MAILED: July 13, 2000
Beth Buckmaster doesn't know much about the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. It's 9 a.m. on the day of her summer orientation, and the soon-to-be freshman is feeling a little overwhelmed. But if orientation goes the way the chancellor, orientation assistants and numerous advisers hope it does, Buckmaster will leave her session feeling confident and ready for her first year as a college student at UW-Eau Claire.
The orientation sessions, slated for June 21 to July 14, have about 144 students and their parents at each session. The sessions are an opportunity for new freshmen and their parents to learn about academic requirements, student services and the campus in general.
The sessions begin with a check-in and some informal conversation followed by a welcome address given by the chancellor. Next, students attend small group advising sessions where they learn about academic requirements, plan their class schedule and discuss student life issues. During this time, their parents are learning about degree requirements from Meg Dwyer, associate vice chancellor and chief information officer, or Steve Tallant, associate vice chancellor and director of graduate programs. They also have opportunities throughout the day to talk to representatives from various student services, such as Career Services, Dining Services and Health Services.
During his welcome, Mash told the incoming freshmen that their freshman year would be the hardest, not because of the academic work, but because of the adjustment to college life.
He told the new freshmen that there are things they can do to help ensure that their freshman year is successful, fun and manageable.
"You need to find your niche here," Mash said. "Figure out where you belong on the campus and create a sense of belonging early."
He also let them know that now is the time for them to get their act together. "You need to focus your attention on what you are here to do," Mash said.
The third point of advice was for students to assert themselves and figure out what they need to be a good student and when they need it.
Director of Career Services Jeanne Sinz said orientation is exciting this year. "It's a great opportunity to speak with parents and connect with freshmen, which is something we want to do as soon as possible," she said. "And it's an opportunity to showcase our beautiful campus."
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: July 20, 2000