For the 450 new graduate students attending the UCSB Graduate Division’s 2013 Orientation, it was a day to learn about the campus as well as their own colleagues. The Campuswide Graduate Student Orientation held last Wednesday included walking tours, presentations on resources ranging from the library to leisure pursuits, and an outdoor activity fair during a catered lunch.
The morning started off with a fun excursion. Thirteen groups of new grad students met at Corwin Pavilion and headed out on guide-led tours. Each group explored a different area and different facilities of the sprawling 1,055-acre campus.
In an icebreaker activity before the tours commenced, students gathered in a circle and briefly introduced themselves, sharing a fun fact with the group. Group 5 participants learned that two students have twin siblings, two students can juggle, one student worked for the Los Angeles Dodgers over the summer while another did fieldwork in the South Pacific. In addition, one young man is training for his sixth marathon, and one student delayed his college education because his band was signed to go on tour with rocker Ozzy Osbourne.
Along the campus tour — which included stops at the library, the administrative building Cheadle Hall and the Mosher Alumni House — students were encouraged to snap photos and hashtag them “#ucsbgrad.” Later they saw their Twitter and Instagram images flash on the big screen during the presentation at Corwin.
Dr. Carol Genetti, dean of the Graduate Division, told the new graduate students it is an honor to have them join the university.
“At UCSB, we recognize that our graduate programs are central to our success as an institution because it is our graduate students who attract our world-class faculty," she said. "They come here because they want to study with you. It is our graduate students who collaborate with the faculty and help us to advance our research and advance the boundaries of knowledge.
"Our reputation is as one of the top universities in North America, and it rests firmly on the quality of our graduate programs. If we want to maintain our position on the forefront of discovery, it’s important every year that we recruit the best and the brightest students and the people with the most inquisitive minds from all across the world and from every sector of society.”
Dr. Genetti said UCSB seeks out “graduate students who are creative, innovative, analytical, entrepreneurial and collaborative — students who have the vision to see the scholarly landscape without the disciplinary fences that have divided the disciplines for so long. Students who embrace diverse perspectives and varying viewpoints and students who can synthesize, translate, apply, and communicate that enriched vision. That is why we admitted you, and that is why you are all here today.”
The new students viewed informative videos centered on funding, mentoring and a campuswide three-minute talk competition that launched last year for graduate students called The Grad Slam.
Librarian Dr. Denise Stephens presented information on the library’s services and its renovation project. The UC library system is the second-largest research library in the world after the Library of Congress, she told the students. UCSB’s library, she said, receives 2 million visitors a year and offers 24/7 hours for students as well as WiFi connectivity and laptop loans. To deal with the construction that will be ongoing for the next couple of years, the library provides free earplugs to each visitor. Stephens said the library recognizes the special needs of graduate students by setting aside dedicated quiet study spaces specifically for them.
Resource presentations were also given by Dr. Mary Ferris from Student Health Services and Rod Tucknott from the Recreation Department.
In concluding the formal presentation at Corwin, Genetti told the students that as a California native, “there’s nothing that I like so much as the beauty of our gorgeous state.” She encouraged the students to take the time to explore it, from the local Santa Barbara area with its wine country and hiking trails to the North Coast Redwoods in Humboldt and Mendocino counties, “my favorite part of the state.”
“I look forward to getting to know you, and to hearing about your work, and to reading about your successes,” Genetti said. “You are so welcome at this campus.”