For incoming members of Bryant’s Class of 2023, New Student Orientation offered an exciting introduction to the next four years. The students and their family members explored campus, learned more about the University’s award-winning academic programs, and made friends as they were officially welcomed into the Bryant’s collegial community.
“These students are the future of Bryant and we already know they will contribute great things to our campus,” said Jess Raffaele, Associate Director of Student Events & Orientation Programs. “We hope they can begin to discover all the opportunities available to them here, as well as what their future impact on Bryant will be. One of the main goals of New Student Orientation is to help them find their place in our community. That sense of belonging is really important, and it starts here.”
“This is a great community – it’s a family,” President Ronald K. Machtley told the crowd at the opening welcome session. “And it’s a family that wants each of you to succeed.”
Everything you need
Over the course of the two-day orientation, the students got a taste of what life would be like as a college student, from dining in Salmanson Dining Hall to learning about the resources that can help them reach their full potential. They also met with academic advisors who helped them design their academic paths and chose their fall courses.
The students and family members had the opportunity to attend various interest sessions on a range of topics including study abroad and personal budgeting, performing arts groups, and leadership opportunities.
“We want to make sure that the students and their family members have all their questions answered – and, if they realize they have additional ones, they know who to ask in the future.”
“When students come to campus in the fall, it can be overwhelming,” noted Orientation Co-coordinator for Family Programs Cara DelSesto ’21. “They don’t want to have to worry about figuring out what classes they have to sign up for, or where the buildings are, or where to go for help on top of everything else. Orientation helps them figure it out ahead of time.”
“We want to make sure that the students and their family members have all their questions answered – and, if they realize they have additional ones, they know who to ask in the future,” added Raffaele.
“I’ve made so many friends, we stayed up late just laughing and talking together. To think that I just met these people, and just made these connections, is crazy.”
To incoming student David McCain ’23, Orientation provided a sense of what going to college is all about. “It's a good way to get your feet wet and test the waters before we dive in in August,” he said.
A home away from home
The students also learned about Bryant’s values, including the spirit of inclusion and encouragement at the heart of campus life. “I became an Orientation Leader last year because I wanted to get to know the new students and help welcome them into the community,” said Orientation Co-coordinator for Student Programs Meghan Sengstacken ’21. “It’s really a good feeling to make someone feel special and help them realize that this is their home.”
“I’ve made so many friends, we stayed up late just laughing and talking together,” said Patricia Adesanya ’23 of her Orientation experience. “To think that I just met these people, and just made these connections, is crazy.”
“There’s a real feeling that everyone’s cheering for each other here, and that’s not really all that common, I think.”
McCain appreciated how his Orientation Leader, Nicholas Farrington ’22, took the time to get to know him. “He was really honest and genuine,” said McCain, “and I know I can go back to him in the fall if I have any questions.”
The experience has him excited to return to campus in the fall. “There’s a real feeling that everyone’s cheering for each other here, and that’s not really all that common, I think.”
A caring community
Meanwhile, the students’ family members had their own introduction to Bryant with sessions about campus safety and residence life, learning about support services available to students, and discussing the college transition process with members of the counseling staff.
“It’s important that families know that everything’s going to be fine when their children start school here. Our job is to ease any potential worries a little bit.”
The family members also made connections of their own within the Bryant community. Meeting with the provost, Bryant’s deans, and members of the staff and faculty gave them a chance to talk about their students’ academic paths as well as co-curricular opportunities.
“It’s important that families know that everything’s going to be fine when their children start school here,” said DelSesto. “Our job is to ease potential worries a little bit.”
“You can tell that everyone here generally cares about the well-being and success of these students.”
Their efforts were much appreciated, according to Adesanya. “I’m my mom’s baby and she worries about me,” she said with a laugh. “I’m glad Orientation’s here to help her adjust too, and to let her know I’ll be ok.”
Success and well-being
For Scott Rich P’23, whose son Jacob Rich ’23 will be attending Bryant in the fall, the Orientation program offered a comprehensive look at his son’s next four years. “It’s been really impressive, just like everything else we’ve seen at this University; the number of topics they’ve covered, how helpful the staff has been, all of it,” he said. “We’re absolutely thrilled our child is coming to school here.”
“You’re a partner with your child and the University in their education,” noted Jacob’s mother, Lori Rich P'23. “Orientation gave all of us a chance to see and learn about what our children will be learning and doing in college.”
The best part, she said, was seeing all of the support her son would have. “You can tell that everyone here generally cares about the well-being and success of these students.”