Denison University Welcomes New Students; 'Jump at the Sun' Theme of Orientation Program
Posted: August 24, 2004
The faculty and staff of Denison University will welcome the 600-plus newest members of the student body - the class of 2008 - during a number of special August Orientation programs designed to facilitate a smooth transition from high school to college life. At Denison, August Orientation - this year themed "Jump at the Sun" - officially begins on Thursday (Aug. 26), but a few special programs began earlier.
Dr. Mae Jemison, a graduate of Cornell medical school and a Peace Corp volunteer who was admitted to the NASA astronaut program in 1987, will give the first All-College Convocation at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 1, in Swasey Chapel. Jemison's appearance also provided the theme for the incoming class' summer project "Open Skies."
On Wednesday (Aug. 18) some 25 members of the class gathered on campus to depart for Washington, D.C., for the Denison Service Orientation program. Faculty and student coordinators joined the first-year students to work with people affected by hunger, homelessness, and HIV/AIDS. "Camping out" in a church hostel where they prepared their own meals, the group donated their day time to service agencies, shelters and food banks. In addition to the service they provided, this unusual transition to college life provides them with leadership training, group building, and issues education. Denison senior Carolyn Ramsden of Gatlinburg, Tenn., is the student coordinator of the program, along with faculty members Abigail Ghering, assistant dean of academic support, and Nathan Hanke, assistant director of student activities for programming. The group returned to campus on Tuesday (Aug. 24).
Another special transition experience for incoming students is D.O.O. - Denison Outdoor Orientation. About 50 hardy students, faculty and staff with a penchant for "roughing it" in the hills of West Virginia joined Professor Donald Schilling, history department, Assistant Professor Paul Djupe, political science department, Assistant Professor DavidGoodwin, geology and geography department, Assistant Professor Kevin Hutson, mathematics and computer science department, and Chris Cowie, associate director of admissions, and his wife, Karen, in the outing (Aug. 21st to 24th) which deprives them of cell phone, CD players and the like, while they camp out.
Student members of various athletic teams (football, men's and women's soccer, volleyball, and field hockey) arrived over the past weeks for the fall season preparations along with various other campus and residential life student staff members.
In addition, other orientation sessions were scheduled from Monday (Aug. 23) to Wednesday (Aug. 25) for international students and students of color.
Thursday, Aug. 26
The majority of students will arrive on campus with their parents beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 26, to settle into their new living quarters, register autos, sign-up for telephone service and accomplish various other chores. Newly remodeled space in Higley Hall (the First-Year Student Lounge, Room 118) will be an "Parent Oasis," a cool and quiet spot to escape the chaos while they enjoy refreshments. Student Oases will be offered in several residence halls. Parents may also attend a meeting at 11 a.m. in Herrick Hall Auditorium for information and a question and answer session on residential life and an Information Fair at 1 p.m. on the second floor of Slayter Hall where representatives of offices on campus that provide assistance to students will be available.
Cleveland Hall's Student Art Gallery will feature works by the members of the Class of 2008, faculty and staff entitled "Open Skies." These are works submitted in preparation for the visit of Dr. Jemison. The voluntary creative project is a way for individuals and the class to mark their arrival in the Denison community. Participants will be guests at a VIP reception with Dr. Jemison exclusively for contributors - not even President Knobel may attend without a submission.
President Dale T. Knobel will preside at the ceremonies marking the formal installation of the Class of 2008 at 6:45 p.m. on the Campus Common (rain site is Swasey Chapel). Prior to the ceremonies that will install the class, a dessert reception for parents and faculty (who will be in full academic regalia) takes place on the academic quad. Residence hall meetings at 8 p.m. and DJ Jammin' James at "Slayter Sizzle" from 9:30 p.m. to midnight will close out the day's events.
Friday, Aug. 27
A group photo of the 600-plus new first-year and transfer Denisonians is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 29, on the Campus Common. A day-long series of small group orientation sessions closes with a picnic at Monomoy Green, a Candles and Cookies Shabbat (7:30 p.m., Shepardson Room, Slayter Hall), van trips to Meijers, a Casino Night at Slayter Hall and karaoke night at the Bandersnatch Coffee House.
Saturday, Aug. 28
Saturday morning at 10 a.m. student teams from the Denison University Class of 2008 will canvass thecommunity asking for donations to the Licking County Food Pantry Network as part of the Denison Community Association service project. There will be a presentation on "Sex Signals" in the afternoon with professional performers blending improvisational comedy, education and audience participation for a provocative look at issues related to dating, sex, gender role stereotypes and misunderstandings between the sexes. A cookout from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Bancroft Field will be followed by Denison Discovery Tours to familiarize new students with campus landmarks. From 7 to 9 p.m. students may explore the Open Skies Exhibit at Cleveland Hall; register to vote in the Burton D. Morgan Center; gather around a bonfire at The Homestead, Denison's alternative living community (7:30 to 9 p.m.); attend a Bring Your Own (not really) Banana Split Party on the lawn by Swasey (7:30 to 9 p.m.); explore the night skies at the Swasey Observatory Open House (7:30 to 9 p.m.); or "walk-in" to watch the movie "Mean Girls" under the stars on the Campus Common (9 to 11 p.m.).
Sunday, Aug. 29
Placement examinations, sand volleyball, trips to Indian Mound Mall, and a chapel service will fill the day on Sunday. And, of course, the campus will be pulsing with all the activity of returning upperclassmen.
Monday, Aug. 30
Classes begin at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 30, and will be followed by a Community Cookout at 4:30 p.m. on the Campus Common.
The first of a series of engaging and thought-provoking All-Campus Convocations is set for 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday (Sept. 1) in Swasey Chapel when Dr. Mae Jemison will speak. This convocation is free and open to the public.
Jemison was born in Decatur, Alabama, and spent most of her youth in Chicago when an uncle introduced her to the world of science. She enrolled at Stanford at the age of 16 and graduated in 1977 with a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering and a bachelor of arts degree in African-American studies. She went on to medical school at Cornell, where she began traveling internationally as a physician. She worked briefly in private practice before joining the Peace Corps and serving as an area medical officer in Sierra Leone and Liberia.
When Jemison returned to practice in the U.S. she also began attending graduate school classes in engineering. She was admitted to the NASA astronaut program on her second application in 1987, one of 15 candidates among some 2,000 applicants. She earned another doctoral degree in 1991 and was appointed the science mission specialist on the STS-47 Spacelab J flight in 1992. On that flight she conducted experiments in life sciences, materials sciences and co-investigated the bone cell research experiment. She also has served on the crew of the shuttle Endeavor and was the fifth African-American astronaut and the first African-American woman to go to space.
In 1995 Jemison resigned from NASA and took a position at Dartmouth. Currently she is an A.D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University, is director of the Jemison Institute for Advancing Technology in Developing Countries, runs BioSentient Corporation and oversees the Dorothy Jemison Foundation. She continues to pursue her particular interests in science literacy, sustainable development, the impact of technical advances on the black population and the importance of increased participation of women and minorities in science and technology.
As first-year students blend into the campus scene, they can look forward to joining the Denison community at an "X-treme Afternoon" from 2 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 4, on the Campus Common; at an All-Campus Convocation featuring Dr. Howard Dean, former govenor of Vermont, speaking on "The Long Term Implications of the 2004 Presidential Elections" at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 5, in Swasey Chapel; at an "Involvement Fair" from 4 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 8, on the Campus Common to acquaint themselves with campus organizations and clubs; and at the traditional "Ice Cream Social" sponsored by the Denison Alumni Society from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 11 on the Campus Common.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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