MARINA PAPPAS ’19
This year is the pilot of the new freshman orientation program, The Bantam Network. There have been differing opinions as to whether the program has been a success or a failure because the Class of 2019 has been the first to experience it. Depending on who you ask, there will be different responses, but, just like many aspects of life, the Bantam Network has been implemented and it is up to students to take advantage of the opportunities that the program provides. If a student has no desire to participate, then of course they would consider the program a failure. However, as an avid participant, I can say that it has been very beneficial to be a part of such an extensive network of people who want me to succeed.
To preface the discussion about this program, it is important to recognize that Trinity already exerts a great deal of effort into making prospective and incoming students feel that they are part of a close-knit community. For example, I attended an accepted students event at the Yale Club in New York City, where I met and spoke with current students, faculty, and even President Berger-Sweeney herself. I was even able to speak with some of the students who created the Bantam Network program. In addition, V.I.P. Days and June Days events provided opportunities to develop even more knowledge about and connections to the school. From the very beginning, I felt like I was entering a place where people really cared about me as an individual.
Then, when I finally became a Bantam, I was greeted by my new mentors and peers. And I have to say I found it very comforting to be surrounded by other freshman who also had no idea what was going on. We broke up into our Nests and had the chance to sit around and get to know each other a bit more. I do not believe that those events with the entire Nest on the first day were super engaging, however, I will admit that I met one of my best friends through my Nest. There’s something to be said for that. As the year continued, we were given chances to spend time with our Nests as much or little as we wished, with Nest dinners and events planned by our Transition Fellows. My favorite event had to be the paintballing event because it was an absolute blast and it involved people from every Nest.
These events speak to what I would call the core of the Bantam Network: the Trinsition Fellows’ interactions with students. My Fellow, Meredith Friedman, is an amazing person who I have been lucky enough to get to know because of this program. As a Fellow, she helps guide students while also just being a great person to have a conversation with. I have created this bond with Meredith because I have avidly been a part of the Bantam Network program, and I would encourage other freshman to take advantage of the opportunities that this program brings. So the truth of the matter is that the Bantam Network has been a success at giving freshman the opportunity to create a support system, but it only works if they put forth effort as well.