the top ten reasons to be an orientation leader

Thinking of applying to be an orientation leader, but feeling unsure about making the commitment? Have you already applied, but get so excited every time you think about orientation that you can’t keep your mind on anything else? Great news:

You’ve come to the right place!

We asked current and past orientation leaders to compile a top ten list to describe the experiences they’ve had with the new student orientation program, to give you a better idea of what you can expect as a member of the orientation staff. They think you should apply to be a leader, and so do we! Here’s why:

10. Campus resources! As an Orientation Leader, you’ll likely learn more about the Hampshire campus and campus resources than you have in your first year at Hampshire. A big part of orientation training is learning about these resources so that you can be more informed when working with new first year and transfer students. The information you receive preparing for orientation will undoubtedly benefit you as you continue to navigate your Hampshire experience, and you’ll be super helpful to your orientees.

9. Skills! The skills you’ll learn in orientation training will be useful to you beyond orientation. The leadership skills that you’ll acquire through being an orientation leader will help you to make a positive impact in your community, on and off campus. You’ll also gain facilitation skills by working with your co-leader, you orientation group, and by leading an interest day activity. You’ll build your resume while making a difference in the lives of new students. Sounds good to us!

8. Learning from your peers! As an orientation leader, you’ll be in training sessions with students from all different divisions and backgrounds. Listening to the opinions and experiences of other students when discussing their time at Hampshire can be a great learning experience, and can further expand your understanding of the Hampshire community on the whole.

7. Positive change! Didn’t enjoy your own orientation group experience? As an orientation leader, you’ll have the opportunity to create positive change and help us to improve the new student orientation program. Take what didn’t work for you when you were a first year and make it better for the new students — they’ll thank you!

6. Repeat performances! Can’t get enough Micia Mosely? Love the welcome ceremony? Want to help introduce students to the climbing wall? Looking forward to a new common reading discussion? You can do it all again, and help us to make it even better!

5. Relationship building! You’ll make a lot of new friends during orientation, both with your fellow leaders and the new students coming in. The people you meet could become lifelong friends, all because of the bond you made during the orientation program. (This happens ALL the time!) As an orientation leader, you’ll also become a part of a unique community of orientation staff, a bond that you can carry with you throughout your time at Hampshire.

Golf Cart4. Perks! As an orientation leader, you’ll get to return to campus early, be fed by the orientation program, wear a fancy orientation leader t-shirt, AND receive a $300 stipend. Starting out the year with $300 is a great thing. Who knows, you may even get a chance to take a ride on the orientation golf cart with Josiah Litant and Jessica Ortiz. What’s not to love?

3. Representing Hampshire! Orientation leaders are chosen to be representatives of Hampshire during one of the most important times of the year. As an orientation leader, you’ll represent Hampshire to the community of new students and families, and will have the opportunity to share your experiences with these individuals. It’s an honor to be chosen to represent Hampshire at this crucial time, and something that our leaders are very proud of!

2. It’s fun! Orientation is such a fun time of year, and the positive energy on campus is palpable. It’s warm, it’s sunny, you’re outside, and you’re at Hampshire! Sounds good to us.

1. You know you want to! Seriously, you know you want to, so what are you waiting for? Start your application today by visiting the shared application website. Learn more about what’s required, the selection timeline, and more! Don’t wait — applications are due on Wednesday, March 7!

Still have questions? Come to an information session to learn more about the orientation leader position. Sessions will be held on Thursday, March 1 at 4PM and Friday, March 2 at 2:30PM, both in the Merrill Living Room. Meet Josiah and Jessica and get your questions answered. We can’t wait to meet you!

In the meantime, feel free to e-mail us at for more information.


CEL-What?On Thursday, February 23 from 4-5PM in the Dakin Living Room, Ivana Staiti, community engagement and collaborative learning coordinator, presented a special drop-in workshop for division I students on the CEL-1 requirement. This session expanded upon the first CEL-What? workshop, which was held during the fall semester. Couldn’t make it? Still have questions about CEL-1? Read on for lots of great information.

What Happened:
Participants arrived with lots of questions about their progress with the CEL-1 requirement, which provided a good starting point for the workshop. Some had already started the requirement, while others came to the workshop seeking more information on how best to begin logging CEL-1 hours. Ivana answered participants’ individual questions, provided an overview of the basic philosophy of the requirement, and walked everyone through the CEL-1 website. Attendees also had the opportunity to see how sponsors add activities to the site, in addition to a demonstration of how students can register for specific activities.

Good Questions:
What follows is a list of the most common questions from workshop participants at all stages of CEL-1 completion (and their answers!). For more general information about the requirement, don’t miss the blog post for our first CEL-What? workshop.

