Being part of Orientation is a defining Cornell experience. Orientation volunteers help new students get to know campus and adjust to college life. They make lasting friendships, develop useful skills, and have fun.
We know you have a lot to offer, and you might discover a hidden talent for managing events, training volunteers, mentoring new students, teamwork, leadership, organizational analysis, troubleshooting and problem-solving, and all the details that go into welcoming 4,000 new students to Cornell.
We appreciate your interest and hope you get involved. Explore the roles below, and keep an eye on this page for application deadlines and links.
Orientation Leaders are highly valued student volunteers who mentor a small group of new students from their college during Orientation. They help new students feel at home, at ease, and supported upon their arrival to campus. New students look to their OL for guidance on how to navigate campus life, college-specific knowledge, and stories about what it's like to be part of the Cornell community. Being an OL offers the chance to develop transferable skills in leadership, empathy and communication, group facilitation and team building, and running both large and small events.
Going forward, Orientation Leaders can apply to be Orientation Supervisors and Orientation Steering Committee members. The OL commitment can be applied to Cornell Tradition leadership credit and other service hour requirements.
This is a great way to engage on campus and serve the Cornell community. You'll meet new people and get a look behind the scenes at how one of Cornell's largest volunteer opportunities works. Some of our volunteers have come once and returned to help with five more orientation sessions! We'd love to have you be one of them. Please note: Due to schedule conflicts, OLs may not be Residence Advisors and may not participate in fraternity/sorority fall recruitment.
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 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 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.