While several freshmen, transfers and leaders are still getting over the amazing four days that was New Student Orientation (NSO), six members of this campus are itching to start planning for next year already.
Diana Harkness, general chair, Patrick Smith, head men’s leader, Allison Rivelli, head women’s leader, Sam Zapatka, head transfers leader, Kerstin Lindrooth, head programmer, and Gregory Tozzi, head program leader, are the six new members of the NSO board, and they are more than excited to get the ball rolling for next year.
“[It feels] pretty damn good,” Zapatka explained on being elected head transfer leader.
While the crew is happy to be elected, not all of them were entirely sure they wanted to be NSO leaders in the first place.
“I got involved with NSO kind of randomly, to be honest,” Harkness said. “Freshman year I was debating whether or not I wanted to do it. I went to the first informational session and I saw how much fun all of the other leaders were having and I wanted to be a part of it.”
Others credit NSO for helping them break out of their shell and become more comfortable with the entire college atmosphere.
“The main reason I wanted to do NSO was because I was really quiet during high school,” Tozzi explained. “NSO gave me a comfortable environment where I could meet new people.”
The rest credit their inspiring leaders that helped them realize that they wanted to be part of the fun.
“When I was a freshman going through NSO, I had amazing leaders and it made me want to be a leader so badly, mainly because it brought out a side of me that I had never really seen before,” said Rivelli.
Even though next year’s NSO is roughly a year away, the board has already started meeting regularly to begin the extensive planning.
While the six must make the sacrifice of not having their own NSOers next year, being the selected few to put the whole show together is definitely worth it.
“I think so far we have ideas, but everything is just coming together,” Harkness explained.
The first big step the six must tackle is the application process and selecting new leaders. The application typically consists of thoughtful, yet creative and goofy questions that help the participants applying bring out their true colors and break down any boundaries or uncertainties they may have.
“Our applications will be designed to get who you are out of five questions,” said Smith.
All six are so excited to get the application process going and encourage all to apply, even if they didn’t enjoy every element of NSO.
“It’s not about the cheers. People say they don’t like the cheers, but it’s not about the cheers. It’s about the bonds that you make and the family that you make here at Springfield,” Rivelli said.
The group also reflected on how much different NSO was as an incoming freshman or transfer, compared to being a leader. The reward of guiding young students through their first few days at their new home away from home is unlike anything else.
“When you’re a student you get a lot out of it, but then when you’re a leader, you get so much more. When I see my NSOers hanging out together, it makes me almost want to cry because I’m the one that got them to meet. I was the first one that they met on campus, besides their roommate, and I was the one to make their friends for them. They’re like my kids,” Rivelli said with a huge grin.
The acceptance and open-mindedness of the entire NSO program is what makes the group so unique. There are several clubs and groups to join on campus, but NSO is one of a kind.
“I think NSO is one of the most accepting groups of people I’ve ever been a part of,” said Lindrooth. “Just that in itself is extremely important.”
Informational meetings on how to apply to become an NSO leader will be held on Sept. 23, 24 and 27. Further information as to exact times and locations of the meetings will be posted shortly. Check in the Union for further details.