I haven’t written extensively about the work I do for The University of Texas. I have the happy luck of working with students who lead Orientation. My role is as their supervisor and I introduce concepts of philanthropy and giving to their work over the summer with incoming freshmen.
We recruit and select the Orientation Advisors over the course of the fall, train them during the spring semester and then spend eight intensive weeks managing and implementing the Orientation Sessions themselves, a process which involves many hours, much hard work, and ranges from advising sessions to social justice programming to campus and safety issues, to bonding with each other and new students.
It’s profound work and I have just “returned” to my regular office after the past eight weeks of orientation work. I put returned in quotes because, though we are just across campus for the programming, it feels very much like being in a separate world and though I titled this post Summer Camp, the image isn’t that far off.
It’s a time out of time where so much growth and change can happen, not just for the incoming freshmen, but for the student advisors and also the staff. Due to the nature of the work, I don’t want to post in much detail. Privacy and all. But I do want to integrate more of the skills and dynamics used during orientation training here on the blog.
It’s community building pure and simple (pure and complex?), mentoring, management, logistics, group development, theater, ministry, ritual, and social justice wrapped up in polo shirts, khaki shorts and the heat of the Texas summer.
It’s an amazing part of my life.
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