Hobart and William Smith Colleges are gearing up for Orientation Weekend with the selection of 2017’s Orientation Coordinators Micaela Carney ’18 and Ammenab-Taner “Taner” Bennerson ’18. The pair will be tasked with welcoming the newest members of HWS to campus through activities focused on introducing the Classes of 2021 to new opportunities, relationships and experiences.
“Our role as Orientation Coordinators is to create a welcoming environment for first-years as they come to this place that will be their home for the next four years,” says Carney, a Spanish and Hispanic studies and Educational studies double major. “My goal is to make sure students feel confident and prepared for their first day of classes.”
Bennerson, a political science major adds, “We’re also here to help students interpret what it means to be a Heron or a Statesmen, which also means, how to become a citizen of the community around you.”
The idea of “community” will be a significant theme for the duo, who hope to foster an environment that both encourages students to bond with their classmates and to connect with members of the Geneva community. For Carney, a member of the Teacher Education Program, who teaches high school students language skills – and for Bennerson, a volunteer for Neighbors’ Night, an after-school program for local children, the idea of connecting first-years to the surrounding city is an important part of the Orientation experience. They are both looking forward to planning the annual Orientation Day of Service and organizing a walking tour of the city of the Geneva.
“We are a small liberal arts community and also a part of this greater Geneva community. How we interact is very important. I want Orientation to set first-years up to understand all the ways to get involved on campus in clubs, activities and also in local organizations,” says Carney.
Carney and Bennerson are also responsible for hiring a support staff of more than 100 Orientation Leaders and Mentors (OM) to help them carry out the activity-packed orientation weekend. They are both determined to hire a wide-range of OMs who represent, as Bennerson describes, broad “diversity of thought.”
“I’m from New York City, and when I got here there were so much to take in,” Bennerson remembers. He believes OMs should be prepared to listen to incoming first-years and help them transition into college life.
Applications for Orientation Mentors are being accepted through Thursday, April 6.
Carney has experience as an Orientation Member and is also actively involved on campus as the William Smith 2018 Class President, a reunion student leader, a member of Chorale and the Laurel Society, and works as a study mentor and Admissions tour guide.
Bennerson is a residential assistant in Durfee Hall, president of Residential Hall Association which is a student-run organization that works to improve residential life on campus, a civic leader in the office of Community Engagement and Service Learning, a member of Chi-Phi fraternity, and works in the Office of Advancement, the Cellar Pub, and as a Student Ambassador.
To the Classes of 2021, Carney advises, “When you get here, let yourself go through this roller coaster of a weekend. Be nervous, be excited. You can trust us, trust your O-team, trust HWS as an institution, and know that you’re in a really great place and you’re going to do great things here. Take it one day at a time.”
Members of the incoming classes can connect on the official Classes of 2021 Facebook page.