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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

First-year orientation program extended

Photo by Patrick Hansell for The Lafayette
Orientation will now begin on Thursday, affecting programs such as Pre-Orientation Service Program and international student orientation.

The class of 2028 orientation will be expanded to a four-day program in order to provide more time for students to take breaks, unpack and facilitate more interactions between first-year students.

“We’re hopeful the extra day will help new students in their transition to Lafayette and set them up for success,” Director of Student Involvement Vanessa Pearson wrote in an email. 

The addition of the extra day stems from a desire to more effectively achieve the goals of orientation, including making connections with their peers, staff, and faculty; identifying and understanding resources; creating an affinity towards Lafayette; and understanding the expectations and responsibilities as a member of the Lafayette community,” Pearson wrote.

The change is a result of a survey sent to all new students after last year’s orientation. The survey had a 72.7 percent response rate and found that “students rated the overall Orientation experience highly” with a few key points of improvement, according to Pearson. 

First-year students found orientation tiresome, with scheduled activities beginning at 8:30 a.m. and concluding after 10 p.m. daily.

“I think overall, it could have been better,” Anika Ebbert ‘27 said of her orientation. “I feel like I was just very tired with how it was so cramped with moving and it didn’t really give me a chance to appreciate actually meeting more people because I was so overstimulated.”

In addition to desiring breaks, feedback showed students’ desire to meet peers within their majors, in their residence halls and in other orientation groups.

Dashawn Sheffield ‘27 said that it would be nice to be grouped together with students going into the same major, as they’d be more likely to see each other around campus. “It would be nice to go in knowing that you already know someone,” he said. 

Ebbert agreed.

“I just didn’t have a LEO group that connected very well with each other, which is totally okay, but it really trapped me from meeting other people during orientation,” Ebbert said, referring to Lafayette Extended Orientation, the group that oversees orientation.

The student life division and the advising office have met with campus partners to review the survey and look at alternative possibilities, ultimately deciding to add an extra day to allow for a more relaxed orientation period. 

The experiences of student leaders within the Lafayette Extended Orientation program were also considered when making changes to next semester’s programming.

“Within training, we always ask the LEOs ‘What are things that you like, what are things you don’t?’” said Shana Peck ‘25, the newly appointed co-director of Lafayette Extended Orientation. “It truly is an open space to feel where you can understand and really make a difference in your own community.”

In the new orientation structure, incoming students will have the opportunity to meet peers with similar interests in a “choose-your-own-adventure” style, according to Pearson. 

Adding an extra day to orientation will impact several annual programs run on campus in the weeks prior to orientation.

One of the affected programs is Lafayette’s Pre-Orientation Service Program, also known as POSP, a week-long volunteer-based experience that connects first-year students with upperclassmen leaders and the greater Easton community.  

“We were, of course, a little bit daunted at first to try something new, but after taking a deep breath, we noticed that really, it wasn’t that bad at all,” said Kathryn Wright ‘25, the Pre-Orientation Service Program co-director. The group’s executive board was able to rearrange its schedule with community partners without having to sacrifice previously planned activities.

“The great thing about POSP is that our motto is to be ‘Gumby,’ so that kind of means ‘be flexible,’” Erin Caputo ‘25, the other Pre-Orientation Service Program co-director, said. “We’re just going to adjust and pretty much go forward with the same programming.”

 International student orientation, which typically begins the Monday before first-year orientation, will also be affected.

According to Janine Block, who oversees international student orientation, the International Student Advising & Support Office is currently determining how the change of dates will impact the availability of student leaders and administrators.

I am actively considering how best to continue the important and purposeful experience international students have upon their arrival, and am committed to ensuring a positive experience,” Block wrote in an email.

Director of Athletic Communications Philip LaBella declined to comment on the impact extended orientation will have on fall sports scheduling.

Disclaimer: Managing Editor Trebor Maitin ’24, an employee of the Lafayette Extended Orientation program, did not contribute writing or reporting.

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About the Contributors
Isabella Gaglione, Culture Editor
Isabella Gaglione (she/her) is a junior English and Film & Media Studies double major from Long Island, New York. The Lafayette's resident Taylor Swift Reporter. 
Patrick Hansell, Staff Photographer

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