What Can Green Do for You? Patriot Leaders Have the Answer

Posted: November 9, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Lexi Soya

For most new Mason students and families, the transition into the university community is guided by the “green polos”. They are the Patriot Leaders, formerly known as Orientation Leaders.

So what exactly does “green” do? According to Sarah Cunningham, the Orientation Leader Program’s assistant director, they not only facilitate freshman, transfer and family orientations, but they also host Family Weekend, New Student Day, Welcome Week and the fall retention program.

Patriot Leaders

Patriot Leaders (PLs), who represent a cross-section of the Mason student body, also participate in extensive leadership training, National Coalition Building Institute diversity training, on- and off-campus community service and the regional level of the National Orientation Leaders Association.

Contrary to what their former title suggested, PLs clearly engage in more than summer orientation.

“We fulfill so many more roles and responsibilities than just orientation, which is why we felt it was necessary to change our name,” says Cunningham, whose program is part of the Office of Orientation and Family Programs and Services (OFPS).

Over the past several years, the needs of incoming students have changed considerably, which is why the role of the PLs is evolving so much.

“There are now more family members involved in a student’s transition, and we have to accommodate for that,” notes Cunningham.

Starting on Monday, Nov. 13, OFPS will hold mandatory information sessions for students interested in becoming Patriot Leaders. Their recruitment is based primarily on faculty and staff recommendations.

“We try to find students who are reflective of Mason’s student body, so we look for on-campus and commuter students, students from all majors, in-state and out-of-state students and students from across the spectrum,” Cunningham says. “Our students have a love for Mason and like to work together as a team.”

Current PLs say they find their job satisfying and beneficial.

“It’s really rewarding to make a connection with a new student at orientation or help out a family,” says Chelsea Cowan, a sophomore PL and conflict and resolution major.

“It also helps you get to know all the resources Mason offers. Being a Patriot Leader has opened my eyes.”

For more on the Patriot Leaders, visit greenpolo.gmu.edu.

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