Orientation introduces first-years to campus and each other

Credit: Jessica Thurston/Art Editor Credit: Jessica Thurston/Art Editor

Today, about 1500 first-years have been unleashed onto campus. The cluster of boxes and parents from move-in day will soon be replaced with tie-dyed shirts, loud house cheers, a stacked social calendar, and an enthusiastic Orientation staff as Orientation 2009: Unleashed commences.

“Unleashed is all about breaking free,” said Maria Mauro, a senior public policy and management major and one of six Head Orientation Counselors (HOCs) for this year’s events. “We’re hoping that Orientation serves as a time when first-years can try new things and discover how to unleash their potential here at CMU.”

The theme fits well with the university’s official new mascot, a Scottish Terrier named Scotty. Scotty made an appearance at spring training for this year’s Orientation counselors (OCs), and will be making cameo appearances throughout this week’s Orientation events.

The theme also complements plans by Rotimi Abimbola and Adam Klein, current Student Body President and Student Body Vice President, and the Carnegie Clan, a club that aims to build up school spirit on campus.

This year’s Orientation events will begin today and continue through Sunday, Aug. 23, the day before the first day of classes.

Move-in day events are for both parents and students, and include an address by Carnegie Mellon President Jared L. Cohon officially welcoming the Class of 2013+ to campus, a Greek life information session, and programs for each of the academic colleges, just to name a few.

As of 8 p.m. on Sunday night, events for parents have ended and first-years have their first floor meetings where they meet their OCs and resident assistants (RAs).

Monday is filled with orientation activities held by residential houses during the day. At night comes one of Orientation’s most anticipated annual events: Playfair. Playfair gathers the entire Orientation staff and the Class of 2013+ in Gesling Stadium for a night of cheering and a series of hilarious icebreakers that offer a chance to meet tons of new first-years.

“I am most excited for Playfair,” said Megan Sasinoski, a junior economics major and OC for Mudge House. “I was nervous about it during my orientation because our OCs said we would meet so many people at once. It was actually really fun, so I feel lucky to be able to do it again.”
Tuesday is just as eventful a day, kicking off the morning with another annual anticipated event: Community Collage. All of the class of 2013+ will gather in the Baker Tent as current students offer up stories of their lives both on-campus and off that have shaped who they are today.

“Attend as many events as you can,” said Rebecca Hirsch, a junior social and decision sciences major and Orientation leader (OL) for the Hill, to this year’s first-years. “You’ll meet new people with similar interests and meeting new people is the best part of Orientation. You’ll be surprised how many good friends you’ll meet during just the first week of being at Carnegie Mellon that you’ll have all throughout college.”

A performance by mentalist Craig Karges will round out Tuesday’s events. Karges is internationally well-known for his illusionist, future-telling, and other magical abilities. His performance will be followed by desserts with the Greek community.

“The best advice for freshman going through Orientation is to just have a good attitude,” said Emily Boncek, a sophomore mathematical sciences major. “It sounds really simple but it pretty much applies for everything because if you have the attitude that Orientation is lame or that it’s just going to be a bunch of awkward and boring activities, then you’re already setting yourself up for a bad experience.”

Sasinoski agreed.

“It’s so much better if you aren’t scared or worried about acting like a dork,” she said.

The academic side of campus comes out on Thursday as the day is taken up by college-specific events and the afternoon brings the time-honored tradition of Convocation.

Convocation officially welcomes all members of the incoming class into their respective colleges as part of our academic community. Convocation is the last time all of the Class of 2013+ will be gathered together until Commencement.

With Friday comes time for one of Orientation’s most anticipated events: House Wars. Preparation for House Wars begins early in the day with transformation into house colors through face makeup, tie-dyed shirts, tying bandannas and more.

First-years gather early with the Orientation staff to practice house cheers and prepare for their processional onto the Cut.

“I had such a great time at my House Wars and I can’t wait to see all the freshmen enjoy it as much as I did,” said Erin Delaney, a junior economics major and OC for Morewood E-Tower.

“My favorite visual during the week is watching seas of people in colored gear walking onto the Cut screaming at the top of their lungs for House Wars,” Mauro said.

Sunday has informal events throughout the day, and the choice is up to first-years as to what they want to do. At the floor meetings on Sunday night, first-years say goodbye to their OCs and prepare for the first day of classes on Monday.

“Orientation is about building relationships, connecting to your community, trying new things, and of course having fun,” Mauro said. “At that Sunday night before classes, my goal is to have the first-years feel comfortable, proud to be a part of this community, and that Carnegie Mellon is beginning to feel like home.”

Hirsch mentioned that the fun should not stop after Orientation.

“Carnegie Mellon is amazing but challenging. Always make sure that you balance your schedule so that you can have time for fun,” she said to first-years.

Welcome home, Class of 2013+.