Orientation weekend brought roughly 450 freshmen to campus, one of the largest freshman classes in university history. The event included a mixture of both tradition and novelty that helped new students to find their Queens pride.
This year’s orientation experience was simpler than in years past due to it being run solely by Orientation Leaders (OLs) rather than a joint effort of both OLs and Resident Assistants, according to junior Alex Stocking. “It felt good being able to meet freshmen…helping them out was a good feeling,” he said when asked about the connection with his O-Group.
The new, starry-eyed students checked in at their assigned residence halls on Friday, Aug. 17, where upperclassmen volunteers moved personal belongings into the dormitories. Upon retrieval of important documents and room keys, freshmen and their families were given free time to settle in before meeting their orientation groups and receiving warm welcomes from President Pamela Davies and Dean of Admission Woody O’Cain.
“It was definitely a risk, but one I was willing to take. I have no family or friends here,” said freshman Rachael Kallman, who moved to Charlotte from New York. “I had no idea what college would be like. I’m glad to have met these new people and look forward to my life at Queens.”
The next day began on a serious note as all students prepared for the hallowed Sed Ministrare ceremony by learning about the Honor Code and conferring with Orientation Leaders.
After sufficient preparation, both students and faculty solemnly processed into Dana Auditorium for the signing of the Honor Code. The class of 2016 officially became Royals as they pledged to create a spirit of integrity and honor for its own sake.
Sunday allowed the newcomers the opportunity to find a place of worship in the community, after which the day was dedicated to preparation for the Jungle Jam Festival. The different orientation groups competed to see which group could show the most school spirit and claim the flag in a large-scale water fight.
“I enjoyed dressing up for Jungle Jam,” said freshman Caitlin Caruso, whose group emulated jungle cats in keeping with the safari theme. “It was lots of fun.” She went on to say that Jungle Jam was her favorite part of orientation weekend, introducing her to the Queens community and helping her to establish relationships with her peers.
A slate of other planned events, including a slip-and-slide treasure hunt and pie-eating contest, were cancelled due to an impending storm.
Freshmen were eased into their daily schedules beginning on Monday as the day began with CORE meetings. Those who had previously signed up participated in a service trip to Sedgefield Elementary before all students arrived on campus to celebrate the commencement of the new year with a cookout in the Residential Quad, featuring booths advertising local businesses and school offices.
“All in all, orientation made me feel prepared for the year,” said freshman Dylan Evans. “I forged a bond with my classmates, and the experience was real and interesting.”