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ORIENTATION BEGINS EARLY AT CBU

Riverside, Calif. (June 9, 2015) -- Nicci Hinderaker, of Long Beach, strolled on campus at California Baptist University, excited to visit classrooms and meet other new students.

Hinderaker, whose sister, Tori, also attends CBU, will play on the volleyball team. She was one of the approximately 270 incoming freshman, with family members in tow, who streamed onto campus June 8 for Step Ahead Orientation.

Hinderaker's mother Beth liked that orientation was held early."It gives them time to prepare and to get excited," she said.

Orientation is coming early and often this year. Step Ahead Orientation will happen four times for freshman and three times for transfer and non-recent high school graduates.

Several reasons led to the change, said Kelli Welzel, director of new student programs. Students and parents have questions about services and academic programs. Providing all that information the weekend before school starts when students are moving in can be overwhelming, Welzel said. Last year, about 3,500 parents attended orientation. It's difficult to program for that many people.

"We're growing, so we're trying to meet a growing need and still offer the same feeling of intimacy," she said. "We believe it showcases the university well and what the university has to offer to students."

During orientation, incoming students will meet with faculty from their school or college, register for classes and learn about other services. The freshmen will spend one night on campus. The students also will participate in the Kugel walk. The Kugel, a floating granite globe sculpture, is a symbol of Christ's Great Commission. CBU tradition calls for newly enrolled students to touch the Kugel as they begin their educational experience at CBU.

They will also hear about CBU's history and purpose.

"We want to make it real clear in the summer -- this is what you're signing on to, this is who we are as a culture, this is the benefit of being a part of CBU," Welzel said.

Braden Sapp, from Colorado, is coming for the music program.He looked forward to learning about the campus and registering for classes. His mother, Analee Sapp, also appreciated an earlier orientation, because she has two children attending different universities.

"It makes it so much easier," she said.

A final orientation day before classes start will be held for international and out-of-state students who could not attend during the summer. This will be followed by Welcome Weekend, when new students move in and get connected socially and spiritually.

Welzel acknowledges holding multiple orientation sessions is more work for staff and for the schools and colleges that arrange for faculty members to participate.

"It's taken everybody coming together to make this happen," she said. "It's been amazing to see how everybody has come behind it and has been willing to do this to serve the students. I think it says a lot about our CBU community."