Students declare Orientation 2001 a success

By Benjamin Hellwege

With the conclusion of Orientation last week, first-year students must adjust to the rigors of an academic gauntlet. From this vantage, new students can assess the Orientation program. During the first week of the academic quarter, their reactions remain positive.

New Student Orientation is a U of C tradition, dating back to 1934. It is a brief but hectic and usually fun-filled time that the University sets aside to help new students acclimate to the campus environment.

“It’s a time to talk to everyone and anyone, and O-Week is definitely not a timid time,” said Lakshmi Shenoy, a first-year student and resident of Woodward Court. Furthermore, “The University took care of us.”

“Orientation was great,” said Mike Lebeau, a first-year from Palevsky East. “It made me feel very comfortable, and served as an extra buffer in between summer and school.”

However, there were mixed reactions to the Chicago Life Meetings. While Shenoy found the meetings to be helpful, Lebeau complained that they were a waste of time.

Those who were disappointed in the Chicago Life Meeting still enjoyed a variety of other events, according to Frank Santoro, an RA at the new Palevsky dorm. “Activities ranged from academic speeches to the Reynolds Club Mixer Dance Party,” Santoro said. “From what first-years told me, they felt as if O-Week was a happy time at camp because they felt like they did not have any worries.”

This year’s Orientation included some minor revisions.

“Changes to this year’s Orientation included an extra Chicago Life Meeting about the U of C’s history, as well as more advertisement of the sports programs,” Santoro said. “It seems to me that the College wants students to be aware of all parts of the College and enjoy life at the University.”

The University also changed the format of Museum Night, an evening in which students have free access to the Museum of Science and Industry.

“Museum Night is traditionally for first-year students only. However, this year, the University allowed returning students to attend Museum Night at the Museum of Science and Industry,” said Swarna Vallurupalli, a Student Director of NSO 2001. “I think that this was good because it allowed for lots of interaction between first-years and returning students.”

Vallurupalli noted other revisions made through the College Programming Offices. “Changes also included the reintroduction of registration O-Aides, and the fact that the Sex and Respect show was done much better this year,” she said.

“University Theater deserves high praise for putting on a show that was not so campy and was more in touch with the audience.”

Orientation serves as a necessary transition from high school to college and according to O-Aide Ashish Khanna, the U of C does it exceptionally well.

“I was at orientations at two other top schools over the summer to help friends move in and the one here easily blows everyone else away,” he said. “Ours is far better coordinated, meaningful, and a heck of a lot more fun.”

Susan Art, dean of students in the College, agreed that Orientation was a success. “Orientation went wonderfully, in light of the unfortunate events of September 11,” she said. “The vast majority of students got here on time, but we were able to accommodate late comers really well. Given this difficult start, we did quite well.”