by Professor Kathy Burns
New Student Rendezvous is a tradition that students look forward to and also remember for many years. NNU administration, faculty and staff members volunteer to host a group of fifteen or so new students in their homes. The responsibility of the hosts is to open their homes and feed the students a light supper. Student leaders come with the students to the homes, and facilitate a time of getting acquainted and enjoying each other’s company.
The key to this evening is being in a home. The new students have just moved into a dorm room and are feeling a little frazzled from all the orientation, learning new customs, eating new foods and—oh yeah—their parents have gone home! Being in a warm, welcoming home definitely helps with some of the chaos and loneliness of all the changes.
A friend of mine and I have hosted New Student Rendezvous at her home. I have observed the students enter very quietly and apprehensively. By the end of the evening the mood has changed to laughter, happy conversation and smiles—lots of smiles.
Besides all the get-acquainted and ice-breaker games, another aspect of the evening is the food. True fellowship seems to happen more readily around food. Many of the hosts fix a meal that can be eaten with hands. This makes the students feel relaxed and cuts down on the stress as they sit on the floor and enjoy the food.
So, why does NNU do New Student Rendezvous? First of all, we love the students and want them to start the year well. Second, we want them to feel like they know some other students and have those new friends to talk to. Third, Rendezvous is fun. One of the biggest rewards I take from helping to host New Student Rendezvous is the looks on the students’ faces as those students take a two-hour journey from apprehensive to joyful.