HU greets new students at move-in day on Aug. 27

Guiding new Huntington University students during new-student orientation on Thursday, Aug. 27, is Admissions Counselor Brayten Carpenter. Huntington University held the majority of their move-in day orientation events outside in an effort to stay socially distanced.
Guiding new Huntington University students during new-student orientation on Thursday, Aug. 27, is Admissions Counselor Brayten Carpenter. Huntington University held the majority of their move-in day orientation events outside in an effort to stay socially distanced. Photo by Katelynn Farley.

Huntington University students flocked to campus on Thursday, Aug. 27, to kick off move-in day and orientation weekend. Parents moved in their children, campus staff and administrators were present to greet students and give information and students new and returning were able to “come home” for the new fall semester.

Due to COVID-19, the process for move-in day and orientation was far different than that of years prior. Traditionally, new students will come to the Merrilat Center for the Arts (MCA), where they are greeted by some faculty and staff from certain buildings around campus, such as the business office, the mail room and admissions. Students would normally pick up their student ID, their mail room key and any additional papers or information they may need for the school year and the remainder of orientation weekend.

Though COVID-19 has changed many of the processes and traditions the campus has for students, the goal since shutdown has been to focus on how something can be done, rather than limiting what can be done. Rather than holding large gatherings with the entire campus or the entire freshman class together, group meetings are being broken into smaller groups that will meet throughout orientation weekend. Rather than holding meals and orientation meetings indoors, they were moved outside. All of this in an effort to make things feel as normal and functional as possible.

Another change that was made in the name of functionality was how orientation worked. The beginning of orientation was a “drive-through” process, where students and their parents drove to the MCA parking lot and were directed by Coordinator of Campus Visitation, Carlene Peters. Peters checked in new students by name, and directed them to the correct traffic lane to meet their admissions counselor. From their, admissions counselors gave their students information about where dorms would be, and where to go once their move-in was completed.

Kay Schwob, director of development at HU, was present at the Baker-Roush residence hall to assist with move-in day, nothing how different the process is.  

“Normally, we would be able to help parents and students get cars unloaded, and we would probably have an entire car done in no time flat. But because of COVID, and being limited on what we can touch, we really just have to leave it to the students right now and help in other ways when we can.”

After move-in, new students were encouraged to meet faculty, who were waiting in tents to greet students and give them more information. Representatives from the Alumni Office, Forester Digital Network, the business office and more were available to meet students, answer questions and take care of information that students would normally receive in the MCA.

Tammy Gass, staff accountant in the business office, says the new process for orientation seemed to work well.

“It gives kids a chance to walk the campus, see the buildings they’ll be in and meet some people they’ll be coming into contact with,” Gass said. “I think that’s really great for them to be able to do that.”

One lesson learned from the spring semester shutdown was the importance of having parent contact information. Representatives from the HU Alumni office were available on the quad to take down parent and guardian contact information, to ensure that the university has multiple avenues for keeping parents and students updated on how the semester is functioning around COVID-19 concerns.

Foresters will be starting classes as normally as possible on Monday, Aug. 31. The university has provided multiple avenues to ensure that social distancing guidelines are being met while students are learning.

Around select areas of campus, such as outside of the Art Annex and Dowden Science Hall, tents have been set up so that professors have the choice to hold outdoor classes.

Each Huntington University student was also provided with a folding outdoor chair that they are encouraged to bring to class, to offer flexible seating and to give them a chance to have class outdoors. Masks will be worn by students whenever space cannot be made to stay six feet apart, but masks may be taken off if there is enough space to effectively socially distance.