Gardner-Webb Celebrates All Things Senior

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“Senior Disorientation Week” Culminates in Annual Senior Pinning Ceremony

Each summer and fall, new freshmen are welcomed to campus with an orientation that celebrates the start of their undergraduate journeys and prepares them for college success.  The “real world,” though, offers no such orientation for graduating seniors.

That’s why the Gardner-Webb Student Government Association (SGA) has planned the first ever Senior Disorientation Week for March 26 – April 1, an exciting slate of celebrations and workshops designed to honor graduating seniors’ college achievements and equip them with the resources they need to thrive as graduates.

“If freshmen are oriented toward college, then we think seniors ought to be disoriented from college and directed instead toward the knowledge, the skills, and the attitudes that will prepare them for that leap from ‘college senior’ to ‘new graduate,’ ‘young professional,’ ‘independent adult,’” said Lisa Yerrick, director of student leadership development and SGA staff advisor.

The idea for the week, which SGA hopes will become an annual tradition, stemmed from seniors’ responses to a student opinion survey conducted last year. “Seniors shared that they desired more recognition for their tremendous accomplishments, and more events geared exclusively toward them,” Yerrick said.  “And, of course, they wanted lots of free stuff.  This SGA group heard them, and decided to respond.”

Monday through Thursday evenings will feature workshops led by recent graduates and respected professionals on relevant topics for new grads, like finding a job, living on your own, managing personal finances, insurance and taxes, finding a spirit-mind-body balance, and building community.

Wednesday will also feature a mid-day Disorientation Fair, with free food and giveaways, a photo corner with fun props to commemorate the week, and displays featuring services, information and products relevant to life after college.  Then on Friday night, seniors will square off in a corn hole tournament while enjoying a free taco bar, the photo corner, and time to relax with friends.

Disorientation Week events are open exclusively to seniors.  All who register for the week will be given a wristband that must be worn for entrance into the events. Participating seniors will be given discounts to the Campus Shop, discount cards to area restaurants and businesses, and—of course—lots of free stuff.

The week culminates in the annual Senior Pinning event to honor graduating seniors on Sunday from 3:30 – 5:00 pm. in the Lutz-Yelton Convocation Center (LYCC).  Pinning includes a dessert and coffee reception, and is free and open to registered seniors and their families.  A faculty speaker, along with a female and a male graduating senior, will bring remarks.

“We know many of our seniors are headed in various directions,” Yerrick said.  “Some are heading back home, with a tough job search ahead.  Others may have landed a job, but are planning to live at home to save money and get established.  Still others may be starting their intended careers, or pursuing further education, or moving to new communities, or living on their own for the first time.” No matter their path, Yerrick said, the challenges may seem daunting.

“But the potential for success is immense, if they have the right resources and the right attitude,” she said.  “We are proud of each of our seniors, and we hope this week will help them know how much their University appreciates them, believes in them, and wants them to thrive.”

For more information or to register, call the SGA Office at 704-406-4742, or the Office of Student Leadership Development at 704-406-3832.