While Spirit Week highlights the beginning of the academic year, a new event created by the Office of Residential Life will serve to unify the first-year students at the end of the year.
The Class of 2017 will be the first participants in a new, year-end First-Year Residential Experience event called First-Year Friday, featuring a barbeque picnic, music and photo booth, that will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 11 on the Fitness Center Quad.
Bonnie Prunty, director of residential life and judicial affairs and dean for first-year experiences, said Residential Life wants to get something established as an end-of-the-year event to round out the academic year for freshmen.
“It’s the beginning of what we hope will become an annual event and provide an end-of-the-year celebratory event for our first-year students before they move on to their second year,” Prunty said.
Jacqueline Robilotta, assistant director of residential life, said in the past, the FYRE program has hosted other events, but this one has gained the most student interest based on feedback from resident assistants.
“Last year, the Office of Residential Life and FYRE publicized an FYRE Ball, a dance at the end of the year for first-year students, but it had limited student interest,” Robilotta said. “This year, we reimagined what this event could be, renamed it and decided to start with a fresh idea.”
Prunty said Residential Life was not able to get enough students to buy tickets to this event, and as a result, it gathered feedback from students on what other kinds of events they would like to see. A majority recommended a more informal event.
Students will also be able to contribute to a Class of 2017 time capsule at the event. Robilotta said the students may put a variety of items into the capsule such as photographs, letters, quotes, music lyrics, ticket stubs, memorabilia, maps or any other appropriate item. Prohibited from the capsule are perishables, flammables or items deemed offensive, inappropriate, illegal or against the student code of conduct.
“The event staff are reserving the right to review and/or reject any items,” Robilotta said. “We want to keep the items in the time capsule in spirit with the event.”
Mike Falconieri, residential assistant on the eighth floor of West Tower residence hall, said he thinks the capsule will be a good way to reflect on the class’s growth from freshmen to senior year when the students open the capsule before their graduation day.
“I think it’s a great reflection tool,” Falconieri said. “Its biggest impact will be during your senior year when you can look back on the changes you made in academics, life plans, social life and the way you live.”
Robilotta said before the Class of 2017 graduates, the senior class council will determine the specifics on opening the capsule.
“The time capsule will be kept sealed until the spring of 2017 when the Class of 2017 can decide how, when and where they would like to open it,” Robilotta said. “The senior class council of 2017 will ultimately be responsible for those details.”
Additionally, a raffle will be available at the event to which each school or department is welcome to donate prizes, in addition to the ones the FYRE already has planned.
Joelle Albertsman, administrative assistant in residential life, said in order to get into the event, freshmen should wear the yellow wristbands that Residential Life has distributed among the resident assistants to give to their first-year residents.
“That’s how we’re making sure that the first-year student event is not overrun by all the students,” she said.
Distribution began April 4, she said, and interested students should ask their RA if they have not yet received bracelets.
Drew Olkowski, the Student Government Association’s senator-at-large, said he hopes everyone from the Class of 2017 comes to First-Year Friday so the class can grow closer with one another.
“I think that everyone at IC never takes the time to come together and be a class, but instead we separate by school or major, and that’s who we spend most of our time with,” Olkowski said. “We are truly a residential learning community … we need to come together to be that community.”