ORIENTEERS HELP FIRST-YEAR STUDENTS UNDERSTAND THE HONOR CODE
Because the Honor Code is one of the most important aspects of a Haverford education, the College wants to familiarize first-year students with it right away. That's the job of the Honor Code Orienteers (HCOs), who, as part of the Customs program, oversee new students' introduction to the Code. They aid discussions of Honor Code issues, encourage freshmen to attend the twice-yearly plenary meetings, and serve as off-the-hall resources for their students throughout the year.
Orienteers participate in all traditional Customs activities, but one day of the week is set aside to address the Honor Code. The new students listen to speakers at the Quaker Meetinghouse and are then led, blindfolded, by an HCO on a“trust walk” to a selected place on campus, where they further discuss the Code.
Unlike Customs people, Honor Code Orienteers do not live on the same halls as their students, and so bring an objective outlook to students' conflicts and concerns. They maintain continuous contact with their students all year, talking with them about abstracts of recent Honor Council trials, bringing them to plenaries, and helping them understand the relevance of the Code to their lives at Haverford.
According to Elizabeth Bacon '04, co-head of this year's HCO Committee, first-year students usually want to know why the Code is so important, and whether or not members of the Haverford community truly pay attention to it. Words like“separation,” a penalty for some Honor Code violators, alarm them, says Bacon:“HCOs make sure the students are not afraid, and help them realize that the Code is on their side if they are willing to work with it and abide by its ideals.” The concept of confrontation is also confusing to some freshmen.“It sounds formal, but HCOs explain that it's a daily assertion of your opinions, and doesn't have to lead to an Honor Council trial.”
The Honor Code Orienteer Committee, which consists this year of co-heads Bacon and David Willis '04 and members Lauren Hradecky, Julien Colvin, and Mary Green all from the Class of 2005, is in charge of planning the Customs Week Honor Code-related activities and choosing and training new Orienteers in the spring.“We look for people who genuinely love the Code and can explain to new students why is it something to be excited about,” says Bacon.
Senior Associate Dean of Haverford and Dean of Student Life Steve Watter, who serves as an advisor to the HCO program, praises the Orienteers as valuable resources for new students.“Our experience is that it takes quite some time for students to come to terms with the Honor Code and their personal relationship to it,” he says,“so having a source or touchstone about the Code near at hand can help immeasurably as they engage in this process."