This year, our upperclassmen wanted to make a greater effort to reach out to incoming students. Our dental program at Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health is unique in that we have two campuses. For the first two years of our program, students attend courses and learn in our beautiful simulation lab in Kirksville, Missouri. Our students then transition to our St. Louis clinic for the final two years of the program.
Together our executive members created a welcome event to promote connections between first and second year students. We developed a photo scavenger hunt with teams consisting of small groups. It was very successful, and we learned a few key things about hosting this event.
1. Make organizing easy. Upon arrival to the event, each student was given a colored bandana that indicated which team they would join. There were students from both classes on every team. Most teams consisted of two second-year students and two first-year students.
2. Recruit strong group leaders. Our second-year class did a great job of stepping up to serve as group leaders. Designating group leaders prior to the event streamlined the process. The group leaders were responsible for ensuring everyone followed the competition rules and navigating their groups from one objective to the next.
3. Keep the groups small. Students were able to get to know a few people better and allowed new students to learn about the benefits of ASDA on a more personalized level.
4. Make it fun! Each team was given a list of objectives that contained specific destinations, carefully crafted riddles, and a few items that could be left open to interpretation. Some of the objectives included: combine with another group to make a pyramid composed of 6 people; locate the simulation lab; take a group selfie; and find a furry friend. Our secretary came up with the riddles that were specific to our local restaurants and shops. My personal favorite was describing Bonsai, our local sushi restaurant. It read, “You might think this is just a little tree, but it’s actually best known for its delicious sushi.”
5. Create an incentive. Our winning team received individual gift cards to our local coffee shop, Sweet Espressions. Our teams could choose whether they walked or drove to fulfill the scavenger hunt list. In future years, it would be best to limit all teams to walking.
Overall our students really enjoyed the event! It benefited our new members by showing them around the campus and introducing them to our supportive Kirksville community. Our returning members appreciated the opportunity to spend time with the new class outside of school. We hope to make this a welcome tradition at MOSDOH. With these tips, we can make it happen!
~Taylor Knable, Missouri-Kirksville ’20