Category: Students

Looking to pitch in? 4 ways Lawrentians can help during COVID-19 crisis

Kate Zoromski, associate dean of academic success, restocks the student food pantry in Sabin House. The pantry makes food and other necessities available to Lawrence students in times of need. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

The move to distance learning to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the midst of this global pandemic is a heavy lift for Lawrence students, faculty, and staff.

These are challenging, unprecedented times. But it’s a path we must take, and we must take it together.

“We have always risen to the challenges that face us with resilience and ingenuity,” President Mark Burstein said in a letter to the Lawrence community announcing the difficult decision to go to distance learning for Spring Term. “I know, as we have in the past, we will rise to this challenge and ensure that Lawrence continues to create a learning environment second to none.”

For details of COVID-19 response at Lawrence, see here.

As we lean into the values and commitment that have always defined the Lawrence experience, we ask everyone in the Lawrence community to do what you can to help our students navigate these uncharted waters. Among the ways we all can help:  

1. Donate to the Student Pantry: Whether for students on campus during spring break or those who will be here during Spring Term due to an inability to get home, the pantry can be an important connection. It offers supplies and food to students, but also needed items such as personal products. You can buy/donate directly through Amazon via a wishlist. Please note that Amazon has removed “non-essential” items from qualifying for rush shipping, but orders and deliveries are still being accepted and processed. More information about the Student Pantry is here: https://www.lawrence.edu/students/services/foodpantry

2. Contribute to the Lawrence Fund: The Lawrence Fund – Supporting Our Students (SOS) emergency fund has been established to aid students’ unexpected and urgent expenses related to the impacts of COVID-19. This fund will make available critical resources for immediate needs like our new distance-learning model, food, travel, housing, and other unexpected expenses. Every contribution helps support the University’s ability to assist students.

3. Be an alumni connection: Help Lawrence students network by signing up for our new Viking Connect program. Connecting with a current student and providing some positive guidance has never been more important. This is a chance to reach out virtually while still making a personal connection. See link here: https://vikingconnect.lawrence.edu/page/about

4. Support each other: Be supportive of other Lawrentians through use of the Alumni Directory. Stay connected in these difficult times and check in on one another using the directory and via Lawrence’s many social media channels including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Find the alumni directory here: go.lawrence.edu/profile

We are Lawrentians, now and forever. Let’s come together to be supportive as we grapple with difficult challenges and show our current students the path forward. In the darkness of uncertainty and deep angst, let us again be the light.

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

Tight-knit cast ready to open “Figaro,” a comic opera full of messy relationships

A scene from a dress rehearsal of "The Marriage of Figaro."
Erik Nordstrom as Count Almaviva performs with cast mates during a dress rehearsal for The Marriage of Figaro. The cast in Tuesday’s rehearsal will be on stage Thursday and Saturday. The opera, with four performances between Thursday and Sunday, is double cast. (Photos by Danny Damiani)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Class dynamics are certainly part of The Marriage of Figaro, the classic opera from the superstar duo of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Lorenzo da Ponte. But Copeland Woodruff, director of Opera Studies at Lawrence University, said he’s more fascinated by another element of the story as his Opera Theatre students prepare to open the production on March 5.

“It’s complex human relationships,” Woodruff said of the storyline that mixes love and betrayal and suspicion in equal doses, all with comedic undertones. “And everyone on stage is making poor choices, often times for selfish reasons to punish someone else.

“I’d really rather tell that story. Certainly, there’s class distinction in it, and you can’t ignore that, and you shouldn’t ignore that, but, for me, there are a lot of other interesting things, human elements that are going on, and they’re complicated.”

The comic opera was written by Mozart, the composer, and da Ponte, the librettist, in the 1780s, but, Woodruff said, if you want to think about it in more modern times, think Rick Springfield’s Jessie’s Girl. You know, coveting your best friend’s girlfriend.

In short, Figaro, Count Almaviva’s longtime friend and personal valet, is set to marry the Countess’ maid, Susanna. But the high and mighty Count is plotting to seduce the servant Susanna, on her wedding night no less. The Countess is on to him and teams with Susanna to catch her husband in all his lecherous ways. Confusion and mischief happen along the way.

Emily Richter ’20, a music performance (voice) major from London, is in the role of the Countess. She said the cast has been eyeing opening night since first receiving the music in June and then prepping that music through fall term.

“We then spent the two weeks of D-Term peeling away the layers of what we’re saying and pushing the boundaries of what is possible with this show,” she said. “Since then we’ve spent 12 hours a week staging and trying to capture the nuance of the show.”

