Campus Community / People of SU

Seattle U Builds Community in First Virtual Welcome Week

September 16, 2020

Graphic with a variety of small illustrations depicting college life and reads Welcome Week Fall 2020.

Image credit: Student Development

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Student Development team took its annual orientation offerings online for first-year and transfer students.

This year’s Welcome Week orientation offered a jam-packed schedule from Aug. 31 through Sept. 8. Featuring a broad range of events, it was designed to build community, encourage students to make connections with their new Redhawk family, participate in campus traditions and prepare them for the start of their first fall quarter at the university. 

Due to the ongoing pandemic, this year’s Welcome Week was moved to a completely digital format and delivered through Connect SU. While a number of changes were planned ahead of COVID-19, the virtual format created new opportunities for engagement.

“One of the biggest concerns in moving to a virtual environment was to create as much connection as possible between students and with students, faculty and staff,” says Michelle Etchart, assistant vice president of Student Development. “Compared to previous years, we significantly increased the number of student panels, social events and orientation small groups (led by an orientation advisor) during the week so students could find at least one informal student-to-student connection each day.”

Aimed at first-year and transfer students, Welcome Week was a collaborative effort between many campus departments and the schools and colleges.

The virtual format offered the ability for students, their supporters, faculty and staff to easily participate in a variety of offerings. “We were able to build a number of creative sessions that may not have had a big draw in the past, but were meaningful to smaller groups,” Etchart says.

In keeping with the Jesuit tradition of caring for the whole person, events focused on the heart, mind and soul. Activities included health and self-care to practical tips for academic success to organized social events, including dinner night, a KXSU concert, themed mixers, game night and more. Students were also invited to show their Redhawk spirit by downloading a Seattle U-themed Zoom background.

Student Development describes the week-long event as a success overall, based on participation in sessions and feedback from students and their supporters.

Learn more about Student Development and campus engagement opportunities here.

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