Despite Hurricane Irene’s disruption of the New Student Orientation schedule, incoming students to the Hilltop adjusted well to the new timetables during their hectic first days on the Hilltop.
While university officials canceled or postponed events early in the weekend as precautionary measures in preparation for Hurricane Irene, students understood that changes to the schedule were necessary to secure students’ safety.
“I think they were just worried. When something you can’t control happens, and you have a bunch of new students coming from across the country and the world, it’s a little nerve-wracking,” Colleen Roberts (COL ’15) said.
Some students were frustrated that they had to miss certain events, like the walking tours of the campus and neighborhood. The largest scheduling change, the shifting of New Student Convocation to today, forced many students’ families to miss the traditional event.
“Having it be two days [later] and then on Tuesday evening is way far apart from when my parents planned on leaving,” Noreen Sajwani (NHS ’15) said.
New students also stressed that the cancelation of some events known as an opportunity for bonding, like Destination: Georgetown, in which orientation advisers take their freshmen for dinner somewhere outside the university’s front gates did not undermine their ability to meet their classmates. They instead suggested that the more open schedule may have facilitated more interaction with students in their orientation groups and on their residence hall floors.
“Today the weather was nice and we didn’t have to do anything at all,” Sajwani said about the cancelation of events on Sunday. “It’s really easy to get to know people … My issue is getting to know people’s names.”
“Everyone’s really open. Everyone’s in the same position at a new school, so it’s really easy to meet people,” Roberts echoed.
New this year was the blog NSO maintained for parents beginning in June. The website provided information to families interested in learning more about school resources and academic and extracurricular opportunities. The blog, which received over 6,500 views, also posted updates throughout the weekend about NSO events and hurricane preparations.
Georgetown University Students Association also contributed to the week’s events for the first time. As part of their involvement, GUSA helped set up Project Move-In, an initiative designed with the Georgetown Scholars Program and the Financial Affairs Office to help incoming students who arrived in Washington, D.C., without move-in assistance. Alumni, students and faculty picked up eligible students from Reagan and Dulles airports, transported them to campus and helped them move into dorms.
“It was really exciting to be a part of NSO and a part of the freshman move-in experience,” GregLaverriere (COL ’12), GUSA vice president, said. He added that he hopes future executives continue and expand the practice.
“I think this was a first great step. In the past, GUSA has been noticeably absent, and that’s a shame,” he said.
President Mike Meaney (SFS ’12) also addressed the freshman class at the NSO closing ceremony Sunday evening.
In his speech, Meaney called on students to translate what they learn at Georgetown into action.
“We are called to determine for ourselves what it is we are meant to do with our knowledge and ourgifts.”