A select group of students will soon be chosen to serve a greater role on campus through opportunities provided by the SOLD (Student Orientation & Leadership Development) office.
With applications recently due, students had the chance to apply to be an Ignite Team Leader, Leadership Guide, Orientation Leader or Transfer Orientation Assistant. Each position is designed to help freshmen make the transition into college smoother. They help educate students and their families about all the resources UT has to offer.
According the SOLD mission statement, they accomplish everything they work for “through our commitment to celebrating diversity, modeling social change, utilizing peer-leadership, and creating experiential learning opportunities.”
Orientation Leaders spend two days of orientation with incoming freshmen over the summer. They lead small group sessions with the students and take them to the designated locations for each orientation event. They offer a very warm welcome to the freshmen and try to help all new students start off at UT on the right foot.
The Ignite Team Leaders are the leaders for the Ignite Program that is offered to freshmen over the summer. The program is designed to give freshmen the opportunity to learn about all the activities and groups they can get involved with on campus, all while meeting fellow freshmen and learning leadership skills.
Leadership Guides are student who are available to anyone on campus, any student or organization, to provide resources, services and information about UT. They are also available to offer any kind of information to any group about leadership, motivation, transitioning and many other helpful topics a student may need assistance with.
Taylor Odle, a sophomore in psychology, had been chosen for the position of a Leadership Guide. He has been a part of SOLD for two years and has served as a Leadership Guide both years. He went through what he calls a tedious, yet fun application process.
The application process for this year included attending an interest session, completing the online application, participating in a group interview, another interview where you must “creatively introduce yourself” with one piece of paper, a third one-on-one interview, and finally the notification telling you whether or not you were selected.
“My experience with the application process was an extremely enjoyable one,” Odle said. “I felt as though the online application provided me with the opportunity to fully express my interest and reasons for applying to join the SOLD office. The group interview was extremely fun and gave me the opportunity to meet other UT students interested in getting involved on campus through leadership opportunities. I also thought the creative response was a fun and friendly way to express yourself to the SOLD staff. The third-round interview was also an extremely exciting time.”
There are many responsibilities of being a Leadership Guide, including attending a weekly meeting, participating in community service activities, developing and presenting programs for students, and much more.
Though being a Leadership Guide is a very exciting position, that is not the only position in the SOLD office that is exciting.
Sarah Gregory, junior and a 2010 summer Orientation Leader, described how much being a leader can help someone fall even more in love with UT.
“To sum up my feelings and experiences with being an Orientation Leader is a rather hard thing to do,” Gregory said. “I came in as one of those students who didn’t want to be here and quite frankly, hated the color orange. However, my experiences through being an Orientation Leader have not only led me to become a confident leader, but also have helped develop a strong passion for sharing my experiences and serving others. I have also developed a deep connection with UT since I believe that our role as Orientation Leaders is to influence and motivate the upcoming class to be the future leaders of UT.”
With the application process being so long, Gregory offers some advice to all applicants who have applied for this round of selections.
“My advice to any student who is currently applying is to first be confident in your natural abilities, everyone has the potential to be a leader,” she said. “Second, I encourage students who are applying to truly evaluate why they want to apply. Think about your motivations and passions, and then ask if the position lines up. One thing I believe the SOLD office requires from applicants is a genuine passion and desire to serve your UT community.”