After about an 18-month hiatus from a fully in-person academic experience, Colgate University will welcome the class of 2025 on Sunday, Aug. 22. Compared to the 2020-21 school year, first-year students will participate in a more normal four-day orientation, according to senior John Morgan, the Ciccone Commons lead link.
Although orientation will take place in person this year, there will still be guidelines in place to ensure the safety of the Colgate community. According to the Colgate Together Digest from Aug. 19, masking and event regulations are in place “in accordance with federal, state, and local guidance.”
“First-year students will check-in on campus and families will be allowed to help their students move in […] albeit wearing masks and following social distancing guidelines,” Morgan said. “Upon checking in, students will then take a rapid COVID test […] and another […] about one week later. During the time in between both tests, students will be asked to wear masks until receiving a second negative test.”
Numerous individuals and departments have been instrumental in creating an orientation that will provide a smooth transition into classes. This includes “Shaw Wellness, Counseling and Psychological Services, the Library staff, Dining Services, the Office of Residential Life, various professors, administrative deans and many more,” according to Morgan.
In addition, orientation will be run by the Link Staff, a group of upperclassmen who serve as advisors to help new students acclimate to the university. Links have undergone intensive training in the week leading up to new student arrival day, covering topics ranging from substance abuse to sexual violence and self-harm, according to Morgan.
This class of first-year students is much larger than in previous years, and because of this, there are more students on Link Staff than usual, according to Link and junior Kelsey Beausoleil.
As Morgan stated, “Incoming first-years should anticipate long days, packed with activities and information sessions […] They will be sitting through similar training sessions as […] our staff, as well as fun activities […] to […] relax and rewind. These might show up in the form of community builders led by their Links, or by events hosted by the Library or Recreational Sports.”
With help from different organizations on campus, the Link Staff hopes to give first-year students the opportunity to explore all that Colgate has to offer, according to Beausoleil.
“We want to open up their eyes to the world they will be living in for the next four years and provide the resources they need to accomplish literally anything they need at Colgate,” Beausoleil said.
Highlighting topics such as diversity, equity, inclusion, and mental health, orientation will equip the class of 2025 with knowledge on how to “contribute to a stronger community through […] actions and inactions […] inside and outside of the classroom,” said Associate Dean of First and Second Year Experience and Community Development Kristin Cothran in an email sent out to first-year students on Aug. 19. They will also learn “the five D’s of intervention (direct, delegate, distract, document, and delay) to be an effective active bystander on campus and beyond.”
Preparing first years to both socially and academically adapt to life on campus, students should expect to see “trivia, friendly Residential Commons competitions, Cookiewiches, and ice cream socials, spoken word poetry, and our very own library […] transform[ed] for just one night,” Cothran said.
Addressing the class of 2025, Cothran concluded: “You will begin to establish the legacy you hope to have at Colgate and after graduation. You’ll design a legacy statement that will focus on your values and how you internalize, solidify, and mobilize those values to move closer toward the person you are striving to be by creating Your Colgate.”
According to Beausoleil, the large class of 2025 will offer diversity and new perspectives as they engage in the Colgate community.