2023 New Student Convocation

Photo by Tyler Parker Student Publications

After a busy week of move-in, orientation and Week of Welcome events, Tech’s class of 2027 was officially welcomed to campus at this year’s New Student Convocation on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023. 

The event is held each year before the first day of classes, and all incoming students are encouraged to attend to receive their RAT Cap, T-Book and Tech pin in addition to gaining advice from several prominent speakers on how to navigate the next four years.

When asked about the importance of the event for new students at the Institute, Shivani Virani,  third-year NEURO and student volunteer at the event, said, “Convocation really shows the culture of Georgia Tech. Everyone is all sitting together, you are learning about how Georgia Tech works and you get to actually hear insight from a student who was just in their shoes a year before that, which I think is really awesome and something that everyone should experience.”

The ceremony began at 5:30 p.m. in McCamish Pavilion. Students and parents enjoyed a pre-show with interactive games, live music and performances from several student organizations before the festivities began.

The Yellow Jacket Fencing Club gave a memorable performance as they promoted their club to the audience, and representatives from Ramblin’ Reck Club took the stage to explain how students could showcase their school spirit. 

Additionally, the Georgia Tech Marching Band serenaded the crowd between performances with their renditions of Tech’s two fight songs, “Ramblin’ Wreck” and “Up with the White and Gold,” along with various pop hits.

“I really enjoyed the band playing because I personally really enjoy listening to the band’s music and that’s why I enjoyed pep rallies in high school. So, I’m glad that they brought the band out here,” said Agatta Betancourth Pollett, first-year AE.

President Ángel Cabrera initiated the program with some words of wisdom as he spoke about his position at the Institute and how incoming students could make the most of their time at Tech. Then, the students put on their RAT caps, signifying the start of an exciting journey ahead.

“It has been very fun at McCamish Pavilion seeing all of my other peers and everybody with their RAT caps. And I’m just excited to be part of this tradition I’ve seen for so long,” said Caela Thomas-Holness, first-year BIOL.

Convocation proceeded as the new Jackets learned about the Institute’s values from second-year CE and student speaker, Sultan Ziyad, along with other members of faculty.

“These events are important because [they] show students that [Tech] is a school that is serious about what it wants to do. That is how it is achieving above other schools,” said Gabriel Aca, first-year ME.

With an incoming class of approximately 3750 students, events like the New Student Convocation foster community by bringing students together.

“It is not many times that your whole class is all here together. It is also really cool to learn about the traditions and get to hear some of the higher-up administrative people talk to you,” said Jacob Hull, second year IE and student volunteer.

Virani agreed that the buzz of excited students created a lively atmosphere to celebrate the upcoming school year.

“It is nice to see so many new faces and see how excited everyone is for the new school year. Everyone looks pretty excited and ready to go for the school year, and it is cool to see how many people are in this incoming class,” Virani said.

Dr. Sonia Alvarez-Robinson, Associate Vice President for Strategy and Organizational Effectiveness at Tech, also assisted on the day of the event. She shared her insights on the program’s impact on Tech’s student diversity.

“I love to see how the Georgia Tech strategic plan is coming to life through this event because we’re starting to see our growth show, the diversity of our students and all of the things that we’ve been planning for our incoming class,” said Alvarez-Robinson.

Overall, the Fall 2023 Convocation was a successful event for students to get acclimated to their first year at the Institute.

“Convocation is really important because it is a time for everybody to get on the same page and it is a fresh start. It is a very important event for the students, but also it is great to be a part of this as a volunteer. We say our students are our top priority, and this is a chance for us to show that,” Alvarez-Robinson said.

For some incoming students, the decision to chose Tech was a natural fit, “I came to Tech because most universities in my state did not have the major that I wanted to do, which is aerospace engineering. And Tech has one of the best aerospace engineering programs. So it was an easy decision on my part,” Agatta said.

Others cited the Institute’s culture and the opportunities that they felt would provide as a deal breaker in the decision process.

“I  am from in-state. I chose Tech because I just like the entire history of innovation behind it, how it cares for its students, the opportunities that it gives you and it just has the major that I want and the
[graduate program] as well,” said Aca. While the Institute has a reputation for its rigor and emphasis on exceptionalism, students stillexpressed their excitement surrounding their upcoming four years.

“I think I’m most excited for the football events and sporting events, but I’m also excited for the people that I’m going to meet here, the connections that I’m going to make and all the buildings and the labs that I’m going to conduct research in,” Aca said.

For many Jackets, Convocation is their first introduction to campus. It serves as a welcome from the administration and general student body. The Technique would like to extend a warm welcome to all students coming to campus this academic year.