Gusties Help to Plan Minnesota’s Birthday Party

Posted on April 9th, 2008 by

The Minnesota Sesquicentennial Commission poses with a sign outside its offices in St. Paul.

The Minnesota Sesquicentennial Commission poses with a sign outside its offices in St. Paul.

Tane Danger ‘07 is the Communications Director for the Minnesota Sesquicentennial Commission.

Tane Danger ‘07 is the Communications Director for the Minnesota Sesquicentennial Commission.

Imagine trying to organize a birthday party for more than five million people. That is essentially what two Gustavus Adolphus College alumni, Tane Danger ’07 and Claire Plank ’07, and a current Gustavus senior, Laura Baratto, were hired to do.

Danger is the Communications Director for the Minnesota Sesquicentennial Commission — the group in charge of planning, promoting, and coordinating events around the state to celebrate Minnesota’s 150th year of statehood.

Plank serves as Community Outreach Coordinator, overseeing various statewide projects including an all-county Minnesota cookbook and the popular ‘Capitals for a Day’ program.

In the midst of finishing her Communication Studies degree, Baratto is helping to organize plans for Statehood Weekend May 17-18 in St. Paul, the Sesquicentennial Commission’s major kickoff to a summer of commemorations for the 150th.

According to Danger, the commission made an early decision to hire and work with young adults. Danger is one of six individuals in a position defined as a “fellow,” who are either seniors in college or recent college graduates. The experience so far has been a rewarding one for Danger.

“This has provided me with a job opportunity that I can’t imagine being able to walk into anywhere else,” Danger said. “I’ve had the chance to work every day with people in the state legislature, the governor’s office, and business leaders from Target, General Mills, and other international companies based in Minnesota.”

“I’ve done radio interviews, worked with television, newspaper, radio, and online media outlets, and basically everything that a communications person wants to do in one way or another,” Danger continued. “They have trusted me with a lot of responsibility and I think that’s fantastic.”

During his four years at Gustavus, Danger showed the ability to accept responsibilities through involvement in a number of activities on campus. He was the Editor-in-Chief of the student newspaper for two years, helped to found the LineUs Improv Comedy group, and began freelancing at the Mankato Free Press, for which he still writes about twice a month.

While events to celebrate the sesquicentennial have been ongoing since the beginning of January, the signature week of events will take place May 11-18 during Statehood Week to coincide with the exact date (May 11) that Minnesota became a state in 1858.

Statehood Week festivities will include a Statehood Commemoration Ceremony in St. Paul, Capital for a Day events in various Minnesota communities, the display of an original printing of the Declaration of Independence at the Minnesota Historical Society, the first day issuance of Minnesota’s commemorative postage stamp, and the Statehood Weekend Festival on May 17 and 18 at the State Capitol Grounds.

Danger, who grew up in Florida, has been working diligently to spread the word about various sesquicentennial events and added that during the past six months he has probably learned more about Minnesota than anyone could have hoped for from a Southern transplant.

“People here are so different than the people I grew up with in Florida; there is much more of a connected feeling here in Minnesota,” Danger said. “People associate themselves as Minnesotans. I love Florida, but it is much more disjointed. People there don’t tie together and come together the same way as they do here.”

While several major events will take place during the month of May, events will continue throughout the calendar year. Danger knows that when 2008 draws to a close that he will be looking for a new job, but that doesn’t bother him one bit.

“I knew that there was an end date, which would scare a lot of people, but I like it,” Danger said.

For more information regarding the sesquicentennial and the events and activities associated with it, visit the website at


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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