Public Affairs Senior Encourages EPPS Students to Become OTMs

By Saron Zekiros, EPPS Freshman

“I love helping people out when they have no idea what’s going on,” admits UT Dallas Public Affairs Senior Louise Hoffman while reflecting back on her experience as an Orientation Team Mentor (OTM) this past summer.

Freshmen year is quite a transition for many students, whether they choose to live on campus or decide to commute. It’s during this period when students learn how to balance their social life and their academics, understand who they are, and get a better idea as to what they’ll do in the future, which is why having a mentor seems like a very beneficial figure to have at this time.

The Orientation Team Mentor Program is one of the new organized student programs that offer support to these students during their transition to college life at UT Dallas.

Now after completing her duties as an OTM, Hoffman encourages other EPPS students to participate in the program, as well. Though becoming an OTM has no direct connection to any academic discipline, Hoffman admits that the skills she learned as an OTM will help her in the future.

Hoffman, who has had previous leadership experience herself as a camp counselor and as sorority recruitment counselor, explains that she learned how “to work on a team with peers,” deal with challenge,s and how she “can also carry a conversation with just about anyone now.” It’s not a surprise to see interpersonal and communicative skills develop once becoming an OTM since the entire program involves interactions and communications.

Unlike what the name seemingly suggests, Hoffman explains that she not only helped out in Orientation but also freshmen programs like Comet Camp and Success Camp.

During her position as an OTM she advised “freshmen on classes, answered countless questions on how to get to certain places on campus, educated parents and students on campus resources and services, as well as leading freshmen in team building activities.” Hoffman reminisces about the skit practices she was involved in during Orientation and considers it her favorite OTM moment since the entire OTM team was so “in sync.” She said, “I loved showing freshman what to expect from their first year.” She also admits the importance of an OTM as they can give freshmen “tips and tricks to be successful from a peer’s perspective.”

According to Hoffman, the application process consisted of creating a collage which represented UT Dallas and being interviewed by the Senior Orientation Team. Those interested in becoming OTMs should look at the student criteria, which includes a 3.0 GPA, certain number of semester hours completed and enrolling in a three-hour spring training class.

“If you like to yell and meet new people, the job is perfect for you,” Hoffman said. For more information, contact the Orientation Team Mentor Office in the Student Services Building 3.600 or call 972-883-6171.