Virtual Orientation Prepares Students for New Normal

Published: July 31, 2020
By: UW-Parkside Marketing & Communications

The start of the first semester for a new college student can be an exciting and stressful time, even in normal circumstances. It is the start of something completely new and presents many unfamiliar challenges and situations. Each year UW-Parkside faculty, staff, and orientation leaders help incoming first year students to acclimate and prepare for this new chapter of their life by running new student orientation. During orientation, students learn about financial aid, how to register for classes, campus activities and organizations, dining options, and general campus life among many other things under the guidance of UW-Parkside’s Orientation leaders, admissions counselors, and even Chancellor Ford.

With the advent of the COVID-19 Pandemic, academic institutions are seeking out new and innovative ways to carry on with normal and essential operations while prioritizing the health and safety of their students, staff, and faculty. With these goals in mind, UW-Parkside has moved its new student orientation to a virtual format.

UW-Parkside Coordinator of New Student Services, Caitlin Dobson, leads the virtual event and welcomes students and guides them through one of their very first college experiences. She notes, “While we certainly did not envision welcoming students to campus through a computer screen at the start of the year, we see that we are still proudly building that sense of Parkside Pride through our new virtual delivery.”

Dobson adds, “Our mission has been and continues to be facilitating information, resources, services, and programs that guide students in the pursuit of their educational goals. No matter the circumstance, we will continue to find a way to get students excited about their college experience.”

The 2020-2021 Orientation Leader team is comprised of six students ranging from sophomores to seniors and from a variety of majors. Faith Flores is a Junior and is a Nursing Major. Wendy Licona is a Senior in the Business Management program. Dacia Luckett is a Sophomore Communication Major. Jada Peters is a Senior Communication Major. Sarah Sullivan is a Senior, Psychology Major. Shania Weaver is a Senior, Applied Health Science Major. This important group of students is focused on making each student’s transition to UW-Parkside easier by providing a friendly environment and answering questions from first-hand experience.

During virtual orientation, the student-leaders led the new students in a game of “Put a finger down,” and used the opportunity to discuss campus life. They mentioned campus dining options, the university’s sports and intramural programs, how to purchase a parking permit, how to get financial aid for paying for books, over 70 student organizations and clubs, Greek life, library hours, laptop rentals, and even “therapuppies” among much more.

During virtual orientation, students also got the opportunity to hear from Chancellor Ford. She welcomed them to the UW-Parkside learning community and congratulated the class of 2024 on beginning the next stage of their journey. She noted that this is a very rare experience and encouraged students to view it as such, learn from it, and carry those lessons forward into their academic ventures. Chancellor Ford also mention that the university would be providing as much face-to-face interaction and learning as possible while maintaining a safe and comfortable learning environment and following the guidance of the CDC.

After the welcome session and learning about the many exciting aspects of UW-Parkside campus life, the students met virtually with advisor from their college who assisted them in picking and enrolling for courses. The advisors walk each student through the process of adding a class to their “shopping cart,” not unlike Amazon, and the slogan “15 to Finish,” which of course refers to the best way to ensure students graduate in the traditional four-year window.

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Media Contact:

Caitlin Dobson

Coordinator of New Student Services

900 Wood Road Kenosha, WI 53144

262-595-2721 | 262-595-2008 (fax)

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