Volunteer for Orientation

Student volunteers are what make Cornell Orientation great. If you are unsure which position you would like to apply for, we suggest you pick the one with the earliest deadline so that you do not miss out on an opportunity. Those applications that are not accepted for a larger role will be automatically considered for the next role available (for instance, if you are not accepted as an OS, we will automatically consider you for the OL position). Additional information is below.

  • Orientation Steering Committee - Applications are closed for 2016-17. OSC applications will next be accepted in August 2017.
  • January Orientation Leaders - Applications are closed for 2017-18.
  • Orientation Supervisors - Applications are closed for 2017. Applications will next be accepted in February 2018.
  • Orientation Leaders - Applications are closed for 2017. Applications will next be accepted in March 2018.


Orientation Steering Committee (OSC)

The Orientation Steering Committee (OSC) is a group of students who plan and implement the spring and fall Orientation programs. Not only does the committee create and carry out University Orientation events, but it also works with the Dean of Students Office, Campus Life, Environmental Health & Safety, CUPD, Office of Transportation, Risk Management and many other University offices in order to provide a united effort to facilitate the introduction and adjustment of new students to Cornell University.

Other responsibilities include recruiting, interviewing, selecting, and training a large staff of Orientation Supervisors (OS), and Orientation Leaders (OL & JOL). Finally, the OSC is responsible for planning, coordinating, and delivering over 50 events that vary in size and scope for new students both in January and August Orientation.

As a member, you will develop your organizational and leadership potential as well as improve your communication and interpersonal skills. As a student leader and representative of the University, you will cultivate a sense of confidence and poise in public situations as well as develop skills for how to effectively work on a large team, over a long period of time.

The OSC can be reached at cornellosc2017@gmail.com.

Time Commitment

  • Full year from October 1 to September 30, each year
  • Attend weekly meetings during the academic year held on Wednesdays, from 5:00 - 7:00 pm in the Carol Tatkon Center.
  • Spend at least one hour in the OSC office each week during business hours (this facilitates the ability to contact campus offices with regard to event planning).
  • Attendance at all recruitment, selection, & training sessions for the OSC, OS’s, and OL’s. These occur before the end of each semester as well as prior to each Orientation.
  • Huge time commitments are anticipated from mid-August through the start of classes. During this period, it is not possible to hold a job or fulfill other commitments simultaneously due to daily-extended hours with Orientation.
  • You must be at Cornell for the entire academic year.
  • It is NOT possible to both be an RA and serve on the OSC
  • Most OSC report spending at minimum 3 hours per week, but as many as 5-10 hours per week throughout the spring semester (the time commitment is more for co-chairs).

Desired Skills and Qualifications

  • Highly motivated and energetic individuals who excel at meeting new people and making them feel comfortable and accepted;
  • Those that are eager for a new challenge and able to learn new things and apply them instantly!
  • Prior experience leading your peers;
  • Prior experience in planning and coordinating events;
  • Individuals who have a lot of experience on campus, but will be committed to Orientation for the upcoming academic year.
  • Prior experience with orientation at Cornell to be able to improve events and the volunteer experience.

January Orientation Leader (JOL)

The January Orientation program is a very unique and intimate program. Approximately 150-200 new students enter in the spring semester - some of them are transfer students and some of them are first-year students. Some of the transfer students have only had one semester at another university so they are entering as second semester freshmen, others may have as much as three years at another institution and are transferring to Cornell to complete their undergraduate degrees.

The JOL program is an excellent way to get involved with Orientation either as a returning volunteer or for the first time. Approximately 25 JOLs are accepted each year to work with the Orientation Steering Committee as guides to the new students, to assist with events and activities and to create a welcoming and supportive environment for the newest members of our community. This small group of volunteers is highly selective. The January Orientation program is small and very individualized to the entering students because of the attention they receive from Orientation Volunteers and the size of the January program.

The volunteer time commitment is approximately:

  • 6 hours JOL training on Wednesday, January 17, 2018.
  • Most of each day and evening from Thursday, January 18, 2018, through Tuesday, January 23, 2018, working directly with small groups of new students.

Orientation Supervisor (OS)

Orientation Supervisors are student volunteers who assist with the recruitment, selection, training, and supervision of Orientation Leaders. OS’s also serve as mentors for a small group of new students, and assist with events during the Orientation Program in August.

Only past Orientation Leaders, January Orientation Leaders, and Orientation Supervisors may apply.

The volunteer time commitment is approximately:

  • 10 hours — assisting with recruitment selection of OL’s in the spring semester
  • 3 hours — OS training during the spring semester
  • 18 hours — OS training in August prior to Orientation
  • 18 hours — assisting with OL training in August prior to Orientation
  • 25 hours — supervising OL’s, assisting with & attending events, and service as a mentor to a small group of new students throughout Orientation week

Orientation Leader (OL)

Orientation Leaders are student volunteers who assist as mentors making new students feel at home, at ease, and supported upon their arrival on campus. OLs help move new students into their residence halls, work with a small group of new students, and assist & attend events during the Orientation program. OLs must represent the diverse undergraduate population.

The volunteer time commitment is approximately:

  • 3 hours — OL training during the spring semester
  • 16 hours — OL training in August prior to Orientation
  • 20 hours — assisting with & attending events, and service as a mentor to a small group of new students throughout Orientation week

Becoming an Orientation Volunteer is a wonderful way to give back to Cornell University — your community. You will have the opportunity to share your experience, knowledge and stories with entering students as a mentor, as a guide. You will also strengthen your leadership skills as your become a skilled trainer in areas of empathy and communication, public speaking and making presentations, facilitation and team building. Each volunteer is eligible to receive Cornell Tradition campus leadership credit. All volunteers are also able to move into their fall residence halls early and enjoy Ithaca before classes begin.

The best Cornell Orientation Volunteers exemplify the following characteristics:

mentors — guides — friends — resourceful — knowledgeable — role model — diversity — dependable — approachable — sensitive — available — friendly — outgoing — humorous — cooperative — inclusive — interested — considerate — helpful — flexible — fun — mature — patient — sincere — trustworthy — empathetic — unique — supportive — punctual

Due to time conflicts, Orientation Volunteers may not be Residence Advisors and may not participate in fraternity/sorority fall recruitment (or spring recruitment if you are serving as a JOL). Residential and New Student Programs encourages all students to apply and become a part of one of the largest volunteer activities available to Cornell undergraduates.