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Summer orientation continues to expand
June 21, 2012Tweet
Online academic planning guides, library resource presentations, and transfer student and family receptions are among the new initiatives in the 2012 summer orientation program.
“Being a part of the first thing that students participate in over the summer is amazing,” said Peter Nardone, assistant director of New Student Programs. “The orientation advisors know that and the staff knows that. We’ll keep taking feedback from people and keep growing.”
The orientation program provides about 3,400 incoming freshmen and transfer students the opportunity to become comfortable with the University, connect with fellow students and faculty members, and develop an academic plan while registering for fall classes. Transfer-student sessions will take place on June 26, 28 and July 2. Harpur College sessions are scheduled for July 9-10, 16-17, 19-20, 26-27 and 30-31. Sessions for professional-school students will take place July 12-13 and July 23-24.
Freshman sessions last two days, as students are housed in a residence hall on campus. Transfer sessions last one day and are held from 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
“Freshmen want to see what it’s like to live on campus,” said Betsy Staff, coordinator of New Student Programs. “This allows them to meet new people, as well.”
Orientation offers students and their families a variety of academic and social events and seminars. For example, students may spend an afternoon learning about majors, while using the evening to discover the importance of campus organizations and Late Nite Binghamton. Parents, meanwhile, can attend sessions on safety and wellness and how to support their student.
“College isn’t all about academics,” Staff said. “We want to get (students) integrated socially, too. For a two-day orientation, we try to balance meeting the academic advisors and meeting the orientation advisors to talking about what it’s like to live on campus.”
One constant at each orientation program is the opening session, Nardone said.
“It’s parents, students, faculty and staff gathering together in the Osterhout Concert Theater,” he said. “They get the announcements. They hear from the president. They hear from the vice president for student affairs and the Student Association. They hear from the deans. It’s the first piece of orientation – and then students and parents go their own way. But they know they will connect the next morning at breakfast and be able to take campus tours together.”
Transfer students and their families will benefit from a new reception that will be held in the Mandela Room at the conclusion of the orientation program. University officials, staff and students will be invited to the reception to meet families and help to answer any last-minute questions, Nardone said.
The library also will take an active role in orientation: Its presentation – scheduled for the afternoon of the transfer session and the afternoon of Day 2 for freshmen – will play host to families and discuss the services it provides to students.
“We feel it’s important to give parents as many resources as possible,” Nardone said.
Other changes include making ID card creation more accessible by offering the service in the downstairs of the University Union, as opposed to the Student Wing. Technology will also continue to be emphasized, as the iClicker will be incorporated into more sessions and students will be encouraged to check out BU BRAIN and download bMobi, the University’s free mobile application that will feature orientation schedules. New Student Programs is also creating a Facebook page that highlights orientation and classmates.
“That’s where students are: online,” Staff said. “We want to meet them there.”
Students and parents can visit http://www2.binghamton.edu/orientation/session/ for the latest orientation information, including academic planning guides that provide yearly course suggestions and contact information for various majors.
“We thought: ‘What can we provide students before they even get here?’” Nardone said. “Our goal was to get as many departments as possible to supply us with their planning guides. This will help with schedule building and meetings with advisors.”
Besides the various academic and social sessions, students will notice the presence of 20 orientation advisors (OAs for short) who reflect the educational, geographical and cultural diversity of the campus. The student advisors lead the freshmen and transfers through the orientation schedule and can provide advice about life on and off campus.
“We’ve always tried to train the OAs to be the first contact for the students,” Staff said. “We want them to make this a welcoming environment, answer their questions and be a guide to them over the one or two days.”
Both Nardone and Staff stressed that while students and family members may not get all of their questions answered during the orientation program, they will obtain enough campus information to know where to turn.
“We’ll give you the resources to get your answers,” Staff said. “When you are on the ride home and say ‘I forgot to ask that,’ you will know where to get it later.”