Orientation Recap: What Are New Wildcats Excited About?

Author James Regan '24 is a Media & Communication major and works as a student assistant at JWU, contributing to JWU News.  

New Student Orientation at JWU is designed to help incoming students transition to college smoothly, but it’s also a lot of fun! Students meet their new classmates, learn more about their majors and the resources available, explore campus and stay overnight in a residence hall. The energy is always high with our lively team of Orientation leaders, and you can feel the excitement these new Wildcats have about getting their first taste of life at JWU. 

We attended Orientation to talk with our newest Wildcats, and see what brought them to JWU and what they’re most excited about. Here is what we learned. 
 Providence orientation mascot on stage

Students are really excited to study their major and have the college experience 

Many students were drawn to JWU because of specific majors. “I chose Johnson & Wales specifically because of the Physician Assistant pathway,” shared Shanza Yasin ’28, who will start as a Health Science major this fall. She’s looking forward to learning more about the healthcare field and pursuing volunteer opportunities while at JWU. 

“I came to JWU for the strong Animal Science program,” said Cady Robillard ’28. “And also because everyone looks like they love it here and have so much fun!” She’s excited to meet new people and live in the city for the first time. She continued to express her enjoyment of the class size adding, “I like that the classes aren’t really that big and there’s no big lecture halls.”  

Trevor Petrone ’28 said, “What really drew me to JWU was the Cannabis Entrepreneurship program. It's one of the only ones in the country so far. I'm going into Entrepreneurship, but I'm going to be swapping into Cannabis Entrepreneurship, if my GPA hits the right level. It’s a huge booming industry that's just barely getting on its feet. And I'm ready to get in there.”  

“Baking and pastry is all I want to do!” shared Emily Greer ’28. “It was either JWU or Culinary Institute of America, and there’s so many more options here.” She was also inspired by the number of JWU Baking & Pastry alums she has met, and she wants to follow in their footsteps.  

Jade Chehovich ’28, a Baking & Pastry Arts major said, “I wanted to do Baking & Pastry Arts since I was a kid, and this is one of the top schools. When I came to visit the school, I knew I wanted to come here.” 

Providence orientation women student playing ping pong

They’re looking forward to joining athletics teams, clubs and organizations 

Outside of education, students consistently mentioned JWU’s extracurriculars, especially athletics programs, such as intermural volleyball, wrestling, and cheer teams. While discussing JWU Athletics, Katja Nelson ’28 said, “Head Women’s Volleyball Coach Hoolahan really swayed me. He seems like a great program leader.”  

Cady was one of many students who mentioned how refreshing it was to meet with professors and program leaders, sharing, “getting to speak to someone from the Animal Science department and be able to ask him questions was really nice.”  

Students also mentioned clubs like the Ski & Snowboard Club, E-Sports Team, Ataxia Hip Hop Dance Team, Tabletop, Anime & Games Club, and the Media Production Club. There will be plenty of time for extracurriculars because, as many students were thrilled to mention, several majors allow for three-day weekends — there are no classes on Fridays! 
 Providence orientation CAT students outside Gaebe Commons entrance.

They’re ready to join our community 

Many students expressed excitement about JWU’s community. Culinary Arts and Food & Beverage Industry Management major Chalaylee Myers ’28 brought up the fact that JWU offers a “small tightknit community” within the city environment. Providence offers that big city feeling, while still being a safe, walkable community where it’s easy to meet new people and make connections quickly.  

When talking about the community, Emily mentioned, “I found orientation very helpful, and just meeting other people makes it seem less intimidating.” Students chose Providence for those exact reasons and have come from across the country. We talked with students from as close as East Providence to as far away as Tampa, Florida. 
 Providence orientation Gaebe Commons.

Students are excited to explore Providence 

When asked what parts of Providence students wanted to explore, there were few students who didn’t mention Thayer Street. Just a 20-minute walk from JWU’s Downcity Campus, Thayer Street offers shops big and small, great food and enough variety to discover something new with every visit.   

Another popular choice was the beach. When asked what she wanted to explore first, Sarah Tanner ’28 put it simply, “The ocean.” Rhode Island is a state of beaches, and some of the best ones are in the Providence area.  

A few students were also excited to explore the bakeries of Providence as well as the theaters, one of which is right next door to Gaebe Commons, the Providence Preforming Arts Center. Emily added, “We don’t have that back home, so it’s really cool to see here.” 

With all Johnson & Wales University has to offer, it’s no surprise students have a lot to be excited about! If you would like to learn more about what you can discover in Providence, consider exploring JWU’s Providence campus

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