Meet TU’s Orientation Leaders

By Kyle Hobstetter on June 27, 2018

Get to know some of the students who introduce incoming freshmen and transfer students to Towson University.

While most think Towson University is quiet during the summer, there are hundreds of new students taking their first steps onto TU’s campus.

For 20 days over two months, New Student and Families Programs hosts New Student Orientation — a one-day program to prepare incoming Tigers for their future at TU. And to help lead the way, TU uses the help of 59 returning students known as Orientation Leaders.

Orientation Leaders are current students who drive the orientation process for the almost 5,000 students and over 3,000 family members that visit campus during the summer. They also serve as that first interaction many new students have with the Towson University community.

The Towson University Newsroom sat down with four orientation leaders and two former orientation leaders, who are now student directors, to find out about their New Student Orientation experience.

Jana Sierocinski

Orientation Leader | Junior, English major | From Bel Air, Md.

Why did you become an Orientation Leader?
I became an Orientation Leader because I came to Towson really hesitant about my experience. I wasn’t sure it was for me, but I kind of opened my mind up a little bit. I got involved with the marching band, I got to go to a leadership conference and I served as a Presidential Ambassador. So many experiences were opened up to me because I was willing to let TU in, and I want other students to get that opportunity to feel what TU can do for them.

What’s it like being one of the first to interact with new students?  
It’s one of the most exciting things in the world. Getting people to smile — being that weird person dancing on the sidewalk and getting them excited about what could be is just really awesome, because there is so much potential in each student and I get to show them they have that potential.

What’s your favorite thing to share about TU with new students?  
I love showing the University Union because it’s the social hub of campus, and it’s the heart of the university. It’s where clubs meet, it’s where students gather to do homework, to have events and there are a lot of different campus partners who are there. It’s  just really exciting that they can have so many great things happen in one building.

What is your favorite part of New Student Orientation?
My favorite part of Orientation is just talking with the students about where they’re coming from and what they hope to get out of Towson. It’s really exciting to hear what they want for TU and see where our institution is going.

Orientation Leader John Jones
Orientation Leader John Jones has spent two years working at New Student Orientation. 

John Jones

Orientation Leader | Junior, Biology major | From Salisbury, Md.

This is your second year as an Orientation Leader. Why did you come back?
I enjoyed Orientation because of all the students, and I came back because of the students! I made such great relationships, I really enjoyed my time with the students and I had a lot of fun.

What do new students need to know before coming to Orientation?
New students should check out the orientation to-do list! We have it on our orientation website. Also come prepared to get out of your comfort zone because there is going to be a lot of new experiences.

What’s your favorite thing to share about TU with new students?  
As a science major, I just love to brag about Smith Hall! It has a greenhouse, it has a planetarium that does monthly showings, the professors there are very accommodating for being one of the more harder colleges, and even though it’s old, it’s got like that old charm!

What’s a “hidden gem” on TU’s campus?
A hidden gem on TU’s campus is the Watson-King Planetarium. Every time I mention it, nobody knows what I’m talking about. So, it’s really cool to say ‘Hey, here’s a way you can learn about astronomy in a very easy to understand manner.’

Students walk around campus as part of New Student Orientation
Kaitlyn Morton, shown leading an orientation group around campus, has decided to go into higher education after her experiences at New Student Orientation. 

Kaitlyn Morton

Orientation Leader | Senior, Cell and Molecular Biology major 

Why did you become an Orientation Leader?
I became an Orientation Leader because I really have had a great experience at TU, and I loved the opportunity to get to share my love for the institution with incoming students and families. I really want to share that excitement with them, and have them really excited to spend their next couple of years here.

What is your favorite part of being an Orientation Leader?
My favorite part about being orientation leader is the personal interaction you get to have with students. I really love when I see a student a year later, after I was their Orientation Leader, and I see them on campus and I see how well they’re doing. Now I know after being an Orientation Leader, this is what I want to do with the rest of my life. Now I know I’m going to get my master’s degree in higher education. That’s all because of the experience I had at TU.

What’s it like being one of the first to interact with new students? 
Getting to be one of the first people that welcomes students to TU is really exciting. I love getting to represent the university, because I love it so much. I’ve had so many great experiences here, and I love to get the opportunity to share that with them.

