Campus & Community

Getting Ready for Orientation 2024

Students taking a selfie with Stormy, the Simmons mascot

It’s summer at Simmons, which means we’re already looking ahead to the fall and preparing engaging Orientation experiences for our incoming students, including a First Bite Orientation for first year and transfer students on June 13 and 14, and a full Orientation, August 31–September 2, 2024. Who better to give us the scoop on what to expect than our Orientation Leaders? We spoke to Orientation Training Captain Katelyn Fox ’25 (Nursing) and Orientation Marketing Captain Maggie Wettergren ’26 (Public Relations & Marketing Communications) for their perspective as students and Leaders.

“We have 23 students on our Orientation staff,” says Christy Lusiak, Assistant Director, Eckert Center for Leadership and Engagement, Orientation and First-Year programs, noting that it is a paid, student worker position. “Our Orientation captains start work in March and can work anywhere between 5-20 hours a week. Orientation Leaders have about 3 days of training on either end of the orientations + the orientations themselves and light duties during Shark Week.”

“I love being involved as much as possible,” says Katelyn Fox ’25, who has been an Orientation Leader for two years. In fact, Fox met Marketing Captain Maggie Wettergren ’26 at her own Orientation. “During my Orientation, I became close with the then-Marketing Captain,” says Wettergren. “I knew I wanted to do that job in the future.”

Before the big event this August 31–September 2, Simmons is offering a First Bite Orientation, a one day program held on June 13 and 14. “It’s a great opportunity for students who are able to easily travel to the area,” says Lusiak. “The focus is on community building, access to resources, and in general to get students excited about what they will see in the fall.”

Students attending June Orientation will start on the residence campus to hear from campus partners and meet with their orientation group. For students residing on campus in the fall, there will be a tour of the residence halls and a visit to some dorm rooms to give them an idea of the living accommodations. Commuter students will be given a tour of the commuter lounge and the resources available to them on campus.

There will also be a resource fair, where campus partners and offices will offer information for students about available services and resources. Students will have a chance to meet with the REEF Support Center (a student hub for resources and support), Residence Life and Orientation Leaders, Dining Services, Student Life, Public Safety, the Health Center, Undergraduate Advising, the Career Education Center, the Stephen D. London Center for Community Engagement and Social Justice, the Office of Accessibility Services, Athletics & Fitness, and the Center for Global Education to learn in advance about the opportunities they'll be able to access as first-year Sharks.

“The purpose of the June Orientation is to welcome them into the community,” says Wettergren, noting that there will be separate groups for transfer students, led by transfer students. “It’s their first experience as a student at the school. They’ll meet other students, meet faculty, meet staff members. It’s a chance for them to get their footing before they arrive in the fall.” These orientation experiences will focus on the academic and residence campus, but further opportunities to explore the Boston area will be offered throughout the fall semester, especially for first-year students.

For those unable to attend, fear not: you’ll still get your “first bite” of Simmons, virtually. Wettergren is assembling a virtual orientation video for international students and any others who will be unable to visit in June.

The June Orientation includes programming designed to create bonding among the students and parallel sessions designed for parents and caregivers offering panels about financial aid, accessibility services, counseling services, the health center, and other available services on campus. First Bite also welcomes faculty involvement, and will include a lunch breakout session, inviting students and parents to grab lunch and meet with faculty to talk about classes, curriculum, and research.

“We will host virtual drop-in sessions for students and parents over the summer,” notes Lusiak, “to cover on campus resources and answer any questions.”

With their wealth of experience participating and planning Orientation events, Fox and Wettergren have advice for incoming students.

“Talk to people and put yourself out there!” says Wettergren. “[At my First Bite Orientation] I didn’t talk to anyone except for my Orientation Leader, while other students made connections and had people to talk to over the summer before the semester even started.”

“Try new things,” says Fox. “Living in a dorm is a new environment. Rather than being scared, lean into the changes. Talk to people, and join clubs and organizations.”

Lusiak is ready with enthusiasm and reassurance. “Feel free to ask questions,” she says. “Students get nervous about what they should or shouldn’t know. Keep in mind, if you’re wondering about something, someone else probably is, too.”

Incoming Students, you can meet Orientation Training Captain Katelyn Fox ’25, Orientation Marketing Captain Maggie Wettergren ’26, and Logistics Captain Joy Wilson ’25 at First Bite Orientation, June 13 and 14.

Download the First Bite Orientation Program

Publish Date


Alisa M. Libby