July 28, 2007

Orientation: Your First Look at Cornell Life

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This issue appears in the 2007 edition of The Sun’s annual Freshman Issue.

Every August students from every corner of the globe arrive in Ithaca to embark upon a new and exciting chapter of their lives — college.
In the course of the five days of Orientation 2007, incoming students will build new friendships and become familiar with their new home.
As soon as new students arrive on campus, they can expect to feel welcomed by the enthusiastic group of orientation leaders and volunteers, all wearing red shirts. Every year members of the Orientation Steering Committee plan events that will introduce new students to Cornell. This year is no exception: the OSC has planned a jam-packed orientation schedule for the Class of 2011.
Orientation 2007 will feature many new events and activities.
“This year’s Orientation program has a music-based theme and will be even bigger and better than last year,” said OSC Chair Rohan Thakkar ’08. “Night events will feature everything from a Big Red Blowout carnival where new students will get to compete against members of Cornell Athletic teams for prizes to an outdoor concert, EzraFest 2007, that showcases many talented local bands.”
Two new features—Discovery Days and Explore!—will allow and encourage students to take advantage of all the educational and extracurricular opportunities that Cornell has to offer.
“Whether you want to learn how to be a mascot, sign up for your favorite Club Sports team or find out how babies develop in Cornell’s ‘baby lab,’ the daytime activities will be full of excitement,” Thakkar said.
Live performances by comedian Ty Barnatt from the hit show Last Comic Standing and slam poetry from internationally acclaimed groups Synergy Arts and 5thL are also scheduled.
For Orientation 2007, Cornell has also teamed up with the Make-A-Wish foundation to grant the wishes of terminally ill children. Throughout the week, students, parents and staff will be able to donate money to stations set up on campus.
“Much time and energy is being spent by the University to ensure that all of the developmental needs of new students are being met during the Orientation period,” said Lisa K’Bedford, OSC Advisor and Assistant Dean of New Student Programs.
In the past few years, Orientation has grown significantly, both in the type and quality of events, as well as in the number of volunteers. With strong support from the Student Assembly through byline funding, the OSC has been able to offer bigger and better programs for new students.
Thakkar said that there will be a record-number of over 600 Orientation Leaders this fall who will join the Orientation Supervisors and Orientation Steering Committee to run what they hope to be the best Orientation Week in Cornell’s history.
Based on their own orientation experiences, members of the OSC all agree that new students should take full advantage of all that orientation has to offer, because what they gain can stay with them during their entire collegiate career.
Andrew Heilmann ’09 described his orientation experience as being slightly overwhelming and almost scary at first: “After the initial shock I realized how willing and friendly everyone was to help me get used to the campus and the way things worked at Cornell. I remember that by the end of the first night I already felt like Cornell was my home and by the end of the week I was close with many other students and many of the people who worked at orientation,” he said.
“Orientation is one of the few times that you are at Cornell with no classes, the weather is gorgeous and every other new student is in the exact same situation as you,” said Jessica Intravia ’08. “My advice to all the new students is to embrace all the activities that the OSC has planned for you and introduce yourself to everyone that you meet — you will never know who is going to become your new best friend.”