Recent St. Thomas graduate Nicole Herrli was profiled by her hometown newspaper, the Rochester (Minn.) Post-Bulletin, for her participation in the university's BrightSide program.
Created here in 2015, BrightSide buys wholesale produce, which St. Thomas students and local high school students bring to corner stores around Minneapolis every Saturday. Store owners use the program's discounted rate to provide better produce to customers at more affordable prices. At the end of every Saturday run, all the leftover produce is brought back to St. Thomas, where it is packaged on Mondays into $3, $5 and $10 bags for members of the buyers club, a community-supported agriculture (CSA) offering, which consists of more than 100 St. Thomas students, faculty and staff, academic departments and neighbors. All this happens 52 weeks a year, and the money is used to sustain BrightSide and pay youth employees.
Herrli also distinguished herself as a scholar and four-year competitor for St. Thomas Swim-Dive. A five-time MIAC champion in the pool, she helped team win conference team championships each of the last three three seasons. Herrli won the 200 breaststroke at the conference meet for the third year in a row, won the 200 IM, and set a school record in the 400 IM with an MIAC runner-up finish.
She twice was chosen as the MIAC's Elite 22 recipient for her sport with the highest grade-point average among All-MIAC honorees at the championship meet. A Biochemistry major, Herrli finished with a 3.98 gpa (one A-minus in 35 St. Thomas classes). She is one of just three individuals to receive the Elite 22 Award all three years she/he was eligible since the award was created five years ago.