The class of 2024 experienced a new student orientation like no other in our 155 year history. Presentations and activities traditionally done in-person were completely redesigned for remote engagement. While key learning outcomes generally remained the same, the overall student experience significantly changed.

As a residential, liberal arts institution, Carleton acknowledges that online learning poses many challenges and does not typically provide the same academic and social experience as a traditional, in-person, living-learning environment. With that in mind, we hope to provide an additional layer of support and interactivity for first-year students this winter.

As we plan for winter term 2021, we want to ensure that every member of the class of 2024 receives the information and support needed for success at Carleton, whether they live on campus or study remotely. To that end, beginning winter term, the Student Activities Office will coordinate an optional First-year Success Series (FYSS), with weekly support sessions and engaging activities to help first-year students connect and meet other Carls.

The program will complement the information they received during New Student Week last September, and ensure they have the support needed to achieve academic success, experience social connectedness, and maintain mental wellbeing.       


The First-year Success Series comprises a series of online, interactive presentations and activities. The program will be offered weeks 1-10 via a hybrid of live, online discussions and pre-recorded presentations. All material will be available online at the conclusion of each presentation for students who live in different time zones or have scheduling conflicts.


The First-year Success Series will:

  1. Provide students with additional academic resources, paying special attention to the challenges posed by remote learning environments due to COVID-19;
  2. Help students make social connections with other Carls and feel more connected to the greater campus community;
  3. Discuss on-campus support resources that may go unnoticed or underutilized during remote learning; and
  4. Address common questions and concerns related to first-year students that may be difficult to navigate as remote learners.

Schedule of Events

Week 1

Remote Learning & Academic Success 

January 7th, 4:30 p.m. CT via Zoom.

This session will take insights from neuroscience to present best practices that reinforce effective learning. Emphasis will be placed on implications for reading, retention, and retrieval of information. Students will hear how academic support resources at Carleton work with these insights to enhance study skills. This session will also cover effective strategies for approaching professors and for understanding the proper use of office hours, Moodle, and email-based communications with faculty. Presented by: Al Montero, Associate Dean of the College/Director of Advising/Frank B. Kellogg Professor of Political Science; and Kathy Evertz, Director of Academic Support Center.

Speed Friending! 

January 8th, 8:00 p.m. CT via Zoom.

Speed Friending is a virtual event based on the concept of Speed Dating, where first-year students are randomly paired with one other student for short periods of time in a round-robin fashion. Everyone will have the opportunity to meet and get to know the other participants. Students start in a main Zoom room to review the ground rules and receive conversation prompts to help break the ice. Then, participants visit a variety of breakout rooms for approximately five to eight minutes at a time. At the end, all participants return to the main Zoom room for a recap. Hosted by the Student Activities Programming Board (SAPB).

Week 2

Beyond the Login: Getting the Most out of Technology @ Carleton.

January 14th, 4:30 p.m. CT via Zoom.

Now that you have the technology basics down, come learn some additional tips that will help you get the most out of the software, labs, and support staff that Carleton offers. Presented by: Janet Scannell, Chief Technology Officer; Austin Robinson-Coolidge, Director of Technology Support; and Kevin Chapman, Technology Support Specialist.

First-Year, Virtual Student Bingo. 

January 16th, 8:00 p.m. CT

Who doesn’t love a good game of Bingo? Join your fellow first-years for a chance to win big! Grab your virtual BINGO card once the event starts, and join the event via the Zoom invite linked in the event title. Lots of prizes to win, including some amazing Carleton swag! Hosted by the Student Activities Office Programming Board (SAPB).

Week 3

Creating Your Community: Strategies for Building Connections at Carleton

January 21st, 4:30 p.m. CT via Zoom.

Having a strong sense of camaraderie is an important part of the Carleton experience and this session is all about building comradery with fellow peers! Join professional staff from the Carleton Career Center to discuss how you can intentionally build deep & meaningful connections with other Carls and create your own spaces to thrive socially. You will have the opportunity to interact with other students and practice strategies to meet new people, and develop friendships that can last a lifetime. Presented by: RJ Holmes-Leopold, Director of the Career Center; and Chad Ellsworth, Program Director of Employer Relations.


