Orientation unites ULV community

Some students danced and some laughed but karaoke entertained a crowd and provided for a fun time at the annual Orientation camp held at Pilgrim Pines. (L-R) Junior Owls Nikole Hollenitsch, Melissa DeSantos, freshmen Princess Sterns and Amber McLaughlin enjoy an engaging singing performance by a group of freshmen. / photo by Jason Cooper
Some students danced and some laughed but karaoke entertained a crowd and provided for a fun time at the annual Orientation camp held at Pilgrim Pines. (L-R) Junior Owls Nikole Hollenitsch, Melissa DeSantos, freshmen Princess Sterns and Amber McLaughlin enjoy an engaging singing performance by a group of freshmen. / photo by Jason Cooper

by Ryan MacDonald
Staff Writer

Beginning on Aug. 24 and continuing through Sept. 4, Student Orientation welcomed University of La Verne’s newest class of 425 students with a week full of academic and social activities.

The week included annual events such as Pilgrim Pines Camp and People to People and new events such as Cosmic Bowling. The events are planned so that the new students can become familiar with the campus before the start of school.

“Orientation is a time where students become comfortable with all of their new surroundings,” said Kelly Mitchell, a senior Student Orientation Coordinator. “It helps to ease the transition from high school to college. If students were going straight from the summer to the start of college, I think they would have a much more difficult time.”

“Student Orientation 2000: Unity through Community” began with programs, tours, and sessions regarding issues that most students will be confronting. In the sessions, students engaged in discussions involving academic dishonesty, surviving college, financial aid and on-campus participation.

“We placed the focus on our theme: Unity through Community,” said Mitchell. ” In years past, the center of Orientation has been on celebrating diversity. It is obvious this year that we have shifted our focus to something more student related.”

Following a different schedule than years past, Student Orientation deviated from the normal routine allowing the residential and commuter students extra time to settle down with the La Verne community.

“This year with Orientation being during the middle of the week, the residential students got to move in earlier,” said Michael Houdyshell, coordinator of campus activities and commuter programs.

“It slowed the week down for everyone, and it got to the point where people could take the time to get to know each other.”

The students received their first La Verne tradition when the annual trip to Pilgrim Pines began. More than half of the newly enrolled students attended the overnight trip, where students participated in karaoke singing, a game of Singled Out, several rounds of campfire songs and a live disc jockey.

“I loved the campfire,” said Tirzah Rodgers, a freshman. “Tradition is the backbone of everything, and it explains why schools do things.”

From left, Freshmen Scott Knox, Will Paulson and transfer student John Martin entertain the crowd at Pilgrim Pines with a rendition of "My Girl" during Orientation. The weekend's activities included a dance, bowling, karaoke, a form of the game show Singled Out, and trips to Magic Mountain, Huntington Beach and to Chavez Ravine for a Dodger Game. / photo by Jason Cooper
From left, freshmen Scott Knox, Will Paulson and transfer student John Martin entertain the crowd at Pilgrim Pines with a rendition of “My Girl” during Orientation. The weekend’s activities included a dance, bowling, karaoke, a form of the game show Singled Out, and trips to Magic Mountain, Huntington Beach and to Chavez Ravine for a Dodger Game. / photo by Jason Cooper

“Keeping La Verne traditions alive is very important for the new students,” said Katie Aimone, a junior Orientation Week Leader. “These events help link the freshmen and transfer students with all of the alumni and faculty.”

Because of the amount of out-of-state students, the Student Orientation Leaders provided access to many activities during the weekend. The new class of students had the opportunity to attend a beach trip, Magic Mountain, a Dodgers Game and a pool party.

“We wanted to take away from the monotony,” said Courtney Henderson, a junior Student Orientation Coordinator.

“We added some extra things to add some flavor that had been missing in years prior.”

Involvement from faculty also expanded this Orientation with 25 faculty and staff members contributing at Pilgrim Pines Camp. The event, “Faculty Journey”, allowed professors and staff to share their journeys with the students.

“Our biggest goal was getting faculty participation and we did it,” said Henderson.

“We really made an effort, and the difference [this year] was that they had a role and they were directly a part of the events.”

Planning for the expansion of students in the future, Houdyshell spoke about what is expected to happen for the Orientation program in years to come.

“The goal is to continue the evolution until the program becomes a full week,” said Houdyshell. “This was a trial run, but after we evaluate and assess, I think that this program will continue to expand and improve.”

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