ICU holds New Student Retreat 2020

Update: October 21, 2020

On a refreshing autumn day, Friday, October 2, ICU held New Student Retreat 2020 with the participation of 424 new students (including 168 who participated online).

New Student Retreat is ICU's orientation program for the April and September entry cohorts of the academic year and is also attended by faculty members. It is held for the purpose of deepening the students' understanding of ICU's philosophy and its belief in liberal arts education to give them the first opportunity to form an identity as an ICU student.

In normal years, the retreat is an overnight trip to a location outside of the university that is held in early October. Through discussions based on keynote speeches, academic programs, and recreation, students have been able to deepen their relationship with other students and faculty members. This year, we held a one-day retreat allowing the students to participate either on campus or online to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Dr. M. William Steele , Professor Emeritus of ICU (Ph.D., Harvard University) gave a keynote speech on the current global problems such as the coronavirus pandemic and climate change, which was followed by group discussions. The students were divided into groups of 7 to 8 and discussed questions provided by the speaker.


In the afternoon program following lunch, dialogue sessions were offered led by faculty members on the theme of "What does college-level study involve?" and by senior students on "Student life at ICU." New students further deepened their understanding of ICU's philosophy, education and environment.

This overnight retreat program is a traditional event that has been hosted by the university for many years. The reputation has been carried through generations of students. In the survey conducted after the event, students expressed both joy of meeting new friends and regrets on the suspension of the overnight program and the necessity of shrinking the scale.

Comments from the students who attended the retreat

I heard that the retreat was normally a two-day event , and therefore, felt that we only had half the fun to be honest. Nonetheless, it was a very enjoyable retreat.

Thank you for hosting the retreat. It was too bad that there were not very many workshops that I could attend online. I also felt sorry that I could not experience the enjoyment that had been felt by students who had attended past retreats. I don't know what the retreat would look like in the next year and onward, but hope that at least they are held face-to-face, if not in an overnight format.

I would have liked to know more about the club activities. I was disappointed that we couldn't have a trip this time and only had a discussion. It might have been better if we could at least do some fun activities outside instead of going on a trip.

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