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Saint Mary’s students participate in Belles Beginnings

| Friday, August 19, 2016

The Saint Mary’s class of 2020 will participate in the annual Belles Beginnings orientation program this weekend, as the incoming students will engage in bonding opportunities, listen to speeches on campus safety and foster open discussions with peer mentors.

Student body president Emma McCarthy said she hopes first-year and transfer students embrace the social aspect of Belles Beginnings and acquaint themselves with classmates.

“The single most important part of orientation is that our first-year students feel that they are a part of our campus community,” McCarthy said. “Whether it be through their first introductions with their roommates, getting to know the other women in their residence halls or meeting their peer mentor groups, there will be no shortage of opportunities for the class of 2020 to get to know each other and begin to build community.”

According to McCarthy, Belles Beginnings prepares students to take on the challenges of the upcoming academic year in a new environment.

“[New students] are about to begin the most amazing journey of their lives, and I hope they know that the Saint Mary’s community is here to help them every step of the way,” McCarthy said. “There will be hard days, but my hope is that the amazing days, the days that remind them why they chose to be a Belle, will far outnumber the hard ones.”

McCarthy said Belles Beginnings will help students feel connected to their new home at Saint Mary’s.

“My biggest hope for [new students] is that they know how much their fellow Belles love them and how excited we all are that they are here,” McCarthy said. “I hope first-year students learn that they have been given all of the tools that they need to have a successful first year at Saint Mary’s. Now it is their turn to use their gifts and abilities to make their Saint Mary’s experience what they want it to be.”

Student body vice president Mary Joy Dingler said orientation weekend will help students grow in appreciation for the Saint Mary’s community.

“I hope the new students learn that they can always count on their fellow Belles and that they really will be okay during their first year at Saint Mary’s,” Dingler said. “Saint Mary’s is such an amazing place, and it fosters such an amazing community and sisterhood.”

Belles Beginnings will prepare students for the transformative college experience that lies ahead, according to Dingler.

“College is a time to explore and discover more about yourself, and I hope when they take that last walk down the Avenue in 2020 that they’ve grown, learned, loved and most importantly, that they are happy with who they’ve become,” Dingler said. “First years and transfers alike should be welcomed by Saint Mary’s and welcome it back with open arms.”

McCarthy said incoming students should become involved in clubs, sports or other extracurricular activities to take advantage of all Saint Mary’s has to offer.

“If [students] do not want to stay at Saint Mary’s, then they will not fully engage in the campus community, which is a tragedy for both themselves and the College,” McCarthy said. “We want these women to stay with us throughout their college experience, so welcoming them is our utmost priority.”

Dingler said students will feel embraced by a supportive community the second they set foot on campus, so Belles Beginnings will merely strengthen their initial impression of the College.

“I hope as [students] move in and get to know the campus, they’ll realize that they have made one of the best decisions of their lives,” Dingler said. “Once a Belle, always a Belle.”

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About Martha Reilly

Martha is a senior majoring in English literature and political science. She currently serves as Saint Mary's editor but still values the Oxford comma in everyday use.

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