Every freshmen and transfer who attends Springfield College goes to New Student Orientation, or NSO as it is known around campus. This program is based around four days of activities designed to bring students together and acclimate them to college life. Students are kept in the dark about the theme and the activities of the weekend.
“I didn’t really know what to expect,” said freshman Paul Hanson. “It ended up being a four-day long [event] of doing cheers, walking around doing activities. It was fun. I liked it.”
While at NSO, students meet classmates from all different walks of life, and are shown that they have more in common than they once thought. New Student Orientation also allows students to learn about themselves.
“NSO really helped me feel [like] a part of the community,” recalls NSO General Chair ,Diana Harkness. “I really started to learn more about myself.”
Each NSO leader hopes that some of the friendships they made in the four days will last throughout their four years at college, and even throughout life. The group of students are drawn closer together as the program continues to show each student’s true colors.
Another freshman, Kelsey Wenstrom, agreed saying, “Our group was really small and really close, and our leader was just awesome,” said freshman Kelsey Wenstrom.
This year, NSO focused around perceptions: how we see others, and how others see us. The program also taught new students how to break through the perceptions that others have of them.
Using a diversity skit and the “1 in 6” skit, leaders of the program educated the incoming freshmen. Freshmen learned how everyone is different, and that people should accept others for their personalities, not because of their ethnicity, creed or how they dress.
These powerful skits had an impact on Wenstrom. After one of the more serious presentations, her group “circled up” and had a discussion which she described as “good and had a lasting impact.” These skits show students the darker side of college life, not just the side that gets the public light.
Though these serious skits are a cornerstone of NSO, the program also has a major focus on fun. This allows students to open up and meet new people through songs and different icebreaker games.
Both the freshmen and the leaders always have a great time at NSO, whether they expect to or not. Many freshmen end up applying to be future leaders because they had such a good time and great experience. This cycle of new students becoming leaders is what helps maintain the success of NSO, and it is what will keep NSO popular among incoming students.
“I would love to [apply]. I would be very interested in that,” added Wenstrom. “I already put my name in.”