At the President’s Convocation on Monday morning, university and student leaders challenged the 116th entering class to explore the world through Northeastern’s unique model of experiential education.
“In order to learn you need to integrate classroom learning and real world experience,” President Joseph E. Aoun told some 2,800 freshmen who filled Matthews Arena.
Aoun encouraged the newest crop of students to chart their own academic path through more than 90 majors and concentrations as well as through research projects, entrepreneurship, and experiential learning opportunities in 93 countries worldwide. “If you are interested in understanding the world then get out of your comfort zone and explore different domains,” he said. “If you’re interested in economics, then go explore the sciences. If you’re interested in finance, then go explore philosophy.”
“You are going to be impacted by what’s happening in the world no matter where you go,” he added. “Explore what you like and what you don’t like, and then unleash your potential and creativity.”
“Northeastern has taught me that the best paths are those that are recognized in retrospect,” said Mueller-Soppart, who has completed co-ops at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Administration and Finance and the Macarthur Foundation, where she worked on sustainable development in the Madeira Basin in South America. “Live every semester like it’s a chapter in your memoirs,” she added. “If you already know how it’s going to end it would be pretty boring.”
Nick Naraghi, president of the Student Government Association, urged members of the new class to try new things without worrying about making mistakes. “Mistakes are a part of college,” he told them. “It’s how well you recover from them that shows the true content of your character.”
Naraghi pointed to their prior success in class, on the field, and in the community as proof of their ability to elevate the university community.
“For anything you want to do, there’s a community of intelligent, motivated individuals here who are just as passionate about it as you are,” he said, noting that the university features more than 325 student-run campus organizations ranging from cultural groups to honor societies. “Being part of our community means sharing in the events and activities that happen on our campus every day.”
Stephen W. Director, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, expounded upon the theme of exploration, citing the university’s focus on use-inspired research.
“You are beginning your college careers in a vibrant, comprehensive research university, where you will join our faculty and your fellow students in the adventure of learning, extending the boundaries of knowledge, and addressing the challenges of the world outside our walls,” he said.
Before heading to the Welcome Week barbecue, the new students were treated to performances by the university’s cheerleaders as well as the student a cappella group, The Nor’easters.