Enthusiastic cheering was a feature of the morning as 398 brand-new freshmen began their Welcome Week at Smith with a Saturday morning Leadership Institute, held at the UMUC Inn and Conference Center. The event set the tone for the challenging, exciting college experience that awaits them.
Victor Mullins, associate dean of undergraduate programs, welcomed students and delivered a keynote address. From the beginning of their college experience, he said, students should be thinking about the outcomes they want to achieve.
"You're here to get a degree and you're here to get a job," said Dean Mullins. "You have to give the same amount of effort to both of those things, starting today." Mullins encouraged students to develop a personal brand and a 60-second "commercial" that would explain their personal brand to others.
Students took a "global mindset" inventory before the activities of the morning to help them gauge their knowledge of the components of influence -- something that will be important for their later success. During their undergraduate experience, students will be repeatedly exposed to assignments and extracurricular activities that help students understand and develop competence in the areas of intellectual capital, psychological capital, and social capital. Smith is one of the first schools in the country to implement this program at the undergraduate level, says Mullins.
The Class of 2017 played games and did icebreakers to get to know each other. The freshmen were broken into cohorts for all the events of Welcome Week. Other events include an introduction to the school's career services, centers and offices, the Smith Undergraduate Student Association (SUSA), and a cohort-wide volleyball tournament. The cohorts are awarded points for their participation and enthusiasm during the week.
Ernst & Young, long-time corporate partner for the Smith School, sponsored the Leadership Institute. Smith alumni from EY attended the event and spoke during breakout sessions. Aimee Epstein '13, who works in IT and risk assurance consulting for EY, encouraged students to think of what they could do during their first year on campus to improve their global mindset competencies. Adam Ginsberg ‘05 advised students to read newspapers and stay informed about the important events and issues that impact the business world.
Ernst & Young Mentors attending the event included:
- Marie Accius
- Mark Rabinowitz ‘05
- Adam Ginsberg ‘05
- Aimee Epstein ‘13
- Scott Garrod ‘89
- Alexis McCurrin
- Tavon Grant ‘12