Orientation sets tone for new year

Students gathered attentively around the late night campfire as Brian Armstrong, Don Flora and Peggy Redman shared stories of their past Pilgrim Pines experiences. Soon after students were roasting marshmallows under the stars to prepare for a sweet feast of S’mores. / photo by Adam Omernik
Students gathered attentively around the late night campfire as Brian Armstrong, Don Flora and Peggy Redman shared stories of their past Pilgrim Pines experiences. Soon after students were roasting marshmallows under the stars to prepare for a sweet feast of S’mores. / photo by Adam Omernik

story by Yelena Ovcharenko
photography by Adam Omernik

Despite low turnout rates, the University of La Verne’s orientation on Sept. 2 and 3 was a success. Although 550 new students were expected, only 380 checked in.

“I’m not disappointed. If there’s any disappointment, I’m disappointed that I was not able to serve every student,” said Brian Armstrong, leadership development and transition programs director.

For Armstrong, orientation is a 12-month event. He assesses the value of previous orientations through feedback from students and improves the content. The orientation’s mission is to familiarize students with the campus and to introduce them to the University’s academics, athletics and co-curricular programs. These elements are incorporated into a colorful theme.

This year’s theme was “The Voyage Begins.”

Senior orientation coordinator Wendy Schwartz responded to the turnout saying, “I’m not disappointed at all. We planned for 550 students but we were not necessarily expecting all of them.”

From registration to dances, cosmic bowling, skits, lunch and camp the students were able to bond with each other and with the ULV faculty. There was a positive response from the students.

 Orientation Week Leader Cinamon Hines recovers from the hour-long bus ride from the University of La Verne to the Pilgrim Pines campsite. Freshman camp has been the main event of new student orientation week since the 1960s. With concerns about the ever-swelling freshman class sizes, however, this trip may have marked the last of the sojourns to the tiny town of Oak Glen. / photo by Adam Omernik
Orientation Week Leader Cinamon Hines recovers from the hour-long bus ride from the University of La Verne to the Pilgrim Pines campsite. Freshman camp has been the main event of new student orientation week since the 1960s. With concerns about the ever-swelling freshman class sizes, however, this trip may have marked the last of the sojourns to the tiny town of Oak Glen. / photo by Adam Omernik

“Orientation made me feel like I belong here and I felt comfortable. The people are so friendly,” freshman Claudia Gonzalez said.

Before orientation, Armstrong and Schwartz trained 30 Orientation Week Leaders that in return facilitated groups of new students during orientation.

Armstrong said that one of the highlights of the orientation process was taking the OWLs to a ropes course where they learned how to bond as a group through exercises 40 feet off the ground. During this time the OWLs faced a lot of personal challenges and through cooperation learned how to overcome the obstacles set before them.

After their training, the OWLs switched the process and taught new students what they learned at their training sessions. Junior liberal studies major and second-year OWL Dana McJunkin said that the OWL’s job is “to get students hyped up about the campus.”

Conflicting work schedules, the unbearable heat and familiarity with the campus were popular reasons for not attending orientation.

“They surely missed a lot of information,” said junior journalism major and second-year OWL, Hugo Bryan Castillo.

Camp, the schedule and the ethical scenarios presented in skits were among the major changes of orientation from last year.

This year a new life simulation game was introduced at camp. During the game students received jobs, paid bills, had a personal development and tried to keep a balance.

“The goal of this activity was to show that what you get out of life is what you put into it,” Armstrong said.

This year’s orientation expedited check in with computers and made it take an average of 30 seconds per person to register for orientation. This eliminated long lines at the check in center.

Changes to next year’s orientation weekend will be based on responses from this year’s orientation.

Next year the orientation’s leadership, Schwartz and Armstrong, plan to pass on the orientation to a temporary student life and campus activities specialist.

“I really hope they go ahead and get connected because sometimes life happens. Try to get involved as much as possible,” Schwartz said in response to the students that were not able to make it to orientation.

“I’m just curious why they wouldn’t take advantage of an opportunity to learn about their school,” said Armstrong.

Yelena Ovcharenko can be reached at yovcharenko@ulv.edu. Adam Omernik can be reached at niteyet@yahoo.com.

 Loretta Rahmani, dean of student affairs, addressed students Friday with excerpts from “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” Students then wrote goal letters, which they will open as seniors to reflect upon their freshman year aspirations. / photo by Adam Omernik
Loretta Rahmani, dean of student affairs, addressed students Friday with excerpts from “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” Students then wrote goal letters, which they will open as seniors to reflect upon their freshman year aspirations. / photo by Adam Omernik
 Professors Michael Frantz, Dan Campana and Sarah Johnson volunteered their time at Pilgrim Pines, taking part in a life simulation to help students get to know what the job market will be like once they graduate. / photo by Adam Omernik
Professors Michael Frantz, Dan Campana and Sarah Johnson volunteered their time at Pilgrim Pines, taking part in a life simulation to help students get to know what the job market will be like once they graduate. / photo by Adam Omernik
 Trevor Agrelius and Maria Villalpando exchange business plans as they participate in a new life simulation activity at Pilgrim Pines entitled “Life: Full Steam Ahead.” The activity reflected the ups and downs of the job market that students will be entering after graduation. Students had the opportunity to improve their career as well as personal aspects of their life and were ultimately rewarded for a well-rounded life. / photo by Adam Omernik
Trevor Agrelius and Maria Villalpando exchange business plans as they participate in a new life simulation activity at Pilgrim Pines entitled “Life: Full Steam Ahead.” The activity reflected the ups and downs of the job market that students will be entering after graduation. Students had the opportunity to improve their career as well as personal aspects of their life and were ultimately rewarded for a well-rounded life. / photo by Adam Omernik
 A flood of freshman and international and transfer students pile into the buses for the return trip to ULV. Initially, the campsite was to be at maximum capacity with ULV students but fewer than half of the freshman class showed up for the trip. / photo by Adam Omernik
A flood of freshman and international and transfer students pile into the buses for the return trip to ULV. Initially, the campsite was to be at maximum capacity with ULV students but fewer than half of the freshman class showed up for the trip. / photo by Adam Omernik

Journalism operations manager at the University of La Verne. Production manager and business manager of the Campus Times.

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