May 26, 2011

Record participation expected for orientation in June

by Anne Krapfl

Projected high enrollments this fall mean at-capacity groups at summer orientation, which gets under way next week. An estimated 4,800 first-year students will participate in one of 17 orientation sessions June 2-29 to get a jump-start on their college experience. Last summer, about 4,300 would-be freshmen attended orientation.

One-day orientation sessions for transfer students are scheduled for June 1 and 29.

"The number of students who are still shopping for their school seems to grow a little every year," said Liz Kurt, director of New Student Programs. "We see students who are attending multiple orientations, some even using the experience as a first visit to campus.

"They come with lots of questions, so a positive experience and great customer service are really important."

Register for classes, get ID, check out the food

During a jam-packed day and a half, students will meet their academic advisers and register for fall classes, get their ISU email accounts and ID cards, learn some specifics about their home college and generally begin to acclimate to campus and some of the academic support and social resources available to them.

There are opportunities to meet with a financial aid adviser, complete an English placement test (chemistry and math assessments have gone online) and take tours of the library, residence halls or Greek housing network. They'll learn the fight song, what a learning community can offer them, good campus spots for a cup of joe and how their laptop will network with the campus IT system.

Orientation will be headquartered on the east side of campus, with check-in at the Hixson Lied Student Success Center and overnight accommodations in Maple Hall. The evening meal will be offered in the Union Drive Community Center's Marketplace; breakfast will be in Seasons at the Maple Willow Larch Commons. Workshops, activities and tours will be spread across central campus.

Cy's sibs

The orientation team added an optional workshop this year, "Cy's Sibs," an introduction to the university designed for the sixth- through ninth-grade brothers and sisters of incoming freshmen. The siblings take part in a scavenger hunt that teaches them about ISU history and traditions, bowl and play arcade games in the MU Underground, work on a few projects in the MU Workspace, write a letter to their college sibling and walk through their own "graduation" ceremony.

Kurt said about 125 siblings are registered so far for the workshop.

Other campus visitors

If you like to know who else is visiting campus over the summer, here's a short list of some of the larger groups:

  • Iowa Special Olympics, Summer Games, May 26-28. An estimated 3,000 athletes from across the state will compete, accompanied by more than 1,200 coaches and chaperones. The annual event also draws about 2,000 volunteers. Most events are in the Lied Center, Forker Building and Beyer Hall, and opening ceremonies are at Hilton (Thurday, May 26, 7 p.m.). Outdoor events are planned at the Iowa State Center parking lots, Forker tennis courts, ISU soccer complex and RCA courtyard.
  • Annual meeting of the Iowa Conference of the United Church of Christ, Thursday-Saturday, June 9-11. About 250 participants are expected, and about a third of them will stay in Larch Hall. Events are in the Scheman Building.
  • American Volkssport Association, Thursday, June 23. Des Moines is the site for the association's biennial convention (June 18-26). As many as 750 attendees will be transported to Ames for a morning 5K/10K walk across central campus.
  • Iowa 4-H Youth Conference, Tuesday-Thursday, June 28-30, nearly 1,000 teenagers (those who have completed 9th through 12th grades) from all over the state converge on campus for workshops, motivational speakers, mixers, dances, a banquet and a morning of community service work in Story or Boone counties. They'll live in the Richardson Court residence halls and use campus buildings for workshops and Stephens and Hilton for evening activities.
  • Iowa Games, 25th Anniversary Summer Games, events in Ames will be spread over two July weekends (July 15-17, July 23-24). An estimated 10,000 total visitors will be in Ames, including campus sites, either competing or watching competitions. Gymnast Shawn Johnson is the featured speaker at the opening ceremony July 15 at Jack Trice Stadium.
  • Shrine Bowl, Saturday, July 23, Jack Trice Stadium. Ninety-two high school senior football players, 62 cheerleaders and coaching staffs have been selected to participate in this annual awareness- and fund-raising event for the Shriners Children's Hospitals. Participants begin arriving on campus July 17. They stay and eat their meals in the Maple Willow Larch complex, and use the Lied Center and athletics department facilities.
  • Stead Leadership Seminar, Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, Thursday-Sunday, July 28-31. Approximately 600 undergraduate fraternity members from across the country will attend the event, which will focus on educational workshops, leadership training, structured team building and recreational activities. They'll stay in Larch and Linden Halls and use the dining center at Maple Willow Larch. Events will be at the Iowa State Center and the Memorial Union.
  • Iowa Straw Poll, Saturday, Aug. 13 (candidates debate tentatively scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 11, in Stephens), Hilton Coliseum. An unknown number of visitors and media representatives will descend on Ames for this Republican party tradition, held in years when there is no incumbent Republican president seeking re-election.