Previously known as O-Week, the University of Toronto Mississauga introduces a virtual method of delivery for first-year students to attend orientation week, or EagleOrientation. Organized by the University of Toronto Mississauga Student Union (UTMSU), the university will hold online events for new students this year from September 8-10.
According to the Centre for Student Engagement’s webpage, this year’s virtual orientation week will include “opportunities to become more familiar with your new campus; to connect with faculty, staff and other students, and discover all the resources, supports, and activities available to you.”
The school-led student orientation, whose primary goal is to assist incoming students and their transition to undergraduate studies, is intended to help “make meaningful connections with your peers and professors, learn how to be academically successful, discover valuable resources and supports, and participate in fun activities.”
Should students wish to obtain the September EagleOrientation co-curricular notation, the Centre for Student Engagement’s website states that one must only attend two out of six events.
Hosting strictly virtual events during July and August, activities were facilitated by student volunteers, EagleSquad leaders, who not only organized daily Eagle Squad Huddles but hosted an eight-hour long drop-in Eagle Squad question and answer session on August 18, 2021. This was completed through digital video conferencing platforms Microsoft Live and Acadiate.
Similarly, they guided in-person campus tours for incoming students which required pre-registration, had limited spots, and adhered to public health guidelines concerning Covid-19. Alternatively, the 2021 UTM EagleOrientation webpage offers a self-directed tour pamphlet featuring ten major campus landmarks such as the William G. Davis Building, Recreation, Athletics and Wellness Centre, Terrence Donnelly Health Sciences Complex, and Hazel McCallion Academic Learning Centre for those who were unable to attend such tours or individuals who wish to do so at their own leisure.
On August 16, 2021, incoming students listened to a welcome speech and keynote address by UTM Vice-President and Principal Professor Alexandra Gillespie and former U.S. sprinter and motivational speaker Charles Clark. This speech outlined the importance of self-confidence, strong habits, effective time management, and individual resilience for success in undergraduate studies.
In addition to a virtual ‘Involvement and Research Fair’ which featured numerous student resources, clubs, and academic societies, first-year students were able to attend orientations organized by their respective academic departments and an interactive workshop titled Who am I? Exploring Identities and Meaningful Inclusion at UTM geared towards providing a “deeper understanding of your identity, and how this identity will relate to your UTM experience.”
This month, 2021’s EagleOrientation will wrap up their week with “fun social events including virtual ‘Hangout’ socials that will allow students to interact with other new-to-UTM students through ‘Speed-Friending’ sessions and ‘This or That’ activities.” This year’s events will last about one hour and occur online through Zoom meetings where students will be able to participate. This will provide incoming first-year students with “opportunity to make some new friends before classes officially begin.”