Three St. Bonaventure University students attended a conference over the university’s spring break aimed at enhancing the new-student experience at colleges and universities.
The Region IX conference of the Association for Orientation, Transition and Retention in Higher Education (NODA), held March 7-10 at the State University of New York at Oneonta, invited students and professionals from colleges and universities in the Northeast to share their programs and best practices in student orientation and transition services. NODA is an international organization that provides education, leadership and professional development in the fields of college student orientation, transition and retention.
Conference presentations were led by professionals, graduate students, and undergraduate orientation leaders.
Ryan Signorino, a senior journalism major at St. Bonaventure, gave a presentation on building and maintaining team chemistry during student orientation. His presentation, “Iconic and Benevolent Bonds: Building Strong Team Chemistry,” addressed team dynamics, incorporating research into the stages of team development, and their application among student orientation leaders.
“It was my second year attending the conference and it was an amazing experience,” said Signorino. “It was fun to meet orientation leaders from other schools, be able to make connections, and learn what others do with their programs.”
The conference included an undergraduate case study competition in which two St. Bonaventure students earned top presentation awards. The competition separated undergraduates into small groups of students from various institutions. The groups analyzed an orientation-based case study and presented solutions to the case to a panel of judges. The case study focused on themes of inclusion for students with disabilities.
Signornio’s group won the Best Communication Skills award, while a group that included Cammie Dutchess, a sophomore strategic communication major at St. Bonaventure, won the Best Problem-Solving Skills award.
Said Dutchess, “The case study competition was a great way to collaborate with other conference-goers to see how other orientation leaders would resolve the problem. I think my team worked well together to come up with a solution to our conflict. I am very proud of my group for winning our award.”
Another St. Bonaventure attendee, junior adolescent education major Calsey Bump, participated in NODA’s Returning Orientation Leadership Institute (ROLI), a group experience for returning orientation leaders with orientation supervision responsibilities at their respective schools. The training program, led by professional mentors, helped prepare her for her upcoming role as an orientation coordinator at St. Bonaventure this summer, said Bump.
“Being in the ROLI program was such an eye-opening experience. It allowed me to share my ideas from our orientation program at St. Bonaventure, but also hear from my new friends about how they run their orientation,” she said. “I gained many new insights and perspectives on ideas that I can’t wait to share with my team this summer. ROLI truly inspired me in many ways, to not only be the best orientation coordinator that I can be, but also the best person I can be.”
Signorino and Dutchess will join Bump as orientation team leaders at St. Bonaventure this summer.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, we believe in the goodness of every person and in the ability of every person to do extraordinary things. St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. Named the #1 regional university value in New York and #2 in the North by U.S. News and World Report, we are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition.
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