Thursday, September 15, 2016

Behind the Scenes of New Student Orientation: Preparing to Welcome Our New Baby Rams

Blog by Kaitlyn Powers

Me and my Orientation partner Jake ready to give out some hugs!

As I walk through campus for the first time on a scorching late August afternoon, I take in the view and sounds that I haven’t seen for three whole months: a green, lush Eddie’s, waiting to be sprawled on by its students, a magnificent Keating standing tall and proud just like in all the brochures, and the sound of pre-season football training coming from Coffey field. I smile and, for the millionth time that day, I’m reminded of how excited I am to be back to Fordham for the year. In the back of my mind is the reason for my early arrival: to get ready to welcome the incoming students to their new home.

Since my sophomore year, I have been a leader for New Student Orientation, Fordham’s official welcoming process for acclimating freshmen to campus and all things college. During the week before Orientation officially begins, I, along with almost 200 of my fellow students, prepare to welcome the incoming freshmen class, going through various training and community activities that bond us as a team and prepare us to be the best possible resources for new students. By listening to and engaging in presentations about topics like the Fordham Core curriculum, public safety, extracurricular and academic involvement opportunities, multicultural issues, mental health awareness, and career services offerings, we as Orientation leaders are able to refresh our knowledge about Fordham to ensure that we are capable and informative guides, mentors, and friends for our new fellow Rams.

My wonderful Orientation training team at our annual Olympics! Go Gray Team
The part of Orientation training that excites me most, however, is the new family I create with each new year I take part in the program; the team of 200 is separated into training teams of about ten people each and, over the course of the week, this team becomes a new family. We not only prepare to welcome the freshmen as a team, but also build each other up to be the best leaders we can be. We compete in trivia nights, dress up for formal, have dance competitions with other training teams, and participate in an Olympic tournament at the end of the week to show our pride for Fordham and our mounting excitement for the freshmen to arrive. It is one of the best events I have taken part in while attending Fordham, and something that has introduced me to some of the most compassionate, intelligent, and selfless people at this school that I never would have met otherwise.

Me and my Orientation training team on Move-In Day, ready to move in the new Rams!!! 
Flash forward to Move-In Day: it’s 5:15 in the morning. My roommate and I have snoozed our alarms 3 times so far. We roll out of bed, groggy and confused as to why it’s still dark out. One minute later, we remember why we are awake at this ungodly hour: to move in our new freshmen. We throw on our Orientation shirts, walk out of our apartment, and walk towards the rest of our 200-person family, half awake and ready to carry box after box up flights of stairs for the class of 2020. One large cup of coffee and a donut later, I am ready. At 7am, my Orientation training team walks to the building we are moving in that day and waits for the first car to pull up, dancing to the music blasting from the speakers around campus. At 7:12am, our newest Ram and her family arrive. We give her our loudest welcome, open her car, and I pick up my first box of the day. I smile, and remember how happy I am to be home.

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