What advice do you have for incoming students?
My advice for incoming students is to definitely be yourself and not be afraid to get involved. Because no matter who you are, you’re going to find your place where you fit in. So be yourself, don’t be afraid to try new things, and you’ll find your place here for sure.

Orientation Leaders
Freshmen head out to see campus during a New Student Orientation session in West Village Commons.

Jessica Anderson

Orientation Leader | Junior, Family Science major | From Pikesville, Md.

What’s your favorite part about being an Orientation Leader?
My favorite part about being an Orientation Leader is that I get to meet over 3,000 people all at once. It really helps me get connected with more people.

What’s it like interacting with new students and their families?  
To be the first person that family members and students get to meet on their first day, it’s kind of nerve-wracking because you want to give them that great first impression of you. But they’re already so psyched to be here, that you just have to be yourself and they just love it.

What do new students need to know before coming to Orientation?
They need to know they should come into Orientation with an open mind, and be ready to have fun. You’re going to leave with a friend by the end of the day. Definitely do that to-do list, because it will make the rest of your orientation day go so much smoother, and it’s going to be a lot easier transition from being ‘Yay, I got into Towson’ to ‘Oh my god college is real.’

Advice for incoming students?
My advice is to talk to professors and to get involved! My first semester, I did not communicate with my professors. and I did not get involved at all — and I wasn’t the happiest. But the moment I started joining clubs — like movie club, and I played Frisbee and I joined a Greek Organization — my Towson experience has tripled in amazingness since my first year, and I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.

New Student Orientation group posing at Tiger
One of the final stops of New Student Orientation is at the tiger statue near Burdick Hall, where students pose for group photos. 

Moises Marin

Student Director | Senior, Economics major | From Frederick Co., Md.

What was your favorite part of being an Orientation Leader?
My favorite part of being an Orientation Leader was just meeting the students, meeting the family members, and just everyone on the orientation team. They get you so hype and they’re just so awesome because they want you to succeed.

What are your responsibilities as a student director?
Overall I help guide and train the Orientation leaders so they’re prepared for the incoming students. I also help prep them for the families, because families are a big part of the TU community.

Why did you want to stay involved with Orientation?
I love this so much. I love the people, I love the professional staff, I love the Orientation Leaders — they’re the ones that really make the orientation program great — and the students as well. They are so much fun to get to know and to work with. Getting them introduced to campus, and the Towson University culture, it’s just so much fun.

What is the hardest part of Orientation?
That first introduction to the students and families! Hyping them up and getting them excited to come to Towson is difficult, but it also helps because everyone on the Orientation Staff is doing the same thing. It’s one of the hardest things because you want to be that excited person, but it’s also one of the easiest things because we have that support from everywhere else.

Orientation Leaders lead new students in singing the TU Fight Song
One the most energetic moments of New Student Orientation is when the Orientation Leaders lead new students in singing the Towson University fight song. 

Amjad Wakil

Student Director | Junior, Mass Comm major | From Baltimore Co., Md.

Favorite part of being an Orientation Leader?
My favorite part of being an Orientation Leader is coming across those students who are  both nervous and excited about coming to TU, and they just need that final little push. I just want to be there to tell them that I was the same way coming in, but I made it, so can you can too.

Why did you transition from an Orientation Leader to a Student Director?
I wanted to stay involved with Orientation because I had so much fun the summer before. I loved getting to have an impact on all these different students coming in, and getting to help them with their needs. So, becoming a Student Director was naturally the next step to get more involved. Now I’m more behind the scenes, but I still get to support the students.

What do students need to know before coming to Orientation?
New students need to know that they should bring the energy before they come to orientation. It’s going to be a day full of information, but it’s all helpful information that’s going to help them here at TU. So, having that energy and just being pumped and excited for college, that’s what’s going to make it a great day.

What’s your favorite thing to share about TU with new students?  
My favorite part of campus to show off is International Walkway outside the Liberal Arts Building. It a perfect representation of the diversity here at TU because they have all the flags of different students here. And then it’s just so pretty, I just like walking past it and being in the building.

Learn more about First Year Student Orientation, or learn more about how you can be Orientation Leader next summer.