With most students gone until fall, things slow down during summer term at the University of Oregon, with one notable exception: IntroDUCKtion.
The UO’s long-running orientation program gives incoming students and their families a chance to make new friends, register for classes and get to know their way around campus. They find out what awaits them when they return in the fall and what will be expected of them as new Ducks, both in and out of the classroom.
"New students and their families are so full of hope and expectation,” said Keith Frazee, assistant director for student orientation programs. “IntroDUCKtion is an acute experience of that collective hope about what’s possible at the UO. I love working with these folks as they navigate through one of the largest transitions of their lives thus far."
IntroDUCKtion takes place over nine, two-day sessions on campus for incoming freshman. In addition, the UO conducts sessions in Arlington, Virginia; Chicago, Illinois; Hawaii; and new this year, Dallas, Texas. Three one-day IntroDUCKtion sessions are available for transfer students as well.
At the orientation sessions, students learn about the academic expectations that await them and how to transition from high school learning to a more rigorous academic environment.
They also take part in activities intended to give them a sense of community and belonging, Frazee said. Students are divided into small groups called flocks, led by student orientation staffers, also called SOSers. Flocks are selected to include a variety of majors, home states and racial, ethnic and gender identities.
At the same time, parents and family members attend sessions designed to help them adjust to seeing students off to college. Programs cover money matters, how academics work and perhaps most important, how to help their students succeed in college while also giving them room to grow.
Both parents and students attend sessions where they get some straight talk from university officials about how to prevent sexual violence, binge drinking and other unhealthy behaviors. It’s part of a comprehensive, science-based effort to keep new students healthy, safe and successful as they make the transition from high school to college.
IntroDUCKtion is always evolving. New this year, according to Frazee:
- A preorientation session for first-generation students and their families.
- A session on resilience led by University Counseling Center, the Office of the Dean of Students and University Health Center staff.
- A multicultural mixer for students.
- New substance abuse prevention efforts.
- A Sports 101 session to teach students about the traditions of being a fan and appropriate student section behavior.
Kendelyn Thomas, a third-year student majoring in women’s, gender and sexuality studies, works as a student orientation staffer, said she likes helping spread positivity among incoming students.
"I truly believe that everyone who has chosen to attend the UO is valuable and needed, and each individual should understand that from the moment they arrive on campus,” she said. “I am excited to help them find their sense of belonging here at the UO.”
—By Tim Christie, University Communications