Thriving through Orientation

Orientation and Thriving

At Vanguard we want you to do more than survive college and get a degree. We want you to THRIVE! This is the main reason we require orientation for all new students (freshmen and transfers).

We have structured our time in orientation to ask big questions that will frame your time at Vanguard and set you up to succeed. We have split our educational portions of the weekend into three sessions: Academic Talks, Student Life Talks, and VU Talks. Each of these sessions will be broken into small talks based on the very successful TED model.

Topics we will cover:

Your Invitation to Your Education

Investing in Your Best Asset (YOU)

The Cost of Dropping Out

What is Identity?

What is Community?

What is Integrity?

Spirituality in College

Living a Life of Service

Lions for Life

We will also cover everything from our community standards to the resources on campus. On Sunday we will bring the Vanguard and community resources to you with a Welcome to the Neighborhood Expo and Block Party. The block party is your first opportunity to connect with returning students in a casual way prior to school starting. In between we will split up into small groups to have a deeper connection and explore the transition of entering Vanguard.

According to Laurie Schreiner’s work on thriving in college students, a top predictor of thriving is a student’s Psychological Sense of Community (PSC). This is why we assign you to a consistent group and have intentional group times where we share our personal stories, have silly ice breakers to help you connect, and spend a lot of time in social situations during orientation. For freshmen, this group will later become your Cornerstone class peers.

Overall, we ask that you come expecting great things and connect with what we are sharing. Invest in this time to get the most out of it! See you on the 19th!

See the full schedule here.

Orientation Absence Request

Sometimes things come up. Your sister is getting married or your grandparents bought you a trip to Scotland for graduation and it happens to be during orientation. We understand that these things occur. Of course, our preference is that you do everything in your power to clear your schedule but for things that are out of your control there is the Orientation Absence Request form.

Welcome Week 2014 Schedule

New Student Orientation (Welcome Week)

Orientation is mandatory so please clear your schedules for August 22-24.

We are excited to greet you on Friday, August 22nd.

Friday, August 22

8:00 AM-12:00 PM Rotating Check-in
Residential Freshmen-Last Name A-L (Group A): 8:00-10:00 AM
Residential Freshmen-Last Name M-Z (Group B): 9:00-11:00 AM
All Freshmen Commuters (Group C): 11:00 AM-Noon
All Transfers (Group C): 11:00 AM-Noon
12:00 PM-2:00 PM
Commuter Orientation and Lunch (all commuters and families)
12:00 PM-3:00 PM Rotating Welcome
Residential Freshmen (Group A): 12:00 -1:00 PM
Residential Freshmen (Group B): 1:00-2:00 PM
Commuters and Transfers (Group C): 2:00-3:00 PM
3:00-4:30 PM Orientation Kick-Off
3:00-5:30 PM Family Orientation
4:30-5:30 PM Orientation Group Time with Staff Mentor
5:30 PM
Incoming Class Picture
5:30-7:30 PM Family BBQ
8:00-9:00 PM Worship and Communion
9:00-9:30 PM Student Commissioning
10:00-11:00 PM Resident Students: Meet your floor
Commuters: Bonfire
11:00 PM-1:00 AM Private Target Party (Target opens for us at 11:30)

Saturday, August 23

10:30 AM-Noon Brunch
Noon-1:00 PM Academic Talks
1:00-2:00 PM Testing
2:00-3:00 PM Student Life Talks
3:00-5:00 PM Group Time
5:00-6:30 PM Dinner and Soccer Game
7:00-8:30 PM Camp Team Performance

Sunday, August 24

8:00-Noon Church (commuters may attend home church)
10:30-Noon Brunch
Noon-2:00 PM Cohort Group Time
2:00-3:00 PM VU Talks
3:00-6:30 PM Welcome to the Neighborhood Expo & Block Party
7:00-9:00 PM Academic Dessert & Closing

Spring Orientation FAQs

If you have questions not answered here, please contact

Q: Is orientation mandatory?

A: Yes. Orientation is intended to help you acclimate to live at VU by inviting you into a common process with your peers. You will learn about academic life, ways to get involved, meet faculty, staff and administrators, and so much more. It is impossible for us to substitute that experience so we ask you to clear your schedule and join us.

Q: When do I arrive?

A: We have a staggered process for arrival so please refer to specific communication regarding your arrival time. The general orientation schedule can be found using this link 2017 Spring Schedule.

Q: I have a conflict that I cannot change. What do I do?

A: Fill out the Orientation Absence Request form. Filling out the form does not excuse you automatically. Regardless of your reason, we do not reverse the orientation fee and it will appear on your billing statement.

Q: How do I notify you if I have a special request (additional assistance, food allergy, etc.)?

