It’s because your sense of belonging affects your over-all success at university including your academic success. We want you to feel at home, make friends, and get involved.
Some of you probably don’t care how we do this and that’s totally fine. Please stop reading this blog and find another part of the LAUNCH 2013 blog to read. Perhaps you’d like to learn more about Church in the Box.
If you are curious about how we do this, I’ll let you in on some strategies we find are effective:
1) Just-in-Time Information. As you prepare for university life it’s important that you realize there will be a graduation lunch during your fourth year. NOT. A mistake we can make as a university is that we either give you to much information and overwhelm you, or we assume you know it already and don’t give you enough. So what we are trying to do is give you ONLY the information you need, and ONLY when you need it. We have plenty of time to tell you what graduation looks like, lets first focus on what your first day will look like.
2) We plan a whole variety of events and activities. Some people like big crowds and some like one on one conversations. Some like board games and others like soccer games. LAUNCH is a massive mosaic of activities. You may not like all the events but that’s ok because hopefully we’ve planned those few events that you absolutely love. And the amazing part is like-minded people will be at those events and you can connect with them to make sure those events occur more.
3) We use the spiral method of introductions. There is a lot of people to meet in the first several weeks of university. Rather than introduce you to everybody all at once we try and introduce you first to the people you will be interacting with most. So that means meeting your roommate, dormmates, your dorm neighbours (LAUNCH team) and other students with the same academic interest.
4) We recommend you go to everything we’ve planned but we don’t require you to go to anything. The more you attend, the quicker you’ll understand Redeemer and feel at home. And if you are feeling particularly tired one day or just need a break, that’s OK. Take the night off to read or relax on your own. We want you to be refreshed for the next days activities. We plan a lot so that you can have choice. However if you don’t go to any of the LAUNCH events than you will find it tougher to feel at home. A common regret we hear from 4th year students is when they skipped out on a fun activity without a good reason. Later on they understand how cool of a Redeemer tradition they missed. In short, you are an adult now, the choice is yours.
5) We introduce you to normal university routine as quickly as possible. We don’t see the point in planning an orientation program that looks nothing like actual university life. It’d be fun, but than you’d get back to campus and have to have a 2nd orientationJ Let’s just introduce you to university life and sprinkle all the typical fun stuff through-out the first week and months.
6) We want to get to know you. Other schools have 1000’s of new students to welcome. It’s easy to get lost. Redeemer only has about 250 new students to welcome and we want to get to know you. We have one orientation coordinator, 1 Residence Director, 8 Mission Control staff, 23 LAUNCH Crew Leaders, 10 welcome team members, 6 Residence Life Facilitators,and over 40 Resident Advisors who are part of the orientation experience. That’s 89 staff and volunteers working together to make sure your not just a #, but a friend as well.
7) We care about all of you. Just as university is more than just academics, so are you more than just a brain. We find ways to connect you to a strong spiritual community, introduce you to the geographical space on campus, introduce you to new friends, facilitate conversations with professors, help you carve out your own identity within Redeemer’s context.
So those a just a few of the strategies that we plan to use to help you transition. It’s not important that you memorize these because we’ll be doing them whether you realize we are or not. It’s kind of like knowing music theory where a guitar solo still sounds amazing whether you know the theory or not. However, an understanding can help you see the big picture.
Micah van Dijk