2021-22 Annual Report

Vision Statement

To be globally recognized and at the forefront of innovation in higher education for empowering students and creating a seamless transition for all.

Mission Statement

To introduce and connect all new undergraduate students to Purdue University through student- and staff-led academic and social programming, both on campus and virtual, to prepare them for their Purdue experience.

Program Elements

The Orientation Programs office provides a series of experiences that facilitate the transition of undergraduate students to Purdue, and the opportunity for student leadership. New students going through Orientation Programs experiences will be welcomed “All Aboard Purdue,” a four-step process to start their journey as Boilermakers.

  • Purdue 101 (Step One) - This self-led virtual module in Brightspace guides students through campus resources and provides information on Purdue's course planning and advising processes. Purdue 101 is available to summer and fall beginning students from May to late August, and January beginning students from October to January. New students are automatically enrolled in this online orientation module.
  • Purdue Advising (Step Two) - Once Step One is complete, students receive an email from an academic advisor about scheduling their first advising appointment. Students fill out their course request form after they meet with an advisor.
  • Purdue 102 (Step Three) - This self-led virtual module in Brightspace focuses on resources related to students' transition to campus and adjusting to college life. Purdue 102 is available to all students closer to the start of classes. New students are automatically enrolled in this online orientation module.
  • Purdue Welcome (Step Four) - Optional welcome programs include Boiler Gold Rush, Boiler Gold Rush International (fall beginners), and Boiler Cold Rush (spring beginners). Students may alternatively participate in Bands, PMO, or Athletics summer programs. The Orientation Programs office facilitates several of these programs:
    • Boiler Gold Rush - Established in 1993 as CORN (Collegians Orientating Residential Newcomers) Camp, and as Boiler Gold Rush since 1995, BGR is Purdue’s fall orientation program. BGR takes place in and out of the classroom the week before the fall term in August and is open to all new first-year and transfer students.
    • Boiler Gold Rush International (BGRi) - – Established in 2012, BGRi is a supplemental program that supports the transition, adjustment, and acculturation of international students in the days prior to Boiler Gold Rush in August
    • Boiler Cold Rush - Established in 2021, BCR is a multi-day program for students starting at Purdue during the spring semester.
  • Summer Visit Days (Optional) - This optional event is hosted by Orientation Programs in June to give students and their families a chance to visit Purdue's campus and engage with students and staff.

Notable Changes

Many significant changes occurred from 2021 to 2022, including the institutionalization of online orientation for undergraduate students, and continued focus on inclusion for all students.

Ongoing Program Development

  • As part of our ongoing efforts to make our programming and communications more inclusive, we have created two new pages on our website that provide an overview of Orientation Programs in Spanish and Mandarin. The content was translated through a professional service and has been reviewed by several bilingual students at Purdue.
  • Continued conversations with AVP Heather Servaty-Seib, AVP Renee Thomas and others resulted in a renewed introduction of the Purdue Pillars (Integrity, respect, Honor, Inclusion, Innovation, Growth). These pillars were introduced in VSTAR Parts 1 and 2, with a reflection activity incorporated into Part 2. Some anecdotal results of that activity were shared during the Diversity: The Boilermaker Way session during BGR.
  • A continued and intentional partnership with the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (ODIB) resulted in several benefits for the new student experience. ODIB contributed financial support to Emerging Leaders Scholars and Minority Engineering Program students to attend BGR at no cost. Orientation Programs also provided financial support to each of the five Cultural Centers to facilitate programming during Boiler Gold Rush.
  • The introduction of Purdue Marq from Marketing and Communications continued to be a valuable tool to enhance deliverables and graphics in the Purdue brand for Orientation Programs.

Spring 2022: Boiler Cold Rush and the First Year Success Project

  • More than 140 spring beginners registered for the second annual Boiler Cold Rush (BCR) program, which is nearly double the number of first-year, on-campus participants compared to the inaugural year.
  • Based on assessment data, 96 percent of this year’s Boiler Cold Rush participants were satisfied or very satisfied with their BCR experience, compared to 92 percent in 2021.
  • Dan Carpenter, Katie Dufault, Andrea Mattingly, and Craig Johnson embarked on a landscape analysis of the first-year student experience at Purdue University, resulting in interviews with 23 offices/units on campus. This sparked a data inquiry with IDA+A to explore findings related to course enrollment, student demographics, and student performance.
  • This exploration will continue into the next academic year, and has started with some impact, including a weekly First-Year Success newsletter to first-year students in fall 2022 with its content reviewed by an Editorial Board of campus partners.