A: Please email Kayla Holtz by January 2nd to allow us sufficient time to prepare (

Q: Where do I check in?

A: Our check-in process will occur in the Scott Courtyard.

Q: My parents need a hotel for the weekend. Where should they stay?

A: Hotels in our area that provide a Vanguard rate can be found on our website.


Private VU Target Party

Target will open just for Vanguard students during orientation on Friday night (11:30pm-1:00am). Meet at 11:00pm to carpool with your Frontline group.

Spend time with your family instead of using your down time running errands around town. Shop with your new friends for all the last minute items you need Friday night! Looking for a discount? Look into the Target REDcard if you are a frequent Target shopper.

The Target REDcard offers:

  • 5% Savings on every purchase
  • 1% Donation to the K-12 school of your choice
  • Free Shipping from
  • An extra 30 Days to return your items AND purchased items can be looked up and returned with just your card!

For the Target Debit Card you will need:

  • A blank check from your checking account of choice
  • Your current Driver’s license
  • Your social security number

*The Target Debit Card application process will not check your credit*

Get excited for immediate savings! The application process takes approximately 3 minutes and can be completed by any of our amazing cashiers in about the time it takes to complete your check out process!

We are excited to see you and if you have any questions please call us at (714) 849-1814.

Family Orientation Sessions

Family Orientation

We are excited that your student chose to become part of the Vanguard family! We know that this transition affects your entire family in many ways and we desire to make as smooth as possible for you.

On August 23rd families of new students will have the opportunity to choose from two (2) 30 minute sessions presented by some of our most beloved administrators, faculty and staff.

Session times

12:00-1:00pm    Group 1: Freshmen who checked in 8:00-10:00 am
2:00-3:00pm     Group 2: Freshmen who checked in 10:00am-Noon (residential and commuting students)
5:00-6:00pm     Group 3: All transfer students

Family Orientation will begin in Needham Chapel. All sessions will be held in the Heath Academic Center.

Current session options

Integration of Faith and Learning- John Wilson, History/Political Science Professor
History of Vanguard- Joel Gackle, Director of Alumni Relations and Heather Clements, Assistant Director of Alumni Relations
University 101- Mike Wilson, Dean of the Undergraduate College/ Associate Provost
Helping Your Student Get Involved- Jordan Baker, Leadership Development Administrative Assistant
Helping Your Student Fund their Education- Denise Pena, Director of Financial Aid
Your Students’ Career Road Map- Kimberly Greene, Coordinator of Career Services
Your Students’ Campus Safety- Paul Turgeon, Director of Campus Public Safety
First Generation Family Support- Coba Canales, Director of Diversity Programming and Cyndi Pinto, Hispanic Serving Institution Coordinator
Spanish Language Family Support- Coba Canales, Director of Diversity Programming and Cyndi Pinto, Hispanic Serving Institution Coordinator
Helping Your Student with their Finances- Bev Moore, Director of Accounting Operations

Welcome Week 2013 Schedule

New Student Orientation (Welcome Week)

Orientation is mandatory so please clear your schedules for August 23-25.

We are excited to greet you on Friday, August 23rd. You will be invited to select your registration (check-in) time, shirt size, and reserve space for your guests beginning in July. If you have not registered, please do so on this website

Friday, August 23

8:00 AM-3:00 PM Rotating Check-in
Residential Freshmen (Group 1): 8:00-10:00 AM
Residential Freshmen (Group 2): 10:00 AM-Noon
Freshmen Commuters: 11:00 AM-Noon
All Transfers: 1:00-2:00 PM
10:00 AM-3:00 PM Rotating Welcome, Intro to VU Life, and Family Orientation
Residential Freshmen (Group 1): 10:00-11:00 AM
Residential Freshmen (Group 2): 1:00-2:00 PM
Freshmen Commuters: 1:00-2:00 PM
Intro to VU Life/Family Orientation
Residential Freshmen (Group 1): 12:00-1:00 PM
Residential Freshmen (Group 2): 2:00-3:00 PM
Freshmen Commuters: 2:00-3:00 PM
3:00-10:00 PM Freshman/Transfer Split Tracks
Freshman Track
4:00-5:30 PM Group time
5:30-7:30 PM Family Dinner
7:30-10:00 PM Free time
10:00-11:00 PM Residence Halls: Meet your floor (commuters welcome)
Transfer Track
3:00-4:00 PM Welcome
4:00-5:00 PM Intro to VU Life
5:00-6:00 PM Optional Advising
6:00-7:30 PM Transfer Family Dinner
7:30-8:30 PM Frontline Group Time
10:00-11:00 PM Residence Halls: Meet your floor (commuters welcome)
11:00 PM Private Target Party

