September 8, 2021
The Alma College Class of 2025 was welcomed to campus on Thursday, Aug. 26.
Orientation weekend, this year called ‘Tartan 101,’ ran from Aug. 26 to Aug. 29. The weekend was packed full of activities that helped acclimate the class of 2025 to campus and to the various rules, regulations and events that are held all around Alma College. It was planned by Assistant Director of First Year Engagement Laura Riegger and Senior First Year Guides Brendan Murdie, Katie Bailey and Elizabeth Majchrzak.
On the morning of Aug. 26, teams of first year guides and resident assistants helped the students move into Gelston and Bruske Halls, and in the afternoon the freshmen and transfer students were treated to their first Alma College event: the Welcoming Convocation. Held in Hogan Center, the buzzing class of freshmen were welcomed by President Jeff Abernathy and taught the Alma Mater by Dr. Will Nichols.
After some tearful goodbyes to parents and supporters, the tradition of the annual class picture was upheld as the entire class crowded around the Alma ‘A’ on Bahlke Field. The entire class smiled up as the drone snapped the picture—all the while grateful to not be spaced out six feet apart, as was the mandate for last year’s orientation. That night, the class of 2025 was treated to another tradition for orientation weekend: a hilarious hypnotist show.
On Friday, led by their First Year Guides, freshmen and transfer students were treated to a presentation by speaker Jen Fry about diversity, identity and inclusion. For lunch, each first year seminar (FYS) group was paired with a professor, who would be teaching their FYS class, and a professional that works for the college. They also enjoyed some ice cream in Hamilton Commons with their academic advisors.
That night, the freshman and transfer students gathered once more in Hogan Center for the annual Traditions Dinner, where they were educated about the various traditions around campus. The dinner included catered meals served by resident assistants, and speeches by President Abernathy, Chaplain Andrew Pomerville, Dr. Michael Selmon and Dr. Will Nichols. All attendees of the dinner were told to dress formally, an older tradition that was brought back for this year’s orientation week.
On Saturday and Sunday, the freshman and transfer students experienced community service at various areas around town, a scavenger hunt that helped them further acclimate to campus and a resource fair held in Mac Mall that showcased all the clubs and organizations that Alma College has to offer.
“I was so tired,” said Abigail Haag (‘25). “We were doing so much, there wasn’t a lot of room for downtime. Overall, I think it was a very useful experience, though.”
The action-packed weekend led right up to the first day of classes on Monday, Aug. 30.
“A lot of planning went into Tartan 101,” said Brendan Murdie (‘22). “This year was a little different than previous orientations because much of the process was overhauled to ensure that students made concrete connections with other students as well as faculty and staff over their first few days of campus. Alma is very much a family and a close-knit community, and Laura Riegger wanted to make sure that our first-year and transfer students felt that right away.”
“Throughout the summer, and during Tartan 101 itself, Laura was helped by Noah Harrier-Burks, a graduate intern from Clemson, senior first year guides (Katie Bailey, Elizabeth Majchrzak, and I) and first year guides,” said Murdie.
“The [senior FYGs] and Noah worked over the summer to help Laura throughout the planning process. Whether we were making calls to local businesses, creating promotional videos and t-shirts, writing work orders, attending meetings or whatever else it might’ve been, nothing could’ve been accomplished without all of us working together.”