Orientation leaders to be paid

Neliana Ferraro

Orientation leaders will be paid $1,500 each to run activities and prepare admitted students beginning this summer, according to administrators. This decision to pay orientation leaders came after the university added an additional orientation session in June, according to Assistant Dean and Director of the Student Center Daniel Brown, who also runs the orientation leader program.

[media-credit name=”Photo courtesy Angelique Fiske” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]The money for the new salaries will be supplemented through the orientation budget, according to Brown.

“We should be paid for what we do because it is very time consuming,” sophomore orientation leader Cierra Ponzo said. “You have to be very organized, be very on top of everything and it’s a big part of the university.”

However, fewer people will be accepted into the program because of the new orientation leader’s salaries. The number of people accepted in the past was flexible with 117 orientation leaders last year. Yet, only 80 students will be accepted into the program this year, according to sophomore orientation leader Tammy Nguyen. This will create even more competition for the fewer positions available.

Ponzo said it was understandable to cut the number of orientation leaders.

“For paying, it’s kind of like a lot to give that amount of people that amount of money,” Ponzo said.

In the past, there have been four orientation sessions overall, with three in June and one in August. This year, there will be one more session added in June to accommodate a bigger freshmen class, according to Brown. The sessions will also take place during the week.

These changes would require orientation leaders to stay at the university for three weeks in June and one week in August. In June, one week would be dedicated to training. The four orientation sessions in June would take place over two weeks, according to Mr. Brown.

“The level of commitment we’re asking of them is a lot different this year,” Brown said. “When the opportunity was provided to be able to compensate them you know why not try to do that?”

Incoming freshmen students will have the same quality of program and the same amount of food as past years. The orientation sessions will be more centered on academics and introducing freshmen to college learning.

“Coming in, I was just excited to become an orientation leader ever since I came onto campus,” Nguyen said. “I knew I wouldn’t be paid. [But] I’m afraid that more people would want to apply because they are getting compensated.”

Nguyen said the process of becoming an orientation leader “is a fair playing field now. It’s anybody’s game.”

Brown said they are still looking for the same type of people for the job. Some of the main qualities they are looking for is someone with active campus involvement who can promote the university well and help freshmen transition into college life. There have been three information sessions for returning orientation leaders and five sessions for people interested in being first-time OLs.

Freshman Marcella Rose said she thought paying orientation leaders was a great idea.

“They put so much hard work into what they do, so they deserve something in return,” Rose said. “They made me feel at home when I came for orientation.”

“Of course people could apply for the wrong reasons,” Rose said, “but, then again, not everyone gets to be an OL and the process is pretty extensive.”