Friday, August 11, 2023
Dedicated students, distinguished colleagues and dear friends,
It is hard to believe that a new academic year is upon us, and here at S&T we start the year a week early! Our active and fun-filled opening week, or “O Week,” is planned to welcome over 1,200 new Miner freshmen, including more than 350 new Kummer Vanguard Scholars, to campus. Incoming new students: Wondering what’s in store as you arrive? Keep in mind that during O Week you will become part of a team with some of your fellow classmates, and each team will have its own unique schedule with workshops and open houses at different times. All teams will have the opportunity to attend every workshop and open house on the schedule.
To our incoming new students, I say get ready for an exciting time of many changes along with perhaps a healthy level of natural anxiety. Just know that you are not alone and your soon-to-be friends are experiencing the same emotions of excitement, uncertainty and perhaps a bit of homesickness. Like generations of students before you, however, your jitters will subside and as you become familiar with your new surroundings, you will develop a sense of belonging and pride. Pride for having made it to college and becoming a Miner.
Starting next week, you will have the opportunity for a fresh start, to explore new ideas, create your new identity and meet new friends from all around the world. In fact, you will find and form a second family of friends with whom you will create bonds of lifelong friendships. You will also find a great deal more freedom than high school in choosing your courses, schedule and activities. You will find over 200 clubs, ranging from club sports like archery, rugby and Ultimate Frisbee to our renowned student design teams. You will also find a wide range of student clubs and organizations, from aerial swing dance to our Perfect 10 Improv Group to Student Council to many professional organizations related to your academic program. Find the activity you like and get involved.
Our campus also offers a terrific Greek life experience consisting of many fraternities and sororities.
You will also take part in your first experiential learning project as an S&T student during O Week, before your classes start. Called Project X, it is a hands-on activity in which you’ll work with your team to solve problems and meet a set of criteria to create a modified remote-controlled vehicle. Each team can earn “money” at orientation sessions to use to purchase materials to modify and decorate the chassis of the vehicle. Teams then compete against each other on Race Day, the last day of O Week. The winners will be recognized at an evening awards ceremony. I have participated in the Project X award ceremonies every year since my arrival in 2019 and look forward to participating this year as well.
Finally, to celebrate your arrival, to welcome you to campus and the Rolla community, and to commence the start of your “new” life, our new student convocation ceremony will mark the start of your life as a Miner. This is where our faculty, staff, students and I will share what you should expect from us as you embark on your educational journey at S&T. We will highlight all functions and services available to you, enlist your help to better serve you, and encourage your family members to participate in as many of our events as they wish.
Perhaps most importantly, you will learn about your abilities and your challenges, you will meet people who can help you achieve your goals but only when you actively seek them and help them achieve theirs. You will hone and use your cognitive empathy skills and, in the process, engender the support that you need to succeed. Just know that you will face challenges bigger than yourself but not bigger than you and your friends and colleagues together. To succeed, you must identify your “tribe,” your network and your support infrastructure. After all, in the words of John Donne, no man is an island, and, as the Irish proverb says, “It is in the shelter of each other that we live.”
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