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RIT New Student Orientation records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RITArc-0078

Scope and Contents

The RIT New Student Orientation records collection contains documents related to various orientation programs at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) from 1934-2014. The collection contains planning documents such as correspondence, committee meeting notes, and budgeting materials, as well as drafts and final copies of materials that were distributed to students. These materials include event schedules, information sheets, and brochures for various campus organizations and services. Additionally, the collection includes a series of pre-orientation newsletters from 1968-1997 and "parent guides" from 1980-2014. The parent guides contain information about on-campus services and tips for parents to help make their student's transition to college as smooth as possible. Included too are handbooks published between 1974 and 2014 which serve as a new student survival guide, with tips about campus life. Finally, there are New Student Record books from 1972-2012, starting in 1979 these books were published by the Residence Halls Association rather than Orientation. Finally, the collection includes a series of color slides and photographs of orientation activities from 1967-1998.


  • Creation: 1934-2008


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Historical Information: RIT New Student Orientation

The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) can trace its origins to the founding of the Rochester Athenaeum in 1829. After joining with several different Rochester institutions during the 19th century, the Athenaeum finally merged with the Mechanics Institute (founded in 1885) in 1891 to form the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (RAMI). RAMI changed its name to the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1944 to better reflect the university's role in the field of technical education.

It is unclear when RIT offered its first new student orientation program. However, in 1934 the school's administration proposed replacing its current orientation program with a series of orientation presentations. These presentations would be spread throughout the school year and would address a variety of topics including Institute rules and regulations, available extra-curricular activities, and basic writing principles.

In 1955, RIT started a new orientation program, "Freshman Daze," later called "Frosh Daze." Sponsored by both the school's administration and the RIT Student Association, the program consisted of five days of activities including freshman registration, assemblies, and social gatherings such as coffee hours, a mixer dance, and a picnic. This program continued into the 1960s.

RIT's orientation services were once again revamped in 1970 when the Student Orientation Seventy (S.O.S.) was established. The school anticipated over 5,000 new students arriving on campus in the fall of 1970. S.O.S. was setup to help new students become acquainted with the campus through various planned events. Over the next decade, the program's name changed to reflect each respective year. Thus, in 1971 the orientation program was called S.O.S. 1 (Student Orientation Seventy-one) and in 1976 it was called S.O.S. 6. Then, in 1982 the name was officially changed to Student Orientation Services (again, S.O.S.) with the stated purpose of:

...[overseeing] the development and implementation of program(s) which will successfully aid new students in their transition to the RIT environment and foster a positive attitude toward their academic success.

As of 2011, RIT's new student orientation was run by the New Student Orientation staff in the Division of Student Affairs.


6.21 Linear Feet (15 document boxes)




The collection includes correspondence, committee meeting notes, orientation and academic year schedules, handouts about on-campus resources, orientation newsletters for incoming students and their families, new student record books, color slides, and photographs. It is arranged mostly chronologically. Boxes 3 through 5 contain extensive records detailing the planning for Student Orientation Services (SOS) between the years of 1970 and 1976. Everything else is a mix of planning and finalized publications used before and during orientation between 1934 and 2014.


The collection is divided into four series: Planning materials, Newsletters, Parents guides, and Slides and photographs. Materials are arranged chronologically within each series.

Other Finding Aids

In addition to this finding aid, an inventory is available below. For more information, please contact the RIT Archive Collections.

RIT New Student Orientation records


The repository may continue to add materials to this collection in the future.

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Lara Nicosia in February 2011.

RIT New Student Orientation records
RIT Archives
Lara Nicosia
07 February 2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the RIT Archives Repository

Rochester NY 14623 USA