The Conestoga community will welcome new students through online orientation program sessions scheduled August 31 to September 4. To help students with a successful transition to the college this fall, Conestoga’s Student Engagement team has also developed new tools and programming to support orientation events and programming.
“We implemented a lot of virtual programming for the spring term and really learned from that,” explained Jennifer Durst, Student Engagement programmer. “We were open to feedback to see what worked well and what didn’t and going forward that meant we could invest in programming we knew students would be really engaged in.”
This fall, students will participate in an online program session where they will meet their fellow students, program coordinator and faculty and staff. Completion of Conestoga 101 - a mandatory self-directed online course that focuses on the supports, services and opportunities available at the college - will also be required. To provide additional support, Student Engagement has launched the Conestoga Ready app as well.
“This is a tool that’s been in development over the last year, but the timing of the launch is especially helpful this fall now that we’re in a virtual world. As technology develops, students are looking for an app that can easily walk them through the steps needed to be successful at Conestoga,” said Durst. “The app provides information and email links for various service areas which is helpful in a virtual environment where students might be confused about where to go with their questions. COVID-19 safety information and protocols have been embedded as well.”
Student Engagement has also scheduled online transition workshops to provide students with a welcome from various service areas including the Library, myCareer, Students Success Services and Conestoga Students Inc.
“The transition workshops were piloted in the spring and students found them valuable,” added Durst. “The workshops answered common questions like ‘how do I access technology’?”
Other online transition events scheduled include welcome events for mature, Indigenous, LGBTQ2+ and African, Caribbean and Black students. Student Ambassadors will also be available on Conestoga campuses to welcome students who may be required to attend classes on campus.
“I am always excited and feel very privileged to welcome new students to our community during this time of year,” said Amy Baird, manager, Student Engagement. “Our team, services and coordinators’ passion and excitement to welcome new students shines through.”
Brent Parke, a third-year Bachelor of Community and Criminal Justice student who’s been supporting Student Engagement’s fall social media campaign for new students, said getting involved in campus activities has had a positive impact on his college experience.
“Find things that inspire you to go out and make connections with other people even if it's through virtual opportunities,” said Parke when asked what advice he would give new students. “Look for opportunities to make new friends, to get involved, to step outside your comfort zone and try to take care of your personal well-being. I imagine that will be harder this year so I hope students put the work in now so they can make connections and stay involved.”
Conestoga’s Student Engagement team meets the needs of students through innovative programming designed to achieve goals with learning outcomes-based initiatives including the Co-Curricular Record, Orientation, Diversity and Inclusion, the Connect Leadership Workshop Series, and various student volunteer and committee opportunities.