On Jan. 8, Brandeis’ Midyear Class of 2019 moved into their rooms in the Village to begin their first-year orientation. Midyear Orientation takes place in the days leading up to the first day of classes for the spring semester.
Due to classes starting on a Wednesday, Midyear Orientation took place over five days this year rather than four, according to Director of Orientation Jenny Abdou. The week was planned by Abdou, Assistant Director for First Year Programs and Orientation Coordinator Scott Berozi, as well as the Midyear Planning Committee. This year, the committee consisted of three students who are all previous CORE Committee members: Genesis Leon ’16, Ellie Rosenthal ’16 and Brendan Weintraub ’16. As members of CORE 2014, Leon, Rosenthal and Weintraub planned the Fall 2014 First-Year Orientation together as well.
The trio was selected last spring to plan the programming, but work began in the fall when they began meeting weekly with Orientation staff. “We worked together as a team to make a unique diversity program, create programming for OLs to learn more about facilitation techniques, and run logistics for every event of both training and Orientation itself,” said Rosenthal. “It really was a team effort and I loved being able to work with Gen and Brendan again.” Rather than come back to campus even earlier, winter Orientation Leaders (OLs) have multiple training sessions during the fall semester.
While the weather is drastically different, much is the same between the August and Midyear Orientation programs. The university tries to “provide a consistent message to all new students, regardless of when they arrive on campus,” said Abdou. One recurring event is the popular “This is Our House” event with Dean of Students Jamele Adams.
However, despite efforts to streamline the two programs, the midyear class is significantly smaller than the fall semester class, creating a more intimate atmosphere at most midyear orientation events. “Programming is much more personalized and orientation leaders and their groups have more time and space to really get to know each other on deeper levels,” said Rosenthal.
“Midyear orientation and fall orientation are two very different games,” said OL Hannah Brooks ’16. While she enjoys the opportunity to get to know students on a more personal level, the smaller scale makes midyear orientation surprisingly more exhausting. With fewer OLs, everyone has to set up and clean up for all the events.
One highlight for orientation leaders and first-year students alike included the Midyear Ball. The ball took place in Sherman Function Hall with music and a photo booth followed by a trip into Boston to see Shear Madness. This year’s programming also included the first ever dance party at midyear orientation. “The dance parties during fall orientation are always great, so it was wonderful to have that opportunity again,” said Brooks.
After a Midyear Talent Show, Abdou commented that, “the new students are very talented and I am sure you will see many of them get involved on campus right away.” Though the Orientation programs have officially ended, students still receive the same Orientation Pocket Guides as the fall students with information on events happening throughout the first week of classes. The Winter Involvement Fair, one of the last events for new students, will be held Sunday, Jan. 17 from 1-3 p.m. in the Shapiro Campus Center.