New Traditions at Orientation Carry School Spirit into Fall
As Callie Frieler stood outside of the Sette LaVerghetta Center for Performing Arts this past July, watching a wall of people form a human tunnel, she was struck by an overwhelming emotion.
"It was an amazing thing to watch," she said. "People clapped and cheered as the newly-minted Class of 2017 ran through the tunnel. We were all very excited to be a part of it!"
Frieler, who is the director of student activities and leadership development, helped organize and coordinate the weekend's events—a weekend, she says, that was a success for students, parents and staff. With more than 1,000 people on campus, bonds were formed that will last for years.
Highlighting Marywood's 115-acre arboretum, this year's orientation theme was "Branch Out," an idea that is significant in both principle and in practice.
"Not every university can say that they have a campus arboretum," Frieler explains, "so the theme was very personal to us."
The theme was meant to celebrate the idea of new students "branching out" to meet fellow classmates and establish new bonds.
When asked about her favorite moment of orientation, Frieler recalls that while eating dinner with guests, she learned about one family's connection with the university, which goes back for years.
"They began to tell me about one of their daughters, who had graduated from Marywood, and that another daughter was just beginning here," she says. "When I heard that, I thought, 'Wow, these people really have a solid bond, and a true connection with this place.' It was nice to witness a new Marywood generation being formed."
A New Tradition
Although Orientation Weekend is now a happy summer memory, in many ways it still continues, according to Frieler. As we begin the fall semester, the concepts celebrated at Orientation Weekend will be carried over into the new school year.
"The weekend was very successful," Frieler says, "and I think we established new traditions that will benefit other classes."
A new tradition established at this year's orientation—besides walking through the human tunnel—was "The Wood Dance." Named in celebration of Marywood, The Wood Dance is a combination of movements and cheers, providing new students the opportunity to let go and cut loose.
"Everyone, even the parents, joined in," Frieler said. "It was a lot of fun."
Frieler's hope as a new year begins is that the spirit of orientation will continue throughout the students' entire Marywood experience. Finally, with more than 98 percent of the new freshman class having participated in Orientation Weekend, there's a good chance the dancing will continue—at least until midterms.