Message from Corey Landstrom, Vice President and Dean for Student Life

September 2017 

The year is off and running and students are working to find their groove. The first football game on the new Legacy Field resulted in a fifth straight victory over St. Olaf College. The tennis courts were dedicated last weekend following an extensive renovation. The women’s team, which competes in the fall, has won their first two matches on the home courts. Men’s and women’s soccer, cross country, and golf as well as volleyball are also in season. All the teams are preparing for their Iowa Conference seasons. 

Students are also rehearsing and getting into the musical “swing” of ensemble work. This weekend (Family Weekend) Concert Band, Jazz Orchestra, Collegiate Choral, Cathedral Choir, Aurora, Norsemen, Cantorei, Wind and Percussion Ensemble, Varsity Band, and Nordic Choir will have all performed in concert or the Family Weekend worship service. While it is only September the winter season and our celebration of Christmas—Christmas at Luther—are just around the corner! 

I trust first-year students are finding the pace of academic work to be more challenging than in high school. Classes began full-throttle on the first day of the semester,  therefore it is essential that students not let themselves fall into the trap of procrastination. It is quite difficult to make up work when more has accumulated. Being present and engaged in the classroom, completing assignments, and investing time outside of the classroom to learn the materials is all part of their “job” at Luther. Returning students should have learned from past experiences and made corrections—large or small—to how they manage workflow. Students struggling with academic work or simply wanting to improve their work can visit the Student Academic Support Center or the Writing Center, or stop in to see their professors during office hours—something faculty appreciate! 

Student Senate has begun meeting and recently elected three first-year representatives from Ylvisaker, Brandt, and Olson Halls. They join the other 29 members of Senate to provide a bridge between the student body and Luther’s administration. Senate’s efforts over the years have led to advancements that directly and positively impact the lives of students on campus. Also, more than 90 student organizations are getting their efforts underway for the year. The Student Activities Council (SAC) presents many events and programs that enrich campus life. In addition to Soda Shoppe and Jazz Night during Family Weekend, they are also presenting singer-songwriter Ben Rector during Homecoming Weekend (tickets available through the Luther Ticket Office). Students drive so many of the community engagement opportunities on campus and in our local communities—their shared efforts make Luther the wonderful, vibrant community it is! 

Some students, however, have not yet found their groove, or perhaps are stuck in a groove. (Now that vinyl LPs are back maybe both generations can  groove on this metaphor?)  But we pay serious attention to the disconnect that students can experience if they can not get into a groove that works for them. If your student is going through this, please know we have several resources to assist them: their resident assistant (RA), hall director, or academic advisor. Students can visit the Student Activities Office to learn about ways to get involved on campus or talk with  Career Center staff and begin taking steps to discern their direction in life—their careers and callings. The Counseling Service and College Ministries are also places students can go for support. Some records are 33 1/3 rpm, others 45 rpm, and there even some doing 78 rpm (remember those?). Our goal is to help students approach campus life at  a pace (or rotation) that fits them. If you sense your student needs support, please contact the Student Life Office—we can consult and provide ideas to help. 

Students are also planning for their futures while living and learning in the present. They are applying for competitive fellowships and awards such as Fulbright Scholarships or exploring graduate school and career opportunities at the Career Center’s Graduate/Professional School Day and Fall Career Fair. While the rad school day will have taken place by the time you receive this, the Fall Career Fair is on October 3. With a record number of employers, this is an important opportunity for students to explore internship and career opportunities. The first couple years of college  is a good time to begin working a resume, writing cover letters, and developing effective interview skills. The Career Center staff are prepared to work with students to guide them through the career planning process, which includes exploration, applied learning, and networking. 

We also hope students become connected to Decorah and the local communities. I earlier referenced the work of student organizations and their connections to Decorah. Some of these connections include Habitat for Humanity, the Decorah Free Clinic, and teaching adult basic English courses to immigrants and refugees. Other students work in the community at local businesses. It’s not uncommon to see a Luther student ringing up my purchase at the Oneota Co-op or making a mocha at Java Johns. You’ll see them at Fareway, Wal-Mart, Kwik Star, and elsewhere. These work experiences are great for our students because they get to know local Decorah community members. 

However students are engaged on campus or in the community, it is our privilege to see them share their gifts, talents, and strengths!