by PEYTON SCHULTZ
CHATTANOOGA (mocsnews.com)- The summer semester at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has officially begun, which means that faculty, staff and students are gearing up for the arrival of new students on campus in August.
Freshman orientation begins on June 5 and continues until August. The two-day orientation will provide incoming students with all of the information and resources they need to begin their college journey.
At the beginning of each session, students and parents will gather together for a welcome session facilitated by the Chancellor’s Executive Leadership Team.
Students will then tour the campus and their assigned residence halls, receive their UTC ID, meet faculty and advisors, learn about various different departments and programs on campus, stay the night in their respective dorms and much more.
Orientation is not all business; several opportunities for excitement and mingling are included.
Carrie Sherbesman, director of New Student and Family Programs, said activities include an evening campus organization fair for learning about groups, clubs and social opportunities alongside a DJ, dancing, popcorn and a “late-night snack.”
“Cheers and Chants” is when orientation leaders teach students the UTC fight song and some traditional chants that are part of Mocs home football and basketball games.
“There’s music, there’s excitement and you get your first UTC t-shirt!” Sherbesman said.
She accredited the orientation leaders with creating a lively atmosphere at UTC orientation.
“They are the heart of the program,” she said. “They have a love for UTC and you’ll see it in all things they do.”
Sarah Chesek, a senior from Memphis, Tennessee, began her experience as an orientation leader last year and wants students to feel at ease on campus.
“Helping incoming students feel comfortable at UTC has always been my goal as an orientation leader,” she said. “I hope students come to orientation and build new relationships.”
Sherbesman said that throughout her 12 years at UTC, she has witnessed relationship building as a key benefit for students. She recalled one couple who met at orientation a few years ago that recently married.
She discussed her own orientation experience when she was a UTC student and that she remembers her orientation leader to this day, which she said is the case for most students. It is there that many also decide to become orientation leaders themselves.
Senior Isaiah Owens, an orientation leader for the past four years, was hooked from the day he attended orientation. Many new orientation leaders since have told him he inspired them to get involved.
“That always warms my heart,” said Owens, a theatre major and Innovations in Honors student from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. “It ages me some, but I don’t mind.”
Owens is currently reigning UTC Homecoming King and is part of a handful organizations on campus including student government, Alpha Psi Omega Theatre Honor Society, Littleton H. Mason gospel choir, UTC NAACP and its Subcommittee for Diversity, Inclusion and Equity.
“That same feeling I had that pushed me towards becoming a prominent and known figure on campus is what I aspired to demonstrate for all incoming classes,” he said. “As a senior leader on campus, I want to make sure that people can see themselves in the best way possible.”
Sherbesman stressed being unafraid to ask questions to incoming students who will attend orientation.
“We want students to leave knowing they have someone they can call if they have a question,” she said. “A huge objective for us is just that they know they have a support system at UTC.”
New UTC students and families can find information on orientation schedules and more by visiting the New Student and Family Programs web page.