Student leaders trained by the Office of Student Development professional staff brought their A-game to welcome new students to their new home away from home. Student Engagement Coordinator Micayla Brodish was thrilled with how enthusiastically Engagement Leaders, Student Ambassadors, Small Group Leaders, Athletic Team Captains and Orientation Leaders stepped up to serve their peers.
“Each student leader volunteered the days leading right up to when their classes started. They all did an incredible job making them feel comfortable and welcome here at Alliance University,” she comments.
Plenty of helping hands assisted the students and their families with moving in to The Bay, the Jersey City, New Jersey residence hall. While many freshmen came from the five boroughs of New York City, they were joined by others from states across the nation including California, Florida, Texas, Tennessee, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland. Germany, Spain, Austria, England, Columbia, Canada, Guatemala, South Korea and Israel are just some of the countries represented by new additions to AU’s international student population.
The new student orientation called Ignite featured presentations by President Rajan Mathews, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Dr. David Turk, Vice President of Student Development and Dean of Students Mrs. Wanda Velez and an Alliance University alumni couple, Dr. Charles and Mrs. Flobien Galbreath.
Each year the Office of Student Development raises the bar and comes up with creative ways to engage students. This year was no different. Learning the lay of the land took had literal meaning as students were given an opportunity to explore the City. During a geocaching activity, their “treasure” hunt led them to landmarks and eateries near the Lower Manhattan campus.
With their “Passport to A.U.,” groups of students were given one hour to visit as many departments on a list representing invaluable resources for students. The passports were initialed by a department staff member and at the conclusion of the activity passports were entered into a drawing for prizes. Some of the offices on the list included the Writing Center, the Advisement Center, College to Career Services, Registrar, Financial Services, the Creative Center, Eastman Library, School of Music, Global Service-Learning, the Prayer Room and the Center for Racial Reconciliation. Ice-breakers and interactive activities pulled people out of their comfort zones and into meeting new friends.
Dean Velez, who arrived at the university as a student herself, proudly observed the engagement of student leaders as they connected with the new students. With personal knowledge of what students gain from an Alliance University education, she commented, “They are why I do what I do. I am grateful for this bunch and excited to see how their stories will unfold this year!”