Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


How They Became Leaders

Before your orientation leader got to stand in front of you today, they went through several months of behind-the-scenes training.

Associate Director of Orientation Christine Lynch says the orientation leaders are “role models and liaisons for the university.”

“The orientation leaders must take their jobs very seriously,” Lynch says. “Being an orientation leader is a privilege.”

More than 80 applications were received last year and the students standing before you today were hand picked to represent FAU. After completing a two-page application in early October, the interested students must attend a three-week leadership training course.

Students are judged on how they handle and present themselves while learning about FAU’s history.

“We’re looking for someone who is dependable, organized and a quick learner,” Lynch says. “They must also be able to relate to traditional and non-traditional students.”

After the training course, directors narrow down the group and hold individual interviews before choosing the new set of orientation leaders.

By the end of November, 27 students, and five to eight alternates, are officially hired. The students are then shipped off to a weekend retreat and ropes course to get to know each other. Whether the group is dangling 40 feet in the air or answering tough personal questions, Lynch says she tries to make each student feel as uncomfortable as possible during the bonding experience in the woods.

“We play games and do exercises that to try to break down barriers and cross the line of comfort,” Lynch says. “Everyone must participate and try but they learn to motivate each other as a team.”

From January to May the students spend three to five hours a week in training, digesting information about FAU’s history and all of the services the college has to offer. There are three to four 20-minute presentations each night by an FAU department and the rest of the time is devoted to leadership and teambuilding exercises. By the end of training, all orientation leaders must pass a 60 to 100-question exam about FAU facts, history and services and give a tour to one of the staff members before receiving their shiny new nametag.

Orientation leaders are paid $1,200.00 for working from January to January. They must attend weekly Thursday meetings and must give up taking summer classes during the day. The leaders are also required to live on campus over the summer and the orientation department provides housing in the dorms. With two to four people sharing a room, Lynch says this is also an opportunity for the leaders to bond.

“During my freshman orientation, my leader made the job seem like so much fun,” says sophomore and architecture major Muriel Bryan. “I just had to do it and I’m so glad I did.”

While many students join the orientation team to have fun and get more involved in campus life, some students sign up to make a difference in someone’s life.

“When I was a freshman I didn’t have a good transition from high school to college,” says junior, pre-med major Charles Chatman. “I wanted to do something to make the transition easier for other students.”

Lynch says one of the best reasons for being an orientation leader is “the instant 25 friends” each leader will make. She says, “Being part of the orientation team gives students the opportunity to make long-last friendships with the people they work so closely with.”

“I learned so much from this experience,” says junior, hospitality and tourism manager Janice Barreto. “But most of all, I’ve made great friends. I love working with the orientation team – they’re like brothers and sisters and we’re all a family.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

Do you have something to say? Submit your comments below
All UNIVERSITY PRESS Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *