If you play Pokémon GO and are moving to Winona in the fall, WSU is definitely the right school for you. You’re also in the right place if you stayed in Winona for the summer! Not only does the town offer a variety of PokéStops and gyms, including some on our campus, but the game can also get you out and about.

One of the most popular stops in town is Winona’s Veterans Memorial Park. The park offers PokéStops and gyms all in one area, not to mention a beautiful view. It is now common to see at least 20 people playing the game. However, it is important we remember that the park is not just for playing Pokémon GO and not everyone wants to “catch ‘em all.” The park is meant to honor veterans who have lost their lives and it is important players respect that. The crowds gathering in this area have attracted the city’s attention, especially after a video of an angry veteran confronting players in the park went viral.

On Monday, Aug. 1, Winona’s City Council gave unanimous approval to an amended ordinance that refers to the park as Veterans Memorial, and, according to a Winona Daily News article, “bars certain recreational activities including sports, athletics, grilling or cooking, putting up hammocks or tents, and bicycles or rollerblades in the designated memorial.”

References to Pokémon GO and the playing of electronic games were missing from the amended ordinance, and it will return to City Council for final approval.

I do play the game and I have been to the park. For the most part, people were respectful of each other and the monuments. However, some people were sitting on or against monuments. While I understand it is nice to be in the middle of three or so PokéStops, I think people can do this without using a monument as a chair.

If you do not want to play at the park, there are other options for you! As I said before, there are PokéStops and a gym located right on our campus. Having these stops on campus make it easier to play Pokémon GO. I work on campus, so I can just hit the stops before and after work. Plus, once classes start I will be able to do the same.

Also, if you go to the stops on campus, you will have Wi-Fi! This is super nice because if you are like me, you do not have unlimited data so if you play on campus you won’t get yelled at by your mom for going over. Cell phone companies probably won’t accept “I gotta catch ‘em all” as a reason to wave the overcharge fee. Sorry, mom.

It’s also important to point out the need to be safe when playing Pokémon GO. There are many reports of people tripping and falling and even crashing cars while playing the game, leading to injuries. Also, robbers have used the game to target and lure people to various locations through Pokémon GO.

Overall, the game is very fun to play and is a good way to get outside of your dorm or apartment. It helps you explore the town and also fulfills many of our childhood dreams when it comes to Pokémon – but you have to make sure you’re playing the right way, the safe way.

So, go have fun, but be aware of your surroundings and remember to be mindful of those around you as well as your own safety.

-Kayla Severson and Allison Mueller

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Kayla Severson

Kayla graduated in 2017 with a BA in Public Relations major and Communications minor. She is from Mindoro, WI and her hobbies include traveling, hanging out with friends, PRSSA and writing for the Odyssey.