New freshmen were given cookies on Thursday, Mar. 9 in exchange for providing feedback for the New Student Orientation (NSO) events they had participated in the previous two weeks. The new students said they appreciated the survey they were given and felt like their voices were heard.
Maclean Sauseru, a freshman in political science from the Solomon Islands, said, “I walked into the Aloha Center and was approached to take the survey. The survey was simple. You don’t have to go out of your way at all; you just have to click your responses. I feel that my voice matters here.”
Jenny Velasco, a freshman in political science from the Philippines, said, “The survey was very easy. The questions were simple, and I felt it was very considerate of my time because it was short. It asked me what activities I attended and what I liked about them.” Velasco said she went because she put the event in her planner during NSO week.
“I was actually looking for it earlier, but the Career Fair was going on. I came into the Aloha Center a few minutes ago and I saw the sign and remembered. The survey was great. I loved the cookie. It was really tasty. Not too hard, but not to crumbly and soft either.” said Velasco.
Charlie Hola, a senior in legal studies and criminal justice from Tonga, played a big role in planning and executing the event. He said, “I’ve done it for four NSOs now. I’ve seen progress from when I first started. The survey is for new students on how they liked or disliked NSO week. We want to make sure the events we put on provide information but are also fun.”
Lis Hardy, a freshman in psychology from Utah, said she was somewhat dissatisfied with the survey. “The survey didn’t ask you to explain why you disliked or liked something. It’s good we were able to pick what we thought, but we couldn’t explain the reasoning behind it. However, I did like how it asked what advice we would give to an incoming freshman on how they could make friends.”
Matt Stripling, a freshman in accounting from Canada, said his favorite NSO event was the luau and was able to express it through the survey. He said, “It was my ideal survey. Short and quick and I had to put forth little effort. I liked how we could select the adjective that best described how we felt.”
Faaulu Leota, a freshman in political science from Samoa, said, “It was well prepared and very organized. I felt that it met our needs. The survey was straightforward and the cookies were delicious. If there will be more cookies, I will volunteer in the future.
“My favorite event from NSO week was the One Stop. We were able to go to different booths and learn more information about different programs. It really helped.”
Zully Davila, freshman in psychology from Peru, said, “The luau and talent show were my favorite. We got to see people’s talents in a way we wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. Plus, being fed is always great.”
Davila said she also loved attending the One Stop event. “There was some stuff that was interesting but a lot of it was repeated. It was a lot of information. I actually took the survey that day so I wasn’t able to include all of my thoughts for the whole week.” said Davila.
Seuseru said his favorite event was the Pilialoha Night - where new students played games, danced, and had free pizza - because he was able to eat pizza. Velasco said she liked the Academic Orientation as well as the President’s Fireside and Official Welcome.
Hola said, “It’s one thing to get feedback but it’s another to put it into action. We look at the results of the surveys and turn them into tables and graphs. After reading the results, I hand out assignments to our team allowing them to see what we can change to do it better.”
“We have a whole semester to implement the feedback. Every student’s opinion counts. Of course we can’t satisfy everyone’s needs but we can try different things. I view every feedback as important.” said Hola.
Hola said, “The other day, I received an email from a student. From the 400 plus new students, this one student took the time to write to express their gratitude and positive feelings towards NSO. I like seeing that we can touch people’s lives. It was nice to hear.”
SLAS members are also drafting a survey for the NSO volunteers, said Hola. “There were more volunteers attending our trainings this time around. I think that’s why this NSO went so well. The rooms were filled and they were more mindful and ready for NSO.” said Hola.
Hola said he realized that the little details really have a big impact because the atmosphere helps the students to open up and have fun. He said, “With our department, what makes us successful is our love of serving the students. I tell our team that our love has to be genuine so they can feel it.”