center and grab a bite at the Lotus Pad, or snag some new gear at Gallatin Alpine Sports or Grizzly Outfitters.
  • Try taking them to the disc golf course to enjoy some moderate hiking and let them attempt to understand the combination of golf and frisbee your generation has made so popular.
  • In the winter, shred some powder (or groomers) at Big Sky—you can’t go wrong with the biggest skiing in America.
Get Outta Town
Of course, if your parents aren’t citified chickens afraid of a little adventure, you can also get a little more remote.
Soak it up at Norris Hot Springs 

• Score points with mom while enjoying a soak and poolside tunes at Norris Hot Springs or find some warm water closer to town at Bozeman Hot Springs. Practice for your marketing midterm and talk dad into treating mom—and you—to an overnight trip to Gardiner, where you can take a soak in the Boiling River and enjoy a relaxing stay at the Cowboys Lodge and Grille.
  Fulfill the Montana stereotype and saddle-up with Absaroka Beartooth Outfitters. Hop on a horse for a half-day of riding and enjoy an authentic cowboy cookout. Yee-haw!
Visiting in the summer? Hit the water or fly through the sky with Montana Whitewater & Zipline. Half-day adventures of both activities get the adrenaline pumping, all while enjoying the sunshine.

So if your parents are coming to town this weekend, don’t show them how you really live—it will only scare them. Instead, show them the real Bozeman and why so many locals love to call this town home.

Erasing the Yoga Stigma

by Anya Bean
Your Yoga studio 

High-octane activities such as skiing, hiking, running, biking, and surfing have always been my idea of exercise. Growing up playing hockey and ski racing made me avoid any kind of meditation or mindfulness at all cost. Past yoga experiences always found the clock capturing my attention more than the exercise, thinking about anything but the stretch, the pose, or the breathing. No talking? For an entire hour? No thanks. Yoga has always seemed a new-age fad—a cop-out for actually exercising. Then one of my girlfriends proposed a challenge: a different activity every month for a year, with October’s activity being yoga.

With each day of the yoga challenge, yoga has become more of an addiction to body and mind. The results have been amazing—increased strength, presence of mind, and improved sleep, to name a few. To every athlete, irrespective of sport or discipline:  implementing yoga will enhance your ability. For ski racers: all skiers’ hips are tight. When a group of skiers gets together and sits with their legs crossed, it is pathetic.
Yoga can strengthen your ski legs

Yoga improves joint and muscular flexibility, which is imperative for the body’s overall health. Enhanced joint and muscle pliancy translates to greater range of motion, which in turn, decreases the chance of an overuse injury.

Consistent practice of the various yoga poses helps build strength and balance. Core stability is enhanced and subsequently reduces overuse injury by strengthening the muscles surrounding the more utilized muscles, creating a more balanced overall strength. By practicing yoga, balance is improved. Better balance and coordination means enhanced control over the body, which for any athlete, leads to better technique and form.

Improve your body and mind

The physical benefits of yoga for the athlete are huge, but they’re nothing in comparison to the more abiding benefits. Most people, particularly athletes, tend to think of yoga as boring. Everyone at MSUis busy and if another activity is added to the schedule, it better be worth it. In order to benefit from yoga, one must commit to the hour they are practicing. Others, mostly non-athletes, think of yoga as a way to tighten the core, flatten the stomach, and tone that butt. Sure, it does that, but so can many other exercises,right?

Yoga was a routine designed not to give you a nice butt, but to improve your ability to quiet and control the impulse of the mind, and to center focus and promote serenity by silencing the endless mental chatter.
When you look at the highest levels of sport, all athletes are talented. They train hard, they practice technique, and they do everything they can to take them to the top level. Many athletes are forgetting a crucial part of the puzzle: a sound mind. Yoga can not only improve sleep, reduce stress, quell negative mental chatter, and manage fear, it can change the entire approach to training and racing.
By incorporating yoga into your schedule, you will become better at what you do whether you are a competitor, a recreational athlete, or a couch potato.
Here’s one of our favorite yoga studios:
Intro Month: $30

Single Class $10

10 Class Card: $75

Month Unlimited: $75

Auto Monthly: $65 (no contract, no fees)

Student Auto Monthly: $50 (with valid high school or MSU student ID ONLY)