Emma Milton is Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, to be held in Stansbury Theater.

The Marriage of Figaro will be presented over four days in Stansbury Theater — 7:30 p.m. performances on March 5, 6, and 7 and a 3 p.m. matinee on March 8. The show is for mature audiences. Admission is $15 ($10 for seniors, $8 for non-Lawrence students); free for Lawrence students, faculty, and staff.

It features a cast of 11, plus stage and technical crews, two rehearsal pianists, a student pit orchestra, and a 14-member chorus. It’s a big show, running three hours in length, and it is double cast, making for an imposing undertaking.

“It’s one of the most generous casts I’ve worked with in a long time,” Woodruff said. “They’re just generous with each other as far as sharing the stage space and working with one another.”

For Richter and other seniors in the cast, this is a final bow at Lawrence. She called her castmates “uplifting” and said the bonds being built will last long after the final curtain.

Max Muter is Figaro in Lawrence University’s The Marriage of Figaro.

“To get to be in an opera this massive with people I’ve been singing with now for almost four years is such a special experience,” she said. “Never again will we get to be in a show with people we’ve essentially grown up with for four years. It’s a very special thing, and I think that closeness, vulnerability, and trust shows up on stage.”

For more on Lawrence’s Opera Theatre program, visit here.

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

Update: Lawrence to go to distance learning for Spring Term

Lawrence University will switch to distance learning for the Spring Term due to concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Lawrence has launched a web site that houses Lawrence-related information on COVID-19. It will continue to be updated as needed. The site includes a coronavirus FAQ.

“While there are currently no known cases of COVID-19 on the Lawrence campus, we recognize that we can no longer continue as usual and still protect all members of our community, especially those most at risk,” President Mark Burstein said Thursday in a letter to the Lawrence community. “As a result, and in consultation with faculty, students, and staff, we have determined that the best course of action for Lawrence is to move to distance learning starting Spring Term. This was an extraordinarily difficult decision to make.”

Students will be required to stay off campus at their permanent residence or otherwise away from campus during Spring Term and access instruction remotely. Students can petition to stay on campus (but still study remotely) if they are international students with travel restrictions such that they may not be able to return to their home country and have no domestic residence option; if they lack needed technology to access distance learning; or if there are other extenuating circumstances.

Spring break, which begins March 19, will be extended an extra week. Spring term will now begin April 6. There will be no in-person instruction.

See President Burstein’s letter here.

For updates from Lawrence on coronavirus, see here.

Black Excellence Ball, Cultural Expressions add to February celebrations, discussions

Singing, dancing, and much more will again be part of the annual Cultural Expressions celebration, set for Feb. 29 in Warch Campus Center.

Story by Awa Badiane ’21

Lawrence University’s Black Student Union (BSU) will host events each of the next two weekends that honor Black History Month and celebrate people of color on campus and beyond.

The second annual Black Excellence Ball will be held Saturday, Feb. 22. It is a formal dance used as a way to showcase the beauty and elegance that is racially diverse people. It is open to all racially diverse people and allies.

This year’s Excellence Ball is themed All That Jazz and will be held from 8 to 11 p.m. in the Warch Campus Center.

The following weekend, Cultural Expressions, an annual talent showcase, will be held Feb. 29, beginning at 7 p.m., also in Warch. It’ll be preceded by a dinner in the Diversity and Intercultural Center in Memorial Hall at 6 p.m. and an art gallery display in Warch at 6 p.m.

Cultural Expressions has become a February tradition at Lawrence, one of the highlights of winter term.

More: Prom Night in Mississippi to get screening, discussion in Warch Cinema

The Excellence Ball was added last year, joining with Cultural Expressions to provide bookends to a People of Color Empowerment Week on campus. Empowerment Week is organized by AIO in collaboration with Alianza, Beta Psi Nu, BSU, Diversity and Intercultural Center, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and SOUP.

Among the events happening during Empowerment Week: Kickoff dinner at 6 p.m. Feb. 23 in the Diversity and Intercultural Center; Mariposas Del Alma, a Los Angeles-based band representing the Latinx communities, performing at 8 p.m. Feb. 24 in Warch; a screening (and discussion) of the 2008 documentary, Prom Night in Mississippi, at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 25 in Warch Cinema; a Brown Girl Recovery Workshop at 7 p.m. Feb. 26 in the Diversity and Intercultural Center; Cooking for COTS from 4 to 8 p.m. Feb. 27 in Sabin House; and comedian Jasmine Ellis performing at 8 p.m. Feb. 28 in Warch. Also, the Cultural Expressions Art Gallery will be on display from noon to 5 p.m. Feb. 28 in Warch.

