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The Friday Letter

The Friday Letter is U of I’s long-running, weekly message straight from the president to members of the Vandal family. Each week during the academic year, and with breaks for holidays, the president offers an update on Vandal teaching and learning, research and scholarship, and notable initiatives and priorities. Alumni and friends are welcome to join students, faculty and staff in receiving the newsletter.

Letter from the President
Office of the President |
May 6, 2022
Dear Vandals,

Multiple days and nights adventuring in the wilderness out of cellphone range with strangers in an inflatable raft was the perfect ice breaker for Anika Baker as she set off on her U of I journey.

“Having no technology out there can be scary for a lot of people,” said Baker, who joined a Vandal Ventures rafting trip on the Salmon River last summer. “But you’re doing things all the time, trying to accomplish something every second of the day – paddling through rapids or doing dishes or setting up a tent – so it’s really hard to not get close with people.”

Vandal Ventures helps new students make friends and bond with fellow Vandals before they come to campus. The transition program introduces them to some of the outdoor recreation available in the region and includes personal development elements.

Numerous studies show that outdoor orientation programs help students develop meaningful relationships and a social support network. Participation also fosters commitment to their college goals and increases future involvement on campus – all critical factors in students persisting to graduation.

Over the past four years, Vandal Ventures has made a difference for dozens of students like Anika, who transferred from Cuesta College in California.

“Coming in as a transfer student, I was extra nervous about meeting people,” Anika said. “But I was stoked to go rafting and everyone there came from diverse backgrounds. After one day we came together and we got along really well.”

Anika and two other students on last summer’s rafting trip enjoyed it so much, they joined the U of I Outdoor Program as trip leaders. This summer, incoming Vandals can choose from two Vandal Ventures rafting trips. There’s also a five-day Vandal Ventures backpacking trip through the Seven Devils Wilderness and Mission: Multi-Sport Moscow, which offers students a chance to explore the local area.

Rafting, hiking and other adventures have always appealed to Anika, an environmental science major from Salinas, California. But she said even students who typically prefer indoor pursuits benefit from the U of I’s array of activities through the Outdoor Program.

“I think personal development is really accelerated when you’re in an environment that is a little uncomfortable,” Anika said. “The Outdoors Program staff does a good job of preparing us and then throwing us out there and letting us sort it out, and that really helps escalate the friendships.”

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green


Vandal Tartan unveiled: The U of I unveiled its official Vandal Tartan (above) this week after 4,000 votes were tallied and the design was registered with The Scottish Register. The VandalStore will stock merchandise featuring the tartan. Scarves and other knit goods will be available later this year.

Sayre invests in his future and his community: Andrew Sayre is headed into the Marine Corps as a second lieutenant after graduation this month. As a U of I student, Sayre not only completed the rigorous Navy ROTC training, but also worked as a teaching assistant, conducted research in WWAMI’s cadaver lab and volunteered in the Moscow community.

In 2012, U of I archeologists working at the Kelly Creek excavation site uncovered human-made tools and implements dating back more than 12,000 years. The site is near the Montana border in Clearwater County.

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Room 105
Moscow, ID


Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive
MS 3151
Moscow, ID