Inclusion Dinners Engage First-Years

Jenn Marshall

The Student Government Association, the Panhellenic Association, the Inter-Fraternity Council and the Broad Street Association (BSA) have organized Inclusion Dinners during the last week of February to help first-year students explore future housing options. The dinners are hosted by upperclassmen from a wide range of interest housing in the Hall of Presidents. Each house provides four representatives each night so there are six freshmen and two BSA representative per table. The reps switch tables in between food courses, allowing freshmen to engage with different reps with each rotations. The event is specifically designed for the Class of 2017 in order to expose them to different ways to get involved at Colgate outside of the classroom.

The liaison to student organizations, junior Sarah Rende, hopes the dinners will promote a sense of inclusivity.

“Freshmen often don’t get a chance to interact with upperclassmen in a setting where they can ask these questions, so this event will help them get to know each other,” Rende said. “We want first-years to understand the people down the hill are more accessible than they think. It allows freshmen to get advice from older students who have been at Colgate longer. The goal is also to foster friendships between upperclassmen and lowerclassmen because we are all part of the same community.”

“It’s a part of the college experience outside of the classroom,” PAC member junior Rachel Hangley said.

The interest housing representatives advocate for living with a lot of people, trying new things and branching out. Besides the bonding, it facilitates event planning as a place to host events and creates cohesiveness as a center for everyone in the organization to come together, meet and discuss what’s going on.

Junior Kirsten Halvorson, who lives in the Gamma Phi Beta house, said the event promotes awareness for what freshmen have never been told previously.

“Many don’t know their options or are unaware some of the houses exist,” Halvorson said.

The representatives share their organization’s purpose and what they do.

“[They get a] better sense of the organizations on campus,” first-year Katherine Carbonaro said of the first-years that attend the event. “It’s nice to meet some upperclassmen to get a sense of what their life is like over dinner, in a more casual and relaxed setting.”

“I talked to the reps about how integrated people become in these organizations, like eating meals there, social events and different rooming options,” first-year Kate Faxon said. “They all described it as a really tight knit community.”

“The interactions put a face to what you see in passing on Broad Street,” first-year Charlie Vallee said. “I thought it was just all frats. I had no idea some of these organizations existed; it really opened my eyes to what’s out there.”

Though this is the first year that the dinners have been held, they provide hope for better integration at Colgate.

Contact Jenn Marshall at [email protected]