Taking root, branching out, blossoming

Bwog’s freshest freshperson correspondent Marcus Levine reports from last night’s annual NSOP event. Relive the naive skepticism below.

The Class of 2015 has not had a smooth ride into college. From harrowing lines for bagged lunch in John Jay, to a canceled Convocation, practically every member of our incoming class has been affected by the fallout of “Hurricane” Irene. As such, going in to Class Act 2011 I could only expect to be disappointed.

It began with some traditional trivia on CU history, an unfortunately weak rendition of “Roar, Lion, Roar,” and attempts at a class-wide wave. Class Act eventually began with the first bout of the now-expected cheers from the crowd of OL’s (and a few freshmen) as Dean Shollenberger took the stage. Welcoming the Class of 2015 to the energy and vivacity of New York City, Shollenberger assured the incoming freshman that they could find inspiration at Columbia everywhere from the classroom to the “lavatory.”

Following the classic Alma Mater skit, the NSOP 2011 coordinators were introduced with a clever video parodying Dora the Explorer, replete with sly (and not so sly) digs at Brown, Harvard, and NYU, literal ice breaking, and a trip to Governor’s Island.

This year’s NSOP theme of “Taking Root, Branching Out” seemed to work its way into every aspect of Class Act in without much subtlety. Each speaker, including Head Volleyball Coach Jon Wilson, Jonathan Lung, President of the Columbia Engineering Young Alumni, and Dean Terry Martinez, incorporated the idea of the Class “spreading roots” in the community around campus and “branching out” to our greater home of New York City. [Eds: Aw!]

The focal point of the night’s shenanigans, the Varsity Show preview, was the first act that actually seemed to get the message of the evening across to a sleep deprived audience: be excited. Despite the urging of the deans and the endless cheering of the OL’s, neither I, nor my fellow audience members, actually felt the power of the evening until the Varsity Show preview, as it impressed on us (or me, at least) the enormity of tradition that went in to that night’s presentation.

If the Varsity Show did not engage the entire audience, the final event of the evening was undeniably rallying for the Class of 2015: the procession up Broadway and through the 116th street gates. Walking along Broadway between shrieking Orientation Leaders, smiling administrators, and absolutely dumbfounded bystanders impelled every member of the class in attendance to recognize that they are actually here and it actually does matter. Despite any earlier failings, mishaps, and unforeseen events, Class Act 2011 finally brought the Class of 2015 together in an undeniable aura of pride in being who we are.

Friends!!! via Wikimedia