Class of 2020 prepares for first semester at summer orientation


Photo credit/ Amanda Duncklee

Students exiting the PAC following an information session on Friday.

Amanda Duncklee, Community Editor

Not even the heat could beat the Pacer Pride abundant on campus during Orientation Weekend.

On Friday, July 15 and Saturday, July 16, the Class of 2020 spent time at Marywood University for Orientation Weekend. The purpose of the annual orientation is to acclimate first-year students to Marywood’s campus and culture in order to prepare for the start of the fall semester.

Sophomores, juniors and seniors volunteered their time as Orientation Leaders, which entails showing freshmen around campus, helping them adjust to campus culture and bonding with them for a more seamless transition to Marywood.

Orientation Leaders spent a week on campus prior to orientation to undergo training.

Graduate Assistant for Student Activities Michael Kalage assumed his new position of Director of Student Activities and Leadership Development. On Friday, Kalage rode around campus in a golf cart to oversee the weekend and said that Orientation was “going well.”

While orientation was designed for incoming students, family members and guests of the Class of 2020 were encouraged to spend time on campus.

Samantha Tighe, sister of incoming freshman Nicholas Tighe, enjoyed exploring Marywood.

“I haven’t seen the school, so I wanted to,” said Samantha. “It’s a pretty school, interesting. It seems like there’s a really big sense of community and excitement here.”

The program began with students checking in on Friday morning in the Latour Room of the Nazareth Student Center. Following check-in, students were placed into small groups. The purpose of the small groups is to introduce new freshmen to each other and to other students in a non-intimidating way.

Once most new students arrived on Friday morning, the new freshmen gathered in the Sette LaVerghetta Center for Performing Arts (PAC) where Orientation Chairs Paul Kraycer and Alexis Namyak, both members of the Class of 2017, welcomed the first-year students.

Following their welcome, Sr. Mary Persico, IHM, Ed.D., president of Marywood, delivered a welcoming address to the newest members of the Marywood community. Sr. Catherine Luxner, IHM, director of Campus Ministry, spoke about the university’s core values and mission.

At one point during the sessions, Amy Paciej-Woodruff, Ph.D., assistant vice president for student life, walked around the Center for Athletics and Wellness to oversee orientation.

“I offer support: talk to parents and let them know what to expect,” said Paciej-Woodruff. “I’m privileged to work with the Orientation Leader staff. What’s awesome about Orientation Leaders is they’re doing a fantastic service for the school and for themselves.”

Some students who were not OLs also volunteered their time at Orientation. Members from the Men’s Lacrosse team Rob Maine, junior criminal justice major, and Casey Sullivan, junior architecture major, came to Marywood to talk to new lacrosse players.

“I got recruited to come play here,” said Maine. “I love it here. It’s like a big family… [the incoming students] all looked ready to go, and we’re all excited just to get back in the field and start playing again.”

At 5 p.m. on Friday, the incoming freshmen settled in for a show where orientation staff put on skits that exemplified college life: partying, stress, classes, dealing with people and roommates in responsible ways and health. While the skits were lighthearted, the purpose of the show was to make the freshmen aware of the realities of college and how to responsibly handle such a transition.

At 9 p.m., students flocked to the Latour Room to listen to country singer Dave Binder. After his performance, the students retired to Loughran Hall while the Orientation Leaders went back to Regina Hall.

After breakfast on Saturday, the first-year students listened to a presentation from the respective dean of their college before branching off to learn about their majors and receive their class schedules. After these meetings, students met with their small groups one final time before the conclusion of orientation.

Austin Harris, a member of the Class of 2020, said he was delighted by the campus.

“I like the atmosphere. I think it would be a good fit for my major,” said Harris, who will major in business management. “It’s a nice campus and it’s not too far from everything. The people are all nice.”

Shannon Would, future music therapy major, said she enjoyed the weekend, though she did have one complaint.

“It was really fun,” she said. “I wish it were longer!”

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Twitter: @ADuncklee_TWW

Correction: On August 24, The Wood Word made a correction to Michael Kalage’s position title; his actual position title is Graduate Assistant for Student Activities.