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Q&A Callen Lappin, Golden Bear Orientation student coordinator

Last August, the new Golden Bear Orientation (GBO) introduced more than 9,500 incoming students to UC Berkeley during eight jam-packed days of training sessions, ice breakers, tours and academic programming. It was considered the largest orientation of its kind at a U.S. university.

Hundreds of student orientation leaders were assigned to small groups of students for the week. Callen Lappin, an anthropology major and GBO’s current student coordinator, was one of 42 student mentors who trained those leaders. In this Q & A with the Division of Student Affairs, the Anaheim resident reflects on what she gave and received in that role.

Why did you decide to get involved with GBO?

I was involved with the former orientation model, CalSO, in 2016, its final year. I wanted an opportunity to pass everything that I had learned to the next generation of orientation leaders, and I did so as an orientation mentor last summer for the start of GBO. It was a unique opportunity to work with such a large group of passionate and altruistic people with the shared goal of helping and supporting others.

Biggest takeaway from being a GBO mentor?

I was able to watch 529 orientation leaders for whom I was responsible to learn, grow and flourish as leaders in their own right. Being one of 42 orientation mentors meant helping others reach their full potential and being part of a community that truly values individual and collective growth.

How has your experience with GBO influenced your academic and professional goals?

Before working with orientation, I honestly did not think of myself as a “people person.” Through orientation, however, I have discovered that being part of a team is often my favorite part of the work that I do. Knowing this now, I can’t imagine working in a career that doesn’t involve meeting, helping and working with a variety of people.

What would you like to say to the donors who make GBO possible?

Thank you! GBO is a student’s first introduction to life as a Cal student. The opportunity to learn about student resources, academic opportunities, social activities and so much more is integral to helping 9,600 new students feel supported and comfortable at Cal.

After working with Berkeley’s orientation programs for over two years, it is my sincere belief that participating in orientation builds a foundation for students to be happier and more successful over their college careers. This could not happen without your support, and the impact of that support is more profound and widespread than I can ever convey. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I’d also like to ask everyone to join me in supporting GBO and in creating a strong foundation for successful student experiences at Cal. Your financial gift will help UC Berkeley continue to welcome and support new generations of Golden Bears!


Callen Lappin, Golden Bear Orientation student coordinator



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