Incoming student numbers increase

This summer, new students will be visiting PSU for orientation, to learn the ropes of higher education.

Last Saturday, inside Hoffman Hall at 8 a.m., the orientation journey began for hundreds of newly admitted students.

A little over 2,700 students attended an orientation of some kind last summer, orientation coordinator Bill Ryder estimated.

“This year I expect it will easily hit 3,000,” he said. “We’ve added some extra sessions to accommodate the growth that PSU experiences and continues to experience.”

Helping orientation-goers and the university deal with this large increase are the members of the 2003 orientation team, consisting of 34 current PSU students who help throughout the day by interacting with small groups of students and their accompanying family members.

The diverse group of orientation participants this year includes students from Somalia, Peru, Southern California and Seattle, as well as many from Portland’s surrounding areas.

“I love helping them!” said orientation leader Leila Hajiramezan. “They’re just getting here and they’re all nervous, and I get to help them.”

Hajiramezan, who moved to Portland two years ago from Iran, explained that when hosting these orientations, freshmen tend to be in need of getting acquainted with the campus, reading schedules and getting a feel for the pace of student life, while transfer students just seem to want to register.

Soon after meeting with orientation leaders, students were given the opportunity to meet the faculty from University Studies and the University Honors Program during the resource fair. Exposure to the programs allowed students to discover which freshman component of their requirements to pursue, as well as provided them the opportunity to ask questions.

Students and their families were given the opportunity to learn about aspects of PSU, including information about residence halls, financial aid and employment opportunities.

Following lunch at the Smith Memorial Student Union Ballroom, Campus Public Safety representatives held a lecture about the university’s desire to create and promote a safe environment that encourages learning and freedom.

Later in the day, students could attend a peer advising session, which allowed them to register for classes and pay tuition.

Also at this time were family-specific sessions, informative lectures just for the parents and other family members of visiting students to better educate them about the transition into college and the family’s role in the process.

Academic advising followed, which allowed students the chance to seek professional guidance in picking majors and fall-term classes.

It was during this time that Kelsy Little, an incoming freshman from West Linn, said the orientation “really helped me to be able to actually find out what classes are about and fit it into my schedule.”

Toward the end of the day, families and students gathered in Smith Memorial Student Union for the closing reception, which was accompanied by cookies and punch.

John Raglione, a new freshman and Portland resident, said the day seemed a bit longer than it needed to be, but was overall helpful.

“My biggest obstacle was finding my way around and figuring out the schedule. I didn’t really have a clear picture at what (PSU) was going to be, so this made it clearer.”

For information on how to get involved in new student orientation, log onto