With the first day of Fall term always looming, Orientation for the Class of 2008 attempted to prepare the incoming freshmen for the next four years. Twelve days full of 165 events, including library tours, movie screenings and various academic, religious and social discussions, were allotted for this mammoth endeavor.
While many of this year’s events were standard orientation fare, the Class of 2008 also experienced several new additions to the traditional orientation week.
“One such event addressed difficult situations students may encounter in a college environment,” said Director of Orientation Leigh Remy. “This year, Sexual Abuse Peer advisor Abby Tassel and fellow SAPA’s piloted a program discussing sexual assault and abuse on campus in the Fayer[weather] residence halls … it also introduced students to the options on campus pertaining to alcohol, drug use and sexual intimacy.”
Other events new to this year’s orientation included a Pancake Paddle and a Hopkins Center Spotlight performance with artists in residence, Remy said.
Similar to the pre-orientation Dartmouth Outing Club Trips, one of the objectives of orientation stems from the Student Life Initiative, which provides students with social activities on campus that are alternative to those offered by the Greek system. The College hosted a hip-hop dance at FUEL night club, a poker night and a cappella performances to entertain the Class of 2008.
And while this year’s orientation did include some new events, several programs, both academic and entertaining, returned this year to help the pre-matriculated students transition into campus life.
“Some programs are maintained because of student interest. The hypnotist is always fun for the students. The evaluations of the orientation show that it is something that students enjoy,” Remy said.
Orientation was not all frivolity; a large part of the program focused on preparing freshmen for academic life at Dartmouth. Department open houses, placement testing and presentations on academic policies introduced freshmen to the intellectual side of Dartmouth.
“It is important to get the students academically prepared for the school year, because the College has a commitment to certain issues and they want to make sure the students know college policies,” said Remy. “Therefore other programs have to be repeated like faculty advising, placement testing and departmental open houses.”
The academic open house events allowed students to familiarize themselves with the location of the departments, while also allowing students to converse with professors about upcoming classes.
“I thought all the different open houses were really helpful, Katie Boldt ’08 said. “There were some professors who handed out syllabi for their class.”
One of the academic programs debuting this year was the Peer Academic Advising groups. This Student Assembly-sponsored event offered peer-advising from three upperclass students majoring in the humanities, social and physical sciences.
An orientation staple, this year’s summer reading for the class of 2008 was Terry Tempest’s “Refuge,” which illustrated the way pollution endangers the environment as well as human life. Dean of the Faculty Carol Folt delivered the book’s lecture.
Still, while the 12 days of orientation offered a plethora of activities unique to first-year students, some students said the orientation period was unnecessarily drawn out.
“The orientation was too long,” Boldt said. “It’s for two weeks and you’re not really doing anything.”
Some students, however, appreciated the lengthy introduction to the College, enjoying the break prior to Fall term.
“I thought there was a lot of downtime where there really wasn’t a lot going on, but it was nice to not worry about classes,” Michael Sloan-Rossiter ’08 said.