Matriculation ceremony welcomes Class of 2018

First-year students introduced to the Allegheny community

By REBECCA FOX

Opinion Editor

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It’s the first step you take as a cohesive class. The first time colleagues and staff address you as part of the Allegheny community. The first time you stand next to the strangers that will soon become your peers and friends for the next four years.

Allegheny’s Matriculation Ceremony is more than just a kick off to your college years, you are swearing into the community Allegheny strives to maintain and promising to take part in it as a member of the institution.

The ceremony took place Saturday, August 23 at Shafer Auditorium. Faculty, staff, parents and students from all years were in attendance. While most parts of the ceremony remained consistent from past years, this year differed in various aspects in order to further enhance the ideals of unity of Allegheny College.

President of the college James H. Mullen Jr. made remarks as well as Larry Hailsham, the president of Allegheny Student Government. They were followed by the Honor Committee chair, Kushtrim Miftari, lead students in the Honor Code Pledge.

This year, instead of students filling in at random into the ceremony, some with parents, others with roommates and new friends, incoming first years met at the Wise Center to begin matriculation as a united class.

“This year it was more about community, taking that walk from the Wise Center to Shaffer, where you start your journey,” said Larry Heilsham. “Its going to be really cool when this incoming class, four years from now starts the walk from the Wise Center to the Bicentennial Plaza to end their journey, it will be really interesting to see how that goes.”

Once the students arrived at the Wise Center, Class of 2018 shirts were passed out. While the diverse class comes from different countries, states, families and culture, they now looked the part of a class. Once the incoming class filed into Shaffer Auditorium, they were seated together, easily recognizing their peers and started their swearing in as a class.  However, along with new changes, comes small glitches, as well. The majority of students had seats together, but a failure of pre-planning resulted in some students standing in the back and in other chairs separately. Despite the minor flaws, the values of unity were still prominent through the efforts.

Hailsham believed this ceremony especially was catered for the understanding of the first year students, where it might not have been so prominent in past years. The changes paired with the statement of community as well as the Honor Code made an impact.

“I think what matriculation was three years ago was a process, that as a student, was hard to pull an understanding of what it was,” said Hailsham. “It provides all the incoming class with a general understanding of what the culture should be on campus. A lot of the things at matriculation were centered around what Allegheny is about. The ‘We Are Allegheny’ session really provided the students with a deeper understanding of how to treat others in our community.”

Another aspect of the Allegheny community addressed during matriculation is the Honor Code system. Kushtrim Miftari, addressed the importance of a student run Honor Code system as well as swore in the incoming class. His address brought up the other side of ethical values the Allegheny community holds its students to.

Miftari spoke of the creations, rules and situations the Honor Code will bring as students. Most importantly, he spoke of integrity, academic integrity. Each one of us was brought to Allegheny because of our performances in and outside of the classroom, and because of this Allegheny entrusts certain values within the community. This trust is built on the foundation of our students upholding their integrity and other classmates’ integrity.

However this year, Miftari chose to incorporate social media into the meaning. Right before he had the incoming class recite the oath, he had them take out their cell phone, go onto Twitter and tweet what integrity means to them with the hashtag, ‘ACHC.’ By using our generations source of media, the Allegheny community was extended and publicized.

From minor changes to keeping old traditions, the matriculation ceremony welcomed a new class to leave its mark at Allegheny College. These adaptations to the matriculation ceremony not only made the college’s values of community, unity and integrity prominently known to the Class of 2018, but also reflected how the Allegheny community is a constantly growing environment of ideals and collaboration.