New graduate students were surprised with a flash mob to jump-start their day.

A flash mob welcome

New graduate student orientation proves to be unforgettable

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1:24 p.m., Aug. 28, 2013--The flash mob that kicked off orientation for new graduate students at the University of Delaware on Aug. 21 set the tone for what would be an unforgettable day.

It was standing room only at Clayton Hall, with close to 700 students in attendance. The full day orientation, organized by the Office of Graduate and Professional Education, was designed to welcome new master’s and doctoral students to the UD community, provide networking opportunities, and offer friendly advice to make their busy lives as scholars easier, according to Mary Martin, assistant provost for graduate and professional education. 

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“The University is dedicated to strengthening our graduate student community and making their time at UD among the most productive, transformative periods of their lives,” Martin said. 

The event featured panels of faculty and graduate students who provided incoming master’s and doctoral students in dozens of disciplines with practical tips for academic success, as well as for navigating day-to-day campus life and understanding important issues and services, from student counseling and safety to student health insurance.

During the afternoon convocation, Provost Domenico Grasso and the dean or deputy dean of each of UD’s seven colleges welcomed the students with brief presentations showcasing the unique strengths of their colleges. 

A resource fair featured more than 30 student services, associations and local stores and restaurants manning information tables, from the Black Graduate Student Association to Career Services, and from Newark Natural Foods to the Writing Center.

The formal program concluded with remarks of inspiration and encouragement by Emily Bonistall, doctoral student in sociology, who played the lead role in organizing the day, working with Martin. 

Bonistall recently completed her two-year tenure as president of Graduate Student Government, handing the reins over to Alexander Razzook, doctoral student in biomechanics and movement science.

Bonistall shared four important things about being a graduate student at UD:

  • First, time goes quickly so enjoy the process, not just the end result.
  • Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way — you never know where it may lead you. 
  • Take advantage of campus resources (such as the Library, Athletics, Parking and Transportation Services, etc.) by asking for their help so that you can work smarter, not harder. 
  • Finally, get connected, not only to students in your department, but also outside it.

“Support one another and lift each other higher,” Bonistall said.

Bonistall shared a slideshow of current UD graduate students to illustrate the kinds of memories new graduate students are destined to make at UD — among them, presenting at conferences, volunteering, running 5K races together, being in each other’s weddings, celebrating a thesis defense, going to Phillies games and local festivals, and attending the Graduate Student Forum. 

“We believe in you, and we’re excited that you’re a part of our Blue Hen community,” Bonistall said. “Welcome home!” 

In his evaluation of the day, Jay Thakkar, a new master’s student in the computer science program, wanted to thank everyone involved in the event. 

“It is a day of my life that has been etched into my memory and will be there for a lifetime,” Thakkar said.

Upcoming graduate events — save the dates

Third Annual UD Graduate Student Gala

Date, venue, entertainment to be announced

Receive a warm welcome to UD from the Graduate Student Government (GSG) and Office of Graduate and Professional Education. Enjoy hors d’oeuvres, beverages and the company of fellow graduate students. 

UD Night at Yuletide at Winterthur

Wednesday, Dec. 11, 5:30-9 p.m.

Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, Wilmington, Del.

Take a festive break from finals to explore a thousand-acre county estate, listen to live jazz, and tour a 175-room mansion decorated for the holidays. 

Winter Session Meet and Greet

Friday, Jan. 10, 2014, 5-9 p.m.

Location to be announced

Relax and socialize with fellow graduate students at the conclusion of the first week of Winter Session 2014. Enjoy free appetizers and discounted beverages. 

Fourth Annual UD Graduate Student Forum

Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 1-9 p.m.

Clayton Hall, University of Delaware

Article by Tracey Bryant

Video and photos by Andrew Brett

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