In his welcome address to the incoming class of 2015 this Tuesday, Dean of Admissions Paul Thiboutot said that first arriving to Carleton is like adding another panel to a quilt: when combined with other panels of life, it gives comfort, support and security.
And so began New Student Week, Carleton’s orientation week for first-year and transfer students.
With a packed schedule each day, NSW and other peer leaders ushered around the fresh batch of Carls in a choreographed ballroom dance across campus. NSW, which ends this Saturday, includes the whole spectrum of activities—from sessions on student employment and alcohol policy to guided tours of the Arb and downtown Northfield.
The College’s trained peer leaders acted as new students’ guides to their new home for the next four years. They aimed to acquaint students with the basics for navigating academic and social life at Carleton.
NSW leaders guided each group of new students, answering questions about Carleton and taking them through the obligatory icebreakers. The groups also included peer leaders from other divisions such as the Resident Assistants (RAs), Intercultural Peer Leaders (IPLs), Chaplains Associates (CAs), Gender and Sexuality Center Associates (GSCAs), Student Wellness Advisors (SWAs), International Students Orientation leaders (ISO), Career Advisors (CAs) and leaders from TRIO / Student Support Services.
“Carleton students, especially the peer leaders, play a great and important role in welcoming new the students,” said Joe Baggot, Associate Dean of Students, who along with the Dean of Students Office was involved in welcoming and training peer leaders.
New Student Week Programming Assistants Erin Lopez ’13 and Lisa Taxier ’13 coordinated this year’s activities.
“One of the things I’m most excited about (this year) is getting to use the Weitz Center for Creativity for parents’ reception as well as the student-run information session called Outside the Classroom: Get Involved,” said Lopez. The Weitz Center for Creativity, which opens this year, is a new venue for some of the events in NSW.
NSW leaders relished their opportunity to welcome new faces to the campus.
“We answered any questions they had, taught them about the different resources at Carleton and facilitated discussions on drinking/drugs, dating and diversity on campus,” said Kim Bauer ’13, an NSW leader.
“I have begun to use the skills and knowledge I have acquired at Carleton to better contribute to the enrichment of the Carleton community,” said Chaplains Associate Mouhamadou Diagne ’12.
When asked how it felt to be an NSW Leader, Jonah Simonds ’14 responded, “It’s very exciting to be part of such an important transition for the upcoming class. Moving to college is one of those moments that you’ll remember for your entire life, and I want to make those memories as positive as possible for the new Carls.”
NSW was organized by the Student Activities Office with the involvement of the Dean of Students Office and other groups under the Division of Student Life.
While they reveled in simultaneous anxiety and excitement, new students had a packed agenda: The Buzz, an information session about alcohol use and abuse; Doing It Right: Consent, Dating and Relationships, which gave tips on how to stay safe, happy and healthy at Carleton; and a diversity presentation called How Can We Build and Nurture Just, Equitable and Inclusive Communities.
Amidst their busy schedule, new students also squeezed a little exercise in at the NOlympics, where students from various residential halls competed in absurd sports.
NSW culminates on Saturday night with the freshman Variety Show.
“Each year, a quarter of the student body is new and the energy, passions and talents that they bring here are fun to watch. The class of 2015 will let us know that they are here and that they are Carls,” said Baggot.