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New Student Orientation: What move-in days looked like in the midst of a worldwide pandemic.

Beginning a new school year in a new place can be scary for anyone, especially for college freshmen just leaving home for the first time ever. Now imagine adding a global pandemic into the mix.

Despite tension surrounding Covid-19, orientation leaders, alongside assistant dean of Resident and Student Life, Ben Howard, put in the effort to maintain and organize a smooth and fun orientation weekend for all.

The online activities were organized by Howard while the in-person activities were organized by the
orientation leaders and the Student Activities Board.

The New Student Orientation (NSO) program is only in the beginning of it’s second year at Eastern, which allowed more room for leniency when Howard and orientation leaders were planning out how Orientation Weekend would go.

Orientation leaders arrived to campus on Aug. 15 to attended a series of training that included diversity
training, Title IX training, training on how to handle conflicts, and workshopping different ice breakers to
use within their individual groups.

Orientation leaders were each in charge of individual ice breakers used within groups. They each wore shirts that said “We put the Social in Social Distancing”.

Senior Karissa Maccentelli participated as an orientation leader for her second year in a row. This year, she ran orientation group 12 alongside Taeylor Tucker.

Maccentelli’s group was very engaged, “they wanted to show up and it gave me a lot of energy to know that they also had energy,” said Maccentelli.

The weekend technically started on Wednesday, the first day of move-in. Freshman that moved in Wednesday met with their groups starting at 5pm and did small group activities and enjoyed dinner as a group.

The second half of the freshman moved in on Thursday. During the second half of move-in, the students that were already on campus enjoyed various activities such as a games tent, craft tent and optional field activities that were made available. Some of the crafts available were bracelet making, pompom making and rock painting. Many of the rocks made can be found around campus if you look hard enough.

After the second half of freshman moved in, they were able to join their orientation groups on the field and participated in some group activities and attended dinner with their groups.

After dinner Thursday night, two food trucks containing homemade donuts and homemade soft pretzels were available in the parking lot next to the fields. Students were also able to pick up “get to know your roommate kits” put together by the Student Activities Board.

The kits included mini snacks, card games, a list of get to know you questions, pads of paper, mini jenga,
and boggle. The kits were made in different sizes depending on room type.

Friday morning, students were invited to an online webinar regarding possible jobs and internships with
Career Development. In the afternoon, students were given the option to participate in soccer darts and the Skyfall Stunt Jump.

Later Friday night, students got to meet their Faith, Reason, and Justice class during faculty firesides. While most years these firesides are held in person at professor’s house, most firesides were done via Zoom and a few were done at different locations around the campus.

Saturday, students were given the opportunity to combine with other orientation groups and participate
in more activities and games with new groups. Later in the day, the crafts and games tents were made available again for Thursday arrivals to get a chance to enjoy them.

Throughout the day Saturday, many of the upperclassmen were working on moving in themselves, so on Saturday night, all students on campus were given the opportunity to watch the newest Jumanji movie on the turf.

Orientation concluded Sunday morning with a Closing Worship and Commissioning Service over a
campus-wide Zoom meeting.

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