Summer 2022: Virtual STAR (VSTAR) to Purdue 101/102, Summer Visit Days

  • On Dec. 15, 2021, an announcement was made that all new students would participate in Virtual STAR (VSTAR) for 2022 as they did in 2020 and 2021.
  • The inaugural Summer Visit Days program occurred June 10, 17, and 24. Approximately 1,915 new incoming Boilermakers and their guests registered for the program, which was designed as an optional event to help new students learn about and prepare for their transition to Purdue University. Partners from Student Activities & Organizations, Housing & Dining, Office of the Dean of Students, Office of Diversity, Inclusion, & Belonging, Academic Advising and many others were present to assist in the program's success. Last updated: December 1, 2022
  • Pre-Arrival Homework was renamed “VSTAR Part 2” to relieve confusion from the new student experience and align more directly with the earlier pre-arrival module.
  • Content in “VSTAR Part 1” was scaled back significantly to focus solely on the introduction to academic advising and a student’s academic College.
  • VSTAR Workshops were held in tandem with University Undergraduate Academic Advising to support “VSTAR Leads”, Academic Advisors building College-specific content VSTAR.
  • Continued partnership with the DRC provided material review (video captioning, presentation, and document accessibility checks) to ensure all VSTAR materials for students were formatted with accessibility in mind.
  • Colleagues working with PREMIS automatically enrolled students into VSTAR sections by college, into one VSTAR Part 2 module, and helped get Brightspace courses for each of these started.
  • Connections with advising partners continued, including the addition of VSTAR for Veterinary Nursing Distance Learning students.
  • For the second year in a row, students were able to pin themselves on a “VSTAR Map,” created in tandem with colleagues from Geographic Information Systems (GIS). 8,050 students engaged in this map, which gave students to select their Academic College and place their pin around the world.
  • Incoming students were encouraged to complete VSTAR by the end of May. If completed, their action would result in a donation to the ACE Campus Food Pantry, where one dollar per completion would be donated. In total, $6,638 was donated from Orientation Programs, UUAA, and the Vice Provost of Teaching and Learning (up from $5,385 in 2021).
  • “VSTAR Live” sessions were discontinued in 2022 as a result in a sharp downfall in attendance in 2021 compared to 2020.
  • Overall, 10,196 students completed VSTAR by completing the SIF on or before the June 24 deadline.
  • VSTAR Part 2 launched on June 1 for summer beginners and July 1 for fall beginners, and included content such as the MyStrengths Assessment, PERTS Growth Mindset and Social Belonging modules, a reflection on the Purdue Pillars, and other campus and community resources.

Fall 2022: Boiler Gold Rush (BGR), Boiler Gold Rush International (BGRi)

