More than a School

By: 
Satchel Toole
Class of: 
2018

During the process of applying to colleges, I thought I knew what I wanted. I was looking for a smaller school that offered a degree in economics or environmental studies. I spent hours researching the academic programs and popular majors of schools in the Northeast, hoping that one would somehow stand out more than the others. My final decision was influenced by multiple factors, such as financial aid, but I mostly focused on St. Lawrence because it would allow me to combine economics and environmental studies into a single degree. During my time on campus, however, I’ve realized that academics should not be the only thing considered in choosing a school.

In my opinion, St. Lawrence is the perfect fit for me. I’ve not only enjoyed my courses but found the perfect community to live in while also pursuing my passions. The clubs and organizations on campus were the first opportunity to engage as a first-year student. My interest in the environment first drew me towards the Divestment Club, a group whose mission combines the areas of finance and sustainability. Divestment Club offers an important space to follow an academic interest outside of the classroom, in an environment that gives you real-world experience and skills. Since I joined the group I’ve helped organize events, speakers, and demonstrations on campus. I also have experience with wilderness trips and was quick to put my name onto the Outing Club email list. The Outing Club (OC) allowed me to easily access outdoor opportunities around the North Country and beyond. During Spring Break of my first year, I was able to spend the week with the OC in Georgia paddling the Okefenokee Swamp and camping on Cumberland Island. I enjoyed the club members and trips so much that I applied to live in the theme house, another unique experience offered by St. Lawrence.

The theme house community has been one of the biggest influences on my life here at SLU over the last three years. Each house is unique and draws a different group of people. Everyone within the community, however, is similar in regard to how they wish to pursue their interests at school. The ability to live with other students who share a passion creates an indescribable atmosphere where many people thrive. Outside of the theme cottages, it’s also easy to find living communities. All six of the Greek organizations on campus have houses, and there are theme floors in Sykes and Kirk Douglas Hall. I came to school with three other students from my hometown and now three of us live in theme housing, and one is in a sorority. Whatever your background or interests are, there’s a place for everyone here at SLU.

The vast scope of options for students create an environment where Laurentians can grow together. Each of the academic programs on campus have clubs or organizations that complement their curriculum. The housing on campus can be that of your typical liberal arts school, or you can try to live in a house that lets you explore what you’re interested in. In my experience, St. Lawrence has let me become the person that I want to be, and the community has supported me through my entire time on campus. I wish that I had understood the importance of these types of opportunities while looking at schools. Although I ended up at the right university, I’ve learned to understand that these institutions are much more than schools and that everyone should treat them as communities where students learn who they are and how to pursue their passions.