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Orientation advisors prepare information packets for incoming students at the Chenango Champlain Collegiate Center. Orientation for Harpur College and professional-school freshmen takes place in July.
Photo by Jonathan King
Freshman orientation kicks off in July
June 26, 2015Tweet
An academic advising and registration model that places students in small groups is just one of the changes planned for freshman orientation in July.
“In the past, we’ve had close to 300 students per session and the schedule-building could be a little overwhelming,” said Peter Nardone, assistant director of New Student Programs. “Now students will be part of three smaller groups and get more of a one-on-one connection with academic advisors.”
Each of the three rotating sessions will offer support to students both in and out of the classroom.
In Harpur College, for example, the first group members will meet with an advising staff to register, while a second group of students receives a “first lecture” from a faculty member about how to become a successful student. This talk could incorporate discussions such as proper classroom etiquette and the importance of the course syllabus. A third group of students will meet with officials from organizations such as Campus Recreation and and the Center for Civic Engagement to learn about opportunities outside of class. Each rotating session will last for one hour and take place on the morning of Day 2.
“One (non-registration) session will look talk about the strong faculty and academic component, while the other will look at how students can enrich their time at Binghamton University,” said Betsy Staff, coordinator for New Student Programs.
Summer Orientation is a day-and-a-half-long program that gives incoming students and their families the opportunity to learn about the Binghamton University community, and interact with fellow students, faculty and staff, while preparing academically and socially for the first semester. Students are housed in a residence hall for their one night on campus.
Transfer-student orientation was held in June. Freshman orientation for Harpur College students takes place July 6-7, 9-10, 16-17, 20-21, 23-24 and 27-28. Orientation for professional school students (CCPA, Decker, SOM and Watson) is scheduled for July 13-14 and 30-31.
Another change involves the role of lunch during orientation. In past years, orientation ended with the conclusion of registration. This year, orientation will conclude with a group luncheon for all students and families.
“Everyone will come together and we’ll have a proper closure to orientation,” Nardone said. “It will be a send-off, in a sense.”
The first-day lunch will be part of a larger session designed to help students learn about their residential communities. The session will include tours and visits with faculty and staff members from various communities.
Devoting more time to residential life is part of a “connections” theme that Nardone and Staff stressed. Students will be able to connect with groups such as the Multicultural Resource Center and Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development, while meeting peers during small-group sessions with orientation advisors and at events such as a barbeque dinner.
Healthy initiatives such as disc golf, yoga, walks and runs will also be offered, Nardone and Staff said.
“We are aware of the fact that people need breaks, especially family members,” Nardone said.
New Student Programs now offers a balance of academic and social events because of the amount of pre-orientation work students can do online, Staff said. Incoming students prepare for registration by browsing BU Brain for courses and watching online videos for course-development tips.
“We hope students can learn that information at home so that when they get to orientation, we can not only get them their course schedule, but they can use their time wisely,” Staff said. “That’s how we can offer ‘relationship- building’ activities.”
Other freshman orientation sessions will include:
• A “Bearcats Den” that focuses on alcohol/drug awareness and how to engage in healthy behaviors;
• An introduction to the interpersonal violence prevention program;
• “Expand Your Horizons,” which examines “study-away” opportunities in the United States and abroad;
• A student panel featuring orientation advisors offering advice and answering questions;
• Late Nite Binghamton, with games, food and prizes;
• A look at scholarly and creative exploration at Binghamton University, with input from student researchers;
• A campus services fair that features information about topics such as parking, banking, dining and the bookstore.
Nardone said he would like students returning home after two days to believe they have made the right choice and that Binghamton University is their “home away from home.”
“I hope they say that they’ve made a connection with their residential community, they’ve made a connection with faculty and staff, and maybe they have made a friend or two,” Staff added.