Cultural Expressions will serve as the finale for the big week. It annually features a bevy of Lawrence students performing everything from music and dance to spoken word and comedy. 

Admission for all of the student-organized events is free.

Awa Badiane is a student writer in the Communications office.

Familiar power struggles in play as Lawrence’s “Richard III” hits the stage

Chris Follina ’20, as Richard III, rehearses with Alec Welhouse ’23, as the Duke of Buckingham, during a dress rehearsal for “Richard III” in Cloak Theatre. The Lawrence Department of Theatre Arts production runs Feb. 20-22. (Photos by Danny Damiani)

Story by Alex Freeman ’23

History has a way of repeating itself.

As a Lawrence theater and English double major who is doing her Senior Experience in conjunction with the Department of Theatre Arts’ production of Richard III, Haley Stevens ’20 hopes audience members remember that famous adage as they watch the action unfold this week on the Cloak Theatre stage.

Written almost 400 years ago, it might not initially be obvious how the themes and content of Richard III could be relevant to a modern audience. But when looking at today’s political climate, some of Richard III’s key plot points—betrayal, power struggles and rumor campaigns, to name a few—may not seem so foreign, she said.

“I want the audience to feel like this is weirdly familiar, like unexpectedly familiar,” Director Timothy X. Troy said, echoing Stevens’ assessment. “It’s not necessarily a happy thought. It happens every day in rehearsal as we’re working our way through scenes. We’re like, man, that just happened last week. … But that’s true of all great literature. Each era finds its way into it. These were people who lived through a tumultuous time. And guess who we are?”

For the cast and crew of Shakespeare’s Richard III, the past five weeks of rehearsal are finally coming to fruition. Set to open on Thursday night, Richard III will be performed in Cloak Theatre at 8 p.m. Feb. 20–22, with an additional 3 p.m. matinee Feb. 22.

With an abridged script that has condensed the original four-hour play into 90 minutes of action, the production, subtitled “I am Myself, Alone,” tackles the challenge of analyzing the choices individuals make, both in a historical context and today.

Carly Beyer ’22, as Queen Elizabeth, rehearses with Ben Carlick ’20, as Dorset, during a dress rehearsal for “Richard III” in Cloak Theatre.

The production tells the story of Richard III, an English nobleman who will do virtually anything to ensure his rise to the throne following a 30-year civil war—no matter the cost. In order to condense the play to 90 minutes, an effort spearheaded by Olivia Gregorich ’17 and Troy, the team had to choose one primary thematic point of view to depict in depth. Settling on the concept of human agency and the factors that restrict it, this production explores the challenging idea of how individuals can make the best decisions for themselves when their options are inherently limited.

Although this concept can easily be understood by a modern audience, placing it in its proper historical context adds an additional level of depth to the production. This historical understanding was enhanced in 2012, when the body of the real Richard III was discovered and exhumed.

As part of the first generation of productions of Richard III since then, the production team has been able to rediscover the play and utilize information about Richard III that previously could not have been confirmed. Having this new knowledge allows the team to explore the production in a new light.

First, it is now confirmed that Richard III truly had a disability, which had previously only been rumored. Christopher Follina ’20, the actor who plays Richard and a theater and religious studies double major doing this production for his Senior Experience, also has a disability, which allows for a more influential and nuanced interpretation of Richard’s character, according to Troy.

Written only a few generations following the real events that occur in the play, original Elizabethan audiences would have been able to recognize the character of Richmond as their queen’s grandfather and would likely have had grandparents who fought in the civil war.

“It’s kind of the equivalent of watching a play around Vietnam or World War II,” Stevens said. “It’s something that happens even now when we’re generations removed from great conflict and then a play portrays it in order to bring back the understanding of what other people, your ancestors, could have gone through.”

Chris Follina plays Richard III in Lawrence’s production of “Richard III.”

Although this weekend’s audience will not have the same close connection to the characters and events of the play as the Elizabethan audience, Troy and Stevens both believe the universal themes and patterns depicted in Richard III can be transferred across time and found in every period of history—including this one. The specific players and timelines may change, but the fundamental story remains the same.

“When you do the show, you keep the story alive,” said Alec Welhouse ’23, the actor playing the Duke of Buckingham. “You don’t let the story die. If we weren’t doing this show, I don’t think anyone at Lawrence would be talking about King Richard or anyone like that. But since we’re doing it, it sparks that interest again. It gets people interested in Shakespearean times and makes you want to learn more about it.”

Alex Freeman ’23 is a student writer in the Communications office.

