Orientation Moves Online

Some students got their first taste of the unity of campus online in orientation and the traditional Eagle Gathering, shown here on Zoom.

UMW is known for making new students feel part of the community, but with the pandemic, UMW 2020 orientation leaders met the challenge of greeting new students online. First-years explored their new home via Zoom in a series of nine one-day virtual sessions, while transfers got to choose one of three events.

Each official orientation session welcomed more than 100 people. All on Zoom, they met President Troy Paino, were introduced to UMW’s values of ASPIRE, and learned how to access and use Canvas and UMW email. They discovered uniquely UMW entities like the First-Year Experience, the Common Experience, and the Honor Code, and they watched a video called Designing Your Life.

New students got to know their peers better in small breakout groups, while a large panel discussion gave them the chance to pose questions to current students about subjects like dining, housing, service community engagement, clubs, extracurricular activities, and more. They engaged in a variety of virtual interactions, including panels with orientation leaders to learn about campus life, game nights, and bracket challenges over social media.

Students also enjoyed UMW Live, a series of student-created prerecorded skits to walk first-years through campus life and university resources. Advising had to go online, too, in virtual one-on-one sessions with faculty members. UMW also presented a series of Canvas modules and live webinars throughout the summer for incoming students and their families on topics such as resources for students of color, being first-in-family college students, health and safety procedures, and using the Center for Career and Professional Development.

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