Meet your MVPs behind the scenes of Orientation!

Autumn Dixon


A light-up juggling show, a sundown screening of Captain Marvel, a Super Smash Bros tournament, the Poet Spirit Fest, and the Light of Learning ceremony were just a handful of events incoming first-years took part in over Fall Orientation from Sept. 1 – 3. While these events seemingly popped up out of nowhere, Whittier College’s Orientation Team put hours of hard work into welcoming our new Poets.

Third-year Dianna Torres is one of many who make up the Orientation Team. “Working with the Orientation Team has truly been a great experience,” said Torres. “I have learned so much about being a leader and mentor in such a short time.” Torres’ work for the Orientation Team begins in the Spring semester, months before Orientation takes place. “It is up to us to check on how our events [planning is] going during the summer. When we come back to continue to work over the summer, we work on final details or materials that need to be put together for students, families, and guests.” said Torres.

During her second year at Whittier College, Torres began working for the Orientation Team. “I loved working with Orientation so much that I decided to apply for the Orientation Leader position this year,” said Torres. “[The] Orientation [Team] has provided me with a great amount of skill. Not only am I aware of the countless hours and hard work that goes into planning Orientation, but I have gained mentors and have also learned how to be a mentor to other students.” 

Working alongside Torres is fourth-year Orientation Coordinator Maria Caliz, who got involved after an old roommate encouraged her to join. “I have been on the Orientation Team for two years now, and I have loved every minute of it,” said Caliz. “Being part of the team has challenged me in ways that I did not think I was going to be, and I was able to do things that I did not think I was capable of. The learning experience and the growth that I have had these past two years has been one of the best things of my life.”

The Orientation Team works tirelessly with multiple departments on campus to ensure students, families, guests, transfers, and Spanish-speaking students are all scheduled to be at events catered to them. “While these meetings and schedules are being decided, there are also other major things that happen,” said Caliz. “Materials for new students, families, and guests need to be ordered, created, printed and packed accordingly.” Additionally, the team works to make sure events are catered and being promoted on social media.

Those interviewed from the Orientation Team have had nothing but positive remarks. “Everyone from the professional staff to the student staff provided a positive and friendly environment to be able to work and grow in,” said Torres. “The best part is making new connections with other students on campus.” Applications to join the Orientation Team will be sent out via StudentL, or students can apply anytime via Handshake. While Torres says there are no rough plans for next year’s incoming Poets Orientation, she reassures that “whatever they turn out to be, they are going to be just as great as this year!”