When you think about conga lines, cookies and Captain America, you're probably not thinking about some of the most formative days of your college experience.
But at CSS, that's exactly what they are.
From Friday, Aug. 29 to Monday, Sept. 1, St. Scholastica hosts Welcome Week — a weekend's worth of events designed to introduce students to Duluth, the school and, most importantly, each other.
"By the time the weekend is over, every student knows 60 others by name, face and story," said Megan Perry-Spears, dean of students at CSS, "and that's just through the required events."
And these relationships last long after the weekend is over.
"I am still close friends with plenty of people I met at Welcome Week when I was a freshman," said Thomas Gallegos, a senior journalism major.
A few students even meet their future spouses.
It all starts with move-in. When students arrive on Friday, teams of upperclassmen are there, ready to help them move. And if they need something, furniture and other supplies donated at the end of last year are available for purchase, with the profits donated to the campus Habitat for Humanity group.
All the while, CSS President Larry Goodwin, and his wife, Dr. Anette Goodwin, meet and greet students and their families as they enter Somers Hall, welcoming them to the CSS community.
After a lunch provided by Famous Dave's, the events begin. And these aren't your run-of-the-mill icebreakers.
Play Fair: The Great CSS Meet — An event often described as "indescribable" — filled with activities that get students moving and talking…often in "unique" situations.
Headphone Disco — Ever seen people dance to hip-hop and country music at the same time in complete silence? That's exactly what happens here, as everyone has their own pair of headphones and can pick which of the two DJs they want to listen (and dance) to.
Delta Groups — Small-group meetings led by upperclassmen that help students navigate the transition to college.
Sharing Our Stories, Sharing Our Lives — A story- and humor-filled two-part seminar that simplifies the complex issues of diversity in an entertaining and educational manner and prepares students to live in this diverse community.
All mixed with movies, hypnotists, comedy shows, trips to other parts of Duluth, the first Dignitas Class and other events.
"I am so incredibly happy there was a Welcome Week," Gallagos said. "It was there I was able to realize I was no longer just another kid in the crowd, but a Saint for life."