Freshmen Return to Lander for Their Winter Expedition, Prepare for New Semester

The Christmas season and New Year’s Day are past, which means that it is time for another annual event here at Wyoming Catholic College: the return of the Freshman class for their week-long Winter Trip.

“We’re pleased to welcome the freshmen back to Lander,” said Dr. Glenn Arbery, the College’s president. “Things are too quiet without them. The unpredictability of last semester is likely to carry over into the spring, but their energy and enthusiasm for their studies will serve them well in the coming months.”

“With a semester of conducting in-person classes during COVID under our belts,” he continued, “we have a better sense of what worked in the Fall and what needs more attention as we head into this new semester. We’re making a few tweaks to our protocols, and we’re confident that we can keep our students safe and healthy while giving them the transformative education they’ve come here to receive.”

Jon Tonkowich, the College’s Executive Vice President (and COVID Czar) is pleased to see the students return, as well, though their arrival will not be without complication. “I’ve been communicating with them for the last few weeks, working through some of the new protocols we’ve put in place. Thanks to our relationship with the State of Wyoming (and Vault Health), we’re able to make COVID testing a key part of our ‘back-to-school’ efforts. Last fall, due to limited testing availability and the costs connected with that testing, smaller institutions like ours were all flying a bit blind, especially in the first part of the semester. This time, we’ll be better equipped to carry out our mission of in-person, Great Books education.”

Like the three-week Freshman Expedition that launches their academic careers at Wyoming Catholic College, the week-long Winter Trip is a rite of passage for the first-year students. Immersed in the winter environment, they find ample opportunities to develop the knowledge and skills necessary for safely enjoying winter in the mountains. This course specifically prepares them to plan and lead winter outdoor adventures and to participate in winter field science labs.

“The snow and cold of the Rocky Mountains can be intimidating for many,” says Dr. Tom Zimmer, Director of the College’s Experiential Leadership Program, “but winter provides an opportunity to enjoy another chapter of God’s First Book. It brings a peaceful stillness and a landscape blanketed in snow—the perfect setting to continue the development of the imagination and to grow in virtue as the students confront new challenges.”


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