august 24, 2020 - 6:30pm
rock viu: welcome to campus takes place august 31 to september 4, with peer mentors checking in with students the week before.
post-secondary education will look a little different this fall due to the covid-19 pandemic, with many students and professors learning and teaching primarily online.
that isn’t stopping the rock viu: welcome to campus committee from planning a virtual orientation event that allows students to participate from the comfort of their living rooms, or wherever they are. this year’s event will take place the week before classes are set to begin – from august 31 to september 4 – with a soft launch the week before during which peer mentors will connect with incoming students for casual “beach fire chats.”
“Rock VIU usually takes place on our campuses over the course of a single day,” explains Maria Clemotte, Rock VIU Student Event lead in the Office of Co-Curricular Engagement & Learning (OCCEL). “When viu moved to a hybrid model of education delivery, we knew we had to do things differently and our team rose to the challenge, designing a series of events that will help students get to know the university, each other and their profs even though we can’t all be together face-to-face.”
the series of events start off on monday, august 31 with an opening ceremony featuring campus culture speaker blake fly. from there, events are staggered throughout the week, including a talent showcase, the rock viu final jam (featuring aaron pritchett and box of beats from la), virtual escape rooms, study tips and tricks, a connect fair to learn about viu supports and services, and block party socials hosted by each faculty.
one unique element of this year’s event is that many of the events will be recorded and accessible to students to watch when they are able through the new co-curricular involvement app, which can be downloaded from the app store and google play store. a desktop version is also available at viu.ca/ccr.
“students will be divided into groups based on area of study so they get to know other students in their own programs,” says omar karim, coordinator of the occel. “coming to university for the first time can be nerve-wracking, but it doesn’t have to be. this is your chance to build relationships with profs, make new friends and start feeling a bit more comfortable with how to access services and navigate university life. also, we want to remind returning students that they are more than welcome to join in any of the events.”
one new feature that will continue throughout the fall is the peer mentorship aspect. each incoming student who chooses to participate will be connected with a student peer mentor, who will follow up with students throughout the fall to make sure their questions are answered, and they are settling in well at viu.
“the office of co-curricular engagement and learning is also launching a new rewards/points program run through the co-curricular involvement app to recognize students’ participation and engagement. this provides an opportunity for students to earn prizes and swag for their participation in events at rock viu and other upcoming activities,” says nate priest, rock viu student project lead, occel.
for more information, visit the rock viu website.
jenn mcgarrigle, external communications advisor, vancouver island university