Career counselor Heather DiFino will assume the position of Interim Director of New Student Programs on Thursday Dec. 3. The Director of New Student Programs has a role in organizing programs for incoming freshmen and transfer students. DiFino will serve as a replacement for Kim Harvey, who held the position until she left Geneseo in October to take the position of Executive Director of Retention and Student Success at Gannon University. Vice President for Student and Campus Life Robert Bonfiglio explained that Harvey’s departure was not anticipated. “It was unexpected in one sense because in the middle of the year, you usually don’t experience that” he said.
He added that Harvey was “wrapping up her doctorate at the University of Rochester so she was in a position to be promoted.”
“The position she took, there’s not a similar position at this college,” he said.
DiFino described her selection for the position as simple and quick. “I was asked by Dr. Bonfiglio if that was something I would be interested in,” DiFino said. “I said I would be interested in the opportunity if that’s something that could move forward.”
According to Bonfiglio, one of the key roles of the position is in organizing orientation. “Orientation is something that is organized by [the director],” he said. “There’s the summer sessions, then there’s the orientation for parents, then there’s the orientation in August right before class starts and then there’s orientation in January for new students coming in January. We have about 175 students coming in January.”
DiFino pointed to other responsibilities besides just orientation. “The other thing that tends to fall under this is supervising the first-year class officers,” she said. “I will also be overseeing Phi Eta Sigma, which is the first-year honors society.” DiFino summed up the role by noting that “it’s a lot of first-years stuff.”
DiFino noted that adjusting to her new position was slightly hindered by her need to sort things out with her previous position in the Office of Career Development. “The transition has been a little bit hectic with just wrapping up things,” she said.
Bonfiglio reiterated this notion. “I would say that Heather [DiFino] leaves a void because she’s leaving Career Development,” he said. “The people in the office are going to have to cover those responsibilities in the short term.”
According to DiFino, the first main responsibility for the Interim Director will be to organize the Midnight Breakfast on Dec. 14. “It’s in its 17th year, so it’s a big tradition and everything needs to run in a certain way,” she said.
DiFino will be simultaneously responsible for organizing the orientation for students coming to Geneseo for the spring semester. “We just went live on the website and that means that students will now be able to register for orientation for January,” she said.
According to Bonfiglio, DiFino will remain in the director role “for the foreseeable future.”
“We were scrambling just to get the position filled because we have these 175 new students coming next month,” he added. “We will develop a timeline, but the timeline hasn’t been developed yet.”
Bonfiglio expressed his optimism regarding DiFino’s new role. “They’re big shoes to fill and [she’s] very capable,” he said.