Beating the winter blues: 7 tips to help students conquer the season

Students walk from Main Hall as snow falls on Main Hall Green.

Story by Madison Price ’23

With winter term comes a mix of a changes to campus.  Days get shorter, the weather gets colder, and schedules fill up.  And, honestly, that can leave us feeling a little more stressed, down, or exhausted than usual.   

There are many resources on campus that can help students get through any rough patches they may be experiencing. From taking care of mental health to finding ways to have fun during a snowy Wisconsin winter, Lawrence has the resources available to help all of us feel our best. 

1. Try the Sanvello app 

Did you know all Lawrence students now have access to a mobile app designed to relieve the symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression?  Thanks to the Kaitlin Mahr Library Fund, Sanvello is completely free to all Lawrence students! Simply download the app on your smartphone and create an account using your Lawrence email to receive access to 100% of Sanvello’s content. 

While Sanvello does not replace mental health services, it can help to further the overall well-being of students in addition to the other services Lawrence provides.  Sanvello offers daily mood tracking, guided journeys, coping tools, weekly check-ins, meditation, and community support. Even better, students can choose whether they would like to share their Sanvello information with a Lawrence counselor to enhance their counseling sessions. 

2. Get yourself a mind spa 

Sometimes in a frenzy of exams, essays, and extracurriculars, we forget to take a step back and set aside time to give our brains the break that they deserve.  We have four spots on campus dedicated to doing just that. Choose from one of four mind spas on campus to recover, refocus, and rejuvenate your mind. At mind spas, students are given a quiet space where they can relax in a full-body massage chair and receive coaching on meditation. 

Scheduling an appointment at the mind spa couldn’t be easier. Simply call 920-832-6574 or email WellnessServices@Lawrence.edu to visit the main mindspa on the second floor of the Wellness Center. This mind spa is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Three other mini mind spas are available at the Conservatory, Sage, and Hiett. 

3. Seek sunlight (sort of) in a SAD lamp 

While the snow can make campus look especially wonderful, with winter also comes much shorter, darker days.  This can make students feel more down than usual, sometimes even causing Seasonal Affective Disorder. That’s why Lawrence has SAD lamps – actual lamps meant to mimic sunlight located in select buildings on campus. 

How can a SAD lamp help? Sunlight spurs the production of serotonin (the hormone responsible for feeling calm, happy, and focused) while darkness signals the release of melatonin (the hormone responsible for feeling sleepy.) Due to this, it’s no surprise that when students receive less sunlight in the winter, they often feel more lethargic and tired than usual. With a SAD lamp, students can receive artificial lighting that tricks their brains into thinking it is still light outside. This way, your brain will produce more serotonin during the day, and hold off on producing melatonin until you are ready to go to bed. SAD lamps can be found in the library on the fourth floor and in the Wellness Center Mind Spa. 

If you think you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder, it is important that you see a counselor in addition to using a Happy Lamp. See how to make an appointment below.

4. Reach out for counseling

College life is full of ups and downs. Sometimes when we are at a low point, it helps to talk to another person confidentially. At Lawrence, counselors are available for free to help you with academic stress, roommate issues, mental health, relationships, drug/alcohol use, or anything else that may be bringing you down. 

Whether counseling is something you have done before or not, there is no reason to be worried. The Wellness Center staff will be there to guide you through the process of making an appointment, and the counselors will do everything they can to make you feel comfortable. 

To make an appointment, simply stop by the front desk on the second floor of the Wellness Center and complete some initial paperwork. After that, someone will help you schedule your first appointment.  Counseling appointments are available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

If you would like to speak to a counselor right away and cannot wait for an appointment, stop by the Counseling Center during walk-in hours, Monday through Friday, with check in between 1 and 2:30 p.m. 

If you need to talk to someone outside of walk-in hours, do not hesitate to call the 24-hour Lawrence Counseling Line at 920-419-8167.   

For more information on Lawrence’s Counseling Services, visit the website here

Wellness and counseling services can be found in the Buchanan Kiewit Wellness Center.

5. Stay active  

Sometimes in the midst of a snowy winter, it’s easy to forget about the wide array of physical activities you can find indoors on campus. The Wellness Center houses a weight room, exercise room, gymnasium, racquetball courts, an Olympic-size swimming pool, and a gymnasium with an elevated track. Just ask the front desk to rent any sports equipment. 

If you want to get more fit but aren’t sure where to start, consider joining one of Lawrence’s organized athletic activities. This term, Lawrence has four intramural leagues: basketball, volleyball, badminton, and soccer. You can find the times that they meet here.  If none of the intramurals appeal to you, keep an eye out for yoga and TRX on the Lawrence calendar.

