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Georgia Southern hosts regional conference, local non-profit and economy benefit

When Georgia Southern students leave for Spring Break, it isn’t often that nearly 2,200 students and professionals from more than 80 universities in ten states then converge on the University’s campus.

For the first time since the 1980’s, the Southern Regional Orientation Workshop (SROW) conference will bring a record-breaking number of registrants from the National Association of Orientation, Transition and Retention in Higher Education’s (NODA) sixth region to Statesboro March 10-12, a traditionally quiet time for Statesboro hotels, restaurants and retailers.

Georgia Southern’s Office of New Student & Family Programs, part of the Office of Admissions, has worked to help to organize the conference and ensure lodging for conference attendees, which has led to filling the hotels, bed and breakfasts and Airbnb’s from Statesboro to Pooler, Port Wentworth, Metter and Rincon, providing a strong economic boost to the area. Although most of the activities for the conference will take place on campus, the University is relying on local businesses to help support conference needs.

Area businesses are not the only ones set to benefit from this experience. The conference’s service project component allows for each institution in attendance to bring much-needed wish list items for the Boys & Girls Club of Bulloch County. Upon arrival, the items will be loaded into a truck to be delivered to the Boys & Girls Club of Bulloch County. The schools providing the most items will be recognized during a special ceremony on Sunday, March 12 at 10 a.m.

The SROW regional conference brings together entire orientation teams, from colleges and universities in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Georgia Southern submitted a proposal to host the conference more than two and a half years ago. Given the University’s central location within the region, some schools are able to attend the SROW conference for the first time, and for many of the staff and students in attendance, this will be their first exposure to Statesboro and Southeast Georgia.

“SROW is an amazing opportunity for college orientation leaders to grow and prepare for the important role they will have welcoming new students to their respective campuses,” said Director of Admissions Amy Smith. “That first interaction between an upper-class leader and a new freshman or transfer student can make a huge difference in their lives. It is directly leading to the retention and success of that new student. NODA and SROW provide students the chance to share their excitement with their peers as well as learn how they can be better representatives back on their campus. Georgia Southern is honored to host this important experience for them.”

The University’s own Southern Orientation, Advisement, and Registration (SOAR) Leaders, who help orient new students and their families to Georgia Southern during the summer SOAR sessions, are using their skills to serve as conference hosts and tour guides for the conference and assisting with various activities throughout the weekend. 

For more information on the conference, speakers and schedule, click here.

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