Starting a new journey can be intimidating. Luckily for incoming students, orientation can alleviate some of that anxiety.
The Bronco Student and Family Orientation is the beginning of the Cal Poly Pomona experience for students and aims to ensure a successful transition into the academic community. It also provides an opportunity for incoming students and their families and supporters to get acquainted with the campus.
“Incoming students will work with our academic advising teams in the colleges to register for their first semester coursework,” said Janetta Dismuke, director of the Office of New Student Programs and Family Engagement. “This creates a better understanding of how to access campus resources and services that support their academic, personal, developmental and career goals as well as meeting other new students at orientation.”
This summer, around 7,000 students attended orientation along with 3,400 parents, families and supporters. They were welcomed by the orientation team consisting of eight professional staff, 29 orientation captains and leaders and five office staff along with, numerous faculty and staff throughout the university who assist orientation with advising, registration, services and resources.
“Orientation is truly a campus-wide collaboration in which all divisions are truly invested in the onboarding of our campus community members,” said Dismuke. “We all have a place in the success of ensuring that our students are successful at the onset of their CPP experience.”
The orientation process starts online with a welcome message from President Soraya M. Coley, as well as Vice President for Student Affairs Christina Gonzales. During the online orientation, students learn about technology resources, academic planning, student life and being on campus to get them prepared for their first day of school.
For the in-person component of orientation, participants are broken up into three groups —freshman, transfers, and families or supporters. This ensures that each group will receive specific information tailored for their group. For example, families and supporters will discover ways in which they can support and empower their students as they work toward their academic success. In the meanwhile, students meet with advisors, enroll for classes and get to know each other.
Incoming transfer student, Thomas Holmes felt welcomed and enjoyed orientation.
“My favorite part of orientation was the departmental planning. It was great having dedicated support from my professors,” said Holmes.
Making connections with faculty and staff is key to helping students get acclimated, said Brianne Dávila, associate dean of academic programs and student success.
“Orientation is an opportunity for students to build relationships, gain a sense of community, learn about the various resources on campus, and get guidance on how to take advantage of the numerous opportunities available to them to make the most of their college experience,” Dávila said.
“What is there to do on campus,” “How do you get involved,” or “Where’s a good place to relax in-between classes,” are just some of the questions Student Orientation Leader Julissa Martinez gets on a daily basis.
“I enjoy using it as an opportunity to remind students to get involved in all the amazing clubs and programs we have on campus ranging from academic organizations to cultural clubs,” Martinez said.
Although orientation is an all-day, information-heavy event, there are entertaining activities planned as well. After lunch students break off into smaller groups to play CPP inspired games like Billy’s Travels and get to know each other better.
After the resource fair and cultural center tours students and their supporters end the day with Bronco Spirit night, where attendees are encouraged to sing karaoke and play challenging games.
“I want incoming students to feel encouraged to interact with us and their peers,” said Martinez. “I want them to know it’s a good thing to lean into their orientation experience it’s only one day with a lot of opportunities to make memories and learn about their new school.”