First-years embrace Guilford


Fernando Jimenez

The club fair allowed students to learn about the over 20 campus organizations active in the school. // Photo courtesy of Guilford College

It was a late night during the first-year orientation week at the traditional Passing of the Light ceremony when something very special happened.

“During the passing of the light, I saw Ben James give his candle to another student because they did not have one. Ben was the only one who acknowledged him,” said junior volleyball player, orientation leader and teaching assistant Meredith Humphreys. “It was a heartwarming thing to see the first-years supporting one another even though they just met.”

Already, it seems that the class of 2022 has demonstrated a key core value held by the College: community. James is a first-year soccer player at Guilford and his action exemplifies what multiple other first-year students have shown as well so early in the year.

“I enjoyed the passing of the light,” said James. “I was able to have a few really great moments with my classmates and it was a wonderful way to culminate the busy week.”

On August 29, the campus hosted a club and opportunities fair for all students to search for ways to get more engaged and involved on campus. First-years, including James, immediately showed interest in certain clubs, despite recognizing time management constraints.

“Right now, I am pretty busy with Bonner, soccer and the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC), but I would like to join WQFS and the Outdoors Club,” said James.

Junior Christian Ritter and sophomore Khaira Bolden are resident advisers in the first-year dorm Bryan Hall and have also highlighted the engagement and initiative of the class of 2022.

“Being a first-year RA in Bryan, community was something I was very worried about because in the past, most of the suites would just stick to themselves and not really venture outside of their living situations,” said Bolden. “I can say that this past month, I definitely believe that they are a community.

“It’s really exciting to see them interact with each other in the courtyard pretty much every single day. I also know that there was a very good turn out with the activities that the Campus Activities Board provided them with. I think that if we continue to provide them with activities, they will continue to attend.”

Ritter highlighted a first-year who brings leadership despite being young.

“One of our first-year middle hitters (on the volleyball team), Mackenzie Calton, brings in literally the best positive attitude I’ve seen in a while,” said Ritter. “Even when we are down, she always knows what to say to either inspire or just make us laugh.”

The transition into college life was facilitated for first-year, fall student athletes at Guilford as they had the opportunity to work with returning students even prior to orientation. James noted the values of this experience during his preseason with the soccer team.

“Preseason went really well, and the guys on the team are great to work with,” said James. “It’s definitely a lot faster and since Coach Speed asked me to take on a big role. It presents an interesting dynamic when trying to tell 22-year-olds what to do. I think the competitive nature and overall intensity rise a lot as well.”

The class of 2022 has quickly conveyed to the campus the positive things they have to offer. They have become engaged in the Guilford community, some are already calling it home.

“I’m glad that I found Guilford College,” said James. “It isn’t where I expected to be this time last year, but it is truly a perfect match for me and I know I will be able to thrive in this extremely supportive community.”