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Group discusses change to Orientation format

Katie Peralta | Tuesday, April 1, 2008

In its last meeting before the new administration takes office, the Campus Life Council (CLC) discussed improving the format of First Year Orientation (FYO) Monday.

Brian Coughlin, assistant vice president for Student Activities, presented a plan to update and improve the first three days a freshman experiences on campus.

“The programming [of FYO] seemed awkward and forced … with some of the inter-gender socialization,” Coughlin said, referring to socializing activities between men’s and women’s dorms typically planned for students during the orientation days.

Coughlin said students have too little time to move into their rooms and say goodbye to their parents during the current FYO schedule and advocated free time for the students in his proposal.

He also said more in-dorm activities should be planned for the weekend to foster friendships among men and women in their respective dormitories.

“[We want to plan activities in the dorm that] talk about dorm traditions as well as the brotherhood and sisterhood of each dorm,” Coughlin said. “We want to look at what makes each hall unique.”

He said the new proposal introduces activities that “take some of the attention away from some of the running around and chanting” of current activities.

In the newly formatted FYO, there will be a divergence from other types of scheduled activities, such as anything that is physically demanding, which, Coughlin said, can alienate people.

“We want to keep this as organic as possible,” he said.

Coughlin also advocated eliminating certain activities between men and women’s halls, such as tie or shoe exchanges.

According to Coughlin, in the newly proposed schedule, first-year students will participate in more activities within the dorm for very specific reasons.

“[First-year students will] get to know their floor-mates, section-mates and dorm-mates before moving out into the greater campus in general,” Coughlin said.

He said in order to implement the new proposal, Coughlin plans to work with the rectors of each dorm and implement a formal University committee on orientation.

According to Coughlin, a junior or senior hall orientation coordinator will take the place of the current sophomore commissioners that have served each dormitory in previous years.

“We need someone with a little bit more experience before they become the coordinators of events,” Coughlin said.

In Other CLC news:

Sheena Plamoottil, head of the Task Force on Campus Environment, announced a proposal to advocate proper serving sizes on dining hall trays was rejected.

Plamoottil said Notre Dame Food Services recently ordered around 15,000 new trays which nullifies the task force’s plan to print the serving sizes of each food group on the trays.

“[The idea is] to focus on eating a balanced meal, not just showing what foods are healthy,” Plamoottil said.

The group now is looking into getting plates made with portion sizes marked off.

“It will give a visual estimation of how much meat, dairy, vegetables, et cetera, that students should eat,” Plamoottil said.