Columbus State's Orientation Program Gives Students a Glimpse Into the CSU Experience

Staff Report

Tuesday, July 26th, 2022

Conventional wisdom might say that college campuses slow down for the summer, but that has been the complete opposite at Columbus State University. This summer, hundreds of new Cougars have rotated through eight orientation sessions to ready them for their studies this fall at CSU—with two remaining before fall classes begin on August 15.

The summer orientation program—called ROAR—exposes incoming students to everything they’ll need to thrive and succeed in college, including receiving their first course schedule, meeting new people, forming friendships, and learning about different student organizations on campus and how to get involved. Orientation sparks interest for the soon-to-be Cougars because it gives them a glimpse of the community that Columbus State offers.

Orientation leaders also navigate groups of students around campus, teaching them about classes and campus life, as well as showing different parts of the campus. These sessions provide these students with more opportunities to explore what life as a student is really like at Columbus State.

While faculty, staff and administrators are part of the program, the dedicated group of student orientation leaders is the heart of the program as they share their experiences with the next generation of Columbus State students.

“As an incoming student, I was excited to be able to meet peers and learn about campus organizations at orientation,” said Mikaila Larmond, a senior health science major. “Now, in the role of an orientation leader, I’m excited to welcome incoming freshmen and share my knowledge and experience to help them be successful at CSU.”

At the July 21 RiverPark Campus orientation, incoming freshman Mary Rowsey enjoyed the activities that the group was participating in—including a scavenger hunt throughout Uptown Columbus to help Rowsey and her future classmates learn where different buildings are located.

“Orientation, especially the scavenger hunt, made me more comfortable about knowing the layout of the campus so I know what buildings I need to go to for my classes,” said Rowsey. “I’m majoring in nursing and I’m excited to make new friends and lots of memories at CSU.”

Another incoming freshman, Oakley Lynch, added about the atmosphere of the RiverPark Campus: “There are so many cool things [in Uptown Columbus] that I can see myself doing with the friends I have made so far at orientation.”

Lynch also noted how many of the advisers she’s met with so far have helped ease her anxieties about starting college.

“The advisers really reinforced the fact that professors are real people and we need to be attentive to that and communicate with them when we have questions or need help,” Lynch said. “It’s nice getting perspectives from the orientation leaders, too, since they have already experienced much of college.” 

Like Larmond, Lynch noted how group activities through orientation gave her the opportunity to build a network before the fall semester begins, especially with students from different majors and hometowns who she normally wouldn’t interact with during her studies. Dr. Melissa Dempsey, Director of Student Life and Development, noted that the type of planned interaction is intentional on the university’s part.

“We want orientation to be the foundation for a successful first year, and serve as a catalyst for students to understand the campus, how we can help them through this transition to college, and initiate their entry even before classes start,” Dempsey said.

Dempsey also noted that the university’s spirited and knowledgeable orientation leaders are at the heart of the experience. They facilitate incoming first-year students with opportunities to connect with fellow students, faculty and staff, while also sharing their insights into customizing a successful and fun environment at CSU, as well as discovering the sense of belonging and community that CSU holds. 

There is never a dull moment on campus as students participate in different activities, such as working together to complete challenges, whitewater rafting on the Chattahoochee River, ziplining, and evening bonfires.Two one-day summer orientation sessions remain—Saturday, July 30 or Friday, Aug. 5, both on CSU’s Main Campus. Registration for these—or orientation information for transfer students, non-traditional students, military students, international students and graduate students—is available at columbusstate.edu/orientation, or by contacting orientation planners at  706-507-8593 or orientation@columbusstate.edu.