Building community virtually
For Oles missing the thrill of filling out a March Madness bracket, St. Olaf College has you covered.
In a nod our Northfield community — home to a cereal production facility that frequently fills the air around campus with the chocolatey scent of baking Cocoa Pebbles and nostalgic smell of Malt-O-Meal — St. Olaf has launched the Cereal Bowl Snacket Bracket.
Anyone can submit their picks for the most beloved cereal on campus. The bracket includes historical heavyweights like Cheerios and Wheaties; childhood favorites like Froot Loops and Lucky Charms; and seemingly longshots like Raisin Bran and Grape Nuts.
After all brackets are in on April 3, Oles will rank their favorite cereals — and the Snacket Bracket competition will be on.
While the Cereal Bowl is fun and even a bit silly, it’s part of a much deeper goal: to help Oles stay connected even when they’re apart. It’s one part of a range of virtual programming offered by the St. Olaf Office of Student Activities. Other programming includes an Ole Pet Pics Photo Contest, a Sticker and Button Design Competition, a weekly round of trivia with other Oles, a Virtual Marathon, and Gratitude Grams.
“My sincere hope is that our virtual programming continues to bring people together,” says Associate Director of Student Activities Brandon Cash ’16. “We recognize that this can be such an isolating time and perhaps what is needed most is an opportunity to simply take a break and have fun in the virtual company of other Oles. If a round of trivia or a sticker design contest can bring a sense of calm and normalcy to even just one Ole, I think we accomplished our goal.”
We recognize that this can be such an isolating time and perhaps what is needed most is an opportunity to simply take a break and have fun in the virtual company of other Oles. If a round of trivia or a sticker design contest can bring a sense of calm and normalcy to even just one Ole, I think we accomplished our goal.Associate Director of Student Activities Brandon Cash ’16
A team of Student Life staff members that includes Assistant Dean of Students for Programming and Assessment Joshua Lee, Assistant Director of Wellness and Health Promotions Jenny Ortiz, Director of Intramural and Club Sports Ryan Townzen, in addition to Cash, have been connecting regularly to ensure that there are student engagement opportunities available from a myriad of directions.
“During a standard academic year, our office thrives on providing opportunities for in-person connection and learning outside of the classroom, two things that are particularly challenging at the moment for college students at St. Olaf and around the globe,” Cash says. “So we adapted and started brainstorming possible ways for our students to stay connected both with fun activities and, most importantly, with each other. It is common for educators in Student Life to use the phrase ‘meet our students where they’re at.’ In this moment, that means virtually.”