Aoun to freshmen: “You are new here. I am also new here.”

Aoun to freshmen: “You are new here. I am also new here.”

By Chris Estrada

Northeastern President Joseph Aoun didn’t have to try hard to draw a parallel between himself and the incoming class during his first Convocation Monday at Matthews Arena.

“You are new here. I am also new here,” Aoun said to the Class of 2011.

Aoun touched on several topics during his address, including the way current students are adapting to a world different from the one he and his colleagues grew up in.

“Comparing the world now to the world of 20 years ago, when some of us were graduating … it is clear that there are profound changes,” Aoun said. “Whether they’re good changes, whether they’re bad changes, you’ll let us know.”

“In many ways, you will lead us into the world … frankly, you’re more nimble than we are.”

Aoun also talked about the prospect of multiple careers for future students, careers that may be different than a declared major. Mentioning that the average student switches majors almost three times, he said “it is OK to change.”

“Our purpose is to get you ready for your second, third or fourth career,” he said. “We are going to work together so you are prepared for life.”

Before Aoun gave his address, speeches were made by Student Government Association President Rogan O’Handley and Provost Ahmed Abdelal.

O’Handley urged the new class to “contribute to the Northeastern movement,” while Abdelal spoke of the “three hallmarks” of a Northeastern education: knowledge creation through research, interdisciplinary learning and international experience through studying and working abroad.

Presidential Scholars Allison Wyman and Chris Burns also addressed the crowd, dispensing advice to the incoming class on classes and the co-op program, advising them to take advantage of the many resources around the university.

“You literally have everything at your fingertips,” Wyman said. “The rest is up to you.”

After the ceremony, a barbecue was held for new students on Centennial Common, which included prize raffles, live music and games.

While some freshmen took turns pummeling each other with oversized boxing gloves in an inflatable ring, other students, like criminal justice major Herberto DaSilva, took some of the advice to heart.

“I’m looking forward to the electives outside of my (major),” DaSilva said. “I’m taking classes in international affairs and sociology, things that will show me more than my criminal justice major.”

Erin Gormley, a freshman music industry major, said while she thought the speeches ran “a little long,” she connected with Aoun’s take on multiple careers. She said she plans on taking additional courses in law.

“I liked that whole deal – how we’ll have second, third and fourth careers and how we are leaning toward something other than [a major],” Gormley said.

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