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Celebrating the Norbertine 900th Jubilee with an ice-cream event on campus last week. (Since March 22, students have been able to leave off their face masks when outdoors on campus. Masks are still required inside campus buildings.)

Ice-Cream Event Celebrates 900th Jubilee as Life on Campus Moves Outdoors

With a chance to celebrate a major anniversary together (safely, outdoors) and an in-person Commencement coming right up, life at St. Norbert is beginning to feel more like its old self.

The spring semester has seen a gentle progression toward a more expansive experience that began with a new Ring of Fire series. Wellness by Design, an initiative that helps foster wellness in the St. Norbert community, launched the free campfire gatherings on Saturday evenings in March, giving students the chance to safely hang out in person outdoors. Students munched on some comfort food (like gourmet corn on the cob and tacos) from local food truck vendors, sipped hot chocolate with friends and jammed out to music from SNC Radio in front of the priory (now St. Joseph Hall) near the Gehl-Mulva Science Center.

SNC Insanity, an on-campus fitness class, also took advantage of the seasonal switch to spring, offering workout sessions at the gazebo overlooking the Fox River near the Van Den Heuvel Family Campus Center.

Student athletes saw the return of athletic competition, albeit with a few changes to practices, games and meets to ensure the health and safety of everyone participating.

“All spring sport teams did return to competition this year,” says Tim Bald (Athletics). “It was good to see some life back on campus with athletics.”

Per NCAA guidelines, there won’t be any summer athletic activities occurring, but discussions and planning for fall sports will likely take place soon after the semester is over.

Music students were able to experience being on stage for the first time in more than a year. On April 16, the SNC Concert Band and Wind Ensemble played to a socially-distanced audience of students, faculty and staff. Although tickets weren’t required, audience members were asked to sign up in advance online to help ensure the event didn’t exceed capacity (104 people). The concert was also livestreamed from the Walter Theatre.

President Emeritus Tom Kunkel returned to campus in April for his lecture on Norbert of Xanten as part of the Norman & Louis Miller Lecture in Public Understanding – one of the events marking the worldwide Norbertine order's 900th Jubilee this year. The talk had limited in-person attendance in the Walter Theatre, but was also offered free to the public virtually via Zoom. The recording is available online.

Another event that couldn’t be skipped was the 15th annual Senior Wine Tasting, safely and successfully coordinated by the Office of Alumni & Parent Relations. SNC seniors came together on March 6, in-person or virtually, with hosts President Brian Bruess ’90 and Carol (Sessler) Bruess ’90 for an evening of delicious cuisine and wine pairings. The Class of 2021 was grateful for the chance to kick back, relax and enjoy this landmark tradition together.

As the semester came to a close, SNC couldn’t let a 900th birthday go by without a celebration, and what would a birthday be without some ice cream! Students, faculty and staff stopped at Baer Mall near Main Hall for an outdoor afternoon treat in commemoration of the Norbertine order’s founding ahead of finals week.

The college plans to welcome Abbot General Jos Wouters, head of the Norbertine order worldwide. His Commencement speech will be given virtually from his residence in Rome but the rest of the Commencement ceremony will be celebrated in-person. Commencement takes place outdoors near the Campus Center this Sunday, May 16. Those not attending in person will be able to follow the event via livestream.

Though things still look a bit different, several areas of campus life are starting to return as part of the regular routine.

May 13, 2021