Last Friday over 4,000 new students arrived in an unusually sunny Ithaca — by plane, bus, or in a loaded-to-the-brim minivan — and made their trek up “the Hill” to their new home.
New Student Orientation kicked off with move-in day. Reactions from students and parents ranged from enthusiastic to negative.
At Balch Hall some parents upset by the two hour wait, caused in part by a traffic accident, took their time to curse at the volunteer Orientation Leaders (OL), according to OL Jayne Glasshoff ’04.
“Everything was understaffed, and parents were mean and did not respect the fact that I was taking my afternoon to help them move in,” Glasshoff said.
In Clara Dickson Hall, however, all went well, according to Kendall Morelly-Bott ’04, an OL. “Luckily we had a policeman directing traffic and a decent-sized staff so everything went smoothly and the parents and students were very helpful,” she said.
“At times Orientation got a little confusing and hectic, [but] everyone was very friendly and helpful,” said Paul Varteserin ’05.
The main social event of move-in day was the University-sponsored First Night, advertised as “games, dancing, food and a night of madness under the moon,” completely alcohol-free.
Kaitlin Mallouk ’05 said she really enjoyed the a capella groups, while Lauren Merkely ’05 commented that “the hypnotist was cool but the comedian was terrible.”
As for the parties in Collegetown throughout the week, Laura Davis, ’04, said she would be advising her students to attend First Night since it is a great opportunity to meet new people, and “they have the rest of the year to go to parties.”
Nick Denunzio ’03, one of the co-chairs of the Orientation Steering Committee (OSC) said that Orientation is meant to be a a non-alcoholic introduction to the campus. “Along with the stress of getting settled, registered, and finding their way around campus, peer-pressure would get very overwhelming for new students. Also, the campus can be extremely treacherous with small footpaths and plentiful bridges, especially for inebriated students who do not know their way around.”
Orientation week is mainly organized by the student-staffed OSC, who are aided by Orientation Supervisors, Orientation Leaders and Welcome Volunteers. Members of the OSC spend approximately 10 hours a week during the semester preparing for the week-long event, and during Orientation they often work 12- to 15-hour days.
Denunzio also commented on the many changes Orientation underwent this year. First, since the majority of freshmen are living on North Campus, “move in day got very hectic but as far as organizing activities it was very helpful to have the students gather in a central area.”
The changed hierarchy of volunteers “has really catered to people’s needs since the new position of Welcome Volunteer gave students the opportunity to interact with new students while making a shorter time commitment,” Denunzio added.
Orientation activities that will continue throughout the week include not only swim tests and math and language placement tests, but also many chances for new students to socialize, relax and get to know the campus. Activities include gorge walks, billiards, casino night, canoeing, and wall climbing.
Archived article by Liz Novak