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Life Of a FrOG
By John Huffman
JMU First Year Orientation Guides perform the FrOG Dance. Photo by Seth Binsted for JMU Technology and Design.
Coming to college can be a scary time full of questions: Where do I live? What will I eat? What will my friends be like and, oh yeah, where will my classes be? Thankfully, first year students at JMU do not have to find the answers to all of those questions alone.
First years at JMU have FrOGs (First Year Orientation Guides) to help them make the transition to college life. Each first year living on campus is part of a group led by a FrOG. The FrOGs are not just there to answer questions; they are there to act as a social catalyst, providing icebreakers and making sure that everyone understands they are a part of a community.
Junior Michele Mannino decided to become a FrOG this year and recently participated in 1781 August Orientation. She remembers her move to Harrisonburg from New Jersey. It is partially because of a positive experience with her own FrOGs that she decided to participate this year. “I didn’t know a single person,” she says, “but my FrOGs came in and immediately told us ‘Hey, we’re getting dinner!’ It was my first meal on campus, and I wasn’t eating alone.”
Mannino believes that little touches like that are an important part of the transition to JMU. She hopes to maintain the relationships she found as a FrOG, “Not just the first years, but also other FrOGs.” She believes that being a FrOG helped her meet a lot of people and expand her leadership skills.
She had fun, too. Mannino's favorite part of Orientation week was the “FrOG dance,” a tradition at orientation: Everyone is seated together in the convocation center, the speaker takes the podium, and then music starts. The FrOGs assemble and perform a choreographed dance number - a great welcome to JMU.
As she found out, being a FrOG is not just about Orientation. “It’s first year orientation guide,” Mannino says “not first week.” That means that her job is not over yet. She looks forward to being there for her first years throughout their entire transition to JMU.
Check out this year's FrOG dance on the DukeDogTV YouTube channel.