A learning opportunity: New Student Orientation

The Class of 2007 has barely set foot on campus, and these students already have homework. Fortunately, it’s more stimulating than it is stressful.

A new initiative for New Student Orientation 2003, which runs through Aug. 26, is a program called “Faculty Perspectives,” which gives freshmen the opportunity to engage in a lively discussion with a faculty member about a book of common readings that each freshman received this summer.

Students at a past orientation
Students in this file photo revel in the fun of New Student Orientation. This year’s program runs through Aug. 26 and allows new students to have fun as they get further acquainted with and explore the University. Departmental open houses, meetings and discussions with faculty members and social events are among the highlights.

“We are quite excited about this program,” said Karen Levin Coburn, assistant vice chancellor for students and associate dean for freshman transition. “It’s a wonderful way for students to begin thinking about the college experience before they arrive and it also gives them a chance to meet with a professor in an informal setting.”

Early in the summer, each incoming freshman was sent a copy of the Sesquicentennial Book of Common Readings, which was developed by a group of faculty and administrators with contributions from faculty, staff and students across the University.

The book includes pieces by renowned authors, faculty members and current students and is aimed at helping freshmen think about what a university is, what it means to learn and discover in the university setting and what it means to be an educated person.

Each section of the book includes questions that students are encouraged to consider and present written answers during the Faculty Perspectives sessions from 6-8 p.m. Aug. 25. Excerpts of these responses will be posted on a board in Mallinckrodt Student Center.

“We hope reading the book and discussing it will provide a common intellectual experience for students and will introduce them to the spirit of inquiry that is such a big part of the Washing-ton University experience,” Coburn said.

Orientation officially kicked off Aug. 21 with residence hall floor meetings and Convocation, Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton’s opportunity to welcome all new students and parents to the University.

An array of departmental open houses is scheduled for today. The open houses give students an opportunity to meet with representatives from the faculty and staff to learn more about the curriculum. Various placement exams, financial aid meetings and campus ministry dinners will also take place today.

The closing event is the Club 40 Dance at 10 p.m. in the South 40 Clock Tower Plaza.

Aug. 23 will feature the annual Bears intrasquad football scrimmage at 8 a.m. Deans’ meetings and receptions fill out the day.

Highlighting the evening will be “Choices 101 — An Introduction to the First Year Experience,” presented by upperclass students. A discussion will follow. The presentation will be at 7 p.m. and again at 8:30 p.m. in Edison Theatre.

Aug. 24 will open with worship opportunities. The day consists of a full schedule of adviser meetings for all incoming students. From 7-8 p.m. and again from 8:30-9:30 p.m., students can attend “The Date,” an interactive theatrical presentation that examines the issues of sexual assault and alcohol on college campuses. A discussion will follow.

Aug. 25 will feature peer advising and more campus orientation. “Freshmen Foundations,” which will run from 2:30-3:30 p.m. and on Aug. 26 at the same time, will take place in Rebstock Hall, Room 215. “Foundations,” presented by Richard J. Smith, Ph.D., the Ralph E. Morrow Distinguished University Professor of physical anthropology in Arts & Sciences, will provide an opportunity for students to gain an insider’s view of how to succeed in the classroom while at the same time creating a healthy balance outside the classroom.

Students will have the chance to explore one of country’s top interactive science museums from 9 p.m.-midnight during an “Evening of Fun at the Science Center.”

The Aug. 26 schedule includes meetings, a barbecue, a picnic and receptions. An outdoor movie will be shown from 9-11:30 p.m. in the South 40 Swamp.

Also scheduled during the week are a variety of events designed especially for international, commuter and transfer students.

For more information, call 935-6679 or go online to orientation.wustl.edu.