Class of 2020 moves onto campus, then heads out for Orientation service and adventure
More than a week of welcoming activities is underway as the Class of 2020 begins its Princeton years with small-group experiences in community service projects, outdoor adventures and campus workshops.
While returning students aren't due back until classes begin on Wednesday, Sept. 14, most of the 1,306 first-year students arrived Saturday, Sept. 3, to move into their residential colleges and begin Orientation.
"Because we adopted a unified orientation structure, greeting the whole class and their families on the same day offered a powerful, community-building experience," said Dean of the College Jill Dolan. "The excitement was palpable and the sense of class identity strong. My staff and I look forward to ushering the Class of 2020 into their new academic work when they return from their Outdoor Action and Community Action trips."
On move-in day, the campus was awhirl as new students and their families unloaded minivans and hauled suitcases and sports gear into the dormitories.
"The campus is beautiful," said Josue Chirinos, surveying his new surroundings. "The people here are so friendly so far. My roommates have been really nice. Their families have been really nice to me and my entire family." Chirinos said he's looking forward to broadening his experiences, having lived only in his hometown of Houston. "Here it's a little more diverse and I'm really excited to meet different people and experience different cultures for the first time."
Asked for her first impressions on move-in day, Binita Gupta of Chicago replied: "It's super cool! I'm really excited and everyone here is already so nice. I can't wait to meet everyone."
New Jerseyan Jackson Artis described move-in day as "kind of surreal."
"It still hasn’t really hit yet but I’m pretty excited," Artis said, adding that what he's looking forward to most is "a lot of class time with professors and whatnot. It should be a lot of fun."
Alexis Stokes, who flew in from Michigan, said she was nervous but excited about beginning her Princeton experience. "I'm looking forward to Community Action and meeting a bunch of people and trying some new things, taking different classes," she said.
Stokes is one of more than 525 first-year students participating in Community Action service projects in Princeton and other communities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Another 702 first-year students headed into the woods for camping and other adventures as part of the Outdoor Action program, and programs are also underway for incoming athletes participating in fall varsity sports.
Students return from their small-group experiences by Friday, and Orientation continues for another week with presentations on academic success and campus life, the University's annual Opening Exercises ceremony, a Class of 2020 Pre-Read Assembly, residential college dinners, a Step Sing at Blair Arch, a student organizations' activities fair and much more. The Orientation calendar is available on the Your Path to Princeton website.
At the Pre-Read Assembly on Sunday evening, first-year students will discuss with author Danielle Allen her book on the Declaration of Independence, "Our Declaration." President Christopher L. Eisgruber chose the book for all first-year students to read over the summer.
Rochelle Calhoun, vice president for campus life, cited a passage from "Our Declaration" in summing up the Orientation experience.
"In her book, Danielle Allen speaks about 'engaging all members of a community equally in the work of creating and re-creating that community,''' Calhoun said. "It has been wonderful to watch our upperclass leaders welcome, engage and co-create the Princeton community with our newest members, the great class of 2020."