Her Campus Profile: Orientation Coordinators James Richardson and Suzie Zubkoff

What made you want to be an OC/AOC?

James (OC): Being an OA was my absolute favorite experience on campus. The process was amazing and I wanted nothing more than to continue being involved with it.  In a way, that inspired my decision to apply to be the AOC last year, eventually becoming the OC this year.  In addition, I enjoy seeing the positive impact Orientation can have on first-years. I know that if I hadn’t had an amazing OA when I was a new student, my experience would have been very different.  Being able to help train the new OAs, so that every first year can say that they had a great OA, makes me so happy.

Suzie (AOC): I loved being an Orientation Assistant so much that I wanted to be a part of the program for the next two years! It is amazing seeing the impact the Orientation staff has on Bucknell’s first year students, and I love being involved in such a special program.

Can you give us an idea of the planning timeline for orientation? When do you have to start?

James and Suzie: As soon as Orientation is over, we go through the process of hiring an Assistant Orientation Coordinator (AOC). About a month and a half later, we hire the Orientation Leaders (OLs). During the school year, our boss Beth, the OC, and the AOC meet on Monday nights with the OLs for training. In late February, we interview and hire our OAs. Throughout the spring semester, we have several bonding and teaching events for the OAs. Over the summer, both the OC and AOC work with Beth to finish planning the logistics of Orientation. And then, Orientation happens – it really is a year long process.

What is this year’s Orientation theme? How does this theme play into Orientation itself?

James and Suzie: This year’s Orientation theme is “Orientation: On Tour.” The theme doesn't actually affect the first-years’ experience at all. Once Orientation starts, we don't have a theme; it is primarily used for OA training. Having a theme allows us to get creative with training, and to make it a more fun experience for the OAs!

What is your favorite Orientation event and why?

James: My favorite event is the Maura Cullen diversity talk, and the discussion that each hall has afterwards. There is something about that experience every year that reminds me of how great and open minded this university can be.

Suzie: Color games! This event is so fun and so silly and really brings the O-Fam together.

What do you like most about Orientation?

Suzie: The Orientation staff is one of the most diverse and amazing groups of people on campus. It is so rare to be in a room full of over 100 people and feel like you can talk to each and every one of them like you’ve known them for years. They are such special people and I am so proud to be a part of this group.

James: I’d have to say being able to meet and bond with 100+ other awesome people that you may not have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. Tied with that is the wonderful campus environment that Orientation creates for first-years – it’s something that I would love to see extend through the rest of the year.

Any advice for someone considering applying to be an OA?

James: Be yourself.  We have a lot of applicants, and the ones that stand out to us are the ones that are original and not afraid to be a little goofy!

Suzie: You don’t have to be an extrovert and super outgoing! First-year students respond to all types of people, so even if you’re a little shy, apply anyway! It is such a fantastic experience that I think everyone at Bucknell should consider doing.

Fast facts:

Favorite place on campus?

James: Beth’s office (room 306 in the LC) – I basically live there now.

Suzie: The student space/the LC – I spend all of my time there.

#1 item on your Bucknell bucket list?

Suzie: Float down the Susquehanna.

James: Watch rugby win a national championship (and what Suzie said!)

Purple Cow or the Freez?

James: FREEZ!!!!

Suzie: The Freez!! I don’t even know what Purple Cow is.