Stevenson OWLs Set Upbeat, Supportive Tone at Mustang Days

July 1, 2015 7 AM

It wasn’t too long ago that Stevenson University senior Will Comotto ’16 was attending his very own freshman orientation. He remembers being both extremely excited and a bit stressed for his Mustang Days some four years ago. However, he also remembers the Stevenson OWLs (Orientation and Welcome Leaders) who were instrumental in helping him immediately feel comfortable and at-ease on campus.

Now, he’s getting to return the favor. This summer, Comotto is one of 16 OWLs, a team of Stevenson students tasked with acclimating incoming freshmen to the Stevenson campus during Mustang Days—the University’s major-based orientation program. Some of the OWLs’ primary responsibilities include helping freshmen set up their first class schedule, teaching them the ins and outs of the campus, and introducing them to fellow students, faculty, and staff. They’re also there to answer any questions along the way.

“Coming into a new situation can be a little scary, a little awkward, a little overwhelming,” Comotto said. “We try our best to make sure they have the smoothest transition from high school to college that they can possibly have.”

Part of that effort includes the performance that kicks off each Mustang Day. The group—striving to lighten the mood and melt some of that stress—performs a choreographed song and dance that parodies popular music, substituting lyrics aimed at previewing the types of activities students and parents will complete during the day.

Students and parents agreed that the fun and energetic routine made for a great start to an eventful day.

“I was a nervous and excited, but when I saw the dancers it kind of eased the nerves,” said Christine Favata ’19, a Business Communication major.

“It definitely broke some of the rigidity in the crowd. People dropped their guard and started to laugh,” said Joe Favata, Christine’s father. “This being the third student I’ve sent to college, I’ve been to a bunch of these before—and this is one of the best I’ve ever been to.”

For the OWLs, their connection with the group of incoming freshmen does not end when the day is over. Many connect with their fellow students through social media and others give out business cards with contact information. And, with classes beginning in just a couple months, everyone returns to campus knowing a familiar face.

“All the OWLs were really easy to talk to,” Christine said. “I wasn’t scared to ask any questions about anything because I knew they were here to help. They’ve been in my position too. And now, they’re my friends.”

Stevenson University, known for its distinctive career focus, is the third-largest independent university in Maryland with more than 4,400 students pursuing bachelor’s, master’s, and adult bachelor’s programs at locations in Stevenson and Owings Mills.