Orientation Rumors Challenged; New Focus on Wellness Planned

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

The Dean’s Office has been making continuous efforts to review freshman orientation week and make improvements and changes as they deem necessary. Last semester, for example, it was decided that the pre-orientation backpacking trip had to be eliminated.

A rumor recently surfaced that the deans were considering eliminating the Campus Advisers (CAs). But Assistant Coordinator Paury Flowers, as well as Deans Garikai Campbell and Myrt Westphal, assert that they have never discussed this possibility.

Dean Westphal said that the rumor may have originated from a recent decision to relieve CAs of some of their duties on move-in day, such as handing out packets and keys in Parrish Parlors, putting up signs, and guiding traffic in the parking lots. College staff will handle these duties instead.

“That’s going to be a Campus Collective activity now,” she said. “Really, it’s about making [move-in] as polished as commencement is.”

“Orientation has always been a joint effort between the Dean’s Office and the CA Committee…It’s about letting the CAs deal with getting to know the students and letting other people deal with the efforts that affect the students, too, but also their families.”

The Collective is composed of staff from offices all across campus, including Facilities, Public Safety, the Parent’s Office, ITS, Franklin Mint Credit Union, Dining Services, and the Bookstore.

But this year, the Dean’s Office has had two different goals: to push mailings sent to freshmen online, and to incorporate wellness activities into the week.

The wellness activities, such as a bike ride, a yoga session, and a tour of the fitness center, will be a continued into the next year.

“They were well-attended,” Dean Westphal said. “Because of this…we hope to incorporate these into daily student life as well.”

As for the swim tests, which were not taken in CA groups this year, Dean Campbell explained that it was a logistical choice to group the test with the placement exams. But he emphasized that if any concerns arose about orientation in general, the Dean’s Office was open to students.

“There is a thought to try to evaluate orientation and consider, ‘What are our goals?’, ‘What do we want to accomplish?’–and take the time to review.”


  1. When my swattie moved in, we were greeted by student CA’s. Not only did they give directions, they actually helped unload the car and carry things up to the dorm room. Many talked about their Swarthmore experience, their hometowns and families.

    As a parent, I was delighted to meet the types of students my daughter would encounter on campus.

    Please don’t totally eliminate the CA’s on move-in day.

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