A group of orientation leaders stop outside of the Payson Library while giving the sophomores and their guardians a campus tour Aug. 20. The campus tour helped familiarize students with their new home. Photo by Ali Levens
Editor’s Note: The reporter was a participant in the Year 2 Welcome.
Pepperdine welcomed sophomores home after a year of remote learning. The class eagerly waited to meet their classmates and live on campus. The Year 2 Welcome gave new Waves the chance to get to know their peers and campus.
The Class of 2024 missed out on the traditional New Student Orientation because of COVID-19. To make up for this, Pepperdine created this one-time event to help students have a proper start to their college journey on campus. The week-long Year 2 Welcome included modified traditions like Soph Follies, the President’s Reception and new activities created just for sophomores.
“We felt like it was really important to welcome them [sophomores] appropriately and help them to bond because their time here is shorter than our other incoming students,” said Christine Galvin, manager of Seaver Parent Programs.
When students arrived on campus, the first face they saw was senior orientation leader Hope Dease, who welcomed students as they drove into the faculty parking lot. Dease was one of the four girls who welcomed students and family as they arrived on campus.
“It was just four hours of screaming about how much I love Pepperdine to a car full of people that couldn’t answer me,” Dease said.
After the welcome, the students began their Year 2 Celebration festivities. Orientation leaders led tours and helped familiarize students with the campus. The leaders hosted several bonding activities such as a movie night on Alumni Park and worship sessions in the amphitheater.
Following the on-campus events, students enjoyed a three-day retreat at Forest Home Christian Camp in San Bernardino, Calif. The camp held outdoor activities like hiking, zip-lining, swimming and a ropes course. Students also enjoyed worship sessions and presentations from guest speakers.
Students said the off-campus retreat gave them a lot of free time to reflect and form stronger bonds with the leaders and other sophomores.
“The retreat really gave all of us an opportunity to get to spend time in nature and get to know more of our classmates,” sophomore David Cho said.
At Forest Home the students participated in the modified Soph Follies tradition. Three groups presented a different skit to tell a part of Pepperdine’s history. The winners told the story of how Pepperdine chose their mascot. The group based the skit off the TV show “Bachelorette.”
About a third of the sophomore class showed up for the Year 2 celebration. Several students said they did not attend because they are leaving for abroad programs soon.
Sophomore Emily Torrence said she decided she wanted to take this opportunity to meet classmates and enjoy life on campus despite the fact that she is going abroad soon after the event.
“I haven’t had a bad experience yet; everybody’s been super welcoming and super open to talking to new people,” Torrence said.
The majority of the sophomore class has only seen each other through Zoom and social media. Students said meeting someone in person after only knowing them from a screen is freeing.
“Seeing people who you’ve followed on Instagram for a year has been super fun; putting faces to the faces on your little screen and being able to actually meet the people in person has been super fun,” Torrence said.
Senior and Orientation Coordinator Rachel Lando said one of the best parts of the event is getting to see the sophomores transition their relationships from online to in-person.
“It’s a really cool experience to see the person in real life and how they present themselves and you guys can actually hang out and not have to be contained on a screen,” Lando said.
The Year 2 Welcome served the intention to welcome and aid the incoming sophomores in an exciting way, and students said it did just that. After a year of online schooling, students were able to begin their traditional college experience.
“Now that everyone’s here it’s finally like the heart of Pepperdine is coming back,” Lando said.
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