The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Class of 2025’s NSO back in-person, albeit with some structural shifts

Ariel J. Richards
First year students during IPOP standing outside of Noyce. Photo by Ariel Richards.

After the pandemic forced the College to move the class of 2024’s orientation experience fully online, this year’s New Student Orientation (NSO) was back in-person.

On Aug. 20, all first years who did not participate in a pre-orientation program moved into their dorms and began NSO. Katie Goodall `23, one of the NSO Coordinators this year, said, “The biggest goals of [NSO] were to build community and make people feel comfortable in Grinnell, but also just to reintegrate. We really wanted to make sure that it wasn’t so crazy overwhelming both going back to school, and meeting all the new people and going back to in-person in a completely different place.”

To accomplish these goals, Bailey Jimmison, the staff coordinator for NSO, decided to make the small groups larger, and construct them based on tutorials rather than clusters, as they have been in years past.

For NSO Ambassadors, this was difficult to manage. Zoe Robinson `23 led a group of 25 first years by herself. “There was a rotation of three [values sessions], and so for my rotation, it started with 12 first years that would show up. And for each one there’d be less and less,” said Robinson.

According to Robinson and other NSO Ambassadors, it was a concerning turnout. Value sessions include important resources students need to know for their time here at Grinnell.

“Towards the end,” said Robinson, “I talked to other leaders, we were just like, ‘Okay. We’re going to say this is mandatory, and they have to show up to these things.’”

“Once people figure out that no NSO events are mandatory, attendance is always spotty,” said Goodall. “But I think the bigger groups went well. I don’t think people necessarily lacked anything from them.”

Goodall herself lead a group as well. The altered sizes had different effects for different groups and leaders, creating a diversified experience across first-year students.

One of the reasons that larger groups were constructed is due to CAs no longer being required to work NSO. According to Goodall, CAs are no longer part of NSO due to their high workload. As both an NSO leader and a CA, they worked 18 hours a day in 2019. “We wanted people who were able to work full days without it potentially affecting their performance and interactions and other jobs,” said Goodall.

Charissa Kim `25, however, expressed interest in these past approaches. “I think that [sorting small groups by cluster] would have been more helpful, because if you’re in the same class, you will have to talk to each other at one point or another,” said Kim. “But technically, if you’re on the same floor, you could choose not to talk.”

Kim, who participated in the International Pre-Orientation Program (IPOP), and Rumesa Qalbani `25, who participated in the Peer Connections Pre-Orientation Program (PCPOP), both stated that they had different experiences with their pre-orientation programs when compared to NSO.

“I’m really happy that I signed up for [PCPOP] … it was a really welcoming community,” said Qalbani. “In fact, they were so welcoming that when NSO came around, I was like, ‘Oh, these people are maybe not as welcoming,’ to put it lightly.”

Kim said this seemed to be their impression of  IPOP as well.

“After they finish IPOP, once they start NSO, they are missing IPOP,” said Kim. “And it’s not because NSO is bad, it’s just that like really tight feeling of having a small group of people who are all from all over the world and who all feel kind of anxious and very nervous about being in a new country, I feel like that kind of vibe that we shared was so special.”

While Kim enjoyed meeting new people during NSO, she also said that, “Because there are so many more people [in NSO], it’s harder for NSO ambassadors to [be] very specific. With NSO, we always had to follow a very tight schedule because we had 20 something, almost 30 [students] in our group. We can’t just stay there in a building and ask questions, because the other group has to come in, they have to do their own tour.”

After all is said and done, Goodall confirmed one more change to NSO: “We did get rid of pal-a-palooza.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *