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Campus ready to make new students feel welcome

August 10, 2012
By cnp
Posted in Community Events

Clarksville, Ark. --- University of the Ozarks will help more than 180 new students get acclimated to college Aug. 16-20 as part of New Student Orientation as the Fall 2012 Semester gets underway.

Classes begin on Tuesday, Aug. 21, and the last day to register is Aug. 27.

The theme of this year’s New Student Orientation, presented by the Student Life Office, is "Ozarks POW! Unmask Your Potential." The superhero-based theme centers around unmasking the super student inside.

Dean of Residential and Campus Life Sherrie Arey said the orientation activities are just one way Ozarks helps students transition from high school to college.

"Students at Ozarks have exactly what the name says --- potential," she said. "In order to help each student unmask that potential, Ozarks provides the opportunity to get involved, to grow into an adult, to meet people, to learn, to succeed, to have the career you want, to develop new hobbies, to improve yourself as a person, and to have fun. The Student Life staff, faculty, and administrators team up to make this possible."

The goal of the campus is to make the new students feel welcome from the moment they drive on campus.

"The first thing we do is get them into their residence hall rooms," said Student Foundation Board (SFB) President Tom Riddle, a senior from Magazine, Ark. "The Student Foundation Board has people standing by when they arrive, and we flock to the incoming cars, taking their stuff and putting it in their rooms. We move it all in for them so they don’t have to move anything. There are 65 members of SFB, plus the resident assistants in both King and Smith halls, and student peer mentors who are all on hand to help new students set up their room and get settled for a fun and full orientation weekend."

One of the highlights of New Student Orientation is the President’s Picnic, hosted by University President Dr. Rick Niece and First Lady Sherée, on the evening of Aug. 16. On Friday, Aug. 17, students will begin the day with a welcome by SFB members during the official Orientation Opening. They will then move on to small group sessions with their Critical Inquiry (CI) classes. The CI course, taken by all incoming freshmen, focuses on developing the basic skills students will need to succeed academically at the college level. Each CI class has a few Peer Mentors, who are there to mentor and guide new freshmen during their first semester at Ozarks.

Another highlight of the weekend is the Matriculation Ceremony, scheduled for Friday evening, where the new students are officially welcomed to the campus.

On Saturday, while CI students meet in small group sessions, parents are invited to attend "University 101 for Parents," a series of humorous skits designed to show the typical foibles of new students and how Ozarks can help them over the rough spots. "We want to make parents feel absolutely comfortable with their son or daughter being here at Ozarks," said SFB Vice President of Student Life Abby Kern, a junior from Wichita, Kan. "We want it to be exciting and fun for everyone, parents and students alike," she said.

During the Class Activity and Picnic event Saturday afternoon, Student Leaders will welcome new students with a fun team-building activity. The activity is designed to get the students outside and show them some of the skills they need for college while having a great time. SFB members and CI Peer Mentors will be assisting with the activity. "These team building activities are meant for fun team building and to challenge each student," said Arey. "Like the superheroes of our childhood, students will face an array of challenges throughout life. Students will have the opportunity to learn skills necessary to overcome their own villains and triumph over their adversaries. And since at Ozarks no one has to fight alone, students will get the chance to work as a team throughout the day. Plus they have a whole lot of fun."
An Ozarks orientation favorite, hypnotist C.J. Johnson, will perform live Saturday night at 8 in the Walton Arts Center.

Following Sunday church services, some returning Ozarks students will perform a series of humorous skits on college life. Following dinner and the orientation closing ceremony, students are invited to attend a free movie night at Clarksville Cinema.

Monday, Aug. 20, is the final day of orientation. "We will show them how the campus computer system works, and how to use Moodle, the program the university uses for homework," says Riddle. "For students who know their major, there’s also a chance on Monday to visit with individual professors about their fields." He added that students without declared majors could also take advantage of these meetings.

More information about New Student Orientation can be found on