Building a strong on campus community

SCNM is rich in traditions that celebrate milestones during your medical school journey.  These experiences will help you become even closer with your classmates and acknowledge the hard work and dedication you have put into your schooling.

Talking Stick and Sharing Circle

Everyone has a story about how and why they decided to become an ND—what’s yours?

Historically, the talking stick was taken to council meetings or gatherings by Native Americans and used as a symbol of the speaker's importance. It was decorated to show accomplishments and spirituality.

During SCNM's Talking Stick and Sharing Circle ceremony at New Student Orientation, you’ll have an opportunity to share highlights of your journey to naturopathic medicine with your new classmates. Each new student attaches an article of personal significance to the class stick. Once all the personal items have been attached, the talking stick becomes a powerful symbol of the class’ purpose and unity in their journey through medical school. Often, classes will request to have their talking stick present during final exams as a source of inspiration and reminder of their collective commitment and dedication to the profession.


Water Ceremony

The Water Ceremony also occurs during New Student Orientation. This tradition has been passed down from SCNM co-founder and naturopathic physician, Dr. Kyle Cronin, and has been practiced since the inaugural orientation in the Fall of 1993.

Each new student is given a glass of water and asked to reflect on what the start of their journey means to them and say a special thank you to the individuals who helped them on their journey to SCNM. As they give their thanks, they add the water to the collective bowl that represents all the SCNM students who have entered the program before them. This water is kept safe in a sealed container and brought out for future Water Ceremonies.


White Coat Ceremony

The White Coat Ceremony represents a significant milestone, a transition from theory to practice as students transition to the clinical portion of their curriculum. Their coats are a symbol of responsibility and knowledge - to the profession - and to their patients. These second year students have spent the first half of the program learning about the human body, mind and condition as parts of a whole. At this stage, they begin to put all of the pieces together and put in practice their understanding of how to treat patients as a whole entity.

Graduation Gong Ceremony

Prior to the official commencement, the new graduates celebrate with staff, faculty and other students at the Gong Ceremony in the Academic Building. The new graduates take turns hitting a large gong, dancing and drumming in celebration of the completion of their academic program. Many students enjoy dressing up in fun costumes for the celebration. The festivities continue in official cap and gown at the commencement ceremony.

Students at the graduation gong ceremony