|By Doublemajor (Doublemajor) on Thursday, April 08, 2004 - 10:41 pm: Edit|
Thought this was rather interesting...(it's from the Daily Pennsylvanian)
UA pushes new plans for frosh orientation
By Rachel Feintzeig
April 08, 2004
In addition to the toga parties and art museum galas that have typically been a part of New Student Orientation programs in years past, the Class of 2008 will also be exposed to some more substantial activities that will make their debut this year as the brainchildren of the Undergraduate Assembly and the NSO Committee.
The orientation lineup has undergone significant revisions for its 2004 session, with the addition of events aimed at promoting "diversity awareness and interaction with upperclassmen," according to UA member Cynthia Wong.
The UA Education Committee, which Wong chairs, has been "able to pretty much revolutionize NSO," according to UAChairman Jason Levy, who described the changes as "the most impressive UA accomplishments" he has seen in his four years on the UA.
A variety of aspects of NSO, such as the Penn Reading Project and International Student Orientation, have been injected with a new flair.
We're "trying to get a Penn Reading Project book that directly deals with diversity," said Wong, specifically referring to The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother, a novel that features a biracial main character.
College freshman and UA member Shakirah Simley, who has been working with Wong on the NSO project, said that she saw diversity as an area that was lacking during her experience at the 2003 NSO.
"We go to this huge university, and Penn is so diverse, [yet diversity] wasn't even addressed," she said.
Simley has been working to ensure that the Class of 2008 will not be disadvantaged in this area. Diversity sessions will be incorporated into the college house meetings, where students are traditionally introduced to their house deans and faculty masters. In an attempt to include a "broader range of diversity," Wong said the sessions will discuss "diversity in terms of national origin, gender, sexual orientation and physical disabilities."
The implementation of a combined mixer for bothinternational and American students will help to put some of these tenets into perspective and will hopefully provide some lasting lessons for the participants.
NSO Coordinator Troy Majnerick said he saw the dance party-type event as "bridg[ing] the gap between" NSOand ISO.
Levy echoed Majnerick's sentiments, saying that he saw the event as a unifying experience.
"From the very beginning, we will be giving freshmen the opportunity to interact with international students," he said.
The College senior described the new programs as a significant initial step that could "eventually help break down self-segregation to some extent on Penn's campus."
In an effort to fully integrate the incoming class with the Penn community at large, new mentoring systems have also been put into place this year.
The Peers Helping Incoming New Students also known as PHINS, or as Wong calls them, "über-NSO volunteers" are 66 upperclassmen who "are here to answer everything and really network with freshmen," according to Wong.
A UA-sponsored extracurricular activities fair and a UA town hall meeting are also being included in the effort to revitalize NSO.
"When [freshmen] come into an environment with well over 300 undergraduate organizations, it's a pretty daunting task to figure out which one is right for them," Levy said, acknowledging that if students "have direct access to upperclassmen," their adjustment process will be accelerated.
Citing possible long-term effects of NSO, Majnerick said the benefits of the program do not necessarily end with the beginning of classes.
"We use orientation as a jump start to getting students actively involved in the semester," Majnerick said.
|By Whodie (Whodie) on Friday, April 09, 2004 - 01:33 pm: Edit|
I think thats awesome! Kudos Penn!
|By Regulus (Regulus) on Friday, April 09, 2004 - 04:42 pm: Edit|
You guys will have a blast. NSO is one of the highlights of my life. So many parties...
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