- June 8, 2012
- 12:01 am
- Rianne Coale
Welcome the Class of 2016
With a new name and a new focus, Loyola University Chicago is gearing up for a summer filled with orientation sessions. Incoming freshmen are required to attend one of seven sessions where they explore the ins and outs of campus life at Loyola.
The first freshman orientation session kicked off yesterday and wraps up today, June 8. On the first day of the two-day event, students attended a Loyola values session on (LOVE) hosted by Ministry, a technology session, a session on advising and registration, a talk from the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (OSCCR) and Campus Safety, a unity session where they gathered around the peace pole, and numerous vignettes done by the orientation leaders on homesickness, balancing relationships, the mission, and love of learning. The second day includes a resource fair, a session related to on-campus or off-campus life, and a meeting with financial aid and the bursar’s office.
Chelsea Ruff, assistant director of orientation, explains why they changed the name of of the sessions from Discover Loyola to Orientation.
“We have found that a lot of students, parents, and guests coming to the University knew that they had to come to a new orientation session, but they did not realize it was Discover Loyola. The new name is Orientation, and the tag line is Discover Loyola. This change should clear up some of the confusion,” says Ruff.
In addition to the name change, Loyola is taking Orientation in a new direction this year by focusing on the University’s mission to improve sustainability throughout campus. These summer sessions are ditching the once popular boxed lunches in an effort to be more eco-friendly, giving each student a water bottle and having a conversation with them about the meaning of the water bottle, and showing them the refill stations scattered around campus.
A traditions tour is the product of a revision made to last year’s “Next Stop” session, where students will now be taken to spots around campus that have traditional meaning, and rather than having it appear as a campus tour, Orientation leaders will talk in depth about the types of traditions that take place in the various spots. Some of the places featured on the tour include the Los Lobos de Loyola statue, the echo spot, and more.
“We are not going to point out things like a campus tour, but rather explain what happens at these different places,” Ruff says. “For example, we’ll point out the green doors on campus and explain how they will go through them during convocation and then again at graduation. It’s one of the only sessions where we are getting the students out of a classroom like setting.”
A year’s worth of planning goes into Orientation to prepare everyone involved and, with feedback from students and guests, changes are made to improve the program.
“The structure of Orientation, the bones of the program, stays the same, and then we can be a little creative with everything else,” Ruff admits. “We always take a look into evaluations and what students are saying, which drives a lot of our program. Parents, students, and guests were saying they needed more information, so this year, we revised our website, changed marketing pieces, and now students are getting an entire pamphlet.”
Every session is done by a different campus partner, making Orientation a campus-wide event. The Office of First-Year Experience spearheads the planning process, but gets help from Ministry, OSCCR, Campus Safety, Residence Life, Off-Campus Student Life, Student Activities and Greek Affairs, the Center for Experiential Learning, Center for Community Service and Action, Halas Sports Center workers, leadership and development, all the colleges and schools, and First and Second-Year advising.
“We have orientation planning committees, and we bring together campus partners who really help with the process,” says Ruff.
Over the course of the summer, there will be seven freshman orientation programs. The seventh program, taking place at the end of August, is specifically for honors students, international students, and learning community students. They will move into their permanent residence place right after orientation ends.
Six transfer student orientations will take place on different days throughout the summer. These orientation sessions mirror the freshman sessions, but they are one-day programs instead of two. With a new director hired specifically to take charge of the transfer student sessions, vast improvements have been made to accommodate the extremely diverse group of students.
Forty-five Orientation leaders are fired up and ready to support the program.
“It is really their first opportunity to start building community,” says Ruff excitedly. “They get the chance to connect with an upperclassmen Orientation leader, connect with other incoming students, and start navigating resources that they’ll need once they enter the University.”
For more information about Orientation, including a schedule of the sessions, click here.