Twins Brooke and Kasey Lagow of Ponte Vedra Beach were busy getting their ID photos taken and meeting new friends Thursday, June 20, as JU held one of its largest New Student Orientations ever, with more than 160 students and 150 family members on hand.
“I’m just glad they’re holding this for us so we can get everything figured out. It’s a lot of information,” said Brooke Lagow, 17, who along with her sister will study Nursing at JU.
“Today we are finding our way around and it’s great they’re helping us get to know the campus,” Kasey chimed in.
JU President Tim Cost welcomed the audience at a packed opening session in Terry Concert Hall, telling the students, “We are committed to your success.”
“I will get to know each of you, by name, where you’re from, your parents, your goals,” he said. “It’s all a part of what makes us different from a school where 500 students are in one class. Here, it’s more like 15.”
Cost told the incoming freshmen to appreciate the students who came before them and who offered suggestions to improve the student experience.
“We have been busy listening to their ideas, updating our food, cafeteria, adding Chick-fil-A, boosting the number of ATMs on campus, re-doing our River House as a gathering place and much more,” he said. “I am so excited to meet you, and I want you to know that we aren’t here for the greater good of some buildings and grass here; we are here to help you succeed.”
JU Dean of Students Kristie Gover said the two-day orientation is the first of two this summer. The second is July 15-16. About 85 percent of the students on hand this week were from Florida, with the rest coming from Georgia, the Northeast and other parts of the country.
The sessions don’t just offer details about the college process, academics, activities and living arrangements, she said. They help create energy and enthusiasm for the fall through team-building exercises and more, as students meet faculty members and fellow classmates, and begin to create bonds and see new roommates for the first time.
“They begin to acclimate socially and academically. It also gives the parents a chance to understand the expectations and track how the whole process works,” she said. “Many of them may have students going off to school for the first time.”
JU junior Jessica Desiderio, a JU Book Store employee and business administration major, busily answered questions and handed out flyers offering information about the store.
“I think orientation is great. I enjoyed mine when I came here,” she said. “It gives you the feel of the place, what the environment is like, and you get acquainted with each other. It makes you feel more comfortable, and you start to establish relationships.”
For more on JU New Student Oriention, visit http://www.ju.edu/orientation.