Registration & Orientation: Getting My Feet Wet at the UW

By Mike Lampe — Although I had a pretty good general sense of what types of projects I will be working on, I was a little nervous starting out my first day without knowing how the Student Services at UW-Waukesha functioned. However, that changed instantly after meeting up with my supervisor, Courtney. Thinking I would be working on the administrative touch up for the orientation leader training, she reminded me that it was Study Pancake Day to which she took me to the cafeteria. It was a great way for me to see the institutional professionals interacting with the college students while providing them a great activity to ease the stress of finals.

After we finished conversation, we then discussed some of the tasks that needed attention before our orientation leader training. It was nice to know that the tasks I was responsible for varied in the type of skills needed. Some of the creative tasks needed to be done were creating a cover for the training binders and picking out icebreaker/team building activities for the training. When thinking of these team building activities, I could already connect student development theory to the activities I wanted to do for the training. For example, I would take into consideration how challenging it would be for a more introverted student to partake in a more extroverted activity.

Getting a bit into organizational theory, I noted how much of a collegial feel I was getting while working for student services. I noticed strong collaboration considering the cordial interaction between the various academic and student services functional areas. I also felt the cordial interaction myself by having professionals introduce themselves to me. This was reflected when Courtney invited me to the presentation of the library student art award. Starting last year, the library decided to buy a painting from a student artist from the institution and hang it up on one of the walls of the library. Those attended were several art faculty members, the internship coordinator, 2 academic advisors (including Courtney), library staff, and the Dean of the college. Courtney came to support the student due to his participation as a past orientation leader.

Although much of the collaboration may have to do with limited resources in two year institutions, I noticed I was using more skills at the public institution than I do in my current assistantship at Marquette. For example, I will be working on some marketing skills at UW-Waukesha during my internship. At Marquette, I would work on the content, but I would pass that along to the marketing coordinator at the office to make the program/content possible. In this position, I will also be participating in advising students once getting some training from Courtney. At Marquette, the faculty members of the various departments advise their students. Not one way is better from the other; each institution must set up their own systems to accommodate the specific needs of the institution.

Lastly, it was cool to know that there were a couple of Marquette Graduates from the College Student Personnel Administration Program at UW-Waukesha. It made me feel more comfortable to know that we all had similar experiences that helped us get where we are today. With Courtney being one of them, I bet it will be much easier to translate systems and compare Marquette to the two year institution. Regardless of being a Marquette Alumnus or not, I felt a good connection with other student personnel administrators when discussing their experiences in graduate school. It is almost like you become part of the student personnel community once you learn how to speak the lingo and providing good practice in the field.

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Mike Lampe, a graduate student in Marquette’s College Student Personnel Administration program, is currently interning at  the University of Wisconsin – Waukesha working on registration and orientation programming.  During his time at UW-Waukesha, he will also be creating an online orientation program for special, transfer, and non traditional students. Mike’s posts will consist of his personal experiences as well as his observations and comparisons between private independent and public centralized higher education institutions.

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