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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Guilford holds second annual DIVE into Guilford Summit

On Nov. 2, the Bryan Jr. Auditorium was filled up with numerous, chattering first-years and sophomores. Students were signed in and carrying packets full of the schedule and list of workshops in hand. A fun and educational day was expected as the second annual DIVE into Guilford Summit, sponsored by Second Year Experience and the Office of Student Leadership and Engagement, unfolded.

“I hope the biggest take-away from the DIVE Summit is a greater sense of the wonderful community we have at Guilford,” said Assistant Director of Student Leadership and Engagement Steve Moran in an email. “The intention of the event is to really connect first and second year students both to one another and to the fantastic resources at Guilford and in the surrounding Greensboro community.”

The day began with a keynote delivered by Jason Strauss ’11, who is now working in one of three immigration sites for Latinos. His speech was mainly relating to his own experiences at Guilford and beyond.

Strauss, a Spanish major and Chapel Hill native, began his Guilford career on a rocky start. He described himself as a “pretty apathetic freshman and sophomore” and struggled to adjust to college life, due to the freedom most college students used to sheltered childhoods enjoy and take advantage of.

Due to his struggles, Strauss had to leave school after freshman year and took time off with a stint in Durham working at a restaurant. He then returned to Guilford with a more pragmatic approach due to a family tragedy during his semester back.

Strauss’s younger brother, who had been diagnosed with a terminal cancer, passed away during that year. Strauss became more inspired to continue his education, with the last word that his brother, who was unable to speak, wrote down.

The word was “perseverance.”

Strauss persevered and made the Dean’s List later that semester. He still didn’t have a clue about his future, but knew he wanted to “travel and help people.”

Traveling to developing countries like Uganda and Nicaragua and studying abroad in Mexico, Strauss was able to get a sense of what he wanted to do for a career. Due to the help he got from the Career Development Center, he got connected with a Latino immigration site in Greensboro, and soon after graduation started working full time at the site.

He emphasized two points when one is in college: getting out of one’s comfort zone and gaining new perspectives.

Strauss liked the idea of the DIVE Summit.

“It’s great,” said Strauss. “(The DIVE Summit) gets me thinking about when I was a freshman and sophomore, being resistant (to get involved).”

He believes that a program like DIVE would have helped him adjust to college life better and to be more involved.

The students then attended three sessions of workshops after the speech. Among them was a workshop in dining etiquette, conflict resolution, and personality colors.

The workshops were designed by several Guilford faculty and staff members to talk about several important events that could help the underclassmen in the long run in their college career.

For instance, the dining etiquette was a helpful session in which students acted out how to act in a formal restaurant setting for a prospective job interview. Students learned formal restaurant terms, place mat etiquette and what to talk or not talk about in a formal setting. The forum finished with a fun, hands-on quiz session in which correct answers earned a piece of candy.

Several other sessions throughout the day provided students with valuable information and advice.

The day ended with refreshments and a raffle. Many of the staff volunteers and the underclassmen students enjoyed themselves and got a lot out of the workshop sessions.

“I liked the angles of anxiety (workshop),” said sophomore Sarah Mehta. “It was really fun … We did a bunch of skits for a hands-on activity on how to deal with stress.”

“The (workshop sessions) were all interesting, informative and beneficial,” said sophomore Olivia Bonomo.

However, some participants thought that some things could have been better. Moran said that he would like to see more student-led workshop sessions next year, as well as an increased participation among the underclassmen student body.

Although he saw room for improvement, Moran was pleased with the summit.

“I feel good about the positive feedback we received both in the evaluations and through word of mouth,” said Moran. “I know we had several second years who had a good time last year and returned to attend the conference again.”

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