The commitment of Orientation Leaders


Shaelyn Martinez/The Lion's Roar

2019 orientation leaders help incoming students adjust to the university. Orientation leaders start their training during the spring semester upon hire.

Orientation leaders play a vital role in introducing the university to the prospective and incoming freshmen and helping them decide how the university fits them.

The OLs’ preparation begins in the spring semester and lasts throughout the summer so that when the incoming freshmen become a part of the university, they know a few familiar faces from this program.

Amanda Hammonds, assistant director of orientation and events, explained the qualities they look for when selecting orientation leaders.

“We look for people who we think would work best together and personalities that complement each other,” said Hammonds. “Overall, we want them to also help each other out. So, we chose a variety of students who can all bring something special to the team but also people who are all open-minded and can look back and realize what they have taken from this experience.”

According to Hammonds, orientation leaders are typically hired towards the end of October.

“We then take the chosen OLs on a retreat in December that is just so they can get to know each other and get comfortable with each other,” explained Hammonds. “This is just basically like one, big ice breaker and to gain trust with each other.”

The chosen group of students starts working during the spring semester after they are hired.

“They work this program with the prior OLs,” stated Hammonds. “They also work at the ‘Lion Pride Previews’ events. We also have our orientation leader meetings every Tuesday and Thursday for about an hour and 15 minutes. Finally, in the summer, they start out strong with work in the office every day in prep for the many orientations that they will work all summer. It is a lot of work.”

Emily Bohall, an admission recruiter and a 2013 orientation leader, detailed what traits students must possess in order to be an orientation leader.

“The main trait I would say a student must have is to be themselves and to be accepting of all sorts of personalities,” shared Bohall. “You should be able to be a leader and a follower when the time comes. Another trait would be that of making people feel like they matter. Making families and their students feel like this is a stress-free environment helps with this big step in college.”

In preparation for the summer, orientation leaders are provided with a variety of services.

“They are provided with free university housing during the summer,” Hammonds explained. “We also pay for them to take a leadership training class with Dr. Kay Maurin. They get a meal plan and other items like outfits for each day and a backpack.”

Emily Browning, a freshman marketing major, is an orientation leader this year. She explained her roles as an OL.

“My main job is to make sure the incoming students feel welcomed and ready to start in the fall,” stated Browning. “I have to give them all the tools to make their first semester a great one. Along with that, I have to make the parents feel good about sending their students to Southeastern.”

Browning discussed the primary duty of an orientation leader.

“Being able to be the first face the incoming freshmen meet is a feeling you will never forget,” shared Browning. “Most students are really nervous when they come though orientation, and to be able to prepare them and to get them excited about starting in the fall is really rewarding.”