Privateer Plunge, a joint effort of the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership and the Office of Enrollment Services, provides new students a variety of opportunities to get acquainted with available campus resources and to meet fellow students as well as faculty and administrators. The six-week program began Thursday, Aug. 13 and continues through Wednesday, Sept. 9.
Privateer Plunge is completely voluntary, but those who choose to participate will find a combination of extended welcome week programming with orientation-style activities—as well as a little competition to sweeten the pot.
"This year's Privateer Plunge has more than 200 programs," said Dale O'Neill, director of UNO's Office of Student Involvement and Leadership. The six-week orientation challenge for new students is divided into five tracks representing academic opportunities and traditions; social and cultural events; health, wellness and personal development; community service; and a special track designed to benefit transfer students. Printed Privateer Plunge guides include a color splash next to each scheduled event indicating that event's category.
Participants are expected to attend at least 12 events, three in each category, within the first six weeks at UNO. Events are scheduled at varying times throughout the day. This year, the organizers will provide awards to students who have attended the most events in various tracks during Privateer Plunge. The prizes bring major incentives to participate, including New Orleans Saints tickets, UNO bookstore vouchers and upgraded campus parking.
Privateer Plunge is "not just fun and games," said Christy Heaton, associate director for orientation and first-year student success in UNO's Office of Enrollment Services. The six weeks includes academic success workshops, counseling career workshops and events hosted by academic departments, according to Heaton, who created the program together with O'Neill.
"Research shows that the first six weeks at a new university is the best time for campus leaders to help freshmen get incentive to form a new community ... making friends, meeting administrators and feeling at home. We want new UNO students to meet friends and feel like they have a home on our campus," said Heaton.
Students who attended last year's Privateer Plunge reported that the six-week welcome introduced them to resources that they previously did not know were available, according to O'Neill. Had they not attended these events, these students may not have known where to pursue critical resources or find the tools they needed for success.
Privateer Plunge's signature social events include a Welcome Back Luau on Thursday, Aug. 20, and Swampball on Saturday, Sept. 26. Privateer Plunge printed guides are available in the New Student Orientation Office (Earl K. Long Library, Room 112) and the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership (University Center, Room 222). For more information, visit the Privateer Plunge website.