Orientation Program Welcomes, Prepares New Students and Families

Amelia Rockwell just knew.

Driving away from campus after a daylong visit, she knew she’d found the right place, a place where a volunteer firefighter who also plays the oboe and swims competitively would fit right in.

“I think I’m going to go here,” Rockwell, an 18-year-old from Clarence Center, New York, remembered thinking as she left Allegheny.

Rockwell and other first-year and transfer students will soon return to campus for a slate of events aimed at making Allegheny’s newest Gators feel at home. The lineup for New Student Orientation, Aug. 26-28, includes a College Resources Fair, health and safety discussions, and an academic convocation and matriculation ceremony, among other events.

The three-day orientation follows the PLACES program, a transitional summer program in which incoming students connect with other new and currently enrolled students; become familiar with campus resources, including Student Leadership & Involvement and the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access & Social Justice (IDEAS) Center; and meet and talk with administrators, faculty, and staff. Twenty-eight students attended the four-day program, new this year.

“We strive to make sure all of our incoming students and their families feel welcomed, supported and ready to take on this new educational journey,” Vice President and Dean of Students Kimberly M. Scott said. “A large part of that is creating connections and introducing them to all the resources they’ll need to be successful.”

Some orientation events, including a panel discussion on Aug. 27 with parents, families and friends of current students, are aimed at parents and family members of incoming students. Others introduce new students and their family members to the broader Meadville community. Expanded bus tours and a Community Fair, a showcase for local business and nonprofits, help everyone get a good lay of the land.

“It’s helping students understand that this is their community,” said Gretchen Beck, associate dean of students and director of student leadership and involvement. “We want them to understand not only what Allegheny has to offer, but what your community has to offer.”

The whole schedule is constructed to help incoming students like Rockwell feel comfortable and prepared.

After four years of volunteer firefighting, the last two with Harris Hill Volunteer Fire Company in Clarence, New York, Rockwell has cultivated a talent for teamwork and the ability to be calm and patient in sometimes difficult or stressful circumstances, skills she hopes serves her well when classes begin on Aug. 29.

Asked what she’s looking forward to most as she embarks on this newest adventure, the answer comes quick.

“The whole college experience,” she said. “The classes, student life, pretty much everything. The whole college experience.”

For more information about New Student Orientation and the schedule of events for students and families, visit the Orientation website.