Nearly 200 new students and their families filtered into De Mattias Fine Arts Center to begin orientation on Aug. 24.
Students were welcomed to Newman University by Director of Residence Life Scott Mudloff. Senior Marisa-Nicole Zayat spoke to the students about making the most of their time at Newman, reminding them to study hard, explore the city of Wichita and all it has to offer and to be sure to try new things because “that’s what college is all about.”
Theater major Trevor Taylor was excited to begin his first year of college. “My brother and sister came here before me so I guess it’s kind of a family thing. … I’m looking forward to the experience, meeting new people and making new friends.”
Taylor has been in close contact with theater professor Mark Mannette and looks forward to getting involved in both theater and other campus organizations. “I plan to get involved but I don’t know in what yet, there are so many options.”
Alondra Torres-Hernandez and Alexis Segura are part of the cheer team already but are also excited about the diverse club and organization opportunities Newman provides.
“I don’t live on campus but I’d like to get involved as much as I can,” said Segura. “I know there’s a swing dance club and I’d really like to join that. Also just helping out at events for cheer and other fun activities. “
After the initial opening remarks, students were given information on Title IX & the American with Disabilities Act, student support services, financial aid, FERPA and bookstore and security at Newman. During that time, parents attended a question-and-answer session, which is always an engaging and informative activity, and a special luncheon with Newman President Noreen M. Carrocci, Ph.D.
The panel consisted of Mudloff, Dining Services Director Chris Heck, Dean of Students Christine Schneikart-Luebbe, Ph.D., University Chaplain Father Fogliasso, Dean of Arts and Sciences David Shubert, Ph.D., Director of Financial Aid Myra Pfannenstiel and Vice President for Finance and Administration Jennifer Gantz.
Afterward, Schneikart-Luebbe commented, “I thought the parents asked great questions. I was impressed with the answers by all the Newman University community about their dedicated service to make sure that their kids are successful and that they are taken care of. I hear what their answers are and I really believe it. They will go out of their way and bend over backward to ensure that students have a positive experience.”
Questions ranged from what the role of their students’ adviser will be to how athletes would receive food when practices conflicted with the dining halls hours.
After a dessert reception and family farewell, the students continued on in their orientation. The first activity was an icebreaker in the performance hall and was followed by a performance by Newman’s favorite improv group, the Sloppy Joes.
Newman board of trustees member Brian Black inspired the students with his words about social justice and how they relate to Newman’s mission to transform society. He encouraged them to speak out and ask why even when it’s not comfortable.
Each student then attended a Traditions and Transitions (T & T) class, a unique class that they will continue to take throughout the semester. Each year, T & T classes do a service project at orientation. This year, they made first-response packets. Students filled gallon bags with deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes and other hygiene items for an individual in need. The bags will be delivered to asylum seekers and the Salvation Army.
The students ended their day with a community cookout and entertainment by “Playfair.”
Mudloff said, “They (Playfair) come in and get the freshmen to do icebreakers and play games, and help break those awkward barriers down and just meet each other.”
Schneikart-Luebbe said, “I think our president is really committed to (student) success. She’s really talking to (parents) in a very personal and one-on-one way that really resonates with them. I had one family say to me, ‘I’m sad to be leaving but I feel like my daughter is in a good place and she is well taken care of,’ and as a parent, that’s the best you can hope for.”