COVID-19 pushes Queen’s orientation week online

Incoming students will participate in online orientation activities

The majority of events scheduled for this year’s orientation are adapted versions of previously in-person events.
Journal File Photo

Following the University’s May 21 decision to move the fall term online, the Arts and Science Undergraduate Society (ASUS) announced a virtual orientation was underway for incoming students.

The majority of events scheduled for this year’s orientation are adapted versions of previously in-person events.

According to the ArtSci Orientation Handbook, this year’s Frosh Parade, Year Dance Reveal, and Tour of the Town have been pre-recorded.

Queen's in the Park and the Sidewalk Sale, two events which typically showcase campus clubs and extracurricular activities, have also been replaced by interactive online catalogues.

Anika Chowdhury, head gael of ASUS, told The Journal the Queen’s in the Park catalogue is provided to “any faculty Orientation head that has reached out to [ASUS Orientation] already” and “it’s up to them to distribute it to their incoming students.”

“The Sidewalk Sale is usually open to everybody and anybody,” she said. “So we have a few networks on the move for the Sidewalk Sale [catalogue]."

Faculty orientation heads and Society presidents are expected to send the catalogue to both incoming and upper-year students. Distribution to University faculty and staff is “still in the works,” according to Chowdhury.

READ MORE: A look inside: The Journal tours Victoria Hall & Leonard Dining Hall ahead of move-in

However, some events won’t be held this year, including the Carnival on Tindall Field, the Frosh Olympics on Cricket Field, and the off-campus Mudmoiselle Race.

To supplement the lack of in-person interaction, ArtSci Orientation is introducing an event called ‘Frosh Match’ to connect students based on projected majors and compatible interests, creating friendships on a one-on-one basis.

According to Chowdhury, all ASUS Orientation academic-based events are free to attend for all students and will be posted on onQ. This includes ‘ArtSci 101’ on academic success, academic integrity, and remote learning, as well as ‘How Do You Feel?’ on sexual, mental, and physical health and ‘How Do You Deal?’ on equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Concurrent Education (Con-Ed) Orientation is comprised of alternating days of events     and videos.

Alexis Pascoal, head teach of the Concurrent Education Students' Association, told The Journal all videos have been prerecorded and will be uploaded to the Association’s YouTube channel. Academic events will be held live, but will be recorded and made available online afterward.

READ MORE: Residence to offer 'household model' in the fall to limit contact between students

White’s Farm, an event where incoming students participate in orientation traditions, remains the finale of Con-Ed Orientation, but will take place remotely through video calls. Orientation groups will share favourite memories and cheers and incoming students will say an oath before the event concludes with a speech from the Head Teach.

Computing Orientation consists of live Q&A sessions on major and course selection and a series of team-based games. The Wolfe Island Corn Maze, a Kingston attraction and traditional element of Computing Orientation, is suspended this year.

The Commerce Orientation Primer outlines a case competition, nighttime events like live trivia, and a daily event called Goodes Convos, where first-year students are paired with classmates, Bosses, members of the Commerce Executive on Orientation (CEO), and other special guests to create personal connections within the program.

Engineering Orientation involves a design challenge and various team building activities. According to the Engineering Orientation website, the Grease Pole—the flagship event where first-year students climb a greased pole in a pit of mud to retrieve the tam at the top—is “postponed until further notice.”

“Nursing Orientation normally contains a considerable number of inter-faculty events,” Jennifer Bean, head cape of the Queen's Nursing Science Society, wrote to The Journal. “We have been able to maintain events with [Engineering and Kinesiology]; however, we were unable to translate our BBQ with [Computing] as well as a new event we had been planning with [Health Sciences].”

Bean said the traditional inter-faculty event between Nursing and Engineering, Thundermugz, has been replaced by socially-distanced, livestreamed trivia held by the Orientation committees, followed by “small breakout rooms” and “get-to-know-you games.”

READ MORE: Orientation week facing uncertainty with possibility of remote learning in the fall

Bonding at Summerhill, conventionally the first event of Nursing Orientation, will also be held virtually. Bean added it’ll be structured similarly to the on-campus version, in that the Nursing Orientation leaders will lead “fun icebreakers and casual conversation.”

Mitul Karmaker, head coat of Health Sciences Orientation, wrote to The Journal that “[a]ll events are intended to accommodate time zones” and most events will be partially recorded for students to later access as well.

Karmaker added there will be four new events catered specifically to fit the remote setting, including an event called Cooking with Coats where Orientation leaders introduce “cool recipes with a fun twist” and talk about food security.

According to its website, Kinesiology Orientation “will consist of 1-2 online live events” each day, accessible via onQ.

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