Hamline News

August 11, 2014

Orientation Programs Prepare First Year Students

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Now that summer is in full swing, Hamline University is busily preparing for the arrival of first year Pipers this fall, our Class of 2018. Hamline has always placed particular emphasis on the importance of its orientation program because, while an incoming student may have visited the campus on a tour or during admitted students day, those events serve as precursors to what life on campus is like. At Piper Preview and Piper Passages, students get the chance to immerse themselves into the Hamline community and become integrated in campus culture.

Piper Preview and Piper Passages are great unifiers for each incoming class; each orientation session provides a new group of Hamline students with the a chance to familiarize themselves with their future classmates, faculty members, and mentors. During Piper Preview in the summer, students are divided into groups which are led by a current Hamline student who becomes a mentor during the two-day event. The orientation program is not just about registering for classes, it is a chance for students to forge friendships, build relationships with mentors and faculty, and to assist them in reaffirming their choice of attending Hamline.

Also during Piper Preview, the Orientation and First Year Programs and Student Activities staffs have many great and integrative events planned for the first year students, among them is the viewing of the New Student Mentor music Video in which NSM staff produce and perform a remake of a popular song with a Hamline theme. This year, the NSMs wrote lyrics to Pharrell William’s song “Happy.” The video features members of the NSM staff dancing around familiar campus landmarks to provide new students with information, visually and lyrically, on all facets of the Hamline community. Check out this year's video here.

The fun facts that students don’t discover from the music video, they will learn in “Becoming A Piper.” Each group is pitted against each other in a competitive and fun game show which tests students on their knowledge of the university. Whichever group earns the most points at the end wins the coveted prize of registering first for classes.

In “Connecting to HU,” NSMs recount their journey and experiences with Hamline’s five core values; scholarship, leadership, diversity, service, and community. A rope is laid around the room, symbolizing the thread of Hamline’s encompassing community. All first-years are given a carabineer, and are asked the ultimate question; will they make the choice to connect to HU? Students then take their carabineer and latch it onto the rope, representing unity and that they have officially embraced what it means to be a Piper.

But the fun doesn’t end at Piper Preview. In the fall, Piper Passages begins three days before the start of classes and gives students another chance to learn more about campus and student support services, meet their academic advisor, other students, and New Student Mentor, as well as attend their First Year Seminar course (FYSem). It’s a valuable way for students to learn how to get more involved on campus to make the most of their time in college.

During this time there’s a heavy emphasis on the importance of the FYSem. This course introduces new Pipers to college workloads, and fosters a sense of community with other students within the class, their faculty advisor and NSM. Each seminar focuses on a unique topic, which serves as a vehicle to build critical reading, thinking, writing and group discussion techniques that are needed at the college level.

You can watch videos Hamline’s NSMs created for orientation in previous years, including the Piper Boogie and NSM music videos, below or on Hamline’s YouTube channel.

Piper Boogie:


NSM Music Video: