Memories and leadership: New Student Orientation

ERIN BAKER; Online Copy Editor; bakeree@plu.edu

More than 650 first-year and transfer students convened on Pacific Lutheran University’s campus Friday, Sept. 2 to be a part of New Student Orientation. Students participated in events to acquaint them with campus life and the Tacoma area.

During New Student Orientation, students were put into groups based on their Writing 101 or FYEP 190 classes.

With a variety of different activities to introduce the students to PLU, students shared their favorite moments and memories they made during their first weekend on a college campus with The Mast.

“I like the fact that I got to meet all the people in my writing class,” first-year Allison Zakharov said. “I have a sense of familiarity in one of my classes.”

Zakharov said she enjoyed this weekend because she received helpful information about PLU’s campus, met new people and made connections.

While getting acquainted with their new home, students participated in activities such as Lute Follies and various On the Road Trips. First-year Natalie Hull said Sounds of Solidarity struck her the most.

“I liked that it set a general standard of […] accepting people,” Hull said. “[The performers] said you don’t have to be okay with all these things, but you are expected to be accepting of all people.”

The On the Road trips provided a great way for students to familiarize themselves with the Tacoma community and offered them a chance to get to know other students better. First-year Logan Albert said going to the Washington State Fair in Puyallup for his trip was one of his favorite experiences from orientation.

“I just hung out with some friends I met,” Albert said. “We saw the animals and toured the exhibits there.”

Of course, New Student Orientation could not have been possible without the more than 50 student guides who volunteered their time this year. These guides were trained one week prior to move-in day, and were instructed on how to make this weekend the best experience for incoming students.

Shelby Coates, a sophomore, said she wanted to be an orientation guide because she loved her first-year experience.

“I really enjoyed my orientation experience,” Coates said. “It was really fun being with 16 people who you could call your friends and having a tight-knit group coming to a new place.”

While the orientation guides’ job was to help the students learn about campus, they also gleaned learning experiences from their students.

Sophomore Kara Barkman said this experience increased her leadership skills through learning how to adapt to different situations, while also teaching her the significance of relationship building.

“They helped me learn how to adapt, but they also taught me how important it is not to force friendship upon them,” Barkman said. “Just let them work on getting to know each other instead of playing 20 icebreakers.”

Students and guides said they had a great time and will never forget their first weekends at PLU.

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