UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State’s New Student Orientation Team, or OTeam, is actively seeking undergraduate students interested in facilitating the Class of 2021’s transition into the Penn State community.
Twenty orientation leaders and three student programming specialists will be selected to spearhead New Student Orientation (NSO). The program, consisting of two-day sessions held from May through August, is aimed at providing resources to first-year students as they adjust academically and emotionally to the college environment.
Members of the OTeam will also assist in programming for change-of-campus, transfer, and international students.
Candidates should be personable, dedicated, motivated, and enthusiastic. Laura Flaim, NSO student staff coordinator and former orientation leader, said time management and organizational skills are imperative for successful OTeam members.
NSO student staff coordinator and former orientation leader Matthew Schaefer said undergraduates from all academic backgrounds are encouraged to apply at orientation.psu.edu/employment.
“We want people involved in everything and anything,” said Schaefer, a junior from Wilmington, North Carolina, studying broadcast journalism. “We don’t necessarily need a cookie-cutter student for this position. I think it’s important for new students to see that you don’t need to be a picture-perfect student.”
Students can attend information sessions either before or after submitting the application. The sessions will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 17, 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 20, and 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 26 in 131 HUB-Robeson Center.
Following the application deadline on Oct. 28, individual interviews will be conducted to finalize the OTeam.
Schaefer said he wouldn’t trade his “wonderful” time as an orientation leader “for the world.”
“You can feel that first-year students are more comfortable, and they’re ready for this experience,” Schaefer said. “Seeing students come out of their shells in those first few hours of NSO — it’s incomparable.”
Flaim agreed and said she will always remember what it felt like to make a difference in the lives of others.
“I’m a senior this year, so being able to share my experiences with these students was something I loved doing,” said Flaim, a Drums, Pennsylvania, native who is studying communication sciences and disorders.
The OTeam fosters the development of professional skills, making the program on par with an internship. By taking a credit-bearing course in the spring semester, orientation team members become adept in teamwork, public speaking, and group facilitation.
The program also allows for bonding and becoming “more than just co-workers” with fellow OTeamers, Schaefer said.
Members of the OTeam are expected to remain in the State College area between May 8 and Aug. 20, with the NSO hiatus taking place July 22 through Aug. 8.
For more information about New Student Orientation, visit orientation.psu.edu.
Student Orientation and Transition Programs is part of Penn State Student Affairs and Penn State Undergraduate Education. Undergraduate Education is the academic administrative unit that provides leadership and coordination for University-wide programs and initiatives in support of undergraduate teaching and learning at Penn State.