Monday, March 18, 2013


Orientation Leaders at SROWUNO Orientation Leaders brought home the
Best Skit award from the Southern Regional Orientation Workshop in Memphis.

Orientation staff at the University of New Orleans took home four awards from the Southern Regional Orientation Workshop in Memphis this week.

The Southern Regional Orientation Workshop, known to higher education leaders as SROW, is the largest regional workshop sponsored by the National Orientation Directors Association (NODA). Attending this year's annual regional conference were nearly 2,000 people from colleges in nine states:  Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky. Nearly 40 of them came from UNO: 31 orientation student staff, two graduate assistants, four professional staff and a former UNO summer intern who came to the University through NODA.

 "They did an excellent job representing UNO," said Christy Heaton, associate director for orientation and first-year student success at the University of New Orleans.  "It's a big deal to win one award ― let alone four."

For the past five years, UNO has brought home an award from SROW, Heaton said. Last year's OL's brought home three awards. This year, the University participated not only as attendees, but as workshop and education session leaders, delivering nine educational sessions and joining undergraduate and graduate case study competitions. UNO Orientation staff and student leaders together brought home from the conference four key awards, she said.

UNO's beloved student Orientation Leaders brought home a first-place prize for Best Skit, said Heaton. This was the second year in a row that UNO OL's took home that particular prize.

UNO undergraduate students Nathaniel Faulk and Blake Edwards took home first place prizes for Best Communication in the undergraduate case study competition, Heaton said. Cameron Vakilian, a graduate student at Indiana University who interned at UNO last summer and represented UNO at SROW, took home a first-place prize for Best Communication in SROW's graduate case study competition.

Caleigh Keith and Gabby Riviere, UNO graduate students working in the Office of Enrollment Services and helping with UNO Orientation, took home third place in the educational session category for their presentation, "A Little Less Conversation:  Be Engaging at Orientation."

The case study competition as SROW brought the same challenge for undergraduate and graduate students, said Keith. Both groups of students were asked to formulate responses to hypothetical and sensitive situations that could be encountered by orientation staff and student leaders.

This year, all participants were given a sensitive situation that hypothetically occurred at a well-known southern university with a predominantly white student population, Keith said. They had to address a three-fold problem: first, orientation leaders used non-inclusive language about another orientation leader; second, orientation leaders took prospective students to a local bar and were arrested for public intoxication; third, returning orientation leaders posted incriminating pictures featuring underage students on their social media pages with underage students.

Nathaniel Faulk and Blake Edwards created a response to each of these issues based on their experiences at UNO as student leaders, Keith said. Allotted seven minutes to present their response and three minutes for questions and answers, they finished their presentation with four seconds to spare.

Cameron Vakilian, a NODA intern for UNO last summer who studies at the University of Indiana, competed with another graduate student from Florida International University whom he had met the day before at the conference, Keith said. Both teams for the case study won Best Communication for their respective groups.

UNO students and staff delivered the following presentations and educational sessions at the conference, Keith said:

 Nathaniel Faulk The Gracious Thrive in Graceland 

Caleigh Keith, Jamie Blanch I Can't Help Falling in Love with Transfer Students 

Vincent Prior, Courtney Brehm, Aspen Bartholomew All Shook Up:  Introverts and Extroverts at Orientation 

Caleigh Keith, Blake Edwards 1 for the Money, 2 for the SROW:  Orientation Skits and Videos 

Vincent Prior, Mike Hoffshire Walking to the Same Beat:  Faculty Partnerships 

Caleigh Keith, Gabby Riviere A Little Less Conversation: Be Engaging at Orientation

Gabby Riviere, Jamie Blanch, Stephanie Huynh Strumming in Spirit:  Getting all the Chords to Ring 

Alex Pope, Aspen Bartholomew, Kelly Massicot  Privateer Camp?  Yes, Please.

Nathaniel Faulk, Ja'Leah Shavers Beyond the Breaker 


Read more about UNO's journey to SROW >>