Preparation molds worthy FASET experience

The summertime is here again, and its return surely invokes fond memories in the hearts of Tech students of Club Love, FASET roommates and that restaurant on the third floor of the student center.

While FASET may have seemed like a whirlwind weekend full of perky orientation leaders shouting and singing from every angle, it would be most accurate to describe the fast paced orientation weekend as controlled chaos, designed specifically to introduce incoming students to the many different aspects of college living.

Orientation leaders spend the months leading up to FASET training and building close-knit relationships between themselves.

Through intensive training that includes examinations and a team building retreat, orientation leaders prepare for the rigors of guiding freshmen through their first experience with Tech.

“The most important part of FASET is preparing incoming students on how to be successful as a Tech student, both inside and outside the classroom,” said Larry Cloud, Assistant Director of Orientation and New Student Programs.

FASET takes place over two days, and each day has its own special flavor.

The first day of FASET serves as an introduction to what it is like to be a member of the Tech community.

Since FASET marks the first of many occasions that incoming students will spend away from home at college, the FASET staff spends months preparing relevant, informative and entertaining skits to introduce students to situations concerning alcohol, mental health, study skills and other life lessons that college students find useful.

“Life skits are a huge undertaking that our [staff members] take on,” Cloud said.

In the months before orientations begin, the FASET cabinet, which acts as a student executive board, begins reviewing past years’ skits. The review process includes rewriting old skits, selecting staff members to participate in the live skits and presenting skits to deans and offices around campus for approval.

“[The FASET cabinet] wants to make sure that the message we’re giving to our students is a message that Tech supports, as well as a message that they’re going to understand, absorb and enjoy,” Cloud said.

After the introduction to college life on the first day, the second day shifts the focus to academics, and incoming students meet academic advisors and register for classes for the first time.

“Having almost 425 students here in one day and getting them all advised and registered in a matter of six hours is a huge undertaking,” Cloud said.

A strong relationship between the FASET department and all of the academic and administrative offices on campus is vital to ensuring that the students’ first experience with academics at Tech is clear and informative.

This strong relationship is the result of nearly constant communication between the FASET staff and academic offices on campus, and the product of such a close relationship is an orientation in which incoming freshmen receive correct academic advice.

“Without the partnerships, FASET wouldn’t be nearly as successful,” Cloud said. “The entire Tech community is part of FASET, and that’s why it’s successful. They all understand the importance of FASET, and they’re all willing to embrace what FASET means.”

While the first and second days of FASET may differ in content, one thing that never changes over the course of orientation is the supportive presence of orientation leaders who are responsible for everything from pointing lost students in the right direction to answering questions about whether or not students should take that AP Calculus credit.

Cloud was keen to explain that the success of FASET is largely dependent on the talents of orientation leaders.

“Yes, the [FASET] department has been preparing a lot,” Cloud said, “but the thing that really makes it successful is our student leaders.”

“We’re the first impression of Tech,” Cloud said. “We’re representing not only our department but also the entire campus.”