Through a competitive application process, 150 Tech students were chosen to be the first to work with and welcome incoming freshmen in the fall.
This is the largest group of orientation leaders chosen for the program. The program has had to grow with the ever-increasing numbers of freshmen enrollment. Jenny Butler, assistant director for Campus Life, said there would be 75 small groups of freshmen with two orientation leaders per group.
“Because the freshmen class keeps growing, we have to grow as well,” Butler said. “We don’t want the group sizes that the freshmen are placed in to be so large that they aren’t going to meet anybody. So we keep trying to add small groups so the numbers stay relatively manageable.”
The application process consisted of a group and a individual interview. The group interview was with 50 to 75 people at a time. There were six stations that were used to see how well the applicants worked in a group. The individual interview was 20 minutes of questions. The panel took into account the applicant’s GPA and checked if students had had any disciplinary sanctions while at Tech. Scores from both interviews were added together in choosing the orientation leaders for the upcoming year.
“We try to get a good balance of personalities that would connect with a wide variety of students,” Butler said. “Our freshmen class is made up of athletes and bookworms and everything in between, so we try to get that make-up in the orientation leaders.”
Returning orientation leaders were chosen a month in advance to help with recruitment efforts and to take part in the selection process. This year there are 41 students that will be returning as orientation leaders.
As orientation leaders Butler said students will have sessions that they will present to freshmen over predetermined topics during Welcome Week. Some of the sessions include information about the Jerry Cares Campaign, knowledge about meal plans, policies and procedures, an overview of the student handbook and rules to follow and how to get involved on campus.
“The orientation leaders will go through some pretty intense training just to make sure they know all the information,” Butler said.
Klay Rutherford, a junior English major from Maumelle, said he decide to apply to help freshmen get acquainted.
“I’ve changed my major way more times than anyone else I know, so I pretty well know my way around the university and feel like I can bring something new to students who don’t know yet,” Rutherford said. “Of course, the pay and opportunity to move-in early is a nice incentive to apply.”
An orientation leader is a paid position. Leaders receive a $450 check for their work, which begins Aug. 19.