New Student Orientation

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...In With the New

Summer may have just begun, but it is already time to start thinking of fall and the upcoming academic year. East Carolina University’s New Student Orientation began Wednesday, June 18, for 575 new students and their parents. It was the first of eight orientation sessions scheduled this summer that will introduce the approximately 4,000 freshmen expected this fall to their new school. For most, it was their first time on campus since gaining admittance into the university and becoming full-fledged Pirates.

New Student Orientation begins with check-in and walking tours in front of West End Dining Hall.

The two-day orientation offered new students the opportunity to explore campus, register for classes, take placement tests, and learn about life as a student at ECU. For those with limited knowledge of ECU, the experience was an eye-opener.

“I didn’t realize it was such a close-knit college. I just figured it was a big school, just a bunch of people. But they do care here. They care about the students, they care that we succeed,” said incoming freshman James Jeter of Fayetteville, North Carolina, who attended orientation with his parents Bruce and Linda.

A majority of the information sessions offered during orientation were open to both students and parents, with parents actively encouraged to attend and participate in them.

“We probably get more out of it than [the students] do,” said Bruce Jeter. “There were a lot of tips for parents.”

The goal of orientation is to acclimate new students to the place they will call home for the next four years, and to introduce them to the mechanics of the institution that will enable them to make the most of their time here—both academically and socially. Students learned about ECU’s technology resources such as Banner, OneStop, and Blackboard, and were also introduced to extracurricular activities and organizations at the Student Involvement Fair.

Incoming freshman Courtney Taylor and her mother Janet enjoy orientation.

Bus and walking tours of campus were also available, as well as information sessions dealing with academics, opportunities for student involvement, and financial matters—including university fees, payment options, and even meetings with representatives from local banks.

Sending a child off to college can be difficult for parents. Janet Taylor of Mount Olive, North Carolina, attended new student orientation with her only child, daughter Courtney, and said that the effort put in by ECU’s Office of Admissions to make parents feel welcome and to inform them about the school has helped her feel better about Courtney leaving home in the fall.

“It’s hard. She’s the only one. But I feel good about it because everyone here is so helpful. I really feel she’ll be good here. She’s met a lot of people already, and she’s excited about her classes,” Taylor said.

New students and parents were formally welcomed to ECU in Wright Auditorium by Phyllis Horns, interim vice chancellor for health sciences and interim dean of the Brody School of Medicine, Associate Provost Austin Bunch, Kemal Atkins, vice provost for student affairs, and ECU student Andrew Griffin. Together they offered encouragement and insight into what it means to become a member of the ECU community.

“Every person, every student on this campus, has the opportunity to grown and learn,” said Horns. “How to be a really productive citizen, how to engage with people who are different from the people you know from high school and your local communities—that’s as important a part of the educational experience, we believe here at East Carolina University, as anything that you learn in the classroom.”

Griffin imparted some light-hearted wisdom from a current student, offering himself as an example of what to do, and what not to do, to succeed in college.

ECU Ambassadors help out the new freshmen at orientation.

“Go to class, go to class, go to class,” he said to loud applause from parents. “I used to not go to class, and that didn’t work. So now I do go to class and I make good grades. It’s amazing.”

He also encouraged students to get involved on campus and take the opportunities afforded at ECU to try new things.

“Whatever your name was in high school, or whatever you were classified as, it’s over. You are in college. You have a chance to reinvent yourself, and a chance to be whatever you want to be,” he said.

In a poignant moment, Griffin confided in the audience his reluctance to leave ECU and told to the new students that he wished he “could be in y’all’s place right now.” And for the college graduates in the room, it was hard not to feel the same way.

The remaining sessions of New Student Orientation take place June 23–24, June 30–July 1, July 2–3, 7–8, 9–10, 16–17, and 21–22. Click here for more information.