First-year orientation can be described as one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking experiences of an incoming first-year student. Students learn about the campus, sign up for classes, meet new people and more. Orientation opens a new door for incoming first-year students to what their next four years is going to be like at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). However, this year’s orientation will be held virtually.  

UNH has a unique orientation because it gives students the opportunity to familiarize themselves with Downtown Durham. Orientation leaders allow students to walk downtown and explore areas around campus. Students spend a night in Christensen or Williamson Hall, which could be their dorm. Students get to walk around campus and explore dining halls, the academic buildings, and see the football stadium, along with Boulder Field. 

As the coronavirus pandemic is still spreading and seems like it will not be slowing down any time soon, students wonder about UNH New Student Orientation. UNH Dean of Students John T. Kirkpatrick stated, “Because of prevailing pandemic conditions, we will be conducting our June Orientation sessions online this year for health and safety reasons. The synchronous sessions will be held on June 15, 18, 22, and 25 for our entering students. New transfer student Orientation will be held on a rolling basis throughout the month of June. We are currently at work at building appropriate academic and campus life content for each session.”  

This is a very hard time for incoming first-year and transfer students because they do not know what to expect. One new student, who is an incoming first-year in the class of ‘24 and requested to stay anonymous, spoke about her experience receiving the email of online orientation and what that means for her. She said, “Since orientation is online it is going to be hard to see the full campus. I feel upset about this because it is supposed to be the start to my college career and it is hard to think of it like that with everything online.” 

UNH is doing the best they can to keep everyone safe but still give them a normal experience with orientation. It is not easy and these decisions are going to be tough to make, but Kirkpatrick and the rest of the UNH campus do have health and safety as their top priority for the students coming to UNH.