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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

CSLE announces restructured orientation, $900 OL stipend

CSLE announces restructured orientation, $900 OL stipend

 Orientation Week will look different next year, as the Center for Student Leadership and Engagement (CSLE) is introducing a pilot program to restructure first-year orientation. 

 The adjustments, which include a $900 stipend for Orientation Leaders (OLs) and a reorganized schedule for OL training and Orientation Week, will be tested this summer. Depending on the success of the program, these changes may become permanent. 

 Executive Director of the CSLE Laurie Adamson* explained what these changes will entail and why they are important. 

 Adamson said that many aspects of the outreach for OL applicants are the same as in previous years, like using emails, posters, banners and social media to encourage students to apply. However, CSLE is implementing a much larger stipend for OLs, which has increased from $100 to $900 this year. 

“The $900 stipend is for Orientation Leaders who volunteer and complete both training and the Orientation Week itself,” Adamson says. “We’re really, really excited to offer [it] … As an orientation professional, it’s a relatively common practice.” 

The increased pay for OLs is being put in place to compensate for the workload during Orientation Week and to open applications to a wider range of students. 

“I can see in the past how there may have been portions of the student body who couldn’t be in this role because they weren’t able to give up two weeks of work,” Adamson said. “To have a leadership experience like this, where it’s accessible for more people and to remove as much of that barrier as possible, was really important to us and something that CSLE is trying to do more of in general.” 

Orientation and move-in dates were also adjusted, based on recommendation from the Strategic Plan. The pilot program will have OLs living on campus move in on Aug. 19, and train between Aug. 20-23. Orientation will then take place between Aug. 26-30. 

This is a big shift from previous years, where OLs would train from a Sunday to Wednesday, and then Orientation Week would immediately proceed the next day on Thursday. Adamson said the previous structure did not give OLs a chance to relax and settle in between training and orientation. The weekend between training and orientation will still include some optional activities. 

“Our office, in collaboration with other folks on campus, are going to be having some social events throughout the weekend, some places to get connected to the community, to have fun, but it’s going to be more lowkey so that people really rest,” Adamson said. “That aligns with the general push towards wanting … folks to lean into wellness as they go into a new year.” 

Adamson added that by having OLs and new students move in on Mondays, they will be able to engage with the Macalester community during the week, when offices are open. 

“By moving into a weekday format, students and families will have a more realistic sense of campus life,” Adamson said. “It also gives an increased access to resources, which makes us more student-ready, which was a huge part of the strategic plan.” 

As a pilot program, these orientation changes will be tested this year and then evaluated for their effectiveness. Adamson says that surveys and assessments will be taken by all people involved in Orientation Week and training. This will include new students and their families, OLs, First-Year Course professors, employees from facilities and reservations and any faculty, staff or volunteers involved in presentations or supplemental sessions, such as the language fair and resource fair. 

The feedback from a variety of different roles in Orientation Week and training will give CSLE administrators multiple perspectives to work with in order to plan how orientation will look in the years to come. 

“In the end, it will only contribute to a better experience for new students and families,” Adamson said. “So we’re really excited. And I think it’s a great move forward for CSLE and we’re really grateful we’re able to provide this moving forward.” 


*Laurie Adamson is the staff advisor for The Mac Weekly.

[email protected] 

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