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%quot;Hello, MoHo!%quot;

Hold that elevator!--Orientation began officially with the opening of residence halls at 8 am on September 1. Across the campus, students and parents laden with computers, CD players, comforters, trunksful of clothes, and whatever else fit into the family car trooped in and out of residence halls--one of orientation's time-honored, if exhausting, rituals. A busy day lay ahead, filled with a picnic lunch on Skinner Green, welcoming receptions, open houses, and panel discussions--all before dinner. Nearly seventy upperclasswomen helped organize and run Orientation 1996.

Decisions, decisions--Vendors of rugs and posters, selling "must have" items for any well-furnished dorm room, set up shop in Blanchard Campus Center during orientation. Word from upperclasswomen has it that a rug not only keeps one's toes warm on a chilly morning, but also cuts down on time spent sweeping the floor (a domestic tip surely never heard from Mom). And to keep their financial house in order, students met with area banks, on hand in Blanchard, to open checking accounts and receive those essential ATM cards. Class en masse--The class of 2000, 490 strong, assembled in Gettell Amphitheater for a traditional welcome ceremony. President Joanne Creighton; Anita Smith, director of admissions; Chandra Dunn '97, president of the Student Government Association; and Leah Glasser, dean of first-year studies, all spoke at the event; dean of students Regina Mooney moderated.

First stop--Hall Committees greeted students and families with a "Welcome to MHC" and handed out room keys. Awaiting students in their rooms were an orientation schedule, academic packets and, in some cases, their roommates. International students began their orientation August 29, with student greeters escorting arrivals from Bradley International Airport. African American, Latina American, Asian American, and Native American (ALANA) students arrived the following day for Passages, a two-day preorientation led by juniors and seniors.

It's beginning to feel like home--When classes began on September 5, orientation events were still going strong. First-year students took library tours, were introduced to the academic computer labs, worked on a Habitat for Humanity project, learned about student activities, took a bus trip to Boston, attended a concert at the Odyssey Bookshop, snacked on M & Cs, went to a dance party in Blanchard, built (and ate) a giant ice cream sundae, and somehow managed to find time to sleep.

College is a breeze--After taking language placement exams, attending a panel on the curriculum and academic resources, and discussing courses and possible majors with upperclass academic advisers at lunch, the class of 2000 headed to Skinner Green for some fun in the sun. For three hours, students built trust, tested their limits, played games, and interacted in small and large groups during an event called Moving Beyond.

Mom, I promise, I won't forget to write--Before saying their goodbyes on Sunday, parents took time out to help their daughters settle in, and, as moms and dads are wont to do, proffer some last-minute advice. Parents could attend three orientation sessions designed specially for them on student life and services and financing their daughters' educations.

Talking points--In her welcoming remarks at Sunday's ceremony, Anita Smith, director of admissions, spoke of the class of 2000's academic strengths (80 percent in the top fifth of their high school class and a mean SAT score up twenty-six points) and impressive accomplishments. The class lists hometowns in forty states and thirty-four countries, and includes 103 ALANA students and fifty international students.

Back to school, after all these years--The forty-eight new Frances Perkins students eased into college life with the help of their own orientation program organized by current FPs. With the Frances Perkins House on College Street as their base, the women, ranging in age from twenty-five to fifty-five, spread across campus for discussions, open houses, and presentations designed to introduce them to Mount Holyoke and to develop a network of support and friendship.

Learning the ropes--During Moving Beyond, teams of students, accompanied by good-natured bantering, worked together to solve such group challenges as walking from point A to point B while standing on the same two boards. Upperclass facilitators also led small discussion groups designed to help allay students' fears and apprehensions about college. The previous evening, first-year students had attended Orientation 101, an MHC first-night tradition using the talents--and humor--of upperclasswomen to convey essential information about college life.
A presidential greeting--At her first Mount Holyoke orientation, Joanne Creighton extended a warm welcome to the new class, and participated in the Honor Code sign-in held Sunday afternoon. Initiated last year as part of orientation and organized by the Student Govern-ment Association, the sign-in reinforces for new students what it means to be a member of a community governed by a student honor code. As her name was called, each student proceeded to the amphitheater stage and signed a commitment to uphold the code. Later, new students and their families headed to the lawn of the President's House for a personal greeting from Creighton, faculty members, and college officials. Soon after, it was time for hugs and farewell waves as families piled into cars to begin the long, but considerably lighter, trip home.

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