Upon first meeting Sarah Hofflander, one might think she is superhuman. This senior communication studies major and geography minor is very involved on campus.
Sarah is a faithful cross country and track runner who absolutely loves the team and the sport. The team’s camaraderie is what makes running most enjoyable for her. “It is fun to share a passion with other people. I love the team; we’re crazy,” Sarah said.
Junior Geology Major Andrea Eglinton has fond memories of Sarah. “We would sit together on the bus to meets, and she would always forget her iPod, so we would share mine and she would dance along to every single song. This would be taking place on a bus early in the morning with a bunch of runners who were crabby,” Eglinton said.
“Sarah is a very upbeat person. She is always happy and positive, which is really great to have at practice and meets. She’s also great at giving advice, and she is someone I always go to with problems,” Eglinton said.
Running is only one of Sarah’s many passions. Volunteering through Gustie Buddies every week for the past two years, she mentors an 18-year-old high school student with autism. Together, they have gone bowling, carved pumpkins and done arts and crafts. She emphasized how much fun she and her Gustie Buddy have. “It is really meaningful and fulfilling,”Sarah said.
Sarah is no stranger to struggling with a disability herself. When she was 13, she was diagnosed with Stargardt’s disease, an uncommon inherited juvenile macular degenerative condition that has taken much of her sight from her. Although the disease makes some things difficult for her, she is not disheartened. “Having Stargardt’s has made me who I am,” Sarah said.
Sarah does other volunteer work as well. Last January Interim Experience, she participated in a program through Hamline University to build a school in Jamaica. She described it as “very fulfilling.” She also does a lot of charity work through her church, such as taking a mission tirp to the Adirondack Mountains. Sarah says that her religious beliefs are an important reason why she is involved in community service. “But it is ok to struggle with your faith. That is how your faith grows,” she said.
“She is involved in so many organizations and groups and genuinely wants to help others whenever possible. She works her hardest in everything she does, including track and cross country, school work and her participation in multiple school organizations,” Senior Art Education Major Elise Biewen said. “She is a great friend and also gives the best head massages ever.”
Academically, Sarah is intrigued by what she has learned in her classes. “I am fascinated by how people relate to their environments and shape their culture,” Sarah said. She has especially enjoyed studying human geography, pagan ethnography and the emotion of embarrassment.
“Sarah is a great student, participates in class at a very high level, comes to class prepared, [is] engaged and possesses great intellectual curiosity. She is very effusive and has a great personality … lots of smiles,” Associate Professor of History David Obermiller said.
This academic year is Sarah’s last at Gustavus. She hopes to work for a non-profit organization or do her own charity work after graduation. Ultimately she would like to have a career in marketing or communications consultation, eventually obtaining a Ph.D. in communication studies and becoming a professor.
Sarah can often be spotted in the Market Place where she likes to relax and socialize with her buddies. When not at the Market Place, Sarah can likely be found studying at the library, which she considers “a home away from home.”
In her free time she likes to cook and bake with her housemates, watch Glee and Desperate Housewives and spend time with her teammates. Every week Sarah is sure to write a letter to her boyfriend Travis Kosir, who is serving in the Army in Afghanistan. “It was hard at first, but we’ve had a long distance relationship for a long time,” she said.
Sarah has a great affection for Gustavus and everything about it. “I love the fact that Gustavus is a liberal arts college. It offers a very broad education,” she said.
Sarah Hofflander is a Gustie at heart and an oustanding part of the Gustavus community.