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Pomp, Ponies, and a Picnic: Convocation to Celebrate New Year and Opening of Kendade Hall

Kendade to Encourage Multidisciplinary Study

Barbara Ehrenreich to Give Reading

Art Museum's Inaugural Exhibition to Feature Thomas Cole's 1836 Painting The Oxbow

Going West: Mount Holyoke Opens Satellite Admission Office in California

Rabbi Lisa Freitag-Keshet Named MHC's Jewish Chaplain

Tree Planted to Honor Nora Ahmed Gabbani

Orientation to Offer Everything from Discussion and Poetry to a Magic Bus

Agreement Reached between College and Alumnae Association

Construction, Construction, and More Construction

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August 30, 2002

Orientation to Offer Everything from Discussion and Poetry to a Magic Bus

Photos: Fred LeBlanc

Orientation cocoordinators Katharine Sjoberg '03 (left) and Katherine Betzer '04 preview Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America (Henry Holt & Company, Inc. 2001), this year's "common read" selection.

When Katharine Sjoberg '03 left Seattle for Mount Holyoke orientation three years ago, she worried about being so far from home. Her worries didn't last long. "I remember walking into the dining halls and being greeted by volunteers in orange shirts," she said. "They sat right down with me and were so easy to talk to, even though I am a shy person. I thought, ‘It's not so scary being across the country.'" Hoping to ensure an equally smooth transition for other MHC students, Sjoberg became 2002 orientation cocoordinator with Katherine Betzer '04, who likewise wanted to replicate the good transition she had experienced. "What drew me in was the boundless energy of Carrie Bullock '01," she said of her orientation program cocoordinator. "I remember saying to myself, ‘I've gotta do what she does.'" Betzer says it has been "a huge honor" to fulfill that promise and develop the "first, powerful moments as well as the ambience of the entire first week" for the class of 2006. "I want these women to feel proud to be part of this community and feel empowered by the diversity that exists here," she said.

With a fifteen-member student board, Sjoberg and Betzer have organized four days of events for general orientation, which begins September 1, focusing much of their attention on small group activities that will allow meaningful interaction between general orientation students and participants in the College's two preorientation programs: international student preorientation, which began August 29, and the Passages preorientation for ALANA (African American, Latina American, Asian American, and Native American) students, which begins August 30.

"Preorientation provides opportunities for women who share common backgrounds, experiences, and concerns to bond, to talk about identity, to feel secure and supported," said Betzer. "During general orientation, all students will start discovering their common goals, expectations, and excitement, as well as the common characteristics of all MHC women—passion, enthusiasm, drive, and determination to question and push the limits of what's previously been done." Orientation for all students culminates with convocation and honor code ceremonies September 4. The honor code ceremony will follow the Kendade ribbon-cutting ceremony and convocation picnic. The pledge, which reads, "I will honor myself, my fellow students, and Mount Holyoke College by acting responsibly, honestly, and respectfully in both my words and deeds," will be discussed by Persis Yu '03, chair of the Council on Student Affairs; Margaret Robinson, professor of mathematics; and Rochelle Calhoun, acting dean of the College, in Chapin Auditorium. New students will then sign the honor code before being escorted by their "big sisters" to an ice cream social on the Abbey/Buckland green.

"Uncommon Women on Common Ground" is the theme of orientation week and the title of a panel September 1, during which upperclasswomen will present campus life issues, from staying safe to balancing social life and academic workload. Following that panel, groups of ten to fifteen women—a mix of general, international, ALANA, and Frances Perkins students—will disperse with upperclass volunteers. "It will be a nice space for asking questions, more comfortable than a large group setting" said Sjoberg. Those same small groups will meet September 2 after the popular large group gathering "Many Voices, Many Minds," at which students will enjoy a traditional African welcome ceremony, learn the MHC alma mater with the Mount Holyoke Glee Club, and write "I Am From" poems with Calhoun. The final small group activity is scheduled for September 3, following a panel discussion by faculty, staff, students, and alumnae about Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America, this year's "common read" selection. First-years are already chatting about the "common read" at the MHC online discussion forum at, Betzer said. "Reflecting on the "common read" with the panel and in small groups will be their introduction to the exciting discussion and debate that happens every day at MHC." Ehrenreich will read from her book Thursday, September 5, at 7:30 pm in Chapin Auditorium.

Other orientation activities include campus tours, open houses, movies, a picnic on Skinner Green, games at Kendall field house, and a treasure hunt at the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum. New this year will be a student-run panel on academic and social resources at the Five Colleges, moving-in help from members of the Student Government Association, and Herrell's ice cream served on a red double-decker tour bus. Herrell's "Magic Bus" will be parked on Abbey/Buckland green Tuesday, September 3, and Wednesday, September 4, from 11 am to 3 pm.

Orientation is coordinated by the Office of the Associate Dean of the College in conjunction with the Student Orientation Board and four student committees, the Office of the Dean of the College, the Office of the Academic Deans, the Office of International Affairs, the Frances Perkins Program, and the Office of Student Programs.

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