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Orientation Goes Virtual for New Students and Families

The staff in New Student Programs together with the student-led Orientation Steering Committee (OSC) pivoted this summer to provide a virtual Orientation experience for new students and their families -- whether they were studying in Ithaca or at home. 

Fall 2020 New student Orientation kicked off with a narrated aerial tour of campus to help students familiarize themselves with Cornell and the surrounding areas. Students also used Zoom to meet their Orientation Leader (OL) – a trained student mentor from their college, as well as to participate in events like virtual escape rooms, trivia, gaming nights, and bingo with Monique Heart from the TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race. The most popular Orientation event was Speed Friending. The OSC offered dozens of sessions for students to meet in small groups and get to know each other through questions and ice breakers facilitated by student orientation volunteers. Partner programming will continue through September 25 as many Orientation programs were spread out to make it easier for students to manage in a virtual environment. 

Family Orientation also shifted to the digital space. Highlights for families included a 6-part Family Orientation Video Series featuring many SCL staff members. Many asynchronous programs are still available to view and the Family Orientation Video Series will be available through the semester. Families, get ready for a new style of Family Weekend this October.

With the semester now underway, the Tatkon Center has created an array of virtual programs for new students including Cornell 101: Settling In and Maximizing Your First Year and a Zoom Room where students can drop-in and talk to Tatkon Center student staff.