Embracing the Start of a New Chapter at Columbia: Orientation Weekend
by Adrian Warkentin, Interim Dean of Students
As anticipation filled the air, we warmly welcomed our new students to Columbia’s orientation weekend, and their enthusiasm was a source of great satisfaction for us in the student development department. Months of meticulous planning had led to this moment, where fresh beginnings, informative sessions, and the forging of connections awaited.
Our objective during orientation is two-fold: to equip our students with the tools they need for academic success (information) and to introduce them to the Columbia culture (formation). This mission has been our compass in crafting a weekend of engaging events and activities.
The festivities began on Sunday afternoon, as students and their families arrived on campus for registration and settling into their dorms. Thankfully, the weather held, allowing everyone to transition smoothly into their new living spaces. The day was marked by excitement as students met their program directors, who shared their vision for their program and the unique Columbia community they would be joining.
Evening arrived, and we gathered for a hearty dinner prepared by our dining hall staff. Families, staff, and faculty joined in a moment of prayer and blessings for our students, a bittersweet time of farewells marked by hugs and perhaps a tear or two. We then convened in the Chapel to begin the academic year with a spirit of worship and prayer. The evening concluded with a friendly campus tour game, a wonderful opportunity for students to bond and familiarize themselves with our campus.
Monday morning brought the scent of freshly cooked pancakes, courtesy of our commuter student leaders who hosted a delightful breakfast for off-campus students. Following a time of heartfelt morning worship, we delved into informative sessions that outlined both the academic and cultural expectations that define our Columbia community.
After lunch, it was time for the eagerly anticipated second annual Columbia Olympics, featuring events like frozen t-shirt contests, blindfolded sponge wars, icing sugar and water relays, and the grand finale: a tug-of-war on a slip n’ slide, complete with a lively slime paint showdown.
As the sun began its descent, we gathered for “Vespers Unplugged,” an outdoor worship session that reverberated through the neighborhood.
The following moment perhaps sums up the weekend best: On his way back from the Olympics, our men’s Resident Director spotted a student FaceTiming with their parents, excitedly sharing, “Mom, Dad… We just finished the Olympics, and it was so much fun!”
At Columbia, orientation isn’t just a series of events; it’s a stepping stone to a new chapter, an exciting beginning, and a testament to our close-knit community.
To view all the photos from O-Week, click here.