Summer Camps Help Students Imagine Life at Saint Mary's
Sarah Hautzinger '20 and Claire Linginfelter '21 became roommates at Saint Mary’s long before they moved in as students their freshman year. Hautzinger and Linginfelter first met as randomly placed roommates at Embody Summer Theology Institute when they were seniors in high school. Their experiences as summer campers is one of the many reasons they enrolled at Saint Mary’s College.
Saint Mary’s hosts a variety of summer camp experiences for girls between the ages of six and 18. The purpose of these programs is to educate and empower young women. The camps also happen to help students choose Saint Mary’s for college.. On average, about 5% of each incoming class were once summer campers. Their summer experiences give them direct exposure to campus life, which helps when it’s time to choose a college that fits them well..
Hautzinger and Linginfelter both received information about applying to the Embody Summer Theology Institute in the mail as high school students. Both had already been thinking about applying to Saint Mary’s for college, and both thought the Institute would be a great opportunity to experience campus and meet like-minded young women. Embody also provided opportunities to learn from current faculty, staff, and student mentors. Hautzinger said she wanted to experience what it would be like to be a college student at Saint Mary's for a week, a unique experience Saint Mary’s provides prospective students. Her interest in applying increased after the camp.
Hautzinger and Linginfelter reminisced about their first day of Embody when they met in Regina Hall. Hautzinger said she was nervous about leaving home for the first time, but after meeting Linginfelter, her nerves subsided. Hautzinger and Linginfelter laughed as they reminisced, recalling their inside jokes created throughout the week and dubbing themselves “roommate soulmates.” They also recalled the student mentors they had at camp. Student mentors were current Saint Mary’s students, but to Hautzinger and Linginfelter, they felt like big sisters.
At the end of their week-long camp experience, they were unsure they’d see each other again. Eight months later they reconnected on campus at Meet Me at the Avenue, imagined their lives at Saint Mary’s as a student, and remembered their inside jokes and favorite memories of Embody. After they had both committed to Saint Mary’s, they decided to be roommates without hesitation.
Hautzinger and Linginfelter’s story is a testament to what summer camps can provide young women exploring college life. Summer camps at Saint Mary’s are unique because each camp is run by faculty, staff, and current students on campus. Campers get the opportunity to make friends, and experience life as a Saint Mary’s student.
In the end, their summer camp experience was far more meaningful than it seemed at the time. It led them “home” to Saint Mary’s.