Hearing “Vinny! Vinny I love you,” from at least four first-year students in junior Vincent Tatro’s first-year seminar group every time he walks in a room shows what kind of bond is formed between Student Orientation Staff leaders and their group of students in the first week of classes.
“They’re just awesome, very supportive … Other SOS leaders come up to me and tell me what a great group they are,” Tatro said, trying to explain their apparent adoration of him.
At cabaret, held at the end of orientation for new students, Tatro said his students were in the first row of the Casella Theater cheering, laughing and engaging with the acts onstage when many of the other students had left.
Others seem impressed with the incoming students as well.
“This is the nicest freshman class that I’ve seen in a long time,” said first-year-seminar professor Robert Wuagneux.
This year’s freshman class is the third largest in Castleton’s history. Maurice Ouimet, dean of enrollment said the reason he believes this class is so large is because “students love Castleton.”
He said students see the way the community interacts and how happy the students are and then they want to come here.
Freshmen at Castleton agree.
“Castleton has an amazing environment that is very welcoming,” said freshman Kelsey Birdsey.
It is Birdsey’s first extended period of time away from home and she admits to being homesick. She said her new friends and their support are helping her through the homesickness though.
Brandon Bailey, another first-year student, said he used to be shy and he’s planning to make a new, better self while at Castleton. When he said that, Birdsey and another student exclaimed, “You were shy?” with shocked looks on their faces.
Anders Bright, a first-year student in Tatro’s FYS and theater major, said he loves the opportunities to be involved in various activities at Castleton.
“Even though I didn’t make it into a show this time, I know that there will be a lot more opportunities for me to be in others,” he said.
Tatro said he loves that the students seem so motivated.
“Last year, one freshman auditioned for the fall show, and this year eight auditioned,” he said.
Tatro also said he was amazed that his group became so close so fast.
“One day I walked into Huden and there were like seven of them sitting together eating and talking. That’s the whole point of FYS, for freshman to go into their first year of college with a solid friend group,” he said.
The freshmen said they feel welcomed, and are excited about how they will transform here.
“I like seeing everyone’s individualness, I’m learning more about myself, and it’s a huge opportunity to grow,” Bright said.