January 22nd

Back by popular demand! We provide the supplies, you provide the creativity! SAO has a number of resources if you want to learn new or additional embroidery skills. We’ll be spotlighting designs submitted to us on Instagram (@carleton_sao)! More details will be emailed to students mid-January.

Virtual Date Knight 

January 23rd, 8:00 p.m. CT via Zoom.

Date Knight is a long-standing tradition here at Carleton. This year, Date Knight will go virtual for the first time. Sign-up your friends, roommates, and classmates to meet someone new and attend virtual “dates” across campus, led by various departments and student organizations.

Week 4

First-Generation Faculty & Staff Panel

January 29th, 4:30 p.m. via Zoom.

Come meet a panel of Carleton faculty & staff as they share their experiences as First-Generation college students and how they navigated academia. This event is hosted by the Student Activities Office and TRIO/Student Support Services.

Virtual Paint & Sip

January 30th, 8:00 p.m. CT via Zoom.

Paint & Sip is a great way to flex your artistic muscles! You’ll (virtually) gather in a fun & relaxed environment where we teach you how to paint your own masterpiece. This is a fun and unique way to meet others and learn a new skill, so grab your favorite coffee mug and join us online. For those currently on-campus, all materials will be provided to you prior to the event, including a packet of hot cocoa mix.

Week 5

History of Carleton & Campus Traditions

February 4th, 4:30 p.m. CT via Zoom.

Although we may not be able to experience our traditions in the typical manner this year, we can still celebrate and learn more about what makes Carleton so special. Ever wonder how and why Carleton has so many unique traditions that stand the test of time? Want to learn a bit about Carleton history and some interesting facts about how some of Carleton’s current traditions have evolved over the years? This session will be fun and informative with time for Q&A at the end, so have your questions ready. Presented by: Eric Hillemann, Senior Associate in Archives/Librarian

41st Annual Midwinter Ball 

February 6th, 8:00 p.m. CT

Although we are unable to gather together in-person this year, we can still connect as a community to celebrate this long-standing campus tradition. There will be a series of presentations throughout the evening describing the history of the event, as well as videos from current Carleton students and alumni describing what Midwinter Ball means to them. There will also be pre-recorded performances and greetings specifically for Carleton students from members of the Roseville Big Band and Salsa del Soul, who have performed at Midwinter Ball for many years, as well as a performance by a Illism, who have performed at Sproncert on several occasions. A series of events will launch online beginning at 8:00 p.m. CT, so stay tuned for more details.

Week 6

Student Involvement: How Do I Get Involved on Campus? 

February 11th, 4:30 p.m. CT via Zoom.

Join a panel discussion with current student leaders and staff from the Division of Student Life as they discuss how to get involved on campus and why being connected to campus is such an integral part of the overall Carleton experience. Learn about the many paid Peer Leader positions available to students, how to get involved with student government, join a student organization, or start your own!

Sayles-Hill Illuminated Ice Sculptures

February 12th, beginning at 4:00 p.m.

Stop by the Sayles patio to see a variety of hand-carved ice sculptures, including the bust of Schiller, a giant penguin, the Carleton “C”, and Olaf the Snowman!

Winterfest: Ice Rink Bumper Cars, Scavenger Hunt, Ice Skating, & More!

This event provides students the opportunity to ice skate (skates provided), and ride electric bumper cars! There will also be carved ice sculptures by a professional artist! Additionally, there will be a scavenger hunt where students can find stuffed penguins that have been hidden on campus.

Week 7

Connected, But Separate: Mental Health & Wellbeing. 

February 18th, 4:30 p.m. CT.

COVID-19 has added many new challenges to our everyday lives. As students navigate these challenges, some struggle with mental health and overall wellbeing. Come join Carleton staff members as they discuss mental health, ways to stay healthy, and the many resources available to Carleton students, whether they reside on-campus or are currently studying remotely. Presented by: Marit Lysne, Director of Student Health & Counseling; and Janet Lewis Muth, Director of Health Promotion.

Ice Rink Bumper Cars & Open Skating on the Bald Spot. 

February 19th, 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. CT

This event provides students the opportunity to ice skate (skates provided), and ride electric bumper cars! Watch your email for information for more information and how to sign-up in advance for the bumper cars. Ice Rink Bumper Cars are 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. and open skate will be staffed 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Live, Virtual Concerts for the Carleton Community. 

