Students Arrive on Campus for Undergraduate Orientation

They come from Morocco, Panama, Austria, Switzerland and countries across the globe.

They dream of becoming first-rate biochemists, artists, teachers, business leaders and Jewish thinkers.

In all, more than 650 new students will arrive at Yeshiva University’s Wilf and Israel Henry Beren Campuses this week to begin their academic journeys at the only institution where high-level Judaic studies and cutting-edge academics go hand in hand.

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Fall 2012 Orientation kicked off on Wednesday, August 22 with exciting and informative activities to help students feel at home. Newcomers learned their way around YU’s uptown and downtown campuses on interactive tours led by student guides, who introduced them to key faculty, staff and resources dedicated to their academic and personal success.

Tone-setting sessions such as “Balancing Torah Learning and University Study”, “Transitions: Making the Most of Your Yeshiva Experience in New York” and “Pursuing Possibilities: Women in Careers,” featuring deans, roshei yeshiva, alumni and Career Development Center representatives, invited incoming students to think critically about their professional and personal goals at the start of this formative chapter in their lives.

But there was also time to celebrate the adventure and excitement of that new chapter with a special New York flavor, whether that meant taking in a Staten Island Yankees game for Wilf campus students or joining in a Broadway-themed evening that culminated in a trip to the hit Broadway show “Mary Poppins” for those at the Beren Campus. Other New York-themed events included educational trips to the Union Square Farmers’ Market, museum visits, halakhic and historic walking tours of Washington Heights and Midtown Manhattan and a chessed trip to a nearby hospital.

“As we begin Chodesh Elul [the Hebrew month of Elul] we are profoundly reminded of the challenge and the opportunity of renewal and new beginnings based on who we are and who we can be,” said YU President Richard M. Joel. “In that spirit, Orientation and the start of a new semester is a wonderful time for the entire Yeshiva University community, from students to faculty to members of the broader YU family. It is a time to realize that we are a wonderful community and for each student to know that he or she has both an opportunity and obligation to own that community.”

Student Resources

As part of that community, students will have a host of innovative resources available to them throughout their college experience. “We’re using creative forms of communication to engage students about academic and campus life while helping them get to know each other and University personnel and resources quickly and easily,” said Marc Spear, senior director of YU’s Office of Student Life.

One example is Quick Sheets, a palm-sized fan book that will be available to all new and returning YU students on the Beren and Wilf Campuses. The reference piece contains useful cards listing operating hours for libraries, cafeterias and shuttles, as well as important contact information, eruv maps and other details students need at their fingertips.

New students can also visit “New to YU,” a one-stop Web site with information on everything from class schedules to dorm rooms.

Still have questions? Students can call the Office of Student Life helpline at 212-960-5411 or e-mail answers@yu.edu with any issue, question or comment about any aspect of life at YU, whether that’s “How do I find a chavrusa?”, “What is the shuttle schedule?” or “Where do I share a new idea?”

Campus life at YU is dynamic, diverse and full of opportunities for student involvement.

“There is a student club for nearly every interest, student government to voice opinions and energizing Shabbat programs on both campuses,” said Spear. “We’re also putting the final touches on a new Student Life Center on Amsterdam Avenue and 186th Street—a location for student councils and clubs to meet, collaborate and interact with the larger student body and campus community.”

Nowhere But Here

“Orientation is a time to set high goals for academic achievement, personal and spiritual development, and for developing a network of friends who will inspire and sustain you throughout your life,” said Dr. Karen Bacon, the Dr. Monique C. Katz Dean at Stern College for Women. “The challenge is to set a roadmap for achieving those lofty goals once Orientation is over. Your professors, your advisors and the whole YU community are here to help you do just that.”

She added: “In choosing YU as a college and eventually your alma mater, you have identified with a noble tradition of Torah U’madda, and you have identified yourself as someone who will not be satisfied with anything less than the best of two worlds—a Torah way of life and a passionate involvement in modern society.”

Simone Weissberg, of Miami, Florida, is looking forward to that unique YU experience. “I chose to come here because it’s the only place that allows you to build your career at the same time as you build your identity as a Jewish woman,” said Weissberg, who will be studying fashion design at Stern College.

“It’s a one of a kind place,” said Natan Szegedi of Hungary, who hopes to pursue a combined BA/MS in engineering at YU and Columbia University. “I’m really looking forward to experiencing Shabbat on campus. I’ve heard great things about it.”

Asher Becker, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, is hoping to major in Jewish history at Yeshiva College. “I came here for the fantastic roshei yeshiva,” he said. “I’m excited for the opportunity to learn with people like Rav Zvi Sobolofsky, Rav Hershel Schachter and Rav Mayer Twersky.”

Esther Kerzner, of Houston, Texas, is excited to meet new people and make new friends as she pursues pre-medical studies at Stern College and shoots hoops on the basketball court. “I’m hoping to join the women’s basketball team,” she said. “The way Judaic and secular studies mesh together at YU is really exciting to me.”

Jacob Couzens, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, can’t wait for one of his first classes, “Business in a Global Environment.”

“They’re going to give us the background on different factors that affect businesses around the world,” said Couzens, who will be part of the inaugural cadre of students in the Sy Syms School of Business Honors Program. “I’m interested to see their approach.”

Orientation will culminate with an inspirational Shabbat experience and a festive concert and lunch for new and returning students on Sunday, August 26. You can view the full Orientation schedule for both undergraduate campuses here.

Stay Connected

With hundreds of on-campus events and activities each semester, there’s always something happening at YU. Whether it’s a film festival, lecture, philosophical debate, sporting event or concert, there’s something for everyone. Visit the Events Calendar to see what’s scheduled this week.

Keep up with the latest University news and announcements throughout the year by visiting the YUNews blog. Students can also connect with the University’s official social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Flickr, Foursquare, Pinterest and iTunes.

Get to know YU with This Is Yeshiva University. The app, developed specially for the iPad, is available free at the App Store and features an interactive overview of the entire University, including its history, campus maps, video and more.