Illustration by Tayla McHardie/The Gazelle

For freshmen, a revamped Marhaba week

Last Sunday's RealAD performance marked the end of the year's Marhaba events for the incoming class of 2019. This year’s welcome week differed from ...

Sep 19, 2015

Illustration by Tayla McHardie/The Gazelle
Last Sunday's RealAD performance marked the end of the year's Marhaba events for the incoming class of 2019. This year’s welcome week differed from iterations of years past, and introduced a new group of returning students acting as Marhaba Leaders and Captains.
The two Marhaba Captains, sophomores Roman Kohut and Nick Chaubey, received training in both New York and Abu Dhabi throughout the summer and then delivered a two-day training module to the 20 Marhaba Leaders.
First Year Programming Associate Director Samantha Neugebauer explained that this change meant student leadership could be more professional and comprehensive.
“In the past it was very administration-heavy, and I wouldn't have called it a leadership program in the same vein as we have now established,” Neugebauer said.
Neugebauer explained that the NYU New York model was used as inspiration for the new Abu Dhabi program.
“This leadership program is a benefit for the program itself, a benefit for the new classes. But it is also a benefit to the returning students who participate, so that’s the main difference," Neugebauer said.
The NYUAD Office worked with its New York counterpart to create an integrated marketing campaign for Marhaba, making it a priority to include student-generated content.
“What we wanted was to create a sense of excitement before the students came to campus,” said Assistant Dean of Students and Director of First Year Programming Mary Barnes.
The office discovered that while students applying and preparing to join NYUAD found ample information online, most of it consisted of formal university notices.
Yet when the incoming students look up NYUNY, they can browse through different discussions and information written by students already on campus.
The Office of First Year Programming brainstormed in order to bridge this gap as Marhaba Captains and Leaders worked to create special Marhaba Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Sophomore Leader Kelly Murphy took over the Snapchat for five days of the summer, and believes it was helpful for freshmen to be able to meet the Leaders before arriving to Saadiyat.
“Some people would come up to us during Marhaba and be like, 'Hey, I remember your Snapchat,'” Murphy recalled.
Upon arrival, Marhaba Leaders also created a humorous, dance-based introductory video similar to what NYUNY offers.
Freshman Alena Mikhalkovich said that the presence of Marhaba on her social media feeds made her feel anxious and excited to begin the year.
“From the posts, I could see that everything was being prepared for the freshmen to come, which made me feel like I was leaving home for home,” wrote Mikhalkovich. “And it was useful to recognize the faces of the Marhaba team in real life.”
Another Marhaba innovation this year was the introduction of the mobile NYU Abu Dhabi Marhaba 2015 Guide, which replaced previous print brochures and was available through the NYU Guidebook. As the semester neared, the Guide received 700 unique downloads from incoming students, their parents, staff and faculty.
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