All Haverford students share the experience of the Customs first-year orientation program. This year, The Clerk held a Customs Photo Contest on social media that was open to all first-year students and members of Customs teams. With a $10 Wawa gift card on the line, the community was invited to vote between three of the Clerk’s favorite submissions. The winning photograph was “Halls Who Swing Together Stay Together,” taken by Emily Chazen ‘18, an Honor Code Orienteer (HCO) for Barclay Second North.
“Halls who Swing Together Stay Together” By Emily Chazen ’18
Somewhere in the middle of the tightly-packed schedule of Customs Week, a free moment and a promising bond forming amongst hall members inspired Chazen and her HCO partner Caroline Steliotes ‘18 to lead the way to the playground in the photograph, which is right off-campus in the neighborhood near the apartments. “We lived here over the summer and we used to go there all the time, so we wanted to bring our first years there,” said Chazen. “We were goofing around and we had all that free time, so we were on the swings. I was like ‘wow this is such a cute moment, I should take a picture,’ and I wound up taking that picture.”
The senior English and Religion double major is no stranger to being involved in Customs and in the campus community. Besides her position as HCO this year, Chazen is an Admissions tour guide, the head of Literature Review and Law Review, the head of Civic Engagement Club, a peer tutor in Psychology and Italian, and an external intern for The Borgen Project, an organization that works against global poverty. Additionally, she was a member of the Upperclassman Advisor (UCA) Committee following her position as UCA last year.
The year before that, Chazen and current HCO partner Steliotes were HCO partners for the first time. They decided to work together as HCOs again this year because “we really loved the program already,” said Chazen. “We think the Honor Code really defines and excites and invigorates the Haverford student body. We really care about the Honor Code. We don’t necessarily propose our own amendments, but we always make sure we’re at every Plenary and that we’re really engaging with the Honor Code and being conscious of it … it was really important for us to kind-of excite the next generation of Haverford students about the Honor Code and to continue having those conversations.”
Emily Chazen ’18, photo courtesy of Kate Silber ’20.
With four years of Customs experience under her belt as a first-year student, a UCA, and twice an HCO, Chazen has had the opportunity to experience the program from multiple perspectives and to watch it evolve. Citing her experience as a part of the program as an HCO and also her behind-the-scenes experience in the UCA Committee, Chazen said “Rachel [Romens ’18] and Saumya [Varma ’18] did an amazing job of … zon[ing] in on what was really special about Customs, and I think [bringing] that out more, so I was really impressed with this year’s Customs. I think it went really smoothly.”
This year’s Customs marks Chazen’s fourth and final year of involvement in the program, so it has proven to be a time to reflect on four years of Customs experiences. “Based on how Housing did it this year, my first years are really close to one another, and I think a really wonderful group of people. So I think it’s been… I don’t want to say the most special Customs I’ve had (because I’ve had other first-years, and that would be hurtful)… but it’s been a really lovely Customs experience. I think Customs Week really was amazing and they did a beautiful job and really broke up a lot of the monotony of what some of it can be, so that was really great.” Chazen will not get a chance to see the more drastic changes being made to Customs in the upcoming year, but with luck, the program will continue to evolve towards being a positive, meaningful, and memorable shared experience for first-years and Customs team members alike.