When you’re a new student in a new environment, how do you want to be welcomed? How about meeting other students that are feeling the same as you? How about learning about this new environment from someone who has been in your place before? Mix in some activities that create a bonding experience for everyone to have fun and, most importantly, make a connection and you’ve got a formula for success.
Incoming students this year at the University of San Diego had the chance to experience rock climbing, kayaking, hiking, mud caving, team-building activities and connect spiritually in pre-orientation programs hosted by the Experiential Learning and Adventure Center (ELAC) and University Ministry, respectively, Aug. 25-27.
“Our new students are so excited to start their college experience, be a part of the community and establish trusted connections,” said Michael Lovette-Colyer, director of University Ministry. He said the first day of sign-ups maxed out the program’s capacity of 80 students who joined 20 student leaders at the Wildwood Camp and Conference Center in nearby Ramona.
Mark Ceder, outdoor coordinator for the ELAC, said sign-ups for this year’s Orientation Adventure also went fast, as 60 students joined 15 student guides and ELAC staff for activities that took them to nearby mountains, lakes and more in San Diego County. “We have international students, students from Alaska and all corners of the U.S. who share an adventure experience.”
Those programs kicked off a week-long orientation schedule as USD is preparing for the start of its 2010-11 school year on September 1. Torero Days, the university’s traditional four-day orientation program for all new students and parents, will commence on Saturday, Aug. 28.
“Torero Days really sets the tone for all new students at USD,” says Samantha Levine, a senior industrial and systems engineering major and the chair of the 2010 Torero Days Board.
Move-in day for freshmen and transfer students is Saturday, followed by a new student/family barbecue, a university welcome from USD President Mary E. Lyons and a surprise social event from 9 to 11 p.m.
Sunday’s highlights include Mass for all new students and their families at the Jenny Craig Pavilion, a pizza night for transfer students and an exclusive evening for all new students at Sea World from 7 to 10 p.m.
Monday’s schedule features more informational programs, but varies for freshmen and transfer students. New this year for freshmen is First Connections, a chance for people with like-minded interests such as recreation, international opportunities, social justice, sustainability, visual and performing arts to connect. Transfer and international students get to take a San Diego harbor cruise and return to join other new students for a dance/casino night in which attendees are encouraged to wear superhero costumes.
Tuesday’s schedule has more information-oriented programs and concludes with the new student convocation in the Jenny Craig Pavilion. Students are expected to wear business casual attire to the latter event.
Levine, who participated in Torero Days as an incoming freshman year and was a student staff member for the event prior to her promotion to chairperson, hopes all participants will take full advantage of the orientation schedule.
“I was the only one from my high school in Wrightwood who came to USD my year. I was shy back then. I came here and I was wondering what was going to happen, but Torero Days was a great way for me to learn about USD before classes started. I really encourage students to attend everything and get the whole experience in.”
— Ryan T. Blystone
For Torero Days information for USD Parents, click here.