Seton Hill plans virtual Setonian Orientation and physically distant Welcome Weekend

A few of last year’s Orientation Leaders, including Tsamara Roberts, pose with Griff.

Physical distancing and virtual meetings have quickly become the norm around the world with the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus, and Seton Hill has introduced some new ways to explore the hill with Welcome Weekend and Griffin Orientation. 

“I hope people respond well to these changes. We are trying our best to ensure that the orientation experience is still as fun and informative as possible while adapting to new regulations,” said Orientation Leader Tsamara Roberts. 

Wanting to make it easier for student engagement during Welcome Weekend, Director of New Student and Transition Programs Matt Zielinski said Seton Hill will be practicing physical distancing with the virtual meetings and physically distant orientation to help with engagement.

Since an in-person Setonian orientation can’t currently be carried out, virtual orientation will be the new Road to the Hill (RTTH). The RTTH website was created as a way to help new students and families better prepare before coming to campus. 

With 18 different zoom events happening throughout the month of July, the first session was held July 1, Zielinski said “both students and families will have the opportunity to get acquainted with the ins and outs of Seton Hill.” Various sessions will be available with some specific to just students and others specific to family members. 

“(It is a way) to help everyone get ready for Welcome Weekend and move in,” Zielinski said. “So for our new students, I really believe that virtual orientation is going to help ease the process. There is so much about coping with COVID-19 that leaves uncertainty in our lives and that uncertainty is very difficult for us to cope with – sometimes we fill the void of the uncertainty with not always the happiest or easiest of things.” 

A list of the events can be found on the Road to the Hill website, along with other information regarding resources. 

Roberts is excited to spread more Setonian spirit across campus during Welcome Weekend and orientation. She said she feels we are living in a very difficult time, and the Setonian spirit is one that is very welcoming and service oriented. 

“We could all use a little bit of that right now so I’m excited to share that with incoming students and help them find a home on the hill,” Roberts said. 

Zielinski’s hope is that the orientation allows students to connect and start to build a Seton Hill family, connecting with student leaders and staff members, to help them adjust. 

“My belief is that families will feel better having their students come to Seton Hill for the Fall semester, that students will feel better prepared for and better connected to Seton Hill before they come to campus,” Zielinski said. 

As of now, first year students will move in on Wednesday, August 12, Thursday, August 13 and Friday, August 14. Alternating move-in times will be scheduled throughout the days to help with physical distancing and to keep safety a priority for all families and their students. 

“We are also doing this because you’ll learn when you get to campus, campus is going to have a very specific traffic flow so we need to make sure we can control the flow of traffic in our hallways and in our stairwells to help keep everyone safe, and we want to make sure that as we’re moving people in they are trying to be as safe as possible,” Zielinski said. “Normally you have a decent number of early arrivals but instead of having everyone move in in just one Friday morning they will move in over Wednesday and Thursday.” 

“It is a very different experience but in true Setonian fashion it is Hazard Yet Forward and we will continue to move forward despite all of the hazards that this situation and COVID-19 throws at us,” Zielinski said. 

Published by Caitlin Srager

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