What it takes to be a freshman connector


Vanner Erikson

Northwestern State University of Louisiana’s freshman connectors are seen as not only the representatives of NSU but the face of it.

Every academic year, Northwestern State University of Louisiana welcomes new students to its campus from across the state, the nation and the world.

The number of students coming to NSU varies per year, but it can be guaranteed that thousands of people look to the university as a possible venue for higher education.

To make a student settle on a school, first impressions are important. And NSU’s first impression is delivered to prospective students by the Freshman Connection Team.

NSU’s freshman connectors are seen as not only the representatives of Northwestern State University, but the face of it. The team often appears in ads for the school or as the organizers and leaders helping prospective students tour campus.

“This is my first year on the Freshman Connection team. We applied in October of last year where we underwent a series of interviews and we were notified about being on the team by November,” Linzi Lampert, a health and exercise science major first year sophomore, said.

Lampert is unique compared to other freshman connectors. Her sister was not only a connector, but also an orientation leader. Lampert described how her sister changed and blossomed into the role and how her change inspired her to follow in her footsteps.

“I wanted to leave my mark. I knew that giving incoming freshmen the most amazing welcome and the resources they needed to succeed in college was how I wanted to begin that journey,” Lampert said.

Other students like Travis Jimenez, a junior hospitality and tourism management major, were brought into the team because they were inspired by the other freshman connectors who brought them here and helped them.

“My freshman connectors were incredibly helpful to me and laid the foundation for me to be a successful student. So, coming into college, I already knew that connection was something I wanted to do someday,” Jimenez said.

Jimenez noted the importance of the freshman connector role.

“As a connector, you often have a lot of eyes on you from students, faculty, and even parents. You are often held to a higher standard than most students, for incoming freshman truly look up to those who are leading them and wearing those purple polos.” Jimenez said.

According to Director of Recruiting, Vanner Erikson, the process of picking connectors starts with experiential interviews starting with over 100 applicants being narrowed down to 20 or 30 depending on the year. Which means for every five applicants, only one will be picked to be a connector.

Lampert detailed how preparations for Freshman Connection can take weeks or months.

Connectors have to leave after their classes to attend meetings to train for not just events, but to be prepared for questions they may be asked by a curious student or inquiring parent.

Connectors are required to take an orientation course where they are tested along with their preliminary interviews to make sure they are qualified for the job.

According to Jimenez, over the summer, connectors go through a five to six work week preparing for two day events where they practice skits, songs and dances they may do during events.

The planning of events are conducted by the First Year Experience staff, freshman connectors and some students outside of those organizations, according to Erikson.

Maxwell Sanders, another connector and secondary education major freshman, said that although it can be difficult, those difficulties only make their team better and closer together when dealing with those hardships.

“I personally think that every student at NSU is a model to future and current students because everyone has chosen NSU for a reason and have different experiences in their lives,” Maxwell said. “And that is what makes us so diverse here and makes NSU such a great place to come to college.”