UD's New Student Orientation offers introduction to campus life
10:37 a.m., June 27, 2012--New Student Orientation, a one-day introduction to campus life at the University of Delaware, began Tuesday, June 19, and will run through Wednesday, July 18.
For students entering UD in the fall, when classes begin Tuesday, Aug. 28, New Student Orientation covers topics ranging from student life and academics, to safety and well-being.
Building leadership skills
Students meet new classmates, learn about their respective colleges and receive academic advisement as they register for fall semester courses.
New Student Orientation each day kicks off at 7:15 a.m., with registration and a welcoming session for students and their parents.
UD President Patrick Harker greeted one such group of nearly 600 visitors on Tuesday, June 19, in the Trabant University Center.
“Good morning, Blue Hens! Welcome to the University of Delaware,” Harker said. “From here on out, you’re a part of a community that values excellence, develops potential and works for change.”
The Class of 2016 is comprised of some 3,855 freshmen from 34 states and 18 countries.
“You competed against a record 26,704 applicants for a spot in this class,” Harker said. “Given that this school has a 269-year history, that’s saying something, and I think it deserves a round of applause.”
Harker also urged students to practice civility, tolerance and kindness, and to ask for help when things don’t seem to be going right.
“We have a campus full of people who are here to help you. Let them,” Harker said. “And if, in turn, you see a friend or a classmate struggling, lend an ear, or a shoulder, or a hand.”
In return, Harker noted, the University stands committed to investing in its students, asking them for ideas and promoting learning in a diverse UD community.
“I promise you an opportunity to join your talents, your intelligence and your capacity for really hard work to the University’s mission,” Harker said, adding that as partners UD and its students can take on the job of "nothing less than changing the world.”
The challenge for parents, Harker noted, is to support their children while granting them a growing measure of personal independence as they progress in their UD experience.
“They know you love them,” Harker said. “Now convince them you respect their ability to navigate this next leg of the journey themselves.”
Following the welcoming session, students and parents spend the rest of the day apart, with each attending meetings addressed by representatives from various campus units.
Heather Maginnis, director of New Student Orientation, said that around 1,000 students passed through the program during the first five days.
On a typical day, Maginnis said that about 200 students and 250 parents arrive on campus during New Student Orientation.
Highlights for parents include a visit to the University Bookstore that includes a demonstration of the latest products available in the Apple Authorized Campus Store.
“Parents are most concerned about how their student is going to fit in at UD,” Maginnis said. “Our greatest concern is making sure that they do and that they are successful here at UD."
Maginnis said the New Student Orientation program was recently redesigned to emphasize the resources of the Office of Student Life and its new strategic plan.
“We have also designed the program to intentionally provide opportunities for students to connect with their classmates,” Maginnis said.”
From the students
Allison Winters, a communication major from Franklin Lakes, N.J., said, “It’s nice meeting new people, and I feel more comfortable after going through the program.”
Isabelle Hastings, a business major from South Salem, N.Y., said she liked the friendly and informative nature of the program. “A lot of students from my hometown who attend John Jay High School also go on to attend UD. I love the UD campus and I love the town.”
Alexander Waad, a communication major with a minor in journalism, from Newark, Del., said New Student Orientation has given him a fresh view of the University located in his hometown.
“As a graduate of Newark High School, I chose UD because it is close to home and a lot of my family went here,” Waad said. “I know how well UD treats its students and helps them to assimilate into the workplace.”
Waad's older brother Tyler, who graduated in May from UD with an undergraduate degree in finance and economics, said, “It’s nice having my brother follow me here, and it’s nice that we are both connected with UD, even though we have such entirely different majors.”
Tyler Waad, who begins his studies as a law student at Widener University this fall, added that, “I’ve always thought fondly about the professors and mentors I had at UD. I’m sure the things they did for me will be helpful when I’m in law school.”
Abbie Sarfo, an English major from York, Pa., said “I’ve enjoyed the program today, I feel a little more prepared to come here this fall. I’m looking forward to having a new experience away from home.”
Jenna Cassara, a psychology major from Freehold, N.J., said “I enjoyed the presentations and look forward to coming to UD in the fall and hope to play club field hockey.”
NSO for transfer students
New Student Orientation for transfer students will be held on July 5, 13 and 17.
“This is a great opportunity for transfer students to meet the UD community before coming to campus this fall,” Maginnis said.
For more information on the Division of Student life, including New Student Orientation, visit the website.
Article by Jerry Rhodes
Photos by Ambre Alexander