ISSY CROWE ’19
On Sunday, Dec. 3, Assistant Director of Student Activities, Involvement and Leadership (SAIL) Sarah Lucas met with the Student Government Association (SGA) to discuss the logistics of the New Student Orientation (NSO) program in preparation for the J-Start Orientation. The J-Start is a new program allowing first-year students to enter Trinity in January as opposed to in the fall.
Improving orientation programs for incoming students was a highlight of the promises made by SGA President Emily Claytor ’18 for the 2017-2018 school year. This year’s orientation program for the class of 2021 featured several new changes for incoming students. One particularly exciting event was the implementation of a walking tour of Hartford. All of the initiatives of the program are aimed at improving Trinity as a community as well as its relationship with Hartford.
Many concerns were raised by SGA members about NSO in general, particularly the controversy surrounding “You, Me, We,” an interactive program used during orientation. The program is intended to promote inclusion of diversity and target issues like racism, sexism, and LGBTQ issues amongst college students. SGA invoked a dialogue on how to prevent issues with orientation in the future, and concluded that SGA should start a committee to approve programs required for orientation.
Lucas maintained that such a committee could exist, but the SAIL office will only commit to NSO planning over the summer exclusively. Since SAIL does not have the resources to begin planning NSO during the spring semester, SGA hopes to be able to construct future NSOs with some thread of conformity in order to offer first year students more comparable experiences.
Other discussions regarding NSO included the future exclusion of inadequate orientation leaders and incentivizing more students to become orientation leaders. The NSO is anchored by the orientation leaders, who come from all upperclassmen years, and are an integral part of the program.
In response to the discussion of orientation leaders, Lucas warned SGA that, although incentives will increase the applicant pool, they will also attract more students who care less about the quality of the NSO experience and care more about the perks for their résumé. Overall, the meeting concluded with promises of strides to enhancing Trinity’s orientation.