Where’s the fall breather?

by Kelsey Ketterling


Fall is here, and it’s time for pumpkin-flavored treats and scary movie marathons. To students and faculty at MSUM, it traditionally also means midterms followed by a relaxing “fall breather.” But this year, there will be no days off in October for students and staff.

“The Yellow Ribbon Committee requested campus honor veterans by recognizing Veterans Day as a holiday,” MSUM registrar Heather Soleim said.

The Yellow Ribbon Committee is a program that creates public awareness of veterans’ issues to connect service members and their families with community support, training, services and resources.

Psychology sophomore and veteran Arthur Ter-Vardanyan said he appreciates the gesture.

“I think it’s cool that they are thinking about that and changing it over,” he said.

But the recognition comes with a cost. Soleim said that in order to recognize Veterans Day, the university’s calendar committee needed to “shuffle” instructional days, removing the fall breather. The proposal to not schedule a fall breather this year then went through consultation with students, faculty and staff, according to Soleim.

This leaves students with no days off until Veterans Day on Wednesday, Nov. 11.

Elementary education sophomore Madison Field heard about MSUM taking fall breather off the calendar from friends.

“It’s kind of a let-down not to have it anymore, but I’m not the kind of person to get really upset about something like this,” she said. “I appreciate that we at least have Veterans Day off, so we still have some sort of break.”

Field said she would have used the break to spend time with family and friends, but she still sees having Veterans Day off as a potential convenience.

“It’s nice to have Veterans Day off because most other schools have that off, too — although it’s not as refreshing as fall breather was,” she said.

Field would rather have fall breather off because Veterans Day falls in the middle of the week this year.

“That doesn’t lengthen a weekend so that I could go home to get time with my family,” she said. 

Computer information technology junior Ethan Reinertson was “kind of upset” when he caught word of the change.

“School has been stressful, and I really need a break,” he said.

Reinertson spent past fall breathers pheasant hunting with his family and doing school work. He had planned to do the same this year.

“It helped me unwind and catch up with my family,” Reinertson said.

Gerontology senior Violet Schroeder said she is also affected by the fall breather’s absence.

“I found out in the first week of classes while going over the syllabus for a class,” she said.

Schroeder, like Reinertson, uses fall breather to reconnect with family, some of whom she sees only twice a year.

“I was kind of disappointed because my family goes camping along the north shore of Lake Superior during that time every year,” Schroeder said.

Although she will have to miss the family trip, Schroeder thinks “it’s important to take time to remember our veterans.”

Soleim said that’s been the general attitude toward the change.

“I’ve had a few staff and faculty ask where fall breather went,” Soleim said, “but when I explain we want to honor our veterans, they understand.”

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