  • One “BGR Live” session took place and had 601 concurrent live viewers with over 7,800 total views. The number of live viewers increased from 2021, where two sessions yielded 867 live viewers.
  • BGRi went back to being a stand-alone, pre-BGR program and 615 registered. BGRi move-in was centralized at Tarkington residence hall, while BGRi check-in took place at the Cordova Recreation Center (Co-Rec), mirroring BGR check-in.
  • Move-in for BGR took place over three days, from Sunday, Aug. 14 through Tuesday, Aug. 16.
  • In collaboration with the Fusion Studio for Entertainment and Engineering, three student- and facultyled projects were featured in the inaugural BGR Entertainment Challenge. Dr. Andres Arrieta’s “Bistable Embrace”, Wan Kyn Chan’s “A Warm Light for All” and Davin Huston’s “A Journey Through Purdue: An Interactive Timeline” received grant funding from both offices and showcased their installations during the program.
  • The centralized check-in for BGR and BGRi at the Co-Rec. Several new and unique functions took place to enhance the student experience:
    • Parent and Family Connections hosted a come-and-go reception in the Co-Rec Gyms 1-3, with VP Beth McCuskey giving remarks to families on each move-in day.
    • Adding onto the VSTAR Map, colleagues from IT Solutions and GIS were able to build a live check-in map for BGR and BGRi. As students checked into the program in the Co-Rec Gyms 4-6, a pin populated on a computer in the Feature Gym indicating where on the world map they were Last updated: December 1, 2022 from. An enhanced feature from 2021, the map rotated to zoom in on different areas of the world.
    • Students picked up a “Sensory Guide” for the second year in a row which outlined the BGR schedule in ways that acknowledged a variety of activities that may have impact on neurodiverse students. This guide was recognized as the Focus Award winner at Purdue University in 2022.
    • A variety of buttons were distributed, including ones indicating personal pronouns, developed in tandem with the LGBTQ Center. Other buttons included regional indications (in-state, international), classification (transfer, sophomore) and Purdue pride (Boiler Up).
    • The ID Card Office had a station setup where students could take a photo on site and pick up their IDs.
    • Top contributing sponsors (University Book Store, Union Club Hotel, Purdue Federal Credit Union) were represented at check-in alongside the Fusion Studio for Entertainment and Engineering, and the Greater Lafayette Commerce.
  • The BGR Kickoff event was livestreamed for the second year in a row, yielding 1,815 concurrent live viewers, down slightly from 2021 with 1,949 concurrent live viewers.
  • All large content sessions were held once again in Elliott Hall of Music. Loeb Playhouse and several other smaller lectures around campus were also used because of the high number of participants. Hall of Music supported each session.
  • Core Values of the institution were incorporated into a reflective activity during VSTAR Part 2 and later incorporated during the Diversity: The Boilermaker Way session during BGR.
  • With the finished construction of the Atlas Family Marketplace in the Purdue Memorial Union, this location served as a sixth dining location for participants during the week of BGR.
  • Boiler Gold Rush attendees were split into student-specific breakouts during the Academic Success session: summer beginners, transfer students, international students, and traditional first-year students.
  • Conversations with the Greater Lafayette Chamber resulted in 70 businesses participating in the BInvolved Fair during Boiler Gold Rush.
  • In alignment with the Equity Task Force, a critical reflection looked at the composition of BGR student groups. Logic was changed in the participant sorting functions so that at least three individuals of similar status were placed in each group (i.e., three Black students were placed in the same Team Leader group, instead of using the previous logic of distributing all non-white participants evenly across all groups). This was done in hopes of improving the experience of Black Boilermakers in BGR.
    • Post-assessment results indicate that the overall satisfaction (Indicating Satisfied and Very Satisfied) of BGR from Black students was much lower than their non-Black peers in years previous to 2021 (2019: 73.9% vs. 82.4%, 2020: 60.5% vs. 67.9%).
    • In 2021 and 2022, the gap diminished, with Black student satisfaction slightly behind the full participant averages (2021: 80.4% vs. 83.1%, 2022: 79.0% vs. 83.4%). While the cause of this satisfaction increase cannot fully be associated as the cause, we believe that this change in sorting did have an influence on the experience of our Black students during BGR.
  • New events during the week of BGR and BGRi included:
    • The return of BGRi to a pre-BGR format, the return of Academic Preview sessions, the addition of a summer student breakout for the Academic Success session, the addition of community partners to the B-Involved Fair, reframing the “Protect Purdue” session to the “Public Health and Safety” session, addition of a Transfer student social, addition of a Wellness session,
  • In tandem with the Purdue Promise program and the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging, over $187,000 of fee waivers were awarded to students who demonstrated financial need in order for them to attend Boiler Gold Rush in person for half or no cost to the student.

Beyond 2022

  • On Oct. 14, 2022, Orientation Programs announced the official retirement of the names of "STAR," "VSTAR," and “Pre-Arrival Homework.” Specifically, the rename of "VSTAR" parts one and two to Purdue 101 and Purdue 102 that went into effect for Spring 2023 new students.
  • New students going through Orientation Programs experiences will be welcomed “All Aboard Purdue,” a four-step process to start their journey as Boilermakers.
  • These changes aim to simplify program names, descriptions, and messages to help students, their families, and campus partners better navigate Purdue's orientation processes and milestones.
  • An “All Aboard Purdue” update event was held on November 3, 2022, in the PMU North Ballroom to highlight the revised process for campus partners.

