CIT hosts a successful first annual Clippership cruise event

Breakdancing first-years, deans ?getting down,? and a free iPod were all on the menu for the first-ever CIT Freshman Cruise, held November 11.

The night began with over 100 students stepping onto buses bound for the river area. There the group stopped to pose for a picture, then boarded a Gateway Clippership. Once aboard, students were treated to a meal and music, after which they slowly made their way to the dance floor.

While the group seemed fairly reserved at the beginning of the evening, things soon started to warm up and the dance floor filled quickly. Dean Kurt Larsen himself got into the spirit of things after being coaxed by students. ?I hope my dancing wasn?t too much an embarrassment,? he said afterward.

Not all those attending chose to dance. Small groups sprung up all over the ship, as students decided to relax and chat rather than work out on the dance floor. In spite of the chilly weather, a few brave students even ventured above deck to watch the lit Pittsburgh skyline as they glided by.

When asked why he wanted to come on the cruise, Nate Barkinfind, a first-year in the biomedical engineering department, said that he just ?wanted to relax.?

Other students asked had similar feelings, and one electrical and chemical engineering student, Sam Hashemi [ed note: Sam Hashemi's major was ECE — Electrical and Computer Engineering, not "chemical"], even decided to sleep on deck, though he soon complained about the cold. ?I was tired, but after a while the cold got to me,? he said.

The highlight of the evening came when Larsen prepared to raffle off an iPod Nano and several gift certificates. Before the raffle, the administrators in attendance passed out long-awaited class shirts emblazoned with ?Carnegie Mellon Engineering? and ?Class of ?09.?

As Larsen began the giveaway, he thanked students for attending and wished them luck in their future studies. He then pulled out a name and joked that he himself had won, before going on to call out the actual winner.

At the end of the evening three students walked away with new gifts, but all left in good spirits. When asked if the cruise would be offered again next year, Larsen remarked, ?I think this year?s cruise was a big hit, so I?d be happy to do it again if that?s what they want.?

Asked what could be done to improve next year?s event, Larsen said, ?I would like to increase student participation to include as much of the entire class as possible. These sort of activities can help contribute to a sense of community, which is an important component of the college experience.... It?s an opportunity [for administrators] to get to know the students better.?

?Plus,? he added, ?where else are you gonna see me get up and ?move to the groove???