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About Austin Gerth

Senior

Austin Gerth

Writing & Philosophy

Connect with Austin Gerth

Twitter: @Austin_Gerth

Hello everyone! I’m Austin Gerth, class of 2016, from scenic Princeton, Minnesota. My hobbies include listening to and playing music, reading, watching movies, and thinking about things. I’m majoring in Writing. After college, I hope to be either some sort of writer or some sort of homeless (or both). I chose to come to Concordia mostly for the food, though it has a lot of other good qualities as well. Since coming to Concordia I’ve been to dorm room eggnog parties and late-night viral video productions; I’ve listened to a lot of Justin Timberlake and blindly taken a yoga class with no prior experience; I’ve participated in a heroically unproductive religion study group and fallen asleep in the campus center. On top of these things, I’ve also received a superlative education. If you like wind and pizza, you’ll like Fargo-Moorhead, and if you like corn-oriented humor, semi-gourmet cafeteria food, or late-night intellectual behavior, you’ll like Concordia. If you like all of the above, you’re probably already here and we’re probably already friends.

Austin Gerth

Just the Würst

Posted in Austin Gerth on March 4th, 2016 by agerth – Comments Off on Just the Würst

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I’m like half or three quarters of German descent, but I don’t always wear that background on my sleeve. Tonight was a mild exception, however: Rachel and I went out to a place in downtown Fargo called Würst Bier Hall, where the menu is largely comprised of various types of würst, also known as sausage, one of the foods most indelibly linked to Germany throughout history. I ordered an elk sausage with jalapeño. (I would have ordered a sausage made of rabbit and rattlesnake, but it happened to be the most expensive item on the menu, and we had already decided to get an appetizer.) The food was good, and the prices were reasonable (even the rattlesnake sausage was under $10). The TV screens throughout the place play old music videos, so you can watch Whitney Houston get a katana lesson from Kevin Costner in the “I Will Always Love You” video while you wait on your würst. It’s great.

The excursion allowed me to get just in touch enough with my German heritage — I didn’t order the usual sauerkraut on my sausage, and I was thoroughly confused by an attempt at describing what spaetzle is. I can only do German my American way.

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Caucused

Posted in Austin Gerth on March 3rd, 2016 by agerth – Comments Off on Caucused
Civilians, Cobber students, and even professors, mingling in the Ward 3 line at the caucus.

Civilians, Cobber students, and even professors, mingling in the Ward 3 line at the caucus.

Last night I participated in my first-ever caucus to determine a presidential nominee. I attended the Moorhead democratic caucus on the campus of Minnesota State University, and, full disclosure, I voted to nominate Bernie Sanders for the democratic party. It’s looking more and more unlikely that Sanders will be able to secure the nomination over Hillary Clinton, and I felt it was my duty as an engaged citizen to do what little I could about that. (Not that I’ve got any serious grudge against Clinton–I think either she or Sanders would make good candidates for the democratic party, and, with the way the Republican nomination process is going, I think either of them would stand a more than fair chance of winning the eventual general election.)

Over 200 Concordia students attended the democratic caucus (the lines were long), which is a remarkably high turnout considering the normal line about young people and civic engagement is that young people might talk a big talk, but when it’s crunch time we don’t actually get out and vote. But the rub there is that our collective status as demographic that doesn’t vote (and therefore doesn’t need to be catered toward in order to win) actually makes us a powerful and unpredictable voting bloc when we do show up to the polls in force. If you didn’t caucus last night, no worries, but I recommend you participate in future caucuses if you can, and think long and hard about which party or parties you affiliate yourself with (and to what degree you affiliate yourself). The political establishment doesn’t really know what to do with us, and there’s a certain kind of power in that, but at the same time our voices will not be heard if we do not make them heard.

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Class Profile: Postcolonial Literatures

Posted in Austin Gerth on February 26th, 2016 by agerth – Comments Off on Class Profile: Postcolonial Literatures
The under-construction splash page of our under-construction site.

