August 16, 2021
For more information, contact:
Su Ofe, (334) 833-4515; firstname.lastname@example.org
Huntingdon Orientation Leaders Welcome New Students
Montgomery, Ala.—The first week of classes for the fall semester at Huntingdon College is “in the books,” and Huntingdon Orientation Leaders, who welcomed new students for orientation programming August 5–8, can return to normal student life. Huntingdon OLs are responsible for guiding small teams of incoming students through the process of acclimation to the College and to each other. Sessions on classroom and email etiquette, health and wellness, resumes, college systems and terminology, campus organizations, Title IX, and how to use the laptop computer provided by the College are included in the orientation programming, in addition to time to relax, learn the campus, and get to know each other. The OLs also helped new residents move into their residence halls, led games and competitions, and provided campus tours.
Each orientation leader was selected after an application process and arrived for training five days earlier than the newest Hawks arrived. Conducted under the theme, Survivor, the OLs prepared binders for the freshmen, designed tribe flags, and participated in diversity and inclusion training. The orientation process and OL team are led by Staci-Jo Palek, director of campus activities.
“Working with the orientation leaders is easily the best part of my job,” said Palek. “These students love Huntingdon and want to make sure each new Hawk will find their home here. They show endless energy and will always step up and get the job done. These are some of the hardest-working individuals I have ever seen.”
“I was incredibly thankful for my OL(Kale Smith), and I wanted to help students in the same manner,” said OL Michael Storie, a sophomore from Springville, Ala. “I am already seeing the freshmen in my group become involved and enjoying their Huntingdon experience. Seeing them succeed and realizing I partially influenced that is incredibly rewarding.”
“This group of OLs is unlike any other group I have ever been a part of because of how we all became a family so fast and we have developed relationships that will last throughout our college careers, as well as the rest of our lives,” said Sam Page, a junior from Rocky Mount, N.C. “I was motivated by knowing that I would be able to share with new students everything that Huntingdon has done for me and why I love this school so much. Being able to brag about the best school ever and let new students know the impact it has made on my life is one of the best experiences I can think of.”
Most orientation leaders are already involved in a wide range of student activities, teams, and organizations. All volunteers, OLs say they carved out time from their already-packed schedules to participate in the program because of the difference it made in their own lives and the difference it makes in the lives of the newest students. “Being involved at Huntingdon is so important—to branch out and experience all things that come with being a Hawk,” said Joslyn (Jojo) Dahlberg, a sophomore from Orlando, Fla. “It was important to me simply because I love making new relationships with new people. Seeing how happy our freshmen were while doing the activities and hearing that they were able to navigate through their first week of college pretty easily was extremely rewarding.”
“Orientation gave the new students a friend before even stepping foot on campus for the school year and it made it so much easier for them to come to school,” said second-year OL Cam Nicely, a senior from Thomson, Ga., who also serves as president of the Student Government Association, a Campus Ambassador, and a vital member of Huntingdon band programs and the Campus Ministries worship team. “Students know that they can come to me for anything and, to me, being that role model and ‘big brother’ figure on campus while seeing others smiling and being happy to be here is the biggest reward I can get.”
Senior Chris Mayer of Bennington, Vt., is also a second-year OL and serves as vice president of the Student Government Association, a Campus Ambassador, and chairman of College Republicans. “Being an OL has enriched my time at Huntingdon by giving me friends that I will know and be in contact with for the rest of my life,” said Mayer. “Between the friendships built, the bond that was fostered, and the common goal of bettering Huntingdon College, being an OL is among the things I have loved most about my time at Huntingdon College.”
Although Dr. Anthony Leigh, senior vice president for student and institutional relations and dean of students, has been at Huntingdon for more than a decade, this is his first year as dean of students. “Orientation Leaders play a vital role in the life of the College,” said Leigh. “They help students acclimate to their college home, make them feel welcome, and ease them into the academic rigors of college life. They provided a trusted upperclassman voice and big brother or big sister advice that new students welcome. This group of OLs was my first but they are especially outstanding—they are all volunteers motivated by love for the college and the desire to do the right thing. What could be better than that?”
“These OLs continue to thank me for the experience, but they don’t know I can’t thank them enough for impacting my life,” said Palek. “Now that orientation is over, I can’t wait to see where else these leaders excel.”
“The orientation program connects you with so many people—people with different opinions, common interests, different backgrounds, etc.,” said Abrianna (A.B.) Davis, a junior from Calera, Ala. “It’s important to be involved because you could be changing a person’s life. Being involved in the OL program has truly enriched my college experience because it taught me that I can count on any person at Huntingdon to be there for me. When I hear ‘Huntingdon,’ I hear ‘Family.’”
Fall 2021 Orientation Leaders were:
- Will Bearden ’22, Oneonta, Ala.
- Erin Cembrale ’23, Palm Harbor, Fla.
- Madison Chastain ’23, Alexandria, Ala.
- Will Curtis ’23, Hoover, Ala.
- Joslyn (JoJo) Dahlberg ’24, Orlando, Fla.
- Abrianna (A.B.) Davis ’23, Calera, Ala.
- Gabrien Dunn ’24, Andalusia, Ala.
- Jordan Hollis ’22, Dothan, Ala.
- Gaines Jordan ’22, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
- Lydia Lewis ’22, Butler, Ala.
- Damien Madison ’22, Montgomery, Ala.
- Chris Mayer ’22, Bennington, Vt.
- Nevaeh McIntyre ’24, Pelham, Ala.
- Cam Nicely ’22, Thomson, Ga.
- Sam Page ’23, Rocky Mount, N.C.
- Alina Shoemake ’23, Stone Mountain, Ga.
- Kale Smith ’23, Huntsville, Ala.
- Doren Staley ’22, Port Charlotte, Fla.
- Michael Storie ’24, Springville, Ala.
- Caleb Toney ’22, Birmingham, Ala.
- Hunter Warr ’23, Marbury, Ala.
Huntingdon College is a coeducational residential liberal arts college of the United Methodist Church offering more than thirty programs of study and twenty NCAA-Division III athletic teams. The College also offers the Master of Athletic Training.