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Mallory Fritsch ’23 talks with parents of a prospective student during their campus visit.

An Experience Too Good Not to Share: From Student to Tour Guide, a Student Finds Her Community

 “It’s the people.” Mallory Fritsch ’23 says, summing up a shared sentiment among many students, alumni and staff. The tradition and ideals of communio are unique to this place. There is something deeper and more important happening on the picturesque grounds nestled along the Fox.

For Fritsch, a sophomore studying childhood education, the switch from foreign college experience to feeling at home began in January of 2020 with her involvement in the Knight Theatre. “Over that short month, spending day after day, it felt like I knew that group of people for years,” she says. It started to feel normal to go to college. She branched out and explored the campus, uncovering quiet nooks and the magic of the library. She immersed herself in her major, both in class and as an aide at a local elementary school. Then she set out to find a job.

With a strong connection to campus life and an outgoing personality, Mallory joined the admissions team as a campus tour guide, providing prospective students and their families with an inside look at the St. Norbert student experience.

It’s not so much a job, as it is doing something she already loved: walking and talking around campus. “The overwhelming majority of my touring families are super-engaged,” she explains. “They are very curious and come with questions.” Fritsch enjoys sharing her personal student journey to better communicate St. Norbert’s culture and community. She says, “It’s something you just have to experience.”

Recalling her own first impressions, she says, “The look of campus is just gorgeous.” She remembers being drawn in by the breathtaking flowers in full bloom and the engaging personal experiences shared by the guide of her own initial tour. In contrast to other campus tours that shared statistics and throwaway facts, this tour was filled with an inside look into how student life truly looked and felt.

Thriving in a welcoming community
Fritsch finds that her friends enrolled elsewhere have a hard time understanding the St. Norbert identity. They wonder how she can go into the cafeteria alone and always find a dinner companion. “It’s a different feel and something unique we have here at St. Norbert,” she says.

In her view, the unity and positive attitude from students on campus in response to pandemic protocols is a strong representation of St. Norbert’s culture: “It’s been a challenge, but easier than I thought it would be. Nobody wanted to go back home. We all wanted to stay here, so we did what we had to do.”

Looking from the outside in
Sharing the St. Norbert story on a weekly basis has only deepened Fritsch’s appreciation for her college. She says, “I’ve become a lot more active in the religious side, learning why it is so central to the campus.” She feels this equips her with the ability to connect with those families and prospective students who are interested in the Norbertine tradition and campus faith life.

Whatever their individual interests, Mallory focuses on leaving her families feeling comfortable. From experience, she says, “It’s an anxious time for them.” She looks forward to every tour, researching and in her words, “learning the basics of where they’re from and what they want to study, to give them what they need.” Her role as tour guide has helped her connect with people and think on her toes.

Mallory says that the best tours are the ones that go over the allotted time. She explains, “Those are the best, when you make sure the family gets all their questions answered. I give them my email and hope to reconnect.” 

St. Norbert becomes a part of who you are
Reflecting on what serving as a St. Norbert ambassador means to her, Mallory gives a nod to the future: “I hope I can just continue to talk about the college and help out. Inspire some kids to go there.” 

While countless experiences, relationships and wisdom gained from St. Norbert will be lifelong companions, Mallory comes full circle to the college’s defining and unifying element, communio. She says that it’s impossible to not feel it. “We mention it when we’re in church. There are countless areas with it on the wall.” She says it’s not just another motto, but rather a palpable and internalized feeling coursing through campus: “I don’t think it ever leaves you, as a St. Norbert student.”

July 9, 2021