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Living it up to start another school year August 31, 2009

Posted by paulstella in Uncategorized.
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I’m pretty consistent about using the remark to illustrate how much I enjoy interacting with college kids. “They’re bright, funny, and they haven’t had the life sucked out of them yet!”

Malerie Hervey speaks to YNN.

Malerie Hervey speaks to YNN.

I remind myself of that constantly, including yesterday—taking part in RIT’s annual move-in day activities. Although arriving on campus at around 7 a.m., the New Student Orientation team is already well into its day. Members, which include more than 150 student Orientation Assistants, are gearing up for the arrival of about 2,600 new students and their families. It’s the start to a busy week, but the OAs seemingly thrive on the intense level of interaction and hectic pace.

My first job is to coordinate local media coverage of move-in day. YNN (formally R News) plans to arrive early, and I’m grateful that Malerie Hervey and Justin Knysz have agreed to be interviewed on camera. The pair serves as Student Orientation Coordinators, and both are excellent spokespeople for the weeklong orientation program. “It’s better than my birthday,” describes Justin in the YNN news story. I’m pretty certain he means that.

"It's better than my birthday," says Justin Knysz.

"It's better than my birthday," says Justin Knysz.

Later that morning, other members of the University News team join me to staff our information table at the Orientation Resource Fair. It’s a great opportunity for us to meet new students and their families. As I discuss in my post for The Tiger Beat Blog, we came in contact with people from across the country and all over the world.

Spirits are high as people step forward to make our acquaintance. Any anxiety is masked by the sincerity of the smiles generated by students and families clearly excited to be joining the RIT family. “I’ve traveled a great distance,” Philip Tifore, an incoming electrical engineering student, tells my co-worker Vienna Carvalho. “I’ve come from Mendon.”

Vienna Carvalho meets Mendon's Philip Tifone.

Vienna Carvalho meets Mendon's Philip Tifone.

Okay, Philip is clearly a smart ass since Mendon is about a 15-minute drive from campus. “I like him,” Vienna turns to me and says with a smile. I like him too. Philip, seriously man, try out for the crew team!

But above all, there’s my boy Matt. I first met Matthew Figliotti during springtime interviews for the orientation program. I joined other volunteers from the RIT staff to evaluate candidates, and he was assigned to meet with me. Professionally dressed with an easy smile, Matt made a favorable impression immediately. He talked about how much he enjoyed participating in orientation as a first-year student, and he wanted to help others share a similar experience. An engineering student, Matt’s active in ROTC—preparation for a potential career in the Air Force. The kid’s got it together, and I had no doubt he’d make the cut.

My next encounter with Matt actually put us in the middle of a good-natured dust up. Sure enough he became an OA. There he was, last week, politely challenging my point about avoiding frequent and mundane Facebook status updates during my Personal Branding presentation. He wasn’t buying it. Why not let friends know what’s on your mind, even the mundane? “Well, I guess that’s okay,” I said, “as long as you don’t mind friends thinking you’re boring.”

Matt and I enjoy our truce.

Matt and I enjoy our truce.

Ughh!! As soon as I heard it come out of my mouth, I wanted it back. Intended to serve as a broader reference, it came out sounding more like I thought Matt was boring. I immediately wished I could apologize. To my relief, he found me a few days later in my office, and I immediately unloaded my regrets. “Actually, I came to apologize to you,” he replied. “I didn’t mean to giving you a hard time.” Wow, I don’t know, maybe this kid and me are too much alike.

Greeting Matt as he passed by my table at the resource fair, there was a playful intensity as we shook hands—like two warriors bound by mutual respect in the wake of a hard-fought truce. Thinking about it still makes me smile.

Yeah, I’m pretty blessed. I work at a place where youth sets the agenda, and the rest of us are allowed to play along. I like to think that, so far, it hasn’t sucked the life out of me yet.

The annual moving-in ritual is underway.

The annual moving-in ritual is underway.

Susan Gawlowicz, Vienna Carvalho, Marcia Morphy and me take the early shift at the University News table during the Orientation Resource Fair.

Susan Gawlowicz, Vienna Carvalho, Marcia Morphy and me take the early shift at the University News table during the Orientation Resource Fair.

Marcia and Vienna chat with new students.

Marcia and Vienna chat with new students.

More activity surrounding the University News table.

More activity surrounding the University News table.

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Comments»

1. lukeMV - August 31, 2009

I wish that I could be moving in again!


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