tudents selected to serve as Student
Orientation Staff (SOS) through
the Office of Assistant Dean for
Freshmen must learn and have a working
knowledge of Lycoming College’s basic
academic requirements, proper social
conduct, the judicial process, housing
matters, security issues, campus health
resources and student activities. And they
also have to have a great personality.
While it sounds like a difficult task
trying to find the right students for the
job, Andrew Kilpatrick, assistant dean
for freshmen, is up to the challenge. After
all, he’s hoping these students will gain
valuable leadership skills and help serve
the office for a couple years.
“I believe that sometimes the best
messengers are peers,” Kilpatrick said.
“I tell the SOS, ‘You are instruments
through which the new students and their
families integrate into this community.’”
Kilpatrick and his staff provide the SOS
with a semester-long training program
that helps them welcome new students,
as well as answer questions from the
students and their parents – or at least
know who to ask to find the answers.
SOS welcomes incoming freshmen
by helping them make friends, involving
them in orientation activities, finding
campus locations during orientation
sessions and working with academic
advisers to guide students through class
There is an application process that
requires a minimum grade-point average,
and Kilpatrick tries to match the SOS
with the various academic departments
so that most are represented. About 20
students are hired each spring with their
job beginning on Accepted Students Day
and lasting through the three summer
orientations and First Weekend.
Kilpatrick works with the students
closely throughout the semester and gets
to know them well.
“One of the best things about this
job is the experience these students
get,” Kilpatrick said. “Providing such
opportunities also is an important part of
the college’s educational mission.”
This year, there was a surprise in one
of the SOS applications. Ashley Burger
’16, of Montoursville, indicated that her
parents, Patti ’85 and Rob ’85, were both
“It’s the first legacy I know of,”
Rob added that he and his wife were
part of the first two SOS classes offered
when they were in their sophomore and
junior years, saying that it’s a “wonderful
compliment” that Ashley was selected.
“We’re really excited,” Patti said.
“It’s a great opportunity for her to meet
students and more of the faculty.”
“We take a team approach to
selecting the best SOS team each year,”
Kilpatrick said. “Our selection committee
includes graduating SOS members,
the director of student programs and
leadership development, the director of
the Academic Resource Center and the
Office of the Freshman Dean staff.”
SOS member Ryan Boccagno ’14 offers assistance
to incoming freshman Rachel Duncan ’17.