by M. Miller
January is usually seen as the month of new beginnings; but, here at Alice Lloyd College, the time to begin again is now. Each year, in the month of August, the College conducts its Fall Orientation, which is designed to introduce freshmen and transfer students to life on campus. For these students, everything is fresh and unknown, and, if it were not for the efforts of ALC’s Student Services, these young people would be totally lost and left to figure out everything on their own.
For some, college life marks their first taste of freedom. It’s a time of setting forth, of stepping out on one’s own in order to find their place in this world. It’s also a time of uncertainty, which is why Alice Lloyd College is committed to shepherding students along their chosen path, guiding them and helping them adjust to life away from the familiarity of home. It can be a difficult transition, but, with careful planning, ALC has worked to make the introduction to college a smooth one for this exceptional stock of young Appalachians.
“This is a very strong class that we’ve welcomed here to our campus,” said President Joe Stepp. “They’re a solid, capable bunch of students. We see so much potential in them.”
This has already proven to be an historic semester for ALC: the College received over 3,000 applications for admission, which is, by far, the largest number ever. So, in effect, this semester boasts one of the largest enrollments in ALC history, which added even more pressure to the folks in Student Services to step up and deliver an informative, fun-filled, and successful period of orientation.
And they did just that.
The primary task of Fall Orientation is to prepare students for their college journey, to give them the tools they need to have a good start. The students finalize their class schedules, meet with advisors, fellow students and faculty members, and they become acquainted with the guidelines and regulations of student life. It’s an action-packed first week with various events and activities going on all over campus.
“The idea is to keep the students busy so that we can prevent them from dwelling on their homesickness and the fact that there’s a big change taking place in their lives,” said Christine Stumbo, ALC’s Retention Director and Dean of Women.
Ms. Stumbo, along with her colleagues in Student Services, under the direction of the Dean of Students, Scott Cornett, sit down each summer to devise a plan that will keep the new students thoroughly entertained while also imparting important information to them. Interspersed with instructive sessions that cover such topics as Residence and Commuter Life, Clubs and Organizations, Developing a Personal Work Ethic, etc., are lighthearted, “getting to know you” gatherings that involve dancing, games of bingo, sports, cookouts, and even a comedy/variety show.
“All of these events were well attended,” said David Hatfield, Director of Intramurals and Assistant Baseball Coach. “The students really loved the Freshmen Olympics and the Doug Hutchens Games. We make them do a lot of silly things, like run in a 3-legged race, participate in a water balloon and egg toss, and go head-to-head in a pie-eating contest, but they all really enjoyed everything.”
Along with the fun side of things, there’s also the more serious stuff, such as getting moved into the dorms, registering, and meeting the college president. All of these aspects of orientation can be rather chaotic, which is why it takes the efforts of so many departments to keep things organized and not so stressful. The students were able to rely upon their Resident Advisors, Student Supervisors, Head Residents, Admissions Ambassadors, members of the Baptist Collegiate Ministry, and Campus Security who aided them in every aspect of this transitional phase. The result is that the students sense their place in a vibrant on-campus community that, over time, begins to feel like a real family.
“We had a lot of fun with our new students,” Dean Scott Cornett said. “We hope that in some small way we have helped them in their transition to college.”
Check out more photos from Fall Orientation on Flickr!