Summer orientation leaders kickoff training
The University’s student leaders come together to welcome new Hoos
Ah, summer. The smell of sunscreen, freshly-cut grass, and…first years? Yes, it’s orientation season again, and beginning July 7, new students will arrive on Grounds to meet their peers, draft class schedules and experience the glories of dorm life. Orientation leaders lead this process, serving as student examples of University life and ensuring new members have safe and positive experiences.
“I think the best way to give back to the University is to be good resource for incoming students,” third-year College student Tara Roy said.
New students check in and attend a welcome address before meeting their OLs for the first time.
“I am thrilled to help incoming students get excited about their time at U.Va.” second-year College student Clara Gainey said in an email. “I know how scary it can be, coming to college and having life change so dramatically, but I am really excited to help students realize that they have a great year at U.Va. ahead of them.”
OLs will help students navigate the dining halls at mealtimes, facilitate icebreaker activities, oversee course registration and act as resident advisors for students staying in dorms overnight.
“Us OLs have long days ahead of us, but those days will be enjoyable,” Gainey said.
Applicants to the OL program submit to a competitive application and interview process. Hundreds of students apply online and attend group interviews. Select students are then invited for individual interviews, and program coordinators accept 52 students for the position.
“I’m excited to grow and learn from my fellow orientation leaders,” Roy said. “[But] I hear there’s usually anxiety over class schedules. I’m nervous to deal with parents’ [concerns] about that.”
Orientation leaders must be trained to deal with a wide variety of student needs, including those of student athletes and transfer students.
“Working with transfer students will definitely be different than working with rising first-years,” Gainey said in an email. “Transfer students have already gone through the process of leaving home for college. So, while they may not face that hurdle ahead of them, they face an entirely unique one in which they are coming to a new college experience with a previous experience already behind them.”
Roy said she encourage all incoming students, transfers and first-years, to try new thinsg during their time at the University.
“Step out of your comfort zone because you will learn about yourself and the world,” Roy said. “Trust your orientation leaders and go Hoos.”