The event was called the South Hall games. At first, all the freshmen got there and were unsure of themselves and didn’t want to dance or participate. However, the RAs and orientation committee started dancing like crazy, and just being silly. This made the first years realize it’s okay. I think it did the trick because when they saw people older than them were able to just have fun and be silly, they wanted to be a part of it too. They were no longer embarrassed but instead were excited to be on the dance floor.
I went over and introduced myself to a student, and then started dancing and interacting with other people at the event. Once the student saw it was normal to just be yourself, regardless of how crazy that is, they started participating too. Every time I see that student now they act as if we are friends, and say hi to me. Sometimes it just takes introducing yourself to the student so that they feel like they know somebody there, and are more likely to participate. I’m still in contact with the student I talked to, and they attend a lot more events on campus now.
The freshmen really bonded as a grade over this. They all come from different backgrounds and upbringings but being at this event brought them together. They were able to bond and make friendships at this event that would carry on throughout the semester. The events that don’t single people out, but rather bring people together really work for our campus. Competition events really do this because teams bond together.
I think one of our best events is Springfest. I think it’s a good dance floor event because you have people dancing, playing games, eating, and just having fun. It is an opportunity to have fun with your friends, and make new friends at the same time. Advice I’d give to someone trying to create an event that makes freshmen feel welcomed, connected and engaged is to put yourself into the student’s perspective.
This post was written by Nicolina Labella, a student at Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. She’s a Pharmacy major, and a Resident Assistant.