DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Student Spotlight > Meet Hayden Pfeifer: Forward-thinking, friendly face welcoming first-years
By Christian Saulog /
October 22, 2021 /
Posted in: STUDENT SPOTLIGHT /
For new college students, meeting people and establishing friendships often is a priority. However, it can also be a daunting task. Luckily as students enter DePaul, they have seasoned peers whose job it is to be a friendly face and early resource.
One of those students is Hayden Pfeifer, a senior studying secondary education and a student orientation coordinator in the Office of New Student and Family Engagement. He has worked with NSFE, which coordinates new student orientation programs, for three years.
“I was nervous when I was starting college," Pfeifer laughs. Despite this, he says his first impressions of DePaul were inspiring. “When I saw orientation leaders at my own orientation, I knew this was what I wanted to do."
Before becoming a coordinator, Pfeifer was an orientation leader for two years.
“I wanted to be part of that support system for students stepping into this journey," he says.
Orientation leaders are DePaul students who act as ambassadors for the university. They are a resource to incoming students and their families during the transition to college. NSFE employs up to 30 orientation leaders who work throughout the summer to help incoming students by answering questions, and sharing experiences and insights on about what to expect during their time on campus. The student orientation coordinator supports the orientation leaders.
“I felt so welcomed at my orientation. It's powerful how leaders can recognize these students, utilize that energy and build a strong community," Pfeifer says. “I want to ensure students walk away with questions answered and some anxiety relieved."
Pfeifer's enthusiasm for his work inspires the orientation leaders he mentors and supports.
"Hayden has used his attentiveness, extraversion and Vincentian personalism to welcome new and returning students alike to DePaul," says Emily Mayo, a current orientation leader.
Regardless of how Pfeifer presents himself in his roles, he notes there is a focus on recruiting an orientation team that represents diverse experiences.
“We are very intentional about voicing different perspectives," Pfeifer says. “We think about how we present experiences to reach all types of personalities, from loud and energetic to shy and soft-spoken."
Professional staff also recognize his skills in calming new student fears, and note his strong mentorship and leadership skills.
“The way he acts as a peer leader is something to admire," says Katy Weseman, the associate director of NSFE. “By actively listening for feedback and offering it up to the professional staff, he has done so much to create an environment of support for everyone involved."
Pfeifer shares his coordinator role is about being there for the leaders.
“I'll always have their backs, and they'll have the backs, of new Blue Demons," he says. “If people come up to me and let me know how my words reached them, then I know I've done very well in my roles at DePaul."
Christian Saulog is a student marketing communications assistant in the Division of Student Affairs.