Nearly all McDaniel students can remember ringing the bell after Convocation and look forward to ringing it again upon graduation, but the Class of 2015 has experienced the beginning of a new tradition.
The current freshman class participated in a ceremony in which they carried candles on a path through campus, passing through the Arch, while being welcomed into the McDaniel community by their Peer Mentors, faculty, and upperclassmen.
Christine Workman, Director of the Office of Student Engagement, explained that there was a tradition on campus from the 1930s to the 1960s when freshman and senior women exchanged greetings in a lantern ceremony.
“We wanted to build on that tradition but build a new event,” explained Workman, who said that it was important that they develop a ceremony that utilizes the iconic McDaniel arch.
In four years, the Class of 2015 will repeat the walk before graduation.
“It had good sentimental value,” said freshman Agustina Rius. “It was really different for all people. For one girl, it was the first time she had heard crickets.”
Matt Dreyer, a peer mentor, thought it was “a cool idea,” but suggested luminaries next time because he thought it was too windy for candles.
While some upperclassmen wished they had gotten to experience this new tradition, others disagreed.
“I just don’t get it,” said senior Samantha Lopez. “I think ceremonies like that are silly.”
According to Rius, some of the freshman agreed.
“A lot of people thought it looked like a cult and decided not to go,” said Rius.
Ms. Workman says that all of the feedback her office has received “tells us that it was successful.”
“The candle walk was designed as a traditional event for students to reflect about their journey into the McDaniel community,” Ms. Workman explained.
There were other additions to Orientation as well. Convocation was streamed live in Decker Auditorium, and 100 people utilized this service this year.
“Typically, we have a very large audience,” said Ms. Workman. “We wanted to provide an opportunity for people to view the event not outside.”