Summer Job at UC Requires Intensive Training for Student Workers
Alexandra Bailey is one of 30 Student Orientation Leaders guiding new students through their Bearcat Bound Summer Orientation.
Date: 6/25/2007Orientation Web site
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Andrew Higley
Orientation Phone Number: 513-556-2486
Orientation e-mail: email@example.com
Just as finals came to an end, another challenge was becoming even more intense for Alexandra Bailey of Batavia. That challenge involved eight straight days of intensive preparation that included morning workouts with the ROTC Air Force and a six-hour trip in a van to a retreat in Georgetown, Pa. It was all a part of her own orientation to her summer job as one of 30 University of Cincinnati Student Orientation Leaders (SOLs) who will be working with thousands of new students during their two-day Bearcat Bound Orientation June 21 through Aug, 2.
UC’s Bearcat Bound Orientation is a program for new students and their parents as they learn about the transition to college life. This includes small-group sessions led by the SOLs that encourage discussion about what it’s like to be a UC student. To prepare for their job, the SOLs began five consecutive Saturdays of training in May, followed by eight days of workshops on campus and at a retreat in Pennsylvania June 14-18 as they prepared to greet the first group of new students coming through Orientation on June 21.
“It’s not for the faint of heart,” says Sarah Leggesse, director of Orientation Services, as she refers to the SOL training program. “We train both mind and body,” she adds, referring to the workouts with the ROTC Air Force program.
Speaking of a full-body workout, on their retreat, the SOLs stayed at Raccoon State National Park where they underwent teamwork exercises that included a high ropes course, rock-climbing and even rappelling at another nearby park. That teamwork will support them as they guide thousands of parents and students on campus tours and to their orientation sessions at different locations on campus.
On their return to Cincinnati on June 18, the SOLs headed back to campus for three more days of workshops right up to the start of Orientation on June 21. Bailey, a graduate of McNicholas High School, decided that becoming a SOL was the ultimate summer job, after she met the SOLs as part of her own new-student orientation last summer.
“I remember walking into the Great Hall last summer and seeing all of the SOLs standing there and clapping for us,” she says. “It really gave me a boost. I could tell that they wanted me to be here, and I’ve been happy about choosing UC ever since.”
Bailey entered UC as an undecided major (which is the most popular major for first-year students) but says after a year on campus and exploring UC’s academic programs, she’s interested in majoring in communication. As a SOL, she says she also wants to encourage new students to do something that she was hesitant to do. “I wanted to make sure I was on top of my school work before I got involved on campus. My advice to new students is to get involved. You have to make your college experience your own experience. That’s another reason why I wanted to become an SOL, so that I could be involved.”
During orientation, Bailey and the other SOLs will stay in Calhoun Hall along with the new students from out of town who spend the night on campus as part of the two-day orientation.
Once Bearcat Bound Orientation comes to an end, it won’t be the end of Bailey’s summer job. She’ll be back to greet the new students during Welcome Week Sept. 16-23, which begins with Convocation, UC’s traditional ceremonial freshman welcome to the university, on Sept. 16.