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New Student Orientation boasts fresh schedule and events for all

NSO and Raynard
President Raynard Kington speaks to students at the Welcoming Ceremony of New Student Orientation on Aug. 21 - Robert Logan

New Student Orientation (NSO) 2010, which ran from Aug. 21 through Aug. 25 introduced 417 students to Grinnell.

Joe Lohman ’14, from Ohio, was pleased with the proceedings.

“I felt very welcomed,” Lohman said. “It was great experience.”

President Raynard Kington, as new to Grinnell as the first-year students, spoke at the Welcoming Ceremony.

“I was very impressed with the thought that went into the planning of the entire orientation agenda,” he said. “As I mentioned in my comments, it certainly brought back memories of my own new student orientation.”

Amidst the craze and chaos of organizing, NSO intern Grace Hazeltine ’12 and Andrea Conner, Director of Residence Life and Orientation, had little time to consider Kington’s arrival, but were pleased with the outcome.

“It was really exciting to have him come; he set a really nice tone for the year,” Hazeltine said.

Kington especially enjoyed Associate Dean of the College Kahleen Skerrett’s speech.

“I felt that she was speaking to me as I begin my tenure as president as much as she was speaking to the new students and their families,” Kington said.

Hazeltine spent the summer working closely with Conner on this year’s program. This NSO included new programs (such as a pool party and a showing of “Best of” Titular Head films from the annual College film festival).

Hazeltine and Conner also worked to consolidate some of the existing programs. The Student Space Open House, intended to introduce students to places on campus such as the Voicebox or the Stonewall Resource Center, replaced the individual open house hours that each of these facilities used to have separately with an across-campus scavenger hunt.

Amy Chen ’14, a Grinnell Science Project participant, called the scavenger hunt her favorite event.

“My floor is really close,” she said. “We were the most obnoxious [at the scavenger hunt].”

The organizers moved the medallion ceremony to Wednesday afternoon and held the All-Campus Picnic, normally scheduled for Tuesday, directly afterwards.

“We wanted the medallion ceremony to be sort of a cap on NSO, and then we wanted the picnic to be like the big welcome event into the community,” Hazeltine said. “It seemed to work, and hopefully it did what we wanted it to.”

Making new friends is a cornerstone of NSO, and it is something that Mariam Asaad ’14, who came to campus early from Pakistan for the International Pre-Orientation Program (IPOP), felt she achieved.

“I enjoyed getting to know IPOP participants better during NSO as well as meeting more new people,” Asaad said.

Conner and the NSO team want to hear back about this year’s NSO experience.

“We will be starting feedback forums and emailing [first-years] about NSO,” Connor said. ”I already know that I would like to have more emphasis on community service [in the future].”

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