Monday, August 20, 2012

First year student orientation season

Which bar can I get served at?

Which house has the most outrageous parties?

Where's the best place to hook up?

Students come to college with lots of questions. Drinking and partying spots are often what freshmen want to know as they get to campus. However, first year college students will intentionally or unintentionally answer the following questions as they transition from high school to the college campus and the rest of their life.

Who am I?
Why am I here?
What company shall I keep to get there?

A good bit of academic research and personal anecdotes have shown the power of first-year orientations to help freshmen have more successful transition into their first year of college (especially, ones that take students outdoors and off campus). So it is with excitement that we and the rest of the CCO's Experiential Designs (XD) team jumped into this year's orientation season.

The second set of questions, inspired by Steven Garber's book, The Fabric of Faithfulness, guide the discussions and activities of the orientations that CCO XD leads for several schools during this season. This year our team will be involved in five orientation events. The three of us (Joy, Francois and Annelise!) spent last week at Seneca Rocks with 5 student leaders and 41 students from West Virginia Wesleyan College (pictured above). This week Francois and the rest of the XD team are at Hocking Hills State Park with 55 Ohio Wesleyan University freshmen students and 16 student leaders (pictured below).

Through games, adventure and service activities, we help students build relationships with the people that will influence the kind of person they become over the next four years. We encourage them at this time of transition to take a step back to consider the big questions- the questions that are at the heart of their view of the world and ultimately at the heart of the image they have of themselves and the image they have of God.

Some people call it pre-evangelism. Others call it being a good partner to the institutions of higher education we see as our mission field. Ultimately it is an opportunity to help students orient themselves to the most transformative period of life.

Please pray for us and for all the first year students coming onto campus in the next few weeks.