His Calm Outreach Made Newcomers Feel at Home
Transfer student devoted energy to New Student Orientation
He isn’t the type to come down with senioritis.
D’Mitri Tisdale-Stanley transferred to Rutgers from a community college. As he prepares to graduate from the School of Arts and Sciences, he feels just as proud and protective of his identity as a Rutgers student as he did on his first visit to campus.
“I always wanted to attend Rutgers, and I think coming here after going to a two-year school makes me appreciate it even more,” says Tisdale-Stanley, who grew up in Willingboro and attended Burlington Township High School. “For me, everything right through my senior year was still new and fresh.”
It’s fitting then that Tisdale-Stanley dedicated his spare time at Rutgers to helping new students. He worked for the New Student Orientation program, joining a team of undergraduates that provided the initial sustained point of contact for first-year students arriving on campus.
“I wanted to make sure my love for Rutgers rubs off on them,” he says. “I want them to have as good an experience as I have had.”
The job of orienting new students to a major research university is a challenging one. Thanks to extensive training from Rutgers University Student Life, Tisdale-Stanley led first-year students through the two-day orientation programs, which covered everything from the campus bus system to the dining halls to the myriad opportunities for involvement at Rutgers.
Tisdale-Stanley, who majored in information technology and informatics, said the experience in New Student Orientation helped him develop his leadership style and prepared him for the workplace.
“I have a relaxed approach,” he says. “I am a high-energy person, but for me personally, the high energy can scare students a little bit. I try to ease them into it, and make sure they feel comfortable talking to me.”
Besides telling them everything about Rutgers, Tisdale-Stanley shared with the newcomers some of the ways he learned to thrive at the university. For example, he took groups to large lecture halls and explained why he always sits in front.
“Sitting in the front of the classroom has kept me focused,” he shares with students. “It makes me forget there are other people in the class.”
He concluded every session by letting students know that they can call him anytime with questions.
“It could be about anything,” he tells one group. “It might be ‘how do you get organized to how do you like your coffee?”
The students invariably laughed and applauded, leaving their first extended stay at Rutgers on a high note—and confident about the year ahead.