Aug 27, 2012
Photos by Liz Held; Text by Monica Chapman
Approximately 4,000 new Bobcats kicked off their academic careers today at the President's Convocation for First-Year Students at Ohio University's Convocation Center.
The day's events capped off OHIO's Go Green Week, which featured college welcomes and a variety of social events for first year students.
"Everything has been really fun," said incoming freshman Michelle LaVan (below, left), an athletic training and physical therapy major, as she entered the Convocation Center. "The whole transition and moving has been a different experience. We're not used to having to say good-bye to our parents … But it's part of growing up and being on our own."
Faculty, staff and student leaders were on hand to welcome the newest members of the University family. Among them was Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis, who introduced students to the promise of Ohio University and reminisced about personal challenges he faced as a first-year Bobcat in 1966.
Before formally inducting students into the Ohio University family, McDavis touched on the core values of Ohio University and reminded students to not let party culture define their college years. "You did not come to Ohio University for a season; you came here for a reason. Keep your eye on the goal … Do not leave here empty-handed," McDavis said.
McDavis' encouragement resonated with many of the first-year students.
"It sets a good tone for the year," said Matt Reinke, a freshman civil engineering major, adding, "I feel like I'm a Bobcat."
Following the convocation, McDavis and The Marching 110 led the first-year students from the Convocation Center to College Green. Shoulder-to-shoulder, students packed Richland Avenue bridge to make their debut through College Gate.
Students' first step through College Gate symbolizes official entry into the University community.
"To finally have that 'oh-wow-I'm-actually-in-college' moment is kind of insane. It hasn't really entirely hit me yet," said freshman journalism major Sophie Mitchem.
As first-year students pressed onto College Green, they were met by representatives from 275 campus organizations at the Student Involvement Fair. The fair annually introduces first-year students to the numerous ways they can become involved with the OHIO community.
"The main thing that we stress to the freshmen is that they get involved early," said peer mentor Alyssa Gerth, a senior athletic training major who manned the Women's Rugby booth at the fair. "Like jam-packed, overloaded at the beginning because then you can figure out what you like and figure out what you don't like and meet new people."
Equipped with maps and prospective club memberships, the newly-inducted Bobcats embarked on their Ohio University journeys.
"I'm excited to see what my classes are about, but I don't know if I'd necessarily say I'm prepared," Mitchem said. "I don't know if you can ever really be prepared for college, you kind of just go. You just go do it. And you see what you find. And you see what you're good at. And you find out who you are in a way."