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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Dallas Wiertella
Dallas Wiertella
Multimedia Editor

Through my experience here at the North Wind I have been able to have the privilege of highlighting students through all forms of multimedia journalism. Whether I'm in front or behind the camera, I aim...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Opinion-- A list of regrets before I graduate
Opinion-- A list of regrets before I graduate
Sal Wiertella March 1, 2024

‘If not me, then who?’

During his time at Northern, senior environmental studies and sociology major Nathan Frischkorn has been an activist on campus and in the Marquette community, rallying people and increasing awareness about environmental and minority issues. Photo courtesy of Marlee Gunsell

NMU senior Nathan Frischkorn reflects on his social, political activism during time at Northern

As a freshman, environmental studies and sociology major Nathan Frischkorn found himself in the heart of NMU’s campus holding a sign to spread positive messages with his friends. Now a senior, Frischkorn has since contributed to a number of events with political and social impact in and around the Northern community.

Frischkorn’s first experience engaging in activism at NMU was during fall 2008, he said, reacting to a tense situation he and fellow students didn’t like on campus.

“There was this pastor that would come into the middle of campus, who was very confrontational, yelling at people, telling everyone how they were going to hell,” Frischkorn said. “It upset a couple of my friends, so we decided to stand across the Academic Mall with signs. We just stood there to counteract that with a positive message.

“At that time, I didn’t think that activism and taking a stand was going to become such a major part of my life,” he said.

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In his years at Northern since then, Frischkorn has helped organize political and social rallies for causes, such as science and environmental sustainability. He also collected and presented over 400 student signatures to the NMU Board of Trustees asking the board to rescind the invitation to Gov. Rick Snyder to speak at May commencement.

Frischkorn shared how he worked through the challenges that he faced while advocating for what he believed in by trying to understand those who have experiences different from his own.

“When you take a stand, you tend to broaden your horizons and learn about things that you may not have thought about. I am a white male from a middle class background—there are a lot of experiences in America that aren’t my experiences,” Frischkorn said.
For Frischkorn, activism is always a team effort, and that means working with people who are willing to take a stand for what they believe in.

“Part of my philosophy is, ‘If I’m not going to stand up for what I believe in, then who’s going to stand up for it?’ Whether it be standing up for marginalized groups or standing up for the environment, ‘If not me then who? Someone needs to take the stand. Someone needs to do something.’ Well, I’m someone so I can do something,” he said.

Frischkorn offered advice to students who are just beginning their time at Northern.

“Find ways to get involved in the community, whether that be the NMU community or the Marquette community. I’ve been involved in both, and it’s been an extremely rewarding experience to build some of these friendships and these relationships with people not just in the NMU community but in the broader community,” Frischkorn said. “You have to be proactive, you have to find out what you’re passionate about as a person and what kind of changes you want to see and make happen, and you just need to take those steps.”

Frischkorn will be attending law school in the fall at Arizona State University to focus on a combination of environmental and Indigenous law.

“The reason that I’m going into law is because standing up is such an important part of my life and the identity that I’ve created, soIwantedtofindawaythatI could do that professionally,” he said. “I decided that, for me, the best course of action would be to pursue law where I can utilize the talents that I have, and to do so in what I hope to be a more effective way.”

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