Concordia College had their first “normal” orientation after two years of having COVID restrictions. This year’s orientation was the closest it could get to normal while still following rules and safety to combat COVID-19.
The orientation committee worked many hours training and preparing for this year’s eventful week. Eh Lar is this year’s chair for orientation and his goal was to make orientation an inclusive space for new students. “I wanted everyone to feel like they belonged in their club and at the college,” said Lar.
“The job is mostly paperwork and getting in touch with places on campus and in the community,” said Lar.
Orientation starts a few hours after the new students move into their dorms. Students meet their roommates and start unpacking. After that, the new Cobbers and their families are invited to join President Craft and orientation crew for the Blessing of the Journey. The new students receive their beanies– gold for freshmen and maroon for transfers. Families say goodbye to their new college students and the students themselves have some wellness time before gathering with their orientation clubs.
The freshmen join their orientation club and meet the rest of their “clubbies.” These will be the people they spend most of their time with before their first day of class. Clubbies also share an inquiry seminar, so they will continue to see one another throughout their first semester at Concordia. They also have two club leaders that are made up of current Cobbers.
Noah Jeppesen is a current Concordia student who decided to be a part of orientation this year. He is an orientation club leader and First Year Transition mentor. A First Year Transition mentor is a club leader that holds a “class” with the club once every few weeks talking about Concordia and giving resources and help to the new students.
“I wanted to have a role that would allow me to connect with new and incoming students, while also being able to maintain the new friendships throughout the school year,” said Jeppesen.
They play icebreakers and go over some basic college rules and resources after forming their group somewhere on campus.
Over the next few days, the clubs gather and participate in many more campus events. A big orientation activity is Hands for Change. Each club volunteers at a place either on campus or around the Fargo-Moorhead area. Cob Hob Nob is also a hit and gives the students a fun break to do some interests and meet some of the clubs on campus.
In 2020, Hob Nob and Hands for Change had to be combined and there weren’t as many activities as possible to participate in due to COVID restrictions. Most of the students that participated in 2020 orientation feel like they missed out on all the fun festivities orientation week has to offer.
“I know the orientation team did their best with the situation presented my freshman year, but I thought this year had a lot more going on and was just more fun. I remember taking a lot more breaks during my orientation than how it was this year. I also really enjoyed all of the social interaction that I got during this orientation, which is something I didn’t get all that much of freshman year,” said Jeppesen.
This year, Hands for Change was able to go on the road. Last year in 2021, there were a couple of clubs that got to go out into the community, but many could not and had to find a way to participate in this part of the week somewhere on campus.
Most of the clubs went off campus. Some walked to places like the Rourke art Museum and the Moorhead Public Library to help with some cleaning. Other clubs had to take vans and buses to their location like Hope Blooms to make bouquets and the Red River Zoo to do some simple landscaping.
The Cob Hob Nob was a big success this year with the campus buzzing with freshmen. North campus was filled with tables and different activities that showcased some of the clubs on campus. There were yard games, tapestry weaving, and potting plants.
In 2020, there were only a handful of things to do during Hob Nob. The one that was the most popular and more hands on was painting rocks which collaborated with the Hands for Change portion of the week as well. The painted rocks were to go to Sanford and line the sidewalks of the hospital.
Orientation week ends on the first day of classes, which is a Thursday. Convocation happens in the morning. Professors dress in their graduate attire and attend to greet all the new students and send them off on this new school year.
After convocation is the beanie toss. This year was the 100th anniversary of the beanie toss. It was also President Craft’s last year doing it.
In 2020, Convocation did not happen in this traditional sense. The beanie toss also looked different due to social distancing. Each club went to their main meeting place and were told to throw their beanie with just their club rather than the whole class like years before.
On the count of three, yelled by President Craft and Lar, the freshmen throw up their beanies like they will in four years with their graduation caps. Yellow beanies fly through the air, beginning the new and “normal” school year.