Student Orientation Week Begins; Mobile App, Peer Sessions Introduced

New students orientation begins for the class of 2019
New students orientation begins for the class of 2019

With orientation week beginning today for incoming freshmen, the campus will be buzzing with activity, from a student engagement fair to campus tours and sports competitions. New features of the student orientation this year include peer-to-peer sessions and a free mobile app. 

The peer-to-peer sessions will have student peer leaders introduce freshmen to online tools they will need throughout their academic careers like Blackboard, Banner Self-Service and Moodle. The new sessions were created to ensure that every freshman student receives consistent information and is comfortable with the technological tools in order to enhance his or her experience at AUC. 

Created by current AUC students, the free mobile app created will inform the incoming class of orientation activities and remind them of start times. Inspired by an idea from FYE committee members, the app will be used throughout the year to stay in communication with the freshman class.

Incoming freshman will begin the First-Year Experience (FYE) program this year under a brand new theme: the jungle.

Each day of the orientation has a special focus to help new students navigate University life. Today, students will receive information on AUC and its majors; Monday is focused on self-discovery and goal setting; and Tuesday will include sessions on student life and values.   

The First-Year Experience program, largely a student-run program, has 140 student volunteers who worked through June and July to prepare for this year’s orientation. “We give them a lot of freedom,” said Marsil Kalliney, associate director of the First Year Experience and Leadership Institute. “It empowers students and gives them ownership of the program.”

Last June, Kalliney organized a visit for 10 AUC students who are part of the student orientation team to attend FYE at the University of Central Florida (UCF), which has a “very comprehensive freshman orientation program,” as she described it. Students from both universities presented on FYE at their schools. “They learned from the experiences of UCF students, and they were able to compare AUC to other programs on a global level,” said Kalliney. “It taught them to take pride in their work and have confidence in the program.”

“The emphasis on school values throughout the orientation was great,” said Ali El-Desoky, one the students who went to UCF. “The common thread that joins us all is that we all want to help freshmen have a better first-year experience.”  

About 130 new students are expected to attend the international students orientation, beginning today with a series of sessions on practical information about settling and adjusting to a new life in Cairo. In the evening, the students will get a taste of the city with an outing to explore Old Cairo. On Monday, President Lisa Anderson will address the new students, and they will attend presentations on culture shock and Egyptian society and politics, as well as enjoy a marhaba welcome party with Egyptian food and music, followed by a visit to El Moez Street. On the final day, students will have a crash course in survival Arabic and get the chance to discover AUC’s student life at the student engagement fair. Finally, on Friday, international students will embark on the quintessential trip for any new Cairene: the Giza Pyramids.      

The one-day graduate student orientation for the Fall 2015 class will be held today and will involve working with advisers to develop academic plans, touring the campus and library, and getting chance to meet with faculty members to discuss courses and suggestions for a successful first year as graduate students.  

Orientation for new students in the Arabic Language Intensive Program will be held on Tuesday and will have students attending several sessions to learn about the Department of Arabic Language Instruction, Computer-Aided Language Learning and the Language Exchange Partners Program.