Hoping to foster a collaboration between the Classes of 2019 and the Geneva community, Orientation Coordinators Peter Budmen ’15, MAT ’16 and Hannah Connolly ’16 have been hard at work planning an exciting schedule of events focused on “keeping it local.” Budmen and Connolly hope to ensure that the Classes become integral members of both the Geneva and HWS communities.
“We’re highlighting downtown Geneva because it’s such an important part of our experience as HWS students,” says Connolly, who is pursuing an individual major in health disparities. “We really want them to be comfortable in this awesome city and get the most out of their four years here. If we introduce them to all Geneva has to offer right off the bat, I think they have a better opportunity for really getting so much out of Geneva.”
In order to help bridge the first connection between the Classes of 2019 and the local community, Budmen and Connolly have been working to introduce several new events into this year’s Orientation lineup. In addition to the mainstays of Orientation, like Day of Service and the annual Classes illumination photo, this year’s schedule will also include HWS Night Out, a Love Geneva Tour, and a Love Geneva Lunch.
“Our principle of going into this planning has been to use what Geneva’s already doing so well, such as Love Geneva and Geneva Night Out, and to make it HWS themed throughout Orientation,” explains Connolly.
On Friday night, the events will kick-off with HWS Night Out to give the incoming Classes a chance to explore campus and get acclimated with their residence halls. Hoping to help the students “learn the lay of the land,” Budmen and Connolly have organized a variety of activities, several food trucks, and a social space for each of the first-year residence hall areas – including JPR, the mini-quad, and the William Smith Hill – as well as for the Cellar Pub. Connolly says she hopes the event helps students get to know areas of campus where they might not otherwise travel, and to get comfortable with the campus before the semester starts.
Orientation will continue on Saturday morning with the Day of Service, which will also play into the “keeping it local” focus. Budmen and Connolly are in the process of confirming sites throughout the community where students will volunteer, but say that community members have been eager to get involved with Orientation. Additionally, community partners will be invited back to campus for lunch after the event so that students can continue the conversation about getting involved and discover where they can pursue their interests in the local community.
“We’re a community here on campus, but we’re also a community in Geneva, and I think that shows in our most recent recognition of being an All-America City,” says Budmen, a public policy major. “Between the collaboration of Geneva 2020 and the Colleges, the Community Reads program, the community center here in town, and all of the students that volunteer at these places, I think it really blends itself into what HWS considers a community. And this also plays into the service opportunities that we’re offering on Saturday morning.”
On Sunday, the schedule includes the Love Geneva Tour and Love Geneva Lunch. Orientation mentors will facilitate the Love Geneva Tours, giving the incoming students a glimpse into all the town has to offer and highlighting the sponsors of the OneCard system like Opus and Mark’s Pizza. Students will then return to campus for the Love Geneva Lunch that will bring local food vendors to campus.
Other events throughout the weekend will include the variety show at the Smith Opera House, multiple performances by Mosaic NY to introduce a campus culture performance program that will help students learn about the importance of social justice and inclusivity at HWS, as well as meetings with first-year seminar professors.
“It’s important to both of us that the students get to know Geneva,” says Budmen. “The experiences I’ve had in Geneva, and the local and surrounding communities, have had a significant impact on who I am today and where I am today, and we want to make sure the incoming Classes get these same experiences.”
Throughout the weekend, Budmen and Connolly also hope to emphasize the Colleges’ commitment to sustainability in a more subtle way than years past. Instead of having one specific sustainability event, Budmen says they’re working toward making it a “natural” part of Orientation Weekend. On Saturday there will be an entirely compostable Zero Waste Lunch, and throughout the weekend, there will also be Eco-Reps working at every meal to help sort trash, recycling and compost, as well as new passive programming about sustainability on campus and several events and give-aways.
As they begin finalizing the schedule, both Budmen and Connolly say they’re excited to welcome the Classes of 2019 to campus for a fun-filled weekend as they embark on their first adventures as HWS students.
“I’m looking forward to the smiles, laughter and excitement of 600 incoming students,” Budmen says. “It’s an exciting time in students’ lives – it’s a brand new step.”
Orientation 2015 runs from August 28 to 30.