Posted on September 4, 2008 by Dylan Anderson

It�s official � with the arrival of September 4th comes the first day of classes for the 2008-2009 academic year at Augustana.

by Dylan McConnell
It’s official –  with the arrival of September 4th comes the first day of classes for the 2008-2009 academic year at Augustana. Students are back to poring over books, lugging backpacks from class to class and giving up sleep to accommodate their academic and social lifestyles. But most of these students would be lying if they said they were not excited for the upcoming year. Whether that excitement is expressed through genuine, confident excitement or suppressed nervous anxiety, the bubbling energy of the students living on campus can be felt all around the school, no more so than in the first-year residence complex.
Although returning students share excited emotions with their newbie counterparts, the first-years are treading on unfamiliar territory. Most of them are coming to unfamiliar dorm rooms, living with unfamiliar roommates in an unfamiliar school in an unfamiliar city. These students are expected to meet new people, excel at an academic standard foreign to them and stray from the parental nest for the first time… but they were not expected to unpack their belongings.
On Labour Day the new students arrived with their parents and personal items, and were led to the steps of the first-year complex. That is when the “O-Team” (“O” as in Orientation) attacked.
Seemingly hundreds of students clad in neon green t-shirts swarmed the vehicles that approached, and emptied the students’ belongings into their respective rooms, to be organized under their personal discretion. The response to this, as usual, was overwhelming. One student told me that his mother broke into tears after witnessing the O-Team spectacle, clearly overjoyed at the friendliness and accommodating spirit of Augustana.
But Augustana had more than just the O-Team to accommodate new students over the past week. As a Resident Assistant living here on campus, I, along with the rest of my colleagues, were hard at work preparing the residences and organizing check-in procedures for our newest guests. The floors and buildings were decorated in the spirit of different themes, furniture was rearranged accordingly and keys were eventually handed out. Jo-Anna Larson and the rest of the Residence Services team were also hard at work, ensuring all of the students had a room to come home to and allowing the move-in process to roll along rather smoothly.
And smoothly it rolled. Just ask Carmelle Mohr and Brianne Knutson, two roommates who found the whole ordeal an enjoyable, stress-free one. Although it is no surprise that the confident, unflappable Carmelle has enjoyed her first few days at Augustana, even the more apprehensive Brianne has taken a liking to the friendly residence community and welcoming atmosphere. Being a small town girl, Brianne says the Augustana campus provides her with a place not quite as overwhelming as the main campus in Edmonton, while not forfeiting any of the big name credibility that comes with a degree from the U of A.
Both girls thought that the New Student Conference (which took place Wednesday) was also well orchestrated, as it helped acquaint them with the Augustana campus, the services provided within, and this year’s discussion theme – food. Despite the massive construction undertaking, Carmelle also thought that the campus would be fairly easy to navigate this year, while Brianne thought that the sessions from the conference provided valuable introductions to some of the lesser known inner workings of the institution.
But the new students were not the only ones feeling impressed by today’s events. Fellow Resident Assistant Eric Boles was blown away by the fantastic attendance by this year’s new students, something that has not been seen in previous years. Residence Coordinator Janet Athanasiou was also in an upbeat mood, praising not only the new students for their attendance and enthusiasm in Wednesday’s conference, but also the work of the O-Team and event coordinators. She was also pleased to see optimal weather for move-ins, and the success of subsidiary community-building events such as the “Mission Impossible” game on Tuesday evening, and new-student bowling Wednesday night.
With such a smooth first week of activity here at Augustana, all indications seem to point to another fine year of school for new and returning students alike.

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