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8 Reasons Being an Orientation Leader Rocks

Want to apply to be an Orientation Leader? We asked three Chatham women what it’s really like to be an OL and why you should give it a try.


1. Make Dozens of New Friends

“Many forget that with each upcoming year there is a possibility for 200 new friendships,” says Taylor Gombar. “Friendships are even built within your team. My cohort shared van rides, Bridesmaid movie quotes, and even group naps. Orientation can be tiresome, undoubtedly. Yet, your team of charismatic women keeps your spirit high.”


2. Learn How to Be a Role Model

“Being an OL is an immensely rewarding position, as you truly do have the chance to provide the most enthusiastic and welcoming introduction to the Chatham community,” says Jenny Schollaert. “During my first year orientation, my OLs provided the perfect example of what I hoped to gain from my time at Chatham, and to be able to work alongside these role model OLs the next year as an OL myself was quite the treat!”


3. Make Orientation Your Own

“Student Affairs gives Orientation Leaders a lot of flexibility in the planning process, especially with doing the previews of Song Contest and BOTC,” says Rosemary Davies. You’ll also get the opportunity to try teaching. “We are divided into pairs that help start the SDE (Strategies for Success in College) or programming for transfer/gateway students,” says Rosemary. “Personally, I worked with Gateway students and found it exceptionally rewarding; my mother finished college as a Gateway student when both my sister and I were toddlers. Gateway students offer a lot of perspective. It was nice to hear their thoughts, concerns, and expectations – especially with their already worldly wisdom.”


4. Get a Workout

“On a lighter note, I lost at least two pounds after performing our two university dances, Battle of the Classes skit, and providing numerous campus tours,” says Taylor. “You will truly discover your inner strength after carrying four mini fridges up the Fickes steps.”


5. Boost Your Communication Skills

“To sum it up, being an Orientation Leader was about being a ‘Master of Communication,’ says Rosemary. “You have to learn how to problem-solve and resolve conflicts with everybody. Because everybody is different, it is difficult. You might have disagreements with an overtly extroverted team member. Or, you might find an overpowering silence with one group. And, maybe, you find it impossible to find any words at all. I have found that having one approach is ineffective, and empathy as a good start to each solution instead.”


6.  Bond with Your Sisters During Training

“Another great experience as an OL is the bonding time spent with fellow OLs during the two-week training period,” says Jenny. “Not only do you miss the crowds moving in (score!), but you get the campus to yourselves for two weeks and bond over flyers, dance practices, schedule overviews, and Chipotle comas. I had an absolute blast during my OL training weeks, as I got the chance to improve my nonexistent dance moves! I also learned how to boil water and cook pasta during OL sister class cooking time at Eden Hall, which is quite an invaluable skill!”


7. Rediscover Chatham

“Its like re-experiencing your first few weeks at Chatham,” says Rosemary. “There’s the same sense of novelty as when you first stepped on campus. But, instead of being the one led, you are the leader.”


8. Welcome New Students Home

“It’s an honor to provide First-Years with academic direction and friendship in their critical two weeks of ‘newly found freedom,'” says Taylor. “Chatham University provides a unique support system unlike many large-scale academic colleges. As an Orientation Leader I am able to express that connection to incoming students, revealing their family and professional connections within their second home.” Adds Jenny, “The absolute best part of being an Orientation Leader is the opportunity to connect with the first years as soon as they arrive on campus! We are the first people you meet, the ones to welcome you to a new chapter of your life! That, to me, is such a wonderful chance to offer help, advice, and motivation to the newest class of Chatham sisters!”


Ready to apply? Applications are due Friday, January 17 by 5pm. Submit applications to the Office of Residence Life or to reslife@chatham.edu.


Photos Courtesy Of…

(1) Jenny Schollaert, (2) Taylor Gombar, (3) Jenny Schollaert, (4) Taylor Gombar, (5) Rosemary Davies, (6) Taylor Gombar, (7) Taylor Gombar, (8) Jenny Schollaert, (9) Jenny Schollaert

  Mara Flanagan is entering her seventh semester as a Chapter Advisor. After founding the Chatham University Her Campus chapter in November 2011, she served as Campus Correspondent until graduation in 2015. Mara works as a freelance social media consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She interned in incident command software publicity at ADASHI Systems, gamification at Evive Station, iQ Kids Radio in WQED’s Education Department, PR at Markowitz Communications, writing at WQED-FM, and marketing and product development at Bossa Nova Robotics. She loves jazz, filmmaking and circus arts.  
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