The under-construction splash page of our under-construction site.

This semester, as an extension of the research work I did this summer, I’m taking ENG 451 – Postcolonial Literatures. (I’ve alluded to the course — and the work I did helping to design one of its major projects — several times previously on this blog this year.)

There are probably some of you who don’t know what a “postcolonial literature” is. That’s okay: I’m going to tell you. “Postcolonial literatures” are, in a very reductive nutshell, the literary traditions of nations or groups of people who have been colonized; the “post” can refer to either “after gaining independence” or “after colonization begins”. Literary works that fall into this category tend to exhibit certain characteristics, like a preoccupation with struggles over both personal and national identity, or a questioning or even revisionist approach to historical material — presenting alternative points of view to the commonly accepted notions of how things occurred or what events mean.

In the course we read a number of works of literature from several different regions of the globe, and we discuss them in terms of postcolonial theory and their ramifications for understanding personal/political/societal issues in the world. On top of that reading and group discussion — which are both basically par for literature courses — we are also completing a major web design project in collaboration with the Technical Writing course that meets just downstairs from us in the business school. Our project, which I’ve written about previously, is to create a scholarly reference website providing contextual and interpretive information on the novel Star of the Sea, by the Irish author Joseph O’Connor. We started the really intensive phase of the project — that of researching and writing the content for the website — the week before break.

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Spring Break 2016: Kinda Looks Like Spring

Posted in Austin Gerth on February 20th, 2016 by agerth – Comments Off on Spring Break 2016: Kinda Looks Like Spring

 

It almost feels like it's time to break out my cactus shirt. (Just kidding -- I wore this year-round.)

It almost feels like it’s time to break out my cactus shirt. (Just kidding — I wore this year-round.)

As I left the Hoyum lot yesterday afternoon my car’s temperature tracker said it was around 55 degrees outside, which explains why I had been way too hot in my winter coat in the morning. Three hours later, as I reached the bottom of the hill that leads down West Branch street off of highway 95 as one enters Princeton, MN, I drove through one of the biggest puddles of snowmelt water I’ve ever seen, practically covering the entire street. Box elder bugs are finding there way into the house. For once, Concordia’s uniquely early Spring Break actually feels quite a bit like Spring, or at least like the beginning of Spring. Granted, it’s still February, and we could see feet of snow in March, but at least it’s pretty nice right now, while I don’t have to worry about going to classes or being anywhere at any particular time except my Thursday afternoon haircut appointment.

What are my plans for this week of break (other than the haircut)? Not much. I’d like to read a book or two (or three) that aren’t required by classes, and, although, I don’t have to go to class on campus this week, I do have a fair amount of homework hanging over my head. So I’ll try to keep up on that a little bit if I can.

 

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The Donut Shirts Are In

Posted in Austin Gerth on February 19th, 2016 by agerth – Comments Off on The Donut Shirts Are In

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A couple days ago a package I’ve been waiting a while for finally arrived in my mail. Said package was a t-shirt, rolled up and rubber banded, with a post-it note fixed on top with my mailbox number and name penned on. This wasn’t just any t shirt: it was my official Cobber Sandy’s Donut Club t shirt. I’ve been a supporter of the Donut Club since its inception, following its Facebook and Twitter pages within a day or two of their creation; I even made the trek to its namesake donut shop in downtown Fargo one frigid Friday morning last month for one of the club’s meetings (there’ve only been two meetings so far–it’s pretty low-key, which is probably a good thing for a club built around eating donuts).

The Donut Club was co-founded by my fellow COBBlogger Kelsey Rausch, and it deserves to be supported. Some students tend to only be involved with the kinds of things that will “look good on a resume,” but the Donut Club is an important reminder that not everything is about money or about getting ahead in life. Sometimes it’s best just to sit back, smell the coffee, and eat a donut. Plus, you might get a cool t shirt out of the deal too.

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