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SOAR previews college life, provides tools for success

July 26, 2011 By Aimee Katz

With a home base for the first time at the new Union South, the summer Student Orientation, Advising and Registration program has produced a sense of ease and enthusiasm for students and their parents.

Josh Jackson, far right, a School of Education student peer advisor, works with incoming first-year undergraduate Lauren Narveson to register for her classes. See a slide show of more photos from SOAR.

Photo: Jeff Miller

 SOAR – run by the Center for the First Year Experience at the University of Wisconsin–Madison — gives first-year students a primer on college life and offers help with academic advising, registering for classes and getting to know campus resources.

“I love the enthusiasm that comes out at SOAR,” says Bryce Luttenegger, an orientation assistant. “Students are just so excited to come to UW and you really can tell as they go through the program.”

Students have also generated much enthusiasm for Union South and anticipate spending time here when they arrive on campus in the fall.

“I like how SOAR uses all parts of the building,” says Megan Bell, an incoming student from Waukesha. “Being a student, I can see that there is so much to do here from studying to just eating and hanging out with friends.”

In its new home of Union South, the programming of SOAR has been centralized. In the past, SOAR check-in, programming, registration, and social activities were held in separate areas of campus.

Carren Martin, assistant director of the Center for the First Year Experience, notes that parents and students alike are impressed with Union South.

“People spend a lot less time walking to various locations on campus to check in and start the program,” she says. “People are upbeat and positive … they are put at ease because everything is merged into one building.”

“I can tell that parents are excited about having everything condensed in one building,” said Shana Birger, an orientation assistant. After talking to guests who have had previous student go through SOAR, she added that they are “relaxed” and “pleasantly surprised” about the new location.

SOAR’s evening program consists of exploring what The Sett and social aspects of Union South have to offer students. The Sett is a three-level venue that offers food, live music, bowling, billiards, rock climbing, and an area to watch sporting events on a large screen.

Margaret Black of Plain Fields, Ill., another incoming student, notes: “I’ve met a lot of people at SOAR but I can’t wait until the fall to meet even more. I really think [SOAR programming] has helped me socialize and it will help with the transition to campus in the fall.”

Having this opportunity to see everything at students’ fingertips is an excellent way to introduce students to campus, Martin says. This year’s program runs through Aug 19.

“A lot of the content of the program is the same as years past, but being in the new facility, students see things that were not available before,” she adds.


Tags: New students