Freshman convocation encourages exploration

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Photo by Megan Thorne
After Convocation, the freshman class moved to the Quad to take their Class of 2021 photo.

As freshmen students filed into the Physical Activities Center Friday afternoon, they were immediately challenged to commit themselves.

As part of the annual Convocation, the incoming freshman class grouped into their respective colleges in the PAC stands to be officially welcomed to the university by Provost Ron Rochon and other administrative staff and student leaders.

Rochon began the ceremony by noting that faculty commitment to the students is not “a one way street.”

He said some professors describe their commitment as a “calling” and students should return that level of commitment.

“With your commitment, your potential is more than what you even realize in this very moment,” he said.

Rochon also said students should not only commit themselves to the curriculum, but also to diversity and civility.

“Being able to trust each other, to honor each other even when our values may be different is necessary and we must conduct ourselves in a way that brings honor to ourselves and to the community,” he said. “We ask that you be mindful of how you treat each and every individual on this campus.”

Among the student leaders gathered on stage in the PAC was Student Government Association president Katelyn Bueltel, who said she was excited to give the freshmen their first official welcome.

“It’s always nice to see the new faces here on campus and it’s exciting for them to get involved to make USI better each year,” she said.

Bueltel, who is also an AMIGO, said USI’s effort to strengthen diversity has opened doors not only for minority students but also for others to get involved with a more diverse community and be more culturally aware.

“Our creed says that students should be able to go out and be able to live in a culturally diverse world and I think USI has hit the nail on the head with that, with our international programs, with our Multicultural Center and with all these new students getting involved in the black student union and the hispanic student union,” she said.

Bueltel said her biggest advice to freshmen is to get involved and take advantage of all the opportunities the university has to offer.

Freshman nursing major and Evansville native Ethan Dale said the university is like home for him.

“I actually ran cross-country at Mater Dei,” he said. “We would always come out here and run on campus.”

Dale said he hopes to get involved with several student organizations including Student Ambassadors, AMIGOS and SGA and is excited for the year.

“I’m looking forward to getting out on my own and getting away from my parents and having more responsibility,” he said. “I’m looking forward to be able to study something and do something that I love and that I’m passionate about.”

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