Orientation leaders jump and scream in front of first-year housing while welcoming new students and their families to campus Aug. 23. Leaders helped the new students settle into their new homes.
Photos by Brandon Rubsamen
As the new school year begins, the Pepperdine community welcomed new and returning students to the Malibu campus.
New Student Orientation is a five-day program that kickstarts the new school year and includes sessions for new students and their families to learn about Pepperdine.
Director of Student Activities Danielle Minke coordinated and planned this year’s NSO along with Brittany Skinner, Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Administrative Coordinator Susan Bousman. NSO is an integral part of Pepperdine life, Minke wrote in an Aug. 24 email to the Graphic.
“NSO is an essential part of each student’s Pepperdine experience, as it is the first welcome to what it means to be a Pepperdine Wave,” Minke wrote.
First-year Kayleigh Hall said she is eager to interact with her peers in their new home.
“I’m excited to meet everyone from different places and do all the activities and get to just learn more about Pepperdine as a whole,” Hall said.
Minke wrote, NSO fosters community throughout sessions and fun group activities, while also providing adequate resources for students to succeed in other facets of life.
“They are provided with the resources, information, and tools to succeed academically, emotionally, spiritually and socially,” Minke wrote.
Seaver College officially kicked off NSO after opening its doors for incoming international students Aug. 22, and domestic students Aug. 23. However, some students, including those involved in Pepperdine athletics, made the move to campus before their peers at various times in the month of August.
Along with other Pepperdine athletes, first-year track and cross country runner Spencer Mueller moved into on-campus housing before the official move-in date. Mueller said he is excited for NSO and to meet the other first-year students, despite his expectation of a hectic week.
To combat moving to college and the potential stress of meeting new people, current Seaver College students have the opportunity to volunteer as NSO leaders or coordinators to guide new students through the adjustment period.
Minke wrote part of what makes NSO so memorable is the presence of the orientation leaders.
“Truly, the reason why NSO is so special is because of our amazing Orientation Leaders,” Minke wrote. “Every year, student volunteers come early to help move in the new students and invest their time and energy into the new Waves.”
NSO leaders spent their time answering questions, giving directions and doing some heavy lifting to get each student settled into their new homes.
“With orange and blue T-shirts, these students take over campus and make NSO a memorable, joyful, fun and beloved campus tradition,” Minke wrote.
Sophomore NSO leader Allexa Larson said she volunteered for the role because of her fond memories from move-in last year.
“I just want to give the freshmen as good of an experience that I had,” Larson said.
As an out-of-state student, Larson said the NSO leaders helped her feel comfortable and at home despite being alone in a new state.
“Coming from a state where there was literally no one else, all the NSO leaders helped so much with making it more of a home when being so far away from home,” Larson said.
Larson said she aims to leave the same positive impact on other students that was left on her.
“I want to be able to be that guide, to be that friendly face for other people who may not know anyone,” Larson said.
Throughout the week, the NSO events split the parents and the students to help ease the transition of moving away from home, Minke wrote.
“Students and the parents gradually have separated events and activities to help students integrate into the community and for the parents to find community with other parents,” Mink wrote.
NSO concludes Friday, Aug. 26, and will include activities such as an International Programs presentation, Waves Expo — where students learn about how to get involved with campus life —and a President’s reception at the Brock House.
Minke wrote while NSO is required for each new student and the impact it has on the community makes this tradition special.
“I most definitely believe that NSO is an important Pepperdine tradition,” Minke wrote. “NSO is the one tradition that every single Seaver student participates in. While it is required, each student has a special memory or moment that lives with them which makes NSO much more than a typical ‘requirement’.”
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