The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

    Conquering the world with a smile

    Submitted Photo

    A benefit for students getting involved on campus, said Jodi Thesing-Ritter, assistant director of Housing and Residence Life, is that students learn better time-management, organizational and teamwork skills.

    Senior public communications major Dusty Huebner has done that to the fullest. She is an RA in Towers North, the president of Making Our School An Intercultural Community, a member of National Residence Hall Honorary, volunteers through United Hall Council and Residence Hall activity Board and works at the Towers front desk.

    Huebner was also responsible for bringing the Vagina Monologues to UW-Eau Claire her sophomore year.

    She first saw her friend in the Vagina Monologues at UW-Stevens Point and thought it would be fun to do as a residence hall activity. The first year it took place in Towers, it was mixed with a talent show.

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    The Vagina Monologues has come a long way since. This year, the event raised close to $7,000 toward its goal to end violence against women.

    Ninety percent of the proceeds were donated to the Bolton Refuge House and the rest was donated to the Women of Juarez, this year’s spotlight.

    Thesing-Ritter said Huebner’s work to improve the program each year has been impressive. She said it has been a pleasure to see the empowerment of the students as a result of Huebner’s hard work and dedication.

    The Vagina Monologues at Eau Claire have been licensed for the past two years and Huebner said it got to be a little overwhelming. She had to deal with a lot of red tape, and on top of that, the organization pushed to have each campus raise at least $6,000.

    Huebner has participated in the Vagina Monologues in one form or another for three years. She did monologues her first year and third year, and the second year she was the stage manager. Huebner did not do a monologue then because she said she could not have handled it. Being stage manager required hard work and coordination.

    “It was really fun though,” Huebner said. “I really enjoyed it.”

    Huebner said she backed off a lot this year and did a lot of delegating and organizing to give others more experience since she will be graduating.

    Besides the Vagina Monologues, as president of MOSAIC, she organized the Tunnel of Oppression in the fall and more recently the Diversity Conference. MOSAIC is doing another small event on May 6, the Transgender Forum.

    Having so many jobs may be overwhelming for many people, but not for Huebner.

    “She balances it really well,” said Miriam Rafferty, president of NRHH. “I don’t think I could take on as much as she does and do them as well as she does.”

    “She is committed to everything she involves herself in and gives 100 percent,” Rafferty said. “Not many people involved as she is do that.”

    Fulfilling work

    Huebner has been an RA in Towers since her sophomore year.

    “I love my job,” Huebner said. “I would do my job for free, but don’t let my boss know that.”

    Her boss, Towers North hall director Paul Krikau, said she is very organized and focused.

    “If she says she is going to do something, she does it, and she does it with a smile,” Krikau said.

    She is always trying to involve other people, he said. She cares very much about the students on her wing and in the building and she makes sure that they get the best out of college.

    “The level of her integrity in this job is incredible,” Krikau said. “She is an excellent RA.”

    Huebner admits with the Vagina Monologues this semester she has not had as much time as she would have liked for her wing. But the wing has not been neglected.

    Huebner and the other RA on her floor, sophomore Brian Martin, tried to start a hall government called Hall And Wing Community.

    The slogan they came up with for HAWC is “A bird needs two wings to fly straight.” The moral: The two fifth-floor wings on Towers North needed to work together.

    The hall government did not work, but there were other wing events, including sledding, making T-shirts and, as Huebner said, “lots of random dinners.”

    Rafferty has known Huebner for two years, including last year when Huebner was her RA.

    “She tries to get everyone involved and to maintain the rules of the hall,” Rafferty said. “She does that better than anyone I know.”

    When Rafferty would have a bad day, she said Huebner would always help out.

    “She is very positive,” Rafferty said. “She tries to see the good in everything.”

    “It says something that I am still friends with her after she was my RA,” Rafferty said.

    Huebner has noticed herself change over the years. She said she is more open and she has undergone a philosophical change as well.

    “I have gone from a na‹ve everything always turns out as sunshine and roses optimist to a cynical everything should turn out to be sunshine and roses optimist,” Huebner said.

