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This year, many students who were undecided in their college career paths reached a significant milestone — declaring a major. In recognition of these students and their achievement, Carthage held its first-ever Declaration Ceremony.

President John Swallow congratulates students at the 2022 Declaration Ceremony. The inaugural event was hosted by The Aspire Center, in response to the Moon Shot for Equity initiative, in an effort to promote a sense of belonging and community within a group of students who struggled to find an academic home.

During the celebration, students and their families had the opportunity to meet with student leaders and make personal connections with faculty members in the different departments. The nearly 100 attendees also received a self-watering Carthage-branded planter — a representation of all the elements on campus that work together to promote growth.

The Aspire Center provides a variety of workshops and resources for students still exploring their major. Undecided students are assigned a specific academic advisor to help them identify their interests, values, and skills and to help them discover career and academic goals that align with those findings.

Students and their families attending the 2022 Declaration Ceremony. “It’s scary to not know what you’re doing or planning on taking. It’s also scary confronting the issue,” said recently declared social work major Annika Erickson ’25. “The Aspire Center helped me plan out and talk about my future.”

In the fall workshop “Go From Decidedly Undecided to Decided,” students are able to ask questions, talk about what might be holding them back, and connect with their peers experiencing the same difficulties. The People of Purpose series and The Aspire Network allow students to connect with alumni and community members about different vocations.

Students are also welcome to participate in the Career Planning and Exploration J-Term course, a month-long course in which students learn about a variety of career paths from industry experts. In January 2022, students in the course visited Fiserv Forum, home of the Milwaukee Bucks, and attended a career panel discussion featuring a range of sports and entertainment professionals.

“The Career Planning and Exploration class helped me build my network and create a LinkedIn,” said Abigail Trainor ’25, a new communication major. “I advise any student who is still choosing a major to take classes that interest them and go to career events that the College holds.”

See more photos from the Declaration Ceremony

Learn more about The Aspire Center