A warm, family welcome for first-year students
Highlights of Induction 2012
Ryan McNutt - September 5, 2012
They entered wearing their O-Week T-shirts, in lineups winding through the hallway and into the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium. They exited sporting Dalhousie scarves and scarfing down ice cream sandwiches before heading out for the rest of orientation week’s third day.
If all you caught was the hustle and bustle at the start and finish, you might not suspect that much changed in between. But it was inside the Cohn, during the yearly Induction Ceremony, that Dalhousie’s newest Halifax students had their “welcome to the family,” taking the Dalhousie University pledge and learning more about the what the next four years has in store.
Dal President Tom Traves—who earned an “awwwww” from the crowd when he noted that he met his wife when he was a student—explained that it’s not by chance that this group of students had come from all across Canada, and around the world, to be in the Cohn.
“Dalhousie is Canada’s most national university, in this sense, so we can afford to be picky when it comes to admitting the best students,” he said. “And we picked each and every one of you because we’re so confident of your future success.”
Of course, the students chose Dalhousie as well, and Dr. Traves pledged that Dal would do everything it could to live up to their expectations.
“We’re not only pleased you chose us: we’re determined to prove that you made the right choice by giving you the best possible university experience at Canada’s best university.”
Instilling a sense of belonging
DSU President Jamie Arron referred to the congregation as “the great Tiger migration,” and led a roll call of cheers as he listed off all the different regions where students had come from. At the end, he asked, “Now, who is here from Dalhousie?” The roar was deafening.
The event’s keynote speaker, Computer Science Professor Srini Sampalli, acknowledged the variety of emotions in the crowd.
“Take a look at the faces around you,” he said. “You see excitement, energy, enthusiasm, eagerness, ready to start. You also find a sense of chaos, confusion, bewilderment, ‘oh-my-god-what-are-we-getting-into.’
“All these emotions are perfectly normal. I strongly believe that it is our duty as teachers and educators, to make you feel welcome, to feel connected, and instill a sense of belonging in you right from the very first day.”
After offering his seven tips for student success—which included time management, participation, attending class and, yes, having fun—Dr. Sampalli reassured the students in the crowd that Dalhousie will be there to help.
“In any university, you will face risks, you will face challenges, you will face obstacles. There will be ups and downs. But what I can tell you is this: at Dalhousie, you will find a great number of professors who are passionate about their subject matter. You will find a great number of staff, administrators and professors who are approachable. And you will find a great number of people who will care about you.”
You get what you give
That idea of community came through loud and clear, as Dr. Traves urged Dal’s new students to get involved on campus.
“In my experience, those students who put the most of themselves into the university get the most out of the university experience. That’s where you’ll meet new friends with shared interests. That’s where you’ll turn your classroom learning into real understanding. And that’s where your new knowledge will eventually become experience, and even wisdom.”
Aaron echoed that advice.
“Find your deepest passion, and give it all your heart and together we can create something beautiful.”
Students decked out in their new Dal scarves. (Nick Pearce photo)
At the Induction Ceremony, two pledges are performed. The first, the Dalhousie University Pledge, is taken by the students, after which the University Pledge is taken by the faculty and staff present as part of the Academic Procession.
Dalhousie University Pledge:
Today, each of you takes your place as a member of the Dalhousie University scholarly community—a community with two centuries of proud tradition, scholarly excellence and academic achievement. Will you as Dalhousie University students promise to uphold and protect the integrity, good character and scholarly legacy of Dalhousie University? (Response: "I will.)
Today, as each of you stand, you commit yourselves to the academic success of your students in the lifelong learning process. Will you, as Dalhousie University faculty and staff, promise to provide students with an enriched educational experience; with academic challenge through active and collaborative interactions; and with a supportive and engaging campus environment? (Response: "I will.)