Setting foot on a college campus for the first time can be overwhelming. Instead of letting new Duhawks fly solo, our Launch into Loras program immerses them in the culture.
“It was kind of nerve-wracking not really knowing anyone,” said Sierra Whisenand (’20) of her first-year Launch experience. “You spend just a little time with everyone then suddenly you are together for whole day. It really brings you together as the day goes on and encourages you so speak up and be a part of things.”
Launch into Loras helps get new students quickly acclimated to their new home. Over three days, they meet classmates, returning students, faculty and staff as they move into the residence halls, take part in a welcome picnic, spend a day doing service projects, and attend Convocation.
Whisenand is just one of the students who looks back at the Launch weekend as an important part of helping get comfortable on campus.
“Launch is a unique way to transition to a new place and get you out there with others you are going to be spending the next few years with,” said Jon Quinn (’21). “You get to know everyone very quickly and you are out there doing something that is bigger than yourself.”
JoAnna Dillon (’21) didn’t know what to expect when she first arrived on campus in the fall of 2017, but Launch played an important role in settling into Loras.
“I was really hesitant at first and didn’t know how everything would go, but Launch was a great experience and helped me form new friendships quickly,” she recalled.
The entire experience is about helping bring new students together and getting them quickly incorporated into what the Loras experience is all about.
“They come in not really sure about this Loras College thing but they leave high-fiving, loving everything,” explains Associate Dean of Students Kim Walsh. “The community is there. They get to know each other.
As part of the 2018 Launch, Whisenand will ensure newer students get involved.
“I want to encourage the quieter individuals to speak out and share their ideas,” she said. “It is easy to have your opinions lost when you stay quiet in a new environment, so I want to make sure they participate and their good ideas are heard.”
Dillion agrees. “I want to help them get comfortable as they adjust to Loras and help give them a great first year like I had.”
For Quinn, the upcoming Launch is a chance to experience the event all over again.
“I am looking forward to being the person to provide help and guidance to the students who are experiencing it for the first time,” he said.