Exercise has many more benefits than just keeping you physically fit.  It can help you get better sleep, enhance your brain function by increasing the blood flow to your brain, improve your mood by increasing the production of endorphins, and it can even improve your energy levels. Even as little as 20 minutes a day can make a difference. 

S.O.U.P. provides all sorts of fun. This gingerbread house-making event was part of Winter Carnival. (Photo by Nora Murphy ’22)

6. Schedule fun with friends 

Although it may not seem like it, setting aside time for fun is just as important as setting aside time for schoolwork. Without mixing a few fun activities into your weekly schedule, it’s easy to burn out before the end of the term. There are opportunities every single day to take a breather from school and enjoy life on campus. Check the event calendar online or Lawrence’s Monday Instagram story for a full list of fun events coming up soon.

Every Friday and Saturday, Lawrence screens a new movie in the Warch Campus Center Cinema. To see what’s playing, check the event calendar online or stop by Warch and check out the movie posters outside of the cinema. 

In addition, SOUP hosts a variety of larger campus events throughout the year. Whether it be comedians, silent discos, or the Winter Carnival, SOUP never fails to bring amazing events right to campus. One event SOUP is cooking up for spring is the LU Zoo Days. Get excited for live music, grill-outs, and even a dunk tank. 

7. Pop the bubble 

While Lawrence is a great place to call home, everyone needs a break from campus from time to time to explore all the great things Appleton has to offer. Lawrence is located in the heart of downtown, so there is lots to do within a short walk. 

College Avenue has something for everyone’s taste buds. From coffee shops, to candy stores, to family-run restaurants, to bubble tea, and more, it’s hard to get around to trying everything during your time here.  Grab a few friends and eat something other than Toppers for once. 

Appleton is also home to some great museums. Ever wonder what that castle-like building next to the Conservatory is? That’s the History Museum at the Castle, where you can learn about the life of Harry Houdini and the history of Appleton. It’s not every day that you go into a castle to learn about a magician. Not far from this is the Trout Museum of Art. Located just a short walk from campus, visit today to be inspired by the incredible work of Appleton’s artists. Getting off campus every so often can give us a break from our daily routine and leave us feeling more refreshed when we return to campus. 

Winter can leave us feeling a little more down than usual, and that’s OK.  Many people on campus are experiencing similar feelings and there are lots of resources and people ready to help us get back on our feet.  Remember to take care of yourself, and next time you are feeling down, give a few things on this list a try. 

Madison Price ’23 is a social media fellow in the Communications office.

Lawrence hits No. 3 on Princeton Review’s ranking of Best Impact Schools in nation

Students work with chemistry professor Stefan Gebbert in class.
Rigorous classroom work combined with mentorship on the student journey helps prepare students for an impactful life after Lawrence.

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

When it comes to colleges and universities preparing students for an impactful life, few do it better than Lawrence University.

Lawrence is the No. 3 impact school in the country in a new ranking released by The Princeton Review. The 2020 Best Impact School ranking, one spot up from where Lawrence landed a year ago, focuses on both the student experience on campus and how alumni perceive their careers. It suggests Lawrence’s liberal arts vision is alive and well, that students are being prepared for a life well lived.

The ranking comes as part of The Princeton Review’s annual Best Value Colleges project, a listing of 200 schools that are considered to have exceptional return on investment. Lawrence again made the list. The 200 schools are not ranked in order; the editors highlight those that made the cut amid 656 colleges and universities that were evaluated on more than 40 data points covering academics, affordability, and career preparation.

Within those 200, The Princeton Review breaks down rankings in seven categories, one of them being the 25 Best Impact Schools in the country.

Climbing to No. 3 — only Wesleyan and Southwestern universities finished ahead of Lawrence — is particularly satisfying because of what it says about a Lawrence education and how that then transfers to the job market and career exploration. It measures on-campus experiences such as student engagement, service, government, and sustainability and then surveys alumni to rate how meaningful they believe their work life is.

“I see it and hear it when I meet with our alumni around the world,” said Ken Anselment, vice president for enrollment and communication. “They point back to their time at Lawrence as unlocking something for them, discovering an interest or talent they didn’t know they had until they started working with professors here who helped guide them in that discovery. That’s one of the benefits of attending a college like Lawrence where our faculty are so deeply invested in helping our students become even better versions of themselves, and it’s a transformation that lasts a lifetime.”

