Southeastern and its leaders evolve hand in hand

Orientation leaders share the nature of their extracurricular duties

Orientation Leaders have been in and out since 1988, but all have been through recruitment and created history at Southeastern while shaping their own lives.

“Life happens at orientation, and college begins with us,” said Anthony Ranatza, assistant director of Admissions.

Jordon Leggett, a 2010 Orientation Leader, speaks with a high school student during Senior Day in the Pennington Student Activity Center at Southeastern Louisiana University. Photo by Rande Robinson.

Stephen Soutullo, who recently retired as assistant vice-president for enrollment management started the orientation program at Southeastern, according to Ranatza.

The process in becoming an orientation leader begins with recruitment day in Southeastern’s Student Union mall, which took place on Oct. 21 for 2011 orientation leaders.

“I chose to become an orientation leader at Southeastern because I felt it would help me make a better connection with the campus community,” said William Takewell, a 2010 orientation leader at Southeastern. “I transferred here in the fall of 2009, and one of my friends encouraged me to try out. I did it, and made the team.”

However, becoming an orientation leader involves time and requirements.

“The training is for the whole spring semester before your summer as orientation leader,” said Grace Gilbreath, a 2010 orientation leader. “Throughout that whole time, you are slowly getting everything ready for the summer. ”

“The hardest part for me was being away from home the whole summer and not being able to spend as much time with my family as I would have liked.”

Two requirements for an interested student involve being enrolled full-time and having at least 24 credit hours completed by the end of the spring semester.

Leaders are also expected to have a minimum grade point average of 2.2, be willing to live on campus in residential housing throughout the summer and take a required summer leadership training class.

“I was persuaded by my orientation leaders when I went through orientation, and I had a blast,” said Jordon Leggett, a 2010 orientation leader and Soutullo Family Scholarship recipient for orientation leader of the year.

“My biggest accomplishment as an orientation leader was winning Orientation Leader of the Year. I was so honored to be recognized for having fun.”

The Orientation Leader of the Year award was created in memory of Joseph Soutullo, father of Stephen Soutullo, who died in 1995.

The Soutullo Family Scholarship provides $500 per semester to the university’s Orientation Leader of the Year, whose name is also engraved on a plaque that hangs in the Office of Admissions.

“Being a leader was great,” Takewell said. “We [the leaders] spent all summer living together as a team and getting to know each other really well. I have made some friends I’m confident I will have for the rest of my life”.

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