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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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For new students, AOLP is first A&M glimpse

They can be seen all across campus – maroon clad tour guides leading groups of prospective Aggies around to the sights and smells of A&M – but much more goes into Aggie orientation than meets the eye.
Sitting in their third floor Cain Hall office, this group of Aggies is preparing for this year’s class of new and returning orientation leaders. It’s quiet, but the mood is one of excitement. Each year ushers in more new students than the last, so the Aggie Orientation Leader Program has more to do, but also more to enjoy.
Since 1981, this student-led organization has made its primary mission to welcome in and ease the transition for new students and their families. With an initial class of 250 peer advisors, Bobby Hartmann, co-director of AOLP and senior finance major, said the ranks haven’t been quite as full, with only 110 orientation leaders being selected from 200 applications last year.
With increased enrollment of freshmen, the hopes are high for even more applications this year. Samantha Mott, co-director, said getting around 300 applications would be ideal with the target of 150 orientation leaders.
When asked for the ideal applicant, Mott said AOLP is looking for an assortment of people with leadership qualities.
“We want to be accepting to all so we really need and want all kinds of people,” Mott said, “but mainly those that have the ability to grow as leaders and want to seize that opportunity.”
Hartmann said AOLP was looking for people seeking to grow as leaders and who want to develop their interpersonal skills.
Hartmann said the application process is rigorous, beginning with a written application that provokes soul-searching questions. Then there is a group interview designed to move applicants out of their comfort zone, and finally a one-on-one interview. Hartman said the process is not impossible by any means, but the program is certainly not for those just looking to build a resume.
Once an orientation leader has been accepted, a thorough preparation begins. Over the course of the spring semester, eight general meetings, a retreat and a two-day mock new student conference help to season them for the summer ahead.
Whitney Pearson, co-director of public relations, said one of the most important things for her was the training on mingling and getting new students to open up.
“You would think it would be really simple, but it can be difficult when you have new students,” Pearson said. “They typically are more reluctant to come out of their shells to ask questions and having training on getting them out was really helpful.”
AOLP promotes socialization among its orientation leaders with weekly socials outside of events and random weekend gatherings.
Hartmann said AOLP is a great program to get involved in at A&M.
“If you’re looking for your niche, your little pond in the big sea, then AOLP is a great way to do it,” Hartmann said. “It’s a great way not only to find what you’re passionate about, but to fuel that passion with a love for A&M.”
Applications for new and returning orientation leaders are due Wednesday.

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