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Paying It Forward: Orientation Leaders Revel in Helping New Emersonians

  • Sign says Move In
  • Griff the mascot high fives a police officer
  • Maggie Stewart
  • Cheeze-Its socks
  • A rainbow symboled cape worn by an orientation leader
  • A move-in helper dons a chicken hat
  • Sharon Duffy by a car
  • A MBTA pass
Bailey Carr and Dolly Pickelhaupt embrace
Orientation leaders Dolly Pickelhaupt ’25, left, with Bailey Carr ’26. (Photo by David Ertischek)

Orientation Leader Bailey Carr ’26 danced, cheered, and beamed while helping new students on move-in day Tuesday morning along Tremont Street.

“Orientation was very memorable [for me] and it set the tone for my first year,” said Carr. “It made me feel like I chose the right place. When my car pulled up there were tutus, good music, and I thought, ‘This is my community.’ I want new students to know this is a place they can call home.”

Just a few feet away from Carr was Dolly Pickelhaupt ’25, whose face was the first Carr saw last year, and they became good friends.

“It’s so gratifying and heartwarming to be the first face during this scary time of moving out of their home for the first time,” said Pickelhaupt. “I want to be part of a smooth transition, like when I was in my car and orientation staff made me feel welcome.”

Sporting purple and white sneakers, an orientation leader T-shirt and jeans, and experiencing his first move-in morning, was Emerson College President Jay Bernhardt. Bernhardt greeted students, parents, and jumped into the action, grabbing new students’ boxes from vehicle trunks.

“This is something you have to see with your own eyes,” said Bernhardt. “It’s giving a snapshot of the whole Emerson experience in five minutes.”

In regards to advice, Bernhardt offered congratulations to new students on choosing Emerson to learn and grow, and encouraged them to immerse themselves in classes and activities.

“Take this energy you feel today and bring it to everything you do,” added Bernhardt.

While orientation leaders put Bernhardt to work, transfer student Bri Frongillo ‘26 sat in the back of her parents’ car, eager to get out. “I want to be a filmmaker. I love Boston. I wanted to be in a city. I love Emerson’s location. I’m going to be on the basketball team,” she said.

Semaj' Byrd loudly cheers on a student
Semaj’ Byrd ’26 encourages the crowd to welcome a new student. (Photo by Caroline Alden Photography)

Orientation leaders shouted from megaphones, cheering and welcoming new students in voices that reverberated through the streets. Musical Theatre major Semaj’ Byrd ’26 was one of the animated and charismatic leaders welcoming students. He relished his first-year move-in day, and wanted to pay it forward, offering sage advice.

“Take your time to think and don’t feel like you need to join everything. You have four years to grow. Settle in. You can join things now and later. There is so much to do,” said Byrd.

A daughter and her parents stand outside of the Little Building
Dave Amaral, left, and Beth LeComte, were excited for their daughter Avary Amaral ’27 to move-in. (Photo by David Ertischek)

As the cheering and hollering occurred, Dave Amaral took in the scene while his daughter, Avary Amaral ’27, moved in.

“This is fun and crazy. I love it. I had an idea it’d be like this from the open house [we attended],” said Amaral.

“I like the high energy level,” said Avary. “Seeing how people are excited makes me feel good and lets me know that I made the right decision [to attend Emerson].”

Margot Stringer ’27 said finally coming to college was surreal. She was excited to get her hands on film equipment and take a Foundations of Film class. She was eager to meet her roommates, who she’d only texted before Tuesday.

“I’m excited to meet new people and a new city,” said Stringer.

Connor Spring smiles
Orientation leader Connor Spring ’25 enjoyed helping new students move-in. (Photo by Caroline Alden Photography)

Donning hooped earrings, orientation leader Connor Spring ’25, led cheers, and knew exactly what Stringer felt.

“Emerson’s biggest talent in comedy is committing to a bit. When we commit to being kind, joyous, and excited – that’s Emerson at its best,” said Spring. “Move-in is a high-stress day. I remember all the people who helped me and we became friends. Someone I’m meeting today may end up being my best friend and impacting the rest of my life.”

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