First-year open house orientations


By Katie Ziemba

The winter term has marked the beginning of a new program to help freshman students get acclimated to life at Union. Since first-years are sometimes suddenly overwhelmed with a larger workload along with new social and living experiences, the college wanted to create a program to help.

Connor Gagliardi ‘13, Head Resident Advisor of Davidson Hall, was aware of these difficulties that freshman are likely to face. He joined with Dean of First-Year Students Kate Schurick to work with different departments on campus to start a program for freshman students.

“I figured if we get these departments aware of first years and have incentives for them to come in, it can have positive effect,” said Gagliardi.

Schurick has created a new program every Thursday from 12 to 2:30 p.m. in which students can “learn more about what’s offered in different departments on campus” by attending “open houses” that explain what each department on campus has to offer and how students can get involved.

Departments that have taken part in these open houses include the Becker Career Center, Student Services, Multicultural Affairs and Student Activities.

Students who attend these sessions also receive giveaway items and snacks as a reward for taking the time to learn more about that particular department and the college. Winter term was deemed to be the perfect time to start this program since fall term is typically an adjustment period for the first-year students.

Schurick claimed that there have been about 50 attendees at every open house, which is encouraging for the future success of the program.

If the program continues to be well attended, Schurick said “we could easily extend it to academic programs,” which can help students to figure out which academic path might be best suited for them.

Some Resident Advisors have  made attendance at the open houses a mandatory floor event for for first-year students. Davidson Resident Advisor Xiao Rui Lin ‘12 said that “[she] wanted [the students] to know about the campus,” and thus created a spin-off game that quizzed residents on different aspects of Union’s campus like Jeopardy!. Schurick is happy with the outcome so far and says “this is just a trial run, but we will probably continue to do it because it is pretty successful!”


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