Our fall semester will begin soon and we can’t wait for the students to come back! The first days of every semester are filled with excitement (and for new students, maybe a little apprehension).
Centenary College has always worked hard to make our incoming classes feel welcome. Every year freshmen participate in the “Community Plunge”, and this year they will also take part in a common book discussion. Community Plunge is a community service project that was introduced in 1990. First-years volunteer their time with different local organizations, introducing them to the area and their fellow freshmen while also giving back to their new community. The common book discussion allows students to engage each other in conversation over a common book. This year, freshmen read Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katharine Boo. They’ll spend the afternoon before classes begin in small group discussion, which will give them a glimpse of academic life here at Centenary.
The student newspaper (called Spilled Ink – what a great name!) from the mid 1900s is filled with articles about freshmen orientation. [At that time, the college was called Centenary Junior College and was a two-year school.]
One of the long-standing traditions of this era was the Big Sister-Little Sister program, where each senior girl (the Big Sister) was paired with a new freshmen girl (the Little Sister). One student wrote,
“We meet our own ‘lil sister and our roommates’, and through them their friends, and in turn they meet our friends. Why, before we were given little sisters, we passed in the halls without a word, or at most only a “hello” was exchanged…but now, we’ve managed to know one another and we’re just one big happy family!”
Every year, several seniors headed an orientation committee designed to introduce freshmen to every facet of college life.
Throughout the years, they enjoyed teas, picnics, dances, teacher introductions, tours of campus (not to mention outings to favorite local shops), and the highlight of every orientation: a variety show called the Ice-Breaker.
Seniors staged skits, organized games, and presented freshmen with a tub of ice, to remind them that it’s up to them to ‘break the ice’. And so they did!
After several days of reception, new students were regarded as members of the Centenary family. As the years passed, orientation events grew smaller. Although we don’t have an extended orientation period like we use to, we still can’t wait to meet the class of 2018 and welcome them to the Centenary family!