February 20th, times vary (details below)

Join others from the Carleton community for live, virtual performances by Angie K, Javier Colon, and Noah Hoehn. Watch one concert or watch all three! With talent like this, there’s something for everyone! One lucky first-year participant will receive a $250 gift certificate to the Carleton Bookstore, courtesy of the Dean of Students Office.

Angie K – 9:00 p.m. CT

In 2012, Angie Keilhauer was a full-time engineering student working at a Mustang-only salvage yard in Monroe, GA. Within just two years of touring, Angie K caught the eye of NBC’s The Voice and joined Team Blake. Her first-ever full-band album (Wild, June 2016) hit #5 on the iTunes charts! Angie K is currently on her fourth year of touring, averaging 17 shows a month all over the country, and recently released a new song with Jordan Fisher for Walt Disney World.

 “There is something so undisciplined about the way you perform…you are wild.” -Blake Shelton

Javier Colón – 10:00 p.m. CT

Javier Colon is an American singer-songwriter who won the inaugural season of NBC’s hit television show, The Voice. Javier’s original song and debut single “Stitch By Stitch” became something of a phenomenon – exceeding sales of 145,000 and peaked at #17 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Javier refers to his style of music as “acoustic soul.” A family man, Javier keeps his wife and daughters close to his heart at all times often writing about them. Javier isn’t simply following anyone else’s path; he’s making his own way.

Noah Hoehn – 11:00 p.m. CT

Singer/songwriter, music technologist and multi-instrumentalist, Noah Hoehn, has performed for nearly 200 colleges and universities across the country. This Minnesotan is also a three-time winner of the prestigious McKnight Fellowship for Performing Musicians. Noah’s unique and dynamic performances could be described as one part Eddie Vedder, one part Zedd, and one part “marimba ninja”. Noah uses a style of looping called audio architecture to construct both mod covers and original music.

Week 8

Carls in the Community: Opportunities for Local Engagement. 

February 25th, 4:30 p.m. CT via Zoom.

Join the Center for Community and Civic Engagement (CCCE — pronounced “trip-C-E”) for a conversation about how first-year students can create positive change through reciprocal community-campus partnerships. Students will learn how they can advance shared goals and collaboration in the public sphere with attention to equity, power, and positionality as well as connecting to Rice County and the social issues they care about. Additionally, Students will learn about academic civic engagement courses, student-led community initiatives, fellowships, volunteer opportunities, community-based work study jobs, and more. Presented by: Emily Oliver, Associate Director for Academic Civic Engagement and Scholarship & Lecturer in Ethical Inquiry at Carleton; and Creighton Brown, Student Experience Manager.

Virtual Class of 2024 Variety Show! 


With certainty, there is a variety of talents that the class of 2024 has to share. Hopefully by now you’ve practiced and are ready to share your unique talent. Be ready to laugh in amazement and have an excellent time getting to know your peers. This event has long been a tradition during New Student Week, however COVID-19 changed our plans a bit. First-year students will receive additional information about this event and how to upload their video. Start thinking about your unique talent and get ready to claim your spot in Carleton’s Hall of Fame. One lucky participant will receive a $500 gift certificate to the Carleton Bookstore, courtesy of the Dean of Students Office.

Week 9

Finding Mindfulness & Joy. 

March 4th, 4:30 p.m. CT via Zoom

Finals are almost here and it’s important to manage stress. Mindfulness serves as a resource that absolutely anyone can access and practice. During this session, learn about mindfulness meditation, as well as the benefits of mindfulness to manage stress, increase focus, and create more joy. Presented by: Hanah Diebold, Assistant Director of Student Activities.

Laser Tag. 

March 6th, 8:00 p.m., Cowling Gymnasium

Come play laser tag with other Carls in the Cowling Gymnasium — in a safe and physically distanced manner of course! Register your team of friends and take-on your fellow Carls in this friendly competition. Students will be able to register their team of 4 on the Student Activities Office website (coming soon). One lucky team will win an on-campus (physically distanced) dinner from Tokyo Grill Steakhouse with Dean Livingston!

Week 10

End of Program Message!

Congratulations on completing the First-Year Success Series (FYSS). Consider taking a few minutes to reflect upon what you learned and experienced this term and view a brief video featuring prominent campus leadership. They will offer some words of wisdom and thoughtful observations related to the past year and what to look forward to in the months ahead.