When new students move to campus on Thursday, the first upperclassmen they will meet are orientation leaders. OLs, as they are called, will unpack the cars driven by anxious parents, answer the questions of nervous students, and tirelessly offer directions. To prepare for the incoming students, the orientation leaders spent Tuesday afternoon at a local ropes course.
"Some of us forget how to play and take risks," Matt Goodwin, director of student activities and leadership programs, said. He works with the student committee that oversees new student orientation. "Taking risks are very important especially because the news students coming in are all taking a big risk. We want to be able to relate to their apprehension and anxiety."
Behind him, the nearly-sixty OLs were watching the student government president traverse a wooden catwalk suspended 40-feet in the air between two trees, confronting his dislike of heights head-on. Many of his peers had walked the same log, and they were cheering him on.
Earlier on Tuesday, the first full day of orientation training, the OLs got to know each other better with ice breakers. Each leader has been paired with another, and together they will show a group of 17 to 20 new students the ropes of campus.
On Wednesday, orientation leaders will complete their three-day training, putting the finishing touches on their master plan for Thursday's move-in.
Beginning at 7 a.m. Thursday morning over 500 cars will drive up the tree-lined campus entrance; its the OLs job to keep the backup to a minimum. Once the cars are parked, new students are settled, and parents have met the college president, the OLs have big fish to fry, freshmen — starting with a barbecue dinner on the football field.
Check the blog in the next few days for more orientation coverage.