Ohio University

Bobcat Student Orientation prepares students for life at OHIO

Published: July 22, 2020 Author: From Staff Reports

Ohio University’s Athens campus is typically abuzz with activity throughout the month of June as new Bobcats and their families and guests visit for Bobcat Student Orientation (BSO). OHIO faculty, staff, and students collaborate to plan and host a meaningful orientation experience that represents a new beginning for students, and the Athens community welcomes new Bobcats and the energy they bring.

This year, as communities responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, OHIO joined other colleges and universities in shifting to online orientation programs for the safety of students and communities.

“We appreciate the flexibility and willingness to adapt that our current and incoming students have shown as we made this shift to remote delivery of orientation,” said Wendy Merb-Brown, assistant dean for operations and first-year and student transitions. “This was a change for us and the students we serve, and we appreciate the flexibility and adaptability our students and families have shown as we make the best of a challenging situation and work to support first-year students in their transition to college.”

As part of BSO students got to connect with other incoming students and their families, learn about resources available to support them, sign up for their Learning Communities, and register for fall classes. Throughout Bobcat Student Orientation, students interact with and learn from OHIO faculty, staff, and student orientation leaders.

Orientation Leader Cristina Formichelli is a journalism major who facilitated discussion groups for families and guests as part of BSO. She was impressed with the energy and enthusiasm of students, families, and guests throughout the online orientation sessions. “Students, families, and guests were positive, engaged, and ready with questions,” she said. “They were understanding of the challenges of running a virtual program and thankful for the information we shared.”

Danielle Klein, an industrial and systems engineering major, also served as an orientation leader. Klein said she was glad orientation leaders were able to connect with incoming students despite the shift to online orientation. “Speaking with students about what they are looking forward to this fall and their interests and passions made me so excited to continue to see them and get to know them in the future,” said Klein.

Bobcat Student Orientation 2020
Orientation Leader Jake Lundgren with his parents Karen and Gary Trago lend their voices to Bobcat Student Orientation 2020.

BSO allows new OHIO students and their guests to meet with faculty, staff, and students and to prepare for fall semester. 

“Although we were not able to gather on campus for BSO this summer, our student orientation leaders rose to the occasion and helped plan and deliver orientation activities and experiences that created connections between our incoming students,” said Director of Undergraduate Orientation Programs Vincent Prior. “We got students connected, registered them for classes and prepared them for the start of their college journey.”

More than 3,300 students participated in the online orientation sessions in June. Among those students were 3,100 first-year students and more than 200 transfer students. In addition, more than 3,000 parents or guests of incoming OHIO Bobcats participated in online BSO sessions.

Incoming students who have not yet submitted a photo for their student ID are encouraged to submit online before coming to campus in August. Several additional orientation sessions will be held in July and August for students who were unable to complete their orientation in June. For more information about orientation, visit the BSO website.