  • Q: I’m interested in an activity that is posted on the website. Should I make an effort to contact the sponsor prior to registering, or should I just register through the site?
    A: It’s never a bad idea to reach out to the sponsor to make sure that the activity is still current, and to introduce yourself. By doing so, the sponsor will know to expect your registration, and you can get any questions you may have answered ahead of time.
  • Q: I think an activity that I’m working on should count towards CEL-1, but it isn’t on the website. How does an activity get posted?
    A: There are generally two different ways in which activities get posted to the CEL-1 website. Sponsors with special projects will post activities to the website in the hopes of finding students who are interested in working on these projects, and students can browse these activities as they post to the website. Other activities, including student groups, are not automatically posted to the CEL-1 website, so participants will need to ask a signer or other student to post the activity as a sponsor. If you’re working on an activity that should be on the website, don’t hesitate to speak to the instructor, signers, or other older students. Adding an activity is a quick and easy process for sponsors, and once the activity has been added to the website, you can officially register.
  • Q: I’m hoping to create a new activity, based on my interests. How do I find a sponsor?
    A: If you’re working with a staff or faculty member, or a Div II or Div III student, you can invite them to be your sponsor. Sponsors do not need to observe you completing all of your hours, but they do need to verify that you’ve completed them at the end of the activity. If you need advice on how to go about this process, speak to your advisor, or contact Ivana Staiti at
  • Q: I haven’t yet started the activity that I’m creating, and I’m not sure that it will amount to 40 hours. What should I do?
    A: Don’t forget that you can complete your hours multiple ways! We want to be sure that you’re completing the requirement so that you can pass Division I on time. Take the time to review all of the possible activities on the website, and feel free to register for multiple things. The project that you’re hoping will help you to complete your hours may turn out to be a significant part of your Division II instead. Keep yourself open to multiple possibilities, and be sure to survey all of the different ways to complete your hours.

Use These Resources:

  • The CEL-1 website is a hub of great information. Review the extensive list of FAQs, browse available activities, and get yourself signed up!
  • Feel free to speak to your advisor about your progress with the requirement. We want to be sure that you’re able to pass Division I in a timely manner, so please let your advisor know if you’re having any trouble completing the CEL-1.
  • Still have questions? E-mail them to They’re happy to help!

That’s all for now. Did we miss anything? E-mail us at for more information!

keeping up with your reading

On Thursday, February 16 from 12-1PM in FPH 108, Lise Sanders, associate professor of English literature and cultural studies, presented a special reading skills workshop to a packed house of staff and students. Couldn’t make it? Need a recap? Read on for more information about what you missed, and how to get a hold of the resources that were shared in this session.

What Happened:
While participants enjoyed a delicious catered lunch, Lise invited students to share what brought them to the workshop, and what obstacles they most frequently face with regard to completing all of their reading. Common themes in the room included identifying the most important pieces of information to absorb, how to prioritize reading tasks, focusing too much on details, and the need to read more effectively in the time allotted for a specific task.

Sound familiar?!

With these concerns in mind, Lise went on to to introduce a variety of different techniques to address these issues, keeping participants engaged with one another through reading, paired sharing, and other activities. Lise shared a number of handouts with the group, and offered participants the opportunity to ask questions after discussing a variety of techniques.

What We Learned:

  • In order to read more effectively, you must commit to being an active and engaged reader. Read with the firm intention of deducing the author’s main point, not just to get through the right number of pages. Your focus will aid your success.
  • It’s okay to ask ahead! When you receive an assignment, consider speaking to your professor about what areas of the reading you’ll be focusing on in class discussion. This will help to guide your reading and make you more prepared to participate. If you have concerns, talk to your professor. They may have specific tips to help you maximize the effectiveness of your reading time, particularly with regard to the text at hand.
  • Approaching an entire page of text can be difficult to do. Train your eye to focus on the line you’re reading by using something to mark your place on the page. In the workshop, students used their fingers to guide their eyes across lines on the page. With practice, this can become a mechanical technique for training your eye to move faster.
  • You can diagnose your own comprehension and retention of your reading by pausing from time to time to verbally summarize what you’ve read. Participants engaged in pair sharing to assess their own comprehension in the workshop, but this is also something that you can do on your own. By summarizing aloud, you can move the knowledge you’ve gained into deeper memory.
  • When reading nonfiction, you can and should feel free to read the conclusion first. There’s no point in keeping the conclusion a secret from yourself, and reading in reverse can help you to better seek the features that will allow you to identify the main points of the text. Look up terms after your first review so you won’t have to continually stop while you’re trying to read.
  • Remember that as a reader, you have a unique critical perspective. Consider your own arguments and critical engagement with the text while you read — this will help you to gauge your own retention and comprehension.

Really Good Advice: Good Brain Time vs. Bad Brain Time*
Think about the times of day when you’re most “on”. For some of us, it’s first thing in the morning, while for others, it’s very, very late at night. Do you know when your own good brain time is? If so, use it! Prioritize your reading and other tasks based on when you’re most “on” — you’ll likely read and absorb more during your good brain time. Wondering what to do with your bad brain time? Save tasks that require less thinking for these periods. Once you’ve identified your own rhythm, you’ll be able to accomplish more.

*Lise attributes this concept to Lauren Berlant, one of her graduate advisors at the University of Chicago.

Use These Resources:

  • Interested in viewing the workshop handouts? Want to learn more about reading techniques? Get in touch with the workshop facilitator, Lise Sanders, at She’s happy to help!
  • Can’t get enough of these great academic skills? Join us for another workshop! This presentation was the first in series of skills-based lunch workshops for new students, led by tutorial faculty and other staff members. Our next workshop, Plan to Get Organized, will be held on Tuesday, February 28 from 12-1PM in the FPH Faculty/Staff Lounge. Learn how to manage your time and improve your organization, all while enjoying a free lunch. See you there!

Questions? Did we miss something? E-mail us at for more information!