First-years officially welcomed by alumni board at ‘First Night’

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Ellie Hislop, Contributing Writer

As we reach the halfway mark of the semester,  an event called “First Night” is held to symbolize the beginning of the first-years’ life-long journey as University students. On the evening of Oct. 21 Bucknell Student Government (BSG), with the help of Dean of Students Amy Badal and Director of the First-year Experience Beth Bouchard, held the annual event in Rooke Chapel.

Prior to First Night, each first-year class votes on their class colors and motto and designs a class crest integrating these symbols. Additionally, every residence hall puts together two pages of photos, drawings, and quotes to create memories of life as first-year students which will be combined to create a class book. At the ceremony, the crest is revealed, the pages are put into the book, and students sing the alma mater to President John Bravman.

Class President Chandler Houldin ’20 announced the 2020 motto: “Strive to ignite a spirit of success in all endeavors.”

BSG representative Alyssa Peeples ’20 explained that the motto means that, “in order to be successful, we must reach for and encourage excellence in everything that we do, and part of this is coming together as a class to learn and grow from one another. By forming a whole, our opportunity to succeed in and outside of the classroom flourishes immensely.”

BSG representative Michael Chen ’20 revealed the class colors to be mint and navy, where mint represents freshness like a breath mint and navy represents wisdom.

The class insignia was meant to “fully incorporate everything we have to give to the University, as well as what the University has to give to us,” class senator Bryce DiRisio ’20 said.

It includes flames, representing a bright future ahead; the Christy Mathewson Gates, representing the goal of graduating and thus walking through those gates again; the Bertrand Library symbolizing intellectual pursuit; and two bison: one looking forward, and one looking back. The bison are meant to “represent all of us, as we look both forward and back on our lives and experiences.”

When asked what the symbolism of First Night is to the first-year class, Houldin said that it “symbolizes the importance of being a Bucknellian and the acknowledgment of our class from the alumni community.”

“First Night gave the Class of 2020 something to look forward to since we heard a bit of what some Alumni Board members have gone on to do after their Bucknell careers,” Houldin said.

 “It was cool to put faces to all of the stories we hear about accomplished alumni,” Homa Gharagozlou ’20 said.

On campus, it’s easy to focus on the four class years who are here currently and forget that ‘Bucknellian’ refers to over 50,000 people around the world—people who love Bucknell and want to see both the institution and its newest members thrive,” Bouchard said.

The student government speakers also stressed the importance of getting involved on campus and encouraged the class to step out of their comfort zones and try something new during their University experience.

Houldin noted how campus involvement is something that not all first-year students take seriously enough. He expressed his hopes to his fellow students that they take advantage of the next four years.

 “First Night allowed for us to reflect on the past two months. We were able to think about what we have accomplished already in this short period of time and where we hope to take the next four years […] as Bucknellians, we’ve got the power, time, and resources to make a difference and reach our greatest potential, so why not do just that,” Houldin said after the event.

Vice President of the class, Chloe Burgess ’20, elaborated on this point, noting that, “Every person in our class has a unique aspect to contribute to the University. Each of us has our own thoughts, opinions, experiences, and passions that make the University our own, and we embrace these differences to make an amazing community here.”  

“We’ve only been here for a short time, and there are still so many more opportunities to come and moments to seize,” Burgess said. 

Overall, students seemed to agree that the event was worthwhile.

“It was nice to come back together as the Class of 2020 given the excitement of the first couple months of school with meeting people and getting involved in activities on campus. Everyone was able to take time out of their busy schedules to enjoy a nice night together,” Gharagozlou said.

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