In the aftermath of the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and the shooting of eleven police officers during a protest rally in Dallas last night that has left five law enforcement officers dead, each of us is doing what we can to find some way to make sense of what has happened and come to terms with events that have filled us all with nearly overwhelming feelings of sadness and loss, of anger and rage.
It is perhaps the cruelest of ironies that many of us are in the middle of facilitating our orientation and transition programs for our incoming freshmen and transfer students, and that we have had to figure out a way to navigate our emotions as we welcome new students and their families to our campus communities with energy, positivity, comfort, and warmth. Many of us have had to address the events of the past few weeks in our programs and have conversations with our student leaders…many of whom do not feel safe on campus and in their community…even as our own emotions have left us feeling exhausted and spent.
A number of our colleagues in the field of OTR have openly wondered if their lives matter.
As we each move toward a place of healing and wholeness, always know that NODA is there to support you. We are reminded of a message that Florida Gulf Coast University shares with their students and their families during their orientation program: We are a Community of Care. As time and comfort permit, share what you are feeling with colleagues whom you trust and who will join you in that space; listen free of judgment and with an openness to hear these stories, regardless of how they make you feel.
We encourage you to use our Facebook page to share your thoughts and reflections, and to use that space as a place to seek support…and give it in return. Don’t hesitate to reach out to any one of us or to the Association staff with ideas, suggestions, and resources to share with the membership.
And to our entire NODA Community: know that your lives matter to us very deeply and that we stand in solidarity with you…now and in the future.
Director, New Student Programs
Florida Gulf Coast University
Assistant Dean, Orientation & First-Year Programs
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
NODA President-Elect Director of Recruitment, Enrollment Management
Murray State University