August 25, 2014
Drury’s four-day new student orientation includes moving into residence halls, keynote speakers, fun competitive games, a day of volunteer service, and even a huge fireworks show the night before classes begin.
It’s an intense introduction. But there are relaxing moments, too. One of the unique aspects of this annual tradition is the Sunday evening dinner and dessert with faculty. Groups of students gather at faculty homes and in some campus locations for food and conversation. It’s moment of personal connection in a time of transition.
“It was really interesting – it was very casual,” says freshman Trevor Cobb, who is from Springfield. “At a larger university, you wouldn’t necessarily have that kind of close relationship with the teachers.”
Conversations ranged from music and movies to what students should expect once they dig into their coursework. Dr. Charles Taylor, Drury’s vice president for academic affairs and a professor of communication, hosted Cobb’s group. Each group is actually a required class, called CORE 101, which brings new students into the college experience by way of various cultural topics.
“The faculty dinner and dessert experience underscores the inclusive, personalized and supportive environment that defines the Drury community,” says Taylor, whose CORE class is titled Politics of Rock and Roll.
Megan Henson, a freshman elementary and secondary education major, appreciated the dinner as a great way to get to know her new peers.
“We played outdoor games and just relaxed,” she says. “Truly an awesome time. Drury did a fantastic job of welcoming us and integrating us into the Drury community.”
The personal touch provided by the dinners was important to Vikas Jagwani when he was a new student. Now the junior seeking a bachelor’s degree in accounting is an orientation leader who helped guide the four-day experience.
“It’s always a great way to introduce you to professors that are you taking a class from now, or potentially in the future,” Jagwani says. “This could have not been possible if Drury was a huge school, but the ability to have this opportunity during orientation – that is what makes Drury different.
Story by Mike Brothers, Drury’s director of media relations. A version of this story first appeared in the Springfield News-Leader.