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W&L Hosts First-Year Activity Day The all-day event was facilitated by upper-division student volunteers.

Washington and Lee University hosted numerous in-person, socially distanced activities for first-year students on Saturday, Feb. 13. The all-day event was facilitated by upper-division student volunteers. Programs included yoga, a visit to “Bread Day” at Seasons’ Yield Farm, multiple sports activities and a campfire to end the day.

“First-Year Activity Day is an example of my favorite kind of event,” said Jason Rodocker, dean for first-year experience. “Upper-division student leaders get the opportunity to practice their organization and facilitation skills, and first-year students are invited to further connect with the campus community.”

Kayla Monaghan ’24 participated in beginner yoga during the day.

“I was excited to try it because I have never really done yoga before,” Monaghan said. “It was incredible, and the group that was there is now going to try and make it a weekly thing in some form or fashion, if possible. I was able to meet new people and connect better with some I already had met before. I was inspired to try it out because it sounded like a blast, and I like branching out and making new friends.”

Julia Wickman ’21, a resident adviser, led the yoga class Monaghan participated in.

“When I saw the opportunity to create a social platform for first years in small group-based activities, I signed up to teach a yoga class right away,” Wickman said. “Even though I am not an expert yogi, I am excited to explore this passion with a group of first-year students and get to know them better. One of W&L’s strongest qualities is our sense of community, and the First-Year Activity Day is a great avenue for promoting this campus-wide cohesion.”

Donald LeCompte ’21 took students off campus for a small trip to Seasons’ Yield Farm for “Bread Day.” A family-owned farm in nearby Raphine, Seasons’ Yield offers freshly baked, wild-leavened sourdough breads and pastries every two weeks throughout the year.

“We had a great time at the farm,” said LeCompte. “We’ve seen a lot of creative programming options this year, especially ones that are targeted toward students. That said, it can be difficult for first years to meet others from different halls given the winter weather and COVID-19 safety precautions. Intentional programming is important to help connect students within the community and provide fun activities outside the residence halls.”

While the weather was wintery on Saturday, the students that participated seemed to enjoy the day regardless.

“Everyone got a chance to meet new people with similar interests while having fun,” Rodocker said. “First-Year Activity Day is a win-win-win situation designed with flexibility that encourages everyone to engage in the most convenient way possible.”