You’re a new person in a new place with faces you do not know and situations you’ve never dealt with before. It’s a seemingly huge campus and you don’t know where to begin. But then you see a friendly face, known as your SOS leader. You begin to loosen up, make friends with other faces and become accustomed to your surroundings.
Before long, you have completed your first year, made some great friends and you have your SOS leader to thank.
The Student Orientation Staff at Castleton State College is a student run system of getting new students better involved and oriented on campus. SOS also is provides great chances to make and maintain friendships.
But what is the Student Orientation Staff? What do they do and why do we have it?
“It means making a difference!” Junior Kenzi McCain said with a smile. “Getting to watch students come in with no idea of what to expect and seeing how they evolve and adapt over the first semester, it’s great!”
Sophomore Alyson Wheeler and Junior Maegan Walsh agreed.
“SOS is a chance to help incoming freshman make the transition into college,” Wheeler said. “It’s a great chance to make new friends and connections within the school community, which I really like!”
“It also helps you in many other ways.” McCain said. “It helped me build bonds with the fellow leaders, and as it turned out, some of my students became my best friends!”
Maria Cuccurese, a sophomore who was one of McCain’s SOS students as a freshman, now considers McCain a friend.
“It was really convenient that we had the same major,” Cuccurese said with a laugh. “In the beginning, she was just my SOS leader, but in the second semester, she became one of my best friends and still is today.”
Wheeler was also one of McCain’s SOS students’ and now is an SOS leader.
“As a first-year student, I became really good friends with Kenzi,” Wheeler said smiling. “My SOS leader convinced me to be an SOS because she made me feel like I had the traits and qualities to help my community.”
Ashley Crandall, a freshman, is one of Wheeler’s SOS students from this past year.
“Alyson was very helpful in class,” Crandall said, in between taking sips from her coffee. “Whenever we had questions in class, she was right there to give us the best answer she could.”
Linda Werner, a freshman, and another one of Wheeler’s students, agrees.
“I love her!” Werner exclaims enthusiastically, although she did say Wheeler forgot the students’ lunch from time to time.
For some, like 2010 graduate Melissa Pope, being an SOS leader is a calling. She even came back to serve as an SOS leader after she graduated.
“Coming back as an alumni to SOS was less stressful and I still got a group and I was told I was queen!” Pope said with a laugh.
The returning SOS staff was asked whether they’d return to do it again next year and all gave an enthusiastic “yes.” Alyson Wheeler’s response, however, stood out.