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by Tiffany Garrett, News editor

The events were organized under the auspices of Fall 2006 Passport Week, and each student and his or her family were issued an HPU passport. Other innovations included separate orientation sessions for students and their families, and the hiring of 14 experienced students as orientation leaders to guide the newcomers through the week.

“ With the support and assistance of upperclass students, faculty, and staff,” said Marites Fiesta, director of The Office of First-Year Programs, “we were able to facilitate an extensive and engaging week-long orientation program.”

On Aug. 28, about 300 students gathered on Fort Street Mall for a full day of information sessions, climaxing at the end of the day with, for the first time, separate orientation sessions for students and families. At 3 p.m., new students gathered at the Hawai‘i Theatre for a First-Year Welcome. A computer linked to a Myspace.com orientation page projected pictures of each of the speakers on a giant screen.

To end the segment, the 14 orientation leaders put on a skit to showcase a typical day at HPU. “It was funny, since it seemed improvised,” said freshmen Joant Ubeda from California.
At 4 p.m. parents and faculty joined the session and speakers presented more detail about the University and its programs.

To end the night there was a New Student Orientation Kickoff and Parents Reception at the windward Hawai‘i Loa campus, where local group Kapena entertained participants while they ate and mingled.

“ Passport Week was an exciting and busy week for everyone,” said Fiesta. “We were able to incorporate a variety of information sessions and activities that assisted students and their family members.”

Each day of orientation week had specific theme as well as information sessions and planned evening activities for the students and family members. Tuesday, all the students and family members were invited to attend the Deans’ Welcome and Reception on the windward campus. Deans, advisors, and faculty were available to meet with students interested in their fields, but some faculty indicated that only a few students actually came.

That night, students gathered at the Fort Shafter bowling ally for a night of Cosmic Bowling.
Wednesday was busy with information sessions on the downtown campus to help students make the transition to college and Hawai‘i. At 8 p.m. HPU’s Office of Student Life sponsored a Movie on the Mall, but only a handful of students were present.

Thursday morning offered a sunrise hike at Diamond Head, one of the optional activities offered to students and their families. The day continued on Fort Street Mall with a focus on student activities. Later that night about 70 students and faculty enjoyed a Catamaran Sunset Cruise on the Ali‘i Kai which sailed from the pier near Aloha Tower.

On Friday, after breakfast at the windward campus, students were bused to the Ulupo Heiau, at the Kailua YMCA, where they helped clean up trash. That night students returned to the windward campus for the Aloha Bash Dance, from 10 p.m. until midnight.

Saturday was another day filled with optional activities for the students and their parents, including a full day at the Polynesian Cultural Center, located in La‘ie.

Sunday everyone was invited for a full fun day at Kailua Beach.

The week-long event ended Sept. 4th with another optional event, as about 80 students traveled to the Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park in Kapolei.

Orientation Leader Daniella Ramirez, a senior from Santiago, Chile summed up the week: “What makes HPU’s orientation week different from any other school is that it includes fun activities that only Hawai‘i can offer.”


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