International Orientation has begun and my halls are filling quickly. There is no official “Hall Opening” like there would be in many Residence Life programs. I have had residents in my halls all summer, but the numbers have been relatively low. New international students have orientation this week, with all new students having orientation for their individual schools next week. Since the majority of on-campus residents are international our CDAs do their “hall opening” activities at the start of that orientation. My buildings have a large number of returning students making our first hall meeting small with only 12 people total.
The CDAs were very excited and had selected several ice breakers they wanted to use during the meeting. One of the ice breakers was “passing the story.” My most energetic CDA started it off my saying “Mika got a chimpanzee for her 18th birthday.” Each student then had to add a sentence to the story as it went around the circle. Most of the student were excited and looking forward to it. One student had not smiled the whole meeting and was very serious. She did seem like she was having a good time, but she was very serious about everything. As the story got passed the chimpanzee was given a name, taught tricks, and finally was taken to a family reunion. With about 8 people left to go in the story the serious student was up. She said in a somber voice, “And then the chimpanzee died.” Everyone in the room was laughing and telling her she could not kill the chimpanzee, he was the center of the story. All she said was, "No he is dead." Following that the story went from fun and upbeat to talking about funeral and burial.