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Watch: First Collection and Community Gathering

Wide shot of students holding candles at first collection

The academic year is underway for the Class of 2023, which arrived on campus last week and participated in several Swarthmore traditions, including the First Community Gathering and First Collection. During that initial week on campus, the new class also took time to unwind with games on Parrish Beach, explored numerous academic paths at the annual academic advising fair, and received free plants from the Scott Arboretum.

On the first day of Orientation, community leaders, including President Valerie Smith, welcomed the Class of 2023 and reflected on the journey ahead. On Saturday night, new students enjoyed First Collection, a longstanding tradition held in the Scott Amphitheater that marks the official beginning of every student’s experience. At that event, students share insights, pass the light of their candle to one another, and sing the alma mater.

First Collection

Students hold candles at first collection
Students hold candles at first collection
Students hold candles at first collection
Students hold candles at first collection
Students hold candles at first collection

First Community Gathering

“There are people here who will expand your view of the world. And the beauty and the wonder of this moment is that, right now, you don’t know who those people will be,” said President Valerie Smith. “My challenge to you today, as you enter a new world and stand on the verge of this next stage in your life, is for you to be open to everyone you meet.”

“You don’t have to prove yourself. You’re worried that you’re not smart enough and that you don’t belong here, but you do,” said Associate Professor of Philosophy Krista Thomason. “The world is bigger than you could ever imagine. Make yourself bigger so that you can fit into it.”

“As you start your adventure at Swarthmore, dive in, explore it all, join those clubs, try a new sport, and take on new challenges,” said Emily Anne Nolte Jacobstein ’07, president of Alumni Council. “Enroll in those classes you’d never even heard of until you looked at the catalog. This is your chance to do exactly that.”

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