As the first day of school approaches, both Colgate’s Links and Community Leaders (CLs) are working in unison for the first time to ensure that the incoming first-years have an optimal orientation experience. In past years, Links and CLs held completely separate jobs.
Previously, each member of the Link staff was paired with a freshman seminar (FSEM) of about seventeen students. Links alone ushered their FSEM group through orientation. Meanwhile, CL training was focused on creating relationships within the students’ residence. CLs’ responsibilities were predominantly within the residential halls.
Changes made this year put the CLs and Links into a more collaborative role during this year’s orientation. According to Residential Life Director Stacey Millard, the Office of Residential Life collected data in past years that demonstrated that students did not know their neighbors after orientation.In response, the CLs initiated bonding activities and established community goals to ensure the development of strong communities within the residential halls.
During the first half of orientation, first-years will report to their residential group, led by at least one CL and one Link. For the remainder of orientation, first-years report to their FSEM, led by their Link. Their Link then continues to guide and advise their link group throughout the semester. From this point on, these two groups will function separately; the collaboration is primarily during orientation.
In addition to connecting the first-years to one another, the administration will also integrate them with upperclassmen. Residential halls such as Curtis Hall, Drake Hall and the Bryan Complex all house both first-years and sophomores.
All these programs work to integrate student residential, social and academic life to create a cohesive orientation experience.
With the integration of the Commons Program, CLs will collaborate with Links to emulate the welcoming energy and spirit on the first-years’ halls in addition to serving as a resource to the first-years.
“It’s a great privilege to be able to work with the 62 individuals who want to make Colgate as welcoming as possible,” said Assistant Dean for Administrative Advising Sarah H. Jones. “I’m here to help students thrive and be successful, so it’s great that I can help set the tone for the newest students at the beginning of the year.”