October 1, 2016-
The commencement robes were barely off and mortarboards tucked away, when the Student Affairs staff kicked into high gear to meet and greet the incoming freshman class, through a carefully-planned and organized series of events.
Beginning in May, the 25 Orientation Ambassadors began an intensive week-and-a-half of training to prepare them to lead the newest members of the Mount Ida Community. They met with different departments to learn and understand the wealth of resources available. They learned about the ups and downs of new student transition, about diversity and equity and became a team.
They made forays into Boston, engaged in a scavenger hunt, became familiar with what was where, the different stops on the Green, Orange, Red and Blue Lines and were prepared for just about any question a new student or parent might ask.
But it wasn’t all just facts and figures. They wrote skits, produced videos, learned to dance and how to command an audience from the stage. They were Mighty and they were ready!
Three two-day Orientation sessions happened in June, another in August and yet another for international students in September.
Hundreds of new students, who brought along parents and friends, were given a two-day immersion into Mount Ida College life. By the time they drove past the gatehouse on the way home, they had heard about campus life, the Mighty Creed, learned about clubs and organizations, met their peer groups from their Schools or programs, lived in the residence hall and relaxed together.
“It was a very positive experience,” says Ally Petrosinelli, the Assistant Director of Orientation and Involvement. “I had only been on campus for a few days when the process began in June, and am incredibly impressed at the enthusiasm and family atmosphere of this campus.”
Not only were the students pleased, but the parents and families were equally impressed with the time and care taken to assure that they could separate from their children and know they were in good hands. They attended several sessions with Orientation Ambassadors and other staff members where they could freely discuss their fears and concerns and leave knowing that the resources would be there for their children and that they were not alone in their feelings.
As the summer waned, the residence halls were readied and on September 1, it was Move In Day and the beginning of Mustang Round-Up, four full days of activities. Included was a first-ever group drone photo on alumni field, a lunch and the official good byes. On Friday, a full contingent of new students showed up under the tent for breakfast and assignments for the Community Plunge. Off they went to do good work and be introduced to the importance of community involvement (see related story).
When the students returned from their good deeds, they grabbed a lunch, then geared up for the pep rally and home opener football rivalry of Mount Ida and UMass Dartmouth. Dressed in their Green Out tee shirts, eye black and team spirit, they cheered the Mustangs on.
On Saturday, upwards of 250 people hopped on board the “Spirit of Boston” for a daytime cruise around Boston Harbor. They danced to two DJs, played lawn games on deck or just stood on the top deck and took in the Boston skyline and the place they now call home.
Back on solid ground, they settled in a bit more and got ready to say hello to the returning students who arrived, amid hurricane warnings, on Labor Day Monday and the Week of Welcome began.
From bingo games to a performance by a comedian, to settling back in and decorating their rooms, the students got ready to begin their academic careers. The formal kick-off took place under the tent at the annual Convocation on Thursday. President Brown addressed the crowd, then Provost Ron Akie handed out buttons with the word “Ummm” within a circle with a line through it. By the end of their time at Mount Ida, he assured, they would have no hesitation in the way they spoke – or in knowing what they could become.
They were empowered by the words of Alioune Gueye, Ph.D. Professor of Veterinary Technology, the recipient of the 2016 Ronald Lettieri Award for Excellence in Teaching. He extolled on how students can overcome obstacles and use many strategies promoting effective academic success, emphasizing that the College provides a positive context that will enable them to set goals, generate pathways, and sustain motivation to attain their educational objectives. Before being sent on their academic pathway, they were invigorated by words of wisdom and experience from Ryan Burch, ’17, President of Associated Student Government.
And with that and a few more events to go, the Student Affairs staff took a deep breath, then prepared the application forms for next year’s Orientation Ambassadors.