Smart See, Smart Do: Liberty University’s Snowflex

I’m dreaming of a white… well, anytime of the year, really. When Reverend Jerry Falwell set out to build an accredited Christian university for evangelical believers, he had several things in mind. As was Falwell’s vision, students have the opportunity to pray before classes, partake in countless concerts, conferences, and spiritual activities, and become part of the many Liberty University traditions—all while pursuing a degree in any number of fields. What Jerry probably never could have imagined, however, was America’s first ever Snowflex. This is the part when you ask: "What in the world is Snowflex?"  Originally created by Briton Engineering’s Brian Thomas, Snowflex is a synthetic material created to simulate a virtually real skiing experience—without the snow! Snowflex is acclaimed as the most successful artificial terrain for the sport for several reasons, and Liberty University is the first to bring the design to US soil. Unlike other artificial slopes, Snowflex creates the forward speed and edge control that you get with real snow. The texture is very similar to the harder side of Velcro and it is easy to form, which is optimal for creating jumps and interesting terrain. The best part about LU’s facility? It’s completely free to Liberty students. In addition to snowboarding and skiing, tubing is offered at the Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre for those of us who are less adventurous. Though you can use the facility at any time of the year, there is a state-of-the-art lodge conveniently located next to the slope for the colder weather. Though LMSC is only free for Liberty students, it is open to the general public from 12 p.m – 12 a.m between Monday and Thursday, 12 p.m – 1 a.m on Friday, 10 a.m- 1 a.m on Saturday and 1 p.m – 12 a.m on Sunday. Visit the Liberty Mountain Snowflex webpage for more information. And, be sure to schedule some time to go snowboarding or tubing after your campus tour. It will definitely make this campus a campus visit you'll be sure to remember! Liberty University1971 University BlvdLynchburg, VA 24502(800) 543-5317  Planning to visit Liberty University? Be sure to check out our Travel Tips to help you plan your college visit or, click here to search for a nearby hotel.You may also download or print our free Smart College Visit Evaluation Form to help keep track of all of your campus visits. *** Valerie McGinnis is a freelance writer and student at Liberty University. Val will graduate in 2011 with a degree in English. She is a regular contributor to SmartCollegeVisit. *** Visit our YouTube Channel for more videos from our Smart See, Smart Do...

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Smart Learning at Alma College

Where Spring Term Knows No Boundaries Do you like to think outside the box? At Alma College, in Michigan, during the four-week Spring Term, students and professors together step outside the proverbial box—and across disciplinary, geographic, and cultural boundaries. For example, they: Explore the rain forest and the indigenous communities along the Amazon River. Conduct archival research at the John F. Kennedy presidential library in Boston. Study Virginia Woolf's novels and essays in both London and Cornwall, England.  These represent a few of the nearly 50 courses available in Spring Term—40 percent of which are travel courses, including 10 international options.  Whatever the course, focusing intently on a single topic results in a greater depth of understanding about the subject and awakens new areas of interest. Says Marc Setterlund, Associate Provost and Professor of Psychology, “For me, the greatest educational benefit of Spring Term is the amount of time professors and students have to devote to an academic topic.”  Unfortunately, heavy course loads and other obligations during regular semesters can render such opportunities impractical or impossible for most college students. But Alma’s  “4-4-1” academic calendar–with 14-week terms in fall and winter and the 4-week spring term in May—makes it work. Spring Term courses are offered both on campus and off. On-campus courses may feature an abundance of field trips or other unique experiences. Off-campus locales range from nearby southwest Michigan and the Great Lakes region to San Francisco, Boston, Washington, D.C., Great Britain, Ecuador, China, and more.  During their four years, students are required to successfully complete two Spring Term courses, and one must cross geographical, cultural or disciplinary boundaries. Many find the experience so rewarding that they choose to attend every year. Those enrolled full time in the preceding Fall and Winter terms pay tuition and board but no room charge to live on campus in Spring Term. Equipment, laboratory, travel, and off-campus room and board fees vary, and are outlined in the course list.  Spring Term travel courses change every year, but a list of past domestic and international travel courses shows just how exciting it can be to think outside the box at Alma. What might be a good question to ask during a college tour of Alma College? How about this:  How can I immerse myself in unique learning experiences and still graduate on time? The answer is likely to involve one or more Spring Term courses that cross the usual boundaries. *** A researcher, writer, and editor with a special interest in education, Lisa Warren is a featured contributor to SmartCollegeVisit.  *** For more videos related  to our on-going series: Smart Learning™, Smart See, Smart Do™, and...

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