Orientation and Parent Programs establishes new orientation program

Clara Beaumont, Contributing Reporter

The Office of Orientation and Parent Programs has created three new alternate orientation programs for incoming students called EXPLORE, including Greenie Camp; IGNITE: Community, Creativity, Change; and a program with Tulane Hillel.

Orientation and Parent Programs has hosted the NOLA Experience, a weeklong interactive orientation program for incoming freshmen, since 1997, according to Penny Wyatt, the office’s director. The success of The Hullabaloo’s Summer Journalism Experience, a separate program which deviates from the NOLA Experience, inspired the office to create the new EXPLORE programs outside the NOLA Experience umbrella.

Greenie Camp is focused on allowing students to acclimate to Tulane’s campus and culture. Freshmen arrive on campus a week before classes start to learn about Tulane’s traditions and history and foster a strong sense of school spirit. Wyatt said the new programs are intended to inspire leadership.

“It’s like we’re cultivating these seeds to plant in the new class, and we’re hoping that they’ll kind of pay [their involvement] forward by also getting their new friends involved too,” Wyatt said.

In addition, IGNITE and the Hillel program, both similar to Greenie Camp, aim to promote leadership as soon as students step onto campus. Wyatt said the IGNITE program focuses on social aspects of the Tulane and New Orleans community.

“With IGNITE, their tagline is community, creativity and change,” Wyatt said.

The Hillel program also promotes leadership, but with an added emphasis on involving students in the Jewish community both on and off campus.

All three programs were based on input from previous participants in the NOLA Experience. Some of the differences between the NOLA Experience and EXPLORE programs include the focus on community engagement and larger group sizes. Approximately 60 students participated in both IGNITE and Greenie Camp while 25 students were involved in the Hillel program. Wyatt said Orientation and Parent Programs started thinking about adding new programs early last year by researching similar programs at peer institutions.

“When we were making these changes for this year we looked at what other schools do… to kind of adapt our program to incorporate some new things,” Wyatt said.   

Freshman Rachel Hunter, a participant in Greenie Camp, said she encountered many unique opportunities. Hunter said she did fun things she never would have done without the EXPLORE program.

“We watched baby gators hatch, which was a lot of fun,” Hunter said.

Wyatt said she believes these programs are still a work in progress and that changes may be made based on student and orientation coordinator input.

“[We’ve] made a change, [and] will have to assess how the change went throughout Fall Welcome and the EXPLORE programs,” Wyatt said.