Freshmen kick-start year with ZOOM

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ZOOMING IN to the lives of Ateneo students and zooming out to the bigger picture – that was the theme of this year’s Freshmen Orientation Seminar (OrSem) according to OrSem Committee Head Justin Henry Ng.

This year’s OrSem, entitled “ZOOM” was held on June 9 to 11 at the College Covered Courts. ZOOM featured group dynamic sessions, campus tours, course and departmental talks, and live performances of bands during the OrSem Night.

School nights were also held during days one and two with the help of the Sanggunian.

The OrSem is the Ateneo’s traditional way of welcoming freshmen to the Loyola Schools.

Social relevance

Ng said that initially, this year’s OrSem was titled “In Focus” but the administration wanted a name that had social relevance.

“The admin did not like this idea [In Focus] that much because it [might seem like] the focus of college life was the OrSem, which should not be since this is simply the start,” OrSem Deputy Mara Karmela Duterte said.

Ng said that zooming in meant freshmen looking into their personal matters such as fixing their class schedules, while zooming out meant looking at how offices and departments in Ateneo work.

Talk and Tours (TnT) Head Aldrich Martin Chung said OrSem’s theme this year is very interesting. “The school is focusing on the different aspects of a freshman’s life. The symbolism is good because it shows [that] the university cares for the diverse aspects of college life both in the micro and macro level.”

Changes made

Chung said that this year, there is the challenge of “[bringing] back the real OrSem feeling” after last year’s OrSem was moved due to measures to protect the students from A(H1N1).

As such, one of the biggest changes in this year’s OrSem is the schedule. “Comparing it the experience of the freshies last year, of course for their point of view, OrSem is different since it is back to three days; events and activities are longer,” said Duterte.

Duterte added that tour stops this year were lessened, and org-related stops were removed altogether, as recommended by former Vice President Cuyegkeng.

“Organization stuff will still be discussed in the talk by the Council of Organizations of Ateneo. Also there will be a [recruitment] week after,” added Ng.

Aside from these minor changes, Ng said the program flow of the OrSem is still the same. He added that the Bring Your Own Baunan policy of the Ateneo Environmental Management Coalition was still implemented.

Passion seen

Ng, a senior, has been part of the OrSem since he could first apply. “Sana ma-enjoy talaga ng freshies (I hope the freshmen really enjoy it).”

Duterte said that the goal of the OrSem volunteers is to change how freshmen look at their college experience. “For them [the freshmen] this is something new, something bigger than high school, but [we hope we show them that] despite the difference, college can still be fun.”

For Chung, devotion of the volunteers was key to the success of the event. “They [OrSem volunteers] volunteered to give the freshmen a really, really great time and to enjoy something they wouldn’t find in other schools, something unique to the Ateneo,” he said.

TnT volunteer Vicente Jaime Constantino said freshmen should really participate in all three days of OrSem. “This year’s OrSem will be more comprehensive since there will be more time for everything. Freshies will surely be more bonded. Also OrSem will be more helpful as compared to last year since it will be during the start of the year again.”

Freshman Robert Abaño said that his OrSem day one experience was eventful. “So far, OrSem is fun, mostly because the TnTs are super hyper,” he said in a mix of English and Filipino.

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