Summer Orientations Prepare New Students

Natalia Aldana

This year’s summer orientations not only prepared incoming students with necessary resources to make the move to CSU East Bay successful but instilled a sense of school pride to make their college years worthwhile.

The five freshmen sessions and transfer orientations, which included events for families and loved ones, welcomed students to their new school by informing them on the tools they will need to “survive” while at CSUEB.

According to Student Life and Leadership Programs Director Marguerite Hinrichs, many people do not realize the absolute significance of these events, as they give a sense of belonging to students and are thus tremendously important and beneficial for students, who are often nervous or intimidated.

“When you get them excited about school and how great it can truly be, they are more likely to want a successful outcome for their stay here at CSUEB,” said Hinrichs. “We strive to instill that excitement in every student.”

As the orientations are a university-wide effort that brings every member of the campus community to create a unique experience for incoming students, they are credited for getting students acquainted with their institution and comfortable in their environment, said Hinrichs.

The culmination of administration, counselors, student organizations and the “always exciting” Orientation Team makes students vested in their years at CSUEB, added Hinrichs, creating a student body of involved, valuable and motivated students.

“We try to make sure it’s unique for each individual and we are innovative in the way we present our information,” said Hinrichs, citing research that shows orientations create a sense of engagement in their campus and education.

“The whole campus comes together to essentially roll out the red carpet for these students and their families, and we are glad to exhibit our philosophy in students always coming first when doing so,” she said.

Through campus tours, general education advising, peer mentoring sessions, workshops, campus resource carnivals and classes for parents from University Police and Student Health Services, among others, students and their parents say they are grateful to be at an institution that is prepared and shows care for the student’s academic futures.

“This orientation allows [parents] to help and support our kids along the way, while still knowing they are safe and in good hands,” said San Diego native Brenda Bell, mother of incoming freshman Chanel Bell.

“Sometimes kids might feel overwhelmed to come alone, but this event allows us to go through the process together and gives us both the kind of info we need to feel comfortable and secure,” said Bell. “In the end, this is a great event and we’re very happy to have chosen CSUEB.”

A theme of early involvement on campus was emphasized throughout the orientations, which stressed that belonging to an organization or group on campus will have an impact on their academics and social life while at CSUEB.

CSUEB’s Orientation Team, popularly dubbed O-Team, works through Student Life and Leadership as the tour guides and first line of contact at CSUEB for students.

For O-Team member Jorge Martinez, each orientation helped him see the need for services and direction to new students, crediting his involvement with the team to his current successes on campus and hoping to inspire others as well.

“Orientations allow the incoming students to meet current students and be able to identify with them, because as an incoming freshman you are stepping outside of your comfort zone and meeting real life students who previously stood in your shoes,” said Martinez.

“This past summer was my first year on Orientation team and I loved it, because there is a satisfaction of seeing incoming freshmen taking full advantage of the advice and tutorials,” he said. “Orientations are important because they guide the students to head down the right path.”

Many said the heavily attended event created a sense of belonging to their new school and, if nothing else, showed them their school cared.

As the 2011-2012 school year begins and a new wave of students emerges, orientations, administration said hopefully developed student leaders and cultivated student minds to be all they can be, enriching CSUEB with a new year of great students.