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Sept. 23, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Cars lined the streets of Eastern Oregon University, each counting down the minutes until Move-In Day commenced. As the line started to move, masked students began meeting their RA’s, blankets and boxes in hand—ready for their college adventure during a pandemic.
Healthy behaviors like physically distanced lines, hand sanitizer stations, and mask wearing ensured students, staff and faculty remained safe during the excitement. Orientation leaders helped guide traffic and kept incoming students organized. For many of the students, it was their first time away from home and their families, and many said they were excited for college and the on-campus experience.
First-year biology student Samantha Spriet said, “I think EOU did a good job of telling us what the expectations were and all the regulations.”
Orientation leader Dustin Follett said he was impressed with the incoming students’ ability to adapt during the move-in event. He said that he could tell students and their parents had read the emails EOU had sent out prior to the event, and he could tell they were ready to adapt to changes: something all members of the campus community will have to practice this year.
“I was really surprised to see that the parents were go-with-the-flow and the students seemed to be that way too,” Follett said.
Week of Welcome (WOW) new student orientation also commenced during this event—inviting students to participate virtually, and offering a multitude of activities that students joined from their rooms. While the event was initially planned to be held on campus, WOW leaders quickly adapted as the schedule evolved and the platform changed.
WOW leader Cassandra Sánchez said the event would remain interactive and enticing for students despite the shift to a virtual venue. New activities incorporated into the schedule included a magic show, trivia, and workouts like power yoga and Zumba.
“Being in person, I feel like it was easier to make connections honestly, but virtually it’s been cool seeing how these students are interacting, like through the chat,” Sánchez said. “[Online] does limit some of the activities that we are able to do, but it also opens up the door to the newer activities.”
Fall Term classes begin via remote access today, following a mass testing event for students. Once test results are evaluated, the university expects to resume in-person instruction. Learn more about EOU’s plans for the term at eou.edu/coronavirus.
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