CHAOS helps students and parents adjust to college life

(Courtesy of Guilford College)

(Courtesy of Guilford College)

Living in a new environment is never easy. Fortunately, first-year and transfer students at Guilford have help. For nearly ten years, the ironically named CHAOS (Community, Health, Advisement, Orientation, Services) program has been helping new students adjust to college life.The timing of CHAOS is perfect for most students. This year, it began five days before classes started.

“I think that CHAOS is better since it’s right before college, and that way you don’t forget any of the stuff you’ve learned,” first-year Monica Burgin said. “Most colleges have orientation in the middle of summer, so there’s a big gap between orientation and college.”

The first day of CHAOS, Wednesday, was mainly for moving all of the students’ belongings into their dorms. Students were also given a warm welcome by faculty and staff in Dana Auditorium and were treated to a reception afterwards. That night, everyone assembled in their residence halls to meet their RA and CHAOS leader and learn the residence hall rules.

Thursday began with the first First-Year Experience class of the year. This was followed by a day full of testing, but ended on a fun note with Playfair, an hour full of exciting activities and socializing.

On Friday, first-year students gathered in Dana Auditorium to hear presentations on the importance of the Honor Code by President Kent Chabotar, Associate Academic Dean Steve Shapiro and Director of Student Judicial Affairs Sandy Bowles. Students learned how the Honor Code is based in Quaker values, as well as the possible consequences for violating the code. Later in the evening, students met with their RAs and CHAOS leaders again to discuss Quakerism and judicial affairs.

On Saturday, students convened in Dana Auditorium once again to hear a presentation on the issues of sexual consent and date rape by Brett Sokolow. Students heard and participated in the case of two college students who had their entire lives change in one night simply because of alcohol. Afterwards, students met with their CHAOS leader to discuss the outcome of the case and give their opinions on date rape when alcohol is involved.

Saturday night, students had the opportunity to watch other students perform onstage, or perform themselves, in the talent show. An array of talents was displayed, from singing and playing the banjo, guitar, and harmonica, to beat boxing and reading original poetry. Following the talent show was a dance party with “DJ Tim Trouble.”

The Hall Olympics, which took place on Sunday, the last day of CHAOS, gave students another chance to meet new friends while supporting their residence hall. Participants competed in many different activities, including wheelbarrow races and three-legged races.

Overall, students enjoyed CHAOS.

“There wasn’t any time where I sat there and thought, ‘When will this be over? It was really helpful,” said Burgin.

It takes many people and a lot of time to make CHAOS successful.

“So many different offices take part in the program and coordinate so we can make sure we get across all the information needed,” said Associate Dean for Campus Life Jennifer Agor. “We also wouldn’t be able to do any of what we do without the CHAOS leaders who give up their week – and their sleep for a week – to help run this program.”

There is always room for improvement, and the structure of CHAOS is constantly changing. Surveys are sent out to all who participated in the program in order to get feedback that can help make it better.

“We make changes to the program every year to make it more accommodating for the students and parents,” Agor said.

Whether you’re a first-year student or a transfer student, CHAOS can help you make the transition to college a little less chaotic.