Freshman year can be both exciting and nerve-wracking for many students. To enable a smooth and enjoyable transition into college life, Denison offers a wide range of optional pre-orientation programs. The purpose of these programs is to give new students a chance to work with other first-years to share similar interests and form strong bonds in small group settings.

There are many pre-orientations for students to choose from. Denison’s Canoeing Orientation (DCO) provides an adventurous camping experience for students, where they spend four days canoeing on the Mohican River. It helps build the skills needed for outdoor survival and encourages participants to appreciate nature. Denison’s Outdoor Orientation (DOO) also has a similar goal. It allows students to go backpacking for three days in the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia, where they spend their time camping, hiking and relaxing.

At Denison’s Mindfulness Orientation (DMO), participants learn the importance of staying healthy and focused during their college career. They are taught to set daily routines, which help them schedule time to reflect, relax and enhance their growth. Another orientation dedicated to help students with personal development is Denison’s Art Orientation (DAO). With ample time in Columbus, Ohio, students can spend their time touring museums, exploring public art and indulging in multicultural experiences.

“From the long, intimate talks on the bus ride to laughing in the hotel room because of some intense museum curator, this has been a trip where first-year students and student leaders can explore their depth of humanity through their shared experience with other first-year students, and of course the art that inspires these conversations,” said Isaac Andrews ‘20, one of the student leaders for this year’s art orientation program.

A special pre-orientation is also offered for international students, easing their transition into the US. This year 108 students participated in the program, marking it as the highest number of incoming international students in Denison’s history.

“I really enjoyed meeting people from all over the world and forming deep friendships with similar broad-minded people,” said Giorgi Alavidze ’22, an international student from Georgia (the country, not the state) who participated in this year’s pre-orientation for international students.

Paving the Way (PTW) assists students with their transition into college life at Denison, by extending the program throughout the year. PTW wants to ensure that students explore valuable aspects of their identity, thus providing student with a forum for help year-round. Finally, Denison’s Service Orientation (DSO) takes participants to Washington D.C. where they help raise awareness on issues related to homelessness and hunger.

Denison hopes that with the exciting variety of programs provided, the incoming freshmen have a easier time adjusting to life on the hill.

With so many different programs provided, pre-orientation programs need current Denison students leaders and guides on the trips. It is a great opportunity to explore different orientations or revisit old one, while giving advice about college life. For students interested in becoming a pre-orientation leader, information will be out soon on how to apply. Regardless of whether they attended the event or not, all students are welcome to apply for the position.