Orienteering 101

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August 19, 2010

10:52 AM

Freshman move-in is terrifying. It’s hot, crowded and crazy. Families pack into the dorms, new students buckle under the weight of their overstuffed suitcases, and people in yellow shirts bombard incoming freshmen and parents with cheers of excitement and congratulations.

These neon-clad banner wavers have been training around the clock for the past two days to make the freshman transition smoother, easier and, of course, more fun. Before the training began, they went through daunting rounds of interviews to make sure that freshmen were getting the very best and most enthusiastic the College has to offer.

“There is really nothing that I could say that would define every single OA,” Yates Hall Orientation Aide Director Alison Schoettler ’11 said. “We look for well-rounded staffs. We look for people who bring everything to the table. You can’t have a staff of really loud extroverts or quiet introverts. You need to have that balance.”

When future freshmen receive their acceptance letters in April, preparations for freshmen orientation are already well underway. In order to become an OA, students must submit an application and go through an extensive interview process. Students throughout the College choose to become OAs for a variety of reasons. However, OAs generally have some similarities.

“I think you have to be someone who’s fairly open to questions,” Taylor Mullaney ’12 said. “[The freshmen] have so much to get through in those first few days.”

When first arriving on campus, OAs go through two days of information sessions and training exercises in order to prepare for the arrival of the freshmen.

“The majority of training was more education based,” OA Frank Enriquez ’13 said. “Like how to deal with certain situations involving alcohol and drugs, how to deal with questions parents may have, how to deal with circumstances that will arise during orientation. We also got into our different area meetings and bonded with our own groups.”

During these training days, old and new OAs learned to deal with difficult situations and to best inform their halls of everything they should know about being students at the College. Throughout the course of orientation, Schoettler said she believes this group of dedicated and enthusiastic students will be easy to spot across campus due to a few key noticeable characteristics.

“An OA has the yellow shirt, green backpack, a huge smile, hands in the air just cheering, trying to be so thrilled that they don’t even care what other people think of them because they are so excited to be doing it,” Schoettler said.

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