As the smell of summer grilling begins to fade, a chill creeps into the night air, and a hint of yellow and red dot the landscape, preparations for the beginning of the school year are almost complete. Undergraduate classes at The College of St. Scholastica don't begin until September, but parents and students are already busy packing and preparing for weeks before Move-In Day. In August, students begin their trek to college, and the Duluth campus once again erupts with activity.
Students involved in fall sports report back early for pre-season camps in mid-August. According to NCAA rules, teams are allowed to practice a certain number of days before their first competition. Each day, students hit the courses, fields, courts and trails to hone their skills or participate in organized activities.
Coaches bring in speakers from the College community and through team building activities, strong relationships are developed between teammates. Returning students lead the way by showing radical hospitality and helping those arriving on campus for the first time to get acclimated.
"During fall camp, every sports team does everything together which creates a bond like none other," said Hank Wohlwend '19. "I remember when I was a freshman on the football team. I was very nervous and afraid to speak up and ask what to do. I have made it my goal so that every freshman will have no worries when the first day of school comes around and will have high confidence when they enter the classroom."
The Duluth campus is located only a few miles from Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the United States, and the entire community is a virtual wilderness playground of wooded trails and waterfalls. Each year, a number of first-year students embark upon a variety of leadership and outdoor adventures on campus and around the region.
Some students learn about the Benedictine values through service to community, strengthening leadership skills, and expanding their understanding of social justice topics through the College’s Community Service Orientation (CSO) and Multicultural Leadership Orientation (MLO), all while having fun and discovering campus and the surrounding area.
"It was incredible because my experience in MLO helped to identify some of the reasons I had trouble owning my Latino heritage," said Diana Mena '17, who graduated with her B.A. in Social Work and Peace and Justice Studies. "And when I realized a lot of other people had similar stories to mine, it led me down the path to social justice and social work."
Others surround themselves in the sights and sounds of nature through the Student Outdoor Adventure Retreat (SOAR) program. Those who travel to the northernmost of the Great Lakes discover sandy shores, rocky cliffs and pebble beaches. Canoe paddles sweep through the water, leaves crunch under their feet, and laughter rises above a crackling campfire as new skills are learned and lifelong friendships are built. Each year, students explore miles of lakeshore and inland trails, leading to experiences that exceed all expectations.
"SOAR was a wonderful opportunity for me to really get to know friends before school started," said Cece Boyle '21. "I also learned new things about who I am as a person. SOAR provided so much growth for my character and in making new friends here on campus."
View more about Duluth's outdoor recreation opportunities: outsideonline.com.
Those that arrive during Welcome Weekend will find an abundance of enthusiasm and excitement. Students and their families are greeted at the College entrance in person by Team Delta. They are guided through the move-in process, and then attend fun programs and activities to help them connect to the community and make the transition to college life.
All of these experiences are just the beginning. College life at St. Scholastica is filled with academic excellence, music and theatre, research and internship possibilities, cultural experiences, clubs and organizations, a welcoming community, a great place to explore, plus so much more.