Tradition Throwback: Orientation Revisited


On September 15, 1963, Salem College’s Salemites were up to many an activity. The orientation committee were busy making new first-years feel as accepted as possible. New Salemites were thrilled to make their “bare institutional living quarters” into cozy and welcoming bedrooms, with the help of Mom and Dad, of course. The article written on the aforementioned date states that “Mom made up the bed and unpacked, while Dad, completely exhausted from all the trips to the third floor, looked on.”

Upperclassmen can look back and imagine the mixed feelings of excitement and dire sadness when their parents left Clewell, all the nostalgic memories of childhood soon to be replaced with thoughts of scholarly careers for the future.

With unpacking almost finished and connections with roommates lengthy, it was time for dinner. The article claims “Sunday night dinner was not too impressive for these new Salemites, who were thinking of Mom’s good hot dinner at home.” Clearly, not much has changed since 1963.

Soon thereafter, first-years would meet in Babcock to enjoy refreshments and listen to upperclassmen sing much adored Salem ballads. After the first-years had gone to bed, upperclassmen would go from dorm to dorm and sing loudly, similar to what happens on Fall Fest morning.

The following week was filled with orientation activities. On Monday night, upperclassmen performed a Mother Goose skit, used to introduce first-years to Salem culture. On Tuesday, Salem held a mixer with Wake Forest, which “according to popular opinion, proved to be a big success.” In fact, many a Salem freshman were able to “make dates” with Wake Forest boys, ushering the sophomores into their ever-famous “Sophomore Slump”. On Wednesday, the Pierrettes performed “Theater in the Round”, held in the Old Chapel. The orientation festivities ended on Thursday night when the first-years held a fall fashion show for the school, showing off any new and updated clothing they acquired over summer.

Perhaps Salem should bring back some of these old festivities to bring more excitement and delight to the beginning of the school year. President Sterritt?

To read the full 1963 article, visit this link.

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