Orientation Programs Team

  • The Orientation Programs Team was recognized for their accomplishments:
    • Virginia Cabrera and Max Dryer won the staff category for the 2022 Focus Award at Purdue University, an annual award acknowledging and celebrating Purdue community members’ efforts to further the University’s commitment to disability accessibility and disability diversity initiatives. Their award recognized work done for the “Sensory Guide”, a BGR event overview that contains auditory and visual stimulation, what activities involved large group participation, and the exertional expectations for physical activities.
    • Virginia Cabrera continued studies in the College of Education at Purdue University in pursuit of a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Curriculum Studies
    • Craig Johnson earned a Project Management Certificate from Purdue University Global
  • Virginia Cabrera and Craig Johnson co-facilitated Inclusive Advising focus group sessions for individuals in the Purdue advising community
  • One staff member departed the office in pursuit of new opportunities:
    • Cam Hoyt, Assistant Director, accepted a position at the University of Massachusetts-Boston as the Assistant Director of New Student and Family Programs. His last active day in the Orientation Programs office was on Friday, May 13, 2022.
  • Three staff members were hired onto the team:
    • Maggie Smith, Sr. Assistant Director, began on January 5, 2022, and oversees pre-arrival programs (Purdue 101, 102) and close partnership with University Undergraduate Academic Advising
    • Jake Slodkowski, Program Coordinator, began on March 28, 2022, and co-supervises the undergraduate student staff.
    • Jacque Rickett, Program Coordinator, began on June 20, 2022, and co-supervises the undergraduate student staff.
  • Two NODA Interns, Charles Sanders (Ohio University) and Karren Gunalan (University of Dayton), were hired to assist with preparation for Boiler Gold Rush, and were part of the team from June 6 to August 5, 2022.
  • Additional partnerships and connections were created outside of Purdue for programmatic and professional development:
    • The Orientation Programs team attended the annual Big Ten Meeting of orientation professionals, hosted by Ohio State University in October 2021.
    • Craig Johnson attended the 41st Annual Conference on The First-Year Experience with Dan Carpenter, Katie Dufault (Academic Success Center), Quinton Skibinski and April McKinney (Purdue Promise) from Feb. 12-15, 2022. Last updated: December 1, 2022
    • Virginia Cabrera served on the 2022 NODA Regional Conference Planning committee held at the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio from March 11-13, 2022.
      • Manu Haddad Correa and Jake Frederick (Student Orientation Committee members) presented “How to Build a Leader” and won the Undergraduate Regional Showcase award for best undergraduate presentation.
      • Virginia Cabrera and Maggie Smith presented “Onboarding like a pro, not just for pros”
      • Virginia Cabrera facilitated the Graduate Student Symposium
      • SOC members won “Best Banner” fitting the conference theme of “Getting Back to the Heart of it All”
    • An increased focus on building external partnerships created cost savings for apparel purchases and generated over $175,000 towards in-kind and monetary donations that enhanced programs and provided more opportunities for participants and staff of BGR and BGRi. Continued efforts will be made to keep this momentum in the coming year.
    • Craig Johnson, Virginia Cabrera, and Maggie Smith attended the annual Big Ten Meeting of orientation professionals, hosted by the University of Michigan September 26-28, 2022.
    • The Orientation Programs team attended the 2022 NODA Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland from November 7-10, 2022.
      • Jake Slodkowski and Jacque Rickett participated in the Orientation Professionals Institute 
      • Jake Slodkowski and Jacque Rickett presented “3 Ring Circus: Balancing a New Job, New Town, and New Team”
      • Virginia Cabrera and Maggie Smith presented “Onboarding like a pro, not just for pros”
      • Craig Johnson facilitated roundtable discussions on topics related to Directors & Managers (with colleagues from Iowa State University, Texas A&M University, the University of Oklahoma, and Washington University in St. Louis) and Welcome Week (on behalf of a colleague from the University of Minnesota, and with a colleague from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo).

Our Data

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