Shortly before the start of first-year fall semester, incoming Scholars participate in a leadership retreat facilitated by instructors from the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) at the Nantahala Outdoor Center in Bryson City, NC. During the four-day retreat, Scholars develop leadership and communication skills during guided hikes and whitewater rafting expeditions in the mountains of western North Carolina.
First-Year Dinner Series
The dinner series is an opportunity for first-year Scholars to develop practical life skills and to discuss a wide range of subjects with guest speakers. Topics include public speaking, presentation skills, personal finances, etiquette, and networking.
The Robertson First-Year Colloquium is a one-semester course taken during the Scholar’s first year. It provides a forum to discuss issues impacting society at large and ethical challenges facing today’s leaders. This course offers Scholars a chance to develop an ethical framework for leading and provides a unique, Robertson-only space to strengthen intellectual ties among the class.
Scholars spend the summer after their first year living together and participating in community service internships in one of three locations in the United States: Cleveland (MS), New Orleans (LA), or Whitesburg (KY). This summer is designed to strengthen Scholars’ relationships with each other and to increase awareness of the social and economic challenges of various geographic regions in the US. The Community Summer begins on or close to June 1 and lasts at least eight weeks.
During the second semester of their sophomore year, Scholars live and take classes on their sister campus. The Campus Switch is designed to build stronger educational and community ties between UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke, and to offer Scholars the opportunity to adjust to new situations and thrive in challenging environments. RSLP strives to build a community of students who are acclimated to the culture of both campuses, who regularly navigate between them, and who have a sense of allegiance to both universities. During and beyond the Campus Switch, Robertson Scholars serve as ambassadors of cross-campus collaboration and leadership.
Scholars spend the summer after their sophomore year exploring new cultures or passions, either domestically or internationally. Scholars take on significant challenges during the Exploration Summer, all of which are designed to help them acquire new academic tools and personal resources. Scholars can participate in a university-sponsored program, or they can propose a self-designed project to pursue individually or with other students.
Scholars spend the summer after their junior year engaged in an independent, self-designed project intended to focus their interests and launch them into life after college. Projects have included research for honors theses, pre-professional internships, and expansions of work undertaken in previous Robertson summers.
The Robertson Senior Capstone Experience is designed to support senior Scholars in their transition from college to the next stage of their careers. The Capstone includes a winter retreat and a dinner series that gives senior Robertson Scholars a chance to combine reflection on their four-year experience with conversations with Robertson alumni and other young leaders.