Last week, Capital University welcomed the class of 2016. The process to make the first-year students feel comfortable had the combined efforts of Residence Life and the Orientation Leaders.
Planning for the first-year class’s arrival on campus began in the mid-to-late spring of 2012.
Representatives from Residence Life, Admissions, Facilities and the University administration met together to cooperate and work through the logistics prior to the housing lottery of the 2012-2013 school year for the upperclassmen.
Director of Residence and Commuter Life Jennie Smith said that the meetings allowed the university to figure out the needs of not just the first-year students, but all returning students as well.
“We were able to discuss things such as the new houses that Capital University is now responsible for—to allow for students to live in houses and still maintain their on campus status rather than become commuters and possibly have their financial aid change,” Smith said.
Smith discussed how the logistics worked for an ever-changing amount of incoming first year students moving onto campus, after setting records in consecutive years.
Problems facing residence life are exacerbated by the class size, which the staff had to work to accommodate.
One solution was moving the honors upperclassmen that would potentially live in Saylor-Ackerman hall into an honors hall in Cotterman to allow for more first-year rooms in Saylor-Ackerman.
Parts of the Lohman complex were also partially renovated to include card access for the building’s back doors as well as more common areas for students to meet and socialize with one another.
“It’s great to have the administrative support and to work as a team to allow us to better accommodate students,” Smith said.
The Orientation team, comprised of leaders from the sophomore, junior and senior classes, also hopes to welcome the first-year students and help them assimilate with the rest of the Capital student body.
The orientation team’s goals are based on the mission statement– “to be among the first people to welcome students to the Capital family by helping them find their passions, foster lifelong relationships, and grow into the people they aspire to be.”
Sophomore Orientation Leader and psychology major Mackenzie Kyes said that the orientation leaders used activities to help the first-year students get to know each other and to connect with fellow students.
This helped mesh the different groups that form with first-years, and helped them become more relaxed with the transition of moving to a college campus.
These activities include a Columbus Crew Soccer Game, going to Zoombezi Bay water park, seeing ‘The Avengers’ movie, and playing games such as ‘Where the Wind Blows,’ ‘Connection,’ and the ‘Five Finger Game.’
“We tried to provide fun activities and events for the first years to get them to get involved and to have a good time and to get to know everybody and become part of the big Cap Family,” Kyes said.
“Orientation is just one big, exciting event all weekend. You make friends that last all four years because of it as well.”
When asked about his orientation experience, Ben Romer, first-year nursing major, had nothing but positive things to say.
“I thought it was a really good experience. The mentors were really nice and showed you around. It was a nice warm welcome to Capital and a great way to get your nervous jitters out [about] moving into college,” Romer said.