Orientation Welcomes Class of ’11



So this is Colgate. Returning students and administrators roll out the red carpet for the Class of 2011 at orientation. Chock-full of Colgate tradition, Orientation is a chance for incoming first-years to get to know the campus, older students and, most importantly, each other through activities put together by the administration. It is truly students’ welcome to the Colgate University family.

“I see Orientation as the kick-off to the first year at college,” Dean of First-Year Students Beverly Low said. “The opening ceremonies, if you will.”

In an annual Colgate tradition, the Class of 2011 will crowd onto Whitnall Field on August 23 to get ready to move into their new homes, aided by a pack of 44 upperclassmen volunteers there to ensure an excellent introduction to college. After a little lunch, intense unpacking sessions and some fond farewells between students and their families, first-years will fill Memorial Chapel for an official welcome. The Class of 2011 will then amass on the academic quad to meet with their Links.

The Link program consists of upper-level peer advisors who guide first-year students through Orientation and stay in contact with them throughout the year. It is not uncommon for the Link leader and First-Year Seminar (FSEM) professor to exchange ideas and plans for fun things to do with their group.

“A nice thing about Orientation at Colgate is that you have a group of about 15 students from your FSEM who you can get to know before class starts,” Low said. She considers the Link program one of the most important and beneficial aspects of Orientation, but it is only one of many resources available to first-years.

In addition to Low and the Links, first-years can turn to their Resident Advisors (RAs), who are there to help starting from the unpacking process and continuing throughout the year. There are also a number of first-year students who have been on campus for some time because of various pre-Orientation programs. These students can give a helping hand, find a classroom, make introductions and help incoming students settle in.

The year, though, does not end after Orientation. There are many things in place on campus after Orientation to help students adjust to Colgate. For example, there are weekly open discussions on topics relevant to Colgate students in the Curtiss E. Frank Dining Hall and various off-campus trips to choose from.

Incoming students should all have read The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery, which can spark conversation and discussion. The activities fair is a chance to join groups and get involved on campus.

There are four themed residential education programs available to first-years: Leadership Options for Tomorrow (LOFT), Outdoor Connections, Community Action Outreach Opportunity (CAn-dOO) and the Harlem Renaissance Center (HRC), all of which introduce first-years to students with similar interests starting on day one. [See article below on first-year residence halls].

The Center for Career Services, too, is an important resource for incoming students, who can explore career options and practice for summer internships. These are only a few of the options at hand for first-years to make Colgate their home.

According to Low, no first-year student should feel daunted over the next few days, as Orientation eases the transition to Colgate for first-year students and helps build friendships between them.

“Say hello to everybody,” Low advises. “Take your iPod earbuds out on the way to class and meet people. This is a friendly place. Saying hello is a Colgate tradition.”