My first impression of Menomonie, Wisconsin, is an old impression. I first arrived here in the Fall of 2012, as a freshman in the Applied Mathematics and Computer Science Major. I was ready to do my work and leave with a degree and a job, but then things changed. I noticed education isn't just about taking a few classes and expanding my job skill, and instead it is about interacting with your environment to gain life and worldly skills. I soon switched major's for Applied Social Science with a focus in History and Politics and picked up a minor in Applied Peace Studies. My story of impressions really starts here at this point because I actually started to see what Menomonie really has to offer. There are plenty of outdoor activities that I could do at various parks inside and outside of town. I noticed the happy townies doing their crazy little festivals, music, and farmer's markets and began to notice how tight knit this town was. But after I saw it, I kind of just forgot about all of the wonderful experiences Menomonie has to offer. With the arrival of all of the 9 other REU Students, I noticed the Menomonie that I had forgotten about the last year.
The first day of the REU all of the students arrived and were so surprised about how quaint and cute Menomonie is and how it is completely different from their homes. I regained their perspective of a fresh outlook towards Menomonie and saw once again what we have to offer here. Little lake parks made all of us happy just to sit there and watch a sunset. Then we discussed how you can actually drive on the lake during the winter and how central the lake is to the town. Then I remembered why we are all here, for limiting the gradual decay and ultimately cleaning the lake that is so central to the town and making it even more enjoyable for everybody. So I think that the biggest first reimpression that I got from the start of the LAKES project is that the lake means a lot here and that we have to do our best to clean it up. Everyone in the project seems super excited and there are so many helpful people from the community working with us, like the men and women at the Lake association and other county representatives. Everyone is so enthused about what we are doing and I am looking forward to working with all of these fascinating people that I have met. I hope that we can all keep up our good attitudes and do some really magical work this summer, to at the very least contribute to the continual effort of cleaning up our watershed and Lake Menomin.