Montclair State University’s President Johnathan Koppell kick-started the new semester by welcoming the Class of 2026 to the nest on Sept 2.
The day started with the president of the Student Government Association (SGA), Richard Steiner-Otoo, amping up the crowd by calling people up to dance.
As the crowd cheered on, the best dancers were thrown t-shirts.
Prior to the presidential address, Steiner-Otoo promised the crowd a great year as the new SGA president.
“I know that we’re [going to] have an amazing year,” Steiner-Otoo said. “This is just the beginning.”
Afterward, Koppell took to the stage and reminded students of the positive impact they have on campus and motivated them to have a productive semester.
“The entire campus has a totally different life when you guys show up and you’re ready and eager,” Koppell said. “And I can’t tell you how much it pumps our hearts to be surrounded by all of you.”
He further explained Montclair States’ motto, “Carpe Diem” which means to seize the day and to make the most out of it.
“Think about who you want to be,” Koppell said. “So the question is, what can you do now? How do you seize this day, to put yourself on a path towards that?”
Koppell encouraged students to think about what they want the world to like and how they can get to that world.
“Think about what that world looks like, I mean it,” Koppell said. “And now say, ‘How do I need to grow? How do I need to evolve to be that difference maker that makes the world that I want to live in, that I want my friends to live in, that I want my family to live in, that I want, yes, someday your children to live in?’ While you’re having a good time, keep your eyes on that possibility. And if you do so, [you will] find this [college to be] a magnificent time.”
Dawn Soufleris, the vice president of Sttudent Life and Development, thanked the orientation leaders, professional staff and the campus for welcoming the Class of 2026. Soufleris then got the ball rolling by introducing Red Hawk Day and the activities it offered.
Kim Lepps Power, a freshman undecided, loved Koppell’s speech and how lively the student body was.
“It was a pretty cool welcome,” Lepps Power said. “I liked how [Koppell] made his speech more of a discussion rather than just him talking to us. I love to see how interactive everyone is. I was really nervous at the beginning, like meeting other people. But everyone actually wants to interact with one another and I just love the spirit.”