Archive for the ‘FP News’ Category

Pre-Orientation: First batch of freshmen arrive on campus

Monday, August 27th, 2007 | Young Kyung Lee

As thousands of students swarmed campus on move-in day, waited hours for elevators and dragged multiple 50-pound bags up the stairs, 350 freshmen were already comfortably nestled in their dorms.

These freshmen participated in pre-orientation programs from August 16 to August 23. These programs are intended to facilitate a smooth transition from high school to college.

“It’s been really great meeting new people and upperclassmen who actually know about the school and [who] can introduce me to the opportunities presented here,” commented Ian Chui, a freshman in the Leadership Through Service pre-orientation program.

Eight different programs, ranging from community service to camping, were offered to freshmen this year. Students participating in the pre-orientation arrived a few days early to check into their dorms and meet fellow incoming students.

During the pre-orientation programs, students interact with upper-class students who share similar interests and become familiar with the range of activities that the school offers. Breaking into small groups helps students to focus on their individual interests.

“The pre-orientation serves a different purpose from the orientation [because it] focuses on specific things,” said Chui.

The pre-orientation allows a more intimate, small group experience to students trying to adjust to a new environment and there are major advantages to attending one of the programs.

“It’s just harder to meet 1300 people all coming at once,” said Danielle Bristow, director of Orientation and Parent Weekend.

According to Bristow, arriving a few days earlier provides students a chance to mingle with smaller groups of people with similar interests before meeting the entire class of 2011.

Unlike the actual orientation, which started on August 24, pre-orientation programs are mostly student-run.

Any student group on campus wishing to participate may submit an application. The Office of Orientation encourages student groups to get involved as long as their purposes do not interfere with those of already existing programs.

“Pre-orientation budgets are set by the programs themselves,” said Bristow.

The cost of any program, however, must be under $300 to prevent it from being cost-prohibitive to some students.

This year, three new programs-The Hatchet in St. Louis; KWUR: Adventures in Radioland; and Hot Lasers and Fast Atoms-Approaching Infinity-were added, while a pre-med program from Cornerstone was discontinued. The Office of Orientation is hoping to expand the diversity of programs and a number of student organizations including debate, mock trials and crew team have already shown interest in participating next year.

Freshmen move in

Monday, August 27th, 2007 | Young Kyung Lee

Freshmen look to Student Union for campus improvements

Monday, August 27th, 2007 | Eva Richardson

As freshmen arrived on campus, many already had expectations for Washington University’s Student Union, ranging from Internet concerns to interest in fun events.

Students repeatedly mentioned the topic of Internet service as a major concern.

Skyler Wills, a freshman from Omaha, Neb., voiced his desire for reliable Wi-fi in the dorms.

“I want better prices for the Internet [Wash. U.] talked about,” said Landon Palakof, a freshman from Pepper Pike, Ohio. “First semester is cheaper, but [I] want to know if they could secure that price for second semester as well.”

According to Marius Johnson, a junior and treasurer of SU, there will be Wi-fi in every dorm this year, unlike years in the past.

In regard to the price of Internet, Johnson hopes to have tuition include that fee, as well as membership to the South 40 fitness center, in the future so, “students aren’t nickel and dimed.”

Student Union is Wash. U.’s undergraduate student government association. Under the leadership of President Neil Patel, this organization is in charge of representing student interests, funding student activities and planning events on campus.

Although some freshmen said that they had not been on campus long enough to form an opinion, others already saw the need for change in certain areas.

“I feel like there needs to be more of a political balance on campus.with more room for political discussion,” said Kristen Schleitler-Ring, a freshman from Chesterfield, Mo., who took part in the Student Union Pre-Orientation program.

In addition, she advocated a larger South 40 fitness center.

“I hope to see fun orientation stuff to get to know people,” said Ryan Tkach, a freshman from Springfield, Ill.

Kara Hendrickson, a freshman from Champaign, Ill., feels similarly and wants Student Union to provide exciting activities so she can meet many new people during freshman orientation.

One general goal of Student Union is, “to be out where students can see us, to see where Student Union’s efforts are,” said Johnson.

He also hopes that, “people know [they] are available to advocate for student interests on campus.”

Other plans currently being discussed by SU are a Web site through which student groups can sell products and better fitness hours for the athletic complex.

It will also hold elections in about two months in order to potentially change the infrastructure of SU so that there will be a president and five vice presidents.

According to Johnson, SU is working on a speaker series to enhance the atmosphere on campus for students.

This series may feature guests including astronauts, Mexican political diplomats and more.

Students upset with unwanted sub-free housing

Monday, August 27th, 2007 | Perry Stein

Although more than 250 freshmen were assigned to substance free dorms this year, not all of these residents requested to live in them.

“That’s not fair. If I didn’t ask for it, it’s not my responsibility [to comply with the contract],” said a freshmen living in a substance free dorm who desired to remain anonymous.

All students living on a substance free floor are required to sign a contract which states that they will not possess any alcoholic beverages, tobacco or drugs in their dorms.

The contract also restricts students from creating any disturbances in substance free dorms while under the influence.

“If you are living there we are asking you to abide by this,” said Cheryl Stephens, Associate Director of Residential Life.

The substance free freshmen floors include all of Beaumont, the second floor of Danforth, the first floor of Dardick and the first floor of Lien.

“These are areas where groups of people live together who all have decided to live in a healthier way,” said Dr. Alan Glass, director of Habif Habitat and Wellness Center. “It is as a responsibility of the University to provide multiple options of living, and certainly healthy living should be one.”

While Stephens hopes that the disgruntled residents will make the best out of their living conditions, she said that after two weeks residential life will try to accommodate students requesting to switch their dorms.

