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CATalyst Experience

CATalyst provides the opportunity for first year and transfer students to reflect on past experiences, connect with other new students, and develop their personal leadership style through large and small group activities. Students will spend five days with 100 other incoming students and 15 student leaders, known as facilitators, doing ropes courses, reflecting on how they can become leaders at Northwestern, collaborating with other students, and learning about different aspects of Northwestern. CATalyst uses a challenge-by-choice mentality, asking students to push themselves to be open while still knowing their limits.

See what some of our previous CATalyst participants have said about the trip:

What a typical day looks like on CATalyst:

Below is just a sample of what a typical day on CATalyst could look like for participants.

Time Activity Description
8:30-9:30 a.m. Breakfast and prepare for the day Wake up, get ready, eat breakfast before starting the day
9:30-10 a.m. Icebreaker An icebreaker with all participants will follow breakfast led by a facilitator
10 a.m. -12 p.m. Large or Small Group Activities Facilitators will lead activities that help participants get to know each other and build community among the group
12-1 p.m. Lunch Eat lunch with all participants and facilitators
1-5 p.m. Ropes Course Participants will be split up into small groups to complete ropes course activities that spark conversations on trust, collaboration, competition, and community
5-6 p.m. Real Life Northwestern Facilitators will lead small group activities that focus on scenarios that could take place on campus
6-6:45 p.m. Dinner Eat dinner with all participants and facilitators
6:45-7:45 p.m. Small Group Participants will break out into their assigned small groups for bonding activities
8:15-9:15 p.m. Large Group Activity In a large group, participants will engage in activities and conversations to learn more about their own values and recognizing differences among the group
9:15-10 p.m. Small Group Participants will break out into small groups to reflect on the activities and conversations that were had throughout the day
10 p.m. Free Time Participants will have the rest of the evening to socialize with each other