Students Share in-depth discussion at Horizons pre-orientation program

Horizons program connects new multicultural students

New first-year students share an in-depth discussion during one of the activities at the Horizons pre-orientation program.
By Alex Kamphorst

New first-year students share an in-depth discussion during one of the activities at the Horizons pre-orientation program.

Horizons program connects new multicultural students

By Alex Kamphorst
The Horizons pre-orientation program welcomes a community of new multicultural students to campus.

“You are sitting in the seat that not only your ancestors but also some of your closest relatives could only have imagined,” said Renée Dickens Callan, executive director of student life, as she welcomed new students to the Horizons pre-orientation program that took place Tuesday in the Donna E. Shalala Student Center. “We encourage you to embark on a journey that allows you to learn more about yourself and to try new things.”

Horizons is an opportunity to introduce multicultural students to the diverse community of the University of Miami. The program is coordinated by the Division of Student Affairs Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.

New 'Canes who attended the program connected with their fellow first-year students of varied multicultural backgrounds as well as University faculty and staff. Many of the attendees were eager to connect with this new community.

“I really wanted to surround myself with people who had similar experiences as me, and to see what resources the University of Miami had for people like me, for people of color and of different backgrounds,” said Julian Crosby, a first-year student participant.

While attending the program, students had a chance to explore in-depth topics and got a glimpse of what their college experience will look like. Through several activities over the course of the day, all participants learned more about specific experiences and challenges they may encounter during their time at UM.

“This is their first time in college so hearing from other students who were once in their shoes, who are now leading this program, can inspire them and give them a level of comfort that they may not have had initially,” said Kennedy Robinson, assistant director of Multicultural Student Affairs.

The program was planned, prepared and led by current undergraduate students who serve as program coordinators and mentors. These students were eager to give advice to their new peers and readily answered questions, which ranged from where to get the best food to how they can express their identity on campus.

“It’s important for students to feel like they have a voice or an outlet to get the proper answers,” said Shamir Cetoute, a senior and one of the program’s coordinators. “Horizons allows different students to give different perspectives, expand their horizons, and open their mind to new ideas.” 

Many of the students responsible for planning the program once participated in it during their first year on campus as well. They use their own experiences to shape the program and to continue inspiring new ’Canes.

“I attended horizons when I first got here and, while the University supports its multicultural students, we are a relatively small community,” said Cetoute. “This program allows students to find that community, to find other students who not only look like them but who also go through the same trials and tribulations. This program really unites us.”