The classes of 2024 and 2025 reflect on a more normal campus experience

Butler welcomes 1,145 new first-years in the class of 2025. Photo courtesy of butler.edu. 

LILLY THUMM | STAFF REPORTER | lthumm@butler.edu 

Butler’s classes of 2024 and 2025 are both experiencing a normal semester for the first time giving them the unique opportunity to figure out college life together. Due to this unusual situation, both classes had the chance to participate in New Student Orientation this fall.  

Black light bingo, the Butler rave, block party and playfair are just a few of the programs during orientation that were either cancelled or virtual last fall. For the 2021-22 school year, Butler has started moving away from virtual events and plans to have most on-campus events in person this semester, starting with orientation for the class of 2025. 

This year’s orientation still included guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 such as a mask requirement that was enforced throughout indoor campus spaces as a temporary policy to combat the surge in COVID-19 cases and rise of the Delta variant. Anastasia Reinholt, a first-year exploratory business major, said the policy did not hinder her enjoyment of orientation.

“I was so busy during the summer that it didn’t hit me that I was actually going to college,” Reinholt said. “…[I] got here, got moved in and then jumped straight into orientation, it was just kind of like a free for all.” 

Reinholt had three student orientation guides and said she met a number of new people. Even if she doesn’t become friends with all of them, Reinholt said she will see them around campus and in class. 

“I know them and they know me… it’s a good feeling to know that I know the people on campus that I’m going to be spending four years here with,” Reinholt said.

Reinholt’s experiences differed from what student orientation guide Katie Briner, a sophomore elementary education and theatre major, did last year. While she attended some in-person programming, she said the capacity limits made it hard to access some of the events. 

Briner also noted the difference in who made up orientation groups. With the staggered move-in times last year, the orientation groups could not be students from the same first-year seminar like they would be in a normal semester. Instead, they were people from the same move-in days. 

“I was a little sad that my group didn’t connect more, and I think it was kind of upsetting that we weren’t in the same class,” Briner said. “But I understood why that had to be that way.”

Because of the class of 2024’s virtual orientation, this year’s welcome week was open to sophomores and first-years alike. Briner mentioned that her sophomore friends did come to some events, but it was mostly to see her as a student orientation guide. 

“I had a conversation with one of [my sophomore friends] and they… get that it’s for us, but it still feels like it’s for the freshmen,” Briner said. “…it’s more geared towards them and like, there weren’t a lot of other sophomores showing up.” 

One concern from Briner was pushback and frustration from first-years about having to wear masks, but she found they were great listeners and active participants despite how much was being thrown their way. 

Alyssa Pellegrini, a junior marketing major, said the attendance to optional programming was also high, and there was a lot of positive feedback. Being both a friend and mentor is something Pellegrini was happy to take away from her experience as a student orientation guide this year.

“I had such a cooperative group,” Pellegrini said. “They were talkative, they really liked getting to know each other, they would always participate in our icebreakers, which I know can be a bit boring at times but they made it exciting, and they still text me.” 

Even with the temporary mask mandate and unfortunate cancellation of the Meijer event, Reinholt had little to no negative feedback from a first-year’s perspective. Despite how exhausting the week was, Reinholt, Pellegrini and Briner agreed it was exciting to be back and an overall rewarding experience.

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