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Simmons touts New Curriculum's virtues

Prefrosh, rainfall hit campus as annual ADOCH begins

In a packed tent on the Main Green, waterlogged students with muddy shoes crowded in to hear President Ruth Simmons speak for the first time to potential members of the Class of 2013.

Simmons told the crowd of admitted students sitting before her yesterday evening, "You have an exciting decision to make" — something they already knew all too well.

Approximately 650 have come to campus for this year's A Day on College Hill to decide if Brown is where they want to spend the next four years of their lives.

Simmons' speech, which focused on the unique culture and community of Brown, highlighted the challenging and rewarding nature of a Brown education.

She implored students to "demand the most of your college experience," adding that "you will remember the things that challenged you, not the things that confirmed what you thought already."

In light of the uncertain state of the economy, Simmons said, a Brown education is critical in that "it demands that you not think in lazy ways," and encourages students not to accept "any ready-made solutions."

The New Curriculum, she added, teaches students to "learn to think — and think robustly."

Both Simmons' speech and a prior speech, given by Dean of Admission Jim Miller '73 and Dean of the College Katherine Bergeron, focused on what it means to be a Brown student and a part of the University community.

Miller spoke of a "culture of kindness" in which "students teach each other."

But the speeches also celebrated the achievement of being among the roughly 11 percent of admitted students in the most competitive admissions year on record.

"Admit it," said ADOCH Co-coordinator and Herald Sales Manager Christiana Stephenson '11, as she introduced Simmons. "You're proud of yourselves."

Ultimately, the focus of the evening was on exposing admitted students to all that Brown has to offer in order to facilitate their decision.

Salsabil Ahmed '11, ADOCH's other co-coordinator, told students Brown is "not a bubble," but "an oasis atop College Hill" and, like other speakers, cited the New Curriculum as what makes Brown unique in turning out students with "academic curiosity and social consciousness."

To that end, Miller instructed each student to take a moment on Wednesday afternoon to stand in the middle of the Main Green and feel "the sense of history, the sense of beauty, the sense of possibility," and urged students to "decide with their hearts and their stomachs" if Brown is right for them.

For ADOCH attendee Rene Kissell, the program has so far been successful in giving her a taste of Brown culture. Although she has not yet committed to Brown, she described an "immediate attraction to the school" when she first set foot on campus.

Kissell added that Tuesday's inclement weather made her appreciate Brown even more.
"It's easy to fall in love with a school because of good weather," she said.

Indeed, Miller said, the ADOCH organizers "controlled everything — except the weather."

Despite the rain, admitted student Matt Block said he has so far been enjoying socializing with other admitted students during ADOCH, and especially liked Simmons' speech.

"I liked the speech a lot," Block said, calling it "unique" compared to addresses that had been given at many of the other institutions he had visited, noting in particular the speech's focus on reaching out to others.

Ankur Bajaj, another potential freshman, also called Simmons "a great speaker" and said that while he is still deciding between Brown and Cornell, ADOCH is "in the process of convincing" him to choose Brown.




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