O-Staff helps make smooth transition for students

By Tara DeLorenzo

Orientation can be intimidating at first, but with the help of the Orientation staff, also known as the O-Staff, it instead becomes a time of games and teams, where the staff works to encourage openness and new relationships between students. With the help from this staff, incoming students are able to embrace the journey of their first-year experience.

The Orientation Staff serves as a proud part of Rider tradition in welcoming all incoming students since 1994.

This year’s O-Staff has 12 members. The two members from Westminster Choir College are senior music education major Edgar Mariano and senior voice performance major Teresa Bonilla. The Lawrenceville members consist of: sophomore musical theater major Kailee Graham, sophomore public relations major Ryan Brennan, junior sociology major Liz Huang, junior sociology major Courtney Agyeman, junior sociology major Alison Knepple, junior geoscience major Steven Schwartz, junior global supply chain management major Chloe Bradshaw, junior biology major Madison Rittley, junior psychology major Jessica Marino, and senior elementary education and integrated math and science major Eric Cottrell.

“The O-Staff is a group of students who are committed to making the new students’ transition to Rider easy,” said Associate Dean of Freshmen Ira Mayo. “We all work so closely over the summer that we become like family. They are the people who really make the new students feel that their decision to attend Rider was the right one.”

To get the students to open up, icebreaker games are played. One such activity, called the Animal Name game, involves each student to announcing his or her name and an animal that starts with the same letter to create associates. It proved to be very beneficial for the incoming students, according to Huang.

“It really helps the incoming students learn each other’s names and always results in the students laughing, as they end up calling each other by their animal names,” she said.

Some of the freshmen were eager to start the new semester thanks to the aid of the O-Staff.

“They answered all of the questions we had. I didn’t even know where Poyda was before talking to them,” said Christen Biondolillo, freshman elementary education and history major.

Other freshmen enjoyed the having the interpersonal exposure that you cannot get from a brochure.

“It helped having face-to-face conversation with upperclassmen,” said Cipriana Costello, freshman entrepreneurial studies major. “They know things that only students know, so I think that was nice having their experience.”

Printed in the 9/4/13 edition.

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