One week ago today, a team of 14 hardened Drew Theological School veterans, the school's deans, and other Drew administrative staff effectively (or so we hope) oriented about 70 new students to the Theological School. All in all, orientation went smoothly, and I loved meeting all of the first-year students, including Kristen, who I met first in cyberspace via the RevGalBlogPal blog ring! I had delightful conversations with so many people. I love hearing their stories, and what brought them to Drew. We have students who have served in the Marine Corps, work as a wedding photographer, love dogs so much they want to start a petition to allow them in student housing, come from teeny tiny towns in the Midwest...you name it, we've got it! This class is wonderfully diverse - ethnically, age-wise, geographically -- it's great!
Most of the hang-ups around orientation were due to events beyond our control. For example, the #2 reason I hate Drew (their Facilities department) took 7 or 8 hours to plunge all three men's toilets in Seminary Hall. For a better part of the day, the men had to go elsewhere to use the toilet because ours was all clogged, and Facilities was apparently too incompetent to handle the job. (Additionally, as we were moving students into their housing at Drew, one woman opened her door to find that Facilities was using her room as a storage area and had three beds, four desks, etc....and they hadn't cleaned it out in time for her arrival, and one student we greeted found out that he didn't have a bed yet in his room. Welcome to Drew!)
Some people giving presentations decided not to show up, like Telecom, who decided they were too busy to take 15 minutes out of their schedule - 15 minutes that they had known about for several weeks - to talk to the students living on campus about their phone service. Basically, they just created a whole heck of a lot more work for themselves because now everyone is going to be talking to them one-on-one to have all their questions answered.
Some presentations were just awful, and there was nothing redeeming about them. I will not mention which ones here; those at orientation know which presentation(s) I'm referencing.
Apparently, the administration raved about how well things went, and about how well the first-years took to heart a lot of the presentations the deans and faculty made about such topics as community and the importance of critical thinking in religious study. I'm really looking forward to getting to know them more - both in and outside of the classroom setting!