Soaring into changes: what’s new with orientation?

Hamline’s Summer Orientation and Registration will be held both in person and online and will not include an overnight component.

Anika Besst, News Editor

Andrea Lindner

The 2021-22 school year may end but Hamline will remain bustling with students staying for research, classes or attending orientation. Unlike what has been done historically, Hamline’s Summer Orientation and Registration (SOAR) will not include an overnight. 

SOAR has been an overnight event for incoming first-years and transfer students every summer. This event is the student’s orientation and first registration where they meet new students, learn Hamline policies, participate in icebreaker activities and register for their fall courses.

Due to COVID-19 SOAR has operated differently by being entirely online for the past two years. 

This summer SOAR will be shortened to a single day, with an estimated schedule of the event starting around 9 a.m. and ending at 5:30 p.m., said senior Crystal Camacho who is a New Student Program (NSP) Student Coordinator. There will also be an online option offered periodically throughout the SOARs to allow students to still attend interactively if they cannot make it in person. 

With this shifted schedule, it will still include all of the original events including meetings with CASA and the Financial Aid office. 

This has been a decision the NSP office was considering prior to COVID-19 in regard to making it more accessible. The overnight has been a factor that has complicated many students’ SOAR experiences. 

“I think [overnights] makes it really hard for a lot of students, especially if you’re a student who knows full and well, you’re not planning to live on campus. You’re a commuter. But now we’re telling you no, you have to stay on campus and the purpose of it is to meet other students and to give them a taste of being on campus,” Camacho said. “After COVID happened they made the final decision, [this] is a year we’re lucky enough that we get to be back in person, but we’re still going to have one day that’s just for virtual and that’s always going to like be an option to make it accessible for students.” 

Looking to the fall, NSP is excited for their staff of New Student Mentors (NSM) who are mentors to the incoming new students. 

FYSems are determined by the expected number of incoming students. NSMs are then based on how many FYSems courses there are, with at least one NSM per course and a couple more for extra support and for transfer students throughout the year. NSMs are assigned to no more than 18 students generally, with the ideal amount of students being 12 to 16. 

The number of NSMs this year is in line with what has been seen in the past. 

Junior LaNiesha Bisek, who has been an NSM the past two years, enjoyed her own SOAR experience as a first-year as a way to introduce everything she would experience at Hamline.   Bisek is excited to return as an NSM for her senior year regardless of what SOAR looks like. 

“I think just the most important part is being as authentic as we can in the moment, because we’re still in a moment of COVID and trying to get out of that,” Bisek said. 

Erin Connelly who has been an NSM for the past two summers will be a first-time student coordinator for NSP and is excited for this opportunity to work with the NSMs and prospective students. 

We are very excited to be back to an in-person SOAR even if it is shortened! We can not wait to see all of the incoming first-years and what they bring to the Hamline community,” Connelly said.