Sterling College Welcomes New Students during Orientation

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

It looked like just fun and games on Sunday night as the new Sterling College students passed a ring-shaped candy from one person to the next using only their teeth and a toothpick and then tied their legs together to compete in the “team-legged” race. However, they were actually increasing their chances to have a successful college experience. “Students who are involved and who have friends on campus are more likely to stay in college and earn a degree,” said Assistant Professor of Exercise Science Shawn Reed as he spoke to the students on Saturday. “National statistics say that most of you will not finish college, but that’s not the case at Sterling. We want each and every one of you to succeed.”

“Each and every one” includes 156 first-year college students and 85 transfer students who range in age from 19 to 27. These students come from 24 states and four countries outside the U.S.: Indonesia, Gambia, Korea, and El Salvador. The top five states represented are Kan., Calif., Texas, Colo. and Ariz. Fifteen of the students are sons/daughters of SC alumni, and 14 of them have siblings who are at or have been at SC. One student represents the fourth generation of his family to attend SC.

A team of SC professors, staff members and student volunteers have been preparing for months for this wide variety of students.
Faculty members planned a weekly class to aid students with the academic, social and emotional struggles of the first year of college, and Vice President for Student Life Tina Wohler and the resident directors assembled a team of students to help with this fall’s orientation. “We have 31 student leaders who worked this weekend,” said Wohler, “and another 45 volunteers. We had a lot of people here to connect with new students.” Each member of the orientation staff was given the names of five or six incoming students. The staff members contacted them several weeks ago, stayed in touch with them during the summer and then met them at orientation weekend. “Our goal is for all of our incoming students to make good connections and friendships right away,” said Wohler. “We’re hoping these relationships continue throughout the semester.”

Junior Kacie Rogers was in charge of all the student volunteers. “I had an amazing team. They really made this past weekend a success,” she said. “One of the coolest things for me was the casual transfer event we had for the older students. It gave them a good chance to connect with each other.”

New SC students arrived on campus on Friday, many with their parents. While students attended a hall social and new student welcome, parents were greeted by President Dr. Paul J. Maurer and his wife, Joellen, and then given some information that will help them to parent their Sterling College students. “I have been very impressed with the personal attention and all the people I’ve met during the orientation,” said Alysa Giorgetti, mother to first-year student Steve Stinson. “The parent session has just reaffirmed for me that I’m leaving him in good hands and in a place where people will care about him. The academics are important, and I’m pleased that his spiritual life and development are also a high priority for Sterling.”

That’s the goal at Sterling College: to educate the whole person—mind and soul. For the 241 new Sterling College students, that goal has just begun.