S&T freshmen orientation fosters friendships, academic success

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On August 14, 2008

Incoming freshmen may find the university experience overwhelming at first.
There are many things to learn and choices to make, and it’s easy to feel a bit
lost. Missouri S&T eases this transition with an Opening Week Orientation
filled with fun and unusual activities geared to help freshmen build important
bonds with other new students and get to know mentor students, faculty and

“By the end of the week, before classes start, the students are comfortable
and confident. They’ve made close friends and are familiar with the campus,”
says Patty Frisbee, director of new student programs at Missouri S&T.

This year’s Opening Week takes place Aug. 16-23. The fall semester
officially starts Aug. 25.

Early in the week, students will meet their 15- to 18-member teams and the
upperclassmen who will guide them. Most of the week’s activities are planned
and supervised by these student leaders who work under Frisbee’s direction.

Opening Week includes a new activity this year, the Amazing Miner Race.
Teams will compete in frenzied attempts to correctly answer questions at
multi-leveled stations to win puzzle pieces which they will zip-line to mentors
waiting on the ground floor of the Butler-Carlton Civil Engineering Building.
They will also attempt to avoid road blocks along the way. The purpose is to
earn “Miner bucks” to purchase supplies to build their projects for the popular
design competition, Project X.

“We make sure Project X is fun and creative,” Frisbee says. “It’s not really
an engineering project, it’s multi-disciplinary. And it’s a great way for
students to interact and learn about campus resources.”

For this year’s Project X, teams of freshmen will equip mini-baja vehicles
with mini Flugtags, the “flying” machines conceived by the owner of the energy
drink, Red Bull. After vehicles navigate courses, including a windmill and a
marble drop, the vehicle must drive down a slide and launch its Flugtag into a
body of water.

The freshmen will work on their design projects at appointed times during
the week in anticipation of the Project X race through campus. The competition
starts at 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 22.

In addition to Project X, Opening Week at Missouri S&T features social
activities, academic workshops and an introduction to places of interest in

Faculty members volunteer to eat lunch with students and to talk with them
about classroom expectations and campus traditions.

Academic workshops begin on Monday and continue throughout the week in
conjunction with other activities. The workshops give freshmen practical
classroom and laboratory experience before the semester officially starts. Some
of the students take advanced placement exams during Opening Week.

There is also a mini career fair to help freshmen learn what companies look
for in new graduates. Frisbee says there are more companies participating than
ever before.

Participation is not mandatory during Opening Week, but Frisbee says about
85 percent of the freshmen take advantage of daily activities.

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On August 14, 2008. Posted in Events