Last spring, juniors Olivia Tata and Dylan Alves were selected to be two of 11 summer 2019 orientation leaders (OLs). They were tasked with greeting the newest, and first class of Lasell University to campus. As OLs, Tata and Alves are the first friendly faces these students would get to know before the start of school.
According to both, the first-years still see them as familiar faces.
“ ….Some of my orientees, they’ve come up to me and asked about certain things like where classrooms were, or … hours of the buildings,” said Tata. “I think it’s kind of cool, because if I wasn’t an orientation leader, I wouldn’t know anything about the incoming class.”
For Tata and Alves, who were paired together for orientation, being OLs taught them things about Lasell they never knew and may not have known if they hadn’t applied. Alves, a Mount Ida transfer, admitted he had been wanting to know more about the school and be more involved. Through orientation, he gained connections with administrations that he didn’t have before.
“Like they said in orientation [training], ‘orientation changed my life,’” Alves said.
Like Alves, other former OLs commented on how orientation changed them, such as Santina Antoshak, the new Assistant Director of Student Activities and Orientation.
Antoshak (’14), also lead orientation as a junior. She said orientation is why she
is where she is today. “I was really quiet, and I decided to become an orientation leader going into my junior year and it just opened me up. I met new people that I wouldn’t have talked to had I not done it. I got my job through orientation.”
Similarly, Tata also said before becoming an OL, she was very shy, but after she led orientation, she found herself being more outgoing.
However, there is more to orientation than icebreakers and games. Before students can become a leader, they must go through the application and training processes.
A prospective orientation leader must apply online through Laser Involvement. From there, group and one-on-one inter- views are conducted.
According to Director of Student Activities and Orientation Jenny Granger, who is in charge of OL interviews, along with Antoshak and two orientation coordinators, they picked students based on the application and the interviews together, not one or the other.
“Some people do really great applications. Some people are better in the group interview, some people are better on the individual interview,” Granger said. “We … really look at the whole picture and [don’t] just write somebody off if they got nervous at any point of that.”
Once the students are hired for the summer, they go through a fair amount of training to prepare them for their new jobs. Junior Laura Gunning was an orientation coordinator (OC) this past summer and an OL the year before. She assisted in training this new group of OLs. An OC, as Gunning explains, acts as a bridge between the OLs and the Office of Student Activities and Orientation. When asked about the training process for OLs, Gunning ex- plained that it starts when they move into Rockwell Hall at the beginning of June.
“We all live in Rockwell together for an entire month and that consists of about two weeks of training. So pretty much every single day we would meet from 9:00 in the morning until 5:00 at night and we would meet with different departments on campus [to] learn about the different aspects of orientation,” Gunning said.
She also added as an OC, she went through the same training with the OLs, she also got to run activities. She explained how at first, she would run through ice-breakers with them, and then would go on to do more team building activities.
When asked if they thought being involved with orientation helped them grow, Alves and Tata, along with Gunning and Antoshak, all agreed, with Tata adding that she would recommend for people to become OLs.
“I think being an orientation leader is very rewarding in the sense that it helps your personal skills, your leadership skills, and the people that you work with,” Tata said.