By Bryce Shockley
New Student Orientation (NSO) undoubtedly plays a vital role in introducing incoming stu- dents and quickly inviting them into the intricate culture here at Asbury University. Adapting to a new environment can be overwhelming and having days set aside for orientation serves as a great way to help the transition be as smooth as it can be.
The main focus of NSO this year was to demonstrate the balance of spiritual vitality and aca- demic excellence. Throughout the busy week, new students experienced many in-depth seminars about liberal arts education and how it will impact them in the years to come. Morning and evening worship services and devotions took place to dedicate the new year to God and make Him the center of orientation.
Heather Tyner is the assistant director of Student Leadership Development. In talking about how orientation functions here at Asbury, she said, “Each of the events of the orientation week fo- cuses on introduction to the community here.” Compared to NSO 2013, this year’s orientation was shortened. Tyner explained, “We strove to make it balanced. It’s always going to be busy and a huge transition no matter what, but downsizing it was a good idea.”
This year, the TAG (transition and guidance) leaders were given more opportunity to stay fo- cused on and be intentional with their groups of new students. The new Programming Team worked behind the scenes during NSO and set up the events in advance to offer the TAG leaders more time to simply build community with their groups.
Another advantage that this year’s TAG leaders had was first-hand experience of what this new student orientation was like. This was only the second year that NSO has been set up this way. Although it does have a lot of room to change and improve, having TAG leaders who knew what it was like to go through the crazy, busy, and rewarding week helped to make this year’s NSO a huge success.
Freshmen Jonathan Waterman said, “Orientation week was a great experience. I got to meet awe- some new friends in my TAG group and I got to hang out with my second family, Johnson 3rd East.” More free time was added into the schedule this year to allow exactly what Jonathan talked about to happen: Community with TAG groups as well as community within the dorm halls.
Orientation will continue to change and adapt to ensure an ever-increasing satisfaction for incoming students. It is encouraging to see that NSO continues to change for the better. Incom- ing freshmen had a week that was not only memorable, but spiritually pertinent as well. As NSO continues to improve and change, the community at Asbury will continue to be an inviting source of Godly friendship that forever impacts the lives of its students.