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Orientation To Show Freshmen What Bearkats 'Can' Do

June 1, 2011
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

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The orientation leader team for this summer includes, from left: Anthony Randall, Hilary Craft (team leader), and Stephanie Campus (team leader).

This summer when incoming freshmen visit Sam Houston State University for New Student Orientation, not only will they begin learning about the Bearkat traditions but they also will get to be a part of one.

In introducing students to the spirit, pride and traditions of SHSU, the program is implementing a service component this year by asking incoming freshmen to participate in a canned food drive.

Collected items will be donated to a local charity as a way to get incoming students to “start thinking about providing service, which is one of the key missions of the university,” according to Jesse Bernal, parent/new student programs coordinator.

“Because Orientation is one the first transitional experiences students have on campus, we want to give them the opportunity to connect to SHSU’s commitment to service,” he said. “This project will help bring the incoming freshman class together and unite under a common goal.

“We simply want every student to have the chance to be involved and experience the commitment of service we have here at the university,” he said. “It’s also a desire for students to feel connected to the university, the community and each other through this project.”

The service component is one that other schools have implemented into their orientation programs. SHSU’s program will be geared more toward freshmen, but students attending the transfer orientations are invited to participate as well.

Approximately 2,100 students attend freshmen orientation and 250 attend transfer orientation each year.

“We talked amongst the orientation team leaders about how we’re leaving our mark on these students and how they can leave their mark on the university as freshmen, and this is one way we thought they could help, by providing a service through the canned food drive,” Bernal said. “We want the incoming class to begin making an impact on not only the university but the Huntsville community.”

The service component will become an orientation tradition, with projects that will benefit other organizations planned for future programs.

The New Student Orientation Program hosts sessions for students and their families to help them become familiar with services and programs vital in their transition as members of the SHSU community.

The program partners with other university offices and departments to provide students with the skills, information and relationships important to successful long-term academic and personal outcomes, according to Bernal.

New Student Orientation is mandatory for all incoming freshmen, regardless of the number of college credit hours earned while completing high school.

Sessions will be held June 9-10; June 16-17, June 20-21, June 23-24, July 7-8, July 14-15, July 21-22, and July 28-29. The registration deadline for each session is the Friday before (for example, June 2 for the June 9-10 orientation).

Transfer orientations, for those who graduated high school before the 2010-11 school year, will be held June 3 and Aug. 5, with registration deadlines of May 27 and July 29, respectively. A Veteran Orientation will be on Aug. 11. Unlike New Student Orientation, it is not mandatory.

“Transfer and returning students are encouraged to attend transfer orientation,” Bernal said. “Since no two schools are alike, you will find lots of useful information to help you acclimate to the SHSU environment.”

Spaces are limited for each orientation session and are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

All students must reserve their spaces and pay for orientation by the registration deadline for each session. The cost is $120 for students and $50 per guest.

For more information, or to register, call 936.294.1782 or visit http://www.shsu.edu/enrollment/orientation/.


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