Clark’s campus is buzzing as new students arrive for Move-In Day and a “Bee the Change”-themed Orientation, which began Thursday. Over the next few days, students are attending programs and activities to introduce them to college life and help them start cultivating their unique Clark experience.
“Orientation is all about orienting you to campus, helping you get acclimated,” says Danielle Morgan Acosta, associate dean of students for student engagement.
After checking in at the Shaich Family Alumni and Student Engagement Center, students headed to their residence halls to move in.
The incoming students join other new Clarkies who have already arrived on campus, including those who participated in the ACE Summer Institute and Connections@Clark, as well as international students and those with accommodations through Student Accessibility Services.
Throughout the week, the first-year students will participate in a variety of activities — from wellness programming to seminars designed to ease them into social and academic life at Clark.
“We want students to feel empowered from the very start to create the change that they wish to see,” says Orientation Coordinator Jackie Madrigal ’22. “This year’s ‘Bee the Change’ theme honors the sentiment that students are the creators of their own stories, Clark experience, and whatever comes next.”
Several food trucks are parked on campus Thursday to provide lunch for students and families. Students also can eat in the dining hall with their Clark ID, but, unfortunately, COVID protocols prevent family members from eating in the dining hall.
After lunch, residential students met with their peer mentors and resident advisers to discuss campus life and get to know their new neighbors. Commuter students attended an informal gathering to meet their peer mentors, orientation coordinators, and fellow commuters.
At the same time, a Resource Fair will allow families to interact with representatives from various Clark offices and learn how these offices work together to support their students.
From there, students and families met up to take photos and finalize any last details before saying goodbye.
“Thursday is all about coming together, saying goodbye to family, and getting to know your peer mentor and RA,” Acosta says. “Almost all of the activities during Orientation will take place in small groups.”
After dinner, students will participate with their peer mentors in a small group discussion called “How to College” and enjoy frozen treats with their admissions counselors during “Clark a la Mode.” The day will wrap up with Clark After Dark social activities, including a residence hall crawl, karaoke, crafts, and more.
On Friday, Clark will welcome incoming transfer student for check-in and move-in, followed by lunch and Orientation on the Green. Meanwhile, first-year students will get ready for the day and head off to conference-style presentations about campus support resources.
“Clark’s philosophy of support centers the student holistically,” Madrigal says. “Throughout Orientation, students engage with the variety of resources offered, all of which helps to create the wrap around support we value here.”
After lunch, students will attend the President’s Welcome and Academic Prelude – a ceremonial welcome to the community and kick-off discussion about the common learning experience, “Coded Bias.” Small group discussions will follow.
Friday evening’s “How to College” session will focus on wellness, including yoga, reflection, arts and crafts, and more.
“It is always important for students to prioritize their well-being during the significant transition into college life. However, it is even more critical now as students coming in to Clark now have survived through over a year of fear, unknowns, and isolation due to the pandemic,” says Erica Beachy, director of wellness education. “During Orientation, there are wellness options and opportunities built in to the schedule to encourage them to take care of themselves and start building those self-care habits now as they enter into this new, exciting next phase of their lives.”
During Clark After Dark, students will gather on the Green for a movie and bingo, and may choose to head over to the Kneller Athletic Center for open gym time.
Saturday will feature a student-led program, “Consenting Communities,” that focuses on respectful relationships and the importance of consent. Students will also participate in a “Clark Quest” scavenger hunt to get to know campus alongside their classmates.
“The idea is to meet students outside of your peer mentor group,” Acosta says.
Students will then attend another round of conference-style presentations about student life and activities, followed by a discussion of “Fostering Inclusive Communities: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Clark.”
That evening, a “How to Clark” seminar will take students on campus tours, community walking tours, and rides on the Clark Shuttle to help them learn more about their new home. “It’s all about getting your bearings across campus on Saturday,” Acosta explains. The day will end with roller skating, karaoke, caricatures, and games on the Green.
Sunday’s activities include a Becker Meetup Brunch, Yoga on the Green, and various information sessions and interest meetings before the Campus BBQ from 4 to 7 p.m.
For a full schedule of Orientation activities and events, click here.