“Our hope is that they will be able to weigh out all the different things [academics and community] and the focus will not be on alcohol or smoking,” said Stephens.

Upperclassmen who were once in the same position as these freshmen said that although they were upset at first, substance free housing actually turned out to be a positive experience.

“Wherever you live is not what defines your experience. What defines your experience are the people that you know and where you go,” said senior Grant Hummer.

Despite this, affected students said they do not think they should have to comply with the contract if they did not request to live in a substance free dorm.

“I’m just going to get in a lot of trouble. I’m not going to let my housing ruin my time in college,” said a resident.

Wash. U. world widens with international students

Monday, August 27th, 2007 | Johann Qua Hiansen

While many colleges only spread the word about their strong academics to internationals, Washington University also shares it’s warm and inviting atmosphere.

As a result, despite a smaller class of 1346 freshmen, the number of incoming international freshmen has increased from last year to 70 with students enrolled at each of the five schools at the University.

These students represent 20 countries from Canada and South Korea to the more exotic nations of Romania and Turkey. Living so far away raises the questions of how international students hear about the University and why they come to Washington University.

“We recruit international students by sending them mail about the University and by making our information readily available. We also have had counselors from all over the world come to visit us,” said Director of Admissions Nanette Tarbouni.

The exchange of information goes in the opposite direction too. Admissions counselors at the University travel to Asia and Europe, University faculty hold overseas symposiums on interesting fields such as genetics and Chancellor Mark Wrighton conducts numerous international public relations trips to places such as Chile.

Stacy Huang, a freshman in the Olin School of Business from Taiwan had never even heard of the University until admissions counselors visited her high school, Singapore American School.

“Wash. U.’s ranking was the deciding factor,” Stacy said.

The University is currently tied with Cornell University for 12th place on the U.S. News Best American College rankings.

Though many students have had the personal experiences of clarifying that Washington University is in St. Louis and not in Washington state or Washington D.C., the campus’s location is a big plus.

“Being in the Midwest is a very positive factor as there is a very helpful atmosphere,” said Kathy Steiner-Lang, director of the Office of International Scholars and Students.

According to Steiner-Lang, the Midwest’s friendliness has translated into a welcoming effect for international students.

Renault Young is in the Engineering school and moved to the University from Indonesia but is from Taiwan. He heard of Washington University from his friends, teachers and students who had gone from his school as well as his sister who was waitlisted here. Young sent off an e-mail inquiry to learn more.

“Wash. U. sent me lots of info and had quick responses in emails which was great,” said Young.

While many students have heard about the Midwestern charm, others have already experienced it first hand.

Steve Sim, an Arts & Sciences student of Korean descent from Canada, had planned on participating in the Pre-Orientation program LAUNCH. Unfortunately, on the eve of his departure, Sim was taken to Barnes-Jewish hospital that night after complaining of acute pain near his stomach; an appendectomy was performed to prevent his appendix from bursting.

What seems like a negative introduction into Washington University actually was not.

“I became more excited,” said Sim. “My RAs and RCDs visited the hospital at night, making me feel more welcomed. My RCDs even stayed in my room from 11 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.”

With so many positive experiences here at Washington University, new international students are already telling their friends back home to apply.

The potential for even more international students adding to the myriad of ethnicities currently represented on campus is very real as the world comes to St. Louis.

Corporate-sponsored Orientation gets upgraded with new activities

Monday, August 27th, 2007 | Dan Woznica
Scott Bressler

The Freshman Orientation Program is back in full swing this year, with both new, corporate-sponsored activities and old, time-tested traditions scheduled to welcome the incoming Class of 2011.

“The ultimate aim of Orientation is to assist students in their transition to Wash. U., to get them to know the resources that are on campus and to make them feel comfortable in their new environment,” said Danielle Bristow, director of Orientation and Parent Weekend Programs.

Many of this year’s new Orientation activities have been sponsored by corporations outside the University, allowing for bigger Orientation programs that don’t put strain on the University’s budget.

Sunday’s Target Night Out, a special event in which freshmen shopped for dorm-room items while enjoying free food and giveaways, was funded by Target; the free pizza students enjoyed after returning to their residential colleges was backed by Pizza Hut.

The WUTube iChallenge, an ongoing movie competition in which different dorm floors have been using camcorders and laptops to film and edit short movies, is being paid for entirely by Apple Inc.

Additionally, Freshman Orientation’s biggest new activity, Arch Extravaganza will rent St. Louis’ Gateway Arch from 7:00-11:00 p.m. on Friday, September 7. The event will feature a DJ, late-night access to the museum and free tram rides to the top of the Arch.

Upperclassmen who might think that this year’s Orientation is higher-budgeted than in past years can rest assured that the University is not devoting any more money than usual to this year’s activities.

“The Office of Orientation was not given any more funding than we have in the past,” said Bristow. “[Arch Extravaganza] is more of a University initiative that has been added to the Orientation program.”

Long-held rituals have also been repeated in this year’s Orientation, including the opening Convocation.

“Convocation is a lot of fun,” said sophomore and Orientation Ambassador Maryse Pearce. “I’d never experienced anything like it before. When my older brother went to another college a few years ago, they just gave him a key and let him go.”

According to Pearce, freshmen participating in Orientation traditions such as Convocation, Celebration in the Quad and Club 40 Dance “have it made.”

The majority of Orientation activities will conclude by Monday night.

Upcoming events include floor discussions for the Freshman Reading Program (7:00 p.m. Monday), the WUTube iChallenge film festival (Athletic Complex and Field House, 9:00 p.m. Monday) and the Movie on the Swamp (Swamp, 9:00 p.m. Tuesday).