Mirabella Miller ’23
When a new class of first years descended upon Claremont this past August, they had the opportunity to bond with their classmates in off-campus settings through various orientation trips at no extra cost. However, these excursions varied considerably across the 5Cs, from three-night Outdoor Adventure (OA) trips at Pomona, Pitzer, and Claremont McKenna to an overnight trip to Knotts Berry Farm at Harvey Mudd and various day trips at Scripps. Scripps has modified and is continuing to modify its pre-orientation and orientation programs in order to better fit the needs and interests of incoming students.
Last year, Scripps introduced Impacting, Partnering, and Changing Together (IMPaCT), a two-day pre-orientation program connecting students with non-profits in the Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. The partner organizations varied in their charitable focuses, from education to sustainability to community empowerment. Students who participated in the program said that it helped them build initial friendships with their classmates.
Medha Galli ’23, who participated in IMPaCT and worked with Artworx LA, said “I think Artworx LA definitely helped me build relationships and friendships with my peers because we shared an enriched common experience.”
Participants were grateful for the opportunity to serve their new communities.
“I got to make a difference, even if it was a little one, in the overall California community,” Ella de Castro ’23 said.
However, some students wished the program was longer to allow more time for community and friendships to be built among students. Ishta Nabakka ’23, who participated in both the weeklong Summer Science Immersion Program (SScIP) as well as the IMPaCT program, said “IMPaCT helped me make friends, but it wasn’t as tight-knit a community as it was a two-day event.”
Furthermore, because IMPaCT was a pilot program, it was offered to only a limited number of students on a first-come first-served basis.
Scripps offers three other pre-orientation programs in addition to IMPaCT that were available at no extra cost to students, including First Generation @ Scripps and New International Student and Scholar Orientation (NISSO). Summer Science Immersion Program (SScIP) served as a gateway into science options and opportunities for students who want to pursue science in their time at Scripps.
However, these programs are all either identity-based, geared for specific academic interests, or as in the case of IMPaCT, able to accommodate only a limited number of students. This marks a contrast to general OA programs at other 5Cs, which all students participate in.
Scripps last offered an overnight OA trip similar to what is offered by Pomona, Pitzer, and CMC almost ten years ago, said Brenda Ice, Assistant Dean and Director of Campus Life, and Deb Gisvold, Assistant Dean and Director of Tiernan Field House, in a joint statement. It was student organized and offered to all students, but those who decided to participate were charged a fee. That program has now morphed into Scripps Orientation Activities Retreat (SOAR), or the day trips that Scripps first years and transfers participate in during orientation, which are offered at no extra cost. Some SOAR trips allowed participants to explore outdoor offerings in the surrounding area, such as hiking in Griffith Park, while others provided a chance to attend museums such as LACMA and the Getty. According to Ice and Gisvold, this range of options was an intentional move to ensure that the trips were “offering students a choice in activities and are not exclusively focused on one type of experience”.
Currently, according to Ice and Gisvold, IMPaCT is being explored as a potential replacement for (or supplement to) daylong SOAR trips. Hopefully in the future, the program can be expanded upon and refined in order to offer the opportunity to serve the community and build friendships to a greater number of Scripps students.
10/30, Volume XXIX, Issue 3