This year, student orientation and move-in week was very different at the Langley-based Trinity Western University campus, the result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve had to re-think everything,” said Richard Taylor, TWU vice president of student life.
Orientation day for new students became a series of virtual and in-person events called “O-Day+”, beginning with a campus drive through on Saturday, Sept. 5.
About 100 new students and their families registered online to pick a preferred time slot between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Each low-speed tour lasted about 60-minutes and involved 10 different pit stops and socially-distanced activities spread out across TWU’s 64-hectare Langley campus.
A TWU guide led each car tour on foot.
Guests stayed in their cars and enjoyed a free car wash, snacks delivered to their windows, a curbside meet-and-greet with the university president, a variety of in-car games, along with take-home gifts and souvenirs.
The tour ended at one of brand new bus stops for the 562 shuttle bus, located within TWU’s campus.
Participants were also encouraged to drive into Fort Langley and fill out a “bingo” scorecard that required visiting each of the Fort Langley shops associated with The Spartan Club, a discount program for TWU students and staff that promotes local businesses.
Taylor explained that the purpose of the event is for first-year university students to see the campus, learn about the different opportunities available to them, and get personal guidance. “In this way, it’s a personal welcome,” he said.
In overcoming COVID-19 distancing measures, Taylor said, “We try to focus more on personal connection and service.”
One student guide, Haley Friesen hopes that the opportunity for students to come on campus and see where things are will make the university experience seem “more real” for new students who will doing a lot of learning virtually.
“It’s crazy that we’re going to be off campus so much this year, learning at our own homes,” Friesen commented.
Many students will be taking courses online this semester, as a result of health and safety precautions. The university campus will remain open, and a small number of classes will run in-person, with safety measures in place.
The campus drive through event was followed by residence move-in day on Sunday, Sept. 6.
Live-stream welcome events, online meetings with faculty, and virtual auditions for choir and instrumental ensembles were scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.