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Freshmen: how this year did and/or didn’t live up to expectations

in Campus Journal by

It’s only everything we’d been waiting for what felt like our entire lives — the big change, the first taste of true freedom most of us would be able to experience, away from parents and strict expectations and left (mostly) to our devices. Most of us had been planning for it, hoping for something better, something that was worth waiting and struggling all that time for, and now we’re here, wrapping up our first year of this great adventure we’d been waiting on for so long.

Sometimes it feels like move in day was just yesterday — I can clearly recall the hoards of students excited to help us move in and the chaos that ensued. I won’t soon forget the tears on my parents face as they left me behind on this strange new campus, and who can ever forget orientation (I mean, at least the fact it happened)? Yet here we are, wrapping up our first official year at Swat, and there’s so much to look back on and reflect on it’s pretty overwhelming, especially with finals lurking around the corner. But it seems almost impossible to avoid reminiscing as we watch the flowers bloom and the campus start to resemble what it looked like that first move in day.

Obviously, I can’t pretend to know what all of you wanted or were expecting from this experience. If you were expecting a ton of fun and little work or a ton of work and a little fun, or if you had any clue Sharples would have this many questionable meals. Perhaps you were hoping for your first real, serious romantic relationship, or perhaps you were just looking to hook up. Maybe you believed you’d find your perfect friends, or maybe you just came in trying to find yourself. Whatever you were hoping, I think we can agree upon the fact that we were able to be in this together, and some experiences fell short while some surpassed all imagination.

So perhaps Sharples managed to fall short of our hopes, pasta bar twice a week being a little much. And maybe the whole romantic scene on campus wasn’t what we were expecting, the small campus causing things to blow up and spread much faster than imaginable. And you know what, maybe you didn’t find your niche yet, maybe you’re still looking for the right friends because those you made during orientation turned out to be very different from whom you’d thought they were.

Perhaps freshman year ended up being a little more work and a little less fun than you imagined it would be, but you made it this far. Pass/Fail may have been more stressful than previously believed, yet now without it everything feels twenty times harder. And most likely, this year went by faster than any other year in your life but was filled with more experiences and feelings and relationships than any other as well. But 2020, this is not all we’ve experienced.

Along the way, we’ve found something within ourselves that’s convinced us we are strong enough and smart enough to be here, to push through the all nighters and crazy papers. We’ve discovered a strength within ourselves that we never knew was there, one that has let us believe in ourselves a little more. Maybe we haven’t quite found ourselves, but we’ve grown in ways we would’ve never hoped for, found ourselves in places we would’ve never pictured ourselves in and given ourselves some room to grow and be a little better than we were yesterday.

I recall my senior quote was, “Perhaps we’ll find what we’re looking for, or maybe, we’ll find something much greater than that.” I can’t say I’ve found what I’ve been looking for yet, but I can say that the journey has been much greater than I could’ve ever asked for. Even though the pain and complaints are still there and some days it may feel like all the struggles we’ve been going through aren’t really worth it, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. So thank you for a great first round 2020, and here’s to the next three.

Late-Night Dumpling Service Begins

in Around Campus/News by

Late Nite, a sushi and dumpling delivery business, opened its doors for the first time on Thursday, October 27th. The business, started by Henry Han ’20 and Natasha Markov-Riss ’20, works to serve food at times when other places on campus are not open.

“We saw a need for food late at night, and our business was meant to fill that need. We thought the one thing that would set us apart from other food services on campus would be our ability to deliver,” Markov-Riss said.

So far, Late Nite has been in operation for four nights, and has received at least 40 orders each night.

“We make it a big point to serve our own food. We’ve heard of some businesses before who didn’t serve their own food and got in trouble, so we make it a point to not to,” Han said.

Indeed, the business gets its food from verified distributors, which Han stressed as important.

“In the nature of sushi, the fresher it is, the safer it is, the better it’s going to taste … Sushi is like an energy food,” Han said.

The opening of the Late Nite has led to considerations of requirements for student businesses on campus. According to Andre Barclay, assistant director of student activities, leadership, and greek life, requirements have not been made explicit.

“I’ve been trying to look into [requirements for student businesses], and I think questions surrounding that have been kind of spurred by the start of Late Nite, but right now, it doesn’t seem like there’s anything specific,” Barclay said. However, he believes it is a good idea to “get incorporated.”

Late Nite is in the process of obtaining a business license from Legalzoom LLC, a process that takes about six to eight weeks.

“We are in the process of forming an LLC, which includes a business license, which protects personal assets if the company gets sued. We also have obtained commercial insurance,” Markov-Riss said.

Eventually, Late Nite hopes to be a part of Swarthmore’s OneCard program, and met with the OneCard office before opening in October.

“We told the OneCard office this is our business plan, this is our business model, we get the food from a certified distributor, we have commercial insurance, we are a legitimate enterprise, and we want to get on the OneCard in the same capacity that any business in the Ville would be on the OneCard. They had to talk to their superiors, and we are having another meeting with them soon,” Markov-Riss said.

