NSO Welcomes New Students

By Beth Hanson Hoya Staff Writer

As a new academic year begins on the Hilltop, the New Student Orientation staff has been preparing to welcome the class of 2004 to Georgetown University Saturday, Aug. 26.

Most of the staff, composed of sophomores, juniors and seniors, arrived on campus Wednesday to begin training. “During these past few days, we have made an effort to help the orientation advisors get a feel for their resources on campus before the focus turns to the new students on Saturday,” full-time NSO coordinator Andy Savarese (COL ’01) said.

The NSO orientation advisors are led by one full-time coordinator, four part-time coordinators and 32 captains.

“We have a really great group of volunteers; there is a lot of unity among the staff. It’s been a lot of fun so far,” said NSO Captain Lauren Wambold (COL ’01) said.

“Training has been great, so I’m sure that the new students are going to have a lot of fun. We have a lot of exciting activities planned,” said orientation advisor Cary Cybulski (COL ’03).

As in years past, NSO begins Saturday at 8 a.m. with check-in on Copley Lawn. Following check-in, new students can set up their HoyaNet services in Red Square, get student IDs, attend various open houses and move into their new residences. New students then meet for a small group dinner where they are introduced to their orientation advisors. A Reggae Fest on Copley Lawn concludes the evening. On Sunday, students may attend religious services in the morning prior to the procession and Convocation in McDonough Gymnasuim. Later that afternoon, new students attend an academic orientation where they will meet their peer and faculty advisors and receive their academic schedules, followed by various nighttime activities including a carnival and Late Night at Yates. Monday and Tuesday are primarily composed of academic placement testing and additional academic orientation.

The schedule remains very similar to past orientations, with one primary exception. “A new element that we have added this year is a speech on diversity. We thought it was important to emphasize and celebrate our diversity here at Georgetown,” NSO coordinator Jamal Epps (COL ’01) said.

The addition of a diversity element to the NSO program comes in the wake of an academic year that saw many students disconcerted about the state of diversity on campus. In December, a menorah erected by the Jewish Student Association was twice vandalized, and in January, there were incidents of racially charged vandalism in several residence halls. In March, leaders from several minority clubs joined together to form the Georgetown Unity Coalition in an effort to persuade the university to amend its student code of conduct and institute programs such as the diversity component of NSO.

Georgetown graduate Tim King (SFS ’89), president of Hales Franciscan High School in Chicago, Ill., will address all new students at the NSO finale in McDonough Gymnasium Tuesday evening.

Small group meetings will follow the finale and conclude NSO 2000.

“NSO and graduation are the two most important events at Georgetown,” said NSO coordinator Aaron Polkey (COL ’02). “They begin and end your experience here. We want to make the first experience wonderful for the new students this year and fill them with spirit for Georgetown that will remain strong until long after graduation.”

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