On Tuesday August 27, theater 10 of Loews Kips Bay Theatre was the scene of the official orientation opening program. This grand welcome is a yearly ritual designed to sanctify those fortunate enough–by dint of talent, perseverance, and a number of other key factors–to attend SVA. As it was the largest incoming class in the College’s history, the room was fairly steeped in good fortune. It’s not an assembly designed to convey information–these budding students will have plenty of experience with that over the next four years–but instead a rare opportunity to impart the institution’s values en masse and inspire the troops. Engagement was the primary theme, from President David Rhodes’ solemn exhortations to vote, to the peppy Campus Life crew urging involvement with community service and student activities.
Orientation week is all about potential. There are information “carnivals,” workshops, tours, and social events. Ideas, opportunities, entirely new modes of thinking and being are presented in the midst of this onslaught of activity. It’s a tantalizing array of activities for the wide-eyed freshman, yet without the element of genuine involvement, it’s just raw stimuli; it’s the students’ responsibility to turn it into something valuable. Right now though, the incoming student body is unblemished by missed opportunities, indifference, or neglect; it’s a throbbing mass of possibility and how it takes shape will be the real story. Stay tuned.