Student meeting people online
Friday, September 4 - 2020
Tina Adamopoulos

Like many events in 2020, orientation is going virtual, and the Office of Student Experience and Wellbeing at U of T Scarborough is making sure students don’t miss out on a vibrant and informative experience.


“We have a really great sense of community forming with students throughout our programming,” says Rebekkah Nighswander, co-ordinator of the First-Year Experience Program at U of T Scarborough.


“Orientation is usually an event that cements your UTSC experience. It probably feels a little weird for students to not be able to meet people in the same way, but we hope they get to know the campus community through our events.”


Students are automatically enrolled in the First-Year Experience Program which features various student workshops and socials.


The First-Year Peer program pairs new students with upper-years from a similar field of study to share resources and answer questions about navigating their program throughout the year.


This summer, students from the First Year Peer program ran tutorials on course enrollment to support the Academic Advising & Career Centre’s Get Started program. To celebrate the completion of course enrollment, Nighswander and her team decided to kick-start their events early, with virtual social events and activities, like karaoke and arts and crafts.


Other events going virtual this year include Welcome Day. Students can register for Welcome Day to watch a live-streamed greeting from campus leaders and a virtual tour. Afterwards, a virtual department and club fair will let students drop into various Zoom rooms to learn more information, followed by a question and answer period, at scheduled times.


“When I think back to my first year, the question was always, ‘How does everything work?’” Nighswander says. “This year it’s, ‘How does everything work in light of COVID-19?’”


Starting on September 8, all U of T Scarborough students will have access to the Quercus-based non-credit Student Experience & Wellbeing Course. The course will feature community discussion boards, campus resources and different modules throughout the year, such as a summer job boot camp.


“Providing students with opportunities that are impactful.” 


“We want to make sure students are ready to engage when they can, not just for orientation but for the transition as well, which is the first six weeks of school and onwards,” says Erika Loney, senior manager, Community, Global and Intercultural Experience.


The International Student Orientation held daily virtual workshops for students across two weeks in August including share information, immigration advising and student panels on the transition to virtual learning. A parent orientation also answered questions on how parents can best support students.


A new weekly virtual series called “Let’s Talk About…” is being developed to bring U of T Scarborough’s international student community together to socialize and get to know their peers.


“We made sure that we weren’t duplicating efforts with campus partners and collaborated to build the best programming possible for students,” Loney says. “We want to make sure we are providing students with opportunities that are impactful.”


Learn more about Orientation 2020 and upcoming events.