Students in the class of 2016 moved into dorms across campus on Thursday, Aug. 23. As families and friends of the freshmen pulled onto campus, RAs and orientation leaders were poised to make their move-ins as smooth as possible. Situated at the front of Founder’s Hall were tables that ranged from a smoothie and pretzel stand, to a TD Bank booth with employee representatives.
Having traveled from their homes scattered across the east coast as well as parts of the south and midwest, the class of 2016 received a global greeting in the form of an “Around the World” orientation theme.
OLs, RAs and student volunteers from sports teams dominated the landscape, all clad in orange t-shirts while they assisted with everything from directing students toward their residence halls, to hauling mini-fridges up flights of stairs.
After the stress and apprehension of moving in subsided and family members and other familiar faces departed, students were treated to a memorable weekend crammed with activities.
The kick-off began with a flash mob during the family picnic on the Commons, which featured a union of OLs and RAs dancing along to a mash-up of songs ranging from Jai Ho by Indian composer A.R. Rahman, to Waka Waka by Shakira.
A giant icebreaker was led during the Playfair later that night. Held in the Nerney Fieldhouse in the Dixon Center, first-years met with one another while playing a series of games that kept the crew on their feet.
Wayne Hoffman, mentalist and illusionist, crept into the minds of those willing to let him. First-year and returning students and faculty were taken to an extreme level. Demonstrating a level of synchronization, Hoffman blew the minds of the crowd.
An Around the World-themed dance and carnival filled the mansion with life on Friday, shaking the foundation. The games brought a competitive edge to win raffle tickets for dorm room prizes.
Residence Life and Student Engagement and Leadership collaborated to create the ultimate experience for new students. RAs started their training on Aug. 11, with OLs beginning their own training on Aug. 18.
“Mainly training helped us become a unit, a family,” junior psychology and sociology major and OL Samantha Shea said. “We learned to work together in a way that most benefited the freshmen.”
“The two weeks before the initial freshman move-in prepared me pretty well for the year, I think,” Amy Rodden, senior sociology and American studies major, said about the RA training. “I’m a returning RA, so I have a couple of my own personal experiences that I can call upon.”
One of the most informing highlights of the weekend was a skit that the OLs enacted under the direction of orientation coordinators Emma McNamara and Michael Pontoriero. It provided freshmen with a measure of insight into college life – an array of common (and not so common) situations that they themselves can now call upon.