Senior students at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q) have enlisted the help of comic book superheroes to welcome more than 100 first-year students representing approximately 25 nationalities during an orientation program that introduces them to the university’s campus, resources, and values.
This year’s program of events falls under the theme ‘League of Tartans’ with classrooms across CMU-Q being decorated and named after comic book superheroes. On their first day, freshmen were asked to dress up as characters and encouraged to interact with classmates and staff members to gain an appreciation for university life and be inspired to take an active interest in future events.
The program, which kicked off this week, eased the new students’ transition from high school to college through activities such as community service, a treasure hunt, ice-breaker games, karaoke, and a dinner. In addition to learning about their university, students will be introduced to essential values that will define their time as students, including trust, collaboration and community building, creativity and innovation, and dedication and integrity.
Kevin D’Arco, student development coordinator at CMU-Q, explained the significance of exploring the wide range of activities available on campus. “We want our freshmen to develop an understanding of the academic rigors of our campus, the resources that are available to them in their academic and meta-curricular pursuits, and of course make some friends and get to know their peers.”
“They will be spending a lot of time with this cohort of students, so orientation is as much about meeting their new classmates as it is about learning about the campus,” he said.
While the Office of Student Activities at CMU-Q is in charge of overseeing orientation, a team of four highly motivated returning students was nominated as ‘Head Orientation Counselors’ (HOC). They were tasked with leading, developing and implementing the action-packed schedule. The HOCs began working together in April following a rigorous selection process that called on them to demonstrate key skills such as planning, marketing, negotiation, communication, and creativity.
To fulfill their duties, the HOCs have liaised effectively with the different university offices to ensure that their messages are clearly and accurately communicated.
“I love to work on orientation because of the energy. This year’s theme is a play on comic superheroes and all our activities fit in with this. We want the students to learn that while they are going to be studying 24/7, there are plenty of opportunities to have fun,” said Saba Singh, a business administration senior at CMU-Q and HOC.
Joining the HOCs, an additional 33 student ‘Orientation Counselors’ will also be on hand to ensure the smooth running of the lively program, and to introduce the new students to the wide range of resources available at CMU-Q.