Students new to Keene State College in the fall of 2014 attended the New Student Orientation on the college campus a week before classes began.
Students moved in on Wednesday, Aug. 20, and that night, Orientation began, according to KSC’s orientation page online.
Orientation is made possible by many contributors. Seniors Kelly Welch and Gabriella Raccio were this year’s student coordinators, working alongside their hired “O-Staff” of 45 students and Director of Academic and Career Advising, Pat Halloran and the Assistant Vice Principal, Anne Miller.
Raccio reflected on her work with Orientation this year.
“Kelly and I are responsible for training the staff, communicating with professors, or other departments such as the dining commons and the canvas trainings to schedule these people to speak at orientation,” Raccio said.
The Orientation staff attended four training sessions in the spring and then again for three full-day training sessions in the summer. Welch and Raccio focused on training the staff.
“I think the first and foremost reason why students attended so frequently and had such a positive experience is because of the staff. [The O-Staff] were so committed. They put their heart and soul, energy and excitement into it and the first years knew that,” Raccio said.
O-leader Alicia Berry agreed with Raccio.
“I wanted to be [an orientation leader] because it looked super fun, which it was, and to make a difference for people and help them with this scary transition,” Berry said.
Students who attended this year’s orientation had a lot to say about the program and the O-Staff. One freshman, Peter Scolastico, talked about his experience.
“I attended everything actually. I had a lot of fun because of my orientation leader. She made everything interesting and hilarious. I definitely feel more comfortable on campus and have even made a few friends who I still go to the DC [Dining Commons] with,” Scolastico said.
According to Berry, keeping everyone engaged was crucial to keep the program more enjoyable.
“The interactive programs worked the best because it got the students involved rather than sitting there just listening,” Berry said.
Though the program took up most of the day, athletes had a very busy schedule with pre-season at the same time. Freshman Katie Silegy, a student-athlete felt that this was a struggle for her.
“I had pre-season for KSC soccer and couldn’t go to orientation because there was no time. I wish there was a program that could give athletes a similar experience,” Silegy said.
O-staff and students said they had some fun playing “Minute-to-Win-It” games, where they would answer a question about KSC and its programs or services and then compete in a fast, fun game, according to Raccio.
Raccio continued and said that incorporating fun and useful information into these games helped first year students enjoy themselves and get to know their peers, while also understanding the services KSC has to offer.
“Our programs were much more clean and focused this year. This year we had a program called KSC TREK, it is the basic program redone,” Raccio said.
The ‘Basic’ Orientation programs in the past have combined information about Financial Aid, Academic and Career Advising and Aspire.
This year’s KSC TREK did not focus on Financial Aid as it had in the past, “we found that parents seemed to be taking care of this,” Raccio explained.
Scolastico agreed that these programs were helpful.
“I will definitely keep the safety stuff we learned in mind,” Scolastico said.
He joked, “One thing I would change is to have more inside hands-on stuff with a strong AC!”
Eleanor Marshall can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.