After a year and a half of online learning for many, Vancouver Island University (VIU) is gearing up to welcome students back to campus this fall.
With two cohorts of students who have never set foot on VIU campuses before — both first-year and many second-year students — the RockVIU: New Student Orientation committee has organized two weeks of events to connect students with services, supports, their professors and each other, according to a VIU media release.
“This year our focus is on easing the transition back to in-person classes after a year of learning online,” said Maria Clemotte, student and RockVIU co-event lead.
“We are starting off the first week with a chance for new and second-year students to make connections with third and fourth-year students, who can answer any questions they have about what it’s like to be a VIU student, as well as chances to meet staff and learn more about what supports are available to them.”
The events began Aug. 23, when students had the chance to connect with peer mentors and have their questions answered in online beach fire chat sessions. There will also be small-group excursions on the Nanaimo campus that include introduction to services on campus, as well as group activities.
Week two will offer students the opportunity to meet classmates and faculty, and get familiar with student services. In-person events will include an outdoor movie and pizza night, and a Connect Fair Festival and barbecue.
Students are also organizing an interactive art exhibition, during which peers can view visual art and dance performances that reflect what the past year of online learning has been like and contribute to a time capsule.
Online sessions include the opening ceremony, question and answer panels, student experience talks, a virtual campus adventure and a session for parents who want to know more about VIU.
“This past year has been a transitional year for many students and RockVIU 2021 is designed to welcome students back in a meaningful and respectful way,” said Omar Karim, coordinator and manager of the Office of Co-curricular Engagement and Learning.
“This is your chance to build relationships with your campus community, make new friends and start feeling a bit more comfortable with returning to campus and how to access services to navigate university life.”
The online events will be recorded and accessible for students to watch on their own schedules through the VIU Co-Curricular Involvement App.