Daily Barometer: ‘Freshmen welcomed with abbreviated CONNECT week’Posted September 19th, 2012 by raskausn
[The Daily Barometer, Sept. 19, 2010] — If you’re a returning Oregon State University student, you may have noticed that campus was a bit quieter Monday than it usually is the week before classes begin each fall.
In past years, it was common to find wide-eyed freshman wandering the streets of Corvallis — locating the buildings they have classes in, searching for convenience stores to load up on junk food for their dorm room or hoping to stumble upon a late-night house party somewhere off campus — as early as eight days before fall quarter began.
But, in comparison to past OSU freshmen classes, this year’s crop of incoming freshmen had the beginning of its college experience delayed by a couple of days thanks to a shortened CONNECT week and the subsequent push back of move-in days into residence halls.
After years of freshmen enjoying a weeklong CONNECT week, this year’s CONNECT events will begin today and last just four days, and move-in day was switched from Sunday to the middle of the week.
Of the 4,290 students moving into residence halls this fall, come moved in yesterday while others are doing so today, depending on the residence hall they’re moving into.
The changes are a result of a two-year study conducted by the CONNECT Week Task Force, which was made up of 15 OSU faculty from various departments. The task force was asked to to evaluate the previous OSU orientation program and recommend changes.
The official report put together by the task force highlighted a number of concerns with the previous weeklong model, including:
- Stress on campus: Staff, faculty and student leaders are tapped out by the time classes begin.
- Unstructured time: New students experience large amounts of down time, and as a result, improper conduct can become an issue. It may also lead to students experiencing homesickness or wanting to go home for the rest of CONNECT week or the weekend before classes begin.
- A weeklong CONNECT can lead to unhealthy habits forming before classes start, such as lack of sleep, alcohol uses/abuse and poor time management.
The task force’s recommendations focused on shortening CONNECT — the weeklong model was longer than most other orientation schedules at schools across the Pac-12 — and making it more strongly tied to academics.
Leslee Mayers, assistant director of New Student Programs and Family Outreach, and a member of the task force, said the new structure has been well received across campus.
“We have really only heard positive things about the change,” Mayers said. “The campus seems excited to have the shortened schedule. To put on programming for eight days straight is very taxing on the OSU community.”
“A shortened CONNECT allows a more focused and shorter period of intensity for the staff and programming, which makes for better quality programming.”
Mayers said this year’s freshmen aren’t necessarily missing out on anything past freshmen classes got to experience with CONNECT.
“We decided to try and group certain topics together in a better effort to focus students throughout CONNECT,” Mayers said. “Events don’t necessarily get eliminated, but they may have moved to another time in the year or they were combined to make a bigger, stronger event.”
While the task force didn’t have jurisdiction over what day or days freshmen can move into residence halls, University Housing & Dining Services accepted the task force’s recommendation on having move-in day center around the beginning of CONNECT week.
“If freshmen continued to move-in on Sunday, there would be a lot of lag time before CONNECT week started,” said Brian Stroup, assistant director of Operations and Facilities at UHDS. “We chose to stagger the move-in days [Tuesday and Wednesday] because it’s a good way to eliminate lines and frustration and ease the flow of students.”
Another benefit of having students move in on a weekday is that many campus resources aren’t open on weekends.
“We don’t want to have parents leaving with questions because certain resources weren’t open on move-in days,” said Ann Marie Klotz, associate director for Residential Education.
CONNECT events begin tonight with “It Starts Now,” an hour-long program beginning at 6 p.m. at LaSells Stewart Center that will prepare students for a variety of situations they may face during college. Freshmen are also highly encouraged to attend the New Student Picnic, scheduled for 5 p.m. tomorrow in the Memorial Union Quad. A ticket, which can be purchased for $7 at one of the on-campus dining centers is required to get into the picnic.
Read the full article by Grady Garrett, The Daily Barometer.