By Clay Hale
With the recent unveiling of the University of Mississippi’s 2023 Orientation Leaders, it only seems fair for the current students to know who will be introducing the next crop of students to Ole Miss when the summer hits.
Dozens of new faces submitted their love for the University and wish to see upcoming students thrive on a silver platter to the Orientation interviewers, and from there, a handful was selected to grab hold of the passed torch from past leaders. Among these preparing to wield the torch is sophomore Erin Crawford.
The Clarksville, Tennessee, native, currently studying exercise science, confessed from across a transparent table in the Alpha Omicron Pi house that she never had the opportunity for a pre-Orientation campus tour. It was because of this that her Orientation session was vitally important to her initial outlook on her Ole Miss experience.
“The first time I ever really saw campus or had my first tour was at Orientation,” Crawford said. “I was a little nervous, but [the experience] made me feel kind of comfortable and ready for the school year. Therefore, I’m honestly looking forward to meeting the incoming students and being able to show them around and help them make the right decisions.”
Crawford did reveal that she fears slight homesickness over the course of the summer, but she also remains heavily optimistic about new experiences that this summer will hold for her, including making some potentially unlikely friendships.
“One of the perks is being able to meet different people you might not otherwise have crossed paths with and make connections with people involved with different things,” Crawford said.
Delta Gamma member Mia Powe is not just new to the class of Orientation leaders; she also is new to the University itself. The freshman business major from Meridian is similar to Crawford in her optimism for helping out the new group of students incoming.
“I’m looking forward to meeting new people and making new friends,” Powe said, “and honestly, just being a light for the incoming scared freshman that had the same concerns as me. And, I don’t want it to just be Orientation.
“I want my kids to feel like they can come to me and ask for help, even when they’re two months, three months into school.”
If all goes well for Crawford and Powe, perhaps a second year could be on their radar. That was the case for returnee Caleb Ball from Ingomar, Mississippi, after his first year as an Orientation Leader.
“Coming in that first year [as an Orientation Leader], I was really looking for community. And when you’re an Orientation Leader, that’s something that happens,” Ball said.