Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What a change two weeks makes

A little more than two weeks ago I was asked to take photos during first-year student move-in day - specifically photos of happy, smiling, excited students and their parents. Let me just say, that was not an easy assignment.

Now photos of anxious, nervous, overwhelmed, conflicted students and parents? That would have been an easy shot. Emily and her family did allow me to take a ‘before’ photo of her room on move in day. 

Let’s hear it for the good folks in student life who organize and energize Fall Welcome/Orientation activities. With picnics, floor meetings, silly games, welcome group sessions, trips to the “Whippy Dip,” line dancing on Main Street, Faculty & Staff Follies, and so much more, new students are encouraged to mingle, to get acclimated to their new surroundings, and to not hide in their rooms.

Don’t you just love the transformation in emotions shown in Emily's “before” photo and the “after” with her roommie? It doesn’t take long for Bluffton to become a “home-away-from-home.”

President Jim Harder spoke about student-led initiatives in his annual President’s Forum yesterday morning. He told about a Bluffton University Sustainability Commitment document presented by the 2010-11 Student Senate Sustainability Committee.

He said, “It is a comprehensive document, seeking to identify practical steps that we can take (and in some cases already are doing) to reduce, reuse and recycle material items. The sustainability commitment speaks to understanding the importance of reducing our energy consumption. It speaks to understanding the importance of reducing water usage, and of using recycled products. It asks Bluffton to work at making the long-term transition to cleaner energy… Today, I am announcing that I will sign this document, moving our existing campus commitment to environmental action to an even higher level. I want to thank our student leaders for their excellent work and for their challenge to become involved in environmental stewardship.”
(full President's Forum presentation text)

So Welcome New Students. Now that your room is situated and you’ve become comfortable making your way across campus, here is your challenge. Find your niche. Make a difference. Leave a positive mark on your new “home.”
Introducing new students to a Bluffton staple, The Whippy Dip!

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