GUSTIE of the WEEK: Carley Swanson-Garro

Michaela Woodward – Staff Writer

Originally from Bemidji, Minnesota, this Gustie of the Week came to Gustavus because of their long-held passions and has discovered plenty of new ones during their time here.
Junior Carley Swanson-Garro was looking for an institution where she could continue to be a part of a music ensemble without studying music.
“I was looking for somewhere that I could do music and not be a music major, and Gustavus is really great at that, so I’m in [the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra] right now,” Swanson-Garro said.
Though music is not Swanson-Garro’s primary focus, she brings a positive attitude to rehearsals.
Dr. Ruth Lin, the director of the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, has grown to know Swanson-Garro through her participation in this ensemble.

“Carley is a great human being who enjoys learning as much as she can and always approaches everything with an open mind and a hard-working attitude. It’s been lovely getting to know her, and I cannot believe that she is a junior already,” Lin said.

Swanson-Garro knew she wanted to be an English major before coming to Gustavus, but early on she discovered interests in Communication Studies and Scandinavian Studies.
“I have been writing for a super long time and love doing that, so coming in, doing an English major just kind of made sense, and I love how varied the department is and how many different paths you can take with English. Everybody thinks all English majors are English teachers and that’s not true. English majors go into every field. For Communication Studies, I actually went to a college fair in Bemidji before coming to Gustavus, and there was a representative from the Communication Studies department, a student, and he actually talked about Gustavus having a grant writing course, which I was super interested in. Coming in as a freshman I said ‘I’m going to try it out, and if I don’t like it I can switch to another major with my English major.’ I took Patty English’s Interpersonal Communication class my first semester freshman year and I really loved it,” Swanson-Garro said.
Scandinavian Studies was an area of interest that took her by surprise.
“The Scandinavian Studies minor was kind of an accident, because I came in and needed a language and I decided to take Swedish. I loved the [Scandinavian Studies] department so much that I decided to minor in it. I finished my minor last semester and I’m going to Sweden for a semester in the spring, at Uppsala,” Swanson-Garro said.
“Uppsala is kind of special because their courses are not offered simultaneously. They’re three to four weeks at a time taking one class and then you switch to another class. Studying abroad, I just want to do as much as possible and get a bunch of intercultural experiences. Also, taking Swedish language courses in Sweden to increase my fluency and working towards that. That’s what I’m looking forward to,” Swanson-Garro said.
Aside from her academic interests, Swanson-Garro has many involvements on campus. She is Vice-President of Thrifty Gold, a student organization that began as an off-shoot of the Environmental Action Coalition and focuses on making students conscious of fast-fashion and how they can be more sustainable. She is also the Secretary for Viking Society, which is the Swedish club on campus, and they host Fika weekly.
Swanson-Garro encourages anyone interested in the Scandinavian Studies program, or students who just want to meet new people, to attend Fika.
She is also a part of the Gustavus Mentoring Program and is a Student Representative on the Global Engagement Committee, which discusses and approves travel courses and faculty led J-term experiences.

As a writer and poet, Swanson-Garro is also a member of the new student org Dead Poet’s Society, where students can read their originally poetry or bring a different poem to read.

This org meets 7-8 in the Arb.
Swanson-Garro also received a grant to work on a blog, and her work is accessible here:
Through her time at Gustavus, Swanson-Garro has learned the value of getting involved and reaching out to others, which is what she advises her fellow students to do.
“Don’t be afraid to reach out to people; say hi to me if you want. Everyone here is super welcoming. Just don’t be afraid to get involved on campus” Swanson-Garro said.

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