Members of the Class of 2028 at Bryant New Student Orientation
More than 250 incoming students and more than 120 of their family members attended the first session of Bryant's New Student Orientation. More than 1,220 will visit campus by the end of the program.
Class of 2028 discovers Bulldog energy, supportive community, at New Student Orientation
Jun 13, 2024, by Stephen Kostrzewa and Pamela Murray

It’s Monday morning, just before the start of the first session of Bryant University’s New Student Orientation, and orientation coordinator Jack Ryan ’26 can’t wait to get started. “We’ve all been pretty high energy this entire morning,” he admits. They, like so many other members of the Bryant community, have been planning and training to prepare for this moment and they’re ready to give it their all.

“Orientation is so important for incoming students. It’s their welcome to campus as Bulldogs in a lot of ways,” notes orientation leader Alexander Esposito ’27. “I had such a good experience at my Orientation, and I want to make sure it’s the same for the Class of 2028.”

Over the course of two full days, the university’s newest Bulldogs connected with fellow students, staff, and faculty, learned about important resources and opportunities on campus, and discovered what life at Bryant is all about. More than 250 incoming students and more than 120 of their family members attended the first Orientation session, and more than 1,220 will come to campus over the course of the program. An online session is available for those who can’t make it in person.

When they arrived in Smithfield, the class of 2028 found no shortage of friendly faces. From an academic and resource fair showcasing the university’s range of academic offerings to sessions focusing on diversity, equity, identity and belonging, students get a 360-degree look at the opportunities open to them — as well as the people there to help them succeed and thrive, says Laura Field, director of new student programs.

Orientation, she notes, is about taking students beyond what they’ve learned from tours and brochures. “This is about helping them to feel comfortable, to see the big picture about what Bryant is and why this is the right fit for them,” she says.

There’s room for fun, too, including bingo sessions, karaoke, lawn games, and food trucks — all opportunities to relax, unwind, and make friends. Staying in the university's dorms (students generally stay on campus overnight for New Student Orientation, though commuter students have an opportunity to practice their commute) allows the incoming class to bond with the person just next door.

By the time the session was over, the campus-wide enthusiasm spread to the new students. Nadia Del Sonno ’28 already has a list of things she can’t wait to do when she returns to campus in August, from meeting more new friends to starting classes to trying out for the intramural teams.

She also appreciated the chance to share Orientation with her mother. “I think she had a lot of fun,” Del Sonno laughs. “We both had a lot of fun.”

“It was a great time,” agrees Lucian Demartino ’28. In just a short span, he made several new friends, learned a lot about his new home away from home and, most importantly, felt welcomed into the Bryant community. “Coming into Orientation, I knew I had made the right choice about where to go to college, but I still had some questions,” Demartino admits. “Now I’m certain I made the right choice.

“I can’t wait to come back in August,” he says.

Here are a few scenes from Session 1 of Bryant’s 2024 New Student Orientation: 

Academic Fair at Bryant University New Student Orientation
An academic and resource fair introduced students to Bryant’s range of majors across the College of Business, College of Arts and Sciences, and School of Health and Behavioral Sciences. With more than 150 major/minor combinations, the students could envision their own personalized paths to success. 
Orientation Leader huddle at Bryant's New Student Orientation
Eliza Paradis, assistant director of student activities, leads a last-minute warm-up with Bryant’s student orientation leaders before they open the festivities with a song and choreographed routine for the incoming students.
Pond Photo at Bryan's New Student Orientation
Victoria Sousa ’28, Edivania Fortes ’28, Katherine Lopez ’28, and Katherine Sandoval ’28 stop to take their picture by the Bryant Pond fountain, commemorating the first day of their Orientation session — and meeting one another. Already fast friends, they’ve started making plans for adventures on campus together come the fall. “We’ve been having fun from the very start,” says Fortes.
Bryant President Ross Gittell, Ph.D. speaks at New Student Orientation
“As the newest members of our strong Bulldog community we are so happy to have you here with us today as you embark on your college career,” Bryant President Ross Gittell, Ph.D., tells the crowd during the opening session. “The next chapter of your life is a time of great excitement, growth and opportunity.” 
Fun and games at Bryant's New Student Orientation
Icebreaker games and other teambuilding opportunities are an important part of New Student Orientation. The laughs they share throughout the two days often lead to lifelong friendships.
Academic Leadership panel at Bryant New Student Orientation
A panel discussion with Bryant’s Academic Leadership, including (from left) Kirsten Hokeness, director of the School of Health and Behavioral Sciences; Veronica McComb, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; and Philip Robakiewicz, vice provost for student success, provided insight for students’ families into how best to support their children’s scholarly journeys. 
Orientation Leader at New Student Orientation
At the core of the Bryant Orientation experience is the relationships incoming students form with their orientation leaders, who become guides, mentors and friends. During a break in the action, OL Janell Gamboa '25 takes a moment to answer students’ questions on everything from first-year anxieties to their favorite clubs. 
Ronald Bobroff at Bryant's New Student Orientation
“Our goal is to give you a broader sense of the world,” explains Ronald Bobroff, Ph.D., professor of History and Faculty Director of General Education, in a special session dedicated to Bryant’s unique mix of business, the arts, and health sciences. “Your Bryant education is about more than just being an Accounting major or a Biology major or a History major. It's about being a widely thinking adult who has a sense of a lot of what goes on and how one's specialty fits into a larger world.” 
Amica Center panel at New Student Orientation
Bryant’s Amica Center for Career Education hosted a session on the people, programs, and opportunities that help Bryant’s students achieve record educational outcomes that rank among the top 1 percent in the country — and discover personally rewarding paths to success. It’s not just about finding a great job, Scott Connolly, the Amica Center’s senior assistant director of employer relations, notes; it's about finding the right one — a career that fits the student’s personal values and passions.
Parent reception at New Student Orientation
Orientation isn’t just an opportunity for students to form important connections; parents can make new friends too, points out Julia Del Sonno P’28. At the family reception, she and her fellow new Bulldog parents compared notes about the day and built a mutual support network. “It’s great that we’re all here together,” says Del Sonno, “because we all have a lot of the same questions and are in the same boat.




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