The Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA) sponsors a pre-orientation program to ease the transition to UM each year for incoming African-American, Hispanic-American, Asian-American and Native American students.
The program, known as Horizons, introduces new students to the campus’s cultural melting pot.
Elyse Houston, who will be a senior this August, has been participating in the program since she enrolled at the University of Miami.
After going through the program as a freshman, she applied the following year as a counselor.
“The program has truly made a difference in my UM experience,” she said.
Horizons helps students find their niche on campus, and, according to its website, “compliments the university’s new student orientation program by presenting students with a preview of campus life.”
Sophomore Jackie Casal, who worked as MSA’s graphic designer in the past, will be serving as a counselor for the program this year.
“Horizons helps incoming students meet other students in a fun and friendly environment,” Casal said.
The program helps freshmen meet other new students and returning students, who help out with the program. Faculty members and administrators also speak about some of the academic, personal and social adjustment issues that students may face when they arrive on campus.
“Horizons also gives them the opportunity to meet upperclassmen they can go to for help or advice and learn about the different offices on campus they can utilize for different resources,” Casal said.
Sophomore Raquel Zaldivar, who participated as an incoming freshman and will now serve as a counselor this summer, agrees that Horizons offers students several benefits.
“I think Horizons is a really good opportunity for incoming freshmen because it gives them an opportunity to meet new people before the craziness of regular orientation,” she said. “It allows them to meet some upperclassmen they can feel comfortable talking to later if they have any questions about classes or UM in general.”
Zaldivar also expressed how the program helped her when she went through it as a freshman.
“I made a few new friends and felt a little more confident before regular orientation,” she said. “I also knew I had some upperclassmen students I could ask for help or advice whenever I had a problem or was confused about something. I think Horizons helped me for those same reasons. The friends I made at Horizons are friends I still have and who are actually counselors with me for Horizons 2012, too.”
Casal, who is friends with Zaldviar, looks forward to being a counselor.
“I am excited. I like meeting incoming students and helping them with what I can,” Casal said.
If You Go:
What: Horizons pre-orientation program
When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Aug. 15. Registration begins at 10 a.m. The program begins at 10:30 a.m.
Where: BankUnited Center Fieldhouse
For more information regarding the Horizons program or for a schedule of events, call the Department of Multicultural Student Affairs at 305-284-2855 or visit the website at miami.edu/msa/horizons.
The campus-wide orientation program begins on Aug. 16. For more information, visit miami.edu/orientation.