Change came easier with orientation

Vicki Rakowski

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Cari Sheets, Student Orientation Staff director, notes that this year’s orientation for freshman had an overall “positive feeling. People were more invested in it – the students had such a positive attitude.”Sheets, along with the Student Development and Orientation Staff, made what Sheets describes as a “campuswide effort.” It involved various groups across campus, such as the Office of Student Activities and Residence Life, and prepared a program for freshmen that spanned the four days they spent on campus before classes started.

One of the programs, titled “Let’s Learn!,” was designed to give freshmen the chance to learn about dating, communication, boundaries, responsible behavior and sexual assault from both students and community educators alike. There was also “Western Challenge,” a competition between floors in outdoor volleyball, sand volleyball and softball.

According to Sheets, highlights included the appearance of nationally sought-after motivational speaker Will Keim, as well as the New Student Convocation, where freshmen were officially introduced to WIU, and the small group sessions with the Student Orientation Staff leaders, in which students discussed academic success and campus life issues in groups of 20 to 30.

“(College) is such a change – a lot of people are homesick, it can be a very lonely time. That’s why orientation really is important. It’s going to make them feel at home,” Sheets said.

In addition to the initial orientation schedule, small group leaders will be keeping in contact with their freshmen. Students may also take classes such as CSP 110, an adjustment course that lasts for 10 weeks.

Sheets said this is important because “orientation is an ongoing process – it doesn’t just stop.”

There is an open meeting for anyone who wishes to offer suggestions for SOS at 1 p.m., Oct. 1, in the Chicago Room in the University Union. Sheets hopes this will give the staff some ideas on how to improve next year’s orientation process.

The feedback that the SOS office received was overwhelmingly positive.

Sheets attributes this to the collaborative style of WIU’s volunteer staffs. She said they have already learned much from the evaluations completed this year.

“We try to keep a balance so students can be academically successful and still find their niche,” she said.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email