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College welcomes new students with scavenger hunts, faculty meet-ups

Columbia departments welcomed new students to the campus for the annual “New Student Connections,” a campus-wide event in which departments showcase their faculty and programs. 

“We’ve been doing Connections for a long time, for students to meet each other and connect,” said Dardi McGinley-Gallivan, associate chair and professor of instruction from the Dance Department.  

Many departments participating in Connections incorporated elements of their own curriculums or goals into the programming. The Dance Department, for example, intertwined dancing into their group introductions.  

The Cinema and Television Arts Department – the biggest at Columbia – was buzzing with new students at their event.

Jen Haskins, a senior film and television major, represented the college’s Columbia Horror Picture Show club, just one of the college’s niche student clubs, which she joined early in her college experience.  

“I was bullied in high school, and I never felt I could be myself until I came to Columbia,” Haskins said. “This club has let me fully spread my wings, be myself and not really care what anybody thinks.”  

Six student panelists speak about their experiences in the Music Department, on Friday, Sept. 1, 2023. The returning students answered lingering questions incoming students had. Peyton Reich

Last semester, the Columbia Horror Picture Show club focused on foreign horror films, rather than just western horror films.  

Some department sessions for new students include panels of returning students and visits from department chairs.  

While the terms were specific to music majors and not easily understandable to those outside of the music department, students seemed to enjoy the information presented to them and were responsive audience members.  

Sebastian Huydts, chair of the Music Department, was excited to be back.

“We have a couple of really wonderful additions to our music department. In addition to some new faculty, we also have a brand new, almost finished recording and mixing studio in the works,” Huydts said. 

Nathan Ellis, a sophomore music major, said he is looking forward to the upcoming semester and hopes to collaborate more with other students.  

“As far as my artistry goes, I really want to push the boundaries and see where things go,” Ellis said. The music program “has given me a lot of time and experience to work with and I’m very grateful for that.”  

Although the Science and Math Department has fewer students majoring in the subject and had a smaller crowd at Connections, Chris Shaw, associate professor of Math, said the department is important to every Columbia student.  

“Although this is a small major, this is not a small department. It’s a relatively large department,” he said. “Everyone in Columbia has to take some math and some science, so a lot of students come through here. It’s not an empty space or anything like that. It’s an exciting environment. The number of people in majors can be small but I think that can be really good.” 

Students pose for a picture at the photo studio at 1104 S. Wabash Ave., on Friday, Sept. 1. 2023. At New Student Connections, the Photo Department shows students around campus to provide information regarding equipment, studios, and classes for the fall semester. Kaelah Serrano

Elizabeth Davis-Berg, chair of the Science and Math Department, led an event for environmental and sustainability studies students.

“I’m excited there’s only a few of us because one of the perks is that it’s small,” Davis-Berg said. “So that means right now, hopefully, everyone gets to meet everyone in the major and we can have a community together.” 

Seamus Bright, sophomore, double major in fine arts and environmental studies, originally had environmental studies as a minor their first year but decided to add it as a double major. 

“I want to learn how I can bring environmental sustainability to different types of jobs, especially in the art world. Like how they can translate them into professions,” Bright said. 

New Student Connections rolled right into the college’s annual Convocation event, where Columbia clubs, groups and organizations set up booths to market their work, recruit new students and get the word out about their presence at the college at both events.  

Sophie Daker, a first-year dance student who attended Connections, said she chose Columbia for many reasons.  

“A simple reason is that I live in the suburbs and wanted to start school somewhere I know to begin my dance journey,” Daker said.  

With additional reporting from Senior Staff Reporters Robin Sluzas and Cierra Lemott, and Staff Reporters Uriel Reyes, Allison Shelton and Lizeth Medina.  

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About the Contributors
Olivia Cohen
Olivia Cohen, Former Editor-in-Chief
ocohen@columbiachronicle.com   Olivia Cohen is a senior journalism major, minoring in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies. She primarily reports on Columbia's financial health, administration and unions, but has also written about personnel and department changes, COVID-19 policies and abortion. She joined the Chronicle in August 2021.   Hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Kaelah Serrano
Kaelah Serrano, Photojournalist
kserrano@columbiachronicle.com   Kaelah Serrano is a junior photojournalism major. She has covered music festivals, campus art exhibitions and metro parades and protests. Serrano joined the Chronicle in January 2023.   Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Peyton Reich
Peyton Reich, Photojournalist
preich@columbiachronicle.com   Peyton Reich is a junior photojournalism major, minoring in marketing. Reich has covered the Mexican Independence parade, Columbia's Black Student Union and theatre performances. Reich joined the Chronicle in August 2023.   Hometown: Flossmoor, Illinois
Addison Annis
Addison Annis, Director of Photography
aannis@columbiachronicle.com   Addison Annis is a junior photojournalism major, minoring in video production. She has covered politics, cultural events and Chicago protests. Annis joined the Chronicle in August 2022.   Hometown: Plymouth, Minn.