Fresh in the City: The Experience for New IIT Undergraduates

This year marks the beginning of a new era of welcoming and integrating our new students into the IIT community. Fresh in the City offers first year students a free, incredibly fun adventure across our great city. At the inaugural retreat, new IIT undergraduate students will:

• Celebrate our first-year class
• Build life-long friendships
• Orient students to the great city of Chicago
• Build teamwork and leadership skills while students experience fun, adventure, and challenge

Fresh in the City will begin at 10 am on Saturday, September 11. All new undergraduate students (new and transfer students) are eligible to participate in this team-based challenge. Hundreds of dollars in cash prizes will be awarded to the top three performing teams as they engage in a series of team building challenges at various Chicago landmarks, including Lincoln Park Zoo, the loop, Millennium Park, Museum Campus, Navy Pier, and the Magnificent Mile. Teams also receive free lunch at a famous Chicago restaurant (The Parthenon, Giordano’s Pizza, Won Kow, Cheesecake Factory, Portillos, and Flattop Grill).

Students should arrive at Morton Park by 10 AM. After forming teams and joining an upperclassman who will serve as a team leader, students will engage in a series of team-building challenges and choose their adventure route. Teams will return to campus by 5:30 pm, when a full campus party will begin.

All IIT students are welcome to join in the evening fun, which will include a DJ, two live bands, and a Taste of Chicago experience, all held at Morton Park. The “Taste” will include free food for all, including offerings from Connie’s Pizza, La Justicia, Robinson’s Ribs, Jamba Juice, Eli’s Cheesecake, and Chicago Style Hot Dogs (from IIT Dining Services).

The Fresh in the City experience is not without controversy. One upperclassman voiced suspicion: “There’s no such thing as a free lunch. There’s something fishy here.” Another expressed what appeared to be jealously: “We had the sophomore retreat. But I think these freshmen are spoiled.” Still, another expressed support: “I’m so happy for them. I wish we had enjoyed such a happening when we were young. We felt so free before Organic 2. I wish we could bring back those days.” Despite these differing views, we assure you of a fun and challenging event that will not be forgotten.

University leadership offered various opinions on the event: Provost Cramb endorsed IIT’s new class: “We should be kind to our first year students.” In contrast, President Anderson noted (jokingly): “This program seems to involve our first year students going to all of the places in the city where I don’t want them to go. Shouldn’t they be in the library?”

Fresh in the City involves the collaboration of many organizations across the campus. The Leadership Academy, Camras Program, Union Board, Delts, and the Provost’s Office have all contributed time and funding for the program, and we hope to involve other organizations in future years.

New undergraduate students should be on the lookout for a registration email from the Leadership Academy. Students can also register for the program via the Leadership Academy website. Group leaders (upperclassmen) are still needed as well, and can contact Bruce Fisher at to sign up.