In light of COVID-19, UCR has opted to host the 2020 Highlander Orientation completely online for incoming students.
One way UCR is adjusting to the change is to promote their tool known as the “Involvement Calculator.” In an interview with The Highlander, Senior Coordinator of Student Life Adam Daniels stated that the Involvement Calculator is a survey incoming students can complete in order to share their interests. With the results, student organization advisors fashion personalized reports that suggest different groups an individual student might find useful or engaging to join. For an example, he said that, ”If a student says they’re going a pre-med route and they’re interested in community service, their report might feature a few service opportunities that allows students to volunteer in hospitals or at local clinics.”
Daniels stated that UCR reportedly receives around 300 of these surveys each year, but the number is projected to increase this summer due to the remote orientation. When faced with over 500 clubs and organizations to choose from, he added that it is easier for new students to have a few places to look into first.
Additionally, the university is in the process of adapting the traditional tabling events that occur during orientation to a virtual format. In the past, school organizations would set up their own tables on campus in a mass exposition event, advertising their group and activities to the parents and incoming students. Students were able to walk around and approach groups they had potential interest in and speak directly with representatives from said organizations.
According to Daniels, UCR is focused on maintaining and replicating that personal feeling of walking table to table and browsing. Though the virtual tabling website is still currently in development, he stated that the essential idea is for each campus department and student organization to submit an informational video to be compiled with other related groupings in a longer, categorized video. “If I was interested in a cultural organization, all of those groups would be combined into one video that I could watch, or I could just go to specific timestamps to find only the certain clubs I’m looking for,” he explained.
By the time the site is completed, it will provide new students with a coherent explanation of the various thematic videos and an easy way of navigating information pertinent to their unique interests. Daniels stated that the finished product will be sent out to students and parents as a part of the orientation materials this summer, set to occur from July 9 to August 11.