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Welcoming Students Back to Campus

A message from President Suzanne Rivera

When students return to campus this month for in-person learning, in addition to observing these COVID-aware plans, we will welcome the second-largest incoming class in Macalester’s history. We also will re-welcome our sophomore class, whose orientation and first year were altered by the pandemic. I’m proud of the new and creative ways we are building community and connection among studentsand applying some COVID-year learnings to programming. Here are some highlights: 

Summer Send-offs. These events resumed this summer, connecting incoming Class of 2025 students and their families with each other and with the larger Macalester community of alumni, current parents, and current students. We also extended special invitations to our Class of 2024 students and families. Twelve events (10 in-person events and two virtual) took place across the country, hosted primarily by current Mac parents, with the majority of events held outdoors. We kicked off the season with 67 registered guests in Chicago. I enjoyed meeting families and students in the San Francisco Bay Area and in the Twin Cities, as well as at our virtual events for international students. 

First-year Orientation. The Office of Student Leadership and Engagement (OSLE) has modified the Orientation Schedule to plan a “COVID-aware” return to campus that still features traditions such as new student Scottish Houses, our “This Matters at Mac” series, one-on-one advising and meetings with returning students, and, of course, bagpipes. Virtual options for engagement will be offered at all of our mandatory student sessions and for our Parents and Families program for those guests who can’t make it to campus. To emphasize our commitment to academic excellence earlier in the student experience, we have added a new session called “This Matters at Mac: Academics,” featuring an overview of our liberal arts philosophy, an overview of academic resources, and student voices regarding their experiences at Mac.

BIPOC and LGBTQ+ Programming. During Orientation, there will be special BIPOC and LGBTQ+ gatherings for students to connect with their peers, followed by a Block Party hosted by the Department of Multicultural Life (DML) on Sept. 11. The DML also is encouraging BIPOC students to continue to connect informally by hanging out in Kagin Commons on several weekday afternoons and evenings. 

Sophomore Year Experience. The Campus Life team created the Sophomore Year Experience to help sophomores connect socially and bondwith each other and the rest of the campus. Based on three “C”s: comfort, confidence, and connections, the program includes a Sophomore Start-up social event on Aug. 31, and Sophomores in the Cities, offered by the Civic Engagement Center, to help sophomores interested in community engagement to get more involved.

T-shirts and Campus Tours. All first-year students and sophomores will receive special Macalester T-shirts at Orientation. We also will offer additional campus tours throughout the weekend so students who couldn’t visit due to COVID restrictions can get more familiar with our beautiful campus. 

I’m excited about the opportunity to welcome all of our students, and the Macalester community, back to Mac in August.

August 12, 2021