Each year, new students set foot on campus for the first time to start their journey at Charles Sturt. And each year they are welcomed by fellow students who provide support, guidance and friendship. These people are our Orientation Leaders and Coordinators.
So what’s it like to be an Orientation Leader or Coordinator?
Lizzie Butt was an Orientation Leader in 2018 and an Orientation Coordinator for 2019 and 2020. She enjoyed these roles so much that she will be applying again for 2021. Lizzie is also the Bathurst SRC President and has just completed her Bachelor of Criminal Justice. She’s moving onto a master’s next year.
I met up with Lizzie to get her thoughts on her last three years of being in the Orientation team.
Why did you apply?
“I started as an Orientation Leader in 2018, so my second year of uni. I applied at the end of my first year. I don’t know why, it just looked like a lot of fun because Orientation is really the first introduction to university. Everyone is at the front gate waiting for you on Move-in Day. There is such a welcoming and fun atmosphere and it just looked like a really fun time and I wanted to do that.
“I lived with people who did that for me in my first year and I applied with the help of past leaders. I got in and it was one of the best weeks I have ever had at uni.
“It’s simply just fun and incredibly rewarding. It’s like you are reliving your own Orientation again. You get to have an absolute ball but at the same time you get to help first year students who are either super excited or very shy. You meet a mix of introverted and extroverted students and if you don’t make a good first impression then they might not want to stay.”
What did it entail?
“As a Leader, I rocked up and was given a timetable, put in a team, in my case a really great team with really fun coordinators who I then helped achieve their tasks.
“You would help with bar night events and even though we still had our uniform on, we got to paint our faces and play music and have a party like the first years were partying. I think that made them a lot more comfortable too because we weren’t standing at the doors like soldiers.
“At the end of 2018, I applied to be a Coordinator which involved a lot more of the planning. As a Leader, you followed and did what you were told and as a Coordinator, you get paid to plan and to execute Orientation Week itself.
“That includes picking and training the leaders, working with other Charles Sturt staff, teams and other networks, as well as using your local resources to create day events, night events, downtown events, internal events… This included Market Day, which is probably the biggest Monday we ever have of the year, which is very fun. You need to start off with a bang I think.
“By immersing yourself as a second, third or fourth year into first year experiences again, it kind of reignites that passion for university and gets you excited for the year ahead. I find it such a highly anticipated week regardless if you are a Leader or Coordinator.”
Why should other people apply to become a Leader or Coordinator?
“I think everyone should become a Leader. You don’t even have to be outgoing. Know your way around the university and know what it takes to be a friend, a support person and a welcoming person because that’s all it takes to be like ‘Yeah, I feel comfortable here’. That is what you want in a place that can feel so foreign, exciting and also daunting to people.
“You just need to be welcoming, enthusiastic, willing, be open to being told what to do and to know where the line is drawn. You also need to be open to having that responsibility of ‘I’m either going to make or break someone’s first year right now’.
“By putting yourself in a leadership position as a Leader or a Coordinator, which are very similar (one follows and one leads), you increase your skillset. You’re put outside your comfort zone by having to step up, to start conversations, to introduce yourself first and to really increase momentum in helping people to meet other people and participating in things.”
What is there to gain from being a Leader or Coordinator?
“Before becoming a Leader I didn’t think I could do that very well. You know, step up to the plate when I needed to and talk to a large group of people when part of me was still apprehensive. But I’m glad I did because I don’t think I would be on the SRC, let alone President of the SRC without having gone through that experience. It sets you up for other things.
“Without that confidence boost or fun from being a Leader, I definitely wouldn’t have applied to be a Coordinator, and here I am as a Coordinator hopefully going into my third year on the team in a bright orange shirt.”
How can students apply?
Visit the Orientation Leaders and Coordinators page for details on how to apply. Get in quick – applications close on 8 November 2020.