First Days on Campus: Sunny with a Chance of Fun... Despite Irene!
New students had much to see and do in their first days as Ducks. Undergraduate Orientation kicked off Wednesday, August 24, and those who participated in Pre-Orientation activities arrived the previous weekend for exciting activities included in the Outdoor Adventure, City Life, Sports and Fitness, and Performing Arts experiences that Stevens offers.
Orientation included a jam-packed schedule of events - the family BBQ and information fair, President's dinner, Freshmen Summer Games, and Stevens Luau were highlights among an exciting lineup of celebrations.
Hurricane Irene proved a slight challenge, but, on the flip side, the storm created a unique opportunity for new students to get a more immediate sense of the welcoming and socially conscious culture at Stevens.
In the early morning of Saturday, August 27, the day of the storm's expected arrival - and four days into Student Orientation - over two dozen freshmen and their orientation leaders chipped in to help the mayor of Hoboken, Dawn Zimmer, and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members distribute critical information about evacuation and preparedness to city residents.
"We initially expected to be making calls from City Hall, but, instead, we set out on foot. We were given fliers in English and Spanish of the precautions everyone in Hoboken was to take during the storm," said Juliet Turalski, Stevens student and Orientation Leader. "Those living in the basement of an apartment building had a mandatory evacuation notice, and all others who chose to stay in Hoboken during the storm had to be notified about how severe the storm was going to be and what they needed to do to prepare. It was tiring, and every volunteer stayed in it - doing the job without complaint. In my eyes, that showed a lot of integrity. It was a community service not many would do in such a critical time. I know Stevens students made a difference in Hoboken that day."
Originally designed as a park, waterfront, and community center painting and cleanup event (a new community service component of Student Orientation), Saturday morning's activity was modified to provide critical assistance to the city during the crisis. "The experience showed me how Hoboken, despite being a major city, is still a close-knit community where people look out for each other," said Robert Hale, incoming civil engineering student and one of the community service volunteers. "I don't feel like an interloper. I feel like a Hoboken resident."
Robert is one of 620 incoming students selected from more than 4,000 applicants this spring. These exceptional students not only make up the largest class, they enter Stevens as the most competitive and selective class in the University's history. They will all soon learn that collaboration and benevolence are simply part of the mix here at Stevens.
As always, Stevens' returning students played a significant role in welcoming the incoming class with open arms, cheers, and an outpouring of guidance and support. "Everyone here has been nice, and I've felt very welcome," said Terrance White, a freshman from Scotch Plains, New Jersey. "It's so comfortable and peaceful, which is especially remarkable with New York City only steps away."