A first week to remember

Travers 4 gets ready to compete in Play Fair during Welcome Week. (Photo courtesy of Jaryd Frankel)

The nervous yet excited incoming freshmen arrived with their families at the College on Thursday, Aug. 22 for move-in  day. The butterflies in their stomachs shortly disappeared as they experienced a magical and memorable Welcome Week and united together as the Class of 2017.

The next five days would consist of numerous events, experiences and icebreakers as the freshmen met each other and learned about life at the College. Along the way, they also learned about themselves.

With the first day of college in the books for the Class of 2017, Welcome Week started off with an early morning Walk-A-Thon for the Special Olympics, for which the students had been encouraged to collect donations. After a few speeches, including “Democracy Matters” and “The Heart of the Lion,” the freshmen were introduced to what became the highlight of Welcome Week — Play Fair.

Play Fair was a competition between floors that included a series of icebreakers and competitions, one of which saw students battle to be crowned the loudest floor. The freshmen cheered each other on in events that promoted floor and student bonding. Once Play Fair ended, both freshmen and ambassadors alike used whatever was remaining from the collective voices to belt out the traditional College chant.

“It’s the first time the entire freshman class is together and united under one common goal of having fun,” senior ambassador Alex Brown said. “Once it’s all over, the whole vibe of Welcome Week changes. It creates a really awesome sense of community that carries on for the rest of Welcome Week.”

Presentations filled Saturday’s schedule and enlightened the freshmen on topics that pique a lot of students’ interests: sex, drugs and alcohol.

Matt Bellace gave the talk, “A Better High,” which educated students about drugs and alcohol making healthy choices.

A sex education talk from River Huston followed. The talk was sponsored by the Anti-Violence Initiatives group on campus, which deals with educating students and protecting them from sexual harassment and like behaviors.

Huston managed to make the talk both serious and comical so that students could get the most out of it.

“I liked how they were very informal and not boring and formal so they got their message across to us,” freshman economics major Leo Yang said. “They provided many real-life situations for us to relate to and solutions for us to act upon.”

After a fast-paced three days, the freshmen enjoyed a low-key Sunday, which was highlighted by comedian Joe Hernandez-Kolski. His performance, “Cultural Collisions: Commentary for a Changing America,” talked about how growing up in America enables us to be influenced by a variety of cultures on a daily basis.

“I thought that Joe did a great job of integrating valuable insights with humor in his talk,” freshman psychology major Mariah Springer. “His points were interesting and helped me to better define what it looks like to work together as a college community.”

That night some students enjoyed live music from campus bands at “Café Under the Stars,” while a three-on-three basketball tournament was taking place in the Recreation  Center.

On Monday, Aug. 26, the freshmen were finally officially welcomed to the College through the process of convocation. They were told about what they would be doing the next four years and truly became a part of the College’s family.

“Convocation made me feel like I am officially a college student,” Springer said. “The speeches inspired me to make the most of every moment at the College.”

Getting off on the right foot is important for freshmen heading into college, and Welcome Week 2013 seemed to have done just that. The students are ready to begin their journey through college, but they’ll always look back on a Welcome Week that they’ll never forget.

“I think Welcome Week was the best thing ever,” Yang said. “Without it, there would have been many awkward hall walks and it would have taken forever to get to know the people you’re staying with for the next year. Instead, the College made us get to know them and now I always have something to do or someone to talk with.”