U welcomes new students at this year’s convocation

Students were greeted by President Bruininks and the marching band.

Ching Lo

The University used enthusiasm and pride to officially welcome the class of 2008 at New Student Convocation on Tuesday.

Gathered in the Northrop Auditorium, a majority of the 4,200 first-year students smiled brightly as they experienced the annual tradition.

“We have this event Ö because it sets an exciting and positive tone for students,” said LeeAnn Melin, the director of Orientation and First-year Programs.

In the hour-long event, students were greeted by University President Bob Bruininks, faculty members and the 300-piece University marching band.

One speaker, first-year student Saydi Chahla, of St. Paul, talked about the need for self-motivation and energy to do well at the University.

Following her speech, the crowd cheered and shouted as Bruininks greeted the crowd.

“You are in charge of your future,” he said. He also told the students to be proud of themselves and the University.

“Academic success means keeping on track to graduating in 2008,” Bruininks said.

Catie Almirall, a CLA Honors graduate and speaker at the event, suggested getting involved in campus activities can help students succeed.

“You have to get involved,” she said. “College is all about taking chances. It’s all about taking opportunities.”

Also, several speakers encouraged students to connect with faculty members.

“Go to your resources,” Almirall said.

Physics professor Marvin Marshak elaborated on the many opportunities available to students at the University. He suggested participating in research studies and studying abroad.

“It’s all about choice,” Marshak said. “How happy you will be depends on the choices you will make.”

Loudly clapping and smiling, students were energized throughout the event.

First-year student Chao Yang, from St. Paul, said he left Northrop Auditorium feeling good about school and exclaimed how fun it was to be in a room full with all her classmates.

“It has increased my interest in physics and I am so looking forward to study abroad,” Yang said.

“Convocation really excited me,” she said. “I want to do more. And it makes me feel more at home.”