Empty campus stock

The empty campus during the COVID-19 pandemic on Friday, March 27, 2020.

On April 2, 2020, University of Louisiana at Lafayette Director of the Office of Orientation Lauren Sarver sent a statement to The Vermilion regarding orientation for incoming students.

“Due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have chosen to adjust the new student orientation experience from fully in-person to a hybrid model with online information sessions during the summer months supplemented by in-person information sessions during Freshman Week (the week before classes begin),” said Sarver.

Dylan Stracener, second-year member of Student Orientation Staff (SOS) and Parent Orientation Staff Leader, said that the staff has already begun training every Wednesday and Friday for a remote orientation.

“The fee that you paid when you registered for orientation will be used to develop and implement this new program,” Sarver said when asked about a refund of the orientation fees. “However, students who pre-registered and paid the $35.00 Early Arrival Housing fee will see those refunds appear on their credit card statement within the next two weeks.”

Sarver said that, if incoming freshmen wish to adjust their orientation date, they may switch to the dates left available by logging into ULink.

“You will receive another email, on May 1, with instructions on how to access and complete the online orientation and further details about the requirements for Freshman Week,” said Sarver. “This email will also have details about advising and course registration which will still take place during the summer months.”

Ashley Venable, a first-year member of S.O.S., encouraged freshmen to still get involved with everything they possibly can, even during the remote changes.

Stracener said SOS had a huge impact on his life and pushed for him to move towards other UL Lafayette organizations as well.

“We are still in the planning stage, but students will have online orientation sessions during the summer and then in-person information sessions during Freshman Week,” said Sarver.

Stracener said SOS had a conference canceled the first week that classes were transferred remotely, and confirmed early orientation has been canceled.

Venable said S.O.S will work diligently even during remote orientation in order to give incoming freshmen as much information as they can.

“The online orientation sessions will still be required to have a maximum capacity to ensure that academic advising can be completely timely,” Sarver said towards questions concerning advising.

“We want to assure you that our staff is working diligently to design this new orientation experience in a way that fully prepares you for college life at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette,” Sarver said.

Despite it not being a part of orientation, SOUL Camp was mentioned by both Stracener and Sarver, as they work closely with orientation.

Stracener said SOUL Camp’s fundraising week was canceled, and Sarver said more information about SOUL Camp as well as Parent and Family Orientation will be coming soon.

Sarver encouraged anyone with questions to email orientation@louisiana.edu.

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