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Riding the New Wave

August 31, 2002

Elizabeth Wotawa, <i>Hullabaloo</i> Staff Writer

The aroma of New Orleans fare, the melodies of fiddler Amanda Shaw and the sounds of the band Have Soul Will Travel enveloped the Alumni House Monday night, as freshmen gathered for "A Taste of New Orleans," a New Wave Orientation event sponsored by the Office of Alumni Affairs.

While waiting in line to sample local dishes and treats, several freshmen and their Orientation Coordinators, or OCs, paused to reflect on this year's orientation experience. "I like that it's been well organized," Tulane College freshman Michael Perea said. He noted that while he didn't have a favorite event at that time, he hoped that the evening's events would "be cool."

Lauren Mish, a freshman in Newcomb College, said that she was looking forward to the Natchez Riverboat Cruise following "A Taste of New Orleans."

"We have great OCs," she later added. For Alex Gill, a freshman at Tulane College, Orientation was "summer-campy, and our RAs are like our counselors." Reflecting on the past few days' events, he said that some Orientation seminars were more helpful than others, and he praised the availability of food throughout the program.

"There's free sno-balls everywhere. That's good," he said. Liz Elliott and Chrystelle Zweidler, both freshmen in Newcomb College, recalled several of the weekend's programs. "The hypnotist was, by far, the funniest thing I've ever seen," Elliott said. "The dinner group was fun, and we got to know a lot of people," Zweilder added.

She also mentioned that Orientation leaders "should have explained more about different events," and that she would have attended a few more activities had she received more information about them. "Everyone's really, really nice," Newcomb freshman Ele Stern said. "They make it very easy to navigate."

Stern also noted that she enjoyed several of the programs offered during Orientation. "Even the serious stuff they had a nice way of making it entertaining for us." Among her favorites was "Live at Tulane," a review of Tulane traditions based on skits from "Saturday Night Live."

"It was fun helping out freshmen," OC and Tulane College sophomore Jonathan Wouters said. "It was cool to be on the other side of things." "It was nice for us to move in early, too,"

Engineering sophomore Maggie McFarlin said, describing one of the perks of her role as an OC. "One of [the freshmen] told me that they didn't like being herded around," OC and Newcomb sophomore Michelle Kuzma recalled. However, she shared freshmen's enthusiasm for "Live at Tulane," describing the event as "fantastic."

"I think we have one of the finest orientations in the country," Lake Laosebikan-Buggs, director of Orientation, said. She expressed her appreciation for compliments on the program from parents, especially those with older children "who have done this somewhere else."

Among the priorities of the New Wave Orientation are to acclimate students to life on campus and to prepare them for the rest of their time in college, Laosebikan-Buggs said. In describing her hopes for the class, she said she hopes "that they've made some friends, that they feel Tulane is home and that they reaffirmed their choice of institution."

"I thought it was a very successful Orientation," Mark Johnson, an Orientation team leader and senior in the School of Business, said in a recent interview. Describing the event as "unparalleled" to similar programs at other universities, he said that the New Wave Orientation "gives students an incredible view of what Tulane has to offer."

Johnson also noted that students had "an incredible time" at this year's NOLA Experience, the pre-Orientation program in which he specialized that introduces a small group of students to the New Orleans community and culture. "It eases the transition for freshmen from high school to college life," he said of Orientation, later adding, "it's always great meeting new people and seeing new faces."

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