Testing, Tweeting and Connecting

BY MEREDITH MASON
Report From Newport: Fall 2013

Meet the Class of 2017

Connected. From the moment they were born, students in the Class of 2017 became part of a world engulfed by rapid technological change. They are digital natives that live in an environment where texting and social media dominates their communication. Rites of passage have more to do with having their own cell phones and Skype accounts than getting a driver’s license and car. Having a chat seldom involves talking and they have never really needed to go to a friend’s house to study.

These characteristics are just a few of the cultural touchstones listed by the Beloit College Mindset List, an annual guide that offers a glimpse at the world in which the average freshman was raised. To these students, an interconnected world has been something they have always known.

According to Beloit’s list, for the Class of 2017, a tablet is no longer a bill you take, but a way to take notes in class. As they watched movies and television shows on increasingly smaller screens, their parents’ TVs grew larger and larger. They are known as the sharing generation. They have the tendency to share everything, including possessions, no matter how personal.

The freshmen class at Salve Regina is no exception. Before attending orientation a move-in day they had already connected with their incoming peers on Facebook. They checked out dorm rooms on the Campus Life Instagram and showed their Salve Regina pride by “tweeting” @ the class of 2017 Twitter account.

According to Dr. Martha Rose, professor of education and Class of 2017 dean, “connected” is not only a way to describe their online social habits but a way to describe their engagement with the University.

Rose believes the freshman class radiates an attitude that is overwhelmingly happy. “They are working hard and have found the University to be a welcoming place,” she says. She has had reports from faculty that this year’s freshman lass “shows up well.” They are engaged with the community and are constantly taking on tasks to make the University a better place.

On move-in day, Rose went to every dorm room and introduced herself to students and parents. “I was struck by the joy that people had arriving at Salve,” Rose says. “Since then, in all my interactions with freshmen, I found that positive energy, that expectation that it is going to go well, and optimism.”

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