Highlighting the role of diversity at Georgetown and emphasizing the university’s Jesuit values, New Student Orientation welcomed 1,615 students from the Class of 2021 and 208 transfer students to the Hilltop last weekend.
Led by five student coordinators, 33 orientation captains and 198 orientation advisers, this year’s NSO built on traditional events including sexual assault awareness session “I Am Ready” and diversity and inclusion performance “Pluralism in Action,” with a renewed mission to make the Georgetown experience accessible to new students of all backgrounds from Aug. 25 to 29.
Isaiah Fleming-Klink (SFS ’19), NSO co-director of staff development, said this year’s leadership prioritized creating an NSO experience that is accessible to new students from diverse backgrounds.
“Probably the most important thing to me was creating a staff that was more reflective of the student body here at Georgetown,” Fleming-Klink said. “NSO is, historically, like many other big clubs, a really white organization both demographically but also culturally in all the different everyday things that we do.”
NSO will look to continue offering programming for diverse student bodies in future years, according to Co-Director of Staff Development Samantha Smith (NHS ’19).
“I think that we laid the foundation and that if we, when the next year’s coordinators come into the role, if they have a similar commitment and mission as we did, that we can truly make an impact over multiple years and multiple generations of incoming classes of students,” Smith said.
This year’s program also offered a renewed commitment to Jesuit values through training initiatives, NSO Orientation Adviser Nick Zeffiro (SFS ’18) said.
“We got a Jesuit examen every day to close out our training, which really helped us center as a staff and really reflect and contemplate our actions over the course of the day in a Jesuit tradition,” Zeffiro said.
Fleming-Klink said he hopes new students left NSO with an understanding of the university’s commitment to Jesuit values as a foundation for their Georgetown experience.
Daniel Frumento (COL ’18), co-director of internal outreach and communications, said although fostering larger conversations on life at Georgetown should be an aim of NSO, it must also prepare new students for day-to-day life at Georgetown.
“I just wanted people to feel prepared for Georgetown. I wanted people to feel like they belonged here, and I wanted people to feel as if they made the right decision when, three months ago, they said ‘yes’ and put down their deposit,” Frumento said.
NSO Director of Logistics Sabrina Leon Landegger (COL ’19) said the orientation program aimed to include introverted students and prioritize self-care during the busy and often stressful first few weeks at Georgetown.
Christopher Hadsall (COL ’21) said that although the four-day program felt overwhelming to him at times, he appreciated the care that went into welcoming new students.
“The convocation ceremony was amazing, just the energy in the room. You have the alumni up in the stands. You also have all the administrators and staff members up on the stage,” Hadsall said. “And it was really inspiring to see all those people who are involved in the Georgetown community coming together to welcome us.”
Georgetown Weeks of Welcome started this week following NSO’s conclusion, with the Welcome Back Jack Barbecue. This year’s Welcome Back Jack Barbecue was moved to the Healey Family Student Center due to rain and featured a raffle for T-shirts.
The year’s GWOW program features an integrated team of two coordinators and 19 welcome ambassadors staffing events and leading programs to help new and returning students acclimate to life on the Hilltop over the course of six weeks.
Center for Student Engagement Director of Orientation, Transition, and Family Engagement Shane Ryan emphasized the importance of supporting students throughout the entirety of the transition process this fall.
“The first six weeks are the most crucial for students, so doing a ‘week of welcome’ was not enough. But six weeks helps them find their fit, their place, and hopefully sees them be successful and happy here on the Hilltop,” Ryan said.
Some events new to the GWOW schedule this year include the Sept. 8 Mission Georgetown game show on Cooper Field and the Sept. 16 silent disco in Sellinger Lounge. This year’s coordinators Aidan
Fallon (SFS ’19) and Ravisa Kalsi (COL ’20) said they wanted to help unite the student body and provide opportunities for students to spend time together.
“We’ve had a very intentional focus on shifting our events from just times when you can come and eat free food to a time when you can actually have a community and where you can actually meet other people and socialize,” Fallon said.