First-year orientation in September and February plays a crucial role in shaping the experiences of incoming students and the culture of our campus community. It is the first opportunity students have to get to know the new people and places that will surround them for the next four years. For every first year, it is a time filled with uncertainty and anxiety over finding community, feeling included and accepted, and figuring out whether Middlebury will be a place where they can feel safe, feel loved, challenge themselves, grow and find joy.
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This op-ed was originally sent as a letter to Dean of Students Derek Doucet and Assistant Director of Student Activities for Student Leadership and Development Erin Morrison. It has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.