Orientation weekend this year began on August 29 when freshmen finally moved onto campus. Arriving in various groupings of family members and friends, over six hundred students made their way to the Roanoke College campus for the first time to stay.
When students arrived, they were directed to their residence halls where they were welcomed by their RA and met their new roommates. The rest of the day was full of checking in, unpacking and organizing rooms, and exploring Commons. At 4 p.m. students and parents were asked to join the President’s Welcome where President Maxey and others welcomed all the students to the college. This same night Roanoke College alum, Sean Burch, came and talked to the community about not giving up and persevering. After the traditional event and interesting lecture, the weekend full of O-Group meetings and Residence Hall meetings began.
One of the biggest traditions of orientation is R-House, where incoming freshmen worked in groups on the Habitat for Humanity House that was set up in the Hawthorne parking lot. Family members who will be living in the completed house come and work alongside the students, giving the freshmen a real and valuable experience. Even after the R-House on campus experience is finished, and the house has moved from the parking lot to its final destination, students are given the opportunity to continue working on the house until its completion.
R-City is another tradition during Freshmen Orientation. All incoming students are welcomed to get on school buses and travel to downtown Roanoke where there was food, music, and salsa dancing lessons available in and around the square. It was not only a further opportunity for freshmen to get to know each other, but also for them to explore the city that would become a part of home for many of them in the upcoming years.
In addition to the old traditions, this year Roanoke College introduced a new tradition called The Challenge: A Pledge of Allegiance to Integrity. The process that the freshmen went through, the walk down heritage walk towards the Administration Building, was about committing themselves to a time here based on integrity and the four pillars of the college. Each student was issued a coin by President Maxey also that would commemorate the day and what it meant for the upcoming years.