Hello incoming first years!
As this year’s Customs Co-Heads, we (Madeline Guth ‘19 and Tina Le ‘19) are so excited to welcome you to campus next Wednesday! We’ve been preparing for your arrival since last fall, and can’t wait to kick off Customs Week. We know that this whole Customs thing can be really confusing for incoming first years (What IS Customs?? What is a CP?? Why are these upperclassmen bothering me on Facebook and blowing up my email?!?), especially since the program is so unique to Haverford. We hope that this blog post can be a good introduction to the Customs Program and Customs Week (but also feel free to reach out with any further questions!).
First, let’s back up and start with the basics: Customs is Haverford’s first year orientation program. It starts with Customs Week, which takes place as soon as you arrive on campus (Wednesday, August 28th!!) and continues until the day before classes start (Monday, September 3rd). All first years are members of a Customs group, which is based off of your room assignment (e.g. everyone in Apartment 22 is on the same Customs team, while everyone in each section of Gummere is on a different Customs hall). In addition, each Customs group has a Customs team composed of six upperclassmen who serve as resources for first years, with each taking on somewhat different roles:
Three Customs team members live on every first year hall:
2 Customs Persons (CP): Your two CPs are typically sophomores. Their job is to help create an inclusive and fun hall environment, and to assist your adjustment to college life.
1 Upperclassmen Advisor (UCA): Your UCA is a junior or senior. UCA’s provide academic guidance and support to first years, and serve as a liaison to the administration.
Three Customs team members do not live on your hall. They all facilitate discussions (some mandatory, some informal) on a range of topics related to identity. The positions are:
1 Ambassador of Multicultural Awareness (AMA): Your AMA focuses on facilitation related to personal identity and how one’s own experiences relate to both Haverford’s and the broader community.
1 Honor Code Orienteer (HCO): Your HCO serves to “orient you to the honor code,” as well as to focus on facilitation related to the Haverford community.
1 Peer Awareness Facilitator (PAF): Your PAF focuses on facilitation you related to broader issues of identity and social justice in the world beyond Haverford.
You may have received an introductory email earlier this summer from your Customs team, and all of these folks will be up and smiling early on Wednesday to help you move into your new home here at Haverford! Move-in day can be overwhelming, but you can depend on your Customs team to help out however they can, be it to answer questions about the registration process or where panels are located, or to help you carry all your belongings up to your room. Customs Week itself includes a mix of informative panels and presentations and fun events (like an outdoor movie screening, a super fun concert/dance, and a scavenger hunt)! The week will end with Dorm Olympics, when we’ll pit the first year dorms against each other in an epic competition full of all kinds of different events.
After Customs Week, your Customs team will continue to be a major source of support for you throughout your first year here at Haverford. Various members of the Customs team will facilitate different sessions on topics ranging from race to sexuality to Honor Council abstracts. Don’t be surprised if members of your Customs team are also around for less formal events, such as hall time, pre-games, dinners, etc. While the six days of Customs Week are a central part of the Customs program, it is the interactions with your Customs team and the program throughout the year that makes Customs so unique.
For many first years, their Customs team and hall become their first circle of friends at Haverford; at the same time, there are also a wide range of other resources and communities on campus there to support you and help you find your friends. There are a wide variety of first year experiences and all are okay— whether your Customs hall becomes your very best friends or whether you find your community elsewhere on campus, the Customs program is here to support you and help you find your place and be your best at Haverford.
Also, if you want to check out our preparations for Customs, follow @haverfordedu on Instagram— we’re taking over the account through Tuesday! To keep up with the Customs fun once you arrive, follow @haverford.edu on Snapchat— we’re taking over that account starting on Wednesday! Finally, please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com with any Customs-related questions!