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Creating a Sense of Home

UMD Students in Transition Orientation Team
July 11, 2018

Student interns craft a new orientation program to better welcome students to UMD.

The program for incoming students at UMD changed this year from advisement and registration to orientation. Student interns Harmony Clarke and Asher Carlson spent nine months preparing this new program. Their goal was to welcome students and show them how to make you the University of Minnesota Duluth their home.

In the past, much of the program was dedicated just to registering for classes.

UMD Orientation Team Leaders
Students in Transition interns Harmony Clarke and Asher Carlson.

“We wanted to make a bigger push to welcome students,” said Clarke. “This day isn’t just about picking classes. It’s about finding out what college is going to be like for them.”

Together, Carlson and Clarke created a mission statement: In everything we do, we believe in creating a sense of purpose and helping each other find our home at UMD. We do this by engaging in a community of diversity, collaboration, and empowerment.

In addition to Carlson and Clarke, there are about 30 student orientation leaders that guide students through their day. The orientation leaders bring the students to different activities as well as guide them when registering for classes.

"The orientation leaders make sure students are comfortable with their schedule,” said Carlson. "They truly make the program what it is. They work with the new students every minute of the day to make them feel that sense of home. They act as their mentor and as their first friend in college. We love them so much."

During the orientation program students get their student ID and register for classes as well as attend presentations on housing, academics, and diversity and inclusion.

Clarke is a Management Information Systems major with a philosophy minor. Carlson is double majoring in Communication and Cultural Entrepreneurship. They both are set to graduate this fall.

Carlson and Clarke work with program coordinator Emily Borra to make orientation run smoothly.

"Having the chance to work with Emily has been amazing." Says Clarke. "She's a great mentor. She purposefully challenges us to go outside our comfort zones."

Orientation is just one part of the welcome journey at UMD. New students will participate in Bulldog Welcome Week following move in in August and also take Freshman Seminar, a class aimed to help new students adjust to college during their first semesters.

The process of starting college is daunting so the goal of the orientation program is to help new students in all areas of this transition.

“We designed the orientation leaders’ shirts with the word 'Home' for a reason.” Clarke said, “We want students to leave orientation feeling ready to start college.”