Every summer hundreds of incoming students experience Western for the first time through the orientation and registration process known as Destination Western. This year approximately 750 students attended.
Director of First-Year Programs Bobbie Delaney said she was really pleased with the way things went this year.
Delaney recently moved from being a housing director for the suites to this position. This was her first year with orientation. In about a month Delaney, along with her three interns Ally Browning, Cara Humphrey and Kaari Owens ,planned orientation. This year there were also 27 ambassadors involved with the orientation process.
â€œBobbie is a great director,â€ Humphrey said. â€œShe came into this program knowing nothing, but she works hard with us and has a better understanding now.â€
Orientation is mandatory for all incoming students including transfer students. This summer there were seven sessions for first-time freshmen and three transfer sessions.
â€œWe designed a program for orientation that prepares students for their first year at Western,â€ Browning said. â€œThere is a lot of behind the scenes work, but the enthusiasm the students have towards getting involved and learning more about what Western has to offer makes me proud and excited to be part of their initial experiences here.â€
Orientation consists of two days filled with information for incoming students. On the first day, students check into the program and have the opportunity to take placement exams in writing, reading or foreign language. Students then are able to take a tour of campus, check into their rooms for the night or ask questions of the staff. Students and parents have the opportunities to stay on campus in the residence halls overnight. Students are paired with a roommate for one night to give them a taste of what residential life will be like in the fall.
Incoming freshman Holly Gallope of St. Joseph said, â€œMy favorite part of orientation was meeting new people and having interactions with them.â€
Students and parents then heard from Public Safety, Residential Life, Esry Health Center, Student Government Association, Student Services, Center for Multicultural Education, Financial Aid and Business Office. All of the speakers during the two-day program were available for question and answer sessions as well.
After the first night of information, students were able to choose between taking a bus tour of St. Joseph, playing board games in the lobby of the Living Learning Center or watching a hypnotist hypnotize incoming students as well as ambassadors.
Another benefit of attending Destination Western is a first-hand taste of Westernâ€™s cafeteria food. Students and guests were able to experience all three meals during the two-day program.
Students leave orientation knowing a little more about the campus, the people and facilities available to them.
Senior Brad Dixon said orientation helped him when he came to Western in 2003, and that is why he wanted to be an ambassador.
â€œI had a lot of fun. I had already done my research before I came here, but orientation helped me dot the iâ€™s and cross the tâ€™s and also made me more prepared for Griffon Edge,â€ Dixon said.
Parents are encouraged to attend Destination Western as a last experience with their student. While each orientation session has approximately 75-100 students attending plus parents and guests, Griffon Edge will have around 700 students without parents.
Scarlett Clarkâ€™s daughter Cheyenne will come from Platte City to be a freshman this semester. Clark said she feels it is really important for parents to attend orientation and stay overnight in the residence halls.
â€œParents get the direct information they need to help their student later when they call home with questions while also getting to experience the type of atmosphere the students stay in on a daily basis,â€ Clark said.
Orientation is mostly run by students. Ambassadors are there to assist students in registering for classes and receiving the information necessary to enter the fall semester clear, confident and ready.
â€œI was thrilled to see such support of the upper classmen to help them come out of their shells and experience the college atmosphere,â€ Clark said.
Sophomore Megan Glenn said she speaks for all ambassadors when she says they are always willing to help students.
â€œWeâ€™re the first place students get to go for answers, and weâ€™ll continue to be here for them as classes begin and they start their college careers,â€ Glenn said.