Set to Begin Their Academic Journey, New Students Arrive on Campus for Undergraduate Orientation
This week, incoming students will converge on the Wilf and Israel Henry Beren campuses of Yeshiva University for an informative and spirited orientation that will kick off the 2014-15 academic year.
This diverse student body has dreams of pursuing an array of professional careers ranging from biologists to accountants, Jewish historians to lawyers, literary critics to physicians. Yet they all chose to attend Yeshiva University, the only institution that offers cutting-edge academics and high-level Judaic studies, in addition to endless extra-curricular opportunities.
The students arrived from all over the globe, wheeling yellow storage bins and luggage across campuses and into the dorms that will serve as their new homes for the next few years in Midtown Manhattan and Washington Heights. Students greeted old friends and quickly made new ones, while residence advisors welcomed students and their families to campus by handing out ID cards and orientation packets on the sidewalks of 34th Street and Amsterdam Avenue.
Wednesday, August 20 was the opening of Fall 2014 Orientation and “Move-in” Day for first time on campus students. This year’s orientation schedule features five days loaded with information sessions, “meet and greets,” and exciting events to help students acclimate to their first year on campus and achieve both academic and personal success throughout their college career. Students and parents shared lunch with administrators, deans, and faculty who reminded them that Yeshiva University promises an experience, environment, and education that truly exist “nowhere but here.”
“As I walked around campus, I was struck by the large number of continuing students who had volunteered to assist those new to campus to feel at home,” said Dr. Karen Bacon, the Dr. Monique C. Katz Dean at Stern College for Women, “and feeling at home is precisely what the new students seemed to be experiencing.” She added that after time spent at Yeshiva University, students should expect “wonderful things to happen, friendships to develop, and opportunities to present themselves when you feel at home.”
Students were provided with all the necessary resources to familiarize themselves with the ins and outs of college life at an Academic and Student Services Fair, which introduced them to representatives from the Career Center, Counseling Center, Athletics, and more. In addition, sessions such as “Library Information” and “Wired @YU” give students the technical know-how to navigate computing systems to their benefit. Student guides led interactive uptown and downtown campus tours for newcomers to explore the layout of the grounds and community and along the way, meet key faculty and staff. As a showcase of the much-celebrated YU pride, the YUStore set up shop, selling blue and white YU gear, and the Seforim Sale will make required books and seforim available for purchase.
The incoming class will get a taste for YU’s unique Torah Umadda mission—one that integrates a holistic, purposeful education with a focus on “ennobling and enabling ” by strengthening personal identity and community participation. A panel discussion titled “Infusing Torah into your College Experience” will set the tone for students who will learn to balance a dual curriculum to excel in both secular and Torah studies. An institution that prides itself on giving back to the community, many new YU students will have a chance to hit the ground running and participate in a service learning project by volunteering at a local food bank.
As students prepare to embark on a college career filled with educational accomplishment, each day of orientation also includes fun and energizing activities so that students can meet new classmates and acquaint themselves with all that New York City has to offer. Beren Campus students will spend a few hours unwinding with Student Life staff at a “Welcome to NYC” dinner and take advantage of their Midtown location with a viewing of the hit off-Broadway show, “iLuminate.” Wilf Campus students and faculty will depart to the nearby Yankees Stadium to watch a game against the Houston Astros. Both campuses will be introduced to the rich culture and history of New York City through an exploration of Museum Mile and a guided tour of the High Line. The good times continue with a Zumba session in conjunction with the YU Fit Health Initiative for women and a lively kumzitz at the home of Roshei Yeshiva for men.
Shabbat will be hosted on both the Beren and Wilf Campuses. The schedule includes shiurim and divrei torah delivered by faculty and student leaders, a lively oneg, and bonding with friends and Shabbat campus administrators—all of which students can expect from the weekly, dynamic Shabbat programming.
Orientation concludes with the much anticipated BBQ Bash on Sunday at Tenzer Gardens—a tradition that has become the highlight of the orientation schedule. The Bash gives students the chance to kick back and relax before the start of classes the next morning.
Nowhere But Here
“This is a university like no other,” President Richard M. Joel told the new students and their parents. “Here, you profoundly matter and will not just receive a dual curriculum education, but learn how to live.” He encouraged students to take advantage of Shabbat programming, expand their network of peers, and take ownership of their experience at YU.
Hannah Bricker of Las Vegas, Nevada, came to Stern College for the liberal arts education combined with Judaic studies. While she plans to study the sciences, she is excited to broaden her knowledge in new subjects such as finance, management and engage in the variety of Judaica courses. Bricker was also attracted to Stern’s New York City location. “Although living in New York has a less traditional feel compared to other campuses, living in the heart of New York will be quite an unforgettable experience,” she said. “I’m looking forward to meeting new friends, being a college student in New York, and to learn!”
“We always look forward to move-in day,” said Elly Lasson of Baltimore, Maryland, as he helped his youngest daughter Leora move into Brookdale Hall. Looking back at this time for his two other children, recent YU graduates, calls the orientation experience a “rite of passage.” “We know that she will be receiving a strong academic education, building upon what she has accomplished so far. But, we are also confident that she is entering into a culture of connectivity, which will provide her with a social context which is consistent with our family’s Torah values and professional ideals.”
Yosef Robin of Fairlawn, New Jersey, is looking forward to get involved in YU athletics program. “Whether it’s playing intramurals on campus or trying out for one of the Division III teams, I have the opportunity to be active in extra-curriculars that I wouldn’t have been able to in another college,” said the former high school hockey player.
“The second I arrived, I felt like it was the place I would want to spend the next four years of my life,” said Nora Shokrian, of Great Neck, New York, who plans to major in biology and is looking forward to meeting other students during orientation. “These students will become my lifelong friends.”
For Dovid Rubenstein of Newton, Massachusetts, orientation has given him an understanding that Yeshiva University is a warm and welcoming place. “Everything has been well organized and students and staff have been very friendly and helpful,” said Rubenstein who arrived on campus with many friends after studying for two years at Yeshivat Maale Adumim in Israel. “I came to Yeshiva to grow in my Judaism and receive a degree at the highest level,” he said. An economics major, Rubenstein says he hopes to take advantage of the fourth year master’s program in Quantitative Economics and become involved in writing opportunities at Yeshiva College.
As new students become part of the Yeshiva University community, there are a host of innovative resources available to help them navigate their college experience.
YU Mobile puts University life in your pocket, offering the latest news, campus and athletic event listings, course schedules, library resources, photos, videos, minyan schedule, and more on your smartphone. The app is free and is available for download on iTunes and Google Play.
“New to YU,” a one-stop website designed especially for new students, includes information on everything from academic offerings to dorm rooms to service learning opportunities. It is the perfect place to go when students don’t even know where to start. Whether they’re looking to become more involved in student life or just need help getting around New York City, the site is full of helpful links and tips to get students off to a great start.
Still have questions? Students can call the Office of Student Life helpline at 212-960-5411 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any issue, question or comment about all aspects of life at YU, whether it’s “How do I find a chavrusa?” “What is the shuttle schedule?” or “Where do I share a new idea?”
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, Flickr, and Instagram.