SMC blends tradition and new experiences at orientation
Haleigh Ehmsen | Friday, August 22, 2014
Saint Mary’s traditional three-day orientation for first year students kicked off Thursday with a few new activities, along with old traditions, aimed at welcoming a new class of Belles to campus.
Students began moving into the residence halls at 8 a.m. and formal orientation began at 4:30 p.m.
Student body president senior McKenna Schuster said orientation is important for new students to get acquainted with their new home, new classmates and student leaders.
“Orientation is where girls make their first friends, and start to discover what it is like to be away from home,” Schuster said.
New this year, the Student Government Association (SGA) invited Playfair, a professional team-building group, to come Friday and help first-years get to know one another through ice-breakers and other activities, Schuster said
The Closing of the Circle ceremony will take place Saturday evening. Schuster said the event is a highly symbolic and meaningful tradition, during which the first-year students gather on the green in front of Le Mans Hall and listen to testimony from upperclassmen.
“The ceremony culminates with a candle lighting and distribution of special Saint Mary’s charms that girls can take with them,” Schuster said. “After each student’s four years at Saint Mary’s they participate in an Opening of the Circle ceremony where we are sent off into life after Saint Mary’s.”
Junior Madeline Harris, a resident assistant in Holy Cross Hall, said RA’s play an integral role in orientation because they are some of the first faces the new students and their families encounter in their new home.
“Since RA’s work so closely with the students throughout the year, it is important to make a positive impression in the first few days, whether it be a smile, a hello or a short conversation,” she said.
Schuster said her best advice for first-years is to engage and listen, but not get overwhelmed.
“Sometimes, orientation can feel like a lot of information thrown at you at once, but it is important for the first years to take it just one step at a time and hopefully learn that there are resources all over campus for them to utilize,” Schuster said.
She said she hopes the class of 2018 will feel a part of the Saint Mary’s sisterhood and get involved with new activities on campus.
“One of our SGA goals is to increase attendance at events throughout the year and I really want to encourage the first years to not be afraid to try something new,” Schuster said. “There’s an event, club or initiative for everyone.”