Orientation program allows students to regroup

Bobby Blanchard

New Student Services has announced a new program called “New Student Orientation 2.0,” which is designed to help first-year students continue their transition into college.

Orientation 2.0 will host events across campus for first-year students from 5 to 9 p.m. every night from Monday to Thursday. Alex Kappus, coordinator for New Student Services, said the goal of the program is to target students who might have missed orientation this summer. While every student is required to attend orientation, some still do not go, Kappus explained.'

“We’re also trying to get students who might have missed some required programming,” Kappus said.

UT upgraded their orientation program this summer, increasing college meeting times and adding college programming. For example, Bevonomics, an orientation program that taught students about how to be conscious of their spending, is part of Orientation 2.0.

Revamping orientation is part of UT’s effort to increase four-year graduation rates to 70 percent by 2016. Gage Paine, vice-president of student affairs, said Orientation 2.0 is also an effort to increase four-year graduation rates.

“This is a program that is going to try to give more information about being more successful while you’re here,” Paine said. “It’s about four-year graduation rates, but it’s bigger than that. It’s helping students be successful as college students.”

Kappus said students who went to orientation can also benefit from Orientation 2.0.

“For students who breezed through summer orientation, or missed some things, this is their chance to regroup and learn about various resources on campus that can make you more successful here at UT,” Kappus said.

Kappus said New Student Services added new events that were not part of summer orientation. For example, the last event Thursday is “Student Leader Meet and Greet,” where first-year students can meet student leaders on campus.

If Orientation 2.0 is successful it might become an annual event, assistant dean of students Cristi Biggs said.

“It is our hope that the week-long program will become an annual event that we will promote throughout all future summer orientation sessions enhanced by feedback gathered from this year’s participants,” Biggs said.

Students who attend the program have a chance to win a Kindle Fire HD, a tablet with a list price of $199. The freshman class, at 8,092 students, is the largest freshman class UT has ever seen. Students can see the full schedule on the New Student Services website.