The Mission Office unveiled a pair of new traditions over Orientation weekend. First-year Saints were officially welcomed into their new home and their new contrada. 

On the first night of Orientation, all new students gathered on the Nigro Family Plaza to reflect on what their time as Saints will be, visualizing themselves overcoming any obstacle they see standing in their way. Students took a few moments with their Orientation leader to respond to a writing prompt:  

College is a wonderful time to dream your dream. Name one obstacle you would like to push aside to make your dream come true.  

Those responses were given to the College friars who placed them in barrels which were lit (above) to symbolically allow new dreams to emerge.  

Olivia Burns ’23, sang the alma mater; Vinny Coscette ’23 welcomed the group into the student body; President Gibson declared the students Saints; and Fr. Larry Anderson, O.F.M., offered an invocation. 

Jesse Karr, Ph.D., faculty chair, President Gibson, and the friars then led the Saints in a procession to the Bells of Remembrance, now permanently installed near the Grotto. As the students crossed under the arch, the friars were present to offer a welcome and a greeting or blessing. It is the hope that in four years these same students will walk back out through the arch — prepared to enter into the world armed with a Siena degree.

“The first day on campus as a Siena student is filled with both excitement and yet nervous anxiety too. I can remember my own first day here at Siena many years ago – filled with so many thoughts and feelings. This was a great beginning and a wonderful way to conclude a very busy and emotional day.”

Fr. Mark Reamer, O.F.M., vice president for Mission

On Saturday, the Saints became part of another new Siena tradition — the assigning of the contrade. Siena College proudly bears its name in tribute to Siena, Italy, the home of the College’s patron saint, St. Bernardine. The city is divided into 17 contrade, unique wards named after an animal or a symbol of nature — all with their own colors and identity expressed by their flag.

For centuries, the members of each contrada have shared a special connection that is passed through the generations. First-year students received one of the 17 contrada flags during Orientation, inviting them into one of the special communities, which will be filled with faculty, staff and returning students in the coming weeks. Saints will represent their contrada with pride not only over the next four years, but for a lifetime. 

“Burning my obstacles and walking through the bells on my first night as a Saint got me excited for my time here at Siena, and I felt supported by everyone in the Siena community.” 

Victoria Pelliccia '26

“I actually received the Caterpillar contrada which is really special because that is the one that St. Bernardine of Siena belonged to. I can’t wait to meet others in my contrada.” 

Karissa Cucharale '26