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Putting Parents at Ease During Orientation

Rachel Liftman (CAS’07) spent two summers on campus as an orientation program assistant.

Boston University makes every effort to welcome incoming freshmen and make them feel at home. The University trains student advisors, who work with the incoming students at summer orientation time — but it also provides program assistants, who calm the fears of worried parents. Just ask Rachel Liftman (CAS’07). She’s spent two summers working with parents as a program assistant during orientation, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I like the idea of talking to parents because growing up, parents always liked me,” says Liftman. “I think that I’m able to connect with them more.” Liftman and other program assistants host roundtables and city trips for parents during orientation and are the general liaison between parents and the administrators who explain what they need to know about the University and what to expect.

But mingling with parents isn’t the only job program assistants take on during the summer. They’re also the ones behind the scenes: setting up for presentations and running check-in early Thursday mornings. They answer phones in the Office of Orientation and Off Campus Services so that students and parents who call in before orientation get a friendly introduction to the University. And this summer, Liftman took on the role of orientation skit director, the person who writes and directs the informative, entertaining skits that student advisors act out for incoming freshman at orientation.

“I really enjoyed being the skit director because I’ve been involved in performing and theater since I was 10,” says Liftman, “but I’ve never worked as meticulously on a show or skit as I did this summer. I’ve never been more proud of myself than with the skit.”

Liftman says that she was attracted to the job of program assistant because she felt that it would help her in any future career. “You just get to meet so many people and you get to really become good at talking to people and negotiating,” she says.

The Office of Orientation and Off Campus Services is holding information sessions for students interested in becoming program assistants on Tuesday, December 5, and Wednesday, December 6, from 7 to 9 p.m. on the fifth floor of the George Sherman Union.


Brittany Jasnoff can be reached at bjasnoff@bu.edu.