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Quest orientation kicks off for new freshmen

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Quest participants walk across the RU campus as they head for the next orientation activity.

Monday marked a milestone for proud grandparent Carolyn Jackson:  granddaughter Zellyne Snead began her collegiate journey with Radford University.

Snead, of Richmond, and more than 1,300 other members of RU's incoming freshmen class are participating in the two-day Quest orientation program this summer. The first of four sessions kicked off Monday, June 23, as students and their guests navigated through campus.

Snead is the oldest and first of Jackson's grandchildren to attend college.

"I'm really excited," Snead said. "I wanted to go to a D1 [Division 1] school, and I heard so many good things about Radford."

Throughout the next two days, Quest participants will get a true taste of college life. They'll tour campus, meet with academic advisors, socialize with their future classmates and some will stay overnight in the dorms with other incoming freshmen. Quest Assistants will help students get acclimated with campus and each other through icebreaker activities designed to welcome and warm up conversation.

Parker Brackin and his father, Richie, of Blanch, North Carolina, examined a campus map and took in the scenery Monday morning before the opening ceremony.

"A lot of friends have been telling me about the fitness center," Brackin said. "I'm pretty impressed by it."

The university's new Recreation and Wellness Center is currently under construction and will house fitness, active recreation and wellness space designed to help students live healthy lifestyles.

Students and parents were welcomed to campus in Bondurant Auditorium by Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Sam Minner and Student Government Association President Colby Bender.

"I think of Radford University as kind of a launching pad," Minner said. "Your countdown begins today and ends when you graduate from RU and blast off to a fulfilling, exciting and rewarding life. That is your goal, I know, and that is our goal as well. That countdown for you begins today. What an exciting time in your life."

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Three new students put their heads together to see what the next step is in their student orientation schedule as they await the start of the Quest Opening ceremony.

Both Minner and Bender encouraged students to take advantage of all the opportunities RU has to offer.

"Getting involved is incredibly vital to your academic careers," Bender said.

A first-generation college student, Bender also reminded students to thank the ones who have helped them along their academic journey.

"Remember to thank your families," Bender said.

Best friends Shelby Laxton and Katherine Jennings of Roanoke are entering their freshmen year at RU together. Laxton hopes to major in criminal justice, and Jennings wants to enter the university's nursing program, one that she and her mother, RU alumna Wendy Jennings, were very impressed by.

"I was thrilled when she decided on Radford," said Jennings '91.

Upon their arrival to campus, parents Chuck and Michelle Schuller of Manassas said they were immediately impressed with the grounds on which their daughter Kayla Decarlo will continue her academic career.

"The pictures don't do it justice," Michelle Schuller said. "It's a beautiful campus."

The next session of Quest for incoming freshmen is scheduled for Thursday, June 26.

Quest was offered last week to transfer students. Three Quest Express programs – an abbreviated orientation also for new freshmen – will be offered in July.

Jun 23, 2014