SMC first-years participate in Belles Beginnings
Alex Winegar | Thursday, August 20, 2015
Belles Beginnings, Saint Mary’s traditional first-year orientation weekend, began Friday morning when new students moved into their residence halls.
Activities for the weekend include various discussion groups with peer mentors, icebreakers with resident assistants (RAs) and other activities to help first-years get acclimated to living on campus.
Student Government Association (SGA) president Kaitlyn Baker said orientation week encourages every new student break out of her shell while helping her to fit in and feel at home at Saint Mary’s.
“Orientation is a great way to help transition a high school student into a college woman,” Baker said. “It gives her confidence to be on her own and promotes independence by providing her with the tools and resources she needs for a successful four years.”
Baker said the events and activities are similar to those of years past with traditional events such as Belles Bash and Domerfest, as well as a “playfair,” coordinated by a professional team-building company bearing the same name.
“We will also be having pre-fest, an event to gather the new students together before heading to Domerfest,” she said.
“It will be filled with music, food and pointers to get them through the night, and the rest of college, from the people who have been there before.”
Morgan Dahnke, an RA in McCandless Hall, stressed the importance of having hall staff available to freshmen throughout orientation weekend.
“[First-years] will have a lot of questions about the sessions they will be attending, and we want to be around to talk with them about it,” Dahnke said.
According to Baker, the Closing of the Circle ceremony, a College tradition that gathers the newest Belles to begin their college experience and life together, will take place Saturday evening.
“We express the value and importance of our core values — faith, justice, learning, and community — and how they will impact a Belle’s life at Saint Mary’s and beyond,” Baker said. “The closing of the circle symbolizes the connection of the new students to one another.
“It shows that we are one community, all sisters, and we have one another’s backs and will support them and cheer for them throughout our four years. The circle remains closed until the final days of their senior year when they participate in the Opening the Circle ceremony.”
Dahnke said her best advice for new freshman is to take advantage of events happening on campus.
“You can make your college experience whatever you want it to be,” she said. “Have fun, get involved and make new friends.”