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Belles first years experience Saint Mary’s traditions

| Tuesday, August 23, 2016

After a busy orientation weekend, members of the Saint Mary’s class of 2020 are ready the start of their first years as Belles. 

A Saint Mary’s first-year student attends an orientation event before Domerfest. Students participated in icebreakers and watched the Undertones perform. Caitlyn Jordan | The Observer

A Saint Mary’s first-year student attends an orientation event before Domerfest. Students participated in icebreakers and watched the Undertones perform.

First-year orientation at the College this year consisted of a number of speeches made by Saint Mary’s new president Jan Cervelli, other administrators and fellow Belles. First-year Kristen Smith said she noticed a common theme of campus safety around many of the speeches.

“I liked those speeches about safety because we were assured that this campus is trying it’s best to be safe place and I really feel secure here with a campus focused on protecting us.” Smith said. “With that though, we are reminded of the dangers that come with going out. Sexual assault was a huge point of many speakers, and we were reminded we need to watch out for each other.”

Another important topic of this year’s orientation was internet safety. Smith said this was essential to talk about at colleges, especially with first-year students.

“Internet safety was a good focus point because as the internet is becoming a more useful way to talk to new people. However, they told us how this can lead to danger,” Smith said. “In the midst of all the excitement, Saint Mary’s was good at emphasizing all kinds of safety. It’s a good thing for us just starting off alone, they made us cautious and feel safe.”

Highlights of the weekend also involved meeting new people according to first-year Kaitlin Emmett. Emmett said she was excited to arrive on campus and this weekend was perfect for her to finally meet and bond with her new classmates in person.

“Meeting people was so fun and so easy, it was so cool to find all the people from social media,” Emmett said.

First-year Clare Pierret said her favorite part of the weekend was DomerFest, an organized gathering at the University for all first-years.

“DomerFest was definitely the best part of the weekend for me. It was great meeting a lot of really nice new people,” Pierret said.

One of Pierret’s favorite parts of orientation weekend was the “Closing the Circle” ceremony which has been a tradition at Saint Mary’s for many years.

A student has a free passport photo taken during Saint Mary’s study abroad fair.  The fair introduces incoming students to the college’s study abroad opportunities. Caitlyn Jordan | The Observer

A student has a free passport photo taken during Saint Mary’s study abroad fair. The fair introduces incoming students to the college’s study abroad opportunities.

“The ceremony at the end of our orientation was a great way to send off our parents and it was very powerful,” Pierret said, “The speeches that were given during that ceremony were very moving and seeing my whole class like that at once was awesome, especially when the candles were lit.”

Fellow first-year Kayla Knapke also said she found the “Closing the Circle” ceremony to be a memorable part of the weekend.

“It was cool to take part in that tradition and it was great to finally get a look at every girl in our entire class to end orientation,” Knapke said. “‘Closing the Circle’ tied together our first weekend perfectly.”

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