New Student Orientation check-in

After Student Move-out: Penn State University Park Hosts Groups Throughout the Summer

Monday, May 16, 2016

"Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one." - Dr. Seuss

This favorite Dr. Seuss quote can be found within the training materials for Conference Services and Desk Operations new staff--a little morale booster for new employees as they prepare for the fast-paced, hectic summer days at Penn State University Park.

It happens every May on campus: No sooner have students moved out than the summer rush begins. It starts with New Student Orientation (NSO), then moves into camp and conference season, followed by pre-semester housing for students, and right into another new academic year.

"We provide comfortable, affordable accommodations for a variety of groups of adults and youth throughout the summer months," says Pam Richards-Visnovsky, assistant director of Conference Services and Desk Operations.

Getting ready to host campus visitors at NSO and camps and conferences requires fast and furious facility turnaround. Coordinators, conference assistants, student managers and desk staff, and many others all work together to welcome guests to University Park--more than 42,000 during the summer of 2015. Housing staff rushes to clean rooms; Food Services gears up for incoming groups; temporary ID cards, key packets, and parking passes are prepared; and much more work goes on behind the scenes all summer long.

NSO is the first wave, welcoming new students to University Park. All students spend one night in a residence hall during NSO, which begins May 15 and runs until July 20 this year. During NSO, as groups of students are checking in and checking out almost every day, Residence Life staff is busy handling parking passes as well as coordinating resident assistants (RAs).

"We're entering the fourth year that NSO has been a two-day event, and we're pretty good at it by now," Richards-Visnovsky says. "We learn a little more every year."

Camps and conference groups provide a steady stream of visitors to University Park throughout the rest of the summer--from sports camps and competitions to professional associations, alumni groups, and regional conferences.

During the second week in August, while camps and conferences are winding down, pre-semester housing gears up. More than 2,300 students--including international students, Welcome Week leaders, Blue Band members, jumpstart programs, and athletes--arrive on campus early and need housing. These students are accommodated in East Halls until their permanent fall housing assignment is ready.

And when those fall assignments are complete for a new academic year, it starts all over again: last fall, more than 4,100 students checked into East Halls over a two-day period. "It can get crazy," says Richards-Visnovsky, "and it can certainly be challenging. But we work hard as a team to make sure all or our visiting groups, as well as our students, are comfortable and that they feel welcome at University Park."