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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Activities & Organizations

Orientation Team begins training for upcoming summer

New students listen to presentations about course registration before selecting classes. | File photo

New students listen to presentations about course registration before selecting classes. | File photo

Some students look back on their orientation days with fondness, recalling activities like learning the Cougar Fight Song, choosing their first classes, and being filled with pride while lighting up the dark with candles around the fountains.

What some don’t realize is the spring training that some upperclassmen undergo to become orientation team leaders.

The selection process for OTLs began in early January. Interested students first attended an information session, followed by an application due on Jan. 24. Three rounds of interviews, including group and individual, occurred afterward until the final list of around 44 students was announced on Feb. 10.

As part of the director staff, public relations sophomore Amiah Williams is one of the eight students who have previously served as OTLs and are now working to select and train new members. Her job involves working behind the scenes at orientations as well as conflict management and resolution.

“Trainings are where you get all the necessary information about things, such as campus resources, colleges, traditions,” Williams said. “Not only are you getting educated on school-related things, but also on the things that make everyone so unique and different. We talk about pronouns and the importance of identities for example.”  

As part of her responsibility for selecting new OTLs, Williams says directors don’t look for any particular type of person, so the O-Team typically represents the diversity in the UH community. However, important OTL character traits can include open-mindedness, love for the University, and potential for growth.

Starting in February, OTLs began weekly training on Fridays to prepare for freshman and transfer orientations.

“So far, the trainings have been so energetic and filled with lots of fun and excitement,” said pre-psychology freshman Asa Lewis. “You can truly feel the love and support radiating throughout each training to the point that we never want to leave our trainings on time.”

In addition to training as an OTL, Lewis serves on the Dance and Production Committees that choreographs the orientation dance and creates videos to play at orientation. 

OTLs will welcome the first members of the class of 2024 at the first freshman orientation, which starts May 27.

Public health and business management junior Corry Smith is also serving as an OTL for the first time, though he has worked before as a resident adviser.

“I really look forward to changing (the) lives that enter the University of Houston environment,” Smith said. “When I went to my freshman orientation, I can honestly say that it was a game changer and renewed my life in many ways. My O-Team leader provided me with the best experience, and I personally want to be that for someone.”

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