For all you first-years reading this, I hope at one point you have thanked your FAC for lugging all of your extremely heavy and bulky luggage/furniture/weird items out of your cars to your dorm. Another orientation week has already come and gone, seemingly in the blink of an eye, and its smooth success was thanks to the FACs. However, it could have never been done without the dedication, perseverance, and planning that seniors Anthony Lin and Corinne Merriman, the FAC Co-Chairs, put into this one week. So please, give them a pat on the back when you see them next.
Lin, a double major in Neuroscience and Computer Science from Oregon, and Merriman, public policy major from Ohio, started organizing 2016’s O-week before fall break of 2011! Crazy, right? These rock stars not only pulled off a huge feat, but their extremely high-spirited personalities and optimism allowed the entire FAC team to come together and welcome the incoming class with excitement, fervor, and a lending hand. I’ve had the great pleasure of knowing these cool kids for quite some time, and so were thrilled to learn more about their roles as Co-chairs.
1. What made you want to be a part of the FAC Board program?
AL: As a first-year, I struggled adjusting to college life. Though my FAC was there to perform all his official duties, he never went above and beyond those expectations to try to get to know us personally. My motivation to join the FAC Program began with wishing to help first-years acclimate to the Duke community, and with each successive year, I have tried to impact more and more first-years.
CM: In high school, I was a member of a 120 person cross country team, and we would have a minimum of 50 people at one time on the side of a race course cheering on other runners, doing chants and dances in our bright purple shirts. To me, that is exactly what the FAC Program looked like from the very first day of college. It is a program that assigns every first-year a friend and cheerleader to get them started off on the right foot in college. As an energetic person myself, I had to be a part of that.
2. How do your experiences as a FAC, being a part of the FAC Board, and being co-chair, differ? Which did you like best?
AL: The mission and motivation behind each position remains the same: to create the most enjoyable and supportive transitioning experience for the newest peers of our Duke community. I have thoroughly loved being a FAC, Boarder, and Co-Chair. All these positions have provided opportunities for me to engage with the FAC Program both through personal relationships developed with FAClets and institutional changes implemented from the Executive Board.
3. Which faculty did you work with the most, and what was it like working with them?
CM: Our advisor is Clay Adams in New Student Programs, so naturally we work with him the most throughout the year. However, throughout my time as a co-chair I also developed a relationship with Dr. Gary Glass, Assistant Director for Outreach and Developmental Programming of CAPS. I feel very lucky that this experience introduced me to him. Working with him has made me feel empowered.
4. Could you explain a few of the things you were charge of during O-week? What was your favorite event and why?
AL: Move-In Day has always struck me as one of the most lively and vibrant days on campus. The physical act of moving someone in parallels the figurative role of the FAC Program to welcome and transition a first-year to student life here at Duke.
CM: We also do a piece in the parent and family programming called “A Year in the Life of a First-Year.” These are skits that our newest class of Board members put together based off of five morals we want to get across to the parents. We also sit with parents to answer their questions and ease their concerns. This whole evening is one that really sticks out to me: I look at these parents as they ask me anything and everything and pray that my parents were not this crazed when they dropped me off.
5. What else are you involved in at Duke, or like to do?
AL: My largest commitment outside of the FAC Program is to the Duke Fencing Team. I am captaining the team this season and it has been an incredible experience.
CM: On campus, I am a member of the club cross country team, the Roadrunners, and the secretary of my sorority. Also, for the past year I have spent every Saturday afternoon at Saving Grace Animals for Adoption, an amazing dog rescue. (Fun Fact: Corinne also does the Photo Blog for Her Campus Duke!)
6. What piece of advice would you give for first year students, and for those who want to be FACs next year?
AL: There is no cookie-cutter FAC. FACs come from all over the Duke community. One of the best things about the FAC Program is that it brings together such a diverse array of personalities, passions, and experiences to cater to all types of first-year students. Just be yourself and apply!
CM: For all first-years, I would say don’t settle. Don’t assume you’ve found your best friends or your perfect major the first semester of college. Don’t take classes simply because they fit well in your schedule. You WILL change in college, so plan your life accordingly. Always be on the lookout for something that might make you even happier than you currently are.