College and double-degree second-years gathered for the second annual Sophomore Opportunities and Academic Resources retreat last weekend. The SOAR program aims to provide students with a space to think intentionally about their personal goals, professional aspirations, and academic pathways.
“As we did last year, we focused on academic and co-curricular planning,” Dana Hamdan, executive director of the Career Development Center and associate dean of students, wrote in an email to the Review. “But, we also talked about the power of storytelling, reflection, and personal narratives as tools for discovering and refining a purpose.”
In addition to break-out sessions, participants of the retreat gathered together to hear Chair of the Board of Trustees Chris Canavan’s presentation on business. Following a unanimous decision by the College Faculty Council on Wednesday, business will become the newest concentration available to students.
“I tried to make the case for learning how business works,” Canavan wrote in an email to the Review. “Anyone interested in working in the private sector should understand how it works. But so should the person who wants to work alongside the private sector and, indeed, those who want to work against private interests.”
This year’s SOAR program boosted attendance to nearly 200 students, an increase of almost 70 as compared to last year. This year's program also offered more variety in academic major clusters to better accommodate student interest and foster community.
“SOAR transformed my Environmental Studies major into a community,” College second-year Havi Carrillo-Klein, who attended the retreat, wrote in a message to the Review. “I walked into classes this semester knowing lots of people in my ENVS classes, which is one of the benefits of cohort-based learning here at Oberlin.”