While the chances of you becoming the victim of a crime during your time at Syracuse are low, it is still important to know what steps you can take to keep yourself and your belongings safe. We have teamed up…
Syracuse Welcome Preview With Carrie Grogan Abbott G’03, Director of New Student and Family Programs (With Podcast)
When the Goon Squad first formed in 1944, their original purpose was to reinforce Syracuse University’s campuswide policy requiring all new students to wear their beanie caps during their first semester on campus.
While first-year students are no longer obligated to wear their class beanie—it was an Orange tradition for more than 80 years, along with first-year students doffing their caps as a sign of respect when in the presence of older students—the Goon Squad still plays a vital role on campus.
Celebrating its 78th anniversary of making a difference in the lives of first-year students, the Goon Squad—with more than 500 students—will greet new students and lend a hand during move-in proceedings at the various residence halls across campus as part of Syracuse Welcome, the University’s new student orientation program.
All told, the University is preparing for more than 4,000 first-year students to arrive on campus beginning today (international students started arriving on Aug. 19) for Syracuse Welcome, a week filled with programs designed to introduce new students and their family members to life on campus through academic and social events.
“Our goal is for our new students and their families to feel like an immediate part of our Orange family and be excited to be here. The goal is for students to feel connected to each other, to start to build friendships and relationships with the University that conveys that sense of Orange pride, to become connected with their school or college, to learn more about their faculty and staff, and to get to know their classmates,” says Carrie Grogan Abbott G’03, director of New Student and Family Programs.
Syracuse Welcome represents the first steps in a student’s Syracuse University journey, a journey that can feel overwhelming to students and family members alike, with changes happening everywhere.
Leading up to orientation, Abbott sat down with us to discuss what new students and their families can expect during Syracuse Welcome. Abbott shares tips and best practices to ensure move in runs smoothly and highlights the important role the Goon Squad plays in helping new students move into their room.
Abbott also examines how this year’s Syracuse Welcome will be different from years past, addresses the safety regulations required for students before they’re allowed on campus, runs through the programming highlights from the week and explains why the New Student Convocation is a key component of Syracuse Welcome.
Check out episode 111 of the “’Cuse Conversations” podcast featuring Carrie Grogan Abbott G’03. A transcript is also available.
01What exactly can our students and their family members expect when they step foot on campus for Syracuse Welcome?
When families first arrive, we’re all about the Orange welcome. We have tons of students, faculty and staff who are there to greet the students. Our goal is for our new students and their families to feel like an immediate part of our Orange family and be excited to be here.
Our orientation program is a mix of academic and social connection programming. The goal is for students to feel connected to each other, to start to build friendships and relationships with the University that conveys that sense of Orange pride, to become connected with their school or college, to learn more about their faculty and staff and to get to know their classmates.
02How does the move-in process work, and what role will the Goon Squad student volunteers play in ensuring the process goes smoothly?
The traditional process is, each family is assigned a move-in time at their residence hall, and when a family arrives, we typically have them in a line of cars. When it’s your turn to move in, you’ll pull up in front of the building, and that’s where our volunteers come in. A Goon Squad member, a faculty or staff volunteer or an orientation leader, or all three, are there to welcome the student and their family to Syracuse University.
Then we have those famous gray bins for bringing in each student’s possessions up to their room. We label the bins with the student’s name and their room number so we know where each bin is going, get that bin filled up and then typically the Goon Squad student will go with the new student up to their room, help them unload the bin and bring it back downstairs. For the families, we just ask that one family member or support person stays with the vehicle in case we need them to move their car.
03It seems like every year there’s two schools of thought for how much stuff to bring. Some students bring everything and the kitchen sink, others bring just enough to get through the first couple of weeks of the semester.
Leaning into that space of, ‘I’m bringing my student to school. I want to leave them with everything they need,’ there’s a certain amount of stress related to the shopping, the packing and the room setup. The big box stores will make you think that you need so much stuff that you really don’t need. You have to remember, the room is small. So I think coming in with a minimalist approach is good. You can always go out, run some errands after move-in and pick up a storage item if you need it.
Also, in the world we live in with Amazon and online deliveries, students can have stuff shipped to their room or their building. In terms of clothing, we’ll recommend that you bring that late summer to early fall wardrobe. Thanksgiving is always a good time to switch out your wardrobe, and Family Weekend is too.
04COVID-19 impacted move-in the last couple of years, and now for this year, there are changes for how Syracuse Welcome will play out as it relates to COVID-19. What’s new for this year?
Going into 2022, we are really back to a traditional move-in process where guests can come into the residence hall and help their student set up their room. In terms of vaccinations and immunizations, it’s definitely more extensive than it was in the past. Students are required to have their two doses of the COVID vaccine and a booster shot if they’re eligible. We are taking that very seriously. Students are not allowed on campus if they haven’t either had those immunizations or unless they’ve gone through a waiver process for medical or religious reasons.
05Besides move-in, what are some of the other activities planned during Syracuse Welcome?
We have social engagement programs every night, from an ice cream social and a game show, the ‘Slice is Right,’ on Tuesday night to 90s Night on Wednesday. Thursday is a really special day, our official kickoff to Syracuse Welcome: New Student Convocation, where families are invited to attend. There’s a celebration on the Shaw Quad afterwards, as well as evening activities at 119 Euclid, an open house at the Barnes Center at The Arch, a concert with student bands on the Orange Grove and more. On Friday, we have a big carnival and one of our signature programs, Citrus in the City, a food festival downtown in Clinton Square. There’s a lot to look forward to.
06New Student Convocation serves as your official welcome to Syracuse moment inside the JMA Wireless Dome. Why is New Student Convocation a highlight of the week?
It’s a really special ceremony, and it is the bookend to Commencement. Students and their families won’t be in that space together in the same way until they graduate. New Student Convocation is a formal academic program with regalia, pomp and circumstance, an academic procession and remarks from Gretchen Ritter, the provost, and Chancellor Kent Syverud.
The students sing the alma mater together for the first time as a class, and there is a lot of meaning behind the program. We know that not everybody can stay and that not everybody can travel to Syracuse, so the program will be livestreamed on our website.