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A cold day for classics

By Kari VanDerVeen
December 10, 2010

The temperature had barely broken into the double digits and drifts of snow covered the ground, but that didn’t stop Assistant Professor of Classics Chris Brunelle from holding class outside Friday morning.

“Holding classes outside is a noble campus tradition, and why should December get in its way?” Brunelle says. “Although I think it was the first time I’ve ever had to shovel my classroom.”

Students in Brunelle’s Greek 111 course spent their hour-long class gathered around the blackboard in the plaza between Rolvaag Library and Buntrock Commons. They took occasional breaks to jump around or refill their cups with the hot chocolate and cider Brunelle had provided, but for the most part seemed to enjoy the crisp morning air and curious stares from students on their way to warmer classes.

“I never thought I would be having class outside in 10-degree weather, but it was absolutely fantastic,” says Ben Perez ‘14, a native of Chicago who said the cold really didn’t start to seep beneath his scarf until the last few minutes of class.

The nip in the air also kept the yawns that can creep into any 8 a.m. class at bay, noted Daniel Friedrichsen ‘12. “It really, really kept us alert,” he says.

Holding this course in the elements was especially appropriate, notes Brunelle, given that it was the ancient Greek historian Herodotus who inspired the well-known “neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night” motto of the United States Postal Service.

Check out more images of the outdoor learning experience on the St. Olaf Facebook page.

Contact Kari VanDerVeen at 507-786-3970 or