Marty Bergquist


We live in an age of paralyzing pressure.

Constant worries of how exactly we measure up.

Regardless of majors, we all minor in competition.

And a “minor mistake” is an oxymoron.

Why do we let questions start with “sorry” yet never apologize for not trusting ourselves?

Soon we won’t be the only ones putting ourselves on the benches.

Marty wasn’t about that bench life. His drive, his vision, and his passion allowed the results of his endeavors to drip in success. As with any brilliant young soul, we have a lot to learn from Marty.

I don’t see a lack of drive in myself or in the students surrounding me. No, in the all-nighters, the impressive resumes and the stellar grades, the drive is there. Obsessively so. What we are missing, especially women, is the fearless confidence that must accompany drive.

It’s so easy to find the strengths and talents of the person next to you, yet impossible to remember that they are listing things off about you as well.

Marty was someone who had the heart to dream amazing things for the world, and the brains to make them happen. We need more Martys. We need more long terms goals that aren’t presented with “If I could” or followed by “but…”

We need to act from a place of passion, from true dedication. Not moving just to go through the motions.

What in your current life would you still do, even if you couldn’t put it on your resume? Only when we eliminate half-hearted endeavors can we experience the pride of every accomplished entrepreneur, every successful philanthropist, every happy soul.

What if we got more out of our current internships, classes, relationships, instead of adding more?

We need to “love all, trust a few and do wrong to none.” We need to channel our inner Marty, because with a loss like this, the world needs us.

Midterm Madness

After hearing continuous complaints about “hell weeks” I’ve realized the term “week” is a bit vague.

Oddly enough, these back to back weeks of back to back midterms, are corresponding with other campuses’ fall breaks. I don’t have first hand experience with this fall break concept, but it sounds like a glorious life.

A serene scene far from the U of M

It’s this absence of a fall break that makes midterms worse than finals, in my opinion. During finals week, all other classes are cancelled, allowing students time to study. With midterms, classes continue on, making homework and projects just as much of a priority as upcoming exams. Additionally, with midterms there is no end reward of a vacation. Look alive U of M.

However, it has recently been brought to my attention (and then again and again) that I will be busier after college than I am now. I have attempted to argue that there aren’t enough hours in a day for that to be possible, but these graduates are persistent. Most recently, a young professional explained that it’s just a different, more structured and consistent type of busy.

So it made me wonder, is expecting no classes during midterms, or a fall break unrealistic? Would having these things be a bittersweet luxury?

In the real world, I doubt all other work halts when one project takes priority or nears a deadline. I doubt a few days of working overtime are always followed by a few days off.

Would our energy be better spent finding the dedication and organization to make these hell weeks manageable, over trying to convince the University to change its policies?

In the meantime, find productive study spaces and effective stress releasors. While we are creatures of habit, studying somewhere new may be the thing that allows you to focus on the material, rather than feeling overly comfortable. If every time you study you go to Purple Onion, that cafe will remind you of every assignment you’ve done there. No thank you.

If watching a few episodes of New Girl calms your energy and makes you laugh, recognize that power. However, mixing up your routine, especially for something physical, will have a much greater impact. A run may clear your head, but climbing the new rock wall at the Rec will do the same, while exciting and rejuvenating the brain.


St. Jude Fall Festival of Hope

Fall Festival of Hope at the Depot in downtown Minneapolis
Fall Festival of Hope at the Depot in downtown Minneapolis

As a special events intern for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, I had the lucky opportunity to recently attend the annual Fall Festival of Hope. Wednesday, September 18, over 500 St. Jude supporters gathered at the Depot in downtown Minneapolis.

Throughout this extravagant gala, guests enjoyed the silent auction, music from The Blenders, and an amazing live auction. Over 20 of the top Minneapolis restaurants catered the event, providing small plates of their most popular dishes. Queen of Cakes supplied centerpieces that tasted even better than they looked.

While the live auction of extravagant vacations and prizes was entertaining, the most memorable part of the event came from Jen O’Hara. The mother of a previous St. Jude patient, O’Hara inspired the audience with her honesty and courage. Stories of her late daughter, Shannon, and her never ending positive outlook filled the room with emotion. O’Hara shares this amazing story in her new book Determined to Matter.

Through the successful events like Fall Festival of Hope, St. Jude is able to ensure that patient families pay nothing for treatment. This also covers traveling costs, food and housing while at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN.

This event stimulated my interest in the nonprofit sector, as I saw and took part in preparing small details that come together to create a successful gala. Fall Festival of Hope took place the second day of my internship.  Jumping right in to one of the biggest events of the year has set the tone for an amazing semester.

Right away, I experienced the dynamics of the Region 6 team and was welcomed without hesitation. We spent the entire day dropping tables, preparing 600 gift bags, coordinating the auctions and much more. At each moment I knew this was a fantastic fit. The people, the internship, the nonprofit sector, special events,  it all fit.

Sorority Recruitment

Me and My Assistant, Aly Dahmen, Before Open House Round
As the Vice President of Recruitment of my sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta, this fall was the craziest and best time of my life. The planning for the five days of formal recruitment began in February, allowing my anticipation to grow with each day.
I remember comparing the process to skydiving. I’ve never been, but I’m assuming sorority recruitment is pretty similar. All of Spring semester, I was the skydiving instructor, and the Alpha Gams  were in the registration process- watching the safety videos and covering the logistics.
For me, this meant planning all decorations, outfits, refreshments and entertainment.
One sister asked me, “You don’t do anything this semester though, right? That’s nice it’s just the end of summer.”
Interesting. Not quite.
However, I believe what makes a great leader and an even better event planner, is the ability to absorb stress, without any others feeling the wake. Blame it on the yoga, but this aspect of events and strategic communications has always appealed to me.
Dropped tables for Open House Round
Dropped tables for Open House Round

Towards the end of August, we were all on the plane. Anticipation was building for all and a five day workshop, Polish Week, consumed our last days of Summer. As I facilitated Polish Week, I realized what it meant to be in the plane. There’s no going back, how you handle complications is the only thing that will change the outcome. Not everything will be perfect or go exactly as planned, but recruitment will happen either way- so find a new perfect.

As recruitment came, it was time to dive. I expected this time to be full of anxiety, but it was far from it. Already out of the plane, there’s nothing to do but enjoy the process.

Sharing highlights of conversations and positive aspects of each round, telling jokes during down time and updating our inspiration board kept spirits high. Ultimately, the endless support and love I felt throughout the whole process, made it the best fall I’ve ever taken.

With relaxed attitudes and the AGD brand making up our parachute, after the final day of recruitment, we landed on our feet. Even better, we found ourselves surrounded by an amazing pledge class of 45 new members.

Dropped tables and decor for Preference Round
Dropped tables and decor for Preference Round

My experience in strategic communications allowed for a strong recruitment experience as well. Coordinating members, facilitating values based conversations and [insert sorority jargon] was done keeping our brand in mind at all times.

The women going through recruitment must make impressions and decisions about our chapter from the conversations they have with a few members. Focusing efforts on our brand being present in each of these instances allowed these interactions to be genuine and valuable.

Who knew there was so much PR in skydiving?