Every year, dozens of returning students are chosen to help with Orientation, the first event most new students undergo to signify the start of their CA career. Most returning students remember the games on the quad, meeting your chapel bench mates, sleeping over in a boarding house or going home with a day student, and the infamous communal square dance with mosquitos biting your every turn in the Chapel garden. However, like a lot of things this year, Orientation had to be held online for returning students.
Being an Orientation Leader (OL) both this and last year, the fundamentals of what Orientation has never changed that much with games, speed friending and programming staying true to what it would have been like in person. Unlike orientation from other years, online orientation started much earlier with optional weekly meetings to provide an opportunity for new students and OLs to meet each other before the main orientation started. There, new students were introduced to members of the community much earlier and less formally to play virtual games like skribble.io or partake in trivia within groups. Likewise, after hours of training, the main Orientation started on the 26th, spanning until Sunday night on the 30th, before the 31st with the All School Meeting scheduled.
For boarding students, orientation extended a bit more with the Boarding Council (BC) introducing themselves and new students meeting their new Heads of Houses’ and house parents, before meeting the entire house.
Much of orientation concluded with an optional in-person and online session on the Saturday after the first week of school to help students see campus for the first time and meet many of their new classmates and the campus safely. Both online and on-campus students participated in a few games and talked about how their classes were going while also quelling any last-minute questions new students had before entering the first full week of the semester.
Although it was not what many had hoped for, the online orientation was a successful alternative for new students to get acquainted with CA and settling them in before the start of school.