A Lawrence student packages supplies during a volunteer shift at Feeding America.
Volunteer opportunities for Lawrence students, including here at Feeding America, help fuel the student experience.

Lawrence has doubled down on efforts to mentor students outside of the classroom throughout the college journey, taking a holistic approach in everything from wellness and spirituality to leadership and career preparation. With an 8-to-1 faculty to student ratio and a liberal arts mantra that prepares students for lifelong learning, Lawrence puts its students in positions to launch into careers and service work that are filled with meaning, said Christopher Card, Lawrence’s vice president for student life.

“There are enough colleges on the market where one can just go to it and do the basic academic requirements and move in and move out and go on to their next chapter,” Card said. “I don’t think that’s why students come to Lawrence. I think they come here because they expect a particular relationship to emerge — certainly with solid academics and rigor. They want to be challenged. They want to know they are getting a first-rate education but also a first-rate experience outside of the classroom in terms of their own personal growth and development.”

The Princeton Review data includes survey answers from alumni who speak to whether their jobs have “high meaning.” Lawrence’s high ranking reflects that alumni overwhelmingly say yes and that their career accomplishments have been fueled by their Lawrence education.

Lawrence has ramped up its efforts to better connect those alumni with today’s students. The 2019 launch of the endowed Riaz Waraich Dean of the Center for Career, Life, and Community Engagement (CLC) position has accelerated efforts to re-energize career exploration and preparation. The newly debuted Viking Connect program is at the front end of those efforts, tapping alumni to serve as mentors for students interested in the same field.

“Our alums are coming back full force to offer their services,” Card said. “I think that speaks to their own experiences and wanting to give back to support our students here.”

This is the 13th year The Princeton Review has put together its list of the 200 Best Value Colleges. It factors in academics, cost, financial aid, graduation rates, student debt, alumni salaries, and alumni job satisfaction.

Lawrence continues to score well in the areas of cost and financial aid as its Full Speed to Full Need initiative continues to produce results. More than $82 million has been raised for scholarships that help cover the gap between a student’s ability to pay — based on family income — and other available financial aid.

While student debt nationally has risen significantly in recent years, the Full Speed to Full Need initiative, part of the $220 million Be the Light! campaign, has helped reverse that trend for Lawrence students. The average student debt for new Lawrence graduates has dropped to $29,504, its lowest mark in 10 years and below the national average of $32,731.

“This is one of those rankings that I’m really happy to share with prospective students and families, because it gets at one of those essential questions so many are trying to answer — even if they haven’t articulated it yet — which is, ‘How might our investment in this college set up our student to live a great life?’” Anselment said. 

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

Big chill: 8 fun winter activities that beckon, on and off campus

Olivia Sibbet '23 tosses a snowball as she plays in the snow on the Lawrence campus.
Olivia Sibbet ’22 enjoys an early snowfall on the Lawrence campus. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Story by Alex Freeman ’23

It’s that time of year again.

Whether you’re the type to wear shorts until it drops below zero or the one who bars the windows and gets cozy under a blanket with some hot tea, one thing is certain: Lawrence makes it easy to make the most of winter.

As we move deeper into February, here are a few activities to help you take advantage of all that Lawrence has to offer in terms of winter fun.

1: Skate on Ormsby Lake

Ormsby Lake is officially frozen and open to Lawrence students. This is a classic student favorite that always comes with the changing of the seasons, so it’s time to practice some broomball, bust out the figure skates or just take a spin around the pond with a few friends.

With easy access right across from the entrance to Ormsby Hall, skating on the rink is the perfect way to brighten up a lazy Sunday or blow off some steam right after class. And don’t worry if you left your skates at home (or never had any to begin with) — you can pick up some skates on the cheap at Play It Again Sports in Appleton.

2: Shop at the Community Public Market

For the people who miss seeing booths lined up down sunny College Avenue for the Downtown Appleton Farm Market at the beginning of Fall Term, the Community Public Market might be the perfect stand-in.

Until the Downtown Appleton Farm Market returns in June, Appleton residents have the opportunity to experience the Community Public Market from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 8, March 12 and April 18. Shoppers will be able to have the bustling Farm Market experience while cozily tucked away from the cold in the Fox Cities Exhibition Center, just an 8-minute walk from Lawrence’s campus.

Whether you’re looking for fresh snacks to take back to your dorm room, a ready-to-go meal to fulfill your non-Commons food craving or an environment where you can appreciate live music and art, the Community Public Market is a winter destination.

