Washington State University (WSU) has taken a novel and engaging approach to its new student orientation program. Far from offering a quick-campus tour or pep rally, WSU’s innovative and progressive program, called Alive! immerses both students and parents into the campus experience.
“Parents are much more involved with their kids than they were 20 years ago,” explained Therese King, Director of New Student Programs at WSU. “So, we do a lot of work with the parents to help them transition for when their son or daughter finally leaves for college. For the students, we focus more on the academic transition from high school to college.”
According to King, the action-packed two-day orientation and registration program has been a great success. Parents report the program helps prepare them to handle their child leaving the nest and also that they see their child’s confidence go up and anxiety levels go down.
The campus bookstore (called The Bookie) offers key support to the program by providing matching crimson polo shirts for orientation counselors, serving up clever student-created videos on bookstore services, and distributing portfolios crammed with information about new, used, rental and eTextbooks, NOOKstudy™ and more.
Students and parents are required to stay in the dormitories during orientation. There, they can find a dorm room completely decorated (one side for girls – one side for boys) in items that can all be found in the campus bookstore. Parents and students are usually blown away by what can be done with a dorm room, supplies from the bookstore, and a little imagination.
“Parents and students are always surprised by how much we have to offer in the bookstore,” said Leslie Martin, bookstore manager. “Parents often say, ‘This doesn’t look like the college bookstore I had when I was in school.’”
What does your campus do to welcome new students? Share your story.