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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

New Student Orientation returns to campus with one-day experience

In+this+file+photo%2C+incoming+freshmen+at+the+time%2C+Liliana+Hernandez+%28far+right%29%2C+Ilene+Espinoza+%28middle+right%29%2C+Karen+Novarro+%28middle+left%29+and+Citlaly+Romero+%28far+left%29+pose+for+a+photo%2C+Wednesday%2C+June+19%2C+2019%2C+outside+of+the+Undergraduate+Academic+Center+at+Texas+State.+The+four+students+were+apart+of+New+Student+Orientation+Group+23%2C+led+by+counselors+Lola+Santos+and+Christina+Gloria.

In this file photo, incoming freshmen at the time, Liliana Hernandez (far right), Ilene Espinoza (middle right), Karen Novarro (middle left) and Citlaly Romero (far left) pose for a photo, Wednesday, June 19, 2019, outside of the Undergraduate Academic Center at Texas State. The four students were apart of New Student Orientation Group 23, led by counselors Lola Santos and Christina Gloria.

After a completely virtual program last summer, incoming students had the option of attending in-person New Student Orientation sessions this past month or participating in an online program in July.
In-person NSO sessions began June 2 and ended on July 1, granting incoming students an opportunity to explore campus and engage in a traditional college orientation. The second round of sessions began the second week of July and will end on Aug. 25.
NSO traditionally consists of two days, including an overnight stay on campus. Although the in-person version was condensed into a one-day program, students who attended in-person sessions experienced a “choose your own adventure” version of orientation.
Students who attended the in-person session participated in campus tours, browsed student organizations and attended informational sessions on various campus resources such as transportation and financial aid services.
Brandon Hatch, an applied mathematics sophomore and orientation leader, says in-person orientation this year was configured so every freshman had a chance to experience orientation while also staying safe and comfortable.
“The first half was in-person, and then, the second half is online … due to COVID, not many families are going to be feeling safe to go in-person,” Hatch says. “Obviously, if COVID is an issue, we’re not going to want them spending the night in the residence hall because it’s also a safety hazard.”
Hatch adds measures were put in place to ensure visiting families and future students felt safe while being cautious of COVID-19.
“There was a limit to how [many] people we’d put in a room, and then, we’d get bigger rooms if the presentations kept exceeding those limits,” Hatch says. “We offered masks at the front desk … we just [wanted] them to feel safe and not have to worry about health concerns.”
Despite the changes made to orientation, incoming freshman Ethan Simmons says he feels he got the chance to have the full experience.
“I think that if we were to have just an online NSO, I don’t think I would’ve learned as much, so I’m really happy I was able to go in person this year,” Simmons says. “I had a really good time, I learned a lot, it was a lot of fun.”
Incoming freshman Theo Wright says the information at this year’s orientation, from both presentations and modules, was overwhelming. However, he still enjoyed the opportunity to engage with peers in person.
“It’s good to know all of that stuff, but it’s a lot at once,” Wright says. “My favorite module was ‘Dollars and $ense,’ because I’m an interactive learner. When the two ladies were running the meeting, they were really cool, they got to actually know us.”
Students participating in the online version of NSO will engage in activities reserved strictly for the virtual format, such as schedule building, PACE center appointments and online modules.
Each online orientation will last for a three-week period where students will participate in social events in addition to informational sessions. Hatch says orientation leaders are trying to give online participants the most inclusive experience possible.
“We’re just trying to make it as, not seen as a burden as sometimes people can feel it is,” Hatch says. “Online is always going to feel a little less connected than in person, but we’re trying to make it as close to in-person as possible.”
For more information on NSO and the online sessions, visit its website.

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