My Experience on the OC — Orientation Committee 1976

13 Apr
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My OC t-shirt. My name is on the lower left.

There is one article of Drew clothing that I kept for 43 years and will probably continue to keep.  It is my orientation committee t-shirt from 1976.  I think that fact that it was the bicentennial of American Revolutionary War, besides marking one of my favorite Drew activities, gives it a special place in my heart.

I started my Drew career like all the other freshmen, a little excited, a little frightened, and really having never lived away from home.    But my sophomore year was much different.  I left the Drew campus to study in Israel at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

This was unusual at the time for two reasons: because most people studied abroad in their junior year and because I went eight months after the Yom Kippur War.  Life in Israel was still disrupted. I won’t go through all my experiences, but I will say I came back to the USA afraid of nothing.

When I came back, I wanted to become part of the Drew community.  Many of my friends have formed new bonds while I was gone.  My dorm room was chosen by my freshman roommate, we were going to live in a suite in Foster.  But we would not be sharing a room. She had a new friend who would be her official roommate.  And I would be living with someone I really did not know.  But it was fine.  We had a great year in that suite!

I decided I wanted to change my major and study English literature and writing.  This meant I had to take some lower level classes.  I decided also that I would graduate in 3 ½ years since I had received 12 credits of language for the intensive Hebrew Ulpan I had attended in the summer when I first arrived in Israel.  For me that meant taking 18 credits a semester, six classes, for the next three semesters, and attend at least one class in a January term, a new idea at Drew.

I also wanted to get involved. And I did.  I joined a number of clubs; started working on the school newspaper, The Acorn; did a bit in student government; and learned about the yearbook, which I would help edit in the next year.  With my Israel experience still on my mind, I joined and became a leader of the Jewish Students Group.   Because I wanted to do something to help others, I also got involved in the Orientation Committee, which helped new students in the fall to learn about the campus and settle in before everyone else arrived.

I must admit, besides working on the Acorn, my favorite activity was the Orientation Committee.  I loved the preplanning, but I especially loved being on campus early.  It was so beautiful.  The Drew campus is one of the most beautiful campuses.   And being there in the quiet was extraordinary.  We helped freshmen move into their dorms.  We watched as parents tried to direct and arrange for the last time.  We saw tears and hugs, while helping the freshmen as their parents drove off.  Most important, we made their first few days enjoyable and welcoming.

I loved Drew so much, I wanted my daughter to think about it for her college career. I took my daughter to visit Drew the summer before her junior year of high school.  We took an official tour of the campus.  But as we walked the grounds and looked at the newer buildings along with the old, I filled her in with my stories.  Stories that our tour guide, a Drew student, also seemed to enjoy.  I think the beauty of the campus drew her in to the Drew family.  As she also went to Drew and became an alumna.

I now have several Drew hoodies and shirts.  In the winter, I always wear my Drew sweatshirt proudly.  These are great additions to my wardrobe.  However, the almost 43-year-old t-shirt in my dresser is my fondest Drew article.   It reminds me of my last semester of college, as I did finish that January.   It reminds me of the friends I made then and still have today.   It reminds me of the beautiful campus, which I was able to share with my daughter.

Most of all it reminds me of an obligation to welcome the stranger to campus.  To make all new students feel comfortable as they adjusted to their new life as a college student.  Much as today I try to make all feel welcome in my life.  While I learned much at Drew, serving on the Orientation Committee gave me some of my favorite life lessons.

 

Some other blogs about Drew:

https://zicharonot.com/2014/05/12/remembering-my-college-during-graduation-season/

https://zicharonot.com/2018/05/11/end-of-the-school-year-has-me-bringing-out-my-old-yearbooks/

 

4 Responses to “My Experience on the OC — Orientation Committee 1976”

  1. Amy April 13, 2019 at 9:12 pm #

    How wonderful to have such warm feelings about your experiences in college!

    • zicharon April 13, 2019 at 9:14 pm #

      I have wonderful memories. Drew is a beautiful campus.

      • Amy April 13, 2019 at 9:15 pm #

        I loved my undergrad years also, but my daughters had no interest in going there! You are lucky that your daughter and you can share that tie!

      • zicharon April 13, 2019 at 10:11 pm #

        I enjoyed visiting her once a year and reliving some of my memories.

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