August 20, 2012
exercise, orientation advisors learned the value of effective verbal and nonverbal
As the summer draws to a close, new RBC students are undoubtedly making preparations for the beginning of their first semesters as Statesmen. Finalizing course schedules, connecting with their new roommates, picking out décor for their residence hall room, and deciding which activities they want to join are all focal points for many new students. One of the things that many students have already done is attend their New Student Orientation event. One of the most beneficial aspects of the matriculation process is that new students are given the opportunity to attend New Student Orientation over the summer which is a format that was successfully implemented last year. Prior to 2011, new students attended one large orientation the weekend before classes started which left very little time to settle into the residence halls, make new friends, and prepare for the beginning of classes. "In previous years, the orientation process was rushed and students felt overwhelmed when they left orientation," says Joliefawn Liddell, one of the New Student Orientation committee members, "We decided that we had to do something about it."
The solution was to host multiple orientation events throughout the summer and invite smaller groups of students to each to create a more intimate environment where students could spend time getting to know one another and make friends prior to the beginning of classes. Students were also able to learn more about the college and explore the opportunities available to them and had more time to prepare for the semester after they attended their orientation. "This format has worked very well for us and the new students seem to enjoy it," says Whitney Gershowitz, another member of the New Student Orientation committee. RBC now hosts five orientations throughout the summer where students are assigned to small groups and attend various activities and sessions designed to assist their transition into RBC. Students participate in icebreaker activities which help them get to know their fellow students, learn about the various services on campus that are available to them, hear from senior administrators at the college about what they can expect life at RBC to be like, and interact with current RBC students to learn more about student life.
One group that provides invaluable support to the program is the summer Orientation Advisors who are second year students that are trained in assisting new students with their transition into RBC. Orientation Advisors go through extensive training to prepare for the orientation events and lead their groups through all of the assigned activities as well serve as a guide during the matriculation process. The Orientation Advisors are selected based on their exceptional leadership abilities, professionalism, and overall enthusiasm for Richard Bland College. These students play a vital role in the orientation programs and the orientation committee could not do it without them!