Known for its personal connections, Centre College organizes a four-day new student orientation for first-year students that, as a recent survey indicates, makes students feel welcome at their new Kentucky home.
This survey of 254 incoming students revealed that 84 percent of respondents had a good orientation experience. Many remarked at the speed at which student, staff and faculty volunteers helped them move in on the first day.
Scotty Rainwater, the coordinator for new student orientation and Greek life, described the unique organization of the College’s orientation program, which reflects the close-knit nature of the Centre community.
Noting the difficulty many students face when transitioning to Centre, Rainwater also stressed the importance of new students’ close relationships with orientation leaders, the upperclassmen who guide new students throughout orientation.
“Orientation is four full days dedicated to transition,” Rainwater said. “We have 47 orientation leaders for 400 students. We strategically keep students to 10 per orientation leader to make sure students have that point person as they walk around campus and learn about Centre.
“Centre has a particular culture, and we want students to adapt as quickly as possible.”
New students also remarked that they greatly enjoyed the President’s Picnic, with 95 percent of survey participants responding positively to the event.
“It’s one of the biggest events that conveys our personal touch,” Rainwater said. “It’s very important to President and Susie Roush. They invite students over to the President’s house and they shake every student’s hand.”
Rainwater said faculty and staff also attended to meet new students and start building relationships with them, even before classes had started.
New student orientation also includes an introduction to the wider community with activities like the Service Plunge, connecting students with individuals and service sites in the Danville–Boyle County area. Many students spoke of the Service Plunge positively, with 84 percent of survey respondents describing the event as good or excellent.
Rainwater discussed a particularly successful service site at a local food pantry, stating that a follow-up event occurred at the end of September. Many Centre students attended, including a significant number of first-years.
Overall, the survey results “show we do orientation really well for our students,” he concluded.
By Kathleen Murphy ’18
October 12, 2017