Today's Update: Tuesday, June 9

June 9, 2020

Dear Student Life Team,

For many students, Orientation is their first real introduction to what it means to “be a Buckeye.” It’s an important couple of days, both for the information that is given to students and their families and for the connections it creates.  

This year, because of COVID-19, the format is different, but the outcomes are the same. Instead of bringing new students to campus, Orientation is all virtual. It seems to be working well. 

It’s still a two-day event, but leaders including Student Life Interim AVP and Orientation Director Matt Couch made sure to limit the screen time for the programs. It means students and families aren’t inundated with information (someone called it the “firehose approach”), but instead get what they need through programs and the Ohio State app. There are also ample opportunities all summer, not just during their Orientation session, for direct interaction with staff from Student Life and other university units, as well as peer-leader students. 

It’s taken some real creativity. The resource fair is a highlight of Orientation, and until now it involved massive tabling. This year, that’s all in the app and done virtually. One extra benefit is that it is allowing departments that previously couldn’t commit to the huge time investment of staffing a table to now be able to get their information out.   

Matt’s Outside the Classroom session is now pre-recorded, but he and a number of other Student Life team members are monitoring the Zoom chat function and answering questions in real time during the program. The Get Involved session includes both live and recorded elements, including a live question and answer session with people from Student Life Student Activities. Several other programs, including Student Life Multicultural Center workshops, are available anytime on demand.  

Orientation still features student peer leaders. You may have seen them in past years wearing red shirts on campus. They’re not on campus, and probably not wearing red shirts, but they are still a vital part of the new student experience. Small group time and one-on-one sessions are built into the schedule, and the peer leaders are available to students throughout their whole first year as mentors. 

It is crucially important that will find new ways to provide our students with an extraordinary experience from their first moments on campus. With the new-style Orientation, I think we’re getting them started on the right foot. 

A Scarlet and Great High Five to everyone involved.