The orientation staff team will spend this quarter looking for a few good O-Staffers to lead future UCSB students in the 12 orientation sessions being held for incoming freshmen this summer.
The UCSB Orientation Staff is comprised of 25 undergraduate students also known as O-Staffers. Applications to join the orientation staff were due Tuesday, but the selection process lasts throughout Winter Quarter. Each of the 45-75 students who apply each year must participate in five interviews before selected.
Since the 1970s, the Orientation Staff has helped educate incoming freshmen and transfer students about university culture by introducing them to campus services and resources and helping them with academic advising and registration.
Orientation Programs Director Kim Equinoa said the process is rigorous because they want to put together a team of people representative of all kinds of life at UCSB.
“Our hope is that students can find someone they identify with because of the diversity on this campus,” she said. “We are looking for people oriented towards a team and who have a real sincerity about them. They must be eager to learn about themselves and the campus.”
Once selected, each person attends training throughout Spring Quarter, and for 40 hours during the two weeks after Spring Quarter ends. They learn about campus resources, services and academic requirements and form committees to plan the work they will do during orientation.
These committees put together presentations, meet with academic departments, participate in retreats and learn about a variety of student life opportunities on campus, Equinoa said.
“An unofficial part of this job is being a resource at any time for the participants of the program,” she said. “Parents and students have several questions, so the staff must be prepared with answers or direct them to the right place for an answer.”
Most of the orientation activities, which last two days for freshmen and one day for transfers, revolve around academic advising and registration, with various meetings and tours to help students get acquainted with specialized programs and resources on campus.
Student Orientation Programs Coordinator Devon DeRousseau said each member of the orientation staff is given a mission, which they must consider every moment of the day, and which changes with each orientation session. The job is constantly changing as members advise their individual groups as well as implementing and supervising the activities planned for the students.
“I like leadership roles,” DeRousseau said, “I like doing team activities where you are depending on other people to make sure everything is done. Through orientation you are constantly working with people all the time. It is constantly changing.”
The staff works 40-50 hours per week and DeRousseau said the job is often challenging. O-staffers will address diversity issues with their group, since some students will experience more diversity while attending the university.
Participation in orientation is not mandatory, although an average of 92 percent of freshmen and 65 percent of transfer students attended in 2001, Equinoa said.
Current UCSB students have said the orientation experience is beneficial, but undeclared freshman Michelle Newman, who attended the 2001 session, said more of the activities should focus on academics.
“I liked the fact that they helped us with registration,” she said, “but I felt that it would have been better if the program was shorter. We had to attend several workshops all day long, and at the end of the day I was drained. I think orientation should be more geared towards school than social aspects. You’ll figure that out on your own.”