More than 400 first-year students arrive at Alma College for an activity-packed Orientation Week program that combines opportunities in both academic and social spheres.
Academically, the new students are enrolled in First-Year Seminars and paired with upper-level student mentors. These mentors, called First-Year Guides, help acclimate the new students to the campus and community and provide semester-long assistance on helping them make a successful transition to college.
“One of the most important activities for students to do during Orientation Week is to meet with their faculty advisers to review their academic schedules and get to know who they will be working with during the upcoming year,” says Julie Williams, assistant provost.
While students attend their required First-Year Seminar courses in the mornings, they have their choice of multiple activities during the afternoons and evenings.
“It’s important for new students to get involved in their first year, and there are some great optional activities during Orientation Week to help get students on the right track,” says Williams. “For example, we highly recommend the library open house as well as our large-scale icebreaker event, Playfair, that takes place in the Stone Recreation Center.
“The Traditions Dinner also is an essential activity,” adds Williams. “President Abernathy speaks about our Scottish heritage and other traditions. It’s one of the best ways to kick off the Alma experience. Alumni always remember their traditions dinner.”
Other social options include a hypnotist, concerts, trivia night, a Deal or No Deal game, video game tournament, miniature golf in the library, and a movie on the chapel lawn, says Dave Blandford, director of campus life.
“The capstone of Orientation Week is the Alma Community Carnival that takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday, Sept. 2 in the Stone Recreation Center,” says Blandford. “Students, faculty and staff come together for cotton candy, popcorn, laser tag, inflatable obstacle course, jousting and much more — a final gathering before they start classes the next day.”
New students arrive on Alma’s campus Saturday, Aug. 24, and attend the Welcoming Convocation at 1:30 p.m. in the Hogan Center, Art Smith Arena. Orientation Week continues through Monday, Sept. 2. The official start of the fall term for all students is Tuesday, Sept. 3.