Choral singer, instrumentalist, actor, resident assistant and now a Laker Leader captain for new-student orientation, senior human development major Doug Woolever speaks about his enthusiasm for making personal connections with students, his time management strategy and his love for SUNY Oswego.

How did you get involved with Laker Leaders?

I had a close friend who was on the orientation staff. They suggested that I should interview and try it out last summer -- and I loved it. I was already thinking about going into student affairs as a career. Last summer was the defining point that, yes, this is going to be what I'm going to do.

What do Laker Leaders do? 

They help run orientation -- facilitating small groups for first-year students, helping make arrangements for anyone who's presenting, helping people sign onto the WiFi, just trying to be a resource to anyone who's coming through the programs. A lot of it is having energy and being a smiling face that anyone can approach and talk to and ask questions. People are always surprised at how much we actually know.

What does a Laker Leader captain do?

We each supervise a team of Laker Leaders. I'm the captain of the Gold team. I mentor four other Laker Leaders who are on my team. We have a specific task: We run check-in. Whenever people enter the program, when they're getting their room key, when they're getting their name tag, that's Gold team. We also run course changes. When someone needs a change in their (academic) schedule, we send them to the faculty advisors. The Green team does Late Night, the signs and a presentation called "What You Really Need to Know" that Laker Leaders present to their teams on orientation days. The White team does the competitions, the social media and blows up the balloons for the signs.

What do you like best about SUNY Oswego's orientation program?

I like how personable it is. Because there are so many of us, there are a lot of great one-on-one interactions that can create a really nice sense of belonging with the campus. That's one thing I really like -- talking to someone and making a connection, and then they come find me in August when they get back to campus.

What do you think about the students you encounter in the orientation programs?

There's a lot of diversity -- a lot of differences in backgrounds and opinions -- and they're really smart! Everyone I've had interaction with is quick and just fun to talk to. I really have never had a bad experience with a first-year student.

To back way up, where were you born and raised?

I was born and raised in Poughkeepsie and went to Hyde Park schools.

Why did you choose SUNY Oswego?

I knew the education program was strong and I had a personal connection with the school. My father was born in Cicero and he went to Oswego. He went here for the technology education program. I originally came here for biology education. I didn't do too well in it, but I loved the school. I switched my major to human development with a minor in psychology, and here I am!

Why did you want to major in human development?

It is what interested me. I came here wanting to know HOW the body worked, but really what I figured out is that it's more about WHY. I'm interested in why we think what we think and why we do what we do.

What do you think of your professors?

I've never had an awful professor. My favorite prof has been David Sargent in the human development (HDV) program. He's the best. I've taken all my core HDV classes with him. I just got done with a "Canine Companions" class that he runs. There's a lab section of the course where you go to the local animal shelter, down across the river. It's good practice in taking notes about behaviors -- being able to observe quickly and in real time. 

Why are you interested in student affairs as a career?

I was an RA (resident assistant) before I was a Laker Leader. I will be an RA in Moreland Hall for the third year. I really like being an RA. Again, it's all about connections for me. I really like making one-on-one connections with all my residents and with all of their friends that they bring into the hallway. I really like this kind of work -- I like working at this level with students and making at least this much of a difference.

Have you had any internships yet?

I still have to line up an internship for next spring. This year, I used my Laker Leader captain position as my internship, in conjunction with HDV 303, and wrote about my experiences working in the orientation office over the course of the semester. There's a lot of behind-the-scenes that nobody sees but us. During the semester, I was the head of the staff development and training committee. We planned a few staff outings and had a hand in planning and finalizing what our staff training looked like for the summer. We also created about 35 one-pagers about different departments on campus as a resource for us. We do a lot of preparation for the summer.

Have you thought about graduate school?

I'm looking to apply to University of Vermont and also University of Connecticut for their higher education student affairs programs.

How did you get involved in theatre's production of "Urinetown?"

I was involved in theatre my entire high school career. When I first got here, it was "Pirates of Penzance" in outer space, and I didn't know quite what I felt about that. (Laughs.) Last year, it was "Urinetown," and I played Caldwell B. Cladwell. That was a show and a role that I've always wanted to do. That was a blast. I made great friends in the theatre department that I wouldn't have made otherwise. Cladwell was a bad guy -- he was right, but he was a bad guy. 

What else do you do on campus?

I'm the president of State Singers and Men's Choir. The State Singers recently went on a trip to Pittsburgh for an American Choir Directors Association conference. I was in charge of getting the funding for that from SA (the Student Association). We performed. (Choir director) Mihoko Tsutsumi was teaching other choir directors how to pronounce Japanese choral music at her conference session, and we were her demo choir, showing them how it sounded in a choral setting. Every semester, there's at least one piece in Japanese. Last semester, we had a lot of them -- that was awesome.

How do you manage your time with all that you do?

(Laughs.) I do things as they come. Whenever I get an assignment, I judge how much time it will take, then I find the time to do it. Sometimes that does happen at 2 in the morning -- but it gets done. I'm proud to say I've never missed a paper, and I've never let anything slide so far I had to get an extension. I make sure everything is in place before I go do all of my fun stuff.

What do you do in your down time?

I play video games. That's my big vice. I play "Rainbow Six Siege" and I play "Rocket League" and "Overwatch" and "Fortnite" and all of your popular games with my friends. We all get online together and play. That's my "me" time. I also play bass. For three years, I played double bass (in the College-Community Orchestra), but I can't do that this year -- I have a class that overlaps. I bought an acoustic bass guitar this summer. I like to pluck around on that and have some fun, figure out some bass lines for some songs.

Is there anything else we should know?

I love this school. I really do. It's provided a lot of great opportunities and friends that would not have happened anywhere else. When it comes down to it, I'm in the right place. I hope later on, when I'm a professional staff member somewhere, I can return here and join the professional staff as something like a residence hall director. That's something I look forward to doing.