Yesterday was the first day of fall semester classes here at San José State University. Seeing tons of students on campus was very strange, as the last time I was a member of an institution that started fall classes in August instead of September was 20 years ago while I was a graduate student at Indiana University. This week also felt weird because it was the first time since the early years on the faculty at the University of Minnesota where I was not involved in some sort of student orientation activity. In my two years at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside I participated in first week orientation activities, and after getting tenure at the University of Minnesota I did a lot of work with their Welcome Week activities. Going to the U of M New Student Convocation was a highlight of the year.
Here at SJSU my Associate Dean led a college-specific orientation session for transfer students. I’ll have to join her next year, as well as explore ways in which I can get involved in other SJSU orientation activities. I may also have to advocate for new activities. For example, SJSU does not have an orientation convocation that serves as an official welcome to the university, where new students are provided with an introduction to university history and traditions (like school songs, taught by the marching band after they enter in full uniform!), and hear from the president and students (such as an epic inspirational speech by a Georgia Tech student.) We’ve got to make that happen here!