Mandel Scholars Fall Kick-off: Fun and Travelling Opportunities
The 2022 fall semester started differently this year for Mandel Scholars. On September 9, the Mandel team organized The Fall Kickoff at Swings -N- Things. The Fall Kick off is a way for students to play, have fun, and get to know each other.
“This is the first semester since Covid that we were able to have the Fall Fick off again,” said Dr. Matthew Jordan, Dean of Humanities at Mandel. “The pandemic made it very challenging for us to do many of the things that make the Mandel program unique. We put a lot of emphasis on having face-to-face experiences and conversations, but we’re doing more to take advantage of the technologies that make such gatherings easier.”
Students talked with each other and broke the ice by sharing interesting facts about the places they’re from before activities started at 9:00 am. Then Dr. Jordan did his welcome speech and talked about upcoming events and travel opportunities offered to Mandel Scholars. This year, travelling opportunities will be available to Mandel Scholars which will emphasize important causes such as geopolitics, social justice, leadership, history, culture, and global partnerships.
Dr. Jordan discussed some of the reasons why educational travel opportunities exist for students. One is community-building to bring people together and have them share their travel experiences. Another is educational travel to help students grow in their appreciation of cultural differences. Even traveling to other parts of the United States requires becoming comfortable with different sets of attitudes and practices, and there’s great value in learning experientially about respecting and engaging with people whose backgrounds are very different from one’s own.
A third reason for travel opportunities is purely educational. There’s just something about the experience of following great civil rights leaders’ footsteps across the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama, or learning about the American political system while touring Washington, D.C., or eating in an admired author’s favorite restaurant in Paris, that makes the topics you’re studying absolutely come alive.
At the conclusion of his speech, Dr. Jordan introduced guest Ron Soeder, Director of Telos Leadership Foundation (the Foundation) which was created in 2021 to make leadership development opportunities available to young people. During his speech, Soeder talked about the benefit of the program and this year’s application deadlines.
“The Foundation has a transformation leadership opportunity that helps emerge oneself in nature,” says Soeder. “It pairs you with like-minded people and makes you start thinking about your personal mission statement. Last year we had seven Mandel Scholars in the program. Going through the challenges of nature that experience built a trust and friendship among participants that will last for a lifetime.”
After enjoying lunch offered by Mandel, students got to race with each other with the go carts, get wet with the bumper boats, and show their miniature golf skills. The variety of games and the beautiful sunny day brought happiness and laughter in everyone’s faces.
Hannah, an English education student says “it was amazing and eye-opening experience that allowed me to have fun with people I never met before!” Another second-year Mandel Scholar considered the event “a great day that allowed me to meet new people and feel connected with the community.”
At the end of the event, everyone gathered and students’ ideas on how to have these activities more often were strongly supported and welcomed by Mandel staff.