UC Berkeley’s New Student Services is hiring 1,000 orientation leaders for its new Golden Bear Orientation, which will replace Cal Student Orientation, or CalSO, for the 2017-18 academic year.
The campus aims to improve on the flaws of CalSO by fostering deeper relationships, according to Keita Yada, a student coordinator for Golden Bear Orientation, or GBO. Additionally, New Student Affairs Communications said GBO will give all students an equal opportunity to participate.
“My CalSO experience showed me what life at UC Berkeley would be like, what kind of people I would meet and what classes I would take,” said Stephanie Sun, a freshman student. “Overall, I think it was a good experience, but I do think that the GBO is a much better format because now, instead of in the middle of summer, you can just go at the beginning of the school year.”
All 8,500 new undergraduates will attend the same orientation, instead of attending at staggered dates like in CalSO. The campus is hiring 1,000 volunteer orientation leaders so the program can handle all of the new students at once.
According to Yada, the organizers want students to build better support systems and bonds with each other through the all-inclusive setup.
“This wasn’t as applicable through CalSO because every program had its differences and a large portion of incoming students were never able to attend in the first place,” Yada said in an email.
According to Chrissy Roth-Francis, director of New Student Services, other colleges with similar orientation programs also generally have volunteer leaders. She said the GBO orientation leaders will still be rewarded despite not being paid directly.
In return for volunteering for GBO, the orientation leaders will have access to priority registration for Phase I of their spring 2018 class enrollment and opportunities for career development.
Yada said GBO will emphasize the transition into UC Berkeley during the eight days of the program. This will include a heightened focus on relationships between orientation leaders and incoming students, making the week more meaningful for students. He added that the program hopes to include leaders from a diversity of backgrounds.
The GBO Leader application is open until Feb. 24. After a group interview process in early March for applicants, training for accepted students will begin in mid-March and run for four weeks.
“I am really excited to see how the change in orientation will positively impact the campus culture,” Roth-Francis said in an email. “This orientation will provide students with the opportunity to make deeper bonds with each other, be more academically prepared before classes begin, and have a greater understanding of our University and its resources.”