Students and parents walk to residence hall

A summer rite of passage for incoming students

At first glance it looks like students are being dropped off by their parents for a great big slumber party somewhere on campus.

But it’s far more than that.

Dozens of students and their parents arrived on campus early Thursday morning in preparation for a two-day orientation session, an annual rite of passage at USF St. Petersburg.

Students and parents shared breakfast at Harbor Hall before breaking off for various meetings all over campus.

Parents learned about student safety and housing. They met the deans, spoke with financial aid advisors, and got answers to any pressing questions. Students had a similarly packed day as they met with academic advisors to finalize course schedules, had their photos taken for ID’s, and learned about their rights as USFSP students.

After dinner the parents said goodnight and headed home or to local hotels before the students enjoyed skits about diversity presented by their Orientation Leaders. Day one ended with a pool party at the waterfront that went well into the night.

Day two started bright early for students as they learned about living on campus and becoming an active member of the USFSP community before heading home in the early afternoon.

This was just one of six orientation sessions for more than 700 freshmen, and seven sessions for about 600 transfer students this summer. (The transfer students do not spend the night.)

On the heels of USF St. Pete’s largest graduating class to date in May, the largest freshmen class ever is expected with more than 700 students.

Both Residence Hall One and the new residential student tower at the University Student Center are expected to be full, bringing the total number of students living on campus to nearly 550.