By Gerard Fiorenzaiii
Orientation for the class of 2024 had to be virtual because of where the nation stood on Covid restrictions a year ago. But as restrictions ease, the class of 2025 and transfer students experienced a hybrid orientation this summer, with expanded opportunities for in-person events.
Anna Zinko, assistant dean for Students and Community Engagement said, “We are very excited about this year's orientation. We offered a hybrid model that included the Panther Portal, an on-demand module with key information about the university, a virtual Academic Connections Day in July and culminated with an in-person Welcome Weekend August 27-29.”
Kasey Matatov, a first-year biology major, said she used the Panther Portal throughout the summer. “I used it as a guide to help me with financials, registering for classes and to see what I needed to have prepared before the school year began. I really liked the checklist that was provided. I think that was one of the most helpful aspects of the portal.”
The in-person events lined up for the Freshmen’s Welcome Weekend brought back a sense of familiarity in what orientation once was. They included campus tours, group meetings with Peer Assistant Leaders at specified locations throughout campus, shuttle trips (Roosevelt Field Mall, Target and 7th street), a welcome and matriculation ceremony, a movie night (featuring the newly released “Fast and Furious 9”), a show with the internationally recognized hypnotist Evan Gambarella, and numerous other meetings and fun events to assist in making our new Panthers feel at home.
There were some last-minute changes made out of an abundance of caution due to the Delta variant. On Aug. 20, the Center for Student and Community Engagement decided to postpone the in-person Pantherpalooza Club Fair until September. The event will now be a few smaller ones themed around types of organizations. Dates and registration were still being worked out as of press time.
Miguel Velasquez, an orientation leader and senior history major, reflected on last year’s orientation and the positives that still came out of it despite the lack of an in-person and traditional experience.
“I believe that we did the best we could and were able to make a difference. Being a resource to the students in a virtual setting was important to many of us. We wanted to make sure they still got a college experience in the climate we were all in, so we did the best we could with introducing them to organizations, resources and experiences,” Velasquez said. “It was not easy and often communication between us and some of the students was difficult, but seeing some of them blossom makes it all worth it.”
Rising sophomore Vanessa Hayden, an art education major, explained her experiences at last year’s orientation and her hopes for the incoming first-year and transfer students for the upcoming orientation.
“I absolutely loved how we all got a small welcome care package. My favorite part was us all at the end popping our confetti,” she said. “It really made me feel as if we are all one big fun and outgoing family following our dreams. I hope the lack of a normal orientation can be made up with more events on campus and Adelphi’s awesome concerts.”