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Challenge to new students: explore the world, seize the day

Raucous cheers issuing from first-year students echoed throughout Matthews Arena on Tuesday morning as the Northeastern deans introduced the new students in their respective colleges or schools at the President’s Convocation.

Northeastern’s 117th entering class has arrived.

Some 2,800 new students were officially welcomed into the university community at the annual event, where President Joseph E. Aoun, other university leaders, and upperclassmen encouraged Northeastern’s newest students to get involved, explore new academic subjects, and discover new things about themselves.

“You are in college to explore the world,” Aoun said in his address. “You are here to test yourself, to stretch yourself, and to learn from your failures as well as your successes.”

Aoun highlighted several of the myriad ways for new students to thrive at Northeastern. He pointed to the possibility of their starting a new business with the help of IDEA, the university’s student-run venture accelerator, or help alleviate poverty with the Social Enterprise Institute. He also noted the potential for them to explore the world through co-op, the signature program in Northeastern’s experiential learning model that integrates real-world work experience with classroom learning.

“You will get to know what you are good at, what you are not good at, what you like, and what you don’t like,” Aoun said of co-op’s value.

New students laugh during the President's Convocation at Matthews Arena on Tuesday. Photo by Brooks Canaday.

New students laugh during the President’s Convocation at Matthews Arena on Tuesday. Photo by Brooks Canaday.

Prior to the president’s address, the students were the first to see a fun new video staring the president in which he pretended to move into Stetson West.

Student speaker Sarah Lombardo, SSH’15, discussed her global experiential learning opportunities with the first-year students. She described how her first co-op, which involved working on issues such as constitutional reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina, helped hone both her academic and professional focus.

“This focus, along with the experience I gained, is now allowing me to reach out for many other opportunities, which makes me a little less terrified to graduate this year,” Lombardo said.

New Student Government Association President Noah Carville, SSH’15, challenged the students to try something new every day.

“Commit to being a daily adventurer and explorer,” Carville said. “Commit to trying one new thing, big or small, every day this semester. It doesn’t have to be revolutionary or expensive, and it should definitely not be dangerous. It just has to be something new.”

Student speaker Noah Carville, president of the Student Government Association, addresses first-year students during the President's Convocation. Photo by Mariah Tauger.

Student speaker Noah Carville, president of the Student Government Association, addresses first-year students during the President’s Convocation. Photo by Mariah Tauger.

Convocation concluded with student representatives from all five classes at Northeastern lighting a torch on stage, which symbolizes the leadership, zeal, and spirit of the university community.

Following Convocation, students were invited to the “A Taste of Boston” on Centennial Common. The event featured a tasting of foods representing Boston’s many neighborhoods, from the Waterfront to Chinatown to the North End.