New students dance their way through Convocation

By Tessa Brubaker, News Editor

New Student Convocation welcomed freshman to Columbia with a party in Grant Park, during which thousands of bubbles floated in the air, balloons flew high, student organizations stood behind tables filled with activities and souvenirs and everyone danced to music.

Students had the opportunity to meet new people, eat free food,  learn about the college, listen to live performances and signup for student organizations before classes began Sept. 4.

To kick off the event, orientation leaders crowded on stage to welcome new students and encourage them to be an active participant on campus during their time at Columbia.

President and CEO Kwang-Wu Kim addressed the crowd of excited new students, saying he wants them to own their Columbia experience. It is important that students who need help  or have questions speak up for themselves, he added.

“It’s not that we don’t care; we may not know. So be active, be proactive, be bold,” Kim said. “That’s why you came to this school in the first place.”

Other speakers included Jazmin Bryant, president of Student Government Association and senior cinema art and science major; Orterio Villa, Director of Student Organization and Leadership; as well as a performance by Manifest 2018 song competiton winner Chinaa. During her performance, student orientation leaders popped confetti onto the crowd.

Adriana Baca, a senior cinema art and science major and president of Latino Alliance, said convocation is important for new students because it shows what Columbia provides in addition to academics.

“It’s really fun for all the [student organizations] to get together and [show students] in addition to your new major, here’s the fun things that can really enrich your life while you’re here at Columbia,” Baca said. “It’s a good way for us to get to know the new students [and] to make them feel welcome.”

Bella Crum, a junior poetry major and orientation leader, said it has been great to see convocation come together and meet the incoming students. She added that convocation is a great way for students to get to know members of Columbia’s community, both new and returning.

 “You should know who the president is when you’re walking down the street,” Crum said. “That makes you feel more comfortable on an urban campus and know who to go to if you need a resource.”

Besides having fun and meeting new people at convocation, Sophia Schirmer-Beiermann,  a freshman comedy writing and performance major, said she’s excited to collaborate with different departments during her time at the college.

“I’m really excited for the collaboration,” Schirmer-Beiermann said. “It’s exciting to finally get into my field.”

Before wrapping up his speech, Kim said there is a lot of racism, discrimination and hate in the world, but students will not find that at Columbia and that it will not be tolerated.

“We honor freedom of speech. We want you all to have the full range of opportunities to express your ideas, your beliefs and who you are,” Kim said. “Hate speech, targeting people based on identity is not a part of what this school is about and it will not be tolerated so I want you to keep that in the back of your head as you explore this place.”