August 25, 2008

Univ. Welcomes Class of 2012

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As wide-eyed freshmen wander aimlessly across campus and noise complaints in Collegetown add up, one thing has become abundantly clear (or maybe blurry to some): orientation is here. Today marks the fourth day since over 3,000 freshmen arrived to campus, and the week has thus far played host to a wide variety of activities.
On Friday, North Campus was bustling with minivans and station wagons piled to the brim as new students moved into their dormitories. Orientation Leaders, aided by Resident Assistants and members of the Greek Community, helped families move in.
The overarching theme for the week was “superheroes,” encouraging Orientation Leaders to be heroes for their new students.
Highlights of the weekend included a meet-and-greet with President David Skorton, Convocation in Barton Hall on Saturday morning and meetings within individual colleges to help new students figure out their class schedules. Lectures by professors, arch sings by a cappella groups and organized pick up games were also available for incoming freshmen. The Orientation Steering Committee — made up of a group of 14 students who planned and are executing the week’s events — organized entertainment during the evenings, including an interactive event called Playfair on Friday night.
One consensus among many of the OSC members was the importance of giving freshmen a feel for the University, the campus and their peers prior to the beginning of their first semester.
“Orientation is important because it allows new students to get acquainted with the campus and meet lots of other students before classes actually start,” said Emily Krebs ’10, a member of the OSC.
Tom Ternquist ’10, an Orientation Leader, has enjoyed meeting with his group of six engineering students this week.
“I think it was definitely nice being on the other side of things,” Ternquist said. “I really looked up to my Orientation Leader freshman year, and that really set the bar. So I’m enjoying introducing the kids to all there is to offer at Cornell.”
However, Ternquist was less than enthused by one change to this year’s program. In past years, orientation groups were made up of students all living in the same residence hall. This year, however, students are grouped across all buildings.
“I have mixed feelings about how the orientation leader program has been set up because we had to go pick people up from different buildings, which made things overly complicated,” Ternquist said. “Finding everyone was hard and it wastes a lot of time.”
Meanwhile, many upperclassmen have returned early to hang out on and around campus without the stress of classes.
“It’s a great time to get partying out of your system with no responsibilities and no parents,” said Stan Rothman ’10, who is living in Collegetown this year. “And it’s a great time to catch up with your friends.”
Because of increased activity in Collegetown, the Ithaca Police Department and the Cornell Police Department have increased the number of cops on patrol two-fold, according to Jodi Bizari, a patrol officer for the CUPD. Additionally, the number of noise violations has increased dramatically in the last week.
Bizari warned that because of new changes to the Campus Code of Conduct, Cornell can send students to the Judicial Administrator for violations that occur off campus, including the Collegetown neighborhood.
“Basically, for the folks that are getting the noise ordinances, the fine is $500. That’s a pretty hefty fine. The law says is that if you can hear a party from 25 feet from the house, there’s a violation. They just have to make sure they contain the amount of people, keep noise, and check people’s ID’s. If you get caught serving a minor and the cops break up your party, guess who’s responsible: the residents of the house.”
Orientation will continue through Wednesday night, ending in time for classes to start on Thursday morning.