Orientation Programs History


Collegians Orientating Residential Newcomers (CORN) Camp is hosted for the first time, in Shreve Hall

Purdue University's orientation program, or as we know it today, Boiler Gold Rush, was founded by Roger Sharritt. Shreve Hall hosted the program, originally called Corn Camp, in June (in conjunction with Day on Campus). The pilot program involved 100 first-year students and 15 staff members. Sharritt was the first advisor and founder of Boiler Gold Rush. He saw the need for an orientation program that helped students adjust to Purdue and believed the best way to do this was to have current students run the program.


CORN Camp moves locations to Cary Quad

The program was moved to Cary Quadrangle and consisted of two, one-week sessions, involving 400 students and about 50 staff members. The student staff members were housed in an office on the fourth floor of Southwest in Cary Quad.


CORN Camp changes to “Boiler Gold Rush”

Corn Camp changed its name to Boiler Gold Rush, commonly known as BGR. The program expanded and was held in August to involve all of the residence halls. This allowed students to move directly into the room they would be living in for the year.


Roger Sharritt steps down from Orientation Leadership

Roger Sharritt had been the advisor of Boiler Gold Rush for four years at this point. In 1996 he left the University to pursue a career in organic farming. When he left, the Sharritt Award was created, which has been presented to a Team Supervisor who has gone above and beyond the call of duty during BGR. Two new advisors, Jessica Jackson, former Assistant Manager of Cary Quad, and Marnie LaFevor, at the time an Assistant Director of Admissions, took charge. Boiler Gold Rush then became a joint effort between the Office of Admissions and the Residence Halls.


BGR evolves into a 5-day program

Responsibility for planning Boiler Gold Rush shifted to the Office of Admissions and the program was open to all new freshmen. Boiler Gold Rush evolved into a five-day, student-run orientation program.


BGR moves to “Orientation and New Student Programs”

Boiler Gold Rush moved into a new department called Orientation and New Student Programs and continued to grow and expand.


Student Access, Transition and Success (SATS) Programs is formed, Orientation moves into SATS (which later becomes Student Success Programs)

Student Success Programs was created in December 2005. BGR became a part of that office and is now an integral program within that department.


“Day on Campus” hosts its final program, ending a run of the event that started in 1954

Orientation Programs partners with University Undergraduate Academic Advising to revise and rebrand the summer orientation experience for new beginners.


Summer Transition, Advising, and Registration (STAR) launches as the summer orientation experience for new students

The revised program name aimed to underscore the critical advising and course registration functions of the summer onboarding process.


Boiler Gold Rush International (BGRi) is introduced for the first time as a pre-BGR program welcoming international students

BGRi was specifically designed to provide information and tips to help new international students be successful at Purdue.


Virtual STAR (VSTAR) is introduced for the first time, creating an online orientation experience for international students

The introduction of the virtual orientation module provided an alternative experience for students and families who were unable to visit campus during the summer.


BGR hosts its 25th anniversary

BGR celebrates its 25th anniversary! BGR participants also set the Guinness World Record for most people blowing train whistles simultaneously.


Orientation is held for all students through VSTAR due to the COVID-19 pandemic; BGR and BGRi are combined because of impacts from the pandemic.

All incoming students complete VSTAR due to the COVID-19 pandemic. BGR and BGRi programs occur in person, but are modified to allow for social distancing. A virtual alternative is offered.


Boiler Cold Rush (BCR) is introduced, helping welcome new spring beginners and first-year students who were remote during the fall of 2020

Several hundred students participate in the inaugural spring program.


Orientation Programs rebrands the orientation experience “All Aboard Purdue”

While the program elements remained the same, the branding changes aimed to help incoming students and their families understand the orientation process as a holistic suite of experiences rather than single, standalone events.


STAR, VSTAR and Pre-Arrival Homework language are retired and replaced with Purdue 101 and 102, two of four steps in the “All Aboard Purdue” experience; BGR hosts its 30 th Anniversary

STAR, VSTAR and Pre-Arrival Homework language are retired and replaced with Purdue 101 and 102, two of four steps in the “All Aboard Purdue” experience; BGR hosts its 30th Anniversary.

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