Reorienting orientation

Programs added to the beginning of the semester and more changes

For new students, orientation is their first taste of college life. And while that may not change, next year’s freshmen will have a slightly different experience than in years past.

After several months of discussion, the orientation program is undergoing some structural changes, including what Director of Student Involvement Kristin Cothran calls “two weeks of Welcome Week programming” and requiring all orientation leaders to reapply for their positions.

Orientation will be cut from four days to three days, but the addition of the activity-based Welcome Week will have more events to extend orientation programming over a longer span of time.

“We’re asking the orientation leaders to bring their students to those two weeks of Welcome Week programming, and then to stay connected with their group throughout the fall semester,”said Cothran, who also served as chief administrator of the program’s changes.

An additional change to the orientation program will be in the hiring of new orientation leaders. According to Cothran, all orientation leaders must reapply this year, so that everyone on staff can be evaluated on an “equal level.”

“Every year you build a team, you need to find the strength that each person brings,”she added.

Nicole Lauricella‘18 plans on reapplying to be an orientation leader for the coming year.

“Some people lose their spark, and some people just continue things because they’re routine,” she said.“I don’t mind reapplying. It’s something I’m passionate about, something I still want to be a part of.”

Students currently studying abroad will be ineligible to apply for certain positions including Orientation Director, Commons Captain and Welcome Week Director, due to time constraints relating to project planning throughout the spring semester, Cothran said.

Executive Chair of the Orientation Program Richard Lanzilotti‘16 agrees with this perspective.

“If you’re [going to] hold a leadership position, you [have to] be here,” he said.“I think it’s a good choice.”

Cothran hopes that these changes to the orientation program will help to foster a sense of first-year community.

“If you have no connection, if you have no community, there’s not that sense of belonging,”Cothran said.

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