Fall semester orientation, a rite of passage for incoming students at colleges and universities across the country, can be a whirlwind. But CMC’s Dean of Students Office has been working hard to make the transition easier for new CMCers. The process kicks off with Move In Day on August 20, only the start of Claremont McKenna’s unique program to introduce new students to the CMC campus and community.
Some incoming students, like Eric Oregel ’21, networked before arriving on campus. “A few Southern California CMCers organized a bonfire to get to know future classmates,” Oregel said. For others, Move In Day will be the first time they meet the CMC community.
Regardless of their familiarity with CMC, when incoming students arrive at their Residential Quad – South Quad, Mid Quad, or North Quad – between 8-11 a.m., they can expect to be greeted by a team of students called First Year Guides (FYGs) who are ready to help move them into their rooms.
On Move In Day, FYGs are easy to spot around campus in their maroon “Go Big and Find Home” shirts.
“You can really identify who’s there to support and help you,” rising senior Brendan MacDonald ’18 said.
FYGs are integral not only during Orientation, but also throughout the academic year as resources and mentors to new students.
Although he’s not a FYG, MacDonald will be one of the first CMCers to greet newly arriving students this semester, as many CMC scholar-athletes will be on campus to assist with the move in too. MacDonald, who plays for the CMS football team and the Claremont Lions club rugby squad, was one of the first students back on campus this summer, arriving with other CMS athletes about two weeks before Move In Day.
“There are a lot of helpful people around,” MacDonald said. “It’s an hour of chaos, and then it’s settled.”
When the ‘chaos’ subsides, the first of many community gatherings will commence. From 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Move In Day, a new student and family luncheon will be held in the refurbished Collins Dining Hall. Lunch will be followed by the official Welcome to CMC at Roberts Pavilion and Plaza, with comments by President Hiram E. Chodosh and the College’s senior leadership. Next is a series of Orientation activities, including Parent and Family sessions and the Class of 2021 photo. Students will also have a chance to mingle with their peers and hear about the College’s traditions with Student Life at CMC, where Dean of Students staff members will share their experiences.
There comes a time during Move In Day when new CMCers must part ways with their parents and families; the Food Truck Farewell Dinner, held from 5:30-7 p.m., serves that purpose. Following goodbyes and the Date and the Discussion workshop, Move In Day winds down with an Ice Cream Break. The next morning, students will depart on their Welcome Orientation Adventure (WOA) to spend three days with their peers, led by FYGs.
CMC’s approach to new student orientation, from Move In Day to WOA trips, and the informative sessions leading the first day of classes, sets a precedent for the community spirit that the class of 2021 can expect during their time at the College.
For MacDonald, the first day on campus echoes throughout the rest of the year. “People throw around the word ‘community,’” he said, “but I’ve really come to understand what that means here — it’s a group of people focused on helping each other, and Move In Day was a perfect example.”
Full Move In Day and Orientation week details are available on the Dean of Students Orientation pages.