Quest 2018: A fresh start. A new journey.
Hundreds of incoming Radford University students and their families were welcomed to campus with abundant energy, helpful advice, hands-on experiences and an exciting outlook during Quest, the university’s new student orientation.
For 40 years, Quest has been a “Radford University event” driven by a spirited campus-wide collaboration of faculty, staff and students who are dedicated to the success of all Highlanders.
The first Quest session of summer 2018, June 14-15, was no different.
Twenty-four Quest Assistants (QAs) – current students who serve as guides and confidants of new students – lit up the stage with a dance routine in Bondurant Auditorium during the program’s opening ceremony on June 14. Their enthusiasm was contagious and carried throughout orientation, designed to fully prepare students and their families for their return to campus this fall.
“Your success is so very important to us,” Kitty McCarthy, vice president for Enrollment Management, told Quest guests during the opening ceremony.
She offered key advice for the eager and excited new students and their families to consider as they continue to navigate academia. Get involved, ask for help, know your strengths and weaknesses, work hard and “remember, we are here for you,” McCarthy said.
Joel Hanlon, interim director of New Student and Family Programs (NSFP), explained to participants that “Quest takes an army” to prepare for.
“It takes so much to make this progress work smoothly for you all, and we are committed to that,” Hanlon said. “We are so thrilled to have you.”
Participants also heard from Quest Student Director Reagan Elkins, who shared her inspirational Radford University story.
A senior accounting major from Wise, Elkins has become involved in a number of campus clubs and organizations, including Sigma Alpha Omega, Radford Crafty, the College of Business and Economics Advisory Board and NSFP.
“Let me tell you that Radford University students love Radford University,” Elkins said.” “And if a small town girl from Wise, Virginia, can accomplish all of this, just think about what you can do.”
Quest, New Student Orientation 2018
Quest is organized each year by the staff of NSFP, an office within Enrollment Management. Parent Orientation Guides (POGS), QAs, student directors and professional staff are trained to engage with new students and families and make them feel that Radford University is the right choice.
Approximately 1,900 freshmen and 700 transfer students are expected to participate in nine different Quest sessions this summer.
The program highlights the Highlander community, including its state-of-the-art facilities, talented faculty, devoted staff and nationally-renowned colleges and curriculum. Students mingle with one another through fun and engaging activities, register for classes and receive their campus ID cards that gain them access to the university’s recreation center, dining halls and other campus amenities.
At the first Quest session of the summer, parents Allen ’95 and Amanda Thompson of Floyd said they received a lot of helpful information that will benefit their daughter, incoming freshman Michaela. Michaela plans to major in elementary special education, they said.
“It’s just good for me as a parent to know the campus like Michaela’s going to know the campus,” Amanda Thompson said. “Down the road, when she’s talking about one of her classes, I’ll know where and what she’s talking about.”
A lot has changed at Radford since Allen Thompson participated in Quest in the early 1990s, he said. Sitting outside of Heth Hall, he pointed toward several grassy areas of campus, between Waldron and Peters halls.
“That was a just street when I was a student,” he said. “And that business building up on the hill [Kyle Hall], that wasn’t there at all. It just looks completely different.”
In addition to the evolving and growing campus, Allen Thompson said he was impressed by the many ways in which faculty, staff and students communicate at Quest and in the classroom.
“The use of technology is just incredible,” he said.
This year, NSFP staff introduced a new Quest app that includes helpful tools for both students and their families. The app can be downloaded on Android or iOS phones and features Quest schedules, a campus map, Quest staff photos and bios, the weather and information on important new student resources, such as the financial aid office.
Incoming freshman Omega Washington of Manassas enjoyed a very welcoming environment at Quest, she said.
“Everybody here is just so friendly and open,” she said. “I’m having a really good time.”
Washington first visited Radford with her parents, Lori and Joseph, during Highlander Days, a program offered to all students who have been accepted to the university.
“There was just so much energy here and I thought, ‘This really could be my second home,’” Omega said.
She’s looking forward to returning this fall and learning more about getting involved in clubs and activities.
“I already have Club Fair marked on my calendar,” she said.