Virtual FYO for WPU Pacers and Families

July 3, 2020

#GoingToWPU Bachelor of Science at William Peace University

First Year Orientation is typically an on-campus two-day experience for both families and students at WPU. This year, due to health concerns surrounding COVID-19, we made a major pivot as we worked to  provide an informative and engaging orientation to all of our incoming Pacers—for students and families.

“This year’s First Year Orientation was structured using a very different format, but our goal was still the same!  The New Student Orientation team and our campus partners worked extremely hard to provide our incoming students and their families with the resources and information they needed in order to have a smooth transition to WPU!”

Chelsea Hayes, M.Ed., Director of Student Involvement

The change in format proved to be of great value to incoming Pacers as 104 first time students from 14 states attended over the two sessions. Utilizing Zoom and Moodle, the New Student Orientation team and our great campus partners were able to provide virtual opportunities to connect with the WPU community and learn about WPU resources. Through live Q&A sessions and our online Moodle site, students and families received important information through videos, presentations and sessions  from the following areas:

To build excitement for The Student First Year Orientation experience, members of the Student Involvement and Residence Life and Housing team sent WPU swag boxes to incoming students. This allowed for new students to have a piece of Peace at home with them during the virtual sessions while building their Pacer Pride! 

Once the First Year Orientation sessions began, students participated in a one-day session meeting with WPU offices and asked questions that will help prepare them for their transition to college. These offices included Financial Aid, Student Accounts, Residence Life & Housing, Campus Dining, The Wellness Center, Career Design, Diversity & Inclusion, Public Safety, the Center for Student Success, Academic Advising and Immersive Learning. Incoming Pacers were also able to connect with our 18 amazing Orientation Leaders and a student coordinator who participated in two weeks of virtual training in preparation for First Year Orientation. Orientation leaders facilitated small group sessions and led virtual community-building activities to continue building a sense of belonging among all of our new students.  

“Virtual orientation was definitely an amazing experience. We as Orientation Leaders got to navigate the technology and truly make it an experience that students and their guests would remember. Not only were students still excited, but they were also eager to get all the information needed to prepare for the fall semester”

Alyson Bishop, FYO Orientation Leader | Class of ’21: Education Dual Licensure Major, Minor in Psychology

The Family First Year Orientation program was also a one day experience from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM. Families were given the opportunity to participate in live Q&A sessions regarding COVID-19, student accounts, housing, how to aid their students through this transition, safety on campus and more. Families were also able to engage with a few of our dynamic Orientation Leaders to hear the perspectives of current students. Families can continue engaging with our campus by signing up for our Pacer Family newsletter.

“2020 has been a year that none of us were prepared for. Working with a strong FYO team and wonderful professional staff members, we were still able to make an impact on the incoming Pacers of Class of 2024. Thank you FYO 2020 for reminding me that, even though we may be scattered across the United States trying to connect, we are still connecting and we are still one Pacer Family!”

Jeni Myers, First Year Orientation 2020 Student Coordinator | Class of ’21: Communications Major, Concentration in Public Relations, Minors in Anthropology and Marketing

We are proud of our faculty, staff and student leaders for serving the WPU community in a new way and thank all of our campus partners for taking on the challenge of such a large virtual program.  We are excited to see all of our new students and their families in the Fall!