Teaching future students “How to navigate BU”
Captained by Academic Exploration Program director David Trillizio and his crew of 10 student aides, the summer orientation program engages incoming freshmen and apprehensive parents in a two-and-a-half day adventure of all things Bradley. The primary goal of the orientation program, according to Dr. Ray Zarvell ’62 MA ’69, executive director of the Center for Student Development and Health Services, is to eliminate the “green” college freshman stigma.
The orientation program, revamped in 1972, initially had “counselor aides” (as they were known at the time) working primarily to help students select classes. Eventually, the program moved towards showing new freshmen how to immerse themselves into the culture of Bradley University. According to Trillizio, the orientation has now become “something that other schools would love to have.”
The selection process for the new student aides is the first step in creating a successful summer session. Trillizio, along with members of the student affairs team, plus former and current student aide coordinators, compose the selection board. Student aides must have a minimum 2.5 GPA and be full-time students. Zarvell cites “responsibility, reliability, and initiative” as the three qualities that are most desired. “So many good people apply for this position,” says Trillizio, “and after that month-long interview process, we like to think that we get the best of the best.”
All of the hard work has clearly paid off year after year. Bradley’s summer orientation aides have received many awards; most recently, former student aide coordinator Chris Wendelin ’04 won the 2003 Student Leadership Award for the Midwest from the National Orientation Directors’ Association (NODA). In 2003, Trillizio also procured the Outstanding New Professional award from NODA.
One perk of the student aide job, according to aide Suan Kregel ‘07, is going to Miami to attend the NODA conference in November. On the contrary, “lack of sleep” seems to be the least favorable element of the lifestyle.
Aide Tiffany Cremer ‘06 feels she can relate to the nervousness most students feel prior to orientation. “When I came through, I was the most stressed student ever,” said Cremer. “I was terrified, but I loved my student aide. I thought I could do that for someone else.”
“It takes everyone,” according to Trillizio. “And everyone seems to rally.” From the student aides themselves, to all the work and people behind the scenes, it is clear that Bradley’s summer orientation program is a success.
“I was very comfortable with my daughter’s decision to attend Bradley before,” said one parent. “Now I’m even more so.”
Picture at left, student aides for Summer Orientation 2005 included, from left, front row, Mark Fulara ’08, Jordan Mandel ’07, Anne Becker ’06; second row, John Moats ’06, Josh Guinn ’07, Katie Owens ’08, Kristy Walz ’08; and third row, multimedia specialist Brian McMurray ’07, Matt Weaver ’08,
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