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Orientation Leaders Prepare to Welcome New Great Danes

UAlbany’s 2016 orientation leaders (pictured above) are ready to help new students and their families with the college transition. (Photo courtesy of New Student Programs)   

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 20, 2016) – Kayla James still remembers the excitement she felt when attending the University at Albany’s summer orientation as an incoming freshmen.

“Orientation was the first authentic experience I had on a college campus,” said James, a criminal justice major from Baldwin, N.Y. “Everyone was so welcoming and full of energy. It was the moment I knew becoming a Great Dane was the right decision for me.”

Now a senior, James is hoping to create the same environment for the next class of Great Danes. She’s part of a staff of 22 undergrads who will be serving as orientation leaders (OLs) this summer.

OLs play a vital role in helping new students and their families adjust to the college transition. It’s their job to make orientation an enjoyable experience, serving as a mentor, source of campus knowledge and positive representation of the University.

To prepare, this year’s group has been attending mandatory training since June 1. They are meeting seven hours a day, five days a week, until the first freshmen orientation move-in on June 27.

Organized by UAlbany’s New Student Programs (NSP) staff, the training encompasses a variety of activities and workshops to help OLs get ready. Included are team building activities, leadership development, presentation skills, diversity training and simulated orientation sessions.

“We work hard to ensure our training program is well thought out and planned,” said Sari Khatib, UAlbany’s assistant director of New Student Programs. “The experience allows our OLs to come together and gain valuable skills needed to effectively carry out their job.”

Additionally, it offers a chance for staff bonding. Each Wednesday, the group has been going on day trips including Fun Plex Fun Park, Dippikill and Howe Caverns. They’ve also dedicated a morning to community service, completed a high ropes course and participated in an ice cream social.

OTLs 2016
Kayla James (far right) is one of three orientation team leaders this summer. (Photo by Hilary Knox)   

“Training helps the OLs become one big family,” James said. “We are the face behind the University for new students. It is important to be on the same page. Just knowing there’s a group of people who have your back is something that helps us all be successful.”

This will be James’ second summer as part of NSP’s student leadership team. Given her experience, she was elected as one of three team leaders (OTLs) to mentor the other OLs and help with orientation logistics.

James calls UAlbany her “second home” and could not imagine being anywhere else this summer.

“I would not be up here for orientation if I did not love this campus,” James said. “It is really rewarding for me to able to work with others who share my enthusiasm and want to see our new students succeed.”

Approximately 2,300 freshmen and 1,300 transfers will attend one of UAlbany’s 13 orientation sessions from June 20 – Aug. 2. To learn more, visit the University’s official orientation website.

Interested in meeting all of UAlbany’s 2016 OLs? View NSP’s Facebook photo album.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than
120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.