Convocation welcomes new students to Baruch
Baruch College, along with its faculty and student body, welcomed about 1500 new members into its family on Aug. 28 at convocation. Consisting of nearly 12 hours of programming and events, the entire day went off without a hitch as the class of 2019 was officially welcomed into the Baruch community.
The incoming freshmen shuttled from the Lawrence and Eris Field Building to the New Vertical Campus and back for a number of events to get them accustomed to the area and community they will be interacting with in the coming months.
The day started early for the new students as they filed into Mason Hall at 9:00 a.m. for the opening convocation ceremony.
The ceremony was opened by Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs David Christy, who was met with thunderous applause upon being the first to greet the new class of 2019. Following the provost was President Mitchel B. Wallerstein. President Wallerstein opened his convocation address by administering the freshmen’s “first pop quiz as [college students]” on Bernard M. Baruch.
Wallerstein spoke of Baruch’s namesake and his accomplishments before offering some words of encouragement, “As you begin your college years, I hope that you will all aspire to achieve the kind of success that Bernard Baruch did. Because you are capable of doing so, and you have earned the right to be here and to study in the most competitive and most high quality school in the CUNY system.”
The president closed his address by urging the freshmen to pursue three challenges during their time at Baruch. The first was to explore New York City and take in new sights and experiences, the second was to do something outside of their comfort zone, such as “make[ing] a conscious effort to meet and get to know someone who is from a completely different background and ethnicity.” The final challenge issued by the president was to always remain open to new ideas, subjects and career opportunities.
USG President Annie Sourbis then followed up President Wallerstein’s address. Sourbis sympathized with the concerns and worries that many incoming freshmen may have had and appealed to them as a fellow student, citing the many various services that Baruch has to offer them.
“From grief counseling, the Health and Wellness Center, the leadership weekend trip, club events, research opportunities, free tutoring, or even the free laptop rentals at the library, there are endless opportunities and resources here for you to take advantage of, because you simply, as Baruch students, have earned them.” Concluding her speech, Sourbis called for the freshmen to “be extraordinary and do something great with the chance you have been given.”
Following Sourbis’ speech was the keynote speaker for convocation, Karen Joy Fowler. Fowler is the author of the novel We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, which won the 2014 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and was the freshman text for the summer.
Taking the stage, Fowler spoke of her early childhood where she spent much of her time in her father’s lab, and how it helped serve as inspiration for her novel, which she says carries a very simple message: “I wanted people to think about our relationship with the animals we share the planet with.”
The ceremony concluded with a communal singing of Baruch’s alma mater, which was led by Baruch chorus director Teresa Parker and alumnus Isaac Blech.
Following the convocation ceremony, students attended a freshman seminar, where they discussed the freshman text with the author herself.
The highlight of the day however, was the block party and barbecue. After a long day of orientation and workshops, students were treated to free lunch in the plaza outside of NVC, complete with fun activities and live DJing courtesy of WBMB. The plaza was jam-packed not only with freshmen, but also with many of the different campus clubs and organizations that were attempting to recruit new members.
Taking a quick stroll through the crowded plaza, one was instantly met with intense feelings of excitement and enjoyment. One freshman, Maxim Ibadov, was eager to convey his feelings on the day, saying that thanks to the convocation event, he had met some new people, and he was especially “looking forward to studying here and to club hours and all the activities.” Another freshman, Aziza Zaitova, said she was looking forward to “being a part of WBMB” in the near future.
And the excitement was not just limited to freshmen. One sophomore, who was present during the barbecue and having a great time, Teamare Gaston, said “I love convocation. It’s a great way to get to know everybody and a great way to get closer to the people you already know.”
While the day’s events may have tired out some of those students who were present the entire day, it is safe to say that convocation day played an important role in creating unforgettable memories for Baruch’s new students.