    Moved to tears

    Huebner spent her junior year studying astrophysics at the University of Hertfordshire, England, located 20 minutes north of London.

    She described her year as being very different than here. The classes lasted one year instead of just a semester. Homework was not assigned weekly but every two months. If you didn’t keep up with your studies, Huebner said, you were out of luck when the time came to apply the knowledge learned.

    Being the only Eau Claire student at Hertfordshire, Huebner was fully immersed in English culture. She said she really appreciated the fact that she was studying at an English university, not at an American university on English soil.

    From her experience there, Huebner said she has learned how to adapt to her setting no matter where she is.

    She joined a group similar to Eau Claire’s Student Impact where she said she learned a lot about herself and her faith. She enjoyed going to the on campus pub, “Ele House,” with her friends.

    When asked what her favorite place there was, Huebner replied, “You don’t fall in love with something. You fall in love with people.”

    In her free time Huebner coached the cheerleading squad.

    Huebner led the warm ups, taught cheer routines and stunts, and taught cheerleader spirit.

    “All the team loved her and her name is still a legend among this year’s first-years,” said Laura Mudge, a member of the squad at Hertfordshire, in an email.

    “When Dusty wasn’t out gallivanting around campus doing as much as she could in a day, she would be visiting other students,” she said.

    Huebner was involved in many things in the year that she was there for and got to know many people on campus.

    “It was difficult to go down to the student shop without meeting at least five people that she knew,” Mudge said. “I swear she knew half the campus.”

    Huebner and Mudge still stay in contact.

    “It just goes to show that friends come and go but best friends will stay with you for life,” Mudge said.

    Memories of England came back to Huebner in a hurry while she was watching the movie “Love Actually.” The movie was filmed in London, and she said she couldn’t stop crying during it because it brought back so many memories.

    Drill sergeants and guitars

    Most evenings you can find Huebner in her room practicing the guitar. She has been playing for a year now. She plays the flute and sings as well.

    Huebner goes to jazz night at Stones Throw, 304 Eau Claire St., whenever possible and once sang at open mic night. Huebner also goes with Krikau to karaoke on Thursday nights at Scooter’s, 411 Galloway St.

    She jokingly calls herself his personal drill sergeant or nag.

    Krikau said she will come into his apartment, see dirty dishes and filled trash bins, and motivate him to get off his butt and do it.

    With help from Huebner, Krikau put out his third CD this year. Huebner sang two songs on the album and also played flute.

    He said she has also motivated him to volunteer more for UHC, MOSAIC and other organizations.

    “She helps me go above and beyond what I have to do,” Krikau said. “I just think she’s wonderful.”

    Huebner also loves to tell jokes. Krikau said that although she has a great sense of humor, “she tells awful jokes.”

    “She makes really corny jokes,” Rafferty agreed with a laugh.

    Huebner, though, insists her jokes are funny.

    “I don’t care what they say,” she said. “I love my jokes.”

    Looking ahead

    Huebner is graduating in May with a public communications major and physics minor.

    “I love physics,” Huebner said. “I am not doing it because I am halfway good at it, but because I love it.”

    Huebner had wanted a physics major, but when she realized it would take seven years to get the degree since she started the program late, she switched to public communications.

    In addition to her other activities this semester, Huebner has been searching the country for a job. She wants to be a hall director.

    As a former hall director, Thesing-Ritter said the position is fun and exciting and she has no doubt Huebner will enjoy it.

    Huebner has sent out more than 20 resumes to many different universities. She was interviewed by Washington State University at the beginning of April and is waiting to hear back from them.

    “I am not the type of person who worries,” Huebner said. “But at this point I am getting a little nervous.”

    Her friends have confidence in her though. Senior Frances Slezak said administrators are passing up a wonderful opportunity if they do not choose Huebner.

    “I’m pretty sure if she wanted to,” Slezak said, “she could conquer the world.”

    She paused for a moment before finishing.

    “But that might take her a while.”

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