In 2018, AIC replaced its former two-day overnight summer orientation model with a new student orientation (NSO) model, offering one-day business orientations—called Summer Summit Days—throughout the summer in addition to a full weekend of programming for first-year students at the beginning of the fall semester. Beginning with freshman move-in, NSO programming runs through the weekend before the start of fall classes.
Programming is led by Student Life and staffed by returning students, called orientation leaders (OLs). New students are grouped according to their first-year APEX classes and guided by OLs through fun and educational events—such as group meals, workshops, and a field day—that introduce students to the resources available in- and outside of the classroom to help them acclimate to life on campus and succeed at the college level.
Jemelia Delice, a sophomore sports and recreation management major, says she became an OL because, during her own first-year orientation, she “was the quiet, shy kid who really didn’t say much the whole weekend,” which “set the tone for” her entire freshman year. Becoming an OL, she adds, “was one of the best decisions that I have made [and] has pushed me to be more involved on campus and take on leadership roles.”
“I was able to experience the former overnight model of orientation my freshman year, and the switch has definitely made necessary improvements to the program,” says junior political science major Mariah Mauke, the lead OL for summer 2020. “One of the more impactful aspects of the change is that the new model of NSO integrates more social, fun events, creating the peer-to-peer connections that are vital to having a great college experience. The new model assists students in creating a feeling of belonging right away at AIC.”
NSO has already boosted student engagement, which has led to record numbers of programming and program attendance across the co-curricular experience. “We are excited to continue building on this momentum,” says Alex Cross, associate dean of students.