Brown welcomes graduate, medical, transfer students with second Van Wickle Gates procession

With pandemic safety protocols in place, the students joined others from the Resumed Undergraduate Education and Brown-RISD Dual Degree programs for the tradition marking their official entry into the Brown community.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — For generations, new undergraduate, graduate and medical students at Brown have together proceeded through the Van Wickle Gates at the start of the fall semester in a tradition marking their official entry into the University community.

Health and safety concerns arising from the pandemic spurred changes to this year’s tradition, with the customary single walkthrough in the fall replaced with two early spring events to ensure the health and safety of Brown and its neighboring communities.

On Monday, March 1 — two weeks after the first Van Wickle Gates Walkthrough welcomed first-year undergraduates to Brown — roughly 400 graduate, medical, transfer, Resumed Undergraduate Education and Brown-RISD Dual Degree students proceeded through the gates in the second walkthrough of the 2020-21 academic year.

The ceremonial procession was an opportunity to bring together groups of students who bring varied experiences with them to Brown, said Caroline O’Daly, a sophomore transfer student concentrating in art history and English.

“There’s something to be said for sharing this experience with other people who have either gone through college already or had another life experience — whether that was in the military or working — before coming and starting their journey at Brown,” she said. “I think that gives a new perspective to the event — there’s a sense of camaraderie, and that you all are in this similar experience together.”

Brown welcomes graduate, medical, transfer students with second Van Wickle Gates procession

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Students prepare to proceed through the Van Wickle Gates at the walkthrough held on March 1 for graduate, medical, transfer, RUE and Brown-RISD Dual Degree students. Photos by Nick Dentamaro.

Brown welcomes graduate, medical, transfer students with second Van Wickle Gates procession

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Students create a socially-distanced line along Prospect Street as they prepare to walk through the Van Wickle Gates.

Brown welcomes graduate, medical, transfer students with second Van Wickle Gates procession

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Dean of the Graduate School Andrew G. Campbell was among the administrators who cheered students on as they proceeded through the gates. Representatives from the College, Graduate School and Warren Alpert School of Medicine took shifts cheering students on during the procession.

Brown welcomes graduate, medical, transfer students with second Van Wickle Gates procession

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Graduate students proceed through the Van Wickle Gates.

Brown welcomes graduate, medical, transfer students with second Van Wickle Gates procession

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Students attending the Van Wickle Gates Walkthrough received gift bags with Brown-themed cold-weather gear before departing campus.

Brown welcomes graduate, medical, transfer students with second Van Wickle Gates procession

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A graduate school student poses for the camera at the Van Wickle Gates Walkthrough.

Brown welcomes graduate, medical, transfer students with second Van Wickle Gates procession

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Brown President Christina H. Paxson was among the administrators who cheered students on at the Van Wickle Gates Walkthrough on March 1.

Brown welcomes graduate, medical, transfer students with second Van Wickle Gates procession

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First-year medical students from the Warren Alpert School of Medicine snap selfies as they wait to proceed through the Van Wickle Gates.

Brown welcomes graduate, medical, transfer students with second Van Wickle Gates procession

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With hands in the air, a Brown undergraduate proceeds through the Van Wickle Gates.

With the majority of campus events being held virtually since the school year began, the walkthrough also gave students a chance to meet each other in person, said Nikhel Sylvain, a sophomore transfer and political science concentrator who served six years in the U.S. Air Force before coming to Brown this year.

“It’s the first time I’ll get to see a lot of these faces, which is exciting,” he said.

The piles of snow lining the streets of Providence during the first walkthrough have since melted, but the second procession retained the health and safety features of the first.

The event was held over several hours, with students lining up — masked and 6 feet apart — along Prospect Street at staggered times assigned to them before the procession. And the full route was peppered with free mask stations, signs reinforcing public health guidelines, and representatives from the Department of Public Safety, who cheered the new students along while offering reminders of pandemic protocols.

Students also received gift bags with Brown-themed cold-weather gear before departing campus.

While most of the students participating in today’s ceremony have been on campus since the fall, proceeding through the Van Wickle Gates still carried a special significance, Sylvain said.

“I feel really honored to be part of this tradition that’s welcomed Brown students for generations,” he said. “My soul will finally be here.”

https://www.youtube.com/embed/xRU8UTmLQ1Q

Van Wickle Gates Walkthrough

 

Transfer, Resumed Undergraduate Education, Brown-RISD Dual Degree, graduate and medical students participated in a time-honored Brown tradition.

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