As CMU students, we all remember orientation as one of the craziest, most intimidating, fun weeks of our lives. We also remember it as the last week of sanity before diving into our ridiculous CMU workloads. You might also remember those crazy orientation counselors dancing around and yelling all the time, looking like they were having the most fun week of their lives. It takes a lot of work to organize the 130 OC’s and make sure that the entire week’s events go off without a hitch, and that is the responsibility of the 7 Head Orientation Counselors (HOC’s). Planning begins at the beginning of the spring semester and continues over the course of the summer. Christina Brant is a third year Architecture major with an additional major in Business Administration who served as an HOC for the Hill this year.
Christina first got involved with orientation because she wanted to help freshmen adjust to their new lives in college. Christina said, “Going to college can be a scary experience and I wanted to help freshmen feel safe, get comfortable in their new home, and feel like a part of the CMU community. I wanted to share my love of the school with the freshmen and inspire them to follow their passions.” She started off as an Orientation Counselor (OC) and later became an Orientation Leader (OL). She then decided to follow her passion and become an HOC so that she could share new ideas and make a greater impact on the freshmen.
Christina’s love for orientation has changed over the years of her involvement. As a freshman, her favorite events were the high energy Playfair and House Wars, but now she loves Community Collage. She enjoys seeing the diversity and passion of CMU in the talents of her fellow students. Christina said, “After being a part of the CMU community for almost 3 years and experiencing Orientation as a freshman, OC, and OL, I realized that my love for CMU originated from the diversity and passion on our campus. After every performance I have a new appreciation for the passions of my peers.”
There is a definite sense of camaraderie and respect among the 7 HOC’s. They all have the same passion for what they do, and they became good friends while planning this year’s orientation. Christina said, “Working with the amazing Orientation staff has been my favorite part of being an HOC so far. Anne Witchner, the Director of Orientation, is truly a remarkable woman and a wonderful mentor. I really look forward to our weekly orientation meetings. Spending time with the other HOCs has been unforgettable, and they are all so talented. I really feel special spending time with such a funny, sweet, and incredible group. Being around people who are also extremely passionate about orientation is inspiring and I think that we all being out the best in each other.” She is especially close with her fellow HOC for the Hill, Matt. They have been friends since freshman year. Christina said, “Being a part of CMU Orientation as an HOC was a life changing experience for me. I learned so much about others and myself from being involved in orientation and it allowed me to grow in so many aspects of my life.”
Now that classes have begun and the fun of orientation is over, Christina reflects on her experience as an HOC. “I think that Orientation was absolutely incredible this year,” she said. “All of the HOCs had very forward-thinking ideas and as a group we were able to apply many of these ideas to parts of orientation. People have referred to our group of HOCs as psychotic overachievers and it is definitely true. I really believe the passion, ideas, teamwork, and craziness of the HOC staff this year allowed us to create an unforgettable week for the freshmen. I was the HOC responsible for planning and running Housewars and it would not have been nearly as successful without the help of the other HOCs and rest of the Orientation staff.” Christina further said that working with the OL’s and OC’s was very rewarding because she got to see their passion for helping the freshmen.
Christina is involved in many other activities on campus in addition to being an HOC. She is a member of the Varsity Tennis Team, the Honor Societies of Phi Kappa Phi and Rho Lambda, and is highly involved in Kappa Kappa Gamma, serving as the Event Chair this year. She was also a live-in mentor for Moorwood E-Tower, cofounder and VP of mentorship for CMU’s chapter of AIAS (American Institute of Architecture Students), and serves on the Student Advisory Counsel (SAC) for Architecture. Christina is involved in so much, and I am proud to call this amazing woman my sorority sister and CMU peer.