Operation Summer Orientation is underway as the class of 2018 arrives on campus raring to start their undergraduate adventures. And waiting to help guide the some 1,350 students expected over the course of three weeks are 45 of LMU’s best and brightest… its Orientation Leaders.
“For June Orientation we try to create a team of O’Leaders that reflect the diversity of our undergraduate campus,” AJ LaPan, Co-Director of First Year Orientation, said.
He says major, class year, academic performance, and types of campus involvement are all put into consideration when selecting O’Leaders, and this year alone he received over 200 applications.
Prior to the first session of Orientation, O’Leaders participate in two weeks of training, which includes team building exercises, becoming experts on LMU’s history, mission and academic curriculum and learning about all the resources that can help their students start out on the right foot.
“We’re the first people the incoming freshmen see,” sophomore O’Leader Rachel Morgan said, “so of course we want to make a good impression.”
Sophomore O’Leader Steven Perez echoes Rachel’s thoughts: “I want to give incoming freshmen the same great Orientation experience I had,” he said. “Orientation made me really excited about coming to LMU… meeting other freshmen just like myself who are excited and nervous, all about to embark on the same journey.”
During the two-day Orientation sessions, O’Leaders guide new students through a series of icebreakers, assist them with the registration process and basically try to give them an overall sense of the academic experience at LMU.
“Our hope is that incoming freshmen start building relationships with one another and with the faculty,” AJ said, “get a sense of what is expected of them academically, have all their questions answered and anxieties relieved and get excited about coming back to LMU in August.”
LMU has a two-prong approach to Freshman Orientation, requiring incoming students to attend a June Orientation as well as an August Orientation.
AJ explains that June Orientation gives students a firm understanding of LMU’s academic landscape, while the August session is more concerned with helping them make a smooth transition to college life, a top priority for many of the O’Leaders.
“I don’t think ‘college’ really sinks into students minds until they come to Orientation and register for classes,” sophomore O’Leader Peter Schnapp said. “And that can be jarring, so it’s our job to make their first LMU experience as positive and encouraging as possible.”
Sophomore O’Leader Natalie Janji agrees.
“I’ve grown a lot over the past two years at LMU,” Natalie said, “and I think some of the wisdom I’ve developed could be very beneficial to some students.”
AJ adds that while he has high hopes for incoming freshmen, he holds similar expectations for the O’Leaders as well:
“I hope they see this experience as more than just a summer job,” he said. “I hope it helps them build upon their leadership experience and skills, become stronger role models, and build a lifelong relationship with the University as alumni who care.”
For a complete schedule of Orientation dates and other important information, visit our website.