The majority of the Class of 2017 arrived on campus Wednesday and battled the rain to get their laptops, bedding, clothes, and many other necessities into the residence halls and start the process of turning their first dorm room into a home.
In her welcoming remarks to students, Interim President Kim Cassidy made light of the wet weather, promising it would serve as a good omen for future endeavors. "People always say that when it rains on your wedding day, it's good luck. So for you, Class of 2017, I want to tell you that the rain means that in four years when you leave Bryn Mawr, you will each be accepted into the graduate school of your choice, your parents will be happy to know you will receive multiple offers of employment, and the world will be yours to explore."
But becoming a member of the Bryn Mawr community involves much more than hanging some posters and meeting your roommate.
Over the years, the College has developed extensive programming, including but not limited to Customs Week, to help all new students as they begin the transformative experience of a Bryn Mawr education.
"I think that the relationships that students build with each other—not just through their customs groups but through classes, clubs, athletics teams, and affinity groups —are among the most rewarding elements of the Bryn Mawr experience,” says Interim Dean of Students Judy Balthazar. “Bryn Mawr is now such an international community that students have the chance to develop friendships with people from all over the world.”
Customs Week activities include an academic fair where faculty members from virtually every department and program provide advice on course placement, workload, and paths to potential majors or careers; special dinners and entertainment, including a party at Haverford with their Class of 2017; a student philanthropy program sponsored by Bryn Mawr’s Annual Giving Office and Alumnae Association; several important information sessions with College administrators, deans, and faculty; outings to the town of Bryn Mawr and city of Philadelphia; and more.
For some new students, the Bryn Mawr experience began in earnest last week when they took part in the Tri-College Identity, Equity, and Social Justice Summer Institute, a five-day program presented by Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and Swarthmore Colleges for first-year students who are interested in exploring issues of identity, power, privilege, and social justice, especially as they relate to race, class, sexuality, gender, ability, religion, and the intersectionality of these social identities.
Most new international students also arrived before the official move-in day and the College has developed a special orientation just for them.
Of course, returning students also deserve a welcome back and a brief orientation. To that end, the College has put together class assemblies to make sure sophomores, juniors, and seniors get a chance to see each other and to hear about some of the opportunities and resources available to them in the coming year.
Remaining students arrive on campus this weekend. The 2013-14 academic year begins on Sept. 3. Fall convocation will be held at 4:30 p.m. that day in Goodhart Hall, followed by a picnic on Wyndham Green.