PROFILE: Student Orientation Leader Welcomes New Students

Danny Calhoun remembers when he first arrived at UC two years ago, pulling up in a cab after taking a flight from his home in Chicago. The pre-business major and walk-on tight end for the UC football squad had never been to Cincinnati before, and the first people he saw were the Student Orientation Leaders who were waiting to greet him at Siddall Hall.

The welcome meant so much to him that Danny is taking on the job of Student Orientation Leader (or SOL, as they’re called) this summer, guiding thousands of new UC students through their two-day introduction to the university. He’s one of 28 SOLs that were selected to lead discussion groups of parents and students, organize and lead orientation programs and activities, and guide campus tours so that new students can find their classrooms this fall.

Becoming an SOL is a highly selective process. Students need to demonstrate good academic standing, leadership abilities, and must make the commitment to participate in team meetings and training, summer orientation and Welcome Week in the fall. The job is an extension of the many leadership roles Danny has held on campus, including Resident Advisor, supervisor at the DAAP woodshop, and host of UC programs and a host for high school football recruits.

Danny Calhoun

Danny Calhoun

As an out-of-state student who was once unfamiliar with both the campus and the city, Danny says he feels his experience can help ease new students’ concerns about living and learning in an entirely new environment. “I’d wonder how to get from place to place and I’d wonder how living would be when I’m away from my family and friends, especially my little sister.”

“My biggest problem when I first got here was learning how to get around a new area. Asking simple questions to the SOLs, like getting directions, really helped me out a lot.”

Danny also found a new, close-knit UC family by living in the residence halls. He worked as an RA in Turner Hall, which just opened last fall. “I think the on-campus community is really close. You find that you have your family back home, and you have a big family here on campus, because we go to classes together, study together and live  together.”

He also says his orientation experience was very helpful, and feels the SOLs played a very important role in that experience. “Even now, I keep in touch with a couple of the SOLs. They may not remember your name, but they remember your face and they remember you, even though they’re guiding a lot of kids through orientation.”

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