At the start of each term, Humber welcomes new students with activities, information sessions and opportunities to connect with faculty and peers. This year, Humber Fall Orientation Welcome Week is now Welcome Month, which runs from September 8 to the 30, and offers even more immersive experiences than before COVID-19.
“We want to give students every opportunity we can to interact and meet each other,” said Nicole Cruz, a senior orientation leader. She volunteered for previous Orientations and attended Welcome Week as a first-year student.
“I can compare both and I’m so excited to see how it’s playing out.”
Online Orientation launched this week, but the Academic Orientation will run from September 1 to 3.
One of the key Welcome Month features is the opportunity to meet with professors. Virtual “Meet your faculty” sessions allow students to jump on a Microsoft Teams call and speak to faculty and other classmates and find answers to their questions. The online format may help students feel more comfortable, since they can participate from home. Orientation volunteers sit in on the call to help answer questions and guide first-years through the sessions.
Other Orientation events include a Virtual Frosh Party featuring Daniel Caesar, Welcome Events hosted by Indigenous Education and Engagement, the LGBTQ+ Resource Centre, and The BASE (Black Academic Success and Engagement), an Instagram Live Q&A with orientation leaders and more.
A Blackboard module was created to help students navigate Blackboard, which most students will use over the course of their studies. The Orientation team used the tool to allow students to learn about student services, how to find community and how to get involved.
“When we were brainstorming module ideas, I just thought about what I wish I had as a student. It’s not just someone telling you about a service. You can look into each of them on your own time.”
After completing the module, students are entered to win prizes like $1,000 towards tuition, $500 towards the Humber Campus Bookstore and $250 in e-gift cards. The prizes will be drawn each month until December.
Learning from experience
Humber College has already run an online Orientation Week. The Summer 2020 semester began with an online Welcome Week, too.
“Summer was a good experience, and we took a traditional approach of running workshops at key times. Not everyone can access them, so we’ve recorded those and they live on our website,” said Kimberly Daniels, Orientation & student life programs coordinator.
We’ve got one online Orientation under our belts, so we understand what works and what doesn’t.” The team is recording more videos to add to the collection.
She notes that Orientation Week was, at its heart, a collaboration.
“We’ve reached out to all of our campus partners. They have been really supportive in making a centralized, easy way for students to connect with them.”
Those partners include IGNITE, Student Life, Humber Libraries and others.
In keeping with the theme of connection, the Orientation team will be sending out updates and information using the First-Year Experience (FYE) Instagram accounts: @humberlakefye and @humbernorthfye. Students can also still sign-up for an upper-year FYE mentor to connect with throughout Orientation and beyond. In addition, students can post to social media using the #HumberOrientation hashtag and access digital swag to use in their posts.
Humber College’s Fall 2020 classes begin September 8.