With the start of fall classes days away, the University community is preparing to welcome its newest members — the Class of 2022 — for New Student Orientation, Aug. 18 through 21.
Upperclassmen and veteran faculty and staff know what’s in store, but for incoming first year and transfer students the four-day orientation schedule is designed to acquaint them immersion-style with HNU’s campus, culture, and coursework.
“Orientation is an ongoing experience that fosters unity, communicates expectations for academic excellence, promotes community values, and builds relationships by encouraging students to explore and reflect on their full potential,” said Casey LaBarbera, assistant dean for Student Affairs and HNU Experience coordinator.
As custom calls for, the centerpiece activity for Day 1 is the Rite of Passage in which each incoming student climbs the 106 steps leading to upper campus while family and HNU community members cheer them on. The stairway will have been inscribed with the name of each participant in chalk the day before. When it comes time to graduate, students will experience the rite in reverse, taking the stairs from the top of campus to the lawn area set up for commencement exercises below.
Following the President’s Welcome Dinner, newest members of the HNU family will enjoy their first official dish of the traditional University dessert, strawberries and cream.
In the days to come, a comprehensive schedule of sessions will introduce practical tips, residence hall policies, and insider perspectives on student success to newcomers. Q&A sessions will give incoming students ample opportunities to pose questions, including one gathering specifically for those who are the first in their families to attend college. A welcome mass and campus ministry “lemonade stand” social will provide opportunities for fostering a spiritual connection at the University.
Plenty of time for fun and getting to know new friends each day is on the orientation agenda. Activities planned include: HNUnity, a high energy celebration of campus diversity and pride; a night life event featuring salsa lessons and casino-style games; a campus scavenger hunt; and an all-student welcome back carnival night. As new students quickly learn: service and social justice are core to the HNU mission. Community service projects planned for the afternoon Monday (Aug. 20) will bring the lesson home for participants.
Additionally, special weekend activities will allow parents and families to become familiar with HNU before bidding their students goodbye Sunday afternoon.
Staff and faculty are encouraged to participate throughout orientation, particularly Saturday (Aug. 18) during the Rite of Passage ceremony, President’s Welcome Dinner, and dessert afterward.
“We would like for this to be an opportunity for families to mingle with those who will be teaching, supporting, and encouraging their students throughout their time at HNU,” explained LaBarbera. “Thank you so much for your continued commitment to students, especially those new to the HNU community.”