Staying Safe During COVID

If you’re like me, you’re sick of COVID.

It’s like that pesky friend who just needs to give you some space. Or like the leech that attaches itself to you while you’re fishing. Or like when you eat a really peanut buttery sandwich and the peanut butter gets stuck to every part of your mouth and you just can’t quite get rid of it. Or like when you accidentally eat a habanero pepper and the heat sticks around in your mouth for days.

It. Just. Won’t. Go. Away.

I think part of the reason I’m so sick of COVID is because I seem to do the same things every day. Wake up. Go to work. Do some boring stuff in the evening. Go to bed. Repeat.

So, how are you keeping yourself busy during this time?

Here’s some ideas for how you can keep yourself occupied, but safe, in the time of COVID.

  1. Munsinger Gardens – I’ve discussed Munsinger before on this blog, but truly, it is such a beautiful place to hang out for an afternoon. Grab a small group of friends and head over the river to check it out. Between the many walking paths, there are plenty of opportunities to practice social distancing! This time of year, the flowers are absolutely breathtaking! It’s also a great spot for impromptu photo shoots with your friends but be careful because if you plan to use the photos commercially, you need a photography permit.
  2. St. John’s University – Just down the road from SCSU is the absolutely gorgeous SJU campus with miles and miles of hiking trails. The thing I enjoy about spending time outdoors at SJU is that the campus really has something for everyone. They have a lake, so feel free to take a swim while you’re there. They have easy walking paths through the woods, or paths for more experienced hikers. They have short loops and long loops. You can walk through prairie, woods, or pine forests. I highly recommend the Chapel Trail (a three-mile hike) and the Boardwalk Loop (a 1.5-mile loop).
  3. Lake George and Eastman Park – Lake George and Eastman Park has something for everyone. They have walking trails, water features, a beach, and a playground. Obviously, if you play on the playground (because, I in my full-grown adult self still love playgrounds), make sure to practice social distancing!
  4. Beaver Island Trail – “Beaver Island Trail spans a former route of a charter railroad belonging to the Minneapolis and Northwestern Railway Company, known as the Tileston Mill Spur, which connected the mill town of Tileston to Minneapolis and Clearwater. Two large segments of the former railroad route are open as part of the trail today, including a five-mile stretch along the Mississippi River near St. Cloud State University and a shorter segment that connects to the St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center. The trail connects to the pedestrian River Walk, which offers direct downtown access, and is a popular site for runners, bikers, inline skaters, and cross-country skiiers during the winter months. Photo opportunities abound, especially in the fall when the trail’s trees are covered in spectacular autumn colors,” (from com).

Even in the time of COVID, which never seems to end, there is still plenty to do in and around St. Cloud. Spend some time at one of these COVID-safe locations.

Always remember to practice social distancing and wear a mask indoors or where social distancing is not available outside!

Stay safe, Huskies!



Donella Westphal’s unexpected yet rewarding journey to owning Jules’ Bistro

If you’re from the St. Cloud area and haven’t been to Jules’ Bistro yet, you are definitely missing out! From breakfast to dinner, coffee to wine, Jules’ Bistro has something for everyone!

Jules’ is owned by Donella Westphal, a 2003 St. Cloud State English Department graduate. If you’re interested in hearing about Donella’s journey to own Jules’, check out this article that so clearly describes her journey.

Located at 921 W St Germain St, St Cloud, MN 56301, the Bistro is just a short jog from campus, just 0.7 miles, to be exact! It’s the perfect stop on a morning run or a great place to begin a night out.




If you’re looking for a different experience, check out Jules’! Here are just a few reasons they are different than the restaurants and cafés you normally frequent:

artisan flatbread pizzas
vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free options
baked-from-scratch cakes, scones and cookies
made-from-scratch soups and chilis
unique daily specials
live music and local art
handcrafted espresso drinks
wines you won’t find at any other St. Cloud restaurant
over 30 craft beers


Jules’ Bistro has a wide selection of delish dishes. According to their website, “Jules’ combines a casually sophisticated menu with a cozy, artistic atmosphere. We believe food crafted thoughtfully is food done right, and take pride in cooking and baking from scratch. Since 2005, we’ve been putting our own spin on pizza, paninis, salads and much more.”



Why not find a restaurant where you can order dinner and enjoy a show? During non-COVID times, Jules’ has a wide variety of artists, musician, comedians, and more come into the bistro to provide (often free) entertainment! Check their website for upcoming events. When COVID settles down and they bring acts back, you won’t want to miss the shows!



One of the greatest aspects of living in and around the St. Cloud area is the local support businesses have for each other. Jules’ Bistro is no exception. They currently give back to nine local organizations: Anna Marie’s Alliance, Pathways 4 Youth, Operation Baby New Year Diaper Drive, St. Cloud State University Athletic Department, St. Cloud Shines, MN Dance Ensemble, St. Cloud Area Singing Saints Barbershop Chorus, Tri-County Human Society, and Girl Scouts Lakes & Pines. Help support these local organizations by supporting Jules’.



Beyond supporting the specific organizations mentioned above, Jules’ works hard to locally source as much as they can. Jules’ espresso and coffee beans come from a small roaster in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Dogwood Coffee Company, they source their pure maple syrup from a small company in Mora, Minnesota, Sapsucker Farms, their honey comes from Ames Farm, raw honey made in Minnesota, and they even support central Minnesota garbage company, West Central Sanitation, for all their garbage removal needs! Check out their “Partners” page for more information about other companies they support. I love supporting local and I feel like I’m doing so by supporting Jules’.



Did you know that Jules’ caters events? Need I say more?


If you’re still not sold on Jules’, check out Jules’ in the News where you’ll find a variety of articles and other places Jules’ has been featured.

Their food is delicious. Their service is amazing. Their team is very friendly! It’s the perfect place for you to sit down for a cup of coffee and a scone!

Calling all English Department faculty, students, and alumni!!

Did you know that you can be featured on our blog page??

We absolutely love featuring our current students, faculty, and alumni!


  1. Have you recently been published? Let us know the details and we’ll put together a post. We’d also love to publish a post you wrote.
  2. Are you teaching a really compelling course? (The answer should be “yes” because ALL of you are teaching really compelling courses.) Write something about the course and send it our way. We love to read about what’s happening within the walls of Webster!
  3. Got a fun story to share? Please share it!! This can be about anything. Exciting happenings in your class. Fun summer getaways. A funny story your niece told you the other day. We love to get to know our professors and would love to have you share your stories!


  1. Have you written a really interesting paper recently? Send it to us! We’d love to publish it on the blog! We really enjoy seeing what students are doing within our classrooms!
  2. Do you have any fun side projects happening? We’d love to hear about it! We like featuring students’ projects because we like showcasing our amazing English Department talent!
  3. Are you writing a thesis or working a culminating project? Featuring something like this on our blog is beneficial because it may give inspiration to future students as they begin to think about their own culminating projects.


  1. Are you published (or soon to be published)? Send us a link and short write-up about your pieces and we’ll link your work to our blog. We know we have some amazing alumni and your work deserves to be featured!
  2. How about a story from when you were attending SCSU? We quite like taking trips down memory lane! Please feel free to share your stories with the blog!
  3. What are you up to these days? We feel very connected to all of our alumni and would greatly appreciate to hear how you are doing, what you are doing, and how the English Department helped prepare you for your current adventures.

Do you have other ideas for submissions? Please, send them our way! If we haven’t said it before, we love featuring faculty, students, and alumni!! Please consider writing something for the blog!

Webster during COVID-19

Ok friends. Let’s address the elephant in the room. And by “elephant,” I mean “COVID-19.”

Everyone knows about it. Everyone’s talking about it. But, I haven’t seen anyone talk about how different campus looks right now.

I walked around Webster Hall, our home, on Tuesday before teaching my class. It was about 1:30 PM.

Before I drop the photos I took, I want you to remember what Webster was like back before COVID. I remember walking through the halls, hearing a multitude of voices and seeing students studying in the comfy chairs on every floor. I remember the English department (and other departments as well) office doors open, the office full of smiling faces ready to greet anyone who walked in! I remember seeing full classrooms of students learning. I remember an alive and active building.

I’ll admit. I was very saddened by my walk through Webster. I felt like I was alone. I didn’t get to greet anyone. No smiles. No “How are you?” No interaction. Just me and my thoughts.





Walking around Webster was a sad experience. When I finished my walk, I went to my classroom to get set up for class. Some students come in-person and the rest join on Zoom. It’s far less than an ideal situation, but at least they get a little bit of in-person instruction. When I’ve asked which method the students prefer, the say in-person. I had five students in my classroom on Tuesday. The rest were on Zoom.

Drop us a comment to let us know which method you prefer!

I hope eventually we can go back to fully in-person classes, but until then, we’re doing the best we can and I’m confident all the professors teaching here are continuing to provide high quality instruction!

Take care and be safe!