3: Play in the snow on Main Hall Green

Shae Erlandson makes a snow angel on Main Hall Green.
Shae Erlandson ’23 joins friends in making snow angels on Main Hall Green. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

When the snow starts coming down, the grassy area in front of Main Hall turns into a winter wonderland, full of opportunities for classic (and snowy) fun. From making tranquil snow sculptures and snow angels on the lawn to competing in snowball fights with teams and forts, Main Hall Green becomes Main Hall White as students bundle up and brave the chill.

Requiring no preparation or planning (other than dressing warm), playing in the snow outside of Main Hall is the perfect way to pass the time when you find yourself just sitting in your residence hall, trying to find something to do. The only requirement: remember to wear your gloves!

4: Order some hot chocolate at Lou’s Brew

As much as we all love Kaplan’s Café, it can be nice to venture just off campus to break from routine, and Lou’s Brew is the perfect place to do that.

With a prime location only one block away from Brokaw Hall, Lou’s Brew is close enough to campus that even students born near the equator can manage the brisk walk — plus, it’s easy to warm up with a toasty hot chocolate or latte as soon as you get inside (for tea-drinkers like me, their London Fog is an all-time fave). Lou’s Brew offers 10 percent off cash orders for Lawrence students if they present their student ID before paying.

For students willing to walk a bit further from campus. College Avenue is lined with plenty of other coffee shops that will satisfy that hot-drink craving, including Brewed Awakenings, Copper Rock and ACOCA Coffee.

5: Visit the Bubolz Nature Preserve

If you want to revel in the beauty of winter, there’s nowhere better than Wisconsin. Within the Fox Cities, the must-see destination for experiencing a stunning winter is the Bubolz Nature Preserve.

Roughly a 15-minute drive from campus, the preserve features hiking, walking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trails that are open from dawn to dusk throughout the winter. If you want to make a day of it, the Bubolz Nature Preserve also hosts special events, like their candlelight ski/snowshoe and their beginners’ ski clinics (which are an absolute necessity for those of us from the flatlands of the southern Midwest).

Regardless of skill level, the Bubolz Nature Preserve will have some kind of winter activity for you.

6: Roast s’mores in the dorm fireplaces

Although not every residence hall has its own fireplace, most of them do, and you can stop by the CA desk to schedule a time when you can get some friends together and hone your marshmallow-roasting skills. (Golden brown all around is 100% the perfect roast, no matter what anyone else says.)

It’s easy to ignore the wind outside when you’re basking in the heat of the flames.

In order to set up a s’more-making session in a dorm fireplace, you just need to reach out to your Community Advisor or Residence Hall Director so a CA can get trained to build a safe fire. Once that’s done, all you need to do is gather some blankets, find a few sticks and stock up on supplies from the Corner Store.

7: Sled down Memorial Hill

Tucked right behind the Viking Room in Memorial Hall, the hill leading down to the SLUG is a go-to destination for sledding. As the perfect way to de-stress after a long week, sledding down Memorial Hill is another staple of Winter Term, much like skating on Ormsby Lake.

Just request a sled from a CA or RHD, put on some snow boots and get ready to go fast. Winter is here, and Lawrence students are ready to enjoy the winter wonderland.

8: Go to some of the many Lawrence events happening every day

With a student body as involved and accomplished as Lawrence’s, there are a multitude of diverse events happening every day on campus. From musical performances to lectures from faculty and staff, from Wellness Center Yoga classes to exhibitions at the Wriston Center, there is never a shortage of events to attend.

The Lawrence events page is constantly being updated with more upcoming events, so Lawrence students can be sure that they will find something that resonates with them. No matter the weather, there is always something to do within a short walking distance of the residence halls. It might just take the chill out of winter.

Alex Freeman ’23 is a student writer in the Communications office.

Student commissions music for senior recital in honor of Pakistani grandmother

Rehanna Rexroat '20 plays the violin during a recent rehearsal session in Shattuck Hall.
Rehanna Rexroat ’20 practices in Lawrence’s Shattuck Hall in preparation for her senior recital on Feb. 8. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Story by Isabella Mariani ’21

The senior violin recital for Rehanna Rexroat ’20, set for Saturday in Harper Hall, will be more than just the summit of her academic career at Lawrence — one that boasts majors in violin performance, instrumental music education, and choral/general music education. It also will bring attendees into a space of remembrance and celebration of culture.

With funding from a grant to assist Lawrence students in their Senior Experience, Rexroat was able to commission Aakash Mittal, a renowned Indian American saxophonist and composer, to compose a piece for her recital in honor of her Pakistani grandmother.

The piece, aptly titled Origins, is a duet for violin and harp for Rexroat and Leila Ramagopal Pertl, an instructor in music education in the Conservatory of Music.

