Every year, freshmen are greeted with enthusiastic people waving signs and helping carry boxes of belongings into dorm rooms. These students are members of the Orientation Staff, an organization that helps with new student orientation weekend.
The group of about forty students is led by Director of Student Programs Aaron Beadner and student co-directors. Serving as co-directors this year were Sarah Allen, Devin Bloemendaal and Liz Meier.
The committee does much more than just moving in freshmen. Starting last school year, the co-directors interviewed, selected and hired the rest of the O-Staff team. Throughout the next few months, the team brainstormed orientation activities. Members came back to college a week early to help with all the preparation required for the big weekend. During this time, all the activities were coordinated and executed.
The group also wrote and practiced a skit. The skit was performed various times on Sunday and Monday, not only to the freshmen, but the returning students as well. Junior O-Staffer Jenna Heemstra explained that the skit was one of her favorite parts.
“It was fun getting to make fun of Northwestern, but in a good way,” Heemstra said.
The skit had plenty of jokes relating to ‘ring by spring,’ the dirt pile in front of the science building and the new location of the coffee shop. The play was closed with a dance number featuring all the members of the O–Staff.
“My favorite part is watching how the show goes from nothing to spectacular in a week,” Bloemendaal said.
The other two co-directors, Meier and Allen, are both seniors this year and are experienced with O-Staff. Meier is a secondary English education major from Alpena, Mich., and Sarah Allen is a nursing major from Bettendorf, Iowa. They both have served on O-Staff for the last three years.
Meier explained that it was the people at the recruitment table outside the cafeteria that convinced her at the end of her freshman year to participate the following fall. Meier decided to participate because she wanted to welcome people to campus and show them the great experience that is possible throughout their four years.
Allen decided to join O-Staff because of the positive experience she had her freshman year during orientation weekend. Her goal was to help new students have a great first taste of NW.
Bloemendaal is a junior elementary education major from Edgerton, Minn. She too had a very positive experience with O-Staff as a freshman and wanted to share that experience and help freshmen have a smooth transition to college life. This was Bloemendaal’s second year serving on O-Staff.
If students are looking for a way to get involved on campus and to meet new people, the O-Staff co-directors said O-Staff would be a great fit. All three women described O-Staff as a great opportunity to meet new people they would not have met otherwise. They explained that the group really becomes like a small family during the week of orientation, and being together is what makes participating one of the best parts.
“I’m always reminded of what I love about NW during orientation weekend, and it’s really the people that make up this place,” Meier said.