Class of 2018 celebrates First Night

Caroline Fassett, Senior Writer

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In celebration of the 939 first-year students’ successful completion of their first semester at the University, the annual First Night ceremony was held in Rooke Chapel the night of Jan. 30.

“First Night was an amazing experience. I couldn’t have imagined a better way to celebrate the end of my first semester and the beginning of so many more,” Brian Picarillo ’18 said.

Associate Dean of Students and First-Year Class Advisor Amy Badal welcomed and congratulated the Class of 2018 before introducing Provost Mick Smyer to the stage. Smyer shared his past summer job and internship experiences and encouraged the students to pursue opportunities in research and studying abroad this coming summer.

“Class of 2018, you have been given a gift of time, place, and people. Use it wisely to access settings like internships and externships, and to build connections to Bucknellians worldwide,” Smyer said.

Following Smyer was Melissa (Campbell) Plaisance ’82, President of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, who addressed the members of the Alumni Association. Members held a blue and orange “B” that they waved when she said something that resonated with them. The majority of the alumni had participated in Greek life, had been confused at some point about what major to pursue, and had ultimately fallen in love with the University.

“Bucknellians have a lot in common, and we all share rich rewards of an Alumni family that spans regions and generations. Relish these four years on campus, and then as a graduate, I encourage you to embrace ways to open doors, volunteer, give back, engage, and return,” Plaisance said.

Before the class officers presented themselves, they shared a video with the audience that poked fun at various first-year student “hardships,” from attending First Year Integration Series (FYIS) sessions, experiencing conflicts with roommates, and dealing with not getting into desired classes.

At the conclusion of the tape, the officers danced their way to the front of the chapel to a choreographed arrangement of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.” Afterward, Class President Jeong Woo Seo ’18 launched into his speech, in which he asked all students to consider who they were on Aug. 22, move-in day, in comparison to who they are now, after completing their first semester.

“Whatever your answers may be, most likely your two answers are different. You have undergone tremendous growth in the past semester,” Seo said.

Seo reflected on memorable events that may have played a part in defining who the students have become, including the chaotic Color Wars, the first day of classes, the first social gatherings they attended at the University, and the friendships they’ve gained.

“Experiences help us grow as individuals because we learn from them. And as we get older, it becomes more difficult to have experiences like these. And so during the rest of your time here at Bucknell, and throughout the rest of your lives, experience, learn, and grow. Experience anything, and everything,” Seo said.

Following Seo, Class Vice President Patrick Newhart ’18 and Class Secretary/Treasurer Craig Cassidy ’18 asked the audience to take pride in each other as University students and to acknowledge their unity as the Class of 2018.

Class Senator Caleb Darkes-Burkey ’18 presented the class motto, “Following different paths, we lead together.” Class Senator Emily Barnes ’18 described the colors of the class crest: gold, which represents success, achievement, and triumph, and teal, which represents communication and clarity of mind.

Class Senators Nigel Ravida ’18 and Madison Fink ’18 explained the class crest and class book, respectively. Finally, Senators Zack Carlee ’18 and Cate O’Brien ’18 called up the representative of each residence hall  to bring up and put into the class book the pages that they had created with pictures, drawings, and quotes that symbolize their particular floors. Senator Christian Daugherty ’18 closed out the ceremony by inviting the audience to sing the University’s Alma Mater.

“The reality of the interconnectivity in Bucknell is unparalleled to any school I’ve ever been to,” Tom Ficcadenti ’18 said.

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