New students arrive on campus and start their Brandeis story

The newest members of the Brandeis family have arrived on campus and are ready to start their collegiate journeys.

Photo/Julian Cardillo '14
Brandeis extended a warm, enthusiastic welcome to its newest family members on Sunday, Aug. 23 as 807 first year students and 56 transfer students arrived on campus for orientation and the start of their new journey.
Orientation leaders, current students who volunteer to help first-years assimilate to campus culture, were easy to find in their red shirts. They energetically welcomed their new classmates to Brandeis, helping unload cars, carry furniture into residence halls and provide directions for where to go to choose meal plans, taking student-ID photos and buying books.
“It was hard saying goodbye to family and the move-in was at times stressful, but everyone here is so nice and I’m just so excited,” said Michelle Yang ’19, who is from Bergen, New Jersey. “I’m just so ready for this experience.”
The Brandeis Beginnings convocation in the late afternoon served as the formal welcome by university administrators. Rabbi Elyse Winick ’86 offered a blessing before interim President Lisa M. Lynch and Senior Vice President for Students and Enrollment Andrew Flagel shared their perspectives with the students and their families on the start of a new journey.
“You are an extraordinary group of students, chosen from the largest pool of applicants in the history of Brandeis,” said Lynch. “You come from all over the world, and no two of you are alike. You start today in a university with a most unique and proud history.
“To paraphrase from our mission statement, we are a community whose members have diverse cultures, backgrounds and life experience,” added Lynch. “We believe no university can call itself excellent if it doesn’t advance the diversity and inclusion of its community. This is a family, which, from today on is yours for the rest of your life.”
At the conclusion of Brandeis Beginnings, the students and their families said their goodbyes, including a few tearful ones. The parents were invited to a welcome event in Napoli Room, and the students assembled into their orientation groups to participate in introductions and ice-breaking exercises. The activities tied into this year’s orientation theme, “Share Stories, Create Connections,” which was inspired by some of Brandeis’ alumni who are now distinguished authors, most notably, Mitch Albom.
As the sun set on the students’ first day at Brandeis, they gathered in front of the Rose Art Museum and the Light of Reason sculpture to participate in “Light Up the Night.” The orientation leaders instructed the students to write their hopes, dreams and who they are on a piece of tissue paper and place it inside a Mason jar lantern. The lit lanterns were then hung on a wooden sculpture that created a radiant web of every student’s story.
“Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said ‘If we would guide by the light of reason, we must let our minds be bold,’” Flagel said as he stood in front of the web of lanterns. “Making this art together, your story, your acts of boldness, now become the Brandeis story.”
As Flagel exclaimed, “Welcome to Brandeis!” the Light of Reason lit up behind him, sparking cheers and applause from the new students—a powerful conclusion to the day.
“It was hard leaving my family and home behind, but I’m ready to start something new. Everyone here is so welcoming and I’m just excited to meet new people,” said Ryan Sands ’19, who is from Avon, Connecticut, immediately after the lighting. “I’m just excited to get started.”

Categories: Alumni, General, Student Life

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