Twilight Induction Ceremony celebrates new Hens
The hot summer humidity broke and gave way to a sunset, as groups of first-year students led by resident assistants sprung up in circles across the university’s main drag.
The freshman crowd made its way past blue and gold archways to the South Green for the annual Twilight Induction Ceremony on Monday, which marked the beginning of the Class of 2022’s journey as Blue Hens. A swamp-like late August dampness humidified the gathering crowd of newly feathered hens into nervous excitement.
On the south steps of Memorial Hall, a stage and large video monitors greeted the 3,000-person crowd, who packed in cross-legged on the green. University President Dennis Assanis, Provost Robin Morgan, Qourtney Ringgold, a senior psychology major and Kevin Peterson, the Student Government Association (SGA) President, addressed the freshmen class before a ceremonial candle lighting.
Interim Vice President of Student Life Jose-Luis Riera took the spotlight and led the students in lighting the candles, the hallmark moment of the event. The lighting of the candles began with Riera’s candlestick, which he explained was a gift to the university from this summer’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). The YALI encourages young leadership in the African community and is welcomed annually at the university.
“As they [the candles] light I encourage you to think about how you will live the central values of the community you’re entering,” Riera said. “Think about what being a Blue Hen means to you.”
The flame passed from the faculty to the students, until the entire green was lit and the new class erupted into cheers.
Gallery: 2018 Twilight Induction Ceremony (Minji Kong/The Review)
“Welcome to the University of Delaware, this is the best university in the world,” President Dennis Assanis said.
The crowd cheered as Assanis went on to highlight opportunities at the university. Joe Biden and other successful Delaware alumni were named to demonstrate the heights that graduates have reached.
“What’s most exciting about being a Blue Hen is that you get to choose your own path,” Assanis said. “You get to define who you get to be at the university. Starting right here, right now you get to write the script of your life story.”
When the candles went out, students started to wander back to their dorms. In the crowd was Annie Hoffman, an incoming freshmen medical diagnostic major in the pre-physician assistant program. Hoffman has known she wanted to be a Blue Hen since her junior year in high school. The induction ceremony was the final step in reaching that goal.
“I always knew I loved this school and it is where I belonged,” she said. “I just really want to pursue my career using the tools this school provides for me.”
Freshman weren’t the only students in attendance. Monis Anwar, an incoming mechanical engineering graduate student from India, also lit a candle.
“University of Delaware’s engineering programs fit very well, especially the biomedical division,” he said. “I haven’t told my parents about the party school thing.”
Recently, the university was ranked the number one party school by The Princeton Review. While unsure of the impacts of such a label, Anwar is excited to take part in the universities great academics.
Sean Goodwin, a university Welcome Ambassador and senior English major, described why he helped with the event.
“My first year, the Helping Hens were so kind and expressed a sense of community,” he said. “It was something I really wanted to give back.”
As a Welcome Ambassador, Goodwin helped new students move in to residence halls and find their way across campus throughout the first weekend. Throughout he offered advice to Delaware’s newest residents.
“Don’t be afraid to change gears,” he said. “Be ready to dive back in and find something new.”
Qourtney Ringgold, a senior psychology major and former Welcome Ambassador took the podium after Assanis and Morgan to impart what she has learned through her journey at the university upon the incoming class.
Ringgold said she struggled to find her place on campus when she first arrived and worried she was being left behind while others were getting involved. After a rocky first year, she switched her major to psychology, and learned to push through challenges.
“Don’t let college change yourself into who you think you need to be,” she said. “Let college change you into the better person you want to be.”