As the chief chef and the person who handles the food, Han has obtained a food-handler’s license by taking a class and being evaluated by a test.

“I’m extra careful because I’m serving raw food,” Han said.

Last year, “Quesedrop,” another student-run business, operated on campus to deliver quesadillas to students on campus. However, the head of the business graduated, and the business has not yet had the chance to re-establish itself this semester.

Late Nite hopes to be able to both establish itself with the school and continue to be accessible to students.

“We wanted to keep it simple, scalable, and sustainable,” Markov-Riss said.

As of right now, Late Nite is open on Thursday and Saturday nights, but hopes to expand both its hours and its food choices in the near future.

Swarthmore Welcomes Class of 2020 on Campus

in Around Campus/News by

On August 23rd, Swarthmore’s newest students — the Class of 2020 — arrived on campus to start their five-day orientation program. New changes were implemented in the program, both by the administration and Orientation Committee.
At 415 students, this year’s freshman class is slightly larger than last year’s class of 407, which is in accordance with the college’s goal of gradually growing the enrollment.
“We’re halfway through a strategic plan to increase the student population a little bit,” said Jim Bock ’90, Vice President and Dean of Admissions said.
“So we’ve been adding ten, fifteen students every year to grow the college, in addition to supporting our current students.”
Efforts by the admissions committee also made the new class more diverse in terms of experience, geography, and socio-economic background. A change in admissions policy last admissions cycle that allowed applicants who are undocumented to be read as domestic applicants helped bring more such students to campus. Another goal of the admissions committee was to grow the number of international students.
“This is the third class whose international population is over 10%,” Dean Bock said. “And that’s something we’ve been working toward.”
The percentage of students who are the first generation in their family to attend college is 20% this year, the highest ever since the admissions office has started tracking statistics. One thing that has stayed constant, though, is the college’s dedication to building a well-rounded class with a wide range of interests.
During orientation, the new students were introduced to the resources at Swarthmore. Campus tours highlighted the Lang Center of Civic and Social Responsibility and Worth Health Center/CAPS, whose buildings lie outside the main portion of campus. Career Services talked to the students about externships and resume editing. The academic advising fair helped students choose their first courses, while library orientation sessions familiarized students with the shared Tri-Consortium systems. The class-wide presentations on gender and identity, alcohol and drugs, and healthy relationships were held and followed by facilitated discussions in smaller groups afterwards.
Sacha Lin ’20 was impressed by how her peers spoke about these issues.
“I was surprised at how well the speakers were able to facilitate discussions with students in such a large lecture hall. There was an actual back-and-forth, so I got to hear from a lot of different perspectives at each presentation,” she said. “It seemed like a good number of my classmates weren’t afraid to speak up. I was though, so it was really nice to have more intimate discussions afterwards with the people on my floor.”
The students also had many chances to meet their classmates.The orientation committee, co-directed by Grant Torre ’17 and Min Cheng ’18, placed extra emphasis on organizing more social gatherings than previous years . Events like the ice cream social in Wharton courtyard, Capture the Flag on Mertz field, and the Speed Friending in Upper Tarble provided many such opportunities and had high levels of engagement.  Torre explained the reasoning behind more events.
“In the past few years, there haven’t been that many options for first-year students beyond one evening activity, and we really wanted to supplement that so that there was a wide range,” he said. People were able choose what they wanted to do.”
There were also additional sessions, such as First Generation Family and Friends Welcome reception and a Questbridge Scholar dinner, to help specific groups of students to get to know each other
One of the major events of Orientation Week was the Class of 2020 photo organized on Mertz field. Andrew Barclay, the Assistant Director of Student Life, Leadership, and Engagement, said “Nearly the entire class showed up for the class picture, forming a human 2020 on Mertz field. The Committee hopes this will become a new tradition, creating an archive of pictures for the institution and helping cement the identity of each incoming class.”
The system of Orientation Leaders (OLs)was also reintroduced this year. OLs acted as the main liaisons between the orientation groups and the Orientation Committee, answering any questions the Student Academic Mentors (SAMs), Resident Assistants (RAs), Diversity Peer Advisors (DPAs), and GAs (Green Advisors) may have about the orientation schedules and events. They were also responsible for helping to facilitate the nightly discussions after each presentation, and made sure that the events organized by the committee ran smoothly.
Orientation Committee member and OL Clarisse Phillips viewed the experience positively.
“I had a great experience planning orientation,” she said. ” We all really wanted the new students to feel welcome, get to know campus and have a good time, and I think that sentiment was present every minute we spent on the project. Everyone who came early knew that’s what they were there for and put in the time and effort to make the project a success.”
Fellow Orientation Leader Zain Talukdar echoed similar thoughts, but also added a suggestion for OLs to join their orientation groups at lunch.
As for orientation next year, the administration is currently collecting feedback from the students, Orientation Committee, and Orientation Leaders to make any necessary changes to the program.

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