Orientation 2017 comes to a close as the last of the incoming freshman prepare for the upcoming fall semester

COVID-19 has caused campus closures that now affect East Carolina University’s summer sessions, which has forced New Student Orientation to be offered as a virtual format. The virtual format will include a three step process to distribute the information new students need and provide answers to any questions students may have.

An email statement on behalf of Virginia Hardy, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, was sent out on April 8 by her executive assistant Jennifer Griggs that informed students that there will be a new virtual format for this event. The statement said The Office of Student Transitions (OST) provides services that enhance academic efficiency, effectiveness and independence of ECU students.

A significant part of OST’s mission is the New Student Orientation, which will occur during the summer months, according to the email statement. The statement said the decision of a virtual format is in accordance with the University of North Carolina system’s decision to move all summer classes online.

“We are disappointed that we are unable to host our new Pirates and family members on our beautiful campus this summer. However, we are still committed to assisting them through this transition,” the statement said.

Incoming freshman Maddie Smyrski said she was looking forward to orientation and she was most excited to meet her classmates, explore the campus and get an overall feel for where she will be spending the next four years.

Smyrski said she is worried that the virtual format might not give her the opportunity to ask the questions she may need to ask.

“I am a little worried that I won’t be able to get all of my questions answered but I also have a couple of upperclassmen friends that are on campus so I can ask them if I don’t get some questions answered,” Smyrksi said.

Although things are always changing and some people may feel unprepared due to COVID-19, Smyrski said she knows everything will work out the way it’s supposed to.

Karen Smith, associate director of Student Transitions, elaborated more on the three step process that they have planned for the virtual New Student Orientation format.

Smith said the first phase will consist of modules that the incoming freshman will complete and those may include information about the overall transition, campus resources, academic information, campus living and dining. She said they also may include information about financial aid, one card services and parking.

“So they’ll complete those modules online, probably, hopefully throughout June. And they’ll be able to do that kind of in their own time frame when they are, when they can do that,” Smith said.

The second phase will be available throughout June, July and August and will be similar to a webinar chat format, according to Smith. She said they’re still deciding what platform to use and whether it will be Facebook live, Instagram live, WebEx or a combination of the three.

Smith said this phase will surround various areas of campus, different offices, academic programs and resources. She said this will also give incoming freshmen the opportunity to ask any questions they may have.

“We’re also hoping to have some just general question and answer periods where they can jump on and ask an orientation assistant their question so they can get that feedback from a current student and get their answers,” Smith said.

The last phase will be on the Sunday before classes start which includes an afternoon of workshops and sessions that will provide more information to the incoming students, according to Smith.

Although there are usually orientation fees, Smith said she is aware that some of those fees won’t be necessary for a virtual format and they will be excluded from the price.

“We know it’s not exactly the same, but we’re trying to make it the best we can,” Smith said.

More information on the virtual format will be shared in the upcoming weeks and can also be found on the orientation website.

(1) comment


This article was very informative! Thank you keeping us up to date on all things going around campus during the difficult time. It is so nice to see the opinions of other students! Keep the articles coming.

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