The transition from high school to college can be intimidating. That’s why freshman orientation is an essential program to acclimate incoming students to their future educational homes for the next four years.
For First-Time-in-College Students, who are entering the fall 2017 semester, UHD offers Gator Gateway—a four-day orientation program that is specifically designed based on new students’ academic major, which is chock-full of informational sessions to get new Gators ready.
On the fourth day of Gator Gateway, students can choose what they want to do as part of their orientation experience, known as the Gator Personal Success Conference (GPS). New Gators select four of the 11 sessions offered. These include: Sports & Fitness Boot Camp, Gator Jeopardy (presented by Veterans’ Services), Do What Your Mother Never Wanted You to Do (hosted by Career Services), and Love Your Library.
“GPS is a great opportunity for new students to learn about aspects of the University they traditionally wouldn’t discover during orientation,” said Megan Hopwood, First-Year Experience and Instruction Librarian at W.I. Dykes Library. “The library is an essential resource in a student’s college experience. This session offers an enjoyable experience that shows the library as both an academic support and positive learning environment.”
So how do students learn to love their library?
A scavenger hunt, of course!
With clues and a map, students work in teams to solve riddles and navigate through the library to identify key services offered, library layout and location as librarians ensure they stay on task throughout the hunt. A grand prize is awarded to the winning team; runner-ups receive bags filled with UHD mementos.
Meet scavenger hunter, Rylie Cohen, who chose UHD as her new collegiate home after graduating from the college-prep school, The Emery/Weiner School in Houston. In an ironic twist, both of her parents are University of Houston alumni.
“I chose UHD to be close to my family and friends,” the 18-year-old said. “Initially, I was dreading orientation, but the experience has been incredible. The sessions offered through Gator Gateway allow us to express ourselves while meeting fellow students.”
Cohen said she chose the Love Your Library session because it was her favorite place to “hang out” in high school so it was an easy choice, “I love to read and I want to know the ins and outs of the library,” she said.
The graphic design major hopes to work for Marvel one day. Her favorite superhero movie? “Spider-Man: Homecoming.”
Gator Gateway is part of a two-pronged orientation initiative that also includes Gator Ready—a one-day program for students to finalize enrollment; speak to an academic advisor and register for classes. New Gators also learn about financial aid and scholarship opportunities and more about their desired majors.