New students attend informational sessions about college life

New Student Orientation welcomes students to college life

For the 485 first-year students arriving at Oxford to begin the 2017-18 academic year, New Student Orientation is a five-day adventure that prepares them for Oxford and the college experience in general.

Welcome home—it’s the theme on signs student volunteers wave near the Oxford College campus entrance and so much more. Numerous staff and more than 80 student volunteers greet first-year students moving in the first day of New Student Orientation (NSO) on Friday, Aug. 18.

As welcome banners fly on the quad, new students walk across campus to attend information sessions and browse the resource fair. Between move-in and the start of classes on Wednesday, Aug. 23, students will get guidance for their college success that includes meeting with their advisers, testing, and class registration.

Right after the annual Coca-Cola Toast Friday afternoon celebrating the beginning of a new academic year, parents and family members will say good-bye. But first-year students will just be getting started with orientation planning that’s carefully organized by Oxford’s student involvement and leadership team.

New Student Orientation is essential to the success of first-year students and helping them adjust to college life, says Rhiannon Hubert, associate dean for campus life. Hubert, the director of student involvement and leadership who oversees NSO, works with her staff to plan plenty of fun activities and opportunities for Oxford’s newest students to meet their fellow classmates.

Veronica Roman, assistant director of student involvement and leadership, directs NSO logistics. Getting ready for the new class at Oxford takes months of detailed planning and communications to incoming students. This year, a new welcome web site for incoming students offered plenty of information before they arrived on campus.

Two groups of student leaders assist Roman and other Campus Life staff members during NSO. Peer Assistant Leaders—also called PALs—are sophomores who receive special training prior to NSO and act as co-facilitators. Each of them serve as a mentor and guide for a group of students during NSO and after orientation ends. 

WOW team members, student volunteers who perform a variety of tasks, also keep NSO moving smoothly. 

A printed guide keeps first-year students on track for all they must accomplish during the five days of orientation and keeps them informed about activities after classes start.

New students will be joined by returning sophomores when they move in on Tuesday, Aug. 22.

Some of the highlights of the week of orientation include:

Friday, August 18

  • Resource Fair
    Students and their families meet campus office representatives who share information about the opportunities they provide for incoming students throughout their academic careers at Oxford College.
  • Welcome to Oxford
    Students and their families are welcomed to Oxford and the city by Oxford Dean Douglas Hicks and Mayor of the City of Oxford Jerry Roseberry.
  • Coke Toast on the Quad
    At this treasured tradition, entering students and their families are joined by alumni, faculty, and staff in lifting a Coca-Cola in salute to the start of their Emory/Oxford undergraduate journey. 

Saturday, August 19

  • Information Sessions
    Students find out more about majors they are interested in and learn skills for making them successful at Oxford, both personally and academically.

Sunday, August 20

  • One Emory: Class Photo
    For the first time, entering students at Oxford College will be transported to Emory’s Atlanta campus to help Emory College students spell out “2021” for the traditional class photo. The class will be greeted by Emory President Claire E. Sterk, then proceed together to the quad for their photo.
  • Screen on the Green
    A time to relax before classes begin. Students enjoy the beautiful quad, watching a movie on a giant screen.

Monday, August 21

  • Academic Advising
  • The Great American Eclipse
    Check out Oxford’s partial view of the total solar eclipse from the Oxford Science Building. A limited number of solar eclipse glasses will be available (first come, first serve) for students interested in checking out this celestial phenomenon.
  • Chocolate, Sweets, and Other Treats
    Sponsored by the staff of the Oxford College Library, this dessert and goodies event also introduces students to the library and allows them to sign the Book of the College.
  • Oxford Olympics
    Another treasured Oxford tradition, the Oxford Olympics pit student PAL groups against each other in fun activities on the quad—such as tug of war, tricycle racing, and inflatable jousting—to compete for the title of 2017 Oxford Olympics champions.

Tuesday, August 22

  • Academic Advising
  • Class Registration

Wednesday, August 23

  • Classes Begin
  • Convocation
    The ceremony that inaugurates the academic year. Faculty process in academic regalia, joined by Emory University dignitaries. The speaker for Convocation 2017 is Susan Ashmore, Oxford professor of history.
  • Candlelight Procession
    Following convocation, first-year students process carrying candles across the quad to Phi Gamma Hall, where members of the sophomore class greet them as the newest members of the Oxford College community. Afterward all students gather in the library for a reception.

Friday, August 25

  • Welcome to Oxford BBQ
    Groups and citizens of the city of Oxford welcome Oxford students back to campus with a summer cookout on the lawn of Allen Memorial United Methodist Church, across from the college campus.