By MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson
Each year Dickinsonians march up the steps of Old West, through the doors and into Memorial Hall, where they signed the college register, signifying their official entry into the Dickinson community. But this year, this age-honored ceremony took on a new twist.
Held Tuesday, Aug. 28, the ceremony included a thought-provoking tradition that added new depth to an already momentous event. As in years past, the students lined up outside of Old West and climbed its historic steps. But while doing so, they were invited to pick up limestone fragments, mined from the quarry that had supplied materials for the very building they were entering. They also submitted letters to their future selves, which they'll open next year.
The idea, said President William G. Durden '71, is to both connect the students to the college's history in a concrete way and supply them with a touchstone that would remind them to periodically reflect on their aspirations for themselves and their communities and the paths they've decided to take.
Jennifer Rush '16 was first in line during Tuesday's ceremony, and the symbolism of the moment rang out loud and clear for her. "It's meaningful to me because it means we're officially a part of the community, and now we have a responsibility to accomplish something and give back to the school," she said.
The ceremony's uniqueness also stems from its timing: Originally scheduled as part of last Sunday's Convocation, the sign-in was postponed for two days due to rainy weather, and was held on the second day of the academic year. "It would have been more special if we had been able to do this on the same day [as the Convocation speech], but at least we're still getting the chance to sign in," said Bryton Peternel '16. "On the bright side, it gives [our sign-in ceremony] a sense of individuality," his friend Kevin Doyle '16 said.
Published August 28, 2012