New Student Orientation offers “challenge” and “support” to first-years
Orientation at Centre College takes place five days before classes begin and extends into the Fall Term with the goal of helping first-year students make successful transitions into the Centre Experience. That help comes in two forms: “challenge” and “support,” both of which can be found in academics, campus activities and personal circumstances at college.
Students—and their parents—hit the ground running on Move-in Day when the first-years arrived. With the help of Residence Life staff, professors and even Centre College President John A. Roush, students were moved into their new homes. Orientation’s theme of family and community continued as Roush later offered his President’s Welcome to the incoming class, and then the students jumped headfirst into engaging events and activities.
“You can almost see the change from nervous energy on move-in day to excitement as Orientation starts working its magic,” Randy Hays, vice president and dean of student life, said. “The students start meeting everyone and learning that all of the RAs, OAs, faculty and staff are here to help them make the adjustment to college life.”
First-year students had a wealth of opportunities to get to know one another and their new campus after their parents departed, taking part in icebreakers with their orientation group and residence hall meetings. There were also several informative sessions, such as a “Student Life Insider” during which members of the Student Life Office held an interactive discussion about life outside the classroom. Members of the Centre College Student Judiciary also spoke about their role on campus and the issues that come before them, and a “Centre Spirit and Traditions” session offered fun facts about the College’s history.
Centre Orientation has its own traditions, such as the President’s Picnic held by Centre President and First Lady Roush during which students are invited into their home, chat with “P. Roush and Susie,” and of course eat delicious food. A Dessert and Book Discussion with faculty advisors is a wonderful opportunity for students to begin forming the all-important bond with their professors and classmates while discussing summer reading (this year features My Beloved World by Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor). The annual Service Plunge, in which Centre first-years have participated for over a decade, also introduces students to the Centre tradition of service in their community. This year students served at 12 locations, painting the interior walls of the Big Brothers Big Sisters office, cleaning Constitution Square, clearing new trails at Camp Horsin’ Around, and helping reorganize and price merchandise at the Bluebird Market, among a variety of other activities.
First-years got to know the community even further through Delve into Danville, an event that gave students the opportunity to walk through downtown Danville to the historic Constitution Square and enjoy dinner with members of the Centre College community.
Late Night Programming offered fun de-stressors after hectic days. Activities this year included a movie on the lawn featuring Guardians of the Galaxy, hypnotist Larry Volz and CC After Dark.
In order to wrap up an exciting and informative week and inspire students to completely immerse themselves in the Centre Experience throughout the coming year, Centre hosted an Opening Dinner for all returning students as well as Opening Convocation during which Roush, Student Government Association President Joseph Hunter VanderToll, Professor of Dramatic Arts Matthew Hallock and Associate Professor of Psychology Jan Wertz addressed the student body with motivating words for the academic year.
Orientation doesn’t stop once classes begin; first-year students can also look forward to the Activities Expo, Study Abroad Meeting, New Student Book Panel and Discussion, and informative sessions from the Center for Career and Professional Development, among other planned activities in the coming weeks.
Pictured above: First-year students enjoy the annual President’s Picnic.
by Elise L. Murrell
September 1, 2015