More than 400 first-year students gathered in the John A. Danzi Athletic Center Gymnasium at SJC Long Island on Tuesday for Orientation. With the day’s theme of “Room to Grow,” freshmen were reminded that SJC Long Island is the perfect place to continue developing current interests and to cultivate new ones.
Echoing sentiments of this theme, key SJC Long Island leaders welcomed the newest Golden Eagles to the College.
“You’re about to begin an amazing journey of learning, exploration and fun,” Vice President for Enrollment Management Gigi Lamens said. “We’re here to provide a top-notch education, an incredible social life, fulfilling service opportunities, and all the help and guidance you need to be successful. And I can guarantee you that you are going to have a rewarding, memorable and transformational experience here with us.”
Students also heard from Interim Executive Dean Eileen White Jahn, Ph.D.; Interim Vice President for Student Life, Vice President for Athletics and Campus Services, and Chair for Physical Education Shantey Hill; executive director of student involvement, leadership and multicultural programming Bryan Gill; alumnus and member of the Board of Trustees Michael Meyers ’08, Esq.; and Student Orientation Chairperson Xanthia Zoe ’21.
Each and every person in this room should be proud of the accomplishments that brought them here today.” — Student Orientation Chairperson Xanthia Zoe ’21
“Over the course of your time here, you will grow, make friends, learn and develop new skills,” Dr. Jahn said. “Some of this will happen in the classroom with your professors. Some of it you’ll learn on your own through reading and studying. But much of the process will take place through extra and co-curricular activities.”
Dr. Jahn encouraged the students to delve into service-learning trips, internship opportunities, presenting at conferences and studying abroad. She also told them to take advantage of all the activities that happen on campus and to get involved — whether it’s in student clubs and organizations or athletics.
“We are here to foster community and help you grow,” Hill expressed. “Who you come in as now will not be who you leave as in four years. We hope that you leave here better than the way you came.”
“Each and every person in this room should be proud of the accomplishments that brought them here today,” Zoe said when welcoming the Class of 2023. “The College community you entered is filled with people dedicated to making your experience the best it can be.”
“College is all about what you make it, so make it the best experience by getting involved,” Zoe said. “Second, use every tool you encounter to help yourself. There’s an office or learning center for everything you can think of, and it’s all free to use. Finally, college is a time of growth. You’ll experience countless changes, but that’s what life’s all about. What’s most important throughout these times is that you stay true to yourself.”
A Day of Fun
After hearing from various members of the College community, students listened to keynote speaker Arel Moodie. A professional speaker who has addressed more than 400,000 people in 48 states and five countries, Moodie taught the students a secret to help them make the most of college: everyone’s just as nervous and scared as the person next to them. He encouraged them to go out and meet new people, to get involved as much as they can and to remind themselves that they are not alone in their apprehension.
The event also included lunch, campus tours, a visit from the Mister Softee truck, an activities fair where students could speak to representatives from various College offices and ask last-minute questions, and the distribution of student IDs.
More than 430 parents of first-year students arrived later that night for their own Orientation, familiarizing themselves with the College where their children will be spending the next four years. Parents heard from Lamens, Gill, Dr. Jahn, Zoe and Moodie, as well.