Class of 2016 Gets Oriented, Forges Friendships

By Erin Kelly
Members of the Class of 2016 get to know each other at an orientation event.
Members of the Class of 2016 get to know each other at an orientation event on Parrish Beach.

Orientation for the Class of 2016 continues throughout the week, with the College's nearly 400 new students learning everything from the best way to manage their course load to the importance of community and civic engagement. At Wednesday afternoon's library orientation, students had the opportunity to meet staff, familiarize themselves with library resources, enjoy a Harry Potter happy hour, and register to vote in Pennsylvania.

For Azucena Lucatero, the experience thus far has been pleasantly overwhelming. "I feel like I'm starting over again," says Lucatero, who plans to study biology. "In a way, I am."

Sara Brackeman of Boston, who plans to study engineering, said last week's nervousness and restlessness has given way to excitement and energy. She's considering a minor in peace and conflict studies - the tentative chosen field of study for Rachel Bogel, who says that she's looking forward to choosing classes and meeting new people. That sentiment was echoed by Christen Boas Hayes.

"There are so many different students here, it's crazy," Hayes says.

Orientation continues with chair massages on Parrish Beach, a job fair for on-campus employers, guided exercises and discussions on topics of diversity, a series of social events, and several community engagement projects which are scheduled for Friday afternoon.

The community service aspect of orientation week will be the largest such project in Swarthmore College history, with all of the nearly 400 incoming students participating in some form of civic engagement in partnership with 18 non-profit organizations. This effort is the culmination of s partnership with the Dean's Office and the College's Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility. Students will clean gardens in Delaware County, assist with a senior picnic, sort and pack food for the Philabundance Food Bank, and clean therapy equipment for Children and Adult Disability Educational Services, among other projects.