Tamika Alexander – Arts & Entertainment Editor –
New Student Orientation is a time when students get familiar with the university and become acquainted with their peers. This year, the New Student Orientation took a new approach by getting familiar with their video rendition of “Call Me Maybe,” by Carly Rae Jepsen.
“The NSO Staff decided to make the ‘Call Me Maybe’ video for many reasons,” said Nikki Hutchinson, a graduate intern in the Office of Student Life.
During a week-long training, which teaches the staff the right tools to make orientation successful, they used that time to bring a diverse group of individuals together as a staff, or more like a family, said Hutchinson.
“Making the ‘Call Me Maybe’ video was a great way to build on those relationships,” she said, “Break up the long days of training and to give into the Carly Rae Jepsen, ‘Call Me Maybe’ YouTube craze.”
Seeing videos made by Selena Gomez, Ashley Tisdale, Justin Bieber, among others, that popularized the song influenced the N.S.O. staff to make their own video and join the fun said Kaitlyn Hoffmann, a graduate intern in the Office of Student Life,
“Literally, there was no structure,” she continues, “Anytime there was a short break in our training schedule, which rarely happened, Eric LaCharity and William Obrien from the Office of Campus Recreation would pull out the video camera, asked for interested staff members to follow them and they would record a scene.”
This project allowed them to realize that they could still get their jobs done and have a good time while doing so, she said.
“There were even moments when we were hard at work,” she said, “Overwhelmed with making copies or stuffing packets, that they would pull us away from our task and remind us that we could get work done and still have a good time.”
The fun moments caught on tape were edited and pieced together by LaCharity and Obrien, who didn’t want anyone from the staff to know they were working on this video rendition, said Hutchinson and Hoffmann.
“The best moment was watching the reaction of the staff during the wrap up of session three, when they were able to see the premiere of their very own rendition of the ‘Call Me Maybe’ video,” said Hutchinson.
Besides the video production, said Hoffmann, New Student Orientation staff has other activities that encourage friendship and relationship building between the new students.
“Right off the bat, during our morning welcome,” she said, “the staff get up on stage and perform the traditional ‘Shabooya,’ basically making complete fools of themselves, but loving every minute of it.”
“Shabooya” is used as an icebreaker, and to let the students know that although orientation is full of important information, the college experience can still be as fun as an individual makes it, she said.
“The icebreakers,” says Hutchinson, “Start off easier and low risk and gradually increase, helping students to learn more about their peers that they will be entering college with.”
Participating in new student orientation does help ease the transition into becoming a new student, said Taquetta Mitchell, a new freshman, pre-nursing major at S.C.S.U.
“I definitely think that participating in events eased my fear of being a new student,” she said. “It prompted me to interact with other new students and the continuing students as well, which made me feel a lot more comfortable.”
Some activities like “shabooya,” a staff skit, night-time entertainment during night one and orientation blitz on day two are traditions of the university, said Hoffmann and Hutchinson.
“Going along with tradition, the staff always performs a skit for the new students,” said Hoffmann. “The skit is designed to be exaggerated with humor but still relatable among the students. After the skit is performed, the new students discuss with their smaller groups about what they just watched. A lot of times this is what a student needs to help them open up during orientation.”
Hoffmann and Hutchinson said they hope to continue these traditions but just making the necessary adjustments to include more video renditions.
“We had so much fun doing it. What could be better than having your video featured on the Teen Choice Awards during Carly Rae Jepsen’s performance?” said Hoffmann. “Hopefully we can convince Eric and William to get on board for years to come.”