For months, the two had been searching for a piece that properly payed homage to Rexroat’s culture by blending Indian and Western classical music. With no luck, they called on the assistance of Brian Pertl, dean of the Conservatory. He reached out to Mittal, who he counts as a friend, to see if he had a piece he’d recommend. He did not. So, Mittal wrote one.

 “It’s really about honoring ancestors in a general, global sense,” Rexroat said of Origins.

The rest of the pieces in Rexroat’s recital deal similarly with these themes of culture and memory. Their composers, some of whom are ethnomusicologists, celebrate their own cultures or the cultures of other groups in the music. She dedicated one in honor of her grandmother on her mother’s side; another to her childhood best friend who recently died.

“I really liked that theme,” Rexroat said of the music selections. “But I took it a step further because I wanted my culture to be part of that.”

Rexroat was in contact with Mittal throughout the process of composing Origins. He was inspired by stories she sent him that her grandmother had told her. He adopted themes from those stories into the piece.

Learn about Lawrence’s Chandler Senior Experience here.

“I wanted my culture to be part of that,” Rehanna Rexroat said of commissioning a piece of music for her senior recital. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Rexroat’s grandmother was a devout Muslim, so the piece is set to scales used in devotional Sufi music, but one of the movements takes its name from a psalm to commemorate Rexroat’s own Christian beliefs.

Though the recital is very personal to her, Rexroat hopes the music — Origins in particular — also will encourage listeners to get in touch with their own cultural stories.

“The way Leila and I will be presenting it, we’re going to invite others to think about their ancestors,” she said.

Rexroat, a native of Mount Vernon, Iowa, who started playing the violin at age 4, noted that Saturday’s recital is almost exactly 18 years since she first picked up the instrument. But this educational apex, she said, is only the starting point of a longer musical journey.

“I think violin is always going to be a passion of mine,” she said. “It’s been in my life for as long as I can remember. Wherever I go I will try to find someone I can continue to study with.”

Rexroat’s recital will be at 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, in Harper Hall. It is open to the public.

Isabella Mariani ’21 is a student writer in the Communications office.

With a focus on speed, Great Midwest Trivia Contest delivers winning results

Trivia Headmaster Allegra Taylor poses for a portrait.
Trivia Headmaster Allegra Taylor ’20: “We had over 400 questions this year, which is something that hasn’t happened in a few years.”

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

The 55th annual Great Midwest Trivia Contest is in the books, and if you thought the weekend festivities went fast, well, they did.

The student-run contest was led by Trivia Headmaster Allegra Taylor ’20 and her team of trivia masters, and they put a focus on rapid-fire questions during the 50-hour sprint.

“I was very pleased with the way the weekend went,” Taylor said. “One of our priorities was speed, as we know the players are here for the questions and not to hear us talk, so we made an effort to read new questions quickly. And it worked; we had over 400 questions this year, which is something that hasn’t happened in a few years.

“We received some really positive feedback about that.”

The winning on-campus team was Do You Really Trust Aquarius? The winning off-campus team was Get a Load of That.

For full results (and complete team names), see the Great Midwest Trivia Contest official page here.

The contest drew 13 on-campus teams and 70 off-campus teams. 

More trivia: Former trivia master wins big on Jeopardy.

In other trivia contest news, Grace Krueger ’21 was named Trivia Headmaster for next year’s contest.

Grace Krueger ’21 smiles as she's named Trivia Headmaster for next year's contest.
Grace Krueger ’21 is named Trivia Headmaster for 2021 at the conclusion of this year’s Great Midwest Trivia Contest. (Photo by Ethan Dorer ’20)

“My advice for Grace would be to playtest, playtest, playtest,” Taylor said. “That was something we didn’t do as much of this year, I think, and so we had more shutouts than I would like.”

As per tradition, the final Super Garuda question will serve as the first question of next year’s contest. It is: “A Facebook page formed by students at an Ivy League school crusades against a colorful sculpture installed on campus in 2016. On a web site run by students at this school, one of the directors of the organization that runs the site, which was founded in 2011, shares a name with someone who appeared on a show that ‘celebrates and explores life through food.’ On the site, there is a photo series of minimalist portraits with two of the subjects wearing silver jackets. In a stairwell of the building that this photo shoot was taken in, what is written in silver on a black door next to a wall of large blue writing.” (Answer: Apple Head)

A group of trivia players take a selfie at the closing ceremony of this year's contest.
A group selfie is taken at the ceremony marking the end of this year’s Great Midwest Trivia Contest. (Photo by Ethan Dorer ’20)

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu