The CSU East Bay faculty, staff and student organizations from all departments, who meet yearly to evaluate statistics and data from previous freshman orientations, have found that it has quickly become the key to a successful transition into a university.
This year, CSUEB’s freshman orientation brought in 400 students, 364 of whom stayed at Pioneer Heights for a two-day overnight orientation. According to Marguerite Hinrichs, director of student life and leadership programs, students who attended the two-day program were able to gain more detailed information on issues affecting incoming freshman.
“The two-day program really helps students gain more knowledge on topics such as the transition phase from high school to a university setting, while also getting additional resource opportunities like the study abroad program,” said Hinrichs. “We feel that the two-day program really empowers students and encourages them to respect their communities.”
“Spending the night in the dorms was really cool. I had some cool experiences and met some new people,” said Netanya Briscoe, an incoming freshman from Lawndale, Calif.
The orientation days began with a continental breakfast in the New University Union where students and parents participated in a multimedia game show presentation designed to introduce them to the many resources and student support services available on campus.
The game show was followed by an Alcohol-Wise Program overview from the Student Health and Counseling Services staff, which focuses on an evidence-based Alcohol-Wise Prevention Course through 3rd Millennium Classrooms.
The course is designed to change incoming students’ perceptions of alcohol, while also making them aware of the risks and potential impacts alcohol can have on their campus’ culture.
From there, a presentation from Sally Murphy, director of general education, was made of the First-Year General Studies Cluster Program, which helps incoming freshmen divide their general education courses into three “clusters”: natural science, humanities and social science. According to the CSUEB General Education webpage, catergorizing the courses into clusters helps students pinpoint the courses they need to take more directly.
After Murphy, faculty and staff advised students on the different courses, majors and programs students can get involved in during their first quarter at CSUEB. One of the programs mentioned was the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), which can help students from underserved backgrounds, with economic and educational challenges achieve success.
The day continued outdoors where the orientation team separated the students from their parents and gave tours of the campus and housing facilities, as well as general education advising, peer mentoring sessions and workshops.
The orientations for parents included a tour of Pioneer Heights, the Recreation and Wellness Center (RAW), Health and Wellness Center and a session at El Dorado Hall which explored ways for parents, families and friends to help support students in their quest for a successful and meaningful college experience.
“We are from a small town in South Dakota, so CSUEB will be a good place for my daughters to start getting some cultural diversity,” said a parent of two incoming freshmen. “Amy [Gerace, CSUEB women’s soccer coach] saw my daughter at a showcase and e-mailed her a month later. My daughter then came and visited CSUEB with her friend Nicole and they both really fell in love with the school.”
Students on the other hand, attended informational sessions led by orientation team leaders to learn financial responsibility, the challenges and successes that college life can bring, as well as ways to get an early start on their college careers. Hinrichs explains the programs are planned very carefully and are designed to make students interact.
“Time management is really something I want to work on here, as well as getting used to how much studying is enough, how many sororities is too much and just learning how much time is enough for hanging out with friends,” said Tishauna Carrell, incoming freshman from Long Beach, Calif.
By the afternoon, a DJ was mixing hip- hop, rap and R&B hits while students and parents enjoyed a lunch of BBQ chicken, sausage link sandwiches and side dishes on the lawn. Students and parents were also able to visit the different campus departments and student organizations at the Campus Resource Fair where students could gain more information about organizations and clubs like Eminence Dance Crew, the Excel Program, the Young Democrats Committee and Service Learning.
Freshman orientation is a way to give incoming students a first look at their future university and its programs.
This entry was published in The Pioneer Online on Thursday, August 30th, 2012 at 11:50 am.