August 26, 2002

Class of 2006 Orientation Begins

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Nearly 3,000 members of Cornell’s 135th freshman class gathered on North Campus Friday to mark the start of orientation week.

A muggy day greeted thousands of parents and students as they made their way through registration and move-in.

In usual fashion, the class of 2006 was herded along in Bartels Hall to complete registration, which went fast and smooth, most students said.

“I picked up my ID, registered for a swim test and proceeded to move-in,” said Kim Wong ’06, a resident of Clara Dickson Hall from Toronto, Canada.


However, move-in was not quite as swift during this second year of the North Campus Residential Initiative. Although traffic was not as congested as in fall 2001, the newcomers were made to wait hours in their cars before they could move in.

The Wong family waited in the parking lot next to Appel Commons, while cars were let in one at a time.

“While waiting for an hour and a half in the parking lot, we decided to unload our stuff onto the lawn,” said Philip Wong, Kim’s father.

Long lines in the parking lot were not the only cause for move-in delays. One freshman bemoaned the situation in his dorm, one of the largest in the Ivy League.

“There’s just one elevator in Dickson,” said Tom Hull ’06.

“We don’t mind the wait. Things were actually quite smooth, but for the long delays. Perhaps they could have provided us a more specific move-in time,” Philip Wong said.

Lisa K’Bedford, assistant dean of students, is responsible for the Orientation Steering Committee (OSC), which works year-round and oversees orientation. Eight student board members direct 30 orientation supervisors, who manage over 200 orientation leaders and welcome volunteers.

“It feels like we’ve been doing this for years,” K’Bedford said. This is K’Bedford’s first year directing the OSC.

“Move-in was significantly smoother than last year, the first year of freshmen on North Campus. Major traffic problems have been solved and the orientation crew has done a terrific job,” said Susan H. Murphy ’73, vice-president of student and academic services.

The OSC has introduced several changes to orientation this year.

” ‘First Night’ has been moved to second night,” K’Bedford said, speaking of the customary, elaborate First Night, punctuated with food, music, and other entertainment.

“We felt that First Night last year was too confusing for the freshmen who had not yet met anyone. It can be quite intimidating not knowing anybody yet,” Murphy explained.

The new students’ first evening began with meetings with their Orientation Leader and Residential Advisor. These meetings addressed basic concerns about classes, house rules, and other pertinent issues. With no change from previous years, some students used this opportunity to find out where the best Collegetown parties were taking place.

In lieu of a large first-night bash, students had the option of participating in small, ice-breaking activities planned by RA’s and OL’s.

The following night, freshmen were treated to the Saturday Night Showcase, organized by the OSC, Community Development, and CU Tonight commission. A hypnotist captivated the audience, while other freshmen consumed the free food provided.

Yesterday’s major activity was the freshman book project discussion panel. Over the summer, all freshmen were mailed and asked to read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

The controversial project, coordinated by Provost Biddy (Carolyn A.) Martin, culminated in yesterday’s large, televised event in Barton Hall. Panelists included Prof. Robert Richardson, the F.R. Newman Professor of Physics, Isaac Kramnick, vice provost for undergraduate education and Prof. Larry Palmer, law.

Palmer contrived a hypothetical situation where he would defend Dr. Frankenstein’s monster’s actions. Richardson spoke of inducing movement in a dead animal through electrical impulses, and demonstrated props commonly used in Frankenstein movies.

“We hope this project builds an intellectual connection between the students of Cornell as well as the community of Ithaca,” Martin said. This year, the Ithaca public library and local community are involved in the project with various events.

Panelists spoke of the science, intellectual context, and various legal aspects concerning the themes of Frankenstein. After the speeches, the audience had a chance to participate in a question and answer period. Freshmen will participate in small group discussions with faculty and upperclassmen today.

Archived article by Krishna Raghavan