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SU Welcomes Most Diverse Class in its History

August 28, 2006

SELINSGROVE, (Pa.) – Classes at Susquehanna University began on Monday, August 28, with an expected enrollment this year of nearly 1,900 students. Among the student body are 570 new students, about 540 of which are first-year students representing the Class of 2010, the second largest in Susquehanna’s history. The class is also among the most diverse in the history of the university.

Roughly 10 percent of the class identify themselves as being from underrepresented populations or as international students. As a whole, the class represents 21 states and six countries. New international students joining the Susquehanna community are from Afghanistan, China, Ecuador, Russia, Taiwan and Vietnam. Students from the United States are coming from as far away as Alaska, Hawaii, California, Oregon, Colorado, Minnesota, Maine, Illinois, Virginia and the District of Columbia. The class is split equally between in-state and out-of-state residents.

Regardless of their state or country of origin, the Class of 2010 shares a common ground of academic success. Eighty-four percent of the class ranked in the top two-fifths of their high school classes. Thirty-two percent were in the top one-tenth of their graduating classes, and 56 percent were in the top one-fifth. Twenty-two of them were the valedictorians or salutatorians of their classes.

These new students arrived on campus Thursday, August 24, for orientation. Events surrounding orientation ran through Sunday, August 27, and included community-building and school-spirit activities, academic advising sessions, a picnic with the Susquehanna University faculty and a discussion of the 2006-2007 common reading, Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market by Eric Schlosser, best-selling author of Fast Food Nation.

The University Common Reading program is an effort to create a shared intellectual point of engagement for first-year students. Begun in 2005, the program asks first-year students to read a common text that will then be used in a variety of ways during their first semester on campus. The overall goal is to introduce students to life in a community of learners where all are engaged in discussion and reflection on texts and ideas.

Faculty and staff also read the selected text and find a myriad of ways to use it to engage first-year students. In the classroom, in the residence halls, in administrative offices, over lunch, and in the gym, they engage students and each other in what are hoped to be lively conversations that challenge all to think critically about this text.  As part of the 2006-2007 University Theme events, Schlosser will present a special lecture at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7, in Weber Chapel Auditorium.

First-year orientation also included the annual community service day on Saturday, Aug. 26. Dubbed SU G.I.V.E. (Susquehanna University: Get Into Volunteer Experiences), the event introduces first-year students to the Susquehanna University community and its long-standing tradition of service and leadership. Teams of volunteers, led by numerous faculty and staff, including university President L. Jay Lemons and Dean of Student Life Tracy Tyree, worked from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at 27 different volunteer sites in Snyder, Union, Northumberland and Montour counties.

Later that evening, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., students gathered in O.W. Houts Gymnasium of the Garrett Sports Complex for a game of Twister, the likes of which may never have been seen before on the Susquehanna campus. Using 25 Twister mats linked together across the gymnasium floor, 50 orientation groups, representing about 500 students, twisted and turned their way through a process of elimination, ending with one winner. The game was intended to engage the newcomers in team work and get them acquainted with one another and the larger Susquehanna community. Following the Twister game, students enjoyed an under 21 “Spirit Party” at Trax, Susquehanna’s late-night social space for students.

Contact: Victoria Kidd


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