Saturday, August 24

10:30 AM-Noon Brunch
Noon-2:00 PM Safety First & Academics at VU (Freshmen/Transfers alternate)
2:00-4:00 PM Group Time & Under One Roof (Freshmen/Transfers alternate)
4:00-7:30 PM TBA
7:00-7:50 PM Class of 2017 Picture
8:00-9:30 PM Worship and Communion
10:00-Midnight Movie (optional)

Sunday, August 25

8:00-Noon Church (commuters may attend home church)
10:30-Noon Brunch
Noon-1:00 PM Group Time
1:00-6:00 PM Beach Blast (optional)
6:00-7:00 PM Group Time
7:00-8:00 PM Free Time
8:00-9:30 PM Academic Charge
9:30-10:30 PM Dessert and Closing

2013-2014 Academic Calendar

Whether you need to start making holiday plans or you desire to mark your calendar with good times to send your student encouragement packages, this is a good place to start. Our official 2013-2014 Academic Calendar is linked here for your convenience.

Academic Calendar for 2013-2014

If you need the information a little more handy, we do also include this information on a magnet. Pick one up when you drop your student off in the fall or during Family Weekend.

Campus Safety Tips over Thanksgiving Break

Campus Safety Tips over Thanksgiving Break

Before you rush off to visit family, friends and love ones, please take a moment to do the following:

•  Secure all valuables, doors, and windows to reduce petty theft.

•  Turn off all lights, computers and monitors

•  Take home mobile devices including laptops, iPads, tablets

•  Clean out those refrigerators to avoid an unwelcoming smell when you return.  Do not unplug your refrigerators; doing so only causes water damage.

•  Due to the high number of bike thefts on campus, we encourage you to take your unused bike home for the remainder of the academic year.

If you have any questions, please contact Campus Public Safety at or call 714.966.6799 (24 Hour On Duty Patrol Officer.)

Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving.

Campus Public Safety, Facilities and Information Technology

Making the Most of the Fall Semester

It isn’t too late to consider how to make the best of your fall semester.  Read through Randall S. Hansen’s 25 Tips to Help You Survive and Thrive In College and take a moment to reflect on your progress and whether you’re thriving or just merely surviving.  Once you have a sense of whether you’re on track know that the Office of Student Success and Retention is here to help you with your transition and that we look forward to celebrating your successes most importantly graduation with you.

25 Tips to Help You Survive and Thrive In College

by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D. (

1. Take advantage of the opportunity to learn everything you can about your campus.

Do you really need to go on yet another campus tour? Yes. The faster you learn your way around campus — and around all the red tape — the more at ease you’ll feel and the better prepared you’ll be when issues arise.

2. Get to know your roommate and others in your residence hall.

The people you live with, most of whom are going through similar experiences and emotions are your main safety net. You may change roommates after the first semester or you may stay roommates for all four years — just take the time to get to know your peers.

3. Get Organized.

In high school, the teachers tended to lead you through all the homework and due dates. In college, the professors post the assignments — often for the entire semester — and expect you to be prepared. Buy an organizer, a PDA, a big wall calendar — whatever it takes for you to know when assignments are due.

4. Find the ideal place for you to study.

It may be your dorm room or a cozy corner of the library, but find a place that works best for you to get your work done — while avoiding as many distractions as possible.

5. Go to class.

Obvious, right? Maybe, but sleeping in and skipping that 8 am class will be tempting at times. Avoid the temptation. Besides learning the material by attending classes, you’ll also receive vital information from the professors about what to expect on tests, changes in due dates, etc.

6. Become an expert on course requirements and due dates.

Professors spend hours and hours preparing course syllabi and calendars so that you will know exactly what is expected of you — and when. One of the lamest excuses a student can give a professor: “I didn’t know it was due today.”

7. Meet with your professors.

Speaking as a professor, I can assure you there are only upsides to getting to know your professors, especially if later in the semester you run into some snags. Professors schedule office hours for the sole purpose of meeting with students — take advantage of that time.

8. Get to know your academic adviser.

This is the person who will help you with course conflicts, adding or dropping courses, scheduling of classes for future semesters, deciding on majors and minors. This person is a key resource for you — and should be the person you turn to with any academic issues or conflicts. And don’t be afraid of requesting another adviser if you don’t click with the one first assigned to you.

9. Seek a balance.

College life is a mixture of social and academic happenings. Don’t tip the balance too far in either direction. One of my favorite former students always used to say her motto was to “study hard so she could play hard.”

10. Get involved on campus.

A big problem for a lot of students is a combination of homesickness and a feeling of not quite belonging. A solution? Consider joining a select group — and be careful not to go overboard — of student organizations, clubs, or sports teams. You’ll make new friends, learn new skills, and feel more connected to your school.

11. Strive for good grades.

Another obvious one here, right?  While good grades could have come naturally to you in high school, you will have to earn them in college — and that means setting some goals for yourself and then making sure you work as hard as you can to achieve them.

12. Take advantage of the study resources on campus.

Just about all colleges have learning labs and tutors available. If you’re having some troubles, these resources are another tool available to you. Another idea: form study groups.

13. Make time for you.

Be sure you set aside some time and activities that help you relax and take the stress out of your day or week. Whether its enlisting yoga techniques, watching your favorite television shows, or writing in a journal, be good to yourself.

14. Don’t feel pressured to make a hasty decision about a career or a major.

It doesn’t matter if it seems as though everyone else seems to know what they’re doing with their lives — believe me, they don’t — college is the time for you to really discover who you are, what you enjoy doing, what you’re good at, and what you want to be. It’s not a race; take your time and enjoy exploring your options.

15. Take responsibility for yourself and your actions.

Don’t look to place the blame on others for your mistakes; own up to them and move on. Being an adult means taking responsibility for everything that happens to you.

16. Make connections with students in your classes.

One of my best students said his technique in the first week of classes was to meet at least one new person in each of his classes. It expanded his network of friends — and was a crucial resource at times when he had to miss a class.

17. Find the Career Services Office.

Regardless of whether you are entering college as undeclared or have your entire future mapped out, seek out the wonderful professionals in your college’s career services office and get started on planning, preparing, and acting on your future.

18. Don’t procrastinate; prioritize your life.

It may have been easy in high school to wait until the last minute to complete an assignment and still get a good grade, but that kind of stuff will not work for you in college. Give yourself deadlines — and stick to them.

19. Stay healthy/Eat right.

Get enough sleep, take your vitamins, and eat right. If you haven’t heard the jokes about college food, you soon will. And without mom or dad there to serve you a balanced meal, you may be tempted to go for those extra fries or cookies. Stay healthy and avoid the dreaded extra “Freshman 15” pounds by sticking to a balanced diet.

20. Learn to cope with homesickness.

It’s only natural that there will be times when you miss your family, even if you were one of those kids who couldn’t wait to get away. Find a way to deal with those feelings, such as making a phone call or sending some email home.

21. Stay on campus as much as possible.

Whether it’s homesickness, a job, or a boyfriend or girlfriend from home, try not to leave campus too soon or too often. The more time you spend on getting to know the campus and your new friends, the more you’ll feel at home at school. And why not take advantage of all the cultural and social events that happen on campus?

22. Seek professional help when you need it.

Most colleges have health and counseling centers. If you’re sick or feeling isolated or depressed, please take advantage of the many services these offices provide students. You don’t have to face these issues by yourself.

23. Keep track of your money.

If you’ve never had to create a budget, now is the time to do so. Find ways to stretch your money – and as best you can, avoid all those credit card solicitations you’ll soon be receiving. The average credit card debt of college grads is staggering.

24. Don’t cut corners.

College is all about learning. If you procrastinate and cram, you may still do well on tests, but you’ll learn very little. Even worse, don’t cheat on term papers or tests.

25. Be prepared to feel overwhelmed.

There’s a lot going in your life right now. Expect to have moments where it seems a bit too much. As one student says, be prepared to feel completely unprepared. The trick is knowing that you’re not the only one feeling that way.

Community Emergency Alert System

Vanguard University takes campus safety seriously, and as part of continuous efforts to improve safety, the university has purchased a system to deliver emergency alerts to the university community.

This is the second year that we will have in place a text and voice messaging alert system produced by Rave Mobile Safety. Rave specializes in higher education emergency communication and serves institutions such as Brown University and University of Massachusetts, among many others. Rave will be used to communicate safety alerts and information that affect the well-being of our university.

Faculty, Staff and Students are automatically registered for the system but are encouraged to log in to the Rave Mobile Safety site  to confirm contact information and choose notification preferences.

Note that cellular phone providers may charge a per-text message fee for the delivery of emergency notifications to mobile devices. Individuals are permitted to opt out of the service, but the university urges campus community members to recognize that this is an important campus safety feature. Any Rave notices will be brief and will occur infrequently. All messages are for emergency purposes only. You will never receive advertisements thru the Rave system.

Individuals may sign in using their Vanguard University single sign-on ID and password. Users then will be prompted to complete the registration process and will be able to update profile information.

Information about campus emergencies or closures will continue to be available on the university’s website, via email and through social media. Be sure to “like” the university on Facebook ( to get a variety of updates on campus happenings.

Members of the university community are encouraged to periodically review campus emergency procedures. Find the latest information at

Click here to read FAQs regarding the Rave system.

God Bless,

Paul Turgeon

Director of Campus Public Safety