North­eastern Uni­ver­sity Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun chal­lenged the university’s newest crop of stu­dents to step out of their com­fort zone and explore the world in his remarks at the annual President’s Con­vo­ca­tion on Tuesday morning.

Dis­cover the rich­ness and diver­sity of the world,” Aoun told 2,800 freshmen who packed Matthews Arena. “Launch new ven­tures, con­duct research, engage in ser­vice learning and explore yourselves.”

Aoun noted that Northeastern’s unique model of expe­ri­en­tial edu­ca­tion — which includes co-​​op, study abroad and Dia­logue of Civ­i­liza­tions pro­grams in 92 coun­tries around the world — gives stu­dents a one-​​of-​​a-​​kind glimpse into the dynamics of global connectedness.

Para­phrasing Steve Jobs, Apple’s late co-​​founder, Aoun said, “You are here to put a dent in the uni­verse, and we are here to sup­port you in your endeavor.”

Senior inter­na­tional affairs major Sarah Hodsdon echoed Aoun’s mes­sage by encour­aging her peers to con­duct under­grad­uate research, par­tic­i­pate in inter­na­tional expe­ri­en­tial learning oppor­tu­ni­ties and forge unlikely col­lab­o­ra­tions with their classmates.

The stu­dents who have taught me the most in my aca­d­emic career are those out­side of my field of study,” said Hodsdon, who begins a micro­fi­nance co-​​op in Kenya on Thursday as a Pres­i­den­tial Global Fellow.

If you have a dream, you don’t have to wait for grad­u­a­tion to make it come true,” she added. “North­eastern has a won­derful way of enabling stu­dents to make an impact today.”

Peter Petrin, pres­i­dent of the Stu­dent Gov­ern­ment Asso­ci­a­tion, urged mem­bers of the new class to dive head­first into North­eastern life. From the very first day on campus, he said, stu­dents will have an unpar­al­leled oppor­tu­nity to make lasting friend­ships and build lead­er­ship skills through par­tic­i­pa­tion in club sports, cul­tural orga­ni­za­tions and honor societies.

I’m con­fi­dent that you will be the next gen­er­a­tion of stu­dent leaders, bringing the uni­ver­sity to new heights as world trav­elers, standout ath­letes and bold entre­pre­neurs,” Petrin explained. “The sky,” he added, “is the limit.”

Stephen W. Director, provost and senior vice pres­i­dent for aca­d­emic affairs, expounded upon the theme of explo­ration, citing the university’s focus on use-​​inspired research.

You are begin­ning your col­lege careers in a vibrant and com­pre­hen­sive research uni­ver­sity where you will join fac­ulty and fellow stu­dents in addressing chal­lenges of the world out­side of our walls,” he told stu­dents. “We look for­ward to helping you rec­og­nize your dreams.”

Before heading to a Wel­come Week bar­becue, stu­dents were treated to a rousing per­for­mance by the university’s pep band and cheer­leading squad, during which Ath­letics Director Peter Roby led a spir­ited “North­eastern” chant.

Prior to the fes­tive send-​​off, Northeastern’s stu­dent a cap­pella group, The Nor’easters, per­formed a stir­ring ren­di­tion of Flo­rence + the Machine’s “What the Water Gave Me.”

Watch the President’s Con­vo­ca­tion video below: