Meet Allison Birnschein, a Gustavus junior psychology major who is sure to brighten your day with her deep love for life, appreciation for the little things, and unmatchable Gustavus pride.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
“I’ve lived in Wisconsin pretty much my whole life; I was born in Stevens Point and then later moved to a town right outside of Madison called Sun Prairie. Growing up I did a lot of dancing. I participated in dance from age four until the end of high school. I grew up in a house with three younger brothers, and I have two dogs named Morgan and Jack. When it was time for me to go to college I decided I wanted to go out of state so that it was more of an adventure. Even though I only ended up one state away, I love going to school in Minnesota- it’s the perfect distance from home.”
Aside from the out of state part, what made you decide to come to Gustavus?
“That’s a great question. I had a very extensive college search process; I had an Excel sheet on my computer with 95 colleges on. Eventually I narrowed the list down and toured 10 colleges to help me make my decision. Somehow Gustavus didn’t make it on my list, but one day I got something from Gustavus in the mail and ended up coming for a tour. Right away I noticed how nice people were, opening doors and saying hi. I felt so at home here with the sense of community, the opportunity to be a part of dance but also focus on studying psychology, and the ties with the St. Peter community, which all became important parts of my decision.”
Can you tell me about the things that you’re involved with on campus?
“Sure! So, this year I am the Parent Communications Coordinator for Big Partner Little Partner, which is an organization that connects Gusties with kids in St. Peter. We work to plan and organize events, and it’s my personal role to communicate with parents about updates, event information, and any concerns they may have. I am also the President of Connecting Clouds, which is an organization promoting happiness and appreciation for life that was just established this semester. The idea for the organization originated when I was studying abroad in Ireland with my friends Jordan and Maia. I love the simple impact we have already had this semester with our ball pit, Gusties After Dark Event, and Highfive Skyway. I love to see people smile. I also spend a lot of my time as a student research assistant in the Center for Developmental Science, working in Career Development, choreographing dance, and giving tours to prospective students!”
Wow, that’s a lot! I hear that you’re also a part of this year’s senior week committee- can you tell me a little bit about that?
“Yes! The senior week committee meets every week with our advisor Scott Brody, and we are each in charge of planning and organizing one event for senior week, which is a week for seniors to get together, have fun, and reminisce on their time here. I am co-planning a President’s banquet with Herschran Sighn. The event is a replication of the President’s Banquet that happens during first year orientation. The two banquets are good bookends for the seniors’ time here at Gustavus.”
Does this make you excited for your own senior week?
“I’m excited for senior week because I know the people on next year’s committee will plan some great events, but it is also a mix of feeling happy and sad because it symbolizes the end of my years at Gustavus. But I love that senior week is more of a celebration of your time here rather than being about saying goodbye.”
That makes sense. Is there anything that you are particularly looking forward to or excited about for your senior year?
“I am really excited to use all of the skills that I’ve gained through the years to create some final projects that have a lot of meaning to me, especially my honors psych project. I’m also really excited to meet the the new incoming class- I love first years. If I could go back to day one, I would totally be a Gustie and do it all over again.”
I can tell you have a lot of school spirit, that’s awesome. Here’s a random question question that sort of relates- if Gus the Lion came up behind you and gave you a hug, how would you react?
“I don’t usually like physical contact from strangers, but there’s this connection with Gus that I just have to embrace. It’s like hugging all of Gustavus; all of my love for Gustavus can be poured out into that hug.”
I love that. Is there anything else you want to share?
“Here’s a random fact about myself: When I wake up in the morning I always think to myself, ‘Today is going to be a good day.’ Then, I jump out of bed, turn on some fun music, make myself breakfast, and read a book! I also spend a lot of time walking outside, appreciating the clouds and stars and the green grass.”
That’s great. Do you have any other fun facts?
“My favorite style sock is the crew length, I eat chocolate after almost every meal (except for breakfast; I sometimes have chocolate IN my meal), and I really love cheese; my two favorites are Havarti and Gouda!”