August 23, 2011

Leaders Say 2011 Orientation Week Draws Stronger Attendance

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Correction appended.

The Orientation Steering Committee worked to welcome 3,903 new undergraduates to campus this week by organizing new events and perfecting old ones. Corey Letcher ’12, co-chair of the OSC, said the new events ultimately increased participation rates.A new event that was particularly successful was a meet-and-greet for students who had taken a gap year, which attracted more than 150 students, Letcher said. The OSC made several other changes to Orientation Week this year, including an increased number of events for transfer students. “Attendance has been through the roof,” Letcher said. “The quality of events has been much better than last year.”For the incoming freshmen, the OSC attempted to make the week more family-focused, adding sibling events to the schedule, including a welcome station on move-in day with board games and refreshments for students and their families.

“The whole purpose of O-Week is to help freshmen come to Cornell, learn about the campus, make friends and become comfortable,” Letcher said. “It’s difficult coming into a new place and not knowing anyone or anything about classes.”

Though orientation leaders said the events had improved, some freshmen still questioned the effectiveness of the activities. Anthony Xia ’15 said many of the events were too large and seemed silly.“I felt that everyone bonded over laughing at what we were supposed to be doing,” Xia said.Madeleine Moss ’15 had suggestions for improvement.“I definitely found a lot of the big events to be overwhelming,” she said. “I would have smaller get-togethers as opposed to all the freshmen out at once.”Taylor Scott ’15 said she had no complaints about her Orientation Week experience.“I was expecting it to be a lot more awkward than it was,” she said. “There’s a lot of fun activities and it’s been nice meeting people … It went beyond my expectations.”The new students also spoke highly of their orientation leaders. According to Letcher, the orientation leaders were trained to become “a close friend the new students can go to for help.”“[My orientation leader] is really helpful,” Marina Hydeman ’15 said of her Orientation Leader. “He told me a lot about how to deal with scheduling and how to deal with advisors.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that 1,500 students attended a meet-and-greet event for students who had taken a gap year. In fact, 150